Friday, November 2, 2012

The Sirens' Song: Grand Finale 2012

And so, we come to our final post for the season. The Sirens want to thank you all for your support and participation in this season's celebration. We hope you've enjoyed it as much as we have. Our final blog post comes from Magaly Guerrero of Pagan Culture.




The Samhain’s Sirens Will Rise and Sing Again

About a month and a half ago, Kallan Kennedy, asked me if I would like to participate on a project that would celebrate the approaching Witches’ New Year. I almost said no. If you’ve read my blog lately, you already know that I had enough on my personal and professional plates to need at least 31 extra hours on each day. But for many reasons, I said yes…

The most important of my reasons for accepting Kallan’s proposal, might be explained by Kourtney Leaf’s take on this holiday. She said, “Samhain is my connection to those I’ve lost. Young, old, friends, family, even those I may not have known in life. Samhain is about respect, remembrance and most of all love.” http://multifacetedexperience.blogspot.com/ I needed to be nudge into a place where I could fire up the new and say goodbye to the old. In the brilliant words of Renee Olson aka Sosanna, “The 31st is a day of celebration and new beginnings.  As Mother Earth changes her robes and prepares for winter, this day is a rebirth, a catalyst for the New Year.” http://confessionsofamodernwitch.blogspot.com/

I was also inspired by the magic of All Hallow’s Eve. That which Danielle Suplicki acknowledges as “Fondest childhood memories, fearless joys and make believe. Grinning jacks, cackling witches and the dead dancing all eve. Threshold of a new year, time of in between: the magics of Hallowe’en!” http://thewhimsicalcottage.blogspot.com How do you say no to that? Or seeing it through the eyes of Rommy, I wanted to be part of anything that truly celebrated the “time to revel in imagination and examine the dark places of it at leisure. [I needed to join a group that wanted to help the world]. Remember that [Halloween] is a ‘between time’ as well; [that] imagined is not necessarily unreal.”

For most witchy-hearted people, Sam Curtin included, “The day of October 31st is not only a holiday. For [her], it’s a time when the air is full of magic, the veil is thin, and the energy is abundant.” http://anthrobum.blogspot.com/ A time when neither home relocation nor hurricane can keep magical blood from singing in the veins and dancing until the Earth Mother smiles. Bella Foxglove said it well, “Samhain means many things to this atypical witch, but I can say with confidence that Samhain represents the doorway in which I step through to finally return to myself each year.” http://bellafoxglove.blogspot.com I needed to be me again, and I stepped through the veil.

This holiday of ours, is as complex as the souls that celebrate its mysteries. Take Loren Morris’ words as an example, “When I was a child, I was horribly skinny and geeky. On Halloween, I could be something else; someone else. Today, Samhain is for introspection, shedding masks and being myself.” http://www.etsy.com/shop/SagasCottage. This is a season for all. Eliora says, “The spirit of Samhain represents the magickal thread flowing throughout my CRAFTwork. The magick of Samhain is that It truly embodies the facets of my Path: Beginnings/Endings, Death/Rebirth, Joy/Sorrow, Darkness/Light, Desire/Gratitude.”
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ElegantlyEnchanting

Kallan, The Samhain’s Sirens Amazon—trust me, she won that title—shows her October 31st passion through her “Samhain Season Alphabet Stew: Ancestors, Bonfires, Caramel, Decorations, Evanescent, Fae, Ghosts, Hallowed, Imbibing, Jocularity, Keening, Lamentation, MorRhiogan, Necromancy, Occult, Pumpkins, Quickening, Ravens, Spooky, Traditions, Unicity, Vaticinations, Witches, Xenagogue, Yearning, Zoomorphic.” http://mypaganworld.blogspot.com/

You are probably wondering, what about you Magaly, what makes All Hallow’s Eve special for a Wicked Witch Writer? Well, you’ve already read the answer. If not reread the last six paragraphs. I love and rejoice in the diverse and uncanny energies of the Witches’ New Year because it embraces new and old, flesh and spirit, man and nature; it takes the monotony of black and white and blesses us with beautiful grey sparkles that inspire people to celebrate life, death, and the joys that take place in-between. http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/

On behalf of all the Samhain’s Sirens, I want to thank you for dancing to the beat of our witchy song. And do mark your calendars; next year, when the veil begins to thin, when Nature’s dress claims those beautiful golds, oranges and reds, and when everything seems possible, the Samhain’s Sirens will rise and sing again ;-)








The winners of the October 31 giveaways are:

Sosanna's Handfasting Cord: Star Firewitch

East Coast Craft & Curio Gift Certificate: Iesadora


And now, for the Grand Prize Giveaway......





Katy Creager!!!


Congratulations to all of our winners! Please email your shipping address to samhainsirens@gmail.com one more time, just so we know we have them.


We want to thank you all one more time for your wonderful participation and support. Please do keep in touch with us either through our individual blogs, emails, Facebook and/or Twitter. We look forward to being with you again next year.

From Kallan to all of the Sirens: Thank you all. What we dreamed up in the Summer, has come to it's fruition in the last Harvest of the Season. You are awesome. Here's my song for all of you:




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Samhain's Sirens- The After Party Day 1

Today is technically still Samhain. Samhain is a Celtic holy day and to the Celts (like many other indigenous cultures) the days begin at night. We're posting this a bit later in the day, as we know you may have been up late like we were, celebrating and communing with your ancestors.
The veil between the worlds is thin now, and will continue to be so until Yule, when the Sun begins to return. This is a time of introspection and planning for the next year. Many witches consider today the first day of the New Year.

Some of us see this as the time-between-the-years; a time when there is no time. This is our rest and hibernation (for those in the Northern Hemisphere), and we use this time to work on ourselves internally. There are 49 days until the Winter Solstice. We look within first, then look forward.

The Sirens' dear friend, Sally Dubats, has sent a message to all of you:


And, we have another special gift for you from Sam Curtin, our Workout Siren:

The Work-Out Sirens' Post-Samhain Work Out

 October has come and passed and if you were like most of us you gorged yourself on all the yummy goodies we had posted on our blog! Fear no more, because I have come up with this awesome workout routine that you can do to work off those extra pounds of chocolate. These are all activities that you can do from the comfort of your own home. So grab your weights, exercise bands and get your butt moving!

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday

Cardio


Legs
Chest
Back
Biceps/Triceps
Core
Cardio
Cardio

Legs
Chest
Back
Biceps/Triceps
Core
Cardio
Rest J

Cardio Exercises:
v  30 minute walk outside (substitute treadmill for inclement weather)
v  1 mile or 15 minute run outside (substitute treadmill for inclement weather)
v  30 minutes on any exercise machine that you have (bike, elliptical, stair stepper, etc)

Leg Exercises:
v  Squats: Grab two dumbbells of the weight of your choice. Place them on your shoulders as you stand with your legs shoulder length apart. Keeping your back straight squat as though you are sitting in a chair. Make sure knees don’t go passed your toes. Complete 3 reps of 10 (increase weight for each rep as desired)
v  Lunges: Grab two dumbbells of the weight of your choice. Hold them by your side while standing straight. The take your
v  Leg Extensions: Find a chair, couch, table or anything else you can hold for balance and give yourself enough room around you. Bend over and grab the piece of furniture while extending one of your leg so that it is at a right angle to the rest of your body. Take that leg and start kicking out. Complete 20 reps on each leg. (to add difficulty instead of grabbing the furniture place two dumbbells on the furniture so that they are up and down. Hold them and maintain balance while kicking)
v  Leg Lift (Side): Lie on your side on the floor (on a mat if you have). Place one leg on top of the other so that your feet are facing away from you. Slowly lift leg up pointing your toe and then lower it back down. Complete 15 reps of this on each leg. (To add resistance, use exercise band).
v  Leg Lift (Back): Lie on your back with your toes pointed up. Slowly lift one leg up at a time so that the leg is straight up in the air. Lower slowly back down and then switch to the next leg, doing the same thing. Complete 10 reps on each leg, alternating as you go.

Chest Exercises
v  Push-Ups: Do three sets of ten push-ups (you can modify by either doing it on your knees or doing it off of a chair for increased difficulty) 
v  Dumbbell Press: Lie on your back on the floor and take dumbbell weights of your choice in either hand. Place hands in front of your armpits while on the ground so your arms are bent (almost like wings). Extend arms forward slowly so that they end of the dumbbells touch. Do three reps of ten.

Back Exercises
v  Rowing: First find a surface that’s about knee height to lean on (I find usually a couch is the easiest). Place left hand and knee on that surface and take a dumbbell of your choice in your other hand. Grip dumbbell and hold your arm straight down. Slowly move your arm up so that the dumbbell reaches your side, making sure your back in straight. Slowly move your arm back down. Repeat with eight time then switch to the other arm. Do two reps on each arm. 

Upper Body Exercises:
v  Dumbbell Curls: Grab a pair of dumbbells (weight of your choice I usually use 10s or 15s) in each hand and face palms forward. Hold your elbows close to your sides; keep your back straight and your feet aligned with your shoulders. Then bend your right arm and carefully bring it toward your shoulder. Bring your arm down and repeat the same motion 10 times. Switch sides, and execute the same movement and repetitions. Complete 2 reps.
v  Arm Circles: You may do this exercise with or without dumbbells. Align feet with shoulders, and extend arms horizontally at shoulder level. Keep shoulders down and perform backward circles 20 times. Change to forward circles, again doing 20 more.
v  Tricep extensions: You can sit straight or stand for this one. Grab a dumbbell (weight of your choice, I usually use 15s or 20s) holding it over your head with both arms. Slowly lower down behind your head and slowly back up. You can also use just one arm at a time or with both hands. Perform 3 reps of 10.

Core
v  Side planks: Lie on your left side with your left forearm on the floor perpendicular to your body and your right hand resting on your side. Stack your legs and hips and pull your bellybutton in towards your spine. Raise your body up by straightening and lengthening the waist so that you are balanced on your left forearm and the bottom of your left foot. Hold for one minute then switch and do the other side for a minute.
v  Supermans: Lie on stomach on the floor and extend your legs and arms so that they’re about an inch or two off the ground. Hold for two minutes.
v  Bridge: Lie flat on the floor and bring your feet close to your rear end with the soles flat on the floor. Raise your hips as high as you can and keep your core drawn in as well as your glutes contracted. Repeat this motion until you can hold for at least a minute. Don't let your back arch down at any point.
v  Ab squat: Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your hands placed next to your shoulders. Bend your wrists back to face up and bend your elbows to touch your sides. From there, lean backward and bend your knees slightly. Keep your abs tight and your spine straight. Hold for 30 seconds.



Song of the Day- Kallan's addition to the mix ;)


I couldn't let this day go by without sharing one of my absolute favorite Samhain Songs.





Tomorrow will be the last day of the Samhain’s Sirens Seasonal Celebration. Come join us for a special treat by Magaly Guerrero, announcement of giveaway winners, and the really BIG announcement: The Grand Prize Giveaway Winner!

Enjoy the rest of your Samhain today!



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samhain Blessings

Welcome back, everyone. We took a day off during the height of Superstorm Sandy not only to batten down the hatches, but to focus our attention on all of those affected by the storm. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with all our friends, family and those we haven't met yet who have   been dealing with the effects and aftermath.  We struggled with whether to move forward, as we know so many people are still experiencing power outages, storm clean-up, etc... we ultimately decided to go on, as today is an especially holy day, and we want to honor it and all of you.

We'll be making up for yesterday, and will also post for today. This will keep us on track for ending up the week and our celebration.

Our first blog post comes from Sosanna (Renee Olson).

Handfasting – A Pagan Wedding

A handfasting is a Celtic ceremony of marriage.  The term itself comes from an Old Norse word Hand-festa, which means “to strike a bargain by joining hands”.  It can be a betrothal, where the parties agree to stay together for a year and a day to determine if they would like to be married permanently. Or it can be permanent from the start.  The ceremony can be a formal ceremony with a Priest or Priestess overseeing the ritual.  It can also be a solitary one, where just the intended join themselves together in a private ceremony.  Some even combine the handfasting ritual with a modern or traditional wedding ceremony.  Handfasting are not bound by gender and can be used to celebrate all couplings.

In my case, my partner and I chose a very private setting for our handfasting.  We sat out three or four days before in preparation for the event by picking the perfect location and cord.  We searched high and low until we found a perfect blue cord for his color and a deep red for mine as the tassel.  We selected the rose garden in Balboa Park for our setting.  After putting our cord together; we headed out to the park.  We waited until just before midnight on October 31st to bind our hands together and devote ourselves to each other.  Since that day, the cord has hung in our bedroom.  Ten years together.  It’s seen homes in two states and traveled across the country.  It’s worn and tattered, but it has endured.


Things have changed so much in the last ten years.  We’ve learned and grown.  This year for our anniversary we’ve decided to renew our vows.  We own  property and we’re building a temple to Hecate in the back corner.  Here we will take that same simple cord we made so many years ago, and combine it with a new cord, a thicker cord and once again bind our hands together with only the divine to witness our union; we will again pledge ourselves to each other.  With all the same joy, love and understanding we had on that very first night, we will again be one.


Handfasting is a binding together.  A binding of heart and soul.  Each person takes a pledge to the other, in perfect love and perfect trust.  

You can read more of Sosanna's great blog posts at Confessions of a Modern Witch

Giveaway 1:

Sosanna is also giving away a beautiful hand-crafted hand-fasting cord.



Rules are as follows:
1. Follow us here. (leave a comment that you did/do)
2. Go to Sosanna's Closet, come back and comment about your favorite item there.
3. Blog about this giveaway (come back and leave us a link to your blog post)
4. Tweet about this giveaway (come back and leave us a link to your twitter post)
5. Follow us on Facebook (come back and comment that you did)
6. Follow us on Twitter (come back and make a comment that you did)
7. Make a post about this on G+(come back and comment that you did



Our second blog comes from Bella Foxglove:
Witchy Entertainment: Six Witch Movies You May Not Have Heard Of!
Written by Bella Foxglove of Tales of the Wolf Queen

Hello everyone! We are entering the final stretch, only five days left before the festivities draw to a close and the grand finale takes place! I hope you have enjoyed all the awesome blog posts, recipes, music, giveaways, and other goodies this awesome group of people have provided for our entertainment, I know I have!

I decided to share Six Witch Movies You May Not Have Heard Of with you all.  I love watching movies, and this time of year creepy movies are popular, along with some old favorites that are fun for the whole family. I decided to add six of my favorites to the mix!
We have all most likely watched Practical Magic, The Craft, and other such movies a thousand times, and while I love those, I did not include them here, because of that fact. I also did not link to the movies, to save time. A simple internet search will provide you with more info and where to purchase them, should you choose to. Some of these you may know well, and there might be a few you have not had a chance to check out! Are you ready? Break out the popcorn and Milk Duds, make that last trip to the bathroom, grab your favorite beverage, and settle in for these silver screen witches!

Stardust (2007)

                                                                 
With an all star cast including Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, and Claire Danes, this lighthearted fantasy film is sure to please. Set in 19th century England, Tristan promises the beautiful and shallow Victoria a fallen star. Along the way he meets Yvaine, a recently crashed human incarnation of a star. In their journey to get back to their respective homes, the Witch Lamia wants to capture Yvaine, and harness the fountain of youth like power a fallen star can give. De Niro plays a hilarious air pirate, and he has some of the best lines in the movie. It is a cute “feel good movie”, great for the family.


Simon, King of the Witches (1971)
                                                      
This is a movie for adults. Andrew Prine plays Simon Sinestrari, a warlock. (I know, I know that everyone groans over the use of that word now, but hear me out lol) He lives in a sewer and likes to have conversations with trees. He hates lies and assumptions about the craft. He spends a night in jail after being arrested for vagrancy with a guy named Turk who has connections with a Mob like group of people. One of the members of that group hires Simon to entertain at a party and there he meets Linda, a pill addict. When he is not performing sex magic rituals with Linda, he is faced with people who make fun of his magical abilities, eventually driving him over the edge and resorting to calling up dark and evil forces to help him enact his revenge. Dark and edgy, this is a cult classic, slightly cheesy and totally worth seeing.


Season of the Witch (2011)
                                                       
This is probably one of my favorite movies on this list, even though it is a bit more mainstream film. Starring Nicolas Cage (whom I adore as an actor, even if he is nuttier than a fruit cake in real life) and Ron Perlman (whom I have always called Monkey Man, because…well..he looks like a freaking monkey, but he is an awesome actor.)
Set in the time of the Crusades, former Knights Behman ( Cage ) and Felson ( Perlman ) recognized and arrested as deserters are given the choice to spend the rest of their lives in prison or escort a young girl accused of witchcraft to a far away abbey where she will stand trial. They say no at first, but after meeting the girl and seeing how badly she had been mistreated, they agree as long as the monks agree to a fair trial. After gathering the rest of their party, they set out, meeting a young altar boy who wants to be a Knight more than anything along the way. The group takes him along and they continue on their journey. Throughout the movie the young witch plays mind tricks on the party members, pitting them against each other, using obvious elements of each person’s character, and it is hard to tell if she really is the one behind the incidents or if it is all a mistake. Cage and Perlman work well together and there are several lines that made me crack up, even though the movie is a horror/thriller type deal. Creepy, dark, with funny, sarcastic lines to break the tension at times, with an unexpected ending make this one a must see in my opinion.

Witchboard (1987)

Witchboard is another one of those campy 80’s B-rated horror movies that was actually pretty decent. Tawny Kitaen (Of Whitesnake video fame) plays Linda, a pretty woman who, in a moment of bad judgment, invites her ex-boyfriend Brandon to a party while there with her new boyfriend Jim, who used to be best friends. As expected, the guys are throwing insults and sarcastic comments back and forth at each other, and Linda decides to put her fear aside and accept Brandon’s idea of fooling around with an Ouija board in order to distract the guys from being jerks to each other. After a while they actually make contact with the spirit of a little boy named David, whom Brandon has spoken to before. Jim ends up angering the spirit with his insults and condescending comments, and calamity ensues. In all the confusion, Brandon leaves his board at the apartment that Linda and Jim share. Linda decides to start using the board to contact David by herself. Terrible things start happening as Linda becomes more and more obsessed with using the board, to the point that her own life is in danger. Brandon eventually realizes what is happening, but the only way he can save Linda is with Jim’s help, which is not an easy thing to accomplish. This movie is not “scary” in the traditional sense, it is more suspenseful than anything, but there are a few “jumpy” moments that still get me, over 20 years later. There are two sequels that were truly awful, but this one is worth seeing at least once.


The Good Witch (2008)

Some people do not like this movie, which was a Hallmark Channel movie, which I can understand. Some of the acting was not that great, but the overall movie was cute and left you with good feelings. It was nice to see a witch being portrayed much more realistically than the typical “bad witch”….the old hag who is hell bent on wreaking havoc on the world. Catherine Bell plays Cassie, a young witch who inherits the local “haunted house” that was left to her after the death of a relative, the “Grey Lady.” Cassie moves in and opens a shop called the “Bell, Book, and Candle” which sells exactly what the title suggests. She meets the local chief of police, and helps him with his children and his father. All is not perfect however; the Mayor’s wife takes an instant disliking to Cassie and does her best to run her out of town, even to the point of refusing to punish her two sons who vandalize Cassie’s shop. Cassie really is a “Good Witch” and does not want the boys punished, as she does not want them to have a criminal record. It is a cute and magical little movie with life lessons and leaves you feeling happy.


 Still Small Voices

Originally a Lifetime movie, which usually makes me roll my eyes, I saw this one while visiting my Mom one day and it held me riveted. Catherine Bell plays a 911 dispatcher named Michael Summer (yeah, it threw me too) who is trying to recover from the emotional experience of giving birth to a stillborn baby. She has physical problems as well, and is starting to hear voices. One day she receives a 911 call from a little girl who is trapped in a burning building that no one can find. Unable to let the call go, Michael eventually ends up in a nearby town and uncovers a mystery of two lost little girls. Her own physical ailments progress to life-threatening degrees, yet she refuses to give up on the little girls, afraid that by the time she sought medical treatment, it would be too late.  The ending was very surprising and I cried my eyes out at the end.  This is one you do not want to miss.

There you have it! If you have not seen any of these movies, I do hope that you will check them out; they are all really good and will stay with you long after they are over! If you have already seen any of these, what did you think? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to recommend your favorite witch movie; it might be one we have never seen!






Giveaway #2:

And, we have another great giveaway from Tess at East Coast Craft and Curio.
It is a 35.00 gift certificate to use in her lovely shop!

Rules are as follows:

1. Follow us here. (If you already follow, just make a comment saying you do)
2. Go to East Coast Craft & Curio, peruse her wares, and let us know which item you like best.
3. Blog about this giveaway (come back and leave us a link to your blog post)
4. Tweet about this giveaway (come back and leave us a link to your twitter post)
5. Follow us on Facebook (come back and comment that you did)
6. Follow us on Twitter (come back and make a comment that you did)
7. Make a post about this on G+(come back and comment that you did)

THINGS TO REMEMBER:
Please specify in your comments which giveaway you're entering for (you're welcome to enter for both, but you must make separate entries and specify)

EACH chance is one entry, so that means you must leave a separate comment in order to get more chances at winning.. if you post something in one comment like "I follow you on Twitter, Facebook and I blogged about it", then that will only count as one entry.

You have until 8pm tomorrow night to enter for these giveaways. We'll announce all winners on Friday in our final post. Remember, each entry is good for an entry into our Grand Prize Giveaway, worth over $400.00!!

Today's Recipe

Pumpkin Cheeseball from the Food Network
Photo by Sam Kaplan

With a mixer, blend 16 ounces room-temperature cream cheese with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, 3 tablespoons minced onion, 2 tablespoons salsa, 2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno. Scoop onto plastic wrap and use the wrap to form the mixture into a 5-inch pumpkin-shaped ball; chill at least 2 hours. To serve, unwrap, roll in crushed nacho-flavored tortilla chips and press a bell pepper stem into the top.



Today's Craft

Photo from Simpalife

We know several of you will be carving pumpkins today, so we thought we'd give you links to free pumpkin-carving patterns to print for you and your little goblins to use:

From Reader's Digest:

From Pumpkin Masters:
http://www.pumpkinmasters.com/free-patterns.asp (note: if you like them on Facebook, you get access to even more patterns)

From HGTV:


From the Pumpkin Lady:


And the Winner is....

The winner of the Twysted Thystle Giveaway is : Amy Blackthorn!
Congratulations, Amy! Please send an email to samhainsirens@gmail.com with your shipping address so we can make sure to get your prize to you :)






Song of the Day with Kestril Trueseeker

I’m sure more than a few of you were wondering if I was ever going to get around to this song. Of course I was! It just needed to be the grand finale. The Sanderson sisters are in the house to close out our month long celebration. You can find a playlist of all the songs on Youtube as well as all of the bonus songs I’ve posted to the Facebook Samhain’s Sirens page. Thanks for listening and on behalf of all the Samhain Sirens have a wonderful and blessed Samhain!



A very blessed Samhain to you and yours from all our Sirens!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Good Evening Everyone, based on the current weather situation in the northern US the Siren's have opted to put our giveaway on pause.  As soon as we get a more stable situation we will pick up with "Day 30" and continue the full giveaway.

Please keep those in the storms path in your thoughts.

Thanks
Sosanna - Your Crafty Siren

Day 29 ~ Dia de los Muertos

Kiriko Moth
Happy Monday, everyone! This is the last week of our Samhain's Sirens Extravaganza and we're kicking it off with a great blog post by Kourney Leaf, a fabulous giveaway from Twisted Thystle. As always, we have a terrific song from Kestril Trueseeker; craft and recipe for you to try. This is the week of our Grand Prize Giveaway, and our lovely Magaly Guerrero will wrap it all up for you in true Siren fashion! Be sure to enter all week for the prizes, because each entry you've made this month will count toward the grand prize (valued at over 400.00). For those of you in the path of Hurricane Sandy, we're keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. And we're wishing you the very best of Halloween and Samhain blessings!

Dia de los Muertos

By Kourtney Leaf

I love this time of year. The crispness in the air, the way the light filters in differently, the beautiful colors of autumn. But what I really and truly love about this time of year is that you get to welcome home your loved ones. Samhain isn't like any other normal holiday where you get the family together for a big meal and somewhat interesting conversation… Nope. You get to invite those that you haven’t seen since… well… since they left this world behind. Your dearly departed grandmother, your great aunt and that branch of the family tree you’re most proud of; be it Jesse James or Abe Lincoln.

Don’t get the wrong idea though… they’re not going to be hauling around chains or be cloaked in your best linens. And unless you have a special talent… you’re not going to actually see them sitting at the dinner table, looking at their dinner plate and wondering what the hell they are supposed to do with that. Chances are you probably won’t notice them at all.

It’s remembering them that is important though. So instead of rehashing grandpa’s last trip to the doctor, or hearing about your brother’s workplace drama, take the time to remember. Tell stories and pull out pictures. Allow yourself to laugh at old memories, even let a few tears through.

And it’s because this is the time of year where the veil between this world and the next is the thinnest, that it’s a great time to actually reach out and contact those loved ones.  I use Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead celebrations, as a sort of guide for my celebrations. It’s primarily a Spanish holiday that shows respect to the dead. It’s extremely festive and very much full of love. It takes place November 1st and 2nd to coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day.

My family actually begins the festivities on Samhain night though. We have a Silent Supper to invite Spirits to our home and to show our love and respect for them. Patti Wigington over at About.com has a wonderful explanation of a Silent Supper. But with two children in residence, we aren't able to follow the rules of a Silent Supper to a T. We do however, incorporate several elements. We aren't silent the whole time, usually just dessert. We don’t have a candle for each spirit, we light one for all. I do smudge before the dinner takes place, but I don’t typically cast a circle. I set a plate for Spirit, but I don’t actually serve them. I do burn our notes before we begin dessert, but there isn't a full on prayer. But the idea is the same, and I don’t think the Spirits really mind.

I also set up a Dead Altar in memory of my departed loved ones. It includes several elements like pictures of the departed, incense to guide them home, flowers to remind us how fragile life is, a glass of water to represent purity and to satisfy their thirst (though sometimes I wonder if a shot of whiskey or tequila would be better suited!). I also include two candles, one for those who have passed and one for the lost soul which can also represent faith and hope.  The purpose of the altar is to guide those who have crossed the veil back home. I usually have it up the entire month of October and through the first of November. As a family we take a few moments to reflect on our time with our departed loved ones, we may say a few words, share a few memories, and maybe burn a few more thoughts or prayers before breaking it down on the second.
Plus, I love the sugar skulls and I can’t write about Dia de los Muertos without including this amazing imagery. Sugar skulls are the skulls embellished with flowers, spiderwebs, hearts or swirls. They began as sugary sweets you could use to adorn your altar with. They have morphed into something so much more though. The image of the sugar skull has become a representation of the Day of the Dead and really has become more art than candy. I love the images of people decked out with their faces painted, the skulls that are adorned with the bright flowers and beautiful colors. For me it is a beautiful thing to accept death, to respect it, so readily that you can see it so full of life.

Samhain, or Dia de los Muertos, is a holy day that lives deep within my heart. It is by far the most important Sabbat for me. It’s rather selfish of me to hate that I've lost so many people that I love. Maybe I’m just a little jealous that they are in a place of perfect peace, and we can’t so much as visit. So it’s an amazing thing, an amazing experience to have them visit us. I won’t ever take that for granted.



Today's Giveaway: 


Our giveaway comes from Deb Garnett of Twysted Thystle
Included is: 1 Cinnamon Skin Sugar Scrub, 1 Cinnamon Skin Body Oil, and 1 Cinnamon Lip Balm.


Remember:
Your first entry is to follow us here. (Make sure you comment and tell us that you're following) 

Also remember that each entry must be separate to count.

Bonus entries:

Go visit Twysted Thystle, come back and tell us which product you like best on the page.

Blog about this giveaway. Come back and share the link to your blog post.

Tweet about this giveaway. Come back and share the link to your tweet.

Like Samhain's Sirens on Facebook (post a comment that you did)
Follow us on Twitter (post a comment that you did)

If you already like/follow us on either or both, just post comments that you've already done so.

You have until 8pm EDT Tuesday evening (October 30) to enter this giveaway. Winner will be announced on Wednesday :)  Good luck!


Today's Recipe: Sugar Skulls for Dia De Los Muertos


Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 Tbs. corn syrup
1/2 Tsp.  vanilla
1/3 cup cornstarch
food coloring
1 fine paintbrush


Directions:

Sift powdered sugar.

Mix the egg white, corn syrup, and vanilla in a clean bowl without a trace of grease.

Add the powdered sugar with a wooden spoon. When almost completely mixed, start kneading with the tip of your fingers until you can form a small ball.

Dust with cornstarch on board.

Keep on kneading until smooth

Put dough into a plastic bag and chill. It can be left there for several months. Mold into skulls.

Paint the figures when they are dry. You can use colored icing.


Today's Craft: Pasta Skeleton Craft


Supplies:
A few different types of pasta and dried beans, like spaghetti, macaroni, tiny tube pasta, long tube pasta, wagon wheels, long spirals, tiny shells, wagon wheels
A piece of black construction paper
White glue
A white crayon to write your name (or label the bones)

Glue the pasta to the black paper using white glue. Have the kids arrange the pasta on the paper before gluing (to make sure that they have room for the whole body on the piece of paper).
You can use just about any type of pasta (or dried beans) for the bones. A wagon wheel is nice for the head. Spaghetti makes good fingers and toes. Tiny tubes or dried lentils are good as vertebrae in the spine. Long tubes make collar bones. Longer tubes or long spirals make good arm and leg bones. Small shells or dried white beans are nice for the kneecaps, wrists and ankles. Two dried lima beans make good hips.
(craft courtesy of Enchanted Learning.com)


And the Winners Are....


October 25- Saga's Cottage "The Thinning Veil" Print: Jonquil Alexa (petoskystone)
October 26- Eliora's Charm Giveaway- Amanda Morris
October 27- Sosanna's Craftacular Crystal Spider Giveaway- Loren Morris

Congratulations to our winners!! Please be sure to send in your shipping information to samhainsirens@gmail.com so we can get your prizes to you! (note: Due to Hurricane Sandy, some shipping may be delayed. Bear with us.)


Song of the Week with Kestril Trueseeker


We’re down to the last few songs and really the only common thread among them is I really, really love the hell out of them and couldn’t imagine a Halloween playlist without them. The first is a classic from 1976, Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper:





There will be a special musical treat for all of you Siren-followers after the season is over. Stay tuned to find out more.

Have a Maniacal Monday, and we'll see you tomorrow for more Samhain fun!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Samhain's Sirens' Craft-tacular Saturday Giveaway

Happy Saturday Everyone! Can you believe this is our final Saturday together? This month has flown by!! But not to worry, there is still time to get yourself entered into the Grand Prize Extravaganza giveaway. Since today is Saturday, we have the final installment of Sosanna's Craft-tacular Saturday. Please remember the Siren's are off on Sunday, but we'd really love to have you all stop by The Secret Life of the American Working Witch and see what goodies Kallan has in the Sunday Stew for this week...

Now...without further ado, I give you Sosanna's

Craft-tacular Saturday Giveaway!

Welcome to the final Samhain's Sirens' Craft-tacular Saturday Giveaway.

On this final Saturday Craft-tacular, I thought we'd look at making a beading project.  Not your typical one mind you after all Samhain is just around the corner.

Making a Crystal Spider


Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     
First gather your supplies
1.       Large and small crystal bead
2.       Beading wire, 24 gauge
3.       80 small elongated seed beads (for leg length)
4.       24 small colored seed beads to add contrast to legs (optional)
5.       Beading plier
6.       Beading wire cutter

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     

Start by using beading wire through both the large and small crystal bead; allow spacing in between for leg attachment. Twist to a triple loop at each end, making a couple rounds is so that you can adjust as you add legs later.
                                           
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     

                                     

Cut 4 wire strips approx. 5 in. long and loosely bend in half. 
                                
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     


Add your elongated beads 5 at a time then use 3 colored beads as separated. Do this to both sides.
                                 
Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     


Voila! You just made 2 legs! Continue for the other three pieces.

Now attach legs by twisting once around in between two crystals, do this for the remaining legs.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     


                                        
You will need to form the legs as you go and tighten or loosen the triple loops on each end as mentioned above for accommodation of legs.

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     

                                             
You now have a great crystal window hanger or just a really cool spider for your curiosity cabinet!

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     

                                                          
That's all there is to creating your crystal spider!

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson                     


To Enter the Giveaway for the spider you have seen being created here please complete the following:

Comment that you would like to win this spider.

Like Sosanna's Closet on Facebook

Follow Sosanna's Closet on Twitter

For a bonus entry head over to Sosannas's Etsy shop "favorite" something and come back to tell us what you favorited!

Tweet about this Giveaway and post the URL to your tweet in the Comments

That's it!   Winners will be announced on the blog and prizes shipped within 5 business days!

GOOD LUCK!

Saturday's Recipe!


Caramel Apple Cider Boo Shooters

1 cup apple cider

4 tablespoons caramel

Halloween sprinkles

4 slices of apple

1. Dip four shot glasses in the caramel and then dip them in the Halloween sprinkles to rim the glasses. Make little boo faces on the shot glasses with a Sharpie if desired!

2. Pour the cider into the shot glasses and garnish with apple slices. Drizzle any remaining caramel over the apple slices. Serve!

Music on a Saturday!

Brought to you by our own DJ Siren Kestril Trueseeker...

There was no way a section on 80’s Halloween music or Halloween music in general could not feature this song. Ladies and Gentlemen, the King of Pop:


That's it for this final Saturday! We send you wishes for a peaceful weekend, be safe and watch out for Hurricane Sandy! We will be back here on Monday if the storm doesn't leave too much damage in our neck of the woods...