We have all kinds of booty in store for you today.
Come check out our blog, recipes, stones and crystals, song of the day (you Morrigan guys/gals will love it!) and another giveaway!
The October fun has just begun.. let's play!
The winner of Author Samantha Curtin's "Return to Summer's Hollow" is...
Today's Blogger: Johanna Lawson
My mother is buried in one of the oldest cemeteries in the Philadelphia area, actually located just on the city's outskirts and about a half mile from its sister cemetery in the Fairmount Park area. It is a beautiful serene place, full of gardens, reflection areas, and very old trees sitting high above the Schuylkill River. It is steeped in history, dating back to the mid-1800's, and is the eternal resting place for several notable Philadelphians including founding fathers of Philadelphia commerce and industry, civil war soldiers and heroes, and even a survivor of the Titanic disaster. The cemetery is now entering the 21st century by paving the way for green burial practices, a section of it planted with only native trees and flowers, only using natural untreated materials in coffins and shrouds, and, as I have just found out, using goats as environmentally-friendly vegetation control.
In the first months following my mother's funeral and burial, I visited often, sitting in the grass by her gravesite, talking to her, filling her in on all the latest events, wishing she were still here. I did this out loud most times because there never seemed to be anyone nearby visiting a departed loved one. After hanging out with Mom for a bit, I roamed around, checking out her neighbors, saying a hello to them. I visited some of the much older graves, their headstones and monuments worn from age and weather, trying to read the words taken away by time and the elements, sometimes tracing them with my fingertips to discern the letters. It began to dawn on me that many of these people no longer received visitors of their own kin, their families gone from the area or just plain gone, no longer alive, their bloodlines maybe halted by disease, war or catastrophe. An even worse thought came to mind. What if these people were no longer among the memories of their descendants, long-forgotten, forever out of mind? I just could not bear the thought of these people being lost to time.
With that realization, I made up my mind then and there. These people would no longer be forgotten as far as I was concerned. From that moment on, a new tradition was started. Each year, on or around Samhain, I spend a few hours at that cemetery visiting these long-departed people. There are many graves that seem to have been neglected for decades, if not a century or more, so I do not visit the same sites each year, although I have a few personal favorites that I check on regularly. I take a few minutes to clean the area, brushing debris from stones and statues, wiping away the years of built up dirt caked into the chiseled letters. I place a sprig or two of fresh rosemary, the herb of remembrance, at each grave and sit with the person for a bit, pondering, wondering and imagining.
Who was this person? What did they look like? Who did they love and who loved them? What happened during the course of their daily life? How did they die? Sometimes I envision the person and their life very clearly, almost as if they are allowing me into their past. Other times, the images are blurred or the words to describe them just won't come. Perhaps those people are uncomfortable about letting me get to know them or maybe even wish to remain forgotten. Occasionally, I may hear a whisper, feel a gentle tug on my shirt or a playful pull on my hair, or catch a glimpse of something out of the very corner of my eye, all very brief harmless encounters. Always I experience this amazing warmth moving around and through me and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and peace falls over me.
I must always pay my respects to the family buried across from my mother. There are at least fifteen headstones (unbelievably, I have never counted them!) marking the graves of several generations of this family, including a few children under the age of 5, all having died in 1918 during the influenza epidemic. I sit in the middle of all of them, where an ancient gnarled oak tree once stood, blown down in a tropical storm four or five years ago. I picture this large family, all together, happy, lively, in a huge home at the turn of the century in the booming city of Philadelphia. It is the same vision every time.
These trips to the cemetery always end at the same place, back at my mom. I sit with her the longest. I do not need to wonder or ponder or envision here at this grave, just remember. I sit in that beautiful, serene cemetery, surrounded by nature, surrounded by the ancestors of many people in many places, and remember her vividly and hope that someday, when I am long gone, someone will come by her grave and stop a moment to say hello, brush away the fallen leaves, clean the dirt from the engraved headstone, and just envision who she was in this world. Then they will move in and around the much older graves and do the same for them. Maybe, just maybe, that person will be one of my own descendants, a witch too perhaps following a long-held family tradition of visiting that cemetery at Samhain, who will ensure that, while we all may be gone, we are not forgotten.
Today's Spooktactular Song with Jennifer Rasmussen:
Today's Recipe with Autumn Earthsong
Squash is one of my favorite veggies. And they fit right in with your cooking this time of year. They are still abundant at your grocery and baked in the oven in a multitude of ways, warm and good, they are a great comfort food this time of year! I thought this recipe sounded really healthy and good!
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cups zucchini, sliced
2 cups yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 cup chicken broth
Add olive oil to wok or large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, squash and onion; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 8-10 mins until veggies are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add the broth if mixture becomes too dry.
*Makes 4-6 servings
And this soup recipe sounds warm and comforting!
Curry Butternut and Apple Soup
1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
2 tsp butter, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved and cored
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tb lime juice
Place squash halves cut-side up on a baking sheet. Add one teaspoon butter to each half; season with salt and pepper. Place apples next to the squash on the pan. Bake at 400* for 30-45 minutes, until fork tender.
Scoop out squash with a spoon. In a large saucepan, combine squash pulp, apples, broth and seasonings. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until heated through. Meanwhile, stir together sour cream and lime juice; set aside.
Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth; then reheat soup if you need to.
Serve in soup bowls topped with sour cream
*Makes 4-6 servings
Now I’m heading to the grocery for some squash!
Blessings and Love,
Autumn Earthsong is back for the 3rd year as our resident Kitchen Witch. You may have seen her recipes in Imramma Magazine and The Sunday Stew as well. Autumn has been a practicing Witch for 17 years and hails from Ohio. She is a wife, mother of two, and Nana to three busy little grandchildren. Samhain is a favorite time of year for her….with her name indicating what Season she loves! Cooking for family and friends this time of year is also a joy…..Especially this time of year! Hearth, Fire, love of family and good food is how She brings Magick to her home. You can also find her blogging at www.autumnearthsong.com. She looks forward to sharing her recipes with you all and hopes that you have a very Blessed Samhain Season!
Stones and Crystals by Jennifer Hodson
Apatite is a great stone to help clear away confusion, apathy and negativity.
This stone is a spiritual stone and a great influence on the aura. Apatite is great to use in past - life work and is able to access the energy levels of the Akashic records an individual has. Apatite is also a great dream stone.
Blue apatite is also a good stone for the throat chakra and for public speaking. A great stone to honor Gaia.
Today's Giveaway from Touch of the Goddess!
Important note: We are now extending the deadline for giveaway entries until 9pm PDT (Midnight, Eastern time)
Past Life Reading from Touch of the Goddess!
By exploring your past life experiences you can identify and rectify problems and behaviours in this life. Past life vows, karma, past life relationships can be affecting you now. These sessions last 45-90 minutes and include a counseling session on how best to use the information we have gleaned. You are totally aware during the session and will remember your experiences. For your convenience, a typed summary will be e-mailed to you.
Here's how to enter: (Canadians, skip this part and go to your section)
Like/Get Notifications on the Touch of the Goddess Facebook page . Come back, comment on this blog post and tell us that you did.
Remember to add your email address to the page (if you don't want to post it publicly, simply send it via the contact form at the top of the page).
Want extra entries??
1. Go to the Touch of the Goddess Etsy shop. Come back and tell us in the comments section about your favorite item there.
2. Tweet about this giveaway. Comment with the link to your tweet.
3. Blog about this giveaway. Comment with the link to your blog post.
4. Follow Samhain's Sirens on Facebook. Comment, and let us know you did (if you're already following, just comment and say so!)
5. Follow this blog so you'll be in on all of the fabulous fun throughout October! Comment here that you did.
That gives you 6 chances to win this fabulous prize!
CANADIANS, LOOK HERE!
Canadians, your country requires that you answer questions instead of participating the American way ;) So, we're bringing you some good old-fashioned trivia about your country this year. Answer the question correctly in comments (don't forget to put your email address in the comment!) and you'll be given 6 entries in the giveaway!
Here's your question:
At what time of year does Halifax Harbour freeze?
This giveaway is open until 9pm PDT tonight. Winner will be announced tomorrow at 9am EDT. Remember, we have to notify the winner in email first, so those email addresses are critical for you to qualify for the giveaway!
Good luck everyone!
See you here tomorrow! Same time, same bat channel!