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My heart lies in the land of my ancestors. Where the thistle grows on the heath.

Friday, July 29, 2016

August...Celtic Month of Hazel Tree

It's hard to believe but the month of August is almost upon us!

August is the eighth month of the current Gregorian calendar and the third month of Summer's rule. It has derived its name from Augustus (Augustus Caesar).

The traditional birthstone amulets of August are the peridot and the sardonyx; and the gladiolus and the poppy are the month's traditional flowers.

August is shared by the astrological signs of Leo the Lion and Virgo the Virgin, and August 5th continuing through September 1 is the Celtic month of the Hazel tree. The Hazel is considered a tree of knowledge especially in Ireland. The nuts from the Hazel are considered to be a symbol of great mystical wisdom and there are 15 different species of the Hazel tree. The fruit beared from it is the filbert nut or hazel nut as it is more commonly known. To fell this tree was considered a crime and was punished by death. Bearing close affinity to the element of water, the Hazel twigs were favored by water-diviners and it was believed that the mushrooms that grew on this tree could help a person recover lost items.

If you are born under this sign, you are wise and have the ability to communicate ideas, making you capable of transforming the thoughts and opinions of others. Hazels are rational and organized people. They tend to be cool and reserved though may become paranoid and suffer headaches if their mental energies are not properly channeled. Hazels are loving but often overindulgent with spouses and children.

The Hazel person can be of two distinct types, and it is as such with every tree in the zodiac: a first type called "the new moon", related to the first two weeks of the sign, and "the full moon" that goes to the last two weeks of the sign.

The "new moon" individuals embark themselves in a quest to seek out knowledge. Their inquisitive natures can, however, turn them into impertinent and deceitful characters.

The "full moons" are more communicative and cordial in their temperament. They have a tendency to become public figures or teach arts to people. A "full moon" Hazel has a strong sense of honesty, but may become a bit too critical in attitude. If Hazels do not express their creativity, they can become irritable and moody.

The lucky gemstone of those born under this sign is the Amethyst, its colors ranging from pale lilac to deep purple. This gem is the symbol of sincerity and peace of mind and is said to improve memory, provide immunity to poison and, if placed under a pillow, assures good dreams. For the Amethyst to work at its best, it should be set in gold or silver jewelry.

9th Moon of the Celtic Year - (Aug 5 - Sept 1) Latin name: European hazel - corylus avellana; American Filbert - corylus americana.
Celtic name: Coll (pronounced: Cull). Coll means "life force within you".
Folk or Common names: tree of Wisdom, Lamb's Tails Tree, Collo or Coslo (Gailic), The tree's name shares a common root with the walnut tree and its nut, or cnu and hnot in Europe and Nux in latin.
Parts Used: Nut, leaves, branches, wood.
Hazel can be used as a drainage remedy and can help restore elasticity to the lungs. Hazelnuts, of course, can be eaten, and are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, protein and fatty acids. The nuts can be powdered and be mixed with mead or honeyed water to help a cough.

Magical History & Associations:
The bird associated with this month is the crane, the color is brown, and the gemstone is band red agate. The Hazel is associated with the element of air, the planet of Mercury, the day of Wednesday, and is sacred to Mercury, Thor, Artemis, Fionn, Diana and Lazdona (the Lithuanian Hazelnut Tree Goddess). Hazel wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods that is part of the Belfire that the Druid's burned at Beltane - it was added to the fire to gain wisdom.

It is often associated with sacred springs, wells and salmon. Celtic legend tells of a grove of Hazel trees below which was a well and a pool where salmon swam. These trees contained all knowledge, and their fruit contained the knowledge and wisdom in a nutshell. As the hazelnuts ripened, they would fall into the well where they were eaten by the salmon. With each nut eaten, the salmon would gain another spot. In order to gain the wisdom of the Hazel, the Druids caught and prepared the salmon.

Fionn, the young man stirring the pot in which the salmon were cooking, accidentally burned his thumb with the boiling stew. By reflex, he put his thumb into his mouth and thus ingested the essence of the sacred feast and he instantly gained the wisdom of the universe.

Hazel also has protective uses as anti-lightning charms. A sprig of Hazel or a talisman of two Hazel twigs tied together with red or gold thread to make a solar cross can be carried as a protective good luck charm. The mistletoe that grows on hazel protects against bewitching. A cap of Hazel leaves and twigs ensures good luck and safety at sea, and protects against shipwrecks. In England, the Hazelnut is a symbol of fertility - a bag of nuts bestowed upon a bride will ensure a fruitful marriage.

The Hazel is a tree that is sacred to the fey Folk. A wand of hazel can be used to call the Fey. If you sleep under a Hazel bush you will have vivid dreams. Hazel can be used for all types of divination and dowsing. Until the seventeenth century, a forked Hazel stick was used to divine the guilt of persons in cases of murder and theft. Hazel twigs or a forked branch can be used to divine for water or to find buried treasure.

The Peridot...August Birthstone

"Wear a Peridot or for thee,
No conjugal fidelity,
The August born without this stone,
`Tis said, must live unloved alone."

The Properties of the Peridot
For those who were born in the month of August, the Peridot is the traditional birthstone. The August birthstone poem reflects some of the properties with which the Peridot is associated - love, truth, faithfulness and loyalty. The Traditional Metaphysical Properties for the August Birthstone Peridot are fame, dignity, and protection. The healing properties of the August birthstone are reputed to be effective for health problems relating to the lungs, lymph, breast and sinuses. The Peridot is also used to enhance prosperity, growth, and openness.

August Birthstone Zodiac Sign
The twelve Zodiac signs are an astrological version of birthstones in addition to the twelve calendar months. The August birthstone of the Peridot is considered to be the birthstone for Leo (The sign of the Lion) and relate to those born between July 23 - August 22. The Zodiac sign of Leo also responds to Onyx, Diamond, Carnelian, Sardonyx and Ruby.

Information from The Birthstone List

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thursday's Child Has Far To Go...

The Day of Strength
The Day of Jupiter

An Déardaoin or Déardaoin — Old Irish, "day between fastings"
thursdaeg (Anglo-Saxon)
donnerstag (Germanic)
dies jovis (Latin)
vrihaspat-var or guru-var (Hindu)
jumerat (Islamic)
jeudi (French)
moku youbi (Japanese)

Thursday is traditionally seen as the fifth day of the week. Originally associated with two gods, 'Jove' and 'Thor', Thor was the God of Thunder hence the day also being known a 'Thunderday'. Jove was also known to be associated with thunder, with the French renaming the day 'Jeudi' which means 'Jove's Day'.

In Germany, Thursday was believed traditionally to be the most unluckiest of the week. As a result the practice grew of ensuring that no important business should be carried out, no marriages, and even that no child should be sent to school for their first time on this day.

Thursday is associated with Jupiter and the colors Blue and Metallics.

Planet - Jupiter

Elements - Fire, Water

Signs - Sagittarius, Pisces

Colors - Purple, Royal Blue, Metallic Colors

Stones - Sugilite, Amethyst, Torquoise, Lapis Lazuli, Sapphire

Trees - Oak, Pine

Flowers/Herbs - Cinquefoil, Cinnamon, Beech, Buttercup, Coltsfoot, Oak

Oils - Clove, Melissa, Oakmoss, Lilac, Storax, Aloes

Incense - Nutmeg, Henbane

Thursday is the best day to deal with:
Business, Logic, Gambling, Social Matters, Political Powers, Material wealth, Happiness, Luck, Victory, Health, Leadership, Public Activity, Power, Success, Honor, Riches, Clothing, Money, Legal Matters, Desires, Male Fertility, Friendship, Ambition, Publishing, College education, Travel, Foreign Interests, Religion, Philosophy, Forecasting, Broadcasting, Publicity, Expansion, Growth, Sports, Horses, the Law, Doctors, Guardians, Merchants, Psychologists, Charity, Correspondence Courses, Self-Improvement, Researching, Reading, Studying

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Irish Oat Scones

To know me is to know my scones. I bake them more often than anything else and a freezer without a scone is, well...just empty!

Here is a recipe repost I think you'll love if you adore scones as I do. Enjoy!

1 Cup toasted steel-cut oats (see note)
1 1/4 Cup buttermilk
1 Cup whole wheat flour
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup chopped dried fruit or currants, dried cranberries, or dried blueberries
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Tablespoon heavy cream

Note: To toast steel-cut oats, place them in a preheated, 300-degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. Return the oats to a tightly covered container, storing in a cool spot.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Butter a 9 inch pie plate and set aside. Combine oats and buttermilk in a small mixing bowl. Let stand for 25 minutes. Combine flours, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and dried fruit. When well combined, cut in butter to make coarse crumbs. Add oats and buttermilk and stir to combine. Do not overmix.

Lift up the dough and gently pat it into the prepared pie plate, gently molding to make a neat fit. Using a floured kitchen knife, score through the dough almost to the bottom, making 12 small wedges (or 6 as I do :). Combine cream and remaining brown sugar. Using a pastry brush, generously coat top. Place in preheated oven, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and immediately cut through wedges.

Serve hot with butter and jam.

Yield: 12 small scones or 6 nice sized scones.

Cherry And Pecan Cream Cheese Spread

Are you looking for something special to spread on your scones at tea time? You will love this cherry and pecan cream cheese spread! It's even delightful spread on a shortbread cookie or two, or spread atop a cupcake. ;) In our local market you can find dried cherries with the raisins and other dried fruits. Enjoy!


1 cup dried sour cherries
1 cup water
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
Scones, Cookies, Crackers

In a small heavy saucepan, simmer cherries in water until liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Remove pan from heat and cool mixture. In a bowl whisk together cream cheese, pecans, lime juice, thyme, zest, and cherry mixture until spread is combined well. Spread may be made 2 days ahead and kept chilled, covered. Serve spread with
scones, cookies, bagels, crackers etc.

Makes about 3 cups

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beannacht / Blessing

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.” 

T Is For Tuesday...

And Tuesday is the day for business, mechanical things, buying and selling animals, hunting, beginning studies, gardening, and confrontations. It is also a day for passion, discipline, athleticism, bravery and courage.

The Herbs/Plants for today are:
Red Rose, Cock's Comb, Pine, Daisy, Thyme and Pepper
Carnelian, Bloodstone, Ruby, Garnet and Pink Tourmaline
Basil, Coriander, Ginger

Tuesday is related to the Old Norse god Tyr and his equivalents Tuesto (Germanic head of the Pantheon) and Mars (Roman god of war).

Tuesday’s color is red and the elements are fire energy.
Ruled by: Mars, the war-like planet
Zodiac: Aries and Scorpio
Colors: Red, rose or scarlet
Today's magical number is 4

Sending Blessings to you for a wonderful day!

A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
and closed them beneath the kisses of night.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Sensitive Plant," 1820

No Yeast Needed Cinnamon Rolls In 45 Minutes!

Yes! You read right! It really is about 45 minutes start to on the table! Not having yeast in the dough makes it just a little hard to roll these so I put plastic on the counter to assist me. I wipe the counter with a damp sponge, and while it's damp, I lay down the plastic wrap a little bigger than the size I need. This keeps the plastic wrap on the counter and holds it still. (I also do this while rolling pie dough). Mine didn't look so pretty when I cut them, so as you'll see, there is no before photo in the pan before baking. :) If yours look a little odd, or tear while cutting them and lifting them to the pan, do not despair!! They bake up nicely and after the icing who will even notice? I think they might slice better if you refrigerate the dough after rolling and before slicing but who has time for that? Not me! Let's get started!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
6 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt, divided
8 Tbsp salted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I make my own, if you don't have buttermilk on hand see my archives)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a 9-inch round cake or pie pan with 1 Tbsp melted butter, set aside. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt, set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together light-brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 tsp salt. Add in 1 Tbsp melted butter and blend mixture together with your fingertips or a fork until mixture is well blended and evenly moistened, set aside.

Measure out buttermilk into a liquid measuring cup and stir in 2 Tbsp melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough forms and liquid has been absorbed, then knead mixture in bowl by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds (dough will be sticky).

I use plastic wrap on the counter and sprinkle with flour. This works great and you can use the side of it to help roll the dough. Pat the dough with your hands into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle. Brush top of dough with 2 Tbsp melted butter then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture, coming within a 1/2 inch of the border on all sides. Press the brown sugar filling onto the dough. 

Starting on the long side, gently roll dough as tight as you can to opposite end. Pinch the end seam to seal. Roll the log seam side down and cut dough into 8 equal portions.

Place 1 roll in the center of the prepared baking dish, then place remaining 7 rolls around it. Brush tops of rolls with remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Bake in preheated oven 22 - 25 minutes until edges are golden brown.

After baking I let the rolls cool for 5 minutes and then inverted onto a plate, then I inverted onto another plate to have them top side up. I also did not frost, per the request of the Laird of the cottage. He likes to add his own amount of frosted glaze as he enjoys the rolls instead of the glaze soaking into the rolls. This also helps them store better in the refrigerator if you don't consume them all at once. 
For the glaze I just use 3 cups of powdered sugar, add a teaspoon of vanilla, mix and then add milk a tablespoon or so at a time until I reach the consistency we like. We like it thick.

Enjoy! If you make these, please do leave a comment and let me know how you LOVED them!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Did You Know...

That in days gone by, giving someone an orange blossom meant the same as saying to them "your purity equals your loveliness?"

During the Victorian era, flowers adorned nearly, clothing, jewelry, home decor, china plates, stationary, wallpaper, furniture and more. Scents of flowers had their own meanings and though the Victorians loved them, a gift of a scented handkerchief might be given in place of actual flowers.

The flower symbolism associated with the orange blossom is innocence, eternal love, marriage and fruitfulness.

Stop by again soon!