The Christmas adverts are up all ready trying to sell a packaged Christmas from a shop near you.. Not sure its going to take hold this year.. Maybe we have an opportunity to reclaim the season, . I know for many of my closest friends this is actually their favourite time. I have come to really love and appreciate so many of the seasons.. Feeling their unique wisdom and gifts...
The sudden chill that appears in the air, the softening of the light, candles at supper time. As I prepare the Bothy for its long winter rest, harvesting and preserving almost complete.. Pulling the last Pumpkin, which this year will be crafted into a Spicy Pumpkin Ale, alongside the wonderful soup and sweet pumpkin pie.. In that shadow of The Large Oak Tree I could feel the chill of the Cailleach’s breath. So who is the the Cailleach? She is the goddess of the cold and the winds. Sometimes known as the Veiled One or the Queen of Winter, the Cailleach determined the winter’s length and harshness.
The Cailleach was both ageless and immortal; as winter gave way to spring, she would take a drought that returned her to youth. In Manx legend, she spent half the year as a young woman and the other half as a old crone—she was only known as the Cailleach during the latter half.
On Imbolc, or February 1st, of each year, the Cailleach runs out of firewood for the winter. In the Manx tradition, she transforms into a great bird and collects firewood in her beak. In Ireland and Scotland, meanwhile, she collects firewood as an old woman. If she wishes for winter to last longer, she makes the day sunny and bright for her search. If she accidentally oversleeps, the day is stormy and gray. Thus, tradition holds that if February 1st is gray and wintery, winter will be shorter that year; if the day is bright, winter will return due to her preparation.
Back to the Bothy I Stepped a little towards the West, beyond the old Oaks shadow, into the sunshine, and there was a slight warmth still there, but it’s gently fading.. I reach for my Dungarees and Woollen shirt and hat most days now and have since Equinox…
On All Hallowed Eve I uncast the circle, that was brought to life way back in Spring... and gently close the Bothy for its long winter rest.. with the Wood Stove crackling.. As the land rests I rest too..…
Yet for now I invite the mists of the Otherworld to fill the Cauldron before us... Life Beyond the Five Bar Gate often feels in between the worlds, a metaphoric Cauldron, I often use a Cauldron in my Magic , and through that mist I invite to speak the names of our loved ones, our friends, family, and our ancestors of tradition, who have passed before us.. This last year there has been so much loss..
A way of life has been totally stripped back for so many.. As spirit said on Winter Solstice 2019 “There will be a Cosmic Pause like no other.. And from the shell of the Old world a new world will be born” ... We are Stepping into the mists of a whole new cycle of time, yet for now we are remembering our ancestors.. For me tending to the land has been a direct gift of skills and knowledge passed to me from My Dad , his Dad and those wonderful men on that line.. speaking their names aloud on within our hearts , so that they may hear us, and know that they are remembered. We then share a symbolic feast with them, raising the Horn of Odin.. a Bottle of Mugwort beer is cracked open… offering poetry, and tales and stories of the season, before the spirits are thanked, and the circle is closed. It’s a safe space, a place to feel the loss but also the connection. Folklore that tells us that the Faerie ride out at this time of year – that the Veil is thin. Within the Otherworld, within Annwn, lies the Cauldron of Rebirth.
Tales suggest that those placed within the Cauldron are reborn, Folklore suggests that the spirit of those who have gone before return to the Cauldron, for rebirth. So casting the circle, and calling upon the mists at Samhain, when the Gates are open, utterly works for me. It feels right...
“To the Celtic people, Samhain marked the start of the winter season. It was the time when the livestock were slaughtered and the final harvest was gathered before the inevitable plunge into the depths of winter’s darkness. Fires were lit to help wandering spirits on their way, and offerings were given in the names of the gods and the ancestors. Seen as a beginning, Samhain is now often called the Witches’ New Year. We honor our ancestors, wind down our activities, and get ready for the months of introspection ahead.”
A Tiny Bit of Magic
Protection spells are best done when the Moon is full, while banishing spells are great for a waning moon—particularly on a Saturday.
If the moon is waxing on Samhain and you want to take advantage of that energy, use it for spells to speed up the ending of things that have been dragging on and holding you back.
Samhain is also a great time to get in touch with your ancestors or perform divination.
A simple Divination act of Magic
From Here to There Tarot Spell a little bit of magic to bring insight.
Light a white candle, ideally preform this Spell once it is dark... Select one card to represent your current situation Select another card representing what it is your wishing to shape and create between now and Winter Solstice.
Place those cards on your altar with the “current situation” card on the left and the “goal” card on the right.
Shuffle the rest of your tarot deck as you ask four questions. Draw one card for each question.
“What is one thing I can do to help me nurture my goal?”
”What obstacle might I face as I move closer to this goal?”
”How do I overcome that obstacle?”
Journal about your answers and leave your cards on your altar until you feel your intention had been received by the universe and then blow out your candle.
For More Tarot Tips There are thousands of different Cards out there and unlimited ways to read them!! but this is my favorite, built on direct experience!! In this simple, step by step process, you will learn how to unlock meaningful messages and guidance, for a intuitive Tarot, Psycard or Even Rune reading, regardless of your level of experience. This process helps you tap into your intuition and look at your Tarot cards in a whole new way!!
Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie
This is absolutely the BEST homemade pumpkin pie recipe!
To make pumpkin purée from scratch, cut a medium-small sugar pumpkin in half. Scrape out the insides (reserving the seeds for next seasons growing) Line a baking sheet. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on the lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F until a fork can easily pierce them, about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp.
WHAT IS PUMPKIN PIE SPICE?
When people think of Pumpkin Spice, they’re really thinking about the spices in a pumpkin pie, which are cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves and/or allspice. Cloves and allspice taste a lot alike, so typically you wouldn’t need both of them in your mix.
In our pumpkin pie recipe, we add a small amount of ground cardamom to our pumpkin spice mix. An eighth of a teaspoon isn’t much, but it’s enough to give the pie a sparkle it wouldn’t otherwise have.
DO YOU NEED TO BLIND BAKE THE CRUST?
No, you don’t need to blind bake the crust for this recipe. Just pour the pumpkin pie filling into an unbaked chilled or frozen pie crust, and bake it in the oven. The crust and the pumpkin filling will cook at the same rate.
The pie is done when a knife tip inserted in the center comes out wet but relatively clean. The center should be just barely jiggly.
A few cracks are inevitable, but as long as you reduced the temperature partway through cooking and don’t over-bake the pie, you shouldn’t have any major cracks. If you do, the pie will still taste delicious — just cover with whipped cream and no one will be the wiser.
Enjoy x Keep Shining Shane