Nov 3, 2014

A Note of Thanks and the Final Great October Book Giveaway Winners

Before I draw the last three names, I want to take a moment to thank you all for stopping by this past month (plus a few days).  October was a strange and wondrous month, and it wouldn't have been half as lovely without reading all your comments.  I have bumped into the nicest people on the internet!  I very much wish I could have given each one of you a book (and a big hug).

I'd also like to thank the authors for signing their books as a little extra touch for you, and a special shout-out to Signe Pike, who donated a book and some fun extras, and to Deborah Blake who sent out some bookmarks and cute promo cards that I tucked in to many of the packages that went out - you guys rock! And some very big love to Red Wheel/Weiser who sent me two books from their amazing 2014 lineup, just for you!

And as a side-note for those of you who received books, just in case you are curious - the note cards enclosed were from A Fanciful Twist.

I also want to thank, from the bottom of my little green heart, the kind folks who have directed others to Rue and Hyssop.  These names came up as either having directly sent people my way, or having mentioned my blog somewhere on their site, which led people here - not surprisingly, this is a list of people I adore too:

Magaly Guerrero - Pagan Culture Blog
Sarah Anne Lawless
Lamplighter Blues
New World Witchery
Aidan Wachter

And now...the three people receiving a copy of Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook are:

Rebecca Powell

Liz Davenport


Congratulations!  Please send me your mailing address and I'll send those off to you!  (rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com.)

Do stop by and visit the authors/publishers that were featured this month, and perhaps grab yourself a little treat for Yule!  Thank you all again for making my October brighter!  

Oct 30, 2014

The Great October Giveaway - Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook

It might be the Virgo in me, but I love a good calendar that is organized and fun to use.  This datebook is one I've had my hands on each year, since my best friend's mother bought me a copy about five years ago.  It is informative - listing astrological events, moon info and more, and it's got a selection of articles from authors you might recognize as well.

Llewellyn says:

"Today's busy Witches can stay on top of it all—the magical and the mundane—with Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook, now featuring enchanting illustrations from award-winning artist Kathleen Edwards. Add a little magic to each day and keep pace with the ever-turning Wheel of the Year with this indispensable, on-the-go tool. You'll find fun, fresh ways to celebrate the sacred seasons and enhance your practice—inspiring Sabbat musings (Deborah Blake), tasty Sabbat recipes (Diana Rajchel), Moon rituals (Magenta Griffith), and flowers (Tess Whitehurst). For spellwork, there's astrological information and daily colors. Also included are in-depth articles on play-day magick (Melanie Marquis), automatic writing (Sybil Fogg), relaxation (Elizabeth Barrette), seduction magick (Suzanne Ress), and more."

I have three copies of the 2015 Witches' Datebook to give away!

So many of you have been playing along all month, so I know you have this all down by now!  If this is your first kick at the pumpkin (we don't kick cats around here) then head over to the giveaway information post here, and then pop back and let me know how you connected with me.  If you've left that info before - you're gold!

I'll draw the three names from the hat on Sunday, November 2nd at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time.  (Don't forget the time change!)  Best of luck!

Photo and quoted text are copyright Llewellyn Worldwide and used only to promote the datebook.

Winners - The Witch's Broom

Deborah Blake's charming books are going home with:

Renee Olson


Congratulations!  Please pop me a note with your mailing address and I'll get your books out to you!

Fly your broom back this way for the next giveaway...coming right up!

Oct 27, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - The Witch's Broom

Our next giveaway is this little gem from author Deborah Blake, "The Witch's Broom - The Craft, Lore & Magick of Broomsticks."  Deborah has been a busy witch this year, and has put out not only this fun book on broom lore and magical uses, but also a witchy fiction novel called "Wickedly Dangerous." As if that wasn't enough, she has written the follow up to her fiction novel, "Wickedly Wonderful" - which will be out in December - as well as two non-fiction books coming out in 2015 and she is working on a tarot deck. 

I love the size of this book - compact, and chock-full of history, charms, spells, and a few other witches even stop by to talk about their brooms too.  Here is what the jacket has to say:

"Take a magickal flight into the history, tradition, and modern uses of broomsticks. Whether sweeping the floors or helping with spells, rituals, and crafts, the broom is a more versatile tool than you ever imagined.
Join Deborah Blake on a journey through the ages, exploring why broomsticks and witches have always been an inseparable pair. Enjoy broom lore, insights from well-known witchy authors, and instructions for buying or making your own for special occasions. From besoms to broomcorn, The Witch’s Broom is the perfect guide for adding a new facet to your magickal practice. Have a nice flight!"

I have two copies of "The Witch's Broom" to give away.  You've got until Thursday, October 30th at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time to get your comment in below.  If you are showing up late to the party, you can read how it all works on this post, then let me know how you found me out here in the wide web world.  If you've done that dance before - no need for a do-over - you're covered!

Picture and text from "The Witch's Broom" is copyright Deborah Blake and Llewellyn Worldwide and used only for the purpose of promoting this book.

Winners - Listen to Them Whisper

The hat was rather over-flowing this time around - y'all love some Mama Starr!  I think she's fabulous too.  Do check her out at Old Style Conjure if the spirit moves you.

The two book are going to:


Aine O'Brien

Drop me a note, if you please, at rueandhyssop AT gmail DOT com.

I wish I could send you all a copy!  But hang in there - there are still more books up for grabs. The next giveaway is coming up right away...

Oct 26, 2014

Impermanence and Returning to The Land

I'm feeling a little broken-open of late. I know I'm not alone. October has been beautiful, warm, magical, unsettling, and heart wrenching. It sounds like a country song, and feels like a warm blanket, and a good cry.

There has been tragedy, both here in Canada, and in the US this week, and there has been a profound loss in our community again - too many this year.  At the begining of the month, a dear friend's daughter succumbed to breast cancer. She was only 35 years old.

The ancestor altar is full.

This isn't a new experience for us. And it won't be the last of it. This is the cost of being human. Loving people that may move out of this realm before we are ready to see them leave.  Building community and "safe" places, and structures, that can crumble right in front of us.  We forget sometimes that impermanence isn't something to fight.  It is what we are.

I've just come in from turning over the vegetable gardens, and readying them for their long Winter's rest.  They were fruitful.  But there were also greens that didn't survive the summer. A few plants bloomed too late to grow anything worth harvesting.  Some rushed out of the earth too early this past Spring and were frost-bitten. For every abundant crop, there was a flower or an herb that didn't quite become the lush plant I had hoped for. The pruning shears were merciless.

Having a garden is one of the best lessons of (almost daily) impermanence I know of. As much as I thanked the earth today, and raked in compost and offerings, and as grateful as I was to have had a good harvest, there was still a feeling of loss.  I will never get this growing season back. I can't jump back to June, and tie up the tomatoes in a better fashion so they might have more sun, or fertilize the squash to ensure a more robust harvest. The growing season is over.

I am processing the impermanence all around me in the best way I know how.  With my hands in the dirt a few last times, holding my loved ones a little closer, ever crawling back to my ancestors, the land, my magic.

Byron Ballard says it better, in her post on "Tower Time" and "Going to Ground":

"We work ourselves into a frenzy of grief and guilt and spiritual activity. We open ourselves to the sorrow and anger, and filter it as best we can. We meet for coffee, and walks, and we talk for hours on the phone. Gentling the community in its outrage, cushioning it from outright despair. We are blown about by the winds and waves of all that assails us and sometimes the only place to go for succor, for comfort is away from the computer and the phone and the endless cups of coffee. To the garden, to the woods, to the earth."

The riverside I know and love is gone. The earth movers came, to make way for the big machines that will roll in to fix the crumbling bridges. The mullein is gone. The tansy, the goldenrod I let be this year, so it would come back more fully next season.  Milkweed, cinquefoil, wild mustards, horsetail, and burdock have vanished.  The wild roses and raspberries, and the high bush cranberries and Oregon grape that grew along the both sides of the walking path - all gone.

But nature has a way of taking back what we steal from it.  The few shrubs, trees and green life left at the edge of the destruction will spread this coming Spring.  The plants will seed and the wind will spread them far and wide again.  The land will outlive the earth movers.  The only impermanence is us.

I'm reminded of the stunning writings of earlier this summer from Peter Grey and Sarah Anne Lawless, linked and quoted succinctly in this post from HecateDemeter, where she also speaks for the city witches, saying:

"And we city Witches need to commune with the spirits of our places, with the “uncivilized world of nature” in our cities if we hope to know the names, powers, and dwelling spaces of our local spirits."

Do you know your land, your local spirits?  Do they show you the impermanence in the seasons, in the washing away of land in floods and storms, or the crumbling of old buildings under climbing vines and trees?

We can all of us, rural and urban dwellers, go back to the land in our own way, and commune with the spirits of our places.  Let's go there. I suspect our dead will come too.

Oct 24, 2014

The Great October Book Giveaway - Listen to Them Whisper - Honoring the Ancestors

Our next book is the latest release from Mama Starr - "Listen to Them Whisper" - Honoring the Ancestors.  

Mama Starr is the wise woman behind the Old Style Conjure website and podcast, as well as one of the four members of the Conjure Crossroads crew who host a podcast, and the popular "Folk Magic Festival" in New Orleans, and Conjure Con in California.  Mama Starr is a passionate conjure worker, and has written several books in an effort to share the "work" she was taught by her family.

A few words from the Foreword, from Katie Lydon Olivares:

"On our paths to spiritual enlightenment and personal power, no practice will pack a stronger punch than Ancestor Veneration. The current wisdom teaches that there is no deity or spirit more invested in our success than our ancestors. Their blood courses through our veins. Therefore, as we succeed, they succeed. If only for selfish reasons, they desire great things for us and will remove blocks to achieving our goals. These powerful allies desire a relationship with us just as we desire one with them. There are many tools one can employ to develop and strengthen that kinship.

Enter Mama Starr's latest book, Listen to Them Whisper: Honoring the Ancestors. This information-packed book provides a comprehensive and forgiving path to Ancestor Veneration. Individuals from all faiths and traditions can realistically read this treasure and immediately establish the relationship for which they've been yearning. Mama Starr, author of 8 previous books on her family conjure practices, draws from a lifetime of personal experience. " 

I have two autographed copies of Mama Starr's book to pass along to you. If you want in, simply leave a comment.  If you haven't joined in here at the October party yet, check out the lowdown on this post first, and then swing back and let me know how you found me. (For example, did you stumble across my little blog here, or do we connect on a social media site?)

The month is fading fast now, so you'll only have until Monday, October 27th to get your name in the hat!  I'll draw the winners' names at 9pm Pacific/Midnight Eastern time.

Good luck!