Friday, December 21, 2012

Yule/ A Shifting in Time

There have been postings dealing with this sense of being cocooned with sadness and dread with a touch of apathy. Much talk about the Mayan predictions coupled with the horrible killing of innocents and leaders who don't lead has put many in a gloomy funk.
  I've been walking around with a cloud on my shoulder and an under current of a dam of tears threatening to break.
I'm having a hard time getting into an Xmasy mood.

But yesterday I had some time to myself .  I celebrated Yule a little early by snipping a few branches of holly from my bush and a few sprigs from the little pine out back. We were having a small break in the weather from our passing rain showers. The branches were all wet with a fresh clean smell.
I set up my altar , meditated then performed a  small Yule ritual.
I felt better knowing that today at 6:12 am EST Gaia, Mother Earth, would stand still for a blip in time and then she would begin to move again and  the light would grow.
Tonight I will light candles and make silent wishes for a peaceful heart for all, love to soothe tired souls and    strength to handle what ever comes our way.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Page from Ruby Temple Blackchurch's Journal

                                                                                                       December 24, 1905

Mother and Father have retired for the evening. After today's busy schedule of baking, wrapping presents and acquiring the tree, they were both exhausted. I told them to go on up and I would finish decorating the tree.
  The garland of popcorn and cranberries has been draped upon the the tree branches. The glass balls and ornaments glitter softly in the glow of firelight. There are just a few more paper cones to fill with nuts, candies and trifles.
   My brother Carl still loves to see what small trinkets and confections are tucked into these petite cornucopias. You wouldn't think a young college man of nineteen could be so enthralled with them. he and several of his classmates will be arriving tomorrow.
   As I was gathering up the ornament boxes I found lodged in a the corner of one a crumple of tissue paper. Unwrapping the paper I discovered a small glass beaded red velvet ornament. It was the ornament Jackson gave to me two years ago this  evening.
Has it only been two years?
It feels like twenty. I still find there are moments when the aching loss of him hits me so hard it takes my breath.
    I first saw Jackson Blackchurch running to catch the trolley I was on. As he grasped the railing to climb aboard, I noticed his blond hair catching the slanting rays of the late afternoon sun. A halo of gold seem to form  around his head.
Being seated near the back of the trolley, I couldn't quite hear his conversation with the motorman. But the gesturing and pointing lead me to think they were discussing street directions.
    As the trolley slowed to its next stop, I watched this young man disembark and hurry down the street.
It was then my voice spoke to me and said, "You will marry this man."
 I felt a shiver of truth run up my spine.
Where and when would I see that  man again I wondered.

to be continued.........

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Holly- Ilex Holly
Holly is a family of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers from the tropics to temperate zones worldwide.
The European holly is ilex aquifolium. It has simple alternate glossy leaves , typically spiny toothed or serrated leaf margins, inconspicuous greenish white four petaled flowers. The red berries they produce are technically drupes.
Holly is traditionally known for protection from lightening strikes. Science has caught up to folk tales. It has been discovered that the spines on the distinctively shaped holly leaves can act as mini lightening conductors, thereby protecting the tree and other near by objects.
Holly wood was at one time among the traditional wood for creating the Great Highland bagpipes.

Holly is associated with the thunder gods, Thor and Taranis.
Holly folk names are are Christ's thorn, Hulver bush, Bat's wings and Tinne.
 An old Roman custom was to send gifts of holly branches to their friends during Saturnalia celebrations at Winter Solstice.
It's element id Fire.
Holly incense is used to consecrate the magical knife, asthame.
It's gender is masculine.
It's planetary association is Mars.
The herb is used for protection, consecration, healing, peace, goodwill and luck.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Mistletoe is the common name for Viscum album  , obligate hemi-parasitic plants found in Europe. The tree or shrub host is called the haustorium. It has small broad shaped leaves and produces a cluster of six to seven waxy white berries.
 It is a poisonous plant that causes acute gastrointestinal problems.
In cultures across pre-christian Europe, mistletoe represented the divine male essence and thus romance, fertility and vitality. The berries were thought to look like and represent semen.
        There doesn't seem to be definitive information about the custom of kissing under the mistletoe until the 16th century in England where it became quite the fashion.
American Mistletoe  is from the plant family phoradendon serotinum. It has slightly broader leaves than the European mistletoe and its produces  longer clusters of ten or more berries.
    The American author Washington Irving described the custom of kissing under the mistletoe in his 1820 story, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon.  A young man could kiss the woman of his choosing under the mistletoe plucking a berry from the bush for the privilege. Once all the berries had been plucked the privilege stopped.
 In past European customs, mistletoe was one of the first Christmas greens hung and the last to be removed usually at Candlemas.
 Or it would be hung through the year to preserve the house from lightening and fire. The old would be taken down and new hung the following Christmas season.

Mistletoe leaves and young twigs are used by herbalists for treating circulatory and respiratory ailments particularly in Europe and Germany. Studies have been done using the extract for treating some cancers. The extract is sold under the name of Iscador, Helixor and other trade names.

Folk names: devil's fuge, thunderbesom, bird lime, all heal
Gender: Hot
Planet: Sun
Element: Air
Part used: The herb
Basic powers: Protection and love

Monday, November 26, 2012

Post Script, Sweet Annie, A Page from Ruby Temple Blackchurch's Journal

                                                                                                  December 22, 1905

    The family gathered together for a Holiday dinner at my Aunt Ruth's home today. Afterwards we sat by the fire in the parlor enjoying our cups of cider when Aunt Ruth and Mother began reminiscing about their childhood holiday memories.
  I was only half listening to the conversation. My thoughts kept drifting back to my strange dream  and the little girl who had haunted it.
  I heard Mother say to Aunt Ruth,"Do you suppose Mama missed having her little sister while she was growing up?"
 The words little sister caught my attention. "Did Grandmother Bell have a little sister?" I asked interrupting the two of them.
  " Oh, yes, said Aunt Ruth, but she passed away when she was about five years old."
  My heart was beating hard in my breast.
"What was her name?" I asked as calmly as I could.
  Mother said, "Her name was Annie. Your grandmother Bell said she was a lively little thing, always laughing and playful. Everyone commented on how dark, long and lovely her hair was, just like a raven's wing.
   As Mother spoke Aunt Ruth had gone to the bookcase and had picked up an old photograph album.
It's cover was dusty and badly faded. It's edges were tattered. As she walked over to me, she was turning its pages. She placed the album in my lap. Pointing her finger at a small picture, Aunt Ruth said to me, "This is sweet Annie."

         "Oh, it is!" I whispered under my breath. There in the photo was the very same little girl of my dream, same hair style, same dress, same sweet face.
  "Why, sweet, Annie?" I asked.
    "She had a fondness for honey, ate it every chance she got. She was teased and told it would make her so sweet that the bees would think she was a flower and would try to take a sip of her. Your Grandmother Bell and your great uncles took to calling her Sweet Annie," explained Aunt Ruth.

I studied the face of this small girl comparing it to the face of the little waif in my dream. " I'd guess that she was barefooted when she sat for this pictured," I conjectured.
 Aunt Ruth had returned to her chair and was in the middle of taking a sip of her cider when I spoke. She choked on her drink and began coughing. Once she recovered her breath she asked me incredulously, How did  you know that?'
  I relied jokingly,"She looks like someone who would love to feel the earth beneath her feet." Just like the little girl who had been barefooted as she lead me through my dream forest, I thought.
          Aunt Ruth began to recall the tales of how Annie was always losing her shoes. She would remove them and then forget where they were. There had been a time when she left her shoes under a pew at church. The shoes had been found by the organist as she collected song books for the evening service.
Her shoes would turn up at neighboring homes, the library, the local grocer and mercantile. Annie's lost shoes became a fond village joke.
  The family seemed to be forever looking for her shoes.
" The dress Annie wears in the photograph was her favorite. She loved that white dress so much your Great Grandmother Abby could hardly get her to take it off, even to have it laundered! When Annie died the family buried her in it," Aunt Ruth said.
 "  What did she die of?" I inquired.
"I really don't know, said Aunt Ruth, I suppose it was one of those childhood diseases they have cures for now."
  "Have I seen this picture before now," I asked, thinking maybe I had looked at the photograph another time but had forgotten. And Annie's image was buried in my subconscious. I was searching for a rational explanation as to why I had dreamt of her.
  "I can't see how, Ruby,"Aunt Ruth replied. I was cleaning out an old trunk in the attic last week when I found the album. I haven't seen it in years and I know you haven't. Why do you ask?"

I got up and walked over to Aunt Ruth. I gave her a big hug and told her," I guess it's because she looks so much like you, I thought I might have seen it some other time thinking I was looking at a picture of you."

Much later when Mother and Aunt Ruth prepared for our departure home, I stole back into the parlor, picked up the album and removed Annie's photo. I slipped it into my dress pocket. I needed time to study the picture, time to puzzle out the how, why and consequences of her appearance in my dream and my life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweet Annie, A Page From Ruby Temple Blackchurch's Journal

December 20, 1905

 My dreams were fitful last night.
 I dreamt I was lost in a dark thick forest and couldn't find my way.
Just when I had almost given up hope I heard the whisper of a young girl saying, "Ruby, come take my hand. I'll show you the way."
I turned and saw this lovely little barefoot girl in a white off the shoulder gown. Her long dark hair was parted down the middle of her head and it cascaded over her shoulders and fell into soft waves at her waist.
She walked up to me and took my hand in hers. When we touched I immediately felt calm and safe.

She began to lead  me thorough the trees and out of the darkness.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"My name is Annie.    Sweet Annie", she replied.
She tugged on my arm and pulled me down to kneel at her level.
" I will show you things and tell you secrets," she whispered with a giggle in my ear.
"You seem so familiar," I told her.
She just laughed and let go of my hand.
The sun was shining in my eyes.  I could no longer make her out from the wavering lines and flickering shadows in the glare.
"Annie, Annie, where are you? I called and called.
The sun was so bright!
I awoke.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Earth Poem

This past week I have worked on my Earth Rite.   My houseplants received a good cleaning plus what ever extra attention each individual  plant needed.
The herb and oil cabinet got a thorough cleaning. Old and past potency things were removed and returned to the earth.
   One thing I have learned while traveling this path is that it is better to wait til the need arrives when  acquiring herbs, gem stones, oils etc.
 I was enthused , excited and wanted to learn about everything so much that at first I went out and purchased a lot of items.   Some of which I have come to use regularly and know just exactly the amount needed.  Some items I rarely use and bought way to much.  It's been an on going education.
    The stone I use as the working surface of my altar ,I acquired from a nearby home as it was being built. The fireplace of this new home had been tiled with marble squares. There were a few left over pieces and I had asked the builder if I may have one. He was very kind and gave one to me.

I want to share with you an American Indian Poem written by an artisan pottery maker.

  I am the earth at my feet
And the rain that softens it
And I am thankful

I am the clay in my hands
And the shapes they craft
And I am respectful

I am the story in my mind
And the prayer in my heart
And I am wiser

We are one moment in a
Tradition everlasting and
We are honored

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Page From Ruby Temple Blackchurch's Journal

She wondered if he loved her truly.
He loves me.
He loves me not?
She ate an apple to the core and found a seed.
She removed the seed and gave it his name.
She took a pin and inscribed his name on a white candle.
She lit the candle, whispered his name over the seed then dropped it into the flame.
It cracked and popped!

She was overjoyed. It meant he could hardly contain his feelings for her.

  E___ had come to me, worried about  J's true intentions toward her. Was it because of her Father's wealth and position or  was it because he really valued her and that had made him ask for her hand in marriage? Was he true?

I gave her this charm to perform, telling her it would be helpful in helping her find her answer.
Later she asked me, "How did you know?"
I just smiled.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rite of Earth

Affirmation: I accept the richness and abundance of the universe. The pathway is always open for me to receive the gifts of the earth. I deserve the gifts of an abundant universe.

In Silver Ravenwolf's book, Hedge Witch, Spells, Crafts & Rituals for Natural Magick, the Rite of Earth is the third ritual.
I have been so immersed the last couple of months with creating for and celebrating Halloween that I find myself feeling a little empty now. The wheel has turned and I need to reconnect. I need my inner well refilled.
     When I feel this way I am drawn to nature. The need to go outside and walk around becomes overwhelming. The desire to touch Mother Earth is strong.
With this in mind I picked up my Hedge Witch book. It fell open to the Earth Rite.
 How perfect.
This rite concentrates on earth, associating this energy with the richness of the universe and the abundance of spiritual energy.
S.R uses this rite to teach the beginner how to create a hedge witch altar stone. It will represent a small sacred area where you can meditate, burn candles and work with your herbs. She also encourages you to get a plant to grow and take care of with the concept that as your garden grows without you grow within.

Since I have my altar stone already I will do a rededicating. For the next three days I will be cleaning up my altar area, repotting and working with my plants and gathering the supplies for the ritual.

When you feel in the need of renewing your inner well, what do you do?

Friday, November 2, 2012

The ( Secret) Journal of Miss Ruby Temple Blackchurch

clairvoyance 1) the ability to perceive things that are not in sight or that can not be seen
2) keen perception; great insight

  After reading Daniel Webster's dictionary 's meaning of the word clairvoyance, I knew I had finally found the name for that clear steady voice in my head which whispers of things to come.
It has been a constant companion all my life.
 The first time I heard it I was twelve years old. My best girlfriend C____ and her family were hosting a Halloween party on their small farm.
     The barn had been decorated with bundles of corn stalks and piles of dark orange pumpkins. The smells of apples, popcorn and hot chocolate filled the air along with an under current of fresh mowed hay and wet fallen leaves.
      The invitation had instructed that we were to arrive in mask and costume. We wouldn't be allowed to say who we were until our identities had been ascertained with questions that required yes or no answers.
      My friend's older brother fancied himself  a wit and a good guesser. He took it upon himself to find out my identity. I remember sitting there upon the rough wooden plank that served as a bench, answering his questions.  Looking up at him through the eyes of my mask, a voice said " He will be your beau."
       L _____ was nine years older than I. That is just not possible, I thought. Mother was forever telling me my imagination was to big, I needed to be sensible or my imagination would get me into trouble. As I told myself I was being silly, in the back of my mind I knew it would be true.
   Five years later when I had my seventeenth birthday, L ___ had become a regular caller, walking out with me after church on Sundays. We'd go for buggy rides. Somehow he always managed to find shady places where we could stop , rest the horse and he would steal kisses from me.
      At first I thought I was head over heels in love with him but as I grew to know his character, his views about women and their place and his religious beliefs, I realized I wouldn't and couldn't marry him.
 One day after another spat with him, I sat crying in the parlor thinking over our history together when I remembered that Halloween evening and what my voice had told me.
Yes, it had been right!
 He would be a Beau and nothing else.
How had I known?

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Made This For The Halloween Craft Blog Party

Time has gotten away from me and I suddenly realized what day it is.
It is the Craft Blog party. And mt craft projects are an Apothecary, An altered Art book and a Captured Goblin Book.
These have been fun and I'm still creating a few more pieces to go with the Apothecary.
If you have any questions about how the art was created I'd be happy to share.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

From The Journal Of Ruby Temple Blackchurch

A few posts back , I wrote about an altered art journal and an accompanying story I was creating.
I've been designing the page spreads for the journal and writing an entry for each as I go.
My goal is to present the journal as a serial of sorts by posting an entry and page spread per week.
I would like for you to follow a long with me ,providing me with feedback and any suggestions you may have  so that I can refine the story line wherever it is needed.
Thank you.

                                  The ( Secret)  Journal of Miss Ruby Temple Blackchurch

     In the year of our Goddess, 1905, I take my pen in hand and begin this journal in the hopes that by writing down the events of my journey on this mysterious path which is my life I shall obtain a clearer view of where,what and who I am intended to go, do and be.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Practical Magic Altered Art Book

It's that magical time of the year again. The owls are hooting in the wee early hours and their hoots become incorporated into my dreams.
 Last year Frosted Petunias hosted a Practical Magic Movie party. For a party  give away favor from my blog I created an Altered Art Book.
This book and it's photos get a lot of hits. I'm glad people like checking it out.
The book was hard to part with and I'm very glad that I did I take photos of it.
I've just finished rereading the book, Practical Magic , the movie is next on my list.

I'm thinking that I am going to have to create another PM book.
 It keeps calling to me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Journal of Ruby Temple Blackchurch and Her Fortune Teller Desk

Last year I created Ruby's desk and was working to finish collecting the items she might use as well as creating her Secret Journal.
I set them aside after Halloween with the intent of completing the journal.
This week as I was going through my Halloween decorations I came across Ruby's desk and was smitten with guilt that I hadn't finished the journal. I also felt that I hadn't found the correct items for her desk and it needed reassessing.
My writing Muse has been whispering in my ear that I need to write down what she has to say concerning Ruby and her story.
Today I  have begun to write. Follow along with me as Ruby tells her story.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween Herbs Apothecary

Orange and Black Chest
Chest with Stencils

example: Herb Boxes

Dried Dandelion leaves

Home Grown  Rubbed Sage

Mini Cauldron
I am following Laura Carson's blog- She has been showing how to create an Apothecary with all the coolest bottles and faux books to go along with it.

When I first decided to do the project I was considering using this jewelry chest that I had purchased from my neighborhood Goodwill store. After painting the piece, my thoughts were to remove a few of the drawers and use the shelves created to hold the little bottles and books.
 But after finding out the heights of the bottles, I knew that my chest wasn't going to work due to the fact the space between the shelves wasn't going to be tall enough.
I still wanted to do something with the chest. I set it out on my bookcase in my studio and did some thinking.

I have decided to create a mini herb, spice and tea chest.
 I stenciled the drawers and painted several small paper mache boxes. I plan on using the boxes to hold herbs and spices. Some will be displayed and others will fill the drawers.
 For the teas I plan on sewing some bags.   The teas will be stored in a drawer as well.

It's a work in progress.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Halloween Black Cat in the Box

I've been busy working on several art projects this week.
I finally got my  Black Cat in the Box finished.
My inspiration came from an article in an old October Somerset magazine. I have saved several years of October issues from Somerset and other magazines.  There's a shelf in my bookcase dedicated to Fall and Halloween.

The Black Cat's head is made from Paper clay. It was hand molded and when dry painted with acrylic paints and Sharpie pens. He has an orange crepe paper collar edged in orange and bright green glitter glue.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Mabon

I'm a little late posting my greeting but we've been in a bit of a whirl around here.
We're in the middle of trying to sell our home. This weekend we had multiple showings but no no positive results as of yet.
I was able to harvest some of my herbs and clean up the beds a little. There's bunches of sage, rosemary and parsley drying on my rack.
I did find a small quiet moment to watch the last light of Summer fade away and to welcome Autumn in.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Autumn Altered Witch Shoe Challenge

Tomorrow is the Altered Autumn Witch Shoe Challenge over at Frosted Petunias.

I've been busy creating my Shoe for the Challenge. I decided to do a Little Fairy Witch's Shoe. The little shoe is one that my boys wore when they were babies.  Somewhere in all the  house moves that we have made over the years I lost one of the pair.   As I was cleaning out closets and drawers the other day I came across the shoe and having just read about the Challenge I decided to use it as my subject.

The shoe was a dirty white to begin with and I painted it with black acrylic paint.  Orange Halloween Ribbon printed with a black design was used for the shoelace.   The tips of the shoelaces are red and blue star beads.
The little girl was copied from an old cabinet card. I glued the image to sturdy watercolor paper and then cut it out. Butterfly wings and witch's hat was added as well as her little jack o'lantern head dolly.   I glued the photo to a large cork and then glued the cork down in the heel of the shoe.   I used orange colored tulle to make the ruffle.
 For a shoe dangle I found a lobster claw clasp in my junk drawer. I strung a crescent moon charm, little crystal ball and a little bottle of pixie dust.  It still needed a little more glitz so I added some sparkle glitter glue around the top of the sole of the shoe, a sparkly spider web and little bug eyed spider

I am not the best photographer by any means but I hope you'll be able to see  how the shoe turned out.

I'm anxious to go and see the shoes everyone else has created for this event on the first day of Fall!