Oct 31, 2016

The Light in the Forest - The Great October Giveaway

*The Light in the Forest is going home to live with Shelley!

Thank you so much for playing along with me this month!*


The final day of October has arrived, and with it the magic and mischief of Halloween, and the remembrances and observances of Samhain. I want to thank you for spending some time with me this month, celebrating my favourite season, and the sixth annual Great October Book Giveaway (which has evolved so beautifully, beyond books, thanks to several big-hearted folks). Things have been a bit mad at my end with computer issues and wild work schedules, but I have muddled through and you have been such lovely guests.

I have always said that the gods took one look at me when I came into form and said "this girl is going to need some real help in this lifetime," and they surrounded me with exceptional people. I've always felt so fortunate to know the folks I do, and to be the sort of creature that people found worthy of their friendship. I bump into the most extraordinary humans, and some of them don't even mind if I keep them. One of the amazing people I have crossed paths with (and subsequently inserted he and his remarkable partner into the part of my heart labeled "family") is Aidan Wachter. His work, his wisdom, and his spirit are evident in all he does. He is a sorcerer with silver (and now gold) creating talismans that are deeply magical and personal. I have several of his pieces and each is so incredibly special to me (I am wearing this star right now, in fact).

Being the generous soul he is, Aidan has offered up the perfect talisman for this spirit-filled time of year. One very lucky person will be receiving "The Light in the Forest" to wear around their enchanted neck.


This giveaway is as ethereal as the spirits - you have only until 11:59pm (Pacific) on All Soul's Day (Wednesday, November 2nd) to get your name in the hat. As always, your comment is your entry. If Blogger's platform gives you a hard time or if you are a bit shy, feel free to send in your entry via the contact button up top.

Thank you again, for hanging out with me during this magical month!


Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is void where prohitibited by law.  Please be aware of the contest/sweepstakes laws in your area.

*  Canadian residents will be subject to a skill testing question before being able to claim their prize (this is standard law in Canada).  The skill testing question will be in a form similar to: 1 + 2 - 1 =

*  This giveaway is not for profit and no purchase is necessary to enter.

*  This giveaway is sponsored/administrated solely by this blog/blog author and is not affilitated with or sponsored by Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity, nor can they be held liable.

* By leaving a comment intending to enter into the draw for the giveaway (or "sweepstakes") you are knowingly agreeing to these rules/conditions.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop

Oct 26, 2016

The Occult of Illustration - The Great October Book Giveaway

*The Harrow County series is sailing off to Jacqueline Thompson!
The Linestrider Tarot is going home with Mrs Duncan Mahogany!
What is a Witch is flying off to Brandy Boyd! Congratulations!*


From sigils and symbols to alchemical figures and automatic drawing, art and the occult have been imaginative bedfellows for centuries. Where would tarot as we know it be without Pamela Colman Smith's images, and how might the Key of Solomon do its work without the pentacles to accompany it? In this second-to-last October giveaway, I am sharing some of the magical illustrations that caught my eye this year.

To start with, I have a set of the first two volumes (collectively includes the first eight issues) of the beautiful and frightening Harrow County, a Dark Horse comic series by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook. Labeled "a southern gothic fairy tale" Harrow County is teeming with devilish fun and is sure to make you pull your blanket up a little higher as you read it.



I keep telling myself I won't buy any more tarot decks...for a while, at least...and then one (or three) catches my eye that I just can't walk away from. Here's the trick (and the dark truth behind all of this October fun), if I buy a deck for you then I don't feel so guilty picking one up for myself too. After all, I should know how lovely it is if I'm going to pass it on to someone, right?

The Linestrider Tarot was created and illustrated by Siolo Thompson, who first brought the deck into being via a successful crowdfunding campaign. The production of the deck has been picked up by a well known publishing company, and the gorgeous images have been given a fair treatment by the printer and are simple yet intriguing. A full-sized book (shown at top left in the image below) accompanies the tarot to round out an enchanting set.



Lastly, I picked up something quite special for you. What is a Witch is the latest release from Tin Can Forest, an art press from collaborators Marek Colek and Pat Shewchuk. Written by Pam Grossman of Phantasmaphile and illustrated by the Tin Can Forest crew, What is a Witch is an "illuminated manifesto" of the triumph and joy of being a witch.


I have one copy (or set in the case of Harrow County) of each of these illustrated treasures to give away to some fortunate folks.  Please drop your name in a comment by Sunday, October 30th at 9pm Pacific, and feel free to let me know which one catches your attention. I'll do my best to outfit the winners with their choices, if possible. If for any reason Blogger's comment vibe isn't working for you, then you can also enter via the "make contact" button up top.

Also, please make sure if you leave a comment there is some way for me to get a hold of you (preferrably an email left in the comment or linked to your Blogger or G+ profile). I've pulled a couple names from the hat this month and had no way of contacting them, so I had to choose again.



Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is void where prohitibited by law.  Please be aware of the contest/sweepstakes laws in your area.

*  Canadian residents will be subject to a skill testing question before being able to claim their prize (this is standard law in Canada).  The skill testing question will be in a form similar to: 1 + 2 - 1 =

*  This giveaway is not for profit and no purchase is necessary to enter.

*  This giveaway is sponsored/administrated solely by this blog/blog author and is not affilitated with or sponsored by Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity, nor can they be held liable.

* By leaving a comment intending to enter into the draw for the giveaway (or "sweepstakes") you are knowingly agreeing to these rules/conditions.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop

Oct 19, 2016

Herbs and Hoodoo - The Great October Book Giveaway

** One copy of The Black Folder will be heading home with James, and one copy with Melissa Glassford!

Wild Drinks and Cocktails will be slipping into Christine Candora-Hickey's hands!

DIY  Bitters will be going to live with Petoskystone! **


A cave. In the middle, a cauldron boiling. Thunder. Enter the three Witches. 

First Witch:
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch:
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch:
Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch:
Round about the cauldron go; 
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone Days and nights has thirty-one Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

All:
Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!



A pinch of this and a handful of that. Ingredients from the cupboard, the garden, the crossroads. Whether you are brewing up some magic, some medicine, or a good drink, these next books will be very helpful. 

I have two copies of The Black Folder to give away, from the extraordinary Briana Saussy who is the author of a particularly beautiful essay in the book. The book itself is a collection of essays, flyers and workshop information put together by the Missionary Independent Spiritual Church and contains, among other information:

"Cursing and Reversing Tricks with Dolls and Mirror Spells; The Secrets of Kitchen Witchery and Grocery Store Magic; Candle and Oil Lamp Magic in the Hoodoo Tradition; How to Make Your Own Mojo Hands, Doll-Babies, and Packet Amulets; Divination and Seership with Bones, Tea Leaves, and Candle Wax"




If getting your hoodoo on isn't your thing, I also have two of the most delicious new herbal books to come out this year in the giveaway pile.


DIY Bitters: Reviving the Forgotten Flavor is the herbal love-child of Guido Masé and Jovial King and ensures that you will have very good beverages and a happy belly for years to come (you know that bitters = belly love, right?) and Wild Drinks and Cocktails is a stunning tome from Emily Han which will have you muddling all sorts of fruit and herbs, and splashing vinegars in your highball glasses. Both of these books are a lovely addition to an herbal, cookbook, or bar bookshelf, and I have one copy of each to give away.








As always, a comment here is your entry. Feel free to let me know which book you prefer if your name is drawn. You can also send in an entry via the "contact" button up top. You have until Sunday, October 23rd at 9pm Pacific to get your entry in!

*Poetic intro from Macbeth, of course, via Mr. Shakespeare


Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is void where prohitibited by law.  Please be aware of the contest/sweepstakes laws in your area.

*  Canadian residents will be subject to a skill testing question before being able to claim their prize (this is standard law in Canada).  The skill testing question will be in a form similar to: 1 + 2 - 1 =

*  This giveaway is not for profit and no purchase is necessary to enter.

*  This giveaway is sponsored/administrated solely by this blog/blog author and is not affilitated with or sponsored by Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity, nor can they be held liable.

* By leaving a comment intending to enter into the draw for the giveaway (or "sweepstakes") you are knowingly agreeing to these rules/conditions.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop

Oct 13, 2016

By Thread and By Needle - The Great October (Art) Giveaway

The Stag Lord - Polly Lind

**The tapestry will be going out to "lillie8302" - congratulations!**

Needles and pins,
Needles and pins,
Sew me a sail
To catch the wind.
(from Needles & Pins by Shel Silverstein)

It seems as though witches have always had pins or needles in their hands for one reason or another. A blessing, a dressing, a protection, a curse - a sharp thorn or a shard of bone worked well enough for all these things until clever souls manufactured the first metal needles around 7000-1200 BCE when copper, bronze, and iron (respectively) were fashioned into tools. Of course, what a witch does with their tools is what matters, and I am so impressed by what Polly Lind creates with her thorn and thread.

Polly Lind is a fabric artist living and practicing her art in New Zealand. She creates designs centered around folklore, nature, spiritual practices, and whatever moves her own creative spirit.

Polly has generously offered one of her enchanting tapestries up to our October fun. The Stag Lord is an ode to the wildness of the forest, the Stag Lord's domain. For Polly, this piece speaks to the wild of animal and spirit, and relates a message of strength, courage and the chaos of the wild, while also touching on the serenity and quietness of forests and wild spaces. This tapestry features a stag skull, a big horn sheep, a wild European boar, and an American badger.

If you would like The Stag Lord guarding your hallowed halls, a comment here counts as your entry. If the Blogger platform is being difficult or you are of a more private sort, feel free to use the contact option up top as a way to send in an entry. I will draw the name of the fortunate winner on Monday, October 17th at 9pm Pacific!

And please do visit Polly's website and take a look at her gorgeous work!




Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is void where prohitibited by law.  Please be aware of the contest/sweepstakes laws in your area.

*  Canadian residents will be subject to a skill testing question before being able to claim their prize (this is standard law in Canada).  The skill testing question will be in a form similar to: 1 + 2 - 1 =

*  This giveaway is not for profit and no purchase is necessary to enter.

*  This giveaway is sponsored/administrated solely by this blog/blog author and is not affilitated with or sponsored by Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity, nor can they be held liable.

* By leaving a comment intending to enter into the draw for the giveaway (or "sweepstakes") you are knowingly agreeing to these rules/conditions.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop.

Oct 8, 2016

The Magician, The Sorcerer, The Witch, The Wizard - The Great October Book Giveaway



** The folks taking home the books are:

Brigid's Blest - Low Magic
Rommy - The Chaos Protocols
Stephanie Clayton - The Witch's Book of Power
Wise Owl - Protection & Reversal Magick



After we have walked through the fallen leaves...books. After sipping hot, spiced drinks with friends...books. When the bonfire burns down and the cold air sends us inside...books. Autumn is the perfect combination of gorgeous days spent outdoors and chilly evenings where we seek comfort in blankets and books. I picked up several tomes this year (alright, more than several) and of course I had to grab a copy of a few of them for you too.

This is our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and my modem chose this week to die, so my planned exploration of each author and summary thereof was thwarted by my access to suitable wifi and a proper size screen (blogging via phone is not an easy task). Therefore, I offer a simple one word observation of each author and greatly encourage you to click on their books and explore their websites and worlds.

I have one copy of each of these fantastic books to give away:

The Magician 
Low Magic - Lon Milo DuQuette

The Sorcerer
Protection and Reversal Magick - Jason Miller



The Witch
The Witch's Book of Power - Devin Hunter



The Wizard
The Chaos Protocols - Gordon White



Please leave a comment below if you would like your name in the hat and ensure that there is a way for me to contact you if you win. The names will be drawn on Wednesday, October 12th at 9pm Pacific. Feel free to let me know if you have a book preference and I will try to match winner with books if possible.

Thanks so much for playing along!


Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is void where prohitibited by law.  Please be aware of the contest/sweepstakes laws in your area.

*  Canadian residents will be subject to a skill testing question before being able to claim their prize (this is standard law in Canada).  The skill testing question will be in a form similar to: 1 + 2 - 1 =

*  This giveaway is not for profit and no purchase is necessary to enter.

*  This giveaway is sponsored/administrated solely by this blog/blog author and is not affilitated with or sponsored by Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity, nor can they be held liable.

* By leaving a comment intending to enter into the draw for the giveaway (or "sweepstakes") you are knowingly agreeing to these rules/conditions.


I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop.



Oct 2, 2016

Throwing the Bones - A Great October (Book) Giveaway


**The folks taking home the cards, are as follows:

Joel - Shades of Magick Tarot
AlphaBetsy - Shades of Magick Tarot
Thistle - The Oracle of Oddities

Thanks so much for playing along!**


There is a deep sigh that comes upon us when autumn arrives. Some of us feel it in September when the goldenrod starts to lean at an odd angle and the sun follows it, stretching out languidly. Others must wait until October days bring cool, breezy kisses to their skin and the heat finally relents. Here in The Valley, it was late August when the treetops began to blush and the squirrels furiously sprinted around, taking cones and seeds to their winter stores. Autumn has been settling in here for a while. September was truly lovely, but there is just something special about October.

I had much to say about watching autumn come in. I've had a good lot to say about this entire year, the seasons, my gardens, the hills I climbed and the paths I got lost wandering down, but somehow I haven't found my way back here to tell my tales. I have left photos on Instagram from time to time, and haphazardly stumbled onto Facebook, but I found that the most comfortable place for me these past months was Twitter. During a year where I was attending far too many funerals, and digging through my own bones, blood, and marrow, I appreciated having only 140 characters to consider.

Despite the dust that settled at Rue and Hyssop, folks found me all over the place. Some sent messages via social media or email, and some of you left comments on old blog posts because you knew I would see them. I was surprised to find that there were still many people coming by the blog and sharing older posts as well as my two small offerings from this year. It's terribly nice to be thought of and for the record, I was thinking of you too. Though I couldn't quite find my words for you, I still wanted to offer you a glass of sweet tea and a seat in the good rocking chair. And so, as I have for years now, each time I found something out in the world I was quite taken with, I picked up a copy for you too.

The Great October Book Giveaway started with a few books that I gave out as a thank you to those folks that wandered by my little area of the internet and stopped to say hello. It grew to more than a dozen books, often autographed by their authors, and then as the years went by other delights showed up. Wonderful folks offered their talents. I've been wildly honoured by the people who want to share themselves with you. This year is going to be a gentler variation of the event, but not at all lesser than previous years. I still have books to give you (though I did not have the energy this year to track down the individual authors to have them autographed) but I have also picked up some enchanting card decks that I know you'll enjoy. There are two artists who have added truly beautiful works to the goody-bag of gifts to come your way, as well. You'll definitely want to check back this month - there is something for everyone.

First up, are two decks I stumbled across that are blooming with bones and elements of nature. Both are lovely, but so very different.

The Oracle of Oddities - Second Edition, is a 30-card oracle deck created by Claire Goodchild of Black and the Moon. Claire combines vintage medical images and her own drawings of the natural world (or restorations of antique pictures) to form simple yet stunning vignettes. I tore into this deck the moment I had it in my hands and it has become an instant favourite.





Next is a striking black and white deck, the Shades of Magick Tarot, created by Jessica Gore of Elenari. Populated with bones, insects, and crystalline forms, this deck is a unique addition to a tarot lover's collection. I like the idea of pulling cards from this deck to ask of underlying or shadow issues that are showing up - either using just these cards, or overlaying them on a reading from another deck.


I have one copy of the Oracle of Oddities and two copies of Shades of Magick Tarot up for grabs. If you want your name in the hat, simply leave a comment here before 9pm Pacific on Friday, October 7th. If there is one deck that speaks to you above the other, feel free to state your preference. I will do my best to match the names drawn to their preferred deck.

Please ensure that there is a way for me to get a hold of you if you win (if your comment isn't linked back to you then please leave an email address). I'm not going to allow anonymous comments because I get terrible spam if I do, but you can use Open ID or a registered account to comment. Alternately, if there is some reason you are unable to comment, just send me a note (click on "make contact" in the menu above) and I'll make sure your name gets into the draw.




Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is void where prohitibited by law.  Please be aware of the contest/sweepstakes laws in your area.

*  Canadian residents will be subject to a skill testing question before being able to claim their prize (this is standard law in Canada).  The skill testing question will be in a form similar to: 1 + 2 - 1 =

*  This giveaway is not for profit and no purchase is necessary to enter.

*  This giveaway is sponsored/administrated solely by this blog/blog author and is not affilitated with or sponsored by Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity, nor can they be held liable.

* By leaving a comment intending to enter into the draw for the giveaway (or "sweepstakes") you are knowingly agreeing to these rules/conditions.


I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop.


Aug 4, 2016

Marking Time and Tide

On the first evening of August, the immense black locust offered dappled shade until the sun slipped over the western hill. I have always loved that tree, and the wide swing that hangs from a massive branch. There were days, a decade ago now when it seemed that I had more time, I would sneak away from work on a summer afternoon and steal into my friend's parents' yard with a book, and sit on that swing beside the small pond with the burbling waterfall. Now the pond is still and the garden is overgrown. Though the dozen birdfeeders have come down, the quarter acre is still brimming with avian life and happy bumblebees. The roses have all bloomed despite their mistress forgetting their names. The hollyhocks and foxgloves have grown tall and continue to flower, lending to the fae quality of the land that skirts the guardian tree.


I have wondered if the birds miss the man that fed them everyday. He has been gone two months now, and his wife has had her memory stolen, though she can still remember a few old stories from the days she used to go dancing with her husband. She cannot recall her plants anymore, their variety, or where they came from. Seventeen years ago she took a piece of land, bare but for a large black locust tree, and crafted an oasis of beauty and magic. She created meandering paths and hidden 'rooms' - a secret garden if ever there was one. Now she has moved in with her daughter and the house is being emptied and put up for sale. Life is change. There is no stopping the tides. The new little lines around the edges of my eyes remind me. The quiet pond and the enchanted garden grown wild, echo the sentiment.

That place, untended yet still so magical, hosted witches who came together to mark time and create poppets with corn husks, and work with old keys and a cauldron. It gifted us the whispers of cool wind through the sanctuary of lush green, and the sounds of the winged ones settling in as the day waned. At the place where memories faded, our own remembrances were laid out for each other. Stories were told. Sighs were deep. August was ushered in with benevolence and quiet good cheer.

Some sabbats and observances can be raucous or racy, dark and hushed, solitary or rung in with a host of others. I am just as likely to forego a formal celebration as heed one, and equally teeter-totter between wanting company in my revels and preferring solitude. I have spent the bulk of my sacred time this year, from the winter of my discontent to the sweltering late July afternoons, with almost entirely my own company and that of the spirits that find me vaguely pleasing, laying my workings and altars out and wandering the scrub desert and forest. I have left libations at crossroads, communed with a crow that leaves feathers (and at times the egg of another bird) on my doorstep, burned endless woods, herbs, and papers in fires in my backyard under the watchful stars, sacrificed my own blood and tears to the land that allows me to live on it, and I am content enough working these and other rites on my own. But that night beneath the thorny sentinal that was once struck by lightening during a summer storm, it was truly lovely to mark the shift of time and light with company.


August is often considered the sticky, oppressive step-sister of July. Those who do follow a wheel-of-the-year of sorts often shun the idea of First Harvest at this time, assuming "harvest" harkens to more autumnal weather and activities. While here in The Valley the lakes are warm and the beaches are packed with strange sun-worshipping creatures, this is in fact the height of our harvest. At the farm stands and farmers markets you can find everything from the very last cherries of the season to the earliest pears and fall squash. Almost every crop that can be grown in our climate is available now, and I am putting up jars of boozy peaches and plums while skewering all the local vegetables I can get my hands on and searing them on the bbq. My farmer friend has her first planting of corn almost ready to pick and there will be a bonfire celebration to mark the bringing in of the ears. Corn on the cob with a whiskey-butter sauce will share the table with savory corn fritters and corn chowder, and far too much local wine.

This past weekend, while wandering in the eastern hills, there was a bite in the wind that has not been present in the last months. The tips of some of the deciduous trees up the mountain are starting to blush. The wild elderberry is hung heavily with its dusty purple fruit, and the goldenrod is nodding along the roadsides. I don't observe month or season because I am told to in a book, or as part of a practice someone else has laid out for me (though I am not opposed to being inspired). Instead, I note that the fruit of the wild apple tree is fat and flushing. I look to the sky and see that the big dipper tilts its cup overhead to the north west, just above my eyebrows. A few months ago I had to crane my head back to see that great bear, and in a few more months it will wander closer to the northern horizon, past my nose and out of sight. By that time Orion and his pup Sirius will return in the east to keep me company.


I enjoy a celebration. Life can become a string of weight-bearing days that pinch not just our backs, but our spirit if we aren't inclined to find joy. I chose to greet August with breath and blood (the mosquitoes were well fed that night) and blessing. Each year offers another chance at shifting and adjusting our observations as we watch the earth find its rhythm. This year the self-heal bloomed late and the tansy flowered early. The dandelions were not nearly prolific enough for my tastes, but the plantain and wild mustards were showing off everywhere. There were more summer storms than I can ever remember seeing, and as a result we have had almost no wildfires. There are new red-tailed hawks in the area, and so many twins born to the mule deer this year that it seemed like everyone had fawn lawn-ornaments in their yard. I can think of dozens of reasons to revel, without much effort.

One day, not too far off, our own memories may begin to fade. We might forget the name of the handsome Joe Pye that stands so tall in our garden. We might neglect the offerings to birds or spirits that we once gave so steadfastly. Until the time that I can no longer remember why I love the rowan tree that sits at the edge of the four-way crossroads, or recall that the lake that hides a monster also holds a key and herbs from a garden two thousand miles away; until I cannot tell you why I delight in staghorn sumac or damson plums, I will continue to mark the months, the seasons, the way the light shifts and changes, the land's many harvests, and the traveling stars.

I hope that your own harvests have begun to come in, lush and rewarding. I have heard from many that this year has been difficult thus far, so I am sending my own good wishes, via milkweed seeds and the upcoming Perseids, out into the world for you. Look up.