Hello There

My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Goodies

Yes, yes, I know....I'm a Pagan and should be celebrating "Yule." I'm just so used to Christmas, though, and it's how I think of the holiday, so there you go.

Anyway, I've been baking up a storm. I usually give cookies and other treats as gifts, and this year is no exception. Last year I made some brownies and bars that were pretty involved, and didn't keep very well, so this year I went for simple and made some cookies. I tried out three different kinds; Chocolate Cranberry Chunkies (chocolate cookies, with chocolate chunks and dried cranberries,) Mini Chip Snowball Cookies (little round sandies-style cookies with chocolate chunks; called for nuts as well but I didn't use them) and Cocoa Ginger Crisps (chocolate and ginger cookies, dipped in cocoa powder and sugar.) They all turned out really good. I thought that the Cocoa Ginger Crisps were the best, but for whatever reason everybody else liked the Snowball ones.

Here's some pics. We also tried out some Red Velvet Brownies, but that's for another post.

The Chocolate Cranberry Chunkies:

Here are the Mini Chip Snowball Cookies, cooling on the sheets. So good!

And finally, here are the Cocoa Ginger Crisps:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rowan Charms

I'm so excited! Today, in the mail, I got my two Rowan charms I'd ordered from Wands of Avalon If you don't know, the wood from the Rowan tree had long been believed to have protective and magical powers, and traditionally little crosses of Rowan tied with red thread were hung about the house and above the bed to keep away any evil spirits or malevolent witchcraft. They look like this:

Aren't they lovely? They even have little dried Rowan berries around the top. One of my big areas of interest (and, I flatter myself, knowledge) is in the subject of the magical properties of trees and wood. Rowan, Willow, Ash, Hazel, and Oak have been traditionally used to make Witches' wands and brooms. Unfortunately, many of these trees don't grow in my region, and I don't have the skill to woodwork even when they do. As such, I'm lucky to have found Wands of Avalon, and Karl Feret at Rare Earth Designs to make my wonderful magical tools for me.*

On my "wish list" now is a traditional Witch's broom, with an Ash handle, Birch twigs, and a Willow binding. If anybody knows how I can make that happen, please let me know!

*I have no connection or financial interest in either of these businesses, I'm just a fan of their work.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November Doldrums

Don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving, but November always seems such a dreary month. It's too early to get worked up over Christmas, and it's also still rather warm in Texas so it doesn't feel very fall-like. This year, though, I am going with my sister to see my aunt and her family for Thanksgiving, so that should be really fun. I'm going to make an apple cake to take with me, and maybe (if I find the time) some Chex Mix as well.

In other news, I am still trying to find a good book to use as my Spell Book. In a previous post, you can catch a glimpse of what I'm using now; a three ring binder. It works great for on-the-go work, and I don't care if it looks nice or gets dirty. However, I definitely want something much nicer and longer-lived to hold copies of all my workings and recipes. The bad thing is, I have terrible, terrible handwriting, so any book I use is going to have to be screw-post bound so I can take the pages out and print them. I've found some beautiful books available online that cost many hundreds of dollars, but so far I haven't quite hit on "the one." Much like my blog itself, it's going to be a work in progress.

I don't really have any new crafts to show off, so I will leave you instead with pictured of my cats, Cosmic Creepers (the black one) and Marmalade. Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Post-Halloween Updates

Well, after all my planning, my Halloween was actually kind of a let-down. I'd been kind of sniffly all week,but managed to rally for my party. Alas, on Saturday I woke up very will, and spent the whole weekend and most of Monday in bed with what I think was the flu. So, I didn't get to do the parade or much of anything on Halloween itself. Such a disappointment! I'd been looking forward to attending a public ritual, too. Maybe next year...

In other news, it's finally starting to get chilly in Dallas. Slow cooker weather! I've got this amazing book, The Slow Cooker Bible, and I'm going to be trying out recipes from it. I'll be sure to post my results. I think the first one I'll be trying is a creamy turkey soup. Yum!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Party!

It's my Halloween party tonight, and wouldn't you know, I have a bad cold. Be that as it may, I have to go ahead and do it; not only am I looking forward to it, but I've spend a lot of time and money getting ready. I'm only expecting 10 people or so, but still should be fun. I'll be serving apple cake, pigs in blankets, chips and dip, cookies, punch, and maybe a few other things (beer!) I've got most of the cleaning done, but I still have to vacuum, mop the kitchen, cook the apple cake, buy some dry ice for my Witch's Brew, and carve some Jack O'Lanterns.

Here's a few pics of some of my Halloween decorating. I really went all-out this year.

A shot of my Samhain Altar. Not all of my tools are out yet. I also have an Ancestor Shrine set up...

And here's my dining room table. Those lights are now set up over the window, and everything's all laid out nicely.

Here's my glitter skeleton and my flying witch. Some Wiccans and Witches are offended by Halloween images of flying, cackling witches, but not me. To me, they're fun, remind me of the decorations we had when I was a kid, and even empowering because really, the Witch is an essential part of the holiday, and is one of the most loved Halloween characters (unlike the rest of the year, sadly.)

Oh no! A scary Jack O' Lantern!

I'll have lots more pics to share over the next few days, as I throw my party, go to the Halloween Parade, and celebrate the actual holiday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Flying Ointment

Since the other day was the Full Moon, I couldn't resist conjuring up some flying ointment to be used on Samhain. Now, let me be clear here: I only use a NON TOXIC recipe. You won't find any Aconite or Henbane in mine, thanks. I probably wouldn't ever use such herbs, but definitely not now; I don't think my herbal skills are anywhere near where they need to be, and I don't feel safe working with the more dangerous plants.

Anyway, I used to recipe that I've found both in a book AND on the internet. The main ingredients are lard (I use the real thing, and not vegetable shortening) Mugwort, Cinquefoil, Vervain, Benzoin, Thistle, and ashes from the fireplace. It also called for Clove oil, but I didn't have any handy so I used a quarter teaspoon or so of the buds. I used my little glass pot and my neato gas stove; I stick to the concept that one shouldn't use metal utensils in working with herbs. Why not? That's what I've always been told, though I am not sure it's really something to worry about. Now, I definitely wouldn't use iron, though, which of course is said to be the enemy of magic.

How did it turn out? Honestly, I don't think I did a very good job. It's not very heavily scented, and I think the recipe I used calls for way too much lard. I suppose it will do, but next time I am going to use a different recipe, and take care to grind the herbs up as fine as possible. Here are some pics of the process.

Here is my "rough and dirty" Recipe Book (I don't use the term "book of shadows) and my lovely Willow wand, made for me by Karl Feret at Rare Earth Designs.

And here is my stove top, with everything ready to go.

The lard is melted, and the herbs are simmering.

The finished product, while still hot. When it cooled it lost almost all of its green colour.

And here's a shot of my altar, done up with my orange Samhain candles. Looking pretty bare right now; haven't set up my working tools yet for the holiday.

And there we go! Hopefully next time it'll work out better. I am going to be experimenting with different ointment bases, as well. Perhaps beeswax would have worked better.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Blog Name?

I'm trying to think of a good new name for my blog. "Diary of a Southern Witch" sounds too much like another blog I came across, and anyway, I think it sounds too goofy and almost "romance novel"-ish. Can't quite think of anything better, though. I'll come up with a few ideas and see if I can get a vote or something on which to go with.

In other news, going to try out a new recipe this weekend, courtesy of Jaz from October Farm. It's Pumpkin Pie Cake, and it sounds amazing! Going to try it out, and if it goes well make it for my Halloween party.

Oh, and I got my Halloween costume! It's actually a ritual robe I had custom made from Garb The World, but since I am going as a Witch it will work just fine. It's a black, hooded robe....very high quality and warm. I'm pairing it with a purple and black sparkly witch hat, and my wonderful witch broom that I've had for a while. It's going to be amazing! I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Fest

I went to Pumpkin Fest at the Dallas Arboretum yesterday, and what a treat! THOUSANDS upon thousands of pumpkins, and a whole fairy tale village made of them! So much to see. And, the weather's been just amazing here, much cooler but not cold. I am really loving it. Halloween draws closer, and it's actually starting to feel like fall.

Anyway, here's a few pics. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Halloween Time Cometh

YAY! My favourite time of year is here, and we finally have some Fall weather. That's right, the temperature dropped down to 64 today in Dallas, and it felt heavenly. Now, I know that's not very cool, but in Texas it's not at all uncommon to have 80-90 degree weather well into October and even in to November, so anything below 70 is a treat.

I've got some of my Halloween stuff up, and have a big old pumpkin on my porch. I'm posting a pic here of my dining room table with its Halloween cloth and my new crackle glass pumpkin candle holder. Notice too my cute little owl salt and pepper shakers. I'm doing a Halloween party in a few weeks, so I've got lots more decorating to do before then.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My New Wand

I want to show off my beautiful new wand, made by craftsman Karl Feret (who also supplied the pics.) It's got an Ash handle, an ebony shaft, and an Amethyst embedded into its tip. He's made all my wands for me, and I couldn't be more pleased. I've got a new one, Hazel and Rowan, coming soon.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where I'm At Now

Ok, it's been years since I last posted. Want to fill everybody in on where I'm at in my life.

*I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic migraines back in '05. Since then, I've sort of gone through good and bad spells with my health, but in '07 I started to really go through bad times, and in '09 I went on Social Security Disability. I still work, very part time, now and again, but I have to take it easy and have a lot of "bad days."

*When I started my blog, I was on a spiritual journey. I tried out a lot of different things, but eventually settled on Eclectic Witchcraft. I've always been interested in Witches, and when I was a teenager I learned about Wicca, but I was really too young to understand it properly and, after a few years, drifted into agnosticism. A couple of years ago, though, I felt the pull again and started practicing once more. I felt like Wicca was not for me, so I am exploring a lot of other Witchcraft traditions like Feri, Reclaiming, and Traditional Witchcraft. Right now, I just call myself a Witch without committing to any particular tradition or rite. I am wanting to join a coven, though, so we will see where my quest takes me.

*Because I have so much free time, when I feel up to it I like to garden, cook, and check out new places to eat. I live in an apartment so I don't have much space, but I've taken up container gardening and have a nice little stash of herbs and flowers. I'll post pics once I have some good ones.

*I am still dealing with my "gender issues" and am still undergoing changes. Not sure how far I will take things, but it's been quite a journey.

Anyway, I am going to try and be good and blog regularly. I'm hoping to meet new friends this way, and I already have a few blogs that I am absolutely mad about.