Biskey Howe Viewpoint

Biskey Howe is a landmark viewpoint in Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria.

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It’s a short walk up a steep hill to the highest point of the town.

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The very top of the viewpoint overlooks lake Windermere and the respective town.

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The view from the top is stunning and well worth a trip up.

We were fortunate enough to walk up here on a late winter’s afternoon and so we watched the low-lying sun setting off into the distance.

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Being a night person rather than a morning I much prefer sunsets rather than sunrises. I cannot get enough of these beauties and this is definitely a memory I won’t forget in a long time.

Blessed Be )O(

A Witchy Birthday 2017

I can’t deny I love having my birthday a couple of days after Samhain. Being able to have pumpkins on my birthday is like the best thing ever for me.

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Not forgetting to mention the cosy dark nights by the outdoor fire and the irresistible charm of the smoky air. I don’t think there’s anything about Autumn that I don’t like, especially since my birthday is stuck between Samhain and Bonfire night.

Being such an empath and sensitive person I easily pick up on emotions and vibes around me. I definitely feel like being born right at the cusp on the Witches New Year and the thin veil of Samhain has influenced me on some really deep and spiritual level to be the person I am today.

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After a really relaxing and cleansing Samhain, which you can read about here, the rest of the week kept getting better and better. Of course it helped that my partner was back in England with me for that week.

The day after Samhain we decided to take a trip out in the afternoon up to Beacon Fell which is not too far away from where I live.

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The view from the top is pretty breathtaking as it is but with the late afternoon Autumn sun slowly setting it made the view from the top even with more incredible.

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The weather has been terrible lately, lots of cloud, dark skies and rain. I feel like we were very lucky to see a break in the sky where the sun was shining through. It was definitely another peaceful, thoughtful moment that made me think this is a day I won’t forget in a hurry.

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On the 2nd for my birthday I wanted to take a trip up to one of my favourite places ever. I always go here every year usually around Samhain time.

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The small village of Newchurch in Pendle, which is a the foot of Pendle Hill and is home to the witches.

There’s a lot of energy that comes from around this place and a great many people come to visit Pendle Hill at Samhain time to celebrate the witches.

You can usually find carved pumpkins scattered about this local area in abundance. A lot of tradition and superstition still holds for both the residents and visitors. I love trying to spot all the pumpkins whilst commuting to the village.

The funny thing was this time we actually joked about randomly finding a pumpkin out in the fields or near the hill but I was like there’s no way a pumpkin would find its way out into the middle of nowhere.

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Yeah… apparently I was wrong because we found this one sat on a wall, just on its lonesome, in the middle of nowhere. Maybe one of the local residents placed it here or someone brought it with them who was travelling up Pendle Hill on Samhain.

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We also came across this pumpkin scarecrow in the village of Chatburn just before Pendle Hill. I love how small villages always keep up traditions and have a sense of community spirit when it comes to celebrations. The old ways are most often found in the untouched places.

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When we got home we had another lovely evening sat outside by the warm fire and the glow of the pumpkins.

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I can say this has been the best week I’ve had in a long time. We made the most of the dry Autumn days and sat around the outdoor firepit at least four times this week.

We were fortunate enough to witness the late afternoon sunsets and beautifuls red skies that embraced Autumn and then we ended the week with the most magical full moon that was very clear and bright in the sky.

There was a lot of  high energy in the crisp Autumn breeze leaving me feeling very cleansed and recharged this week and now I’m looking forward to using that energy to start some new projects.

Blessed Be )O(

My Samhain 2017

Once Autumn arrives, I know my favourite festival won’t be too far behind. I love to go all out at Samhain, but this year felt different.

I usually decorate and go all spooky on Halloween, which you can find last year’s display here.

So the week before Halloween I started to get all the boxes of decorations out and was preparing the gazebo for the mini-haunt, as we always have at least eighty people come trick or treating here and we like to put on some fun for them.

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Then somehow getting caught up in life, horrible winds and rain meant that not much had been decorated yet and I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that I didn’t want to go to all the trouble this year. I just didn’t have the time to get all the decorations up and I don’t even know why most of the pumpkins hadn’t been carved yet as that’s something we do at least a week before. Something was feeling rather off for me on a personal level, as I am usually well-organised and don’t leave things to last minute. I always trust my gut instinct, it has never let me down so I decided to take a different path to celebrate Samhain this year.

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I transformed the back garden into a cosy place with candles and pumpkins because pumpkins are the best bit about Samhain. Of course our Mabon tradition of making a scarecrow was there in the background with his pumpkin head, watching over us.

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We still decorated up the front porch for the trick or treaters.

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I think we had more people than ever come visit us and to do something different we offered them up some wickedly popcorn this year straight from my cauldron.

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My partner not wanting to miss out on the fun still dressed up and was ready to scare the kids who came to the door. He looked pretty awesome this year and there were plenty of people who asked to take a photo with him.

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I think this year was all about a spiritual journey for me, something I needed to do. To take a step back, stop and relax and to embrace what Samhain truly represents.

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For me I had found my way back to Samhain rather than celebrating Halloween and I had definitely made the right choice to listen to my instincts.

With a spooky feeling in the air, there are plenty of unseen forces having an influence when the veil is at the thinnest and it’s wise to listen to those spiritual elements that help guide us on the right path in life.

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Sitting by the fire with all the pumpkins around gave me the chance to reflect on life and decide on some changes.

I really think the spirit of Samhain had a big influence on me this year, there was something out there that was guiding me towards looking at the bigger picture in life and it worked.

Samhain is called the Witches New Year for a reason, it’s time to start a fresh. A new beginning and a new chance to change things.

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I know this year was definitely the best Samhain I’ve celebrated and it couldn’t be passed by without roasting some chestnuts on the fire.

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Life goes by too fast. Stop once in a while to reflect on whether you are truly happy in life and if not then change something. Always be true to yourself, no matter if people don’t understand your spirituality or path in life. They don’t have to understand, they have their journey and you have yours.

I find Samhain to be the most important teaching Sabbat of the year. You can learn about life, death and all the mysteries in between here.

Blessed Be )O(

Howick House of Terror 2017

Last year we went to visit this haunted house walkthrough for the first time and was completely amazed at how someone had completely transformed their home for Halloween.

This year we really enjoyed going back and was completely surprised to see that this year had a completely new theme.

 

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This year’s theme was “Freddie’s Freak Show”. Unlike last year’s zombie theme, this Halloween was to scare you with clowns.

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This family open up their transformed home and go all out with the scare factor – which starts in the queue. You guessed IT. Who is the scariest clown of them all?

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The front garden starts off with a pallet construction walkway, lots of scarecrows, clowns, pumpkins and straw. Some of these props are truly awesome.

I almost can’t believe how they use these props once and then change around the next year. Their dedications and true love for this shows in the way they want to make sure people have fun and to be scared by something new every year.

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Luckily enough I remembered to take a couple of videos this year and here they are.

This place is only open for three days over Halloween, so definitely take the chance to visit if you can.

We went on the first night this year and there were a camera crew here for a feature on “This Morning” on Halloween. If you saw that then you would have seen a peek of me in the queue. It seems this place is getting lots of well-deserved attention this year from the media. I for one, am looking forward to next year already.

You can find last year’s blog post on Howick here.

Blessed Be )O(

My Mabon 2017

My favourite time of the year is upon us once again. I love Autumn and it seems to have snuck up on me pretty quick this year. It might be because this Summer has been filled with sparse hot days and mostly rain showers, making it hard to differentiate between when Summer really ended and Autumn began.

But the pumpkins have arrived, the leaves have started to fall and suddenly the cold and dark days have engulfed us, so that makes it time for Mabon.

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Mabon wouldn’t be a celebration without an outdoor fire. This year we sat out in the garden all afternoon by the fire and in the evening we were joined with the spirit of the harvest by having a cider.

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My partner who is Dutch, spent the week before Mabon in England and so we celebrated together a little earlier than the Equinox.

I love the fact, even though he’s not Pagan, he always joins in and celebrates with me. Can you believe until he met me, my partner had never carved a pumpkin before and now he always loves to do it.

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Our yearly Mabon ritual also consists of making a scarecrow with a pumpkin head. For anyone wanting to make one, these are pretty easy to do. All you need is some old clothes, straw, string and a wooden frame to hang it from.

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How ever you celebrated Mabon, I hope you had fun!

Blessed Be )O(

Pagan Origins of Autumn Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox or Mabon is one of the four main quarterly festivals in the Wheel of the Year (Pagan calendar).  It takes place around the 21st/22nd September and marks the second of three harvest festivals, the other two being Lammas and Samhain. This is known as the first day of Autumn.

This festival is about bringing balance as the Equinox is when for a brief time there are the same amount of dark and light hours in the day. The Equinox happens just before the balance is tipped, we say goodbye to the long sunny days of summertime and we enter into the darker half of the year.

By the time we reach Mabon, the first few signs of Autumn will have made their appearance. The leaves turning yellow and red colours, which will slowly be falling into an amazing golden carpet on the floor. There’s a cold nip in the air, but is counteracted by the lovely, warm Autumn sun. Speaking of which, day by day the sun will now be making its descent and you will notice the sun will be sitting lower in the sky. The sun is setting earlier and earlier each day and the darkness is now engulfing the early evenings. Wheat, corn and squash you will now find in abundance and let’s not forget the yearly debut of the pumpkins.

Mabon:

Colours – 

Orange, red, yellow, gold and brown.

Herbs, Spices and Flowers –

Cinnamon, cloves, star anise, roses, lavender, sage, rosehips, honeysuckle, marigold, myrrh, frankincense, oranges, bay leaves, thistle, ferns, oak leaves, rue and sweetgrass.

Food – 

Apples, squash, corn, wheat, grains, bread, pumpkins, root vegetables, cider, beer and wine.

Crystals – 

Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, yellow Topaz, Citrine, Sapphire, Tiger’s Eye, Orange Aventurine, Amber, Yellow Agate and Clear Quartz.

Decorations – 

Acorns, pine cones, wheat, lavender, cornucopia, scythes, leaves, vines, grapes, corn stalks and pumpkins.

Spell Work – 

Balance, prosperity, abundance, new beginnings, releasing negativity, releasing old traits, welcoming changes and protection.

Traditions and activities for Autumn Equinox

Decorate your altar or home. 

The best way to get in feeling with the new season, is to spend time decorating your home with this season’s symbols. Hang an Autumnal wreath from your door, go out collecting acorns, pine cones and leaves as they start to fall for decorations to use as table centerpieces or to use on garlands or mantelpieces.

This goes for your altar too. Place offerings on your altar, symbols like pumpkins, pine cones and leaves. Change your candle colours to those with a more Autumnal theme or display your Green Man decorations.

As the colder season comes, more hours will be spent indoors, inside your home and this is the perfect time to smudge your home. Out with the old, negative energy and start a fresh with a new vibe.

Meditation.

Changing from the warm season to the cold seasons, can really throw people off balance. They rhythm can be disrupted and lots of people can suffer from SAD at this time of the year. For those who have an interest for it, mediation can really help to restore balance and harmony not only to the body but the mind also.

For better use of meditation, place crystals around you to aid in the healing and restoration of balance.

Write a gratitude list. 

At this time of finding balance, it’s all about releasing the negative energy and celebrating the success.

The best way to do this is write a list of things you are grateful for. You can also write a list of your successes, achievements or even the new adventures you have tried during the Summer months. As this time of year is about planning ahead, it’s a good idea to write a list of things you want to try, achieve or succeed at during the colder months. It’s always good to have something to aim for.

This also works the other way. For those wanting to release anything that no longer serves you or to free all the negative energy. You can write down any negative feelings, or any situation you were not happy with, then throw the paper into a fire and visualise all the unhappiness and burder lifting from your shoulders.

Saying goodbye and releasing the old is just as important as welcoming in the new.

You could also make a gratitude tree. Finding an old branch with lots of twigs on, where you write down what you’re grateful for on a piece of paper and then hang that paper from a branch. You can decorate this branch with ribbons or cut out leaf shaped paper.

Apple picking. 

Apples are the most sacred fruit to Pagans, as when you cut open an apple you will find in the center seeds that are the shape of a Pentagram – the most sacred of symbols. Apples are a symbol of wisdom, guidance, renewal, life, healing, protection and divination.

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This magical fruit is most associated with Autumn and Samhain. There is no better way than to celebrate the harvest by apple picking. With the apples, you could bake an apple pie, make cider or carve out the top center of the apple and place a tea light inside for your altar.

Pumpkins. 

For me it’s never too early for carving pumpkins. All throughout September and October I have at least one carved pumpkin displayed at any given time. Pumpkins are the essence and the magical ingredient to Autumn. As soon as the first pumpkins have been picked in late August or early September, I bring them into my home. As pumpkins are a part of the squash family, they are the ultimate representation of the harvest.

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You could carve your pumpkin and try to preserve it for as long as possible, or you could simply leave it as it is and display it on your altar, make a table centerpiece from it or leave it somewhere outdoors or on your porch as a welcoming symbol into your home.

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Get outdoors. 

This has to be the most beautiful and colourful season, with so much to look at this makes it perfect to get outdoors.

There’s lots to see, lots to do. Take a walk around nature, see if you can find some leaves, acorns or pinecones to collect. You could also have a look for that perfect twig to make your gratitude tree from. Go apple or pumpkin picking, get into your garden dig up your vegetables if you have a veggie patch. There are lots of things outdoors, that you can bring indoors for this time of the year.

If you’re much like me – a night owl. The darker nights are perfect for a taking a walk in the cool, crisp air. The evenings are a much quieter and peaceful time, where you can look up at the stars and reflect on any issues that are troubling you. Getting outside at nighttime is also about honouring the darkness and welcoming the change of seasons.

Get into the kitchen. 

As Mabon is a harvest festival there is no better way to celebrate the harvest than to cook up a feast. Get baking bread, apple and blackberry pies, using lots of cinnamon or even boiling cinnamon, orange and cloves to give your house than Autumnal smell. Using your vegetables, you can make hearty stews, casseroles and soups, to warm you up on a cold day.

Keeping with the apple theme, cider is a much chosen tipple to celebrate this time of this year with. Of course this can make alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

Bonfires.

Fire is important in the Pagan tradition, as it is a well-used and versatile tool, often a cleansing and purifying aid. Not only is it an aid but it’s also one of the five elements used at an altar and represented on the Pentagram.

As the nights are drawing in earlier now, it becomes darker at early times and this makes the evenings perfect for a bonfire. The warmth of the fire will keep you warm on a chilly evening, it also makes a great event to gather your loved ones around, serve up your food and cider by the fire.

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Autumn Equinox is a celebration of the harvest, where the grains, fruits and vegetables are being stored for the upcoming darker, cold and barren days. This is a time of preservation, of offering up gifts for the bountiful harvest and a celebration of success.

Mabon is all about finding your own personal balance. Releasing anything that no longer serves you and welcoming in those changes that you’ve been meaning to make. It’s about your own goals, reflections and achievements. Acknowledge your hard work and celebrate your accomplishments. Now is the time to settle any unfinished business, with the upcoming darker half of the year, planning is key here.

Blessed Be )O(

Pagan Origins of Lammas

Lammas or Lughnasadh is another cross-quarterly festival that takes place on the 1st August and is the festival between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox.

Summer Solstice has passed, the high of the sun has peaked and is now heading back downwards. The Sun God has ensured a bountiful crop and now is the time to celebrate the first harvest of the year.

The golden fields of crops are ready to be harvested and Lammas is the first of the three harvest festivals; grain is harvested at Lammas, fruit is collected at Autumn Equinox and finally the nuts and berries are gathered at Samhain.

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Lammas is all about abundance and giving thanks for the harvest. This Celtic sabbat celebrates the Goddess as the Grain Mother and the Sun God who sacrifices his life so that the harvest can be cut and gathered.

Traditions of Lammas 

Baking bread 

There is no better way than to celebrate the harvest festival by using the gathered wheat to bake bread with.

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Corn Dollies

Once the grain has been harvested the last few strands of the corn husks and wheat are used to make Corn Dollies. This is honouring the God by giving the corn spirit a vessel to live in once the grain is gone from the fields. The Corn Dolly would be left in the home until Imbolc, where the first seeds of the year are sewn and the corn spirit can once again return to the field to bless the upcoming harvest.

Gathering seeds

Anything from fruit to flowers and herb seeds are gathered around this time of the year. These seeds represent the future harvest and is a celebration of prosperity and abundance. It’s also a nice idea to store these seeds in a little pouch around a Corn Dolly in order to give thanks.

For Lammas you can decorate your altars or sacred spaces with sunflowers, Corn Dollies, wheat or bread offerings and besoms. Brooms and their natural representation of sweeping are not only a gesture of cleansing but also one of gathering. Sweeping in order to collect is a symbol of abundance and also makes a nice little decoration.

Lammas Wheat Sheaf Decoration. £20
You can find Lammas decorations and miniature besoms here.

Blessed Be )O(

 

 

 

 

 

 

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