One of my favorite things about fall is simmering potpourri. I use potpourri throughout the year but the scents of fall and the holidays wafting through my home just really set the holiday mood. If you don’t simmer potpourri for the holidays, you should and I have found 18 wonderfully scented recipes to get you started. These range from smells of Christmas to just a clean fresh fragrance that you are going to love. They are all really easy to put together and are much less expensive than store bought sprays and candles. And, they fill your entire home with fragrance.
Whether you enjoy the scent of cinnamon and orange for Christmas or you prefer cranberry, apple cider or something floral, you are going to find the perfect simmering potpourri recipe to fill your home with wonderful scents this holiday season. Homemade potpourri is really easy to make and can be done with things that you likely have on hand. And, you can upcycle things like orange peel and apple cores to make them. If you really love creating your own scents, you should be sure to check out these fabulous DIY scented oil mason jar candles.
These room scents are wonderfully strong – not too strong – and they’re easy to simmer. You can do these in simmer pots or you can simply put them on the top of your stove and let them simmer in a regular pot. I love how easy they are and how wonderful they make your home smell. These are perfect to leave simmering throughout your family gatherings or just anytime you want the wonderful scent of the holidays to waft through your home. And, if you want to add to your festive décor, you can add a few of these 15 decorative candles and votives. You can make these for
One of the most exciting things about fall (besides showing off our new knitting projects) is baking beautiful sweet loaves and breads using our favourite harvest goodies — freshly picked apples, pears, squash and pumpkins — paired with rich, warm spices. Bring on those carbs and cozy sweaters!
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Upside-Down Apple French Toast
This deceptively easy, yet Instagram-worthy, baked French toast features cranberries and pecans which will wow your next brunch guests and earn a few likes on social media.
I’m sure your top concern as we approach the upcoming winter solstice may be just how many more minutes of sun you’re going to get during your commute each day, but the truth is that the event is steeped in history and tradition that goes far beyond our modern taste for convenience and, well, light. With history, of course, comes superstition, so I did a little research and pulled together some details about some winter solstice superstitions, where they come from, what they mean, and how they play into the way we observe the month of December in modern times (if at all).
First, a brief lesson in what the winter solstice actually is: According to the trusty Farmer’s Almanac, it’s the day each year that has the fewest hours of sunlight, thanks to the fact that the sun reaches its southernmost point and begins moving north. The winter solstice is also the first day of the astronomical winter (the meteorological winter kicks off several weeks earlier). Since 2017’s winter solstice will take place on Dec. 21, the days will begin getting longer as of Dec. 22. Did I just make your (very short) day?
Now that we’ve got the basics down, check out these superstitions.
1. Dark Spirits Walk The Earth During The Winter Solstice
Shab-e Yalda — the Iranian festival that celebrates the birth of the ancient sun god who triumphed over darkness — is celebrated on the longest night of the year, aka the winter solstice. To observe the festival, a feast of watermelon, nuts, and pomegranate seeds is consumed… but that’s not all. Because of the light vs. dark symbolism, ancient lore holds that evil spirits wander the earth on this night stronger than ever, according to MentalFloss. There are shades of similar superstitions in Celtic and Germanic folklore too.
2. The 2012 Winter Solstice Should Have Been The End Of The World
Remember the 2012 end of days hysteria? Thankfully, it was nothing more than a superstition — but it was a superstition rooted in Mayan history. The winter solstice of that year (Dec. 21, 2012) corresponded to the date 184.108.40.206.0 on the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar and was the end of a 5126-year cycle. According to the superstition, these numbers were symbolic of the end of the world, or some other catastrophe.
3. The 2012 Winter Solstice Should Have Kicked Off A Worldwide Transformation
The flip side of the “Winter Solstice as the end of days” coin? The New Age belief that the significance of Dec. 21, 2012 was one of rebirth and transformation. Some believed that the Earth and all of its inhabitants would experience some sort of wonderful metamorphosis on that day.
4. The Winter Solstice Honors The Coming Of The Light
If you’ve been counting the minutes until you can leave the office when it’s still light outside, this one should make a lot of sense to you. Given the fact that
In today’s modern Witchcraft, Familiars are often times thought of as being animal companions or pets. When asked if they have a Familiar, many Witches will often refer to their cat, dog, or other animal. Usually these pets have a predisposition towards Witchcraft, whether they’re always showing up at ritual time or just can’t seem to keep out of the Witchy supply cabinet. Yet, this seems to be a more modern conceptualization and I find that it presents a rather incomplete picture of Familiars.
I believe that there are, in actuality, really two types of Familiars. The first, is that which I have just described, an actual material creature. The second type, and that which will be the focus of this article, is the Familiar Spirit. As the name suggests, this type does not take an actual physical body but instead appears in spectral form. The form which the spirit takes is typically that of an animal (such as a cat, toad, rat, or crow) but it may also take human form as they did for Witches Alice Kyteler and Bessie Dunlop. There are many interpretations or theories as to what the Familiar spirit is exactly and Emma Wilby notes that traditionally Familiar Spirits were variously thought of as being imps, demons, fairies, angels, or even the Devil himself.*
According to folklore, there are a number of ways a Witch could obtain a Familiar. Probably the most prevalent method was the Witch being gifted a Familiar, usually by the Devil and typically after undergoing an initiatory experience. Other cases include Witches inheriting their Familiar from another individual, such as a family member. Elizabeth Francis, a Witch from Chelmsford, supposedly received a Familiar named Sathan from her grandmother and she in turn passed onto another Witch named Agnes Waterhouse.* In fact, according to some stories, a Witch had to successfully pass her Familiar on before she could die in peace. If the Familiar could not be given away properly, they supposedly hid in hedgerows waiting for a passing Witch to hopefully adopt them.* Additionally, there are cases of Familiars appearing of their own accord, such as the case of Essex Witch Joan Prentice who claimed that she was simply preparing herself for bed when her Familiar spontaneously appeared.* Regardless of the specific method, it is typically the Familiar that finds the Witch, not the other way around. That being said, I do believe there are certain ways to be proactive if one wishes to find a Familiar to work with.
The first step is to consider why you want a Familiar, what type of qualities would you like them to have, and what type of relationship do you want with them. For example, do you want a Familiar to act as a mentor or do you want them to be a servant to do your bidding? Once you have a clear idea, put your intentions out there and let it be known what you’re specifically looking for. One suggestion would be to petition your deity and ask them for help. The next step would be to spend time out in nature, dreaming, or journeying to the Otherworld. Keep your senses open as these are places where you will likely have your first communication with a Familiar Spirit. Once you are approached by a Spirit and begin conversing, it’s important to inform them what exactly you’re looking for in terms