The meandering thoughts of a modern-day hearth witch.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Five Favourites // September

In no particular order, here are some of the things I have been thankful for and enjoyed this September...

A chance to catch up with my favourite girls, at a friend's beautiful wedding.

Seeing 'The Lion King' musical.

A day in Oxford and the chance to snap some portraits for a friend. 

Time off work each week - and being able to spend a morning leisurely enjoying a coffee and croissant without having to rush into school. Bliss.

A lovely weekend in glorious Pembrokeshire with my mum. 

I feel like I've crammed a lot into this month, in spite of it also including my return to work. Normally that means I have no energy for anything else, but reducing my hours and rethinking my priorities has meant that this year I have thoroughly enjoyed my September. I'm determined that this good balance in my life will continue through the autumn. 

What are you thankful for, as this month draws to a close?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Wheel of the Year // Mabon

Mabon is the celtic name for the Autumn Equinox, which falls this weekend. To be precise, it falls tomorrow - 22nd September 2012 - at 14:49 UTC/GMT. The equinox is the point of equal darkness and light within the day (literally 'equal night') and in the northern hemisphere it will mark the point when darkness begins to win. As of tomorrow, we will have more darkness in our day than light. 

So why the apples? In the Celtic wheel of the year, the autumn equinox - or Mabon - marked the harvest of the fruits. Still today, there are celebratory gatherings around the country for the apple harvest: cider tastings, apple days and general merriment and thanksgiving that we have fruit to harvest. 

Perhaps more significantly than that, it marks the point in the year when we instinctively know we will be getting little more from the earth - it will get cold and dark and we must gather what we can to keep us going through the winter months. 

And this is why I love these apples. Just look at them. A perfect circle, inside which is a perfect star.
The fruits of our labours, inside which are the seeds for our next turn of the wheel. We can learn so much from nature - not least that it is never done. The work and the journey - the life - does not end just because the seasons turn. 

As I bite my apple this Mabon, not only will I be giving thanks for the rewards I have earned this year; I will be contemplating the seeds I will sow next. I hope you will be doing the same - and I hope you have a warming glass of mulled cider to do it with. 

Brightest Mabon blessings. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wheel of the Year // Summer is drawing to a close

For the last couple of weeks, we have seen bales of hay being gathered and drying in the fields around us. 

The harvests have been happening - wheat, hay, vegetable crops. And the bees have been busy harvesting the last of the pollen from the remaining flowers. 

There is a recognisable chill in the air in the mornings and a faint reddish-orange tinge starting to appear on the leaves of some trees. 

I'm trying to make the most of the end of summer and appreciating the still-light evenings and slight warmth the sun still possesses. There's no denying, though, that Autumn is around the corner. I am very much looking forward to the new season and cosying down with spiced cider and pumpkin pie. Not long now!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Harry Potter Studio Tour

As a huge fan of both the books and the films, I absolutely loved my visit to the studio tour at Leavesden.
I would definitely recommend it if, like me, you love all things 'Harry Potter'. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Herbcraft // Calendula

Calendula - or pot marigold, as it is sometimes known - is one of the most useful flowers you could have in your garden. Although coming to the end of its season now, calendula flowers dry well and can then be stored for later use as needed.

Calendula is best known for its topical uses in treating a variety of skin conditions and ailments. It can be prepared as a bath tea, oil, salve, ointment or cream and there are lots of useful tutorials online to guide you how to do so. One of the simplest preparations is a bath tea which can be made in a tea 'bag' out of a muslin square, tied with cotton. Inside your muslin square, place a few teaspoons or a small handful of dried calendula flower petals, tie with cotton and then place into the bath water. You could add chamomile flowers  to your mix for additional skin soothing benefits. 

So what is calendula good for?

 - Eczema and psoriasis or any other dry skin condition benefits from the soothing action of a calendula cream.
- Healing and soothing chapped skin such as nappy rash or chapped lips. 
- A salve is useful for treating and promoting healing in minor cuts and abrasions. 
- It has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the redness and discomfort associated with sunburn.
- More rarely, it can be used internally to treat inflamed mucous membranes. 

Although calendula is considered non-toxic and safe to use topically, even on small children, it should not be taken internally during pregnancy. 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Merry Meet

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have continued visiting Hearthwitch Cottage and for those of you who have left such positive, thoughtful comments over the past week since I returned, I am very grateful. 

Dragonfly J at Witchery Grove was kind enough to nominate me for a blog award earlier in the week, which is very kind of her. I have been blogging now for almost three years so many of these blog awards have come around and I've taken part in the past. I thought that this time, rather than doing the same again, I would take the opportunity to set up a little 'meeting circle' for like-minded bloggers. 

I will name a few blogs which I have discovered and enjoy reading and hopefully it will give my readers some new places to fly over and visit. If I mention you here, consider it a 'passing of the broomstick': you can then take the opportunity to do the same on your own sites and hopefully it will encourage others to fly further afield and get to know others. Do let people know you are mentioning them with a comment or message on their site, so they can join in the fun. 

So, without further ado...I introduce to you...

 ~ Zoe at Gypsie Sister for inspirational hand-made things, pretty photographs and thoughtful observations. ~ 

Cottage Tails for down-to-Earth stories of home life, the natural world and growing your own. ~

Yonks, who I have only just discovered, but who takes marvellous photographs and an eye for vintage pretty things. ~

~ Yarrow at The Holistic Home for nourishing recipes and a menagerie of adorable animals. ~

~ Robin Larkspur at Wiccan Writes for an insightful commentary on the life of a solitary Wiccan. ~

There are so, so many more wonderful blogs out there but that will do for a start. 
Merry Meet!

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