Oct 17, 2014

Crafting Blooming Howls - Incense for Autumn Nights

I am, like that white rabbit, almost perpetally running (and often a bit behind) but I am sneaking in just before midnight to play along with Magaly, the wickedly wonderful hostess of Pagan Culture, at her "Witches in Fiction: Crafting Blooming Howls" party.  There is a dark and lovely bouquet of posts over there to peruse if you enjoy seeing what crafty witches get themselves up to when a blog party arises.

As for my craft, I'm always inspired by the world around me - especially the hills, rivers and plant life in my delightful Valley. Although the Autumn colours have taken their sweet time arriving (we've had a remarkably sunny and warm September and October) they are starting to flash some crimson and orange here and there.  The last of the herb harvests have just come in and are hanging to dry and I'm starting to play and create some of my favourite concoctions.

Today I'm sharing one of my swoon-worthy incense recipes.  I make this incense each Autumn and burn it to evoke the smoky, sweet, earthy scent of deep Fall when the gardens are put to bed and the last over-ripe apples are dropping from the trees, and the scent of woodsmoke is in the air.

Autumn Incense

1 part benzoin tears
1 part juniper berries
2 parts frankincense tears
1/2 part cedar greens
1 part sandalwood

Use a mortar and pestle to break down the ingredients into the desired consistency.
You can be finished at this step, or
I like to add a drizzle of local honey or wine at this point,
 to wet the incense and make it stick together.
I let the coarse incense dry over a two-week period, turning often. Burn on lit charcoal.

Definitely burn this incense when wandering through the garden with your witchy friends, drinking midnight margaritas.  And don't forget to howl!

Oct 16, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - Red Wheel//Weiser

One of the most prolific publishing houses that caters to the wider Pagan community is Red Wheel/Weiser.  Not only do they have a varied and impressive catalogue of everything from basic 101 books to classic esoteric tomes, but they are also staffed by some really cool people (I'm talking about you Eryn).  The fab folks there sent along two books for you! The first is a brand, sparkling new October release, and the second was a magical summer release - and they both look amazing!

The first book is "Hedgewitch Book of Days - Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year" by Mandy Mitchell

"Once upon a time the witch held a place of esteem in the village; her knowledge of local plants and wayside herbs were used to heal; her wisdom and empathy made her the village matchmaker and marriage counselor; and her ability to commune with nature and animals gave her a place of revelry and wisdom. She was the Hedgewitch.

Aimed at the busy witch, who is both breadmaker and breadwinner, this book revives the spirit of the Hedgewitch and teaches you how to make every day one full of wisdom, healing, and magic. For the practicing or would-be witch whose life is more jeans, chaos, and the never-ending question of what’s for dinner than it is black robes, cauldrons, and incantations, Mandy Mitchell has a recipe for you!"

You can also check out this book review from Patti Wigington of About.com's Paganism/Wicca portal.

The second book up for grabs is "The Voodoo Doll Spellbook - A Compendium of Contemporary Spells and Rituals" from Denise Alvarado

"When it comes to Voodoo, few things are more iconic than the Voodoo doll. Known also as conjure dolls, doll babies, dollies, baby dolls, poppets, fetich, fetish, and effigies, they are servants of fast-acting, long-lasting magic. If you are seeking a new job or new friends, need to find your one true love or keep your lover at home, wish to be rid of your enemies or protect yourself from thievery, in these pages you will find the doll and the spell to do just that and more.

Drawing not only on New Orleans Voodoo and hoodoo traditions, Alvarado also presents doll spellwork from ancient Greece, Egypt, Malaysia, Japan, Africa, and the European grimoires of old magic. You’ll learn how to make, use, and properly dispose of your Voodoo doll."

And here is a review of The Voodoo Doll Spellbook from Cory of New World Witchery.

By now, most of you know how this works, but if you are just showing up to the party, you can go here to view the rules and legal bits.  I throw this little book-rave yearly because I absolutely adore the kind folks who wander by this blog and bump into me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and now Ello (which I keep forgetting about).  So all you need to do is leave a comment telling me how you found me/how you follow me.  If you've done that bit in a previous giveaway entry, you're free to just tell me what book you'd prefer if you win.

I'll draw the names of the two winners on Monday, October 20th at 9pm Pacific/midnight Eastern time.  Please make sure you leave a linked comment or an email address so I can notify you in writing if you've won!

All book photos and quoted text are copyright Mandy Mitchell and Denise Alvarado respectively and Red Wheel/Weiser, and used only to promoted the books listed.

Winners - The Wild Medicine Solution and Plant and Fungus Totems

The winners of "The Wild Medicine Solution" by Guido Masé are:

Country Witch

scavengerspirits - Jennifer Lawrence

The winner of "Plant and Fungus Totems" by Lupa is:


Please drop me an email with your mailing address and I'll get your books off to you!  (RueandHyssop AT gmail DOT com.)

Oct 13, 2014

The Great October Giveaway - The Wild Medicine Solution and Plant and Fungus Totems

If you've spent any amount of time here, you'll know that I'm crazy about plants. With cats, indoor green-life is a thing of the past for me, but outside...well, let's just say that my dream yard is all gardens. I'm all about growing (and wildcrafting) plants for food, medicine, and magic, and a huge part of my learning has been through books, and following around some amazing herbalists online.  

I found Guido Masé on Twitter, and am in awe of his knowledge and passion for plant medicine.  His book, "The Wild Medicine Solution" is our next giveaway - and I have two signed copies for you!

From his blog A Radicle:

"Herbal medicine doesn't have to be rocket science - though it is a rich, beautiful, and extremely complex endeavor. Its basic premises are easy to grasp and can quickly bring benefit.
So in this book, I've tried to highlight how whole-plant, wild-plant medicine is important, accessible, and simple by outlining three classes of medicinal plants that are universally found in traditional healing systems. I explore the science behind how they work, but also use stories, history and mythology interwoven in the narrative to provide meaning and context to herbalism. Finally, through practical examples, I give my take on a few safe, effective, weedy and wild plants (and one fungus)."

Our second book is "Plant and Fungus Totems" the new release from Lupa, who was also featured last year.  Lupa is a multi-talented artist and wild woman, who can often be found vending at larger festivals throughout the West.  I had the good fortune to meet her at Faerieworlds in Oregon this year, so I brought back an autograhped book for one lucky person!

From the book jacket:

"Open up to a new realm of spiritual practice. Plant and Fungus Totems provides techniques for creating respectful partnerships with totems, archetypal spirits that embody the qualities of their respective species. Working with just plants and fungus—or in conjunction with their animal counterparts—you will discover the wisdom these spirit beings impart to those of us who listen.

Exploring three different models of totemism, Lupa invites you to be of service to the planet’s ecology by developing relationships with these often-overlooked sources of insight. Providing meditations and suggestions for journaling and experimentation,Plant and Fungus Totems shows how to receive guidance and helps you connect more deeply with the totemic ecosystem. Also included are hands-on exercises for incorporating physical plants and fungi into your totemic work, as well as tips for working with herbs, gardens, urban wild plants, and more."

To get your name in the book-cauldron, leave a comment, and let me know how we connect. Did you recently bump into me over on Facebook, or did someone point you to this corner of the internet? If you've been here already this month and previously let me know how you found me, no need to repeat yourself - just let me know which book peaks your interest.  I'll try to match winners with books whenever possible.

If you are new to the October giveaways make sure you know the lowdown on the legalities (click here) and make sure it's cool with your government for me to ship you free stuff!  (I'll send books out anywhere that I don't have to fill out ten pages of paperwork and buy a lottery license.)

The three winners will be announced on Thursday, October 16th at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time.

All photos and quoted text are property and copyright of Guido Masé and Healing Arts Press, and Lupa and Llewellyn Worldwide and are used only to promote the books listed.

Oct 12, 2014

Winners - Practical Magick Series and Coventry Magic

Another harvest of books is heading out into the world!

Here is the list of winners:

Practical Prosperity Magick ...........  Johanna Lawson

Practical Protection Magick ............ Tilda

Coventry Magic ..............  Alpha Betsy

Coventry Magic .............. Linda Wildenstein

Congratulations everyone!

Drop me a note at rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com with your mailing address, and I'll get these books out in the post for you on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday here!)

And if your name isn't on the list - don't worry!  Three more books are appearing tomorrow!

Oct 9, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - The Practical Magick Series and Coventry Magic


The next books in our month of magic, all have a practical theme.  These are guides to "getting things done."  Friendly, concise, and straightforward, these are great books for any witch's library.

From Ellen Dugan, we have "Practical Protection Magick"

"Embrace your innate warrior skills—knowledge, balance, and wisdom—and amp up your personal power. This helpful handbook is chock-full of protection witchery and psychic self-defense techniques you can use to keep yourself and your home strong, secure, and protected."

And, "Practical Prosperity Magick"

"Learn how to optimize your opportunities and draw success with this no-nonsense approach to prosperity magick. Providing an accessible foundation grounded in the seven Hermetic principles and the four elements, author Ellen Dugan explores how it can be combined with the law of attraction to improve your future."

And from Jacki Smith, we have "Coventry Magic with Candles, Oils, and Herbs" 

"Jacki Smith, owner of Coventry Candles, one of the largest suppliers of magic candles in the US, has been crafting magic candles for more than twenty years. In Coventry Magic with Candles, Oils, and Herbs, she shares the history of candle magic along with the recipes, spells, and divinations anyone can use to increase love, prosperity, luck, and abundance.

Coventry Magic is not your mama’s candle magic; this is candle magic for our complicated 21st century lives. Coventry Magic explores not only what color candle to use for a specific need but how to dig down deep inside and find out what that need really is."

I have one copy of each of Ellen's Practical Magick books and two copies of Jacki's book to pass along to you. I can't guarantee that you you will get the book you want, but feel free to let me know which book grabs you, and I'll see what I can do when the winning names are picked!

As before, leave a comment* to enter,  If you've been here already this month and previously let me know how we connect, no need to repeat yourself - just let me know which book strikes your fancy.

If you are new to the October giveaways here, check the Rules and Regs, and swing back here to let me know how we've bumped into each other.  (For example, do you roll your eyes at my silly tweets over on Twitter, or did you stumble across the blog and subscribe?)

The four winners will be announced on Sunday, October 12th at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern.**

Best of luck!

*Please make sure your comment either has direct contact information on it (an email address) or ensure that you comment via a linked profile that takes me to a site where I can contact you directly. I have to be able to notify you in writing if you win (legalities and all) - please make it easy on me!

**This weekend is the Thanksgiving weekend for us Canadians. I will make every effort to post the winners' names at the regular time, but if I'm in a turkey coma, or knee-deep in pumpkin pie, I may be a little late with the announcement.  Thank you for your understanding!

All photos and quoted text are copyright Ellen Dugan and Lllewellyn Worldwide, and Jacki Smith and Red Wheel/Weiser, and are used only to promote the books for this giveaway.

Oct 8, 2014

Winners - Faery Tale

First, a big thanks to Signe Pike for sending along a third copy of her book for you, and a few little extras!  For those that didn't win - feel free to click on the book above and dig around Signe's magical website, and order her book!

The three people receiving a copy of "Faery Tale" are:


Inari Fox


Please email or message me your mailing address and I'll get these books off to you!  (I'll also send you a note to let you know.)

Also, this is a last call to: runningafter3 - I need your mailing address by Saturday (October 11th) please, or I will have to draw another name for the second copy of "The Witch's Eight Paths of Power."

Congrats to everyone!  

The next giveaway will be up tomorrow morning!