Spooky Musings & a Few of my Favorite Things....
“Do as you will, but harm no one.
What you give will be returned to you threefold.
Fall in love whenever you can.”
― Alice Hoffman, The Rules of Magic
So the wheel of the year has turned once again, bringing us back into the dark, plunging us deeply into the time of year when our need to move inside towards the hearth, away from the bone drenching cold into the arms of our families and lovers is the most important need that we have.
October 31st is the festival of Samhain in the Witches year or Halloween , a time when the veils between worlds is so very thin and a time when if you dare to ask, those that have crossed over will seek you out, sometimes with answers, sometimes with warnings. If you hear anyone whispering to beware in a voice as thin and wet as a creeping fog, take heed. On Samhain, even if you don’t listen you will feel them pulling you away from danger and you will look , yet never see their misty astral bodies in the sunlight but you will know that they have been there, as sure and unsettling to the soul as any horror movie could ever be. The spirit world is far reaching in a way that is more odder than any of us could ever imagine. I know…I’ve seen, smelled and tasted of it firsthand. Our first home was an 1848 Civil War era farm and it was definitely haunted, but that’s another tale for another time.
There ARE things that go bump in the night and you would be wise to listen for them. You’ll know that they are near when you walk through a spot that is cold for no apparent reason, or if you smell the sweet smell of spring honeysuckle or lilac on a cold autumn night. Maybe you’ll feel a hand on your shoulder as a friend of mine did one Samhain eve as she was feeding her horses, yet turn around to find no one there. All she heard was the voice of her Lakota grandfather fading fast into the cold dark night telling her to be careful of the old barn ladder.
For centuries, we have tried to make sense of that which we cannot see nor explain by burning them, exorcising them, ridiculing them or simply pretending that they don’t exist. Simple forms of banishment will never work, because how can you get rid of something that you have no understanding of. Witches like me have existed for centuries and even though you’ll try, you’ll never succeed in destroying us completely. You need us….we’re your voice into that other world that you are so afraid of, we’re the ones that know how to help you heal yourself without the medicines that will destroy you, body and soul. We know how to hold your hand while you are dying and if it is part of your journey we will walk through your fears with you. We know how to make sweet balms and perfumes that will make the homeliest among us instantly more glamorous.
But I know that you’ve heard that old saying, “that there’s a little bit of witch in every woman” and it’s true. Every witch has a Grimoire, which is a handwritten journal of recipes and spells that has sometimes been passed down through many generations. If you’ve got one of your Grandmothers cookbooks, with all of her beautifully handwritten notes then you’re in possession of a book of family magic and you can use it to strengthen those bonds any time you wish.
We have all kinds of magical tools to play with, some of the most potent we learn from our mothers who never even realize what they were teaching us. There is magic in the art of preparing a beautiful meal for your family, there is magic in the art creating a beautiful home that conveys a message of comfort or status. My personal Book of Shadows is full of delectable recipes that will put all of the sparkles back into your life and make you as bewitching as you’ve always dreamt you could be.
In the spirit of celebration I’ve decided to share with you my favorite things that I’ve been eating, drinking , sniffing or wearing this fall. I’ve been a busy little wytch and my cupboard isn’t bare. So grab your brooms and meet me in my woods by the fire. Bring your favorite cape and just remember that the fire is very hot. There’s a bit of my favorite witches brew for everyone and of course because this is MY party, plenty of good food. So without further adieu….
My Favorite Candle
Every good witch has to have a favorite candle and mine is the wonderful Firewood scented candle by Paiges Candle Company. When it burns my entire house is filled with the spectacular scent of Charred wood and Saffron, Sandalwood and Patchouli. This soy candle comes poured into a simple apothecary jar cup that basically tells the story of the beautiful scent. If you’ve never been in an opium den or were not lucky enough to be a child of the late 60’s , then what I’ll say is that Firewood is the scent of a sweetly burning pile of maple leave and oh so perfect for telling ghostly stories on a spooky autumn night.
My favorite lipstick that I’ve worn ever, the one that never fails me is Glossier Ultralip in the color “Trench”. This is more of a stain than a lipstick and it is wonderful. You can build the color or keep it as sheer as possible. It’s sexy as hell. My daughter in law turned me onto it several years ago and I’m a complete convert, I love every color and because they are sheer enough I can wear almost all of them.
Favorite Classic Cocktail
A vintage pre-prohibition sazerac made with Bulleit Rye, a swish of Mata Hari absinthe, a touch of sugar , a caramelized lemon peel and some very excellent bitters. Pour all ingredients into a well chilled cocktail glass and stir.
Bitters have made such a comeback and not just your garden variety Angostura bitters, but in all kinds of flavors. Fee Bitters has been open since 1863 and are still mixing up the best blends that I’ve ever tasted. Try the White Peach or my personal favorite which is the Aztec Chocolate. The Black Walnut is absolutely bewitching when stirred into a bit of butterscotch schnapps and hot spiced rum!
Favorite Truffled Olive Oil
The white truffle infused olive oil from TRUFF is simply perfect. If you or anyone you know loves truffles this is a must. I buy this for my husband, who adores it. Drizzled on a salad or grilled meats this oil turns them a completely decadent treat, but for the most sensual meal ever, whisk a bit of it into a bowl of steaming creamy risotto with fresh butternut squash, sautéed onions and mushrooms, roasted potatoes and parmesan cheese.
My very favorite rain boots this year are from Barbour, lovely black rubber boots with a tartan lining. For years I’ve worn Hunter boots, but sadly, they just don’t hold up. So this year I bought the Barbour’s and they are classic, sturdy and so very comfortable. The Barbour Wellingtons are the real deal and I’m so grateful that I took the chance. Plus the plaid lining is absolutely adorable!
Favorite New Fall Perfume
Roja Doves utterly ravishing Parfum de la Nuit 1 is a shockingly brilliant and amazing perfume. It’s tagline is “Desire calls when Darkness falls” ….This is a take no prisoners love potion like I haven’t seen since the earliest version of my beloved Magie Noire…in the Parfums Dela Nuit suite of fragrances this one is aptly named “The Predator”. Think Lestat in Interview with the Vampire. Elegant and aloof, yet so brilliant, so present. Feral, like a lone rangy wolf but incredibly cultured. A dichotomy of a man.
A man who can see into your soul right before he takes yours. Trust me when I say you’ll give it to him happily.
When Tom Crutchfield, wizard of all things fragrant at Bergdorf Goodman’s sprayed this onto my wrist I practically swooned. If Lestat had been standing in front of me I would have offered my neck . I adore this one, much in the same way that I loved Creeds Royal English Leather before it was vaulted, never to be seen again. This is a remarkably sensual perfume, full of bergamot, spice and wood, labdanum and cistus, with soft and curvy edges of civet, vanilla and tonka bean.
It’s pricey as all Roja Dove Perfumes are, but what I will say is that I believe you can get a smaller travel version and one strategic spray of any Roja Dove perfume will stay with you for a very long time. There are very few lines of perfume as well crafted as these and whereas I don’t say it very often, (and I have sniffed alot of Roja Dove wannabees) they are absolutely worth the sticker price. Dela Nuit 1 is thoroughly disarming and just the thing to warm you and another up on a cold spooky night. At the very least, if you’re anywhere near New York City for the holidays, get yourself to the Bergdorfs and sniff this one because it is astonishing.
Favorite Caramel Apple Recipe
I wrote about this last week but it’s back! My favorite caramel apple recipe comes from Leites Culinaria, and it is the easiest , yet most delectable recipe ever for making perfect caramel apples that come out right every time. Just mix the ingredients which include molasses, butter, sugar, cream and maple syrup and cinnamon into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Dip the apples into the soft buttery caramel for a translucent and deliciously decadent treat that is in my experience the perfect prelude to a delightfully sugary kiss…Here’s the link
Favorite Home Scent and Witches Brew
Yes, I know that you’re expecting something exotic, but this time of year I’d like to end on a simple and homespun note. When you carve your pumpkin, dip the inside of the lid in cinnamon, really coat it. When you put the lit candle inside and I always use a little scented tea light (Witches Brew from Yankee candles) your entire house will be filled with the aroma of cinnamon, patchouli and roasted pumpkin.
As a bonus, just put a gallon of apple cider on the stove and let it simmer. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, some Star Anise, a couple of tablespoons of organic butter, an orange and a bottle of Claret . Sweeten with raw honey and you’ve got my favorite Witches Brew !
I hope that wherever you are that you’re enjoying the season. In your comments please share with me some of your favorite ways to celebrate the season.
Merry Meet and Merry Part and all my love until we meet again…