Lammas in Southern Hemisphere – Imbolc in Northern Hemisphere

To all here in the Southern Hemisphere I wish you Blessed Lammas. It is supposed to be summer here but we have had so much rain and today I have the heating on. Stay safe and healthy everyone and may this year be a better one for all. Blessed Be!

By Patti Wigington, About.com

The Beginning of the Harvest: Lammas History: Welcoming the Harvest

At Lammas, also called Lughnasadh, the hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we still know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Apples are beginning to ripen in the trees, our summer vegetables have been picked, corn is tall and green, waiting for us to come gather the bounty of the crop fields. Now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown, and gathering up the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more.

This holiday can be celebrated either as a way to honor the god Lugh, or as a celebration of the harvest.

Celebrating Grain in Ancient Cultures:

Grain has held a place of importance in civilization back nearly to the beginning of time. Grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The Sumerian god Tammuz was slain and his lover Ishtar grieved so heartily that nature stopped producing. Ishtar mourned Tammuz, and followed him to the Underworld to bring him back, similar to the story of Demeter and Persephone.

In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.

A Feast of Bread:

In early Ireland, it was a bad idea to harvest your grain any time before Lammas — it meant that the previous year’s harvest had run out early, and that was a serious failing in agricultural communities. However, on August 1, the first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season.

The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf-maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season were blessed by the Church.

Honoring Lugh, the Skillful God:

In some Wiccan and modern Pagan traditions, Lammas is also a day of honoring Lugh, the Celtic craftsman god. He is a god of many skills, and was honored in various aspects by societies both in the British Isles and in Europe. Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NAS-ah) is still celebrated in many parts of the world today. Lugh’s influence appears in the names of several European towns.

Honoring the Past:

In our modern world, it’s often easy to forget the trials and tribulations our ancestors had to endure. For us, if we need a loaf of bread, we simply drive over to the local grocery store and buy a few bags of prepackaged bread. If we run out, it’s no big deal, we just go and get more. When our ancestors lived, hundreds and thousands of years ago, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, or the bread not baked in time, families could starve. Taking care of one’s crops meant the difference between life and death.

By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. Lammas is a time of transformation, of rebirth and new beginnings.

Symbols of the Season

The Wheel of the Year has turned once more, and you may feel like decorating your house accordingly. While you probably can’t find too many items marked as “Lammas decor” in your local discount store, there are a number of items you can use as decoration for this harvest holiday.

Crafts, Song and Celebration

Because of its association with Lugh, the skilled god, Lammas (Lughnasadh) is also a time to celebrate talents and craftsmanship. It’s a traditional time of year for craft festivals, and for skilled artisans to peddle their wares. In medieval Europe, guilds would arrange for their members to set up booths around a village green, festooned with bright ribbons and fall colors. Perhaps this is why so many modern Renaissance Festivals begin around this time of year!

 Sickles and scythes, as well as other symbols of harvesting

 Grapes and vines

 Dried grains — sheafs of wheat, bowls of oats, etc.

 Corn dolls — you can make these easily using dried husks

 Early fall vegetables, such as squashes and pumpkins

 Late summer fruits, like apples, plums and peaches

Lugh is also known in some traditions as the patron of bards and magicians. Now is a great time of year to work on honing your own talents. Learn a new craft, or get better at an old one. Put on a play, write a story or poem, take up a musical instrument, or sing a song. Whatever you choose to do, this is the right season for rebirth and renewal, so set August 1 as the day to share your new skill with your friends and family.

Imbolc in Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere may your days become warmer as Spring bursts forth. I know you are still getting snow, hopefully the sun will begin to shine soon. May you have a safe and healthy year Blessed Be!

Imbolc Lore: Posted on February 2, 2015 by ladyoftheabyss

It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house-if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honor of the Sun’s rebirth. Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window.

If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.

Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine. Spicy and full-bodied foods in honor of the Sun are equally attuned. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins-all foods symbolic of the Sun-are also traditional.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

Litha in Southern Hemisphere – Yule Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Southern Hemisphere I wish you a Blessed Litha, summer solstice today and it is a calm warm day. Here in the state we live in Australia we have had over 50 days COVID free which is fantastic. We are all still being careful. Enjoy the summer months and lets hope we all stay safe. Blessed Be!

Litha, or Midsummer, is celebrated at the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the Year, and the shortest night.

Litha celebrates the very height of the powers of the Sun and of Life. But it also acknowledges that after this date the Sun will begin to weaken and the days to grow shorter. Litha is a time of purification.  An Example of a purification Litha spell is to take a small herbal bag filled with Litha herbs/flowers, put all your problems, worries etc. into the bag, and drop it into the Litha fire to burn all those worries away. 

Litha is also a time to pay attention to your dreams, as these could contain messages for the future.  This Sabbat is a good time to perform any Magikal workings, and jumping over a Litha balefire will increase the Magikal energy and give purification  Herbs and plants for ritual use can be harvested at Litha to make use of the high level of Magik power at this time. 

Litha is also a time to make protection amulets, and bless people or animals.

Plants for Litha:  Mugwort, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild thyme, Daisy, Carnation, St John’s Wort.

Stones: Moonstone, Quartz, Pearl.

Colours:  Green, Orange, Yellow, Gold.

Element:  Water.

Planet:  Moon.

Zodiac:  Cancer.

Pagan Beliefs:  The Goddess is mature.  The God prepares for his death.  Some traditions have the Holly King and the Oak King fighting again, but this time the Holly King wins, and rules until Yule.

Litha Goddesses: Athena, Bona Dea, Freya, Hathor, Isis, Juno, Nuit, Artemis, Dana, Eos, Kali, Sekhmet, Vesta.

Litha Gods: Apollo, Baal, Dagda, Balder, Helios, lugh, Oak king, Holly King, Prometheus, Ra, Thor, Sol, Zeus.

Yule – Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere I wish you a Blessed Yule, stay safe and warm this winter solstice. I know it is difficult over there now and I hope that things improve in the New Year Blessed Be!

Yule is celebrated at the winter solstice (Or the midpoint of winter). It is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night.

Yule comes from the Germanic “Iul” meaning “Wheel.” Yule celebrates Winter, and the rebirth of the Sun God. As Yule is the shortest day of the Year it marks the Suns low point, as after this the Sun will begin to grow stronger again. It is customary to have a Yule log – this is a log (Traditionally Oak or Pine) that you burn during this time, and keep it through the year for protection, and add it to the fire of the following year’s Yule log. 

If you do not wish to have a fire, you can use a log with holes drilled into it as a candle holder which will represent the Yule fire.  It is also customary to light many lights and candles as sympathetic magik to bring the Sun back, persuading him to emerge from the womb of the Earth mother.. 

Holly is traditionally worn by men, and Ivy by women at this time.  The Yule tree (Also known as the Christmas tree) was a wishing tree, the wishes for the new year hang in the arms of the universe. 

You can make a Pagan Yule tree by making decorations from Rose Buds, Cinnamon Sticks, Pop Corn, Bags of Herbs, Crystals suspended from wire, Apples, Oranges, Lemons etc.  After you have made the tree, dance around it Deosil (clockwise), singing and making wishes. A time for Rebirth, reflection, new ideas, dreams, hopes and giving.

 
Plants for Yule:  Holly, Mistletoe, Ivy, Evergreens, Pine, Cedar, Bay, Juniper, Rosemary, Pine, Apples, Oranges, Nutmeg, Lemon, Cinnamon, Frankincense.

Foods of Yule:  All “Christmas” foods (eg. Turkey, Roasts, Potatoes etc.), hearty Winter foods (Stew etc.), Nuts, Apples, Pears, Caraway, Pork, Hibiscus or Ginger tea.

Stones:  Onyx, Obsidian, Jet.

Colours:  Red, Green, Orange, White.

Element:  Earth.

Planet: Saturn

Zodiac: Capricorn.

Pagan belief:  The Goddess gives birth to the God.  Some traditions have a Holly King and an Oak King as the God, and they fight at Yule with the Oak King winning, and ruling until Litha.

Yule Goddesses: Fortuna, Gaia, Heket, Lilith, Frey, Ma’at, Pandora, Shekinah, Tiamat.

Yule Gods: Apollo, Balder, Cronos, Helios, Janus, Lugh, Oak King, Holly King, Ra, Sol, Attis, mithras, Odin, Saturn.

Beltane in Southern Hemisphere – Samhain in Northern Hemisphere

Here in the Southern Hemisphere we are celebrating Beltane as we come into Summer. Although it is not Halloween here we do trick or treat for the kids because they don’t understand the difference of the hemisphere’s. There are strict rules here this years and the kids are not allowed to come to the door so we will sit at the bottom of our drive with a cauldron of lollies for them. For everybody, continue to stay safe, distant and healthy. Blessed Be!

Beltane Festival is held in honour of the god Bel.

In some modern traditions he is also known by the names, Beli, Belar, Balor, or Belenus.

In the myth of many modern traditions of wicca/witchcraft, Beltane marks the appearance of the Horned One, who is the rebirth of the Solar God slain during the Wheel of the Year. He then becomes consort to the Goddess, impregnating her with his seed, and thereby ensuring his own rebirth once again.

Beltane marks the beginning of summer’s half and the pastoral growing season. The word “Beltane” literally means “bright fire”, and refers to the bonfires lit during this season.

It is also a time of beginnings, the beginnings of many new projects.

Beltane is a fertility festival, concerned with Nature enchantments and offerings to wildlings and Elementals.

The return of full-blown fertility is now very evident.

The powers of elves and faeries are growing and will reach their height at the Summer Solstice.

The celts respected faeries, active at this sabbat, and were sure that these Little People would come to the celebration disguised as humans to ask for a part of the fire, which, when freely given, would give the faeries some measure of power over the giver.

Beltane is the cross quarter holiday between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice it is the time when the abundance of flowers and green is a welcome relief from winters drabness; it was traditionally a day for leaping the Beltane fires, which were lit to honour the sun god, and for celebrating fertility.

Beltane celebrates the blessing between Mother Earth and Father Sky and honours all life.

Both are times when the “veil” between the worlds is thought to be thinnest, and therefore magik can happen, such as visits from faeries or similar other-worldly occurrences.

This is a good time for invoking our spirit guides to help us.

A blessed Beltane to you!

Samhain In Northern Hemisphere

To all my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, may you stay cosy and warm as the winter creeps upon you. Stay, safe, distant and wear your masks, hopefully this crisis will begin to improve over time. Sending you many blessings and healing energy. Blessed Be!

Samhain Lore and Traditions

October 31 — Samhain Eve
Also known as: November Eve, Feast of the Dead, Feast of Apples, Hallows
and All Hallows Eve.

Possibly the biggest festival of the Witches’ year, Samhain is a time to remember those who have passed on, celebrate the Summers end and prepare for Winter months ahead. The Sun God and earth fall into slumber, as the nights lengthen and winter begins.

Samhain, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) means “End of Summer”, and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Third Harvest, Samana, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest (Strega), and Samhuinn. Also known as All Hallow’s Eve, (that day actually falls on November 7th), and Martinmas (that is celebrated November 11th), Samhain is now generally considered the Witch’s New Year.

It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st.It is one of the two “spirit-nights” each year, the other being Beltane. It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands.

It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort. Tradition also teaches that the aid of spirits and guides from the other world was easily enlisted at this time, so in the increasing moonlight of longer nights, many used this time to hone their psychic and divinatory skills, especially with regard to love and marriage.

Originally known as the “Feast of the Dead” this sabbat was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”.Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos.

The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.

The Christian religion has adopted this day as All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, celebrating the eve as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. The superstition and misconception linked to this celebration by the early church, led people to take some unusual precautions to protect themselves. They adopted the tradition of dressing in frightening costumes or disguises, and displaying scary looking Jack-O-Lanterns to help protect them from spirits they considered to be evil. In the British Isles, the young people would disguise themselves with hideous masks and walk through the village, lighting their way with lanterns made from carved turnips.

This was also the time that the cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating in the ensuing winter months. Any crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo, and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with peoples names. Then they were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. The condition of the retrieved stone foretold of that person’s fortune in the coming year. Hearth fires were also lit from the village bonfire to ensure unity, and the ashes were spread over the harvested fields to protect and bless the land.

Symbolism of Samhain:
Third Harvest, the Dark Mysteries, Rebirth through Death.

Symbols of Samhain:
Gourds, Apples, Black Cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, Besoms.

Herbs of Samhain:
Mugwort, Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Oak leaves, Sage and Straw.

Foods of Samhain:
Turnips, Apples, Gourds, Nuts, Mulled Wines, Beef, Pork, Poultry.

Incense of Samhain:
Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg.

Colors of Samhain:
Black, Orange, White, Silver, Gold.

Stones of Samhain:
All Black Stones, preferably jet or obsidian.

Traditional Foods:
Apples, Pears, Pomegranates, All Grains, Pumpkin-pie, Hazelnuts, Cakes for the dead, Corn, Cranberry muffins and breads, Ale, Cider, Herbal teas (especially Mugwort) and Meat unless vegetarian and then tofu will do.

Herbs:
Calendula, Cosmos, Chrysanthemum, Wormwood, Hazel, Thistle.

Incense:
Mint, Heliotrope, Nutmeg, Sage or Floral’s.

Woods and Herbs Burned:
Apple, Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg, Sage.

Sacred Gemstone:
Aquamarine.

For further information on rites and rituals to celebrate the sabbats, we reccommend:

Pagan Holidays and Earth Magic by Kardia Zoe

However you choose to celebrate Samhain, be adventurous and investigate some of the older traditions. There is a large amount of interesting and sometimes comical lore surrounding this date. As an aside, it’s OK. to dress up as Witches’, Goblins and have fun with the more nonsense aspects of this holiday. It is good however to set aside some time to learn the true meaning behind this date and follow those observances as our ancestors did.

Blessed Be!

Reference: https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/samhainlore.htm

New Release – Girl Magic By T. Jackson King

Today I have a New Release for you Girl Magic, book one of the Girl Magic series, by my friend T. Jackson King. I am looking forward to reading this one.

Girl Magic by [T. Jackson King]

Janie Wilmott never believed her granny’s tales of magic and supernatural creatures. Until the night she is attacked by a vampire. And discovers she is an Absorber witch able to take into herself all the powers of any supernatural being who tries to harm her. A side benefit is the two foot tall black bat Abner who announces he is her familiar. The fun part of being a youngling witch are the supernatural friends she makes. Like the gnome Dirt and the ogre Mayhem the Terrible. But when deadly supernatural creatures come hunting for her, Janie needs all her friends and her new abilities–in between serving meals at Cafe Tribal! GIRL MAGIC is a great PWF tale featuring a 20 year old Goth girl in Boulder, Colorado.

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Ostara in Southern Hemisphere – Mabon in Northern Hemisphere

Many blessings to those of us in the Southern Hemisphere as we celebrate Ostara with the changing season. The cold weather is still around, although the days are getting longer, stay safe in this covid time, we here in Victoria are still in Stage Four lockdown, hopefully soon it will ease up a bit. Blessed Be!

This festival is named after the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre, also known in Old German as Ostara. Little is known about this Goddess except that Her festival was celebrated at the Spring Equinox. She was a Goddess of Fertility and was connected with hares and eggs. She may have been a Goddess of the Dawn. She may also be connected with the Greek Eos and the Roman Aurora, both Dawn Goddesses, and with the Babylonian Ishtar and Phoenician Astarte, both who are Love Goddesses.

The Spring Equinox is a time both of fertility and new life, and of balance and harmony. Light and dark are here in balance, but the light is growing stronger. It is a time of birth, and of manifestation.

The days grow lighter and the Earth grows warmer. At Ostara, seeds may be blessed and planted. Seeds of wisdom, understanding and magikal skills may also be planted. Eggs are used for the creation of talismans, especially for fertility, or ritually eaten. The egg is a symbol of rebirth and its yolk represents the sun, and the white representing the White Goddess. This is a time of both growth and balance, a time to work on balancing yourself.

Ostara is a celebration of birth and new life. You will begin to see shoots of new growth and swelling buds on the trees. Energy is building as the days become warmer. This is the time of the official return of the young Goddess after Her Winter hibernation. The young God has now grown into manhood. It is believed that at Ostara the Goddess and the God consummated their love for one another. From this the Goddess became pregnant with the God to be reborn at Yule.

The Green Man is very predominate at this time of the year. He is a personification of all life that exist deep within Nature and is usually represented as the foliate mask made up of greenery, leaves growing from mouth and nose, and encircling the face as beard and hair. In some pictures He looks savage, ugly or threatening; in others He is benevolent and watchfully protective.

Blessed Be!

Mabon in Northern Hemisphere

Mabon blessings to all in the Northern Hemisphere as you get ready for the winter months, stay cosy, stay safe. Blessed Be!

Mabon is very much like Thanksgiving. Most of the crops have been reaped and abundance is more noticeable than ever! Mabon is the time when we reap the fruits of our labor and lessons, both crops and experiences. It is a time of joy, to celebrate that which is passing (for why should we mourn the beauty of the year or dwindling sunlight?), looking joyously at the experience the year has shared with us. And it is a time to gaze into the bright future. We are reminded once again of the cyclic universe; endings are merely new beginnings.

Since it is the time of dying sun, effort is also made to celebrate the dead with joyous remembrance. Natural energies are aligned towards protection, wealth, prosperity, security, and boosting self-confidence. Any spells or rituals centered around balance and harmony are appropriate.

Also, (from a variation in legend) the Equinox is the day of the year when the god of light, Lugh, is defeated by the god of darkness, Lugh’s twin and alter-ego, Tanist. The night conquers day. The tales state that the Equinox is the only day which Lugh is vulnerable and the possibility of his defeat exists. Lugh stands on the balance (Autumn Equinox-Libra) with one foot on the goat (Winter Solstice-Capricorn) and the other on the cauldron (Summer Solstice-Cancer). He is betrayed by Blodeuwedd, the Virgin (Virgo) and transformed into an Eagle (Scorpio).

Two events occur rapidly with Lugh’s defeat. Tanist, having beaten Lugh, now takes over Lugh’s place both as King of our world and lover to the Goddess Tailltiu. Although Tanist now sits on Lugh’s throne, his official induction does not take place for another six weeks at Samhain, the beginning of Winter, when he becomes the Dark King, the Winter Lord, the Lord of Misrule. He mates with Tailltiu, who conceives, and will give birth nine months later (at the Summer Solstice) to her son, another incarnation of Tanist himself, the Dark Child.

New Release – Wretched Results:A Medical Thriller By Barbara Ebel M.D.

New Release today, Wretched Results:A Medical Thriller, book two in the Outlander Physician Series by my friend Barbara Ebel M.D. Another great mystery story for you to read.

Barb

 

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In the morning, Dr. Viktoria Thorsdottir begins her assignment at Amour Cosmetic Surgery. In the afternoon, she’s wondering what the hell she’s doing there.

Viktoria’s temporary anesthesiologist’s position at Amour is perfectly situated on Long Island, NY, and near her home where she’ll spend a rare month with her husband. But both places are giving her the creeps.

˃˃˃ Do all of Amour’s procedures, like facelifts, tummy tucks, and breast augmentation, turn their patients into Hollywood goddesses?

Dr. Thorsdottir discovers that the strip-mall beautification center runs like a well-oiled machine, but as the days go by, she becomes privy to what goes on behind-the-scenes. After a patient winds up dead, the attentive anesthesiologist discovers behavior at Amour that makes her skin crawl. Probing deeper is one thing. Must Viktoria also become a whistleblower?

˃˃˃ This is Book Two in the Outlander Physician Series. The unpredictable saga of the physician from Iceland continues!

 

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New Release – Virtually Impossible By Barbara Ebel M.D

Today I have a New Release for you, Virtually Impossible, Book 8 in the High-Tech Crime Solvers Series by my friend Barbara Ebel M.D.  This is a medical mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat, enjoy.

Barbara Ebel

 

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From USA Today Bestselling Author, Barbara Ebel, comes a gripping techno-thriller, part of a multi-author series tied together by an interlocking cast of characters, all centered around the fantastic new promise of high technology and the endless possibilities for crime that technology offers, in a world where getting away with murder can be not only plausible, but easy…if you just know how.

This volume presents Dr. Hook Hookie, a Molecular Genetic Pathologist, whose high-tech genetic analysis equipment is stolen from right under his nose.

Concerted thievery abounds at Monument Medical Center in Atlanta!

Dr. Hook Hookie may have a prestigious educational and military background, but he now spends his days discovering the most intricate mysteries of the human genome. The elderly scientist also extrapolates genetic information that informs patients of their hereditary health risks–deadly or not.

But Dr. Hookie isn’t the only one with a use for the high-tech genetic machinery – a villainess stalks the Medical Center, and she isn’t interested in telling people if they’re going to die from cancer.

Her thievery goes too far while the cat and mouse skulduggery mounts.

Maybe, just maybe, Dr. Hookie’s expertise as a Genetic Pathologist will help solve the crimes!

★★★★★ “Ebel’s on par with the best works of Robin Cook and Michael Crichton.”

Scroll up and grab Virtually Impossible today!

 

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Yule in Southern Hemisphere – Litha in Northern Hemisphere

To all of us in the Southern Hemisphere I wish you a blessed Yule.  I usually host a feast for a group of friends but because of the distancing situation we won’t be having it this year.  I hope everybody stays safe, warm and healthy.  Blessed Be!

YULE11

Yule – {The Winter solstice}

The real “12 Days of Christmas”, Yule begins on “Mothers Night” and ends 12 days later on “Yule Night”. Typically starting on the 20th or 21st of December to December 31st (Northern Hemisphere), 20th or 21st of June to June 30th (Southern Hemisphere).

Yule is a time when the waxing sun overcomes the waning sun. The Holly King, which represents the death aspect of God, is overcome by the Oak King who represents the rebirth of the God. It is the time when you conclude the chapter of your life for the year and prepare for the rebirth of the New Year’s lessons and opportunities.

Celebrations vary from tradition to tradition, but there are some similarities that most people will probably recognise.

Dark red or Bayberry candles are used to decorate the home and ensure wealth and happiness for the coming year. Many Witches will place the candles as a centrepiece on their dining table and allow it to burn until it extinguishes by itself. A set of candles can also be placed on the mantle and lit at the beginning of the Yule ceremony.

The festival is associated with fire, and the Yule log. The fire is the tool that returns all to its beginnings, “ashes to ashes”. And prepares the soul for rebirth, the “rise of the Phoenix from the ashes”.

The season is also represented by the colours red (for the fire) and green (for the rebirth) process. The season includes the cutting of the Yule tree, decorating the home with a holy wreath (nature’s red and green bush) and decorating special cookies for celebrating the sweet joys of the year past and the sweetness for the year to come.

Finally the season includes the reindeer stag to represent the horned God, the Wiccan God of death and the final chapter of the year.

 LITHA – Northern Hemisphere

 To everyone in the Northern Hemisphere may you be blessed with the warmth of the sun and stay safe, healthy and socially distant.  Blessed Be!

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Litha – {Summer solstice}

                 June 21st (Northern Hemisphere)

                 December 21st / 22nd (Southern Hemisphere)

Also known as ‘Midsummer Night’s Eve’, it is the longest day of the year. The Midsummer festival celebrates the kingly aspect of the God. It is a festival of passion and glory, a time to merge and commune with nature, sprites and fairies. In the Celtic traditions it is also a celebration of the Mother Goddess who is seen heavy with child, ready to deliver the fruits of the season so to speak.

Colours of red and maize yellow and gold are excellent decorations representing the Sun God, the masculine aspects of the season. Sunflowers and sunflower seeds are also excellent examples (provided you’ve planted them in early spring). Or replace the early spring wreath on your door with a new summer decoration of red feathers for sexuality and yellow feathers for prosperity, intertwined or braided with ivy. Altar candles should be of gold and red.

Money tree plants can be added to your mantle decorations for monetary wealth, (providing you once again have had an early planting season).

 

 

New Release -Webs In The Mist by Maggie Plummer

Today I have a new release for you, Webs In The Mist Book Two in the Jessie Morgan series by my friend Maggie Plummer.  I also have a great author interview with Maggie, hope you enjoy it.

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Description1

It’s 1972, and San Francisco is a global mecca for hippies and radicals. In Book Two of The Jessie Morgan Series, 21-year-old Jess can’t wait to join her friend Donna there. Driving her VW down the Pacific Coast, she’s more than ready for the city’s open Bohemian vibe, bongo-mad street life, perpetual protests, and cutting-edge counterculture.

Among the characters she meets are Cat, a tall, fun-loving Sicilian, and Carl, a Harley-riding enigma with bushy red hair. As Jessie gleefully spreads her wings in the City by the Bay, she leaves her stormy past behind.

 Or does she?

This novel is recommended for mature readers due to 1970s-era sex, drugs, and profanity.

Maggiephoto 1 by mary o'brien

 

Short author bio: Maggie Plummer is a multi-genre author whose latest novel, Webs in the Mist, is Book Two of her semi-autobiographical Jessie Morgan Series. Like Jessie, she lived in San Francisco during the freewheeling 1970s, riding the cable cars in raggedy bell-bottom jeans. These days the author works from her Montana home near the shores of Flathead Lake, where she loves camping with her sweet black lab, Peaches. Webs in the Mist is Maggie’s fourth published novel.

 

Author

 

Hi Maggie, welcome to my blog, please tell us about your book.

Webs in the Mist continues Jessie Morgan’s story, covering the San Francisco years, 1972 to 1975. Like Jess, I lived there in the early ‘70s – an amazing time in that city! People from all over the world were moving there, to be part of it. On the various jobs I had there, I met people from the Philippines, Italy, and Scotland. San Francisco was still affordable then, and the various ethnic neighborhoods were still authentic and working class. I wouldn’t trade my experiences there for anything.

 In this novel, the fiction takes over, compared to book one in the series, Bell-Bottom Gypsy. Webs in the Mist has a tighter plot structure and more dramatic tension. While the framework of the story is autobiographical, much of what happens in the book is pure fiction.

 Tell us how you came up with the title?

 This novel is about the webs we weave as we go through life – innocently or not. Webs of deception, webs of self-loathing. I decided to use San Francisco’s fog and mist as symbolic layers of confusion swirling around the webs we weave. At first, the book title was “Webs in the Fog,” but I felt that the word “fog” didn’t fit. So I changed it to “mist.”

 Can you tell us what inspired you to write this book?

 I’m almost 69 years old, and have grown tired of hearing myself tell my stories. Shut up and write them down, I told myself. That’s what I’m doing, beginning with Bell-Bottom Gypsy (Book 1 of this Jessie Morgan Series). In the process of creating fiction from my own stories, I had to add fictitious elements. For example, Twisty’s personality is fiction. My real boyfriend in Key West, Florida was not edgy like Twisty, although he did play guitar and sing, and was into black and white photography. I was inspired to write Webs in the Mist (Book 2 of the series) by my years of living in San Francisco. The early ‘70s were a unique time in the Bay Area, and I’m grateful to have lived there then. San Francisco back then was so amazing, I struggled as I wrote Webs in the Mist, trying to capture the magic of that time and do my experiences justice.

How much of the book is realistic?

Some of this novel’s events and characters are based on real events and people – but not all. Jessie’s life in San Francisco is based on my own time there in the ‘70s. But Webs in the Mist is less autobiographical than Bell-Bottom Gypsy. I created an enigmatic character named Carl, who is fictitious but a composite of quirky real people I’ve known. As I’ve already said, the dark aspect of the Twisty character is pure fiction. It’s fascinating, weaving my real life stories into these novels. I find myself assembling quite a few composite characters and re-arranging the timeline of real events in my life, for the sake of well-constructed fiction.

 How long did it take to write your latest release?

Webs in the Mist took me a little over a year to write, and that’s a record for me. Hopefully I’m getting faster at writing and publishing novels.

 Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

 I don’t currently belong to a critique group, but I have in the past. I was in two separate writers’ groups, and learned a ton from the writers I met there. That’s where I met my writer friends, and I recommend it. Not only does it help to hear feedback, a group also provides important deadline pressure to produce something to bring and share. One caveat, though: if a critique group is negative, or “bitchy,” run away as fast as you can and never go back. Above all, listen to yourself. Now and then, creative writing classes and writers’ groups can include competitive, envious people who are too willing to tear you down for no good reason.

 Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

 I didn’t, but I think most writers should hire an editor. Let me explain: I’m a freelance book editor, and have a background in journalism (including proofreading and editing). I’m good at catching my own mistakes. That’s not enough, though. I have four very good advance readers who read, edit, and critique each of my manuscripts before I publish.

 Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

 I began keeping a journal when I was about sixteen. I was always attracted to reading and English and languages, in school. My grandmother was a poet and journalist in the 1920s and ‘30s, in Missoula, Montana. Maybe she is the reason for my interest in writing. In the early 1980s, I went back to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. After that, I was a journalist for about 25 years. But I have always wanted to write novels, because my first love is fiction.

Have you published anything else? If so can you tell us their titles.

 I sure have. Webs in the Mist is my fourth published novel. I have also published Bell-Bottom Gypsy: A Jessie Morgan Novel, a wild 1970s ride that takes the reader on adventures along America’s back roads. My first novel, Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, paints an intimate portrait of 1650s Irish slavery in the Caribbean. It was a 2013 finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards as well as a quarterfinalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Competition. The book has 242 Amazon reviews. Daring Passage, my second novel, tells the rest of the story begun in Spirited Away. Delighted readers call it “a stunning sequel.” I’m also the author of a nonfiction book entitled Passing It On: Voices from the Flathead Indian Reservation.

 Tell us what is next for you? / What is your next project?

 Since I’ve committed to writing a four-book Jessie Morgan Series, my next project is Book 3 of the series. I don’t have a title yet, but I think it will be a good book. If you read Webs in the Mist, you’ll know where the new novel is set. No spoilers here!

 

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New Release -Star Spy By Will MacMillan Jones

New Release Star Spy (Scout Pilot book 6) by my friend Will MacMillan Jones.  There are many new books to read during this lock down time.

Star Spy

 

Description1

 

If you have a secret, then keep it secret that you have a secret to keep, goes the old saying. Frank Eric Russell now has one secret too many. Not only is he working for a man who believes that secrets are best kept by the dead, he is undertaking missions that stand high chance of being fatal in their own right while spying on his employer on behalf of the most feared man in the Galaxy – who also wants him dead. If the life of a spy is fraught with risk, the life of a double agent is doubly dangerous when the stakes are raised in the private war between the espionage services.

War is coming and the major Powers are readying themselves for the conflict. As the Galaxy descends into the confusion of war, will there be room for one man in an outdated scout ship to find a way of surviving and meeting his obligations to both his employers? If the chance comes his way, Frank will take the money and try to escape. Will he get that chance?

Follow Frank into the chaos where, to simply stay alive, he will need all his luck and to use his special skill to the utmost: running away.

Readers’ praise for the Scout Pilot Series:

I enjoyed the first one so much I just had to buy the next two straight after. The luckless Frank Russell is an engaging travel companion. I feel I have seen much of the underside of the Galaxy in his company.
LOVED IT!!! Very funny! A witty good clean fun read.

Will Macmillan Jones is a story teller and a fine one. As I read these books I found myself swept along by the story.

If you’re a fan of retro sci-fi and quirky humour, it’s definitely for you.

A twisting, turning sci fi plot and a galaxy full of larger than life characters

 

 

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