Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Samhain's Sirens, Day 25, October 29


It's the last Tuesday of our celebration. As we continue to wind down, we are still here to have fun!
We're so glad you're here and have been with us through this month of celebration!

Today in history:

1682 - William Penn landed at what is now Chester, PA. He was the founder of Pennsylvania.

1863 - The International Committee of the Red Cross was founded.

1929 - America's Great Depression began with the crash of the Wall Street stock market.

1969 - The U.S. Supreme Court ordered an immediate end to all school segregation.

1998 - South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission condemned both apartheid and violence committed by the African National Congress.

Serena's still around to help you if you need her.
Email her or use the contact form at the top of the page.
And now, on to the celebration!







Today, we honor Kurt Cobain, Nirvana






Samhain's Meaning
by Amy Blackthorn

What is Samhain to me?  That small inner voice that reaches out towards that which is no longer there.  We get more strength from what we lose than from which we gain.  The smell of my favorite spiced candles, cute witches holding hands around a pumpkin “cauldron” candleholder, these sights, and smells linger in my home year round.  Samhain however brightens my thoughts starting in mid-September.

In our home we celebrate both Halloween and Samhain.  On October 31st we visit friends’ homes, pass out candy, and celebrate the life worth living.  That Halloween hum of excitement, colorful costumes and sugar rushes fills the air all month long.  We no longer pass out candy in our neighborhood however.  A few years ago upon discovering we were Pagan someone in our development took it upon themselves to spray paint “Witch B*tch F*ck You” on our driveway.   Wouldn’t you know it, the next Halloween no kids came to trick or treat at our home. So we share our joy elsewhere now.

We celebrate Samhain on the astrological date, when the sun reaches 15 degrees Scorpio.  This year that falls on November 7th at 1:03 am. With Samhain being the end of the year in our Tradition we experience the balance of light and dark through these celebrations.  Samhain is the third of the harvests that include fruits and grains with Samhain’s meat harvest.  Time to cull the herds and put up meats to keep the family fed through the cold winter months.  These animals have given their lives so that we might live and grow.

Our society teaches us that growing old and dying are negative, things to escape through drugs, plastic surgery and more, that we can cheat death if we try hard enough.  However we know this isn’t the case.  Women and men all over the world choose to age with grace as death visits us all in our time.  We must learn to honor the well earned rest  granted to those that have crossed the veil.  Even if we still grieve their loss.

I’d like to share a story with you.  Several years ago i attended a week long herbal wild crafting intensive.  It was July and since we were learning to create our own medicines in the wild we camped out on the farm as well.  The couple who owned the farm kept livestock including rabbits and goats to feed them during the winter months.  They were largely vegetarian in the summer months and harvested their livestock in the fall for winter consumption.  The goats followed us on hikes through the woods and we would visit the rabbits in the early morning.

One morning before yoga one o the summer interns was heading out to feed the livestock.  We knew the rabbits had produced a liter of kits just a few days prior.  As we approached the rabbit hutch we heard the most heartbreaking sound.  We heard a crying, mewling noise that I will never forget.  Rushing over we saw fur and blood on the grass.  The body of a small kit lay struggling in the grass.  The buck of the litter had gnawed his back legs off and thrown it from the nest.  The midwife that we trained with had grown up on a farm in Germany raising rabbits.  She picked up this poor suffering sweetheart and examined the damage.

“The best thing we can do for him is give him a good death,” she whispered.  She soothed the small life with petting while singing a german fold song about a beautiful maiden in a rolling meadow as she gave this kit the only give she had left to give.

We cried as we buried his small body I was struck with a feeling of light and thanks.  This death was a gift and it ended the suffering of this baby bunny.

This is why we celebrate Samhain.  The fields go fallow in the winter to rest, repair and make ready for the next step in the cycle.  We give thanks that our ancestors existed because, without them we would not be.  Though we mourn our loss, it should not be sadness for our loved ones, for they have returned home.  This grand experiment in Life has ended and the earth is fallow.  Their souls prepare for their Great Rest with the Gods, or their next life back on earth, but they have earned their rest.  Honor that.  Honor the life they have lived and the life they have given for those around them.  Do not do their life disservice by being sad for them.  We are better for their having been in our lives.  Even the most horrible person we meet changes us in some way, and makes us ready for the day that we are worthy of meeting the Gods.

We ready ourselves for Samhain celebrations physically, by preparing invites, planning the menu and groceries.  It is also important that as we prepare for the quiet time in our circles, it’s also a time to reflect to think of the things we have experienced. Those people who have done wrong and right for us and to let go of things that don’t serve us.  Not because of some ‘love and light’  ideal, but because if it doesn’t serve you, it weighs you down.  Allow yourself to bring to death to the things in your life that no longer serve you.  Negative self image and old emotional wounds, by holding on to these things you are not allowing yourself to grow.  In fact, it gives us an excuse not to grow.  “I’m sorry, I can’t do that “blank” happened to me.” Help yourself by getting rid of these blocks to realizing your full self worth.

Honoring your ancestors is a beautiful and moving part of the holy festival celebrations.  That being said, honor yourself by meditating on the parts of yourself or your life that deserve a good death.

If you want to get the most out of that relationship between you and your Gods, you can’t when it is easy.  It is earned in times of war, strife and consequence and loss.  We know in our hearts that our faith is real to us because it has be earned, not given though speeches and sermons, but though experience.  That is faith.

Remember this and let that guide you through the dark half of the year and back unto the light.

 Blessed be,
Amy

About Amy: Rev. Amy Blackthorn has been described as an "arcane horticulturalist" for her Green Witchcraft, her work as a Plant Spirit Oracle and her history of teaching the creation of herbal remedies.  Amy has 22 years in Paganism and various magical traditions. Amy started her formal schooling in horticulture, herbalism, and agriculture more than fifteen years ago, and somehow all of that “higher education” didn’t stamp out her love for the arcane, occult and mysterious. She has taught classes from Maryland to Ottawa, Canada and out to Arizona. She has been called on several occasions to act as a Media liaison for ABC television, and the Sci-Fi Channel.  Her interviews have appeared in the Associated Press, Baltimore Sun,BankRate.com, the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post,  Stamford Advocate and the Connecticut Post in matters of alternative religions.  Amy has been an active member of her local religious communities for more than fifteen years. She enjoys working in the Wise Woman Tradition of Green Witchcraft and incorporates her experiences in a British Traditional Witchcraft setting with several years of hard work including a degree in Horticulture.  You can connect with Amy at her website, and like her page on Facebook.




Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon each ground ginger and cloves
1 teaspoon salt
 PUMPKIN DIP:
 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups pumpkin pie filling
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
 For Cookies:
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill overnight.
Shape into 1/2-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 6 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
For Dip:
 Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in pumpkin pie filling. Add the sugar, cinnamon and ginger and mix well. Serve with cookies. Store leftover dip in the refrigerator.
Makes about 20 dozen cookies and  3 cups of dip.

Blessings
Autumn Earthsong
You can visit Autumn's blog at My Moonlit Path and her shop at Verbena Lane Botanicals!


Today's giveaway is going to have 15 winners!! That's right, 15 of you!!
It comes from one of our favorite authors, Barbra Annino.

Barbra Annino is the author of the enchanting and popular Stacy Justice mystery series. Sin City Goddess is the first title in her exciting new Secret Goddess series. Originally from Chicago, she shares her home with her husband and their three Great Danes, all of whom contribute to her books in unique ways.




The Giveaway

The Emerald Isle
Stacy Justice may be a witch, but she still wants a nice, normal twenty-ninth birthday. Unfortunately, Stacy rarely gets normal. As her grandmother, Birdie, plans a birthday ritual for Stacy, disastrous news derails the celebration: the magic cauldron that supplies the world’s food has disappeared. And the last time it vanished, Ireland fell under the Great Famine.

A secret society known as The Council decrees that if Stacy finds the cauldron, she’ll receive the coveted role of Seeker of Justice, and her mother will finally be freed from prison in Ireland. But the grandson of nasty council member Tallulah challenges Stacy for the role. If he finds the cauldron first, Stacy will never see her mother again. And if they both fail, the world will suffer an unimaginable fate.
The fourth book in the enchanted Stacy Justice series, Emerald Isle follows Stacy’s journey to Ireland—and to a mysterious, magical world. But can the reluctant witch complete her international, intergenerational quest in time to save her mother—and the whole planet?

Here’s how to enter: 

You have until 6am EDT tomorrow to enter. 

Drawing is held by random number generation and winner will be notified in email (that's why you have to have an email address listed). 

Announcement will be made on the October 30th blog post at 9am EDT.

Note: These giveaways are open to the U.S., Canada and where allowable. Void where prohibited.
Canadian residents, please pay close attention as by law, you have to use a different set of rules. Not to worry, we have you covered :)

You MUST provide a valid email address to enter the contest.

1. Go to Barbra Annino's Site . Find your favorite book, come back here, and tell us about it in the comment section. (1 entry)

2. Like Barbra's Author Page on Facebook. Let us know you did in the comments here. (1 entry)

3. Blog about this giveaway (make sure you link back here), come back and leave us a link to your blog. (1 entry)

4. Tweet about this giveaway (link to us, please), come back, and leave us a link to your tweet (1 entry)

5. Be a follower of this blog, Samhain's Sirens (1 entry)

6. Like Samhains Sirens on Facebook (1 entry)

Note: If you want your entries to count as separate entries, you must post them separately. If you post 1 comment with all of these on it, it will only count as 1 entry.

Canadian residents, by law, instead of the above, you must answer the following question to be eligible:

What is 13+1?

What's cool about being a Canadian? You automatically get 6 entries per giveaway for just answering 1 question! We still need your email address :)

Good luck!


The winner from yesterday's giveaway from Volante Gypsie Carlson is: 
Rebecca Powell

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of our fun!

55 comments:

  1. Sin City Goddess sounds like a book I would love to read! Scottish_Heart@hotmail.com

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  2. I am now following Barbra on Facebook. Scottish_Heart@hotmail.com

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  3. I am a follower of this blog :-) Scottish_Heart@hotmail.com

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  4. I think all of them sound fabulous, but Opal Fire caught my eye! sharonrawson@mac.com

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  5. Barbara has a cool profile pic on her Facebook page! sharonrawson@mac.com

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  6. I follow this blog! sharonrawson@mac.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. And, I love Samhain Sirens Facebook page! sharonrawson@mac.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am a Facebook stalker of Samhains Sirens. Scottish_Heart@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I follow the Samhain's Sirens blog via Google Friend Connect.
    heartacheintobeauty@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like Samhain's Sirens on Facebook.

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  11. Sin City Goddess looks like a book I'd like to read for sure! heartacheintobeauty@gmail.com

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  12. Tiger's Eye is the one that stands out to me, but I'd love to read all of Stacey's stories.

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  13. Just liked Barbara's page on Facebook :)

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  14. I went to Barbara Annino's site & ALL her books look amazing, but I was drawn to Tiger's Eye. swensen72@yahoo.com

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  15. I liked Barbara Annino on Facebook. swensen72@yahoo.com

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  16. I follow Samhain's Sirens Blog. swensen72@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like Samhain's Sirens on Facebook. swensen72@yahoo.com

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  18. swensen72@yahoo.com I tweeted about this giveaway: https://twitter.com/kellyanne1313/status/395207226459447296

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  19. I think all of barbs books look great but I love tiger eyes so I'll have to go with that one peonyfirestorm@gmail.com

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  20. I have liked Barbs fb page. Peonyfirestorm@gmail.com

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  21. I follow the Sirens blog.Peonyfirestorm@gmail.com

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  22. I like the sirens fb page. Peonyfirestorm@gmail.com

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  23. All sound interesting but I will have to choose Opal Fire (:

    engie.willow@gmail.com

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  24. I liked Barbra's Author Page on Facebook.

    engie.willow@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. I blogged about this giveaway.

    http://fluteflutter.blogspot.com/2013/10/emerald-isle.html

    engie.willow@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. My tweet (:

    https://twitter.com/Engie36000091/status/395276476250996736

    engie.willow@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Still a follower of this blog.

    engie.willow@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. I still love Samhain's Sirens on Facebook.

    engie.willow@gmail.com

    Good luck everyone!

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  29. I liked Barbra's author page on facebook.
    rebeccajof@live.com

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  30. I love all of Barbra's books but I can not wait to read "Emerald Isle".
    rebeccajof@live.com

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  31. I still love Samhain's Siren's on facebook! You all are the best!
    rebeccajof@live.com

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  32. I follow the blog and love Samhain's Sirens on FB. I will miss you till Yule. the_penns@cox.net. Go, William Penn !!

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. I might pick Opal Fire, since I'd definitely be interested in checking out the Stacy Justice series and the first book is probably the best place to start! rapowell4@gmail.com

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  35. I liked Barbra's author page on Facebook! rapowell4@gmail.com

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  36. I tweeted! https://twitter.com/Raitalle/status/395370763949056000 rapowell4@gmail.com

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  37. I follow the blog :) rapowell4@gmail.com

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  38. I like the Sirens on Facebook! rapowell4@gmail.com

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  39. Love finding new mystery authors! Liked Barbra's page on Facebook. Bohowitch@gmail.com

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  40. Following the Siren's blog via Feedly.

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  41. Still dancing to the Siren's call on Facebook. :)

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  42. I follow this blog! soto.adelina@gmail.com

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  43. I like Barbara Annino on FB!

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  44. On Barbara's website, I am very interested in the Secret Goddess series!! soto.adelina@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. I tweeted! https://twitter.com/Adelina313/status/395499822238543872

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  46. Opal Fire looks awesome on Barbra's site:
    http://www.barbraannino.com/#!Sin-City-Goddess/zoom/mainPage/image1xnt

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  47. I follow this blog as:
    fearless_fallen_angel
    (email: fearlessfallenangel@gmail.com)

    ReplyDelete
  48. I liked the Siren's FB page as:
    Michele Sauter Warch

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  49. I tweeted the contest at:
    https://twitter.com/MicheleWarch/status/395524868264849408

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  50. I just wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed Amy's article.So meaningful to me.

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