Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Treats! Two Surprise Giveaways!!

Yes, we love you. Yes, we can't just leave you yet.  So, we're doing not one, but TWO surprise Giveaways for you! You're going to LOVE them!







Giveaway #1 from Sharon at Touch of the Goddess


 One of a kind hand made wand made of Indian Hawthorn wrapped in multi-hued sari silk, adorned with beaded peacock feathers and fluffy purple coque feathers. A clear quartz tip points the way to magic. Wand measures 9 1/2 inches long and the feathers dangle 8 inches.

Here's how to enter:

Here’s how to enter: You have until 7pm EDT tonight 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 November 1st 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 :)

1. Go to http://TouchoftheGoddess.etsy.com choose your favorite item, then come back and tell us all about it.
2. Go to Touch of the Goddess Facebook page. Like it. Let us know you did in the comments.

For our lovely Canadian friends, what is 0 x 0?

Remember, we STILL need a valid email address for you. These entries will also count toward the Grand Prize Giveaway :) Just because we love you.


Next up! YES, you lucky people. Christian Day is going to let you all have a chance to win his AMAZING book, The Witches Book of the Dead. I have personally read this book and it is a MUST-HAVE for any witch, warlock or magical practitioner.

Read about it here


Here's how to enter:

Here’s how to enter: You have until 7pm EDT tonight 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 November 1st 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 :)

1. Go to Hex Education and like the page. Trust me, you're going to want to be there with them. Christian's weekly radio show is a not-to-miss event, and it's announced there. Post a comment and say hello to Christian from the Sirens. Come here and tell us about it.

2. Like either Hex New Orleans or Hex Old World Witchery (Salem) and let us know you did. Btw, you can like BOTH and get an extra entry ;)

For our Canadians, what is 1-1?

That's it! These entries will count toward the Grand Prize giveaway tomorrow as well. 


WE LOVE YOU!

The Sirens

Samhain's Sirens October 31

Happy Samhain Eve and Halloween! This is our last big day of celebration, and we have a very special offering for you! Tomorrow, we'll be announcing the Giveaway winner and cross-posting Kallan's Tribute to those who have passed, called "Forget-Me-Nots".

Today in history:

1517 - Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace Church. The event marked the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany. 

1860 - Juliette Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, was born.

1864 - Nevada became the 36th state to join the U.S.

1952 - The U.S. detonated its first hydrogen bomb.

1955 - Britain's Princess Margaret announced she would not marry Royal Air Force Captain Peter Townsend.

1956 - Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole. Dufek also became the first person to set foot on the South Pole.

1999 - Leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. The event ended a centuries-old doctrinal dispute over the nature of faith and salvation.

In Memoriam 


Note, you can go to our Youtube Channel for all of the songs we played this year, and a bunch of extras!



Our Thanks and Farewell
by Kallan Kennedy

It's been a crazy year so far, hasn't it?  Many of us have ridden a roller-coaster for most of it. Now, as we move into tonight's honoring the dead while the veil is at its thinnest, it's a time to be grateful for all that we're experiencing, past/present/future. 

I know I speak for all of the Sirens when I say that we are thankful for you, each and every one of you. You are why we've done this for the past two years. You, our community, mean a lot to us. We love you dearly, and we want you to know how much. We love this time of year, and we love being able to come together with you to celebrate together. We hope you've enjoyed our offerings of music (thank you, Kestril!), crafts (thank you, Robyn and Sosanna!), recipes (thank you Autumn and Loren!), giveaways (thank you to ALL of the vendors and authors!) and blogs (thank you to all of our bloggers). 

I know I am very honored to know these lovely Sirens (and the Cap'n). They give richly of their time and energy for this project. While we never know for sure if we'll be back again next year, what we do know is that we've thoroughly enjoyed this one with you. 

May your Halloween and Samhain celebrations be all that you hoped for, may your ancestors be remembered and honored, and may you honor them daily through your own life's work and decisions. 

Samhain blessings in abundance to you all!

Love,
Kallan


About: Kallan Kennedy is the brain-parent and sponsor of Samhain's Sirens. Her vision for this project was to bring together Pagan authors, bloggers, crafters and vendors under one umbrella to celebrate the Samhain season with the community. She has been blessed to find so many wonderful folks who wanted to participate. The first year was a huge success, and this year was even better!
She is a Celtic American Witch, in North-Central Maryland  who has has raised five children as a single mom and home-schooled them all, and is a proud (young!) grandmother of 2. She cares for a wolf-hybrid, a yellow lab, a snake, two cats and a rose-haired Tarantula (rescues, all of them). She is a United States Navy veteran; honorably discharged and proud to have served. She holds a bachelor's degree in Religion and Philosophy and has ordinations in 3 different faiths. She usually only refers to herself in the third person when writing up bios like this one ;)
You can find her  blogging at The Secret Life of the American Witch


Jeffrey Pierce of Old Ways

The Song of Samhain


You may have noticed, if you live a reasonable distance north of the equator, that the glory of summer has faded.  In much the same way that the hand of time turns our hair different colors and the years sketch our story upon our hands and faces, so has the natural world changed.  Leaves have turned color as well; where trees were once full of youthful green, the lines of their branches now inscribe the sky.

While we magickal types are aware of the changing of the seasons - and we often hold celebrations to honor various magickal days throughout the turning of the Wheel of the Year - we don't always consider what's happening to the energy around us as Spring turns first to Summer, then to Autumn, and at last to Winter.

I find it easiest to understand this flow of energy if I imagine the seasons are a symphony.  To me, Spring is the sound of delicate chimes and a trio of woodwinds.  With each blooming flower, with each newborn animal, another flute, clarinet, or oboe joins the growing chorus.  The sound is light and airy, the progress of the season pushed back by still-cold winds remembering their Winter power and the childlike determination of the life flowing forward whenever the winds relent for even a moment.

With the arrival of Summer brass instruments join our song.  The sound is the bright and blaring call of trumpeting sunlight, of fauns and foals finding their feet and dancing through meadows of flowers.  It's the reveling shouts of childhood with an entire season off from school.  The sounds are crisp, clear, and strong and echo from the bold call of morning to the softer movements of the night.

As Autumn appears, strings and percussion join our symphony.  The woodwind flowers are still blooming, the brassy warm weather fights to remain against the fading sunlight, and the strings and percussion of harvest drive us ever forward.  As each piece of the seasonal symphony fights for its space, the crescendo grows and grows to a great mountain of sound until...

Samhain.

Much like listening to a piece of classical music, you can feel it coming.  As our orchestral movement reaches its crescendo, the woodwinds of Spring don't have the strength to compete with the more powerful instruments and are lost beneath the trumpets and timpani, appearing only in notes here and there that cut through the din.  Summer still calls out its brassy tune, but the sound is old, wearing thin, the seasonal composition carrying us to something new.  There's a distinctive quality to the strings and percussion now.

Something special.  Something... sad.  Something... spooky... Something that isn't Spring or Summer or even Winter.

And then the orchestra fades away, leaving only the deep resonating sound of a beating drum.  At first the stillness shocks us after the crescendo of the seasons, but then we recognize the rhythm of the baritone percussion.  It's a heartbeat.  Slow.  Deliberate.

And fading.

A cello begins to play between the heartbeats.  First a single chord that fades to make room for the drum, then, as the drumbeat slows and the spaces grow longer, the cello begins to test its voice.  Without realizing the moment it happens, the heartbeat is gone and other strings have filled in the spaces.  The music is slow and deep, yet not quite sad.  There's a strange quality to the strings.  It's not something we'd typically refer to as power, yet it moves us.  It opens us.  It carries us far beyond the growing crescendo of Spring, Summer, and Autumn to a place older and deeper, a place primal yet still, a place quiet yet far from empty.

If we were to follow as the notes continue to lead us, they would carry us into the quiet stillness of midwinter before the chimes and woodwinds thawed the cold once more and slowly heralded the coming of Spring.   But that's not where we're at.  We're in that quiet, magickal, powerful place that is left when the world fades away, when the drumbeat stills, and all that meets our ears is the long drawn out notes of the cello.  It's as if the entire world has stopped at the edge of a sacred space, as if all of creation has paused for a moment of silence, a moment of prayer.  With the stilling of the drumbeat heart, we are in a space unlike any other.  The moment isn't about life, as the drumbeat has stilled. The moment isn't the stillness of death, as the strings carry us onward.  It's an in-between space, a space like our cast circles that is neither here nor there, but somewhere in between and rich with a power we can feel and yet can't describe.

We call that magickal in-between space in the ever-changing seasons, Samhain.  A doorway has opened, not leading to a destination, but to a point along the Wheel of the Year unlike any other.  If Samhain were a spell, all of the growing power of Spring, Summer, and Autumn has just been raised and it is the moment of release, when that energy is in the process of moving from one realm to another.  If Samhain were a deathbed watch, it is the moment that all life fades from the person we love and yet we can still feel them somewhere near us, not quite there, not quite gone.

To those of us who embrace the natural world and have witnessed all of the energy that has risen over the warm portion of the year, it is a doorway into something new, yet very old.  Samhain is all of these things at once - and a perfect time for working magick, for letting go, and for transitioning from one portion of the magickal year into the next.

You can read more of Jeffery's work at the Old Ways Site
Come join the Old Ways community on Facebook!
Follow Old Ways on Twitter!



Autumn’s Red Hot Snack Mix

*This is one of those recipes that I honestly have no measurements.  But it’s easy to make so I’m passing it on!

*Preheat oven to 250*

In a large roasting pan (I buy one of those aluminum throw away ones..so easy and no clean up!) place a stick of butter or margarine and put it in the oven to melt while the oven’s heating up.

When butter is melted, add to pan any of the following to fill the pan full...not so full you can’t stir it up but full!

1 box wheat chex
1 box corn chex
1 box rice chex
1 box cheese crackers
1-2 cans or jars of peanuts

*Now...this is up to each of you to do as you please.  You can do different cereals (not sweet ones) like Cheerios or any other corn, wheat or rice cereal.  You can use other things besides the crackers or other kinds of cheese crackers like goldfish, or you can use bugles, pretzels, corn chips, sun chips, sesame sticks, melba rounds etc etc....it’s endless.  I use cocktail peanuts or dry roasted peanuts...you can again use as you want.  But fill up the pan as I did in the picture above.

Now give it all a good mix to coat with the butter.

Now add these seasonings...heavy handed!!

Worcestershire sauce
Red Hot Sauce
Lowry’s seasoning salt
garlic powder.

You can’t really do too much of this LOL.  The more the better!

Now don’t stir it....pop it in the oven for 20 mins.

Remove from oven, give it a stir, add seasonings again...yep...again....and put back in oven.

Do this 4 times!  The last time I may or may not add anymore of any of the seasonings.  If it’s looking well coated it’s done except for oven time.  If it still looks like it could use more..go for it!

After 4 x 20 mins of baking...dump the pan out onto a brown paper bag to cool.

This will make 2 gallon sized bags full!!

Enjoy!!
Blessings
Autumn Earthsong

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


Bonus Recipe from Autumn Earthsong's Kitchen:

Country Apple Dumplings

2 baking apples of your choice, peeled, cored and wedged into 8 wedges per apple ( 16 total)
2 cans of crescent rolls
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
12 oz can of Mountain Dew or Sprite  (yep..you got it) LOL (*I used Sprite and only about 1/2 a can!  even less!)  

Preheat oven to 350*  Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish

Cut each apple as above and set aside.  Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in the dough starting at the smallest end.  Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish.
Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon.   Pour over the dumplings.  The pour the citrus soda over the dumplings.


Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.




The time is here! It's our Grand Prize Giveaway:


Here’s how to enter:

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 have until tonight at 5pm EDT to enter. Note: this is a change from your usual 24 hour timeframe, because Kallan is going to celebrate Samhain peacefully tomorrow with her ancestors.

If you've been following us all along, for every valid entry you've given us, we've already put those into the Grand Prize Giveaway.

But, we thought we give anyone who hasn't entered yet a chance to jump in, and give our loyal Siren-lovers a chance to get more entries. So, here's how we're going to do this.

YOU MUST GIVE US YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO ENTER (if you don't want it public, email it to us and match it to the user name you're posting with in the comments)


1. Go to your favorite Siren's Page, whether that's a vendor, blogger, recipe siren, or author. Tell us one thing you absolutely loved about this Siren in the comments. (1 entry)

2. Tell us what your favorite day was here on the blog and why. (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. Like the Samhain's Sirens Facebook Page. Tell us here that you did (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 100 + 100?

What's cool about being a Canadian? You automatically get 5 entries per giveaway for just answering 1 question!  We still need that email address, and you're always welcome to tell us what you liked about this year's celebrations. :)


Kallan will email the winner tonight, and will post the Grand Prize winner's name here on the blog in the morning.
Good luck and Happy Samhaining!



The winner of the October 30th giveaway from Heartroot Studio is:
Orion's Daughter


The winner of the October 30th giveaway from author Francesca De Grandis is:
Beth Brown


Hugs and blessings from all of us to all of you!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Samhain's Sirens, Day 26, October 30

It's a Wonderful Wednesday here at Samhain's Sirens! Our last one of the season, and the day before All Hallow's Eve. Are you getting everything prepared for the big event?

We have two last giveaways before the big Grand Prize Giveaway tomorrow. Remember, every entry you make here, gives you entries into the GP Giveaway (we'll also give you extra chances tomorrow as well).

There's also a very special treat for you today at the end of this blog from our mascot, Cupquake Danger. We know you're going to love it :)

Today in history:

1735 - John Adams, the second President of the United States, was born in Braintree, MA. His son became the sixth President of the U.S.

1831 - Escaped slave Nat Turner was apprehended in Southampton County, VA, several weeks after leading the bloodiest slave uprising in American history.

1938 - Orson Welles' "The War of the Worlds" aired on CBS radio. The belief that the realistic radio dramatization was a live news event about a Martian invasion caused panic among listeners.

1953 - General George C. Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1993 - Martin Fettman, America's first veterinarian in space, performed the world's first animal dissections in space, while aboard the space shuttle Columbia.



Remember, Serena's still around if you need her.
Email her, or use the contact form at the top of the page.

And, now, let's celebrate!




Today, we remember Amy Winehouse.




Calling up Samhain
by Danni Supplicki

"Leaves fallen on the breeze,
skitter like so many rats
beneath skeletal trees.

As gourds grin to the night,
beckoning spirits to visit,
and give their weary souls rest,
'round a candle's warm light.

Stars are spattered across
Night's velvet cloak, 
the swollen moon looks down, 
not a single cloud mars
her brilliant face. 

Greens, browns and shades of rust 
color fields of grain, 
wilting beneath the Harvest moon,
Dreaming of Summer rain

And in this field, 
'neath the darkened sky, 
A coven does conspire.
With hands clasped,
and heads bowed,
they gather 'round a fire, 

Quick footed in the rusty field, 
voices raised in joyous song, 
Wolves howl and owls take flight, 
As the Witches dance Tonight!"
 Visit Danni's Blog: The Whimsical Cottage 

Game Day Chili

2 TB olive oil

1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 lbs ground beef
1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2-16 oz cans chili beans
*I use Bush’s Beans.  You can choose the heat- mild, medium or hot!
1/2 cup water
1/4 to 1/3 cup chili powder- again..how hot you like it 😊
salt, pepper, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce to taste.

In a large skillet, heat oil. Saute onion and pepper til soft.  Add ground beef.  Brown adding in Worcestershire sauce and seasonings to taste.  Drain.

Add to a crock pot or dutch oven.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook in a crock-pot all day.....2-3 hours on high, then low the rest of the day.  If you do it stove top, stir occasionally and cook either slow or fast. 

*serve with corn bread and toppings like sour cream, crackers, shredded cheese, hot sauce..however you like it!!  Serves about 4-6....great the next day too!
Blessings
Autumn Earthsong


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




Giveaway #1: from Danni at  Heartroot Studio:

 A stunning 8x10 print of "Harvest Moon",  retail value is $20.

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 31st 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 Heartroot Studio. Find your favorite item, come back here, and tell us about it in the comment section. (1 entry)

2. Like the Facebook page for Heartroot Studio. Let us know you did in the comments. (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 99+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, though :)



Giveaway #2: Francesca De Grandis, "Sprinkling Faerie Dust on Breakfast" Continental U.S. only.

About Francesca:  Francesca De Grandis, AKA Outlaw Bunny, authored the classic text "Be a Goddess!" Founder of Third Road, a Faerie Shamanism tradition that she teaches through both text and oral tradition, De Grandis explains, "I'm a non-theist, pantheist pagan serving Goddess. Mother and all my Gods, thank you." Ecstatic paradox. Bard, painter, spiritual innovator, Whedon fan, middle management for Chaos Gods, and busy elf. www.stardrenched.com  www.outlawbunny.com  https://www.etsy.com/shop/outlawbunny




Sprinkling Faerie Dust on Breakfast: A Daily Reader for Busy Parents and Their Children . . . and for Any Way-Busy Person

Spiritual reading that fits into your day

“[Francesca’s] writing has an economy of language that draws disparate threads together and weaves a new way of living.”—Scott Schulz

Retail price: $30.00 and, you can  have it not only signed, but personalized by Francesca! (your choice)

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 31st blog post at 9am EDT.

Note: This giveaway is for U.S. Residents only.Void where prohibited.


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

1. Go to Francesca's Site. Sign up for her newsletter. Come back and let us know you did in the comments.

2. Go to Francesca's Etsy site. Choose your favorite item, and come back here to tell us about it. (1 entry)

3. Go to her books page. Find a favorite and tell us about it. (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.






The  winners from October 29th's giveaway by author Barbra Annino are as follows:

Paula Lupi
Sharon Rawson
Colleen Beaty
Danni Supplicki
Kellyanne Swensen
Jennifer Manley
Engie Willow
Rebecca Ford
Sandy Penns
Rebecca Powell
Hex Parker
Adelina Soto Thomas


Bonus Feature: Cupquake Danger Sings Witches Brew





Tune in tomorrow for our final day of celebration and grand prize giveaway. Although you've been automatically entered, we'll give you another shot at it just for the fun of it. See you then!

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!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Samhain's Sirens October 28

Good morning! It's our last Monday together for the season, so we're going to do it up right!

We have a fantastic giveaway, delicious recipe, wonderful music and a beautiful blog for you!

As we wind down, we want you to know how much we've enjoyed celebrating with you this year.



Don't forget that today is the deadline to submit your Forget-Me-Not to Kallan for her November 1 tribute to those who have passed. Email her with your loved one's name, any tribute you want to make and an optional photo. You are welcome to submit more than one loved one. Email  here.


Today in history:

1793 - Eli Whitney applied for a patent for his cotton gin.

1886 - The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by U.S. President Cleveland. The statue weighs 225 tons and is 152 feet tall. It was originally known as "Liberty Enlightening the World."

1965 - Pope Paul VI issued a decree absolving Jews of collective guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

1972 - The United States Council for World Affairs announced that it was adopting the Who song, "Join Together" as its official theme. 




As always, Serena's here to help.
Email her or use the contact form at the top of the page for assistance.

Now, on to the celebrations!





Today, we honor Michael Jackson.




Don't forget to check out our Youtube Channel for all of the music and lots of extras!!



Samhain Changes
by Tiffany Newson

I was watching Legends of Korra the Book Two Season premier on Nick Toons. Its a great anime story about an avatar that can control all four elements and is the bridge between the material and spiritual world. In this particular episode, it focused on how the city was built up physically but spiritually was unbalanced. Dark spirits were attacking the people because they lost their spiritual connection and were more interested in how to keep appearances. 

This brings to my point of how we as humans are always quick to fix ourselves cosmetically. Some make-up here. New color or highlights as a pick-me-up.  Losing weight to fit into clothes for the holidays that we often loose sight of our spiritual connection.

This time of year, we often gloss over with candy, desserts and costumes. Though all these are great fun and easy to do, we also have to remember this is a time to reflect. To ask our ancestors for guidance for the New Year. 

I have done a lot of mental and physical changing. I've started again to eat healthier. I'm growing out the chemically straight hair and embracing my roots. Literally. But these should not be my only changes. 

As the New Year approaches, I plan to follow more with the spiritual aspect. I've neglected to honor all my roots. I have not spoken to my mother in going on 8 yrs. In doing so, my maternal side is lost to me. I barely speak to my father and that also cuts off my paternal side. I seriously doubt I'll ever actually speak to them but I do know my ancestors don't deserve neglect because of their most recent branches are asshats.

Its time for me to regain my spiritual balance. To become a whole being. This is my plan for Samhain.
Light and Love,
Tiffany

About Tiffany: A wife and stay at home mother of 2. She is a very big cheer mom and a big pusher of education. She has been a Wiccan and Witch for the 10 years. She loves to cook and has been dubbed the next generation's come-to Grandma, though she prefers Mama T. She is passionate about LGQT, women's, and children's rights.




Apple Sweet Potato Side
5 medium sweet potatoes (2-1/2 pounds)
4 cups sliced peeled tart apples (about 4 medium)
3/4 cup thawed apple juice concentrate
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cold water, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
7-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup butter, cubed
Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover and cook for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel and slice potatoes.
•Place apples in a large saucepan and cover with water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Place apples and sweet potatoes in a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish.
In a small saucepan, combine apple juice concentrate, 1-1/2 cups water, sugars and salt. Combine cornstarch with remaining water until smooth; gradually stir into apple juice concentrate mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.
Remove from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Pour over potato mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through
Blessings
Autumn Earthsong

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




Today's Giveaway comes to you by way of  Volante at Twin Pixie Gifts!


Created just for the Samhain's Sirens Celebration, it is a 20" one of a kind, wire wrapped necklace. Purple/black agate focal pendant accented with purple frosted glass beads and amethyst chips (7 on each link), wrapped in tarnish resistant copper wire. Cleansed, charged and charmed for protection, psychic awareness & balance.  Retail value $120. Pictures don't do it justice. There is also a small bit of weight to the necklace.

Here's how to enter this giveaway:

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 29th 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 Twin Pixie Gifts Etsy Shop . Find your favorite book, come back here, and tell us about it in the comment section. (1 entry)

2. Like Twin Pixie Gifts 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 113 x 0?

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 :)





The winner from Robyn's Crafty Witches Final Friday Giveaway is:

Hex Parker

The winner from Sosanna's Final Craftacular Saturday is:

Rebecca Ford

Tune in tomorrow to find out who won today's beautiful necklace and get in on the last Tuesday's giveaway!