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Samhain Snow

I woke up this morning, opened the bedroom curtains, and beheld my first snow of the year.  You can see it just starting to frost the Earth in the photo below.

I find it appropriate, somehow.  The ancient Celts saw Samhain as the end of the light half of the year – the summer months – and the beginning of the dark half of the year – the winter.  Although Samhain comes with the promise of new life, it is full of death.  The leaves are dying.  The creatures that cannot find shelter, hibernate, or migrate are dying.  Our ancestral spirits wander the Earth.  The pooka is about, waiting for his share of the harvest.  Anything left on the vine tomorrow will be his.  They will assume the shape of death and no longer be good for humans to eat. The snow is the final touch.  To me, it is the Earth Mother snuffing out the flame of summer for good.  It burned brightly this year, but now it is time for the green world excepting (of course, the strong and magical evergreens) to rest until next year.

The wheel of life turns.

My Samhain plans?

I used a rotting pumpkin to create ZOMBIE PUMPKIN!  The nails just make it for me.  ๐Ÿ™‚
On a more serious note, I moved my altar – including my ancestor shrine.  I hung photos of various ancestors on the wall (Weretoad’s grandfather was wobbly until Weretoad himself fixed the frame).  I included a wall sconce on which I can light candles and leave small offerings.  I would like to make or find a small shelf on which I could place larger offerings.  I will probably move items on my main altar to create a dumb supper for our ancestral spirits tonight.
Last night I attended Muin Mound Grove’s celebration.  We cleaned the nemeton, put our jack-o-lanterns around the hedges, and honored the ancestors, as well as Dagda and the Morigan, through fire, song, libation, and sacrifice.  The omens were good.  They spoke of building community and protection from the spirits.  
Inside we had a wonderful feast of corn and black bean salad, red beans and rice, lasagna, pumpkin bread, cranberry and orange bread, carrots, pumpkin seeds, and apple pie.  A portion of each was given to the ancestors first.  
Blessed Samhain to you and yours!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Samhain is my favorite holiday.  I love the Winter Solstice as well, but there’s something about the magic of this liminal time…  Perhaps it’s the vague boundaries, whimsical to ridiculous costumes, celebrations, harvest food, or simply the visible changes all around.  It’s a great time of year and, for many, it’s when magic and “energy” are most noticeable.  In my opinion, it’s because Samhain and Halloween seem to officially usher in the holiday season.  There’s a thick anticipation in the air mixed with stress and joy.

Samhain snuck up on me this year.  I felt more prepared for it last year after planning my wedding.  I haven’t even carved pumpkins yet, and I realized this morning that I forgot to buy turnips.  Since finding a home in Druidism, I’ve made the effort each year to make a traditional Irish jack-o-lantern with a turnip.  It’s a small thing but I feel connected to my ancient ancestors when I do it.  Perhaps I still have time, but the fact that I’ve forgotten this long makes me sad.

In my defense, I have been very busy. I’m dressing as a woodland fairy this year and I made most of my costume from scratch.  I’ve also been working on the new Artist Trading Card project that the ADF Artisan Guild is starting!  I will be sending my contribution tomorrow and I hope the recipient likes what  I made.  I promise to post photos after it’s been received.

I’ve also been working on other crafty projects in anticipation for an upcoming craft show in my home city.  Check out the latest tree spirit.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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  • I’m working on a fairy costume for Samhain.  I scrapped my original idea which involved a laced vest.  I’m going to try and make myself a chemise type dress with a girdle/faux corset thing around the chest.  I’m trying to go for an elegant but wild look, if that makes sense.  I bought ear tips and need to paint them…
  • I’m signed up to participate in an artisan trading card exchange through the ADF Artisan Guild.  I’m excited about it but need to figure out what to do…  The deadline is approaching…  
  • I really, really need to finish reviewing a DP that was resubmitted to me…  
  • Work is draining me.  It was a short week and everything, but I return home and feel so out of it.  I just want to sit, watch things, and sew/crochet.  So…it’s not like I’m being a total lazy bum, but there are definitely other things I need to work on.
  • Still chugging along on Magic I.  
  • Still chugging along through “The Two Towers.”
  • I’ve been slowly working on two dolls.  Their clothing is coming into existence.  I’d like to get a felting needle to help me with some accessories.  I also started another tree spirit yesterday.
  • I’ve been really horrid about meditation recently.  My discipline gets completely out of sorts whenever I visit family.  I don’t blame them at all – I blame myself.  Still, I see them so infrequently that I can’t justify pulling away to be by myself when I’m down there.  I’m hoping to attend a meditation class at a local yoga center this coming week.  I hope it helps reenergize and refocus me.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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My husband and I had the day off so we decided to drive into the city and visit the grave of my great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother.  She was the last Irish immigrant on my father’s side, so I was pretty amazed to find out that she spent her final days in the North Country.  My grandfather, who practices genealogy, really wanted me to visit her grave (not that he had to convince me – I was excited to visit and pay my respects).  When he first found it ages ago, he put up a stink because it was in a neglected, old cemetery that had become overgrown.  The way he spoke, I excepted that Weretoad and I would have some weeding to do.  When we arrived we were delighted to see that the city has been taking care of the site.  It’s been mowed and fenced off.  My ancestor’s resting place is shaded by a large tree with dark berries.  I’ve been trying to identify it from photos but I think I’ll have to visit again to confirm…

I got the feeling that my ancestor was definitely at peace.  There was no negativity about the area at all.  Several animals (mostly chipmunks) had happily claimed the land as their own.  One even had a den under another grave stone.  Touching my ancestor’s name and gravestone was interesting for me.  My blood came from this woman and she ties me to Ireland.  I thanked her for inviting me to visit and invited her to visit me in dreams or visions should she ever want to talk.  I left her a small pumpkin gourd as a gift.  I promised to return.  The area is so easy to reach – I hope to bring the rest of the family there someday soon.

Do you have a day off?  Take a moment to visit your ancestors.  Bring them a gift.  Talk to them.  You don’t have to perform an intricate ritual to connect with the spirits of the past.  Some might call my adventure positively mundane.  Me?  I thought it was magical.  ๐Ÿ™‚

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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I’ve had an enjoyable weekend so far.  I was able to visit some of my family which is always wonderful.  My husband was able to spend a lot of time with his best buddy and our future brother-in-law (I’ll call him Hunter).  Now that I’m older, I get along better with my sister (I’ll call her Georgia).  It’s fun to to be with her and her fiance.  It’s always a very relaxed time, and Weretoad and I can be ourselves.  They always have a new drink for us to try that further inhibits us.

We took advantage of the visit to finally unveil our new car to the immediate tribe.  It’s a lovely green hatchback with spectacular headlights which I like to think of as dragon eyes.  In fact, I fancy the whole car a dragon (symbolically, of course).  I’ve referred to it as a green dragon, but my husband cringes due to the drug reference.  It’s been very difficult living in the North Country with only one car – and an old one at that.  We’ve already had some situations that made me feel uncomfortable and even helpless.  The public transportation system around here is practically non-existent.  There are buses that come to our area, but the hours are so limited that they don’t fit into my husband’s work schedule at all.  I need to adjust my sleep habits so I have time to walk to work in the morning.  I would really like to develop that habit as reducing my impact on Mama Earth is very important to me. We would have liked to find a hybrid, but they are out of our price range.  We did a lot of research and went for something that achieves decent miles per gallon and can assist us in transporting the kayaks we’re getting for Solstice.

Now that we have a new car, I’m thinking about creating a protection charm to hang in it.  It will probably have something to do with Lugh.  The Romans equated him with Mercury, a patron of merchants and therefore travelers.  This opens up the possibility that the Celts (or at least the Gauls) saw him in this way too.  In the Irish myths, Lugh has to travel to the Tuatha de Dannan before he is accepted by them (perhaps a stretch…).  I have been praying to Lugh for protection on the road for years now and I feel that he has heard and helped me.

I spent some time this weekend working on my Samhain costume.  I’m planning to be a forest fairy.  I’ve got the pieces of the vest cut out and ready to be stitched together.  I found ear tips this weekend but will have to paint them.

Finally, my husband found a Victorian card with a green fairy on it while we were browsing in an antique store.  I absolutely had to have it.  She’s Victorian, but not as silly looking as most fairies represented in that era.  I can’t wait to display her on my wall.

* At least I’m writing a substantial post!  I haven’t done that in a week it seems!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Life has been pretty busy this past week due to work, a death in the family, and plans with friends and family.  My craftiness has been slowed and, as work picks up, will probably stay that way for a few months.  I still have a DP to finish reviewing and an email from my mentee to look over and reply to.  I haven’t done any work on my study programs this week, but did finish reading The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien.  It was such a fun read.  I pour over so much history and folklore recently that I don’t often treat myself to more modern literature.  As I already have a copy of The Two Towers, I’m sure I’ll be delving into that next!

What else is going on with the Ditzy Druid?

I went to the NY State Fair yesterday with my husband and a couple friends.  It was exhausting but fun.  Thankfully it wasn’t as hot as it was the last time I went.  The temperature comfortably hung around the 60s all day.  I actually wore a sweater!  It was wonderful.

Anyway, I was able to take advantage of some of the state artisans and famers.  I bought some supplies for art and wildcrafting, such as the brick of beeswax at left.  I’m planning to make some herbal ointments soon, starting with a soothing jewelweed and witch hazel concoction for poison ivy rashes and other itchy irritations.  I must get the other ingredients soon!

I also bought some soy candles made by Canterbury Cabin of Greene, NY.  I picked out “Eucalyptus Avalanche” specifically for congestion and healing spells.  The “lemongrass and ginger” I’m planning to consecrate for cleaning and purification magic.  Can you tell that I’m big on candle magic?  The “Waterfall Mist” was Weretoad’s favorite scent and I had to treat him. ๐Ÿ™‚

Weretoad treated me to this lovely pewter figurine of Galadriel, one of my most favorite Lord of the Rings characters (along with Gandalf and Sam).  I was so excited when I saw her!  I’m not sure where to put her yet.  I’m thinking about near a mirror, along with other confidence-building trinkets.

I also bought myself a small pewter figure of a witch/sorceress.  My interest in Dungeons and Dragons was recently reawaken and I’m playing with some acquaintances.  My character is a sorceress.  You may be surprised to learn that this is my first time playing a caster.  The last few times I played I was a fighter/bard, a rogue, and a rogue/bard/exotic dancer cat person.  The spell casters have always intimidated me due to the amount of work that seems to go into them.  I would have played a Druid but one of my friends has never played before and seemed to have her heart set on that class so I let it go.  I would rather her enjoy her first experience.  Besides, I’m a real Druid every day!  Well…a ditzy Druid in training anyway.   Perhaps I’ll post about D&D sometime.  I have a lot of thoughts about it in regards to Paganism.

I also stopped by the wool center to purchase some roving.  I want to try dying it for doll hair and spinning.

In other news, these are the skulls I found a little over a week ago.  They’re all cleaned and bleached now.  Sarah Lawless, an experienced traditional witch and wildcrafter, thinks the larger skull belonged to an opossum.  I’m moved to agree after looking at more photos of opossum and fox skulls. You can especially see the features of half an opossum skull in these photos.  How fascinating, to be true!  Just as the authors of that blog describe, I was surprised to learn that this skull with very long and sharp teeth belonged to an opossum.  It’s obviously not the first animal I thought of!  When you look at images of fox skulls, you can see the difference.  The opossum skull, for starters, has a ridge on the top whereas the fox skull is rounded.  Neat, huh?  The nature spirits teach us so much when we take the time to learn.

Finally, and in honor of the coming season, I give you the Autumn Oak Tree Spirit!  She’s not quite finished (I want to buy another acorn button first), but is ready enough for me to share her with you.  I’m too excited about her to withhold this photo any longer!  I hope you like her!  My goal is now to make a tree spirit for each ogham character.  Next on my to-do list are willow and birch!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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I was recently diagnosed with bronchitis and prescribed medication.  I need to be careful with regards to sex and booze, but my doctor told me that I can go out as long as I cover my mouth when I cough.  Weretoad and I had planned for yesterday to be a “date night.”  He was going to take me to a bar I wanted to go to, but that probably wouldn’t have been a good idea so we did sober activities.

First we had dinner at The Mustard Seed.  As always they made delicious, meat-free meals.  Weretoad let me have some of his ratatouille wrap and I shared some spring rolls with him.  We each had some chili.  We decided to drive to Cape Vincent next just to see what it was like.  This included a detour to Tibbets Point where we saw gorgeous houses, a real light house, a mink cross the road, and the St. Lawrence joining with Lake Ontario.  We witnessed some absolutely beautiful scenery there.  Cape Vincent looks across to a wind farm.  I understand that several residents are unhappy about that, but I find them serene and lovely in their own way*.  I put my feet in the St. Lawrence for a bit and thought of the River Goddess.

Next we drove along the river until we reached Clayton.  They have their farmers’ market on Thursdays and I was delighted to catch it.  We purchased some cookies, French bread, banana peppers, carrots, an onion, and a buttercup squash.  We then had some dessert and sat by the river while a band played.
It was kind of funny, actually.  Until I moved out of my parents’ house, we used to go to Old Forge, NY almost every Sunday for a concert in the park.  There were usually rock-n-roll bands (which I love) that played a lot of Beatles, Elvis, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, and such.  As the concert in Clayton started with some old fashioned doo-wop, I turned to Weretoad and commented that someday, when we’re old, bands will start to play our generation’s music in parks for free concerts.  Sure enough, this band played a number from Blink 182, Green Day, and several other contemporary bands.  I was amused, especially with all the older people dancing to “All the Small Things.”  Heehee.  I hope I never lose my sense of youth when I’m older.

We ended the evening by watching the sun set along the St. Lawrence, chased by speed boats and slow steamers.  The rose and orange clouds piled up towards Canada, looking like the background of a majestic Thomas Cole painting.  We looked into the waves and I thanked the Kindreds for such a beautiful place and a wonderful day.  Even though our plans changed, we found joy by the life source of Northern NY in the presence of the River Goddess.


*Not to mention my appreciation for alternative energy!


( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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