The meandering thoughts of a modern-day hearth witch.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Hearth and Home // Magickal Movies

As the nights draw in and we creep towards Hallowe'en and the darkening winter months, one of my favourite pastimes is snuggling up under a warm blanket, with a steaming mug of mulled cider or hot chocolate and magickal stories unfolding before my eyes. 

 B and I kicked off this year's traditional 'hibernation' with one of my favourites last weekend - Edward Scissorhands - Tim Burton's gothic take on the familiar 'Beauty and the Beast' yarn.

Over the next few weeks, the following will provide comfort and warmth from the cold outside...

(Always a favourite at any time of year!)

(I have a valid excuse this year - my sixth form class are studying Harry Potter!)

It has become a long-standing tradition that this childhood favourite is watched at Hallowe'en in my house...

And then before you know it we'll be on to the Christmas ones - and that will be a whole other post!

I can't wait! Do you have any seasonal movie traditions? 

Monday, 26 September 2011

A day off...

... is on its way on Friday. What bliss. I will be spending my luxury day doing this...

Editing wedding photographs, that is.
Not getting married!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Hearth and Home // Autumnal Altar

Ashamedly, my altar had not been attended to in a long, long time, until today. 
My time and energy has been focussed elsewhere - the allotment becoming my 'alfresco' altar over summer - and when I came to tend to it earlier today I was horrified to see a thick layer of dust covering its surface!

Now, I'm a real believer in the idea that the space you live in reflects your state of mind. 
Looking at the sad, neglected, dust-covered tools that lay, untouched, on the small wooden table, I realised its no wonder my life is feeling somewhat stagnate and my mind rather 'fuzzy' at the moment. 

The change in seasons marked by this week's equinox seems the perfect time to get my special, reflective space - and to some extent, my life - in order. So, as today was sunny and mild, B and I went for an autumnal walk and cleared the cobwebs away with a couple of hours spent tending the allotment. Clearing away patches of the earth, and collecting autumnal offerings along the way to adorn my newly dust-free altar, has helped me feel calmer and replenished my spirit.

As always, the change in seasons makes me reflect on where I am and where I would like to be as the coming months pass. The simple ritual of updating my altar has given me time to do this and enabled me to clear my mind of some of the 'fog' and tiredness caused by my job in recent weeks. Work can be like the dust on my table -  it clings to and covers everything and works its way into every element of my life, making all else feel dull and lacking energy. Its essential for us all to clear work away sometimes; to take time for ourselves and put just as much energy into the things we want to achieve in other areas of life. 

Autumn blessings. 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Wheel of the Year // Mabon

Blessed Autumn Equinox everyone!

Go and enjoy some mulled cider and light a candle to thank the gods for the apple harvests.

The nights are drawing in fast. Let's make the most of the last of the light. 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Three Word Thursday

Summer's last light.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Every witch needs one of these...

I feel sad that she's so far away. Four weeks and we'll have our next rendezvous.
Hopefully one day I'll have a familiar of my own at home. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Allotment Tales // Autumn

Although the last remnants of summer hold a wavering vigil to the dying light, it is clear as we look around the allotment now, that autumn is here. 

Our late, lone sunflower is now drooping its ragged head, as though bowing in submission to the omnipotent force of the seasons. 

The palette of the allotment seems to have changed suddenly - from lush, vibrant greens, to browns, burnished   yellows and deep oranges. 

Pumpkin vines have morphed into withered skeletons with bulbous skulls which every day deepen in autumnal colour. 

At this time of year, we often imagine the work to be done - the harvest to be gathered; the rewards enjoyed. We could not be further from the truth. Yes, we have had a bounteous summer, enjoying the fruits of our labour - both physical and metaphysical. But there is still plenty to come. Through the autumn and winter we will gather smaller harvests - of squashes and pumpkins, broccoli, cabbage, parsnips and swedes. 

When things seem to be getting darker and colder, it is easy to become encompassed in negativity, thinking there is little to look forward to until the light returns. I know I am guilty of this each and every year. It is then that I sit back and think of what is yet to come, and what can be planned and prepared for in the coming winter months. We wouldn't expect a harvest of fruit and vegetables next summer without tending the soil, clearing the debris and planting the seeds - why should it be any different with anything else we wish to achieve? 

Friday, 2 September 2011

Herbcraft // Parsley

Now, I've never been much of a parsley fan - particularly not the curly-leaf variety which I always associate with garnishes on gastro-pub food from the 1980s. 

However, I am learning to make use of the flat-leaf variety in my culinary explorations - and it does have some fantastic medicinal qualities. 

Parsley is actually from the same family as the carrot - they have very similar leaves - and there is a variety of parsley which has an edible root, much like its culinary cousin. It has a 'grassy' scent and flavour and works well as a palate cleanser. 

Try adding parsley to soups, stews and pasta sauces for mild flavour or, if you really like the taste, you can whizz up a parsley pesto using a large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, a couple of garlic cloves, some pine nuts, parmesan cheese and a glug of olive oil in the food processor. This makes a lovely, fresh, summery pasta sauce - particularly with a generous squeeze of lemon. 

Medicinally, parsley's beneficial effects seem to be endless: anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, anti-rheumatic, laxative, mild brain tonic, diuretic, carminative, expectorant, gastric tonic, uterine tonic and a warming remedy for cold conditions. 

Parsley has traditionally been used in the treatment of urine and bladder disorders, inflammation of the prostate gland, PMT and menopausal hot flushes. Mashed and unheated, leaves were once apparently applied to the breasts of nursing mothers to arrest the flow of milk. 

Whether seeking to utilise its medicinal properties or simply adding some flavour to your cooking, it cannot be denied that, as it is so rich in minerals such as calcium potassium and silica, parsley is good for you. Apparently this combination of minerals will help to strengthen the hair, nails and skin - so it can make you beautiful too! 

I am a convert!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Three Word Thursday

Back to school!

Kitchen Magick // Spicy Courgette Chutney

This is actually one of the easiest ways of getting rid of a small mountain of courgette and it creates delicious smells in your kitchen as its cooking down. 

You will need the following ingredients:

500g (I actually used more like 750g) courgette, diced
500g tomatoes, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
300g brown sugar
350 ml white wine vinegar
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground mixed spice
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced

Simply place all the ingredients into a large pan and bring slowly to a simmer.

Leave to simmer with the lid off for around 2 and a half hours - by this point the mixture should look 'chutney-like'!

Pop the mixture into sterilised jars and seal. The chutney will be ready to eat in around 2-3 weeks and should keep for several months if kept in a cool, dark cupboard. 
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