Friday, February 25, 2011

Witches and the topic of Ghosts... what do you believe?

So, do I believe in ghosts? Yes, I do. Do I believe that ghosts can actually appear and interact with you.? Yes, I believe that too, because it has personally happened to me. Do I believe that every ghost or haunting is negative or filled with drama? Nah….

Being a clairvoyant and a Witch, means that many times people think I am a version of the Ghost Whisperer and the Ghost Busters all rolled into one. Yes, I have gone through historic buildings at the request of the owner and pointed out the “hot spots” so a paranormal team would know where to concentrate their search. Yes, I can do medium style readings for clients, But they rarely get the relative or friend they are hoping for… I tend to pick up on the people from the other side that they least expect. Strangely enough my readings tend to be filled with funny messages, and happier memories from the dearly departed. Seems to me there is  enough sadness in the world… I suppose those spirits who lean towards humor tend to gravitate towards me… It’s a theory.


So, I have a ghost story for you, Yes this is true and no I’ve never written about it before. Several years ago, when I worked in a gift store in the historic district of my town, I had a ghostly encounter one winter’s night. It was the holiday season and the stores stayed open later for the Holiday shopping. That night we had been crazy busy, I had worked alone, and I was anxious to total out, do the paperwork and go home. As the last customer finally strolled out of the store I hurried and locked the front door. Turned the key in the register to begin the final read and totals of the day, and went to start the laborious job of turning of all of the lights.

This store was packed with displays, and because of the age of the building there were power strips everywhere with many items plugged into each of the strips. I started with the main overhead lights for the sales floor and then walked to the back of the shop, humming along to the radio playing holiday songs and started  flipping the power strips.

One by one I made my way up towards the front of the store. Some of the power strips were easy to reach- while others you had to be a contortionist to get to. Or you had to get down on your hands and knees and crawl back through displays to get to them. The last strip to turn off was closest to the register area, way under a table and chairs. So I hunkered down, crawled under the table and stretched waaaaaay out to turn off that light strip.

“Gotcha!” I said in triumph and eased out from under the table and stood back up. As I turned to go back to the register a woman stood about three feet in front of me and she was smiling. She had dark hair pulled up on top of her head, and was wearing a long charcoal coat. I noticed stylish boots showing out form the hem of the pretty coat and she tipped her head to the side and smiled at me. I jolted and swore to myself, as she had startled me.

She only folded her hands at her waist smiled again and waited. I closed my eyes in embarrassment and laughed. Oh, no! I thought. I locked a customer in the store with me and did not even know it! I took a deep breath and turned to look at the woman with an apology on the tip of my tongue. Oh man, I was sure to get in big trouble with my boss for this, and as I opened my eyes to begin my apology…. She disappeared. I watched her just Poof! Not be there any longer.

Then the room got icy cold. I stood there speechless. Then I yelped, slapped the main overhead lights back on and ran for the phone to call my husband. I told him what had happened and asked him to stay on the phone with me until I had to leave the store. I laughed about it at the time. While I wasn’t afraid, it definitely made me nervous. It was a hell of an experience and  while I had seen some crazy things in my life and felt cold spots and seen things move in other haunted places I had never actually seen a ghost standing right in front of me. Wow.

Later I did some digging on the location of the building that I was working in and uncovered some startling facts about the place… which explained why there was so much ghost activity.
Which is a ghost story for another day….

If you’d like more practical information about ghosts and hauntings, I hope you’ll check out my newest book, Practical Protection Magick. You bet your broomstick, that hauntings and ghosts are one of the many topics I’ve got covered for you. The book is shipping out now! Go grab a copy!
Self portait of Ellen and her newest book. No glamour shot just real life!

Finally, here are a few more books on the topic of Ghosts and Hauntings that I think you will like and that I personally have enjoyed and found to be very useful...
The Case for Ghosts by J Allan Danelek
The Ghost Hunter's Survival Guide by Michelle Belanger
House of Spirits & Whispers by Annie Wilder

Wishing you an enchanting weekend.
Blessed be, Ellen
PS. BIG NEWS! I will be returning to "Turn the Page Books" in Maryland on April, 2 to sign my newest book, Practical Protection Magick along with a few other selected titles of mine. This author event will feature several authors in attendance, including Nora Roberts! You can visit the store's website at http://www.ttpbooks.com/





Saturday, February 19, 2011

When life hands you lemons... You conjure up lemonade!

The old saying goes.... When life hands you lemons… you make lemonade. Or in my case you "conjure up" lemonade.


So what is an author to do when their planned book release event gets canceled due to the fact that the Borders where the event had been scheduled is now closing its doors?
Well I did not  get my knickers in a twist… Instead I hopped on the phone and found a classy independent bookstore in the area and booked an event there as a lovely alternative.

Mission accomplished. This is why you make and keep good relationships with libraries, book stores, book store owners, and the book sellers.  In my case one pleasant and cheerful phone call resulted in a new author event that would take the place of the cancelled one.  Oh and for fun, I offered to give a free talk as well -on the topic of “Psychic Protection & Hauntings”.  Here is the information on the new signing and the talk.

MARCH AUTHOR EVENT
Date: Sunday March 27, 2011
Place: Main Street Books
621 South Main Street
St. Charles, Missouri 63301
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

Join award-winning author Ellen Dugan, at Main Street Books, In Historic Saint Charles, as she signs her newest book, Practical Protection Magick. Also Ellen will be giving a free talk afterwards on the topic of Psychic Protection and Hauntings. Come down to Historic St. Charles, a place well known for it's ghosts and hauntings and enjoy the afternoon!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Main Street Books in the historic section of Saint Charles, Missouri is one of those dream bookstores that sort of reminds me of a shop on Diagon Alley. I love this store. They have a wide variety of topics and titles and its always fun to go to a classy independent bookstore to do an author event. When one has style and atmosphere… it’s even sweeter. You can visit the bookstore’s website at www.mainstreetbooks.net


So I am very excited to kick off the release of Practical Protection Magick,  by doing this new event and giving a free talk. I hope some of you will come out and pick up a copy of the book, have it signed and stay for the talk. It promises to be an enchanting afternoon.

Blessed be, Ellen


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Got my Advanced Copies of “Practical Protection Magick”!

Ooooh I received my advance copies of Practical Protection Magick today!  The Fed-ex guy seemed a bit startled when I suddenly appeared on the porch and grabbed the package with a triumphant “Whoo Hoo!”

The book is so purple, gothic and pretty! I love the old beat up purple velvet and silver accented look for the cover art, and the spot gloss…. I was hoping for an old fashioned-hand made-grimoire looking book. Can you tell that  I’m really thrilled about this twelfth Llewellyn title of mine? She says while she pets the cover and grins like a lunatic…
Okay cooing over.


Anyway, I am very excited about this particular book for a number of reasons. First off I have noticed that there are very few practical books on the subject of protection magick in general and even fewer that were written by women. This tends to be a “written about by the guys” topic.
Also you will be happy -or maybe surprised- to know that I do not buy into the whole white light and hot tub mentality. (You know… when someone trots out the whole, Witches never use magick to harm…  routine.) 

We need to be honest about this topic and learn how to ethically deal with these situations. Yes indeed, curses are real, hexes do happen, and anybody, even practical, down-to-earth practitioners, may have to deal with baneful magicks, or a haunting, emotionally manipulative magick or even a psychic attack. You bet your broomstick that emotional vampires and psychic vampires are among us. Nope they are not skulking about in black taffeta capes… instead check your troublemaking co-worker, clingy friend, drama-magnet coven member, or your next family reunion.



As Witches and magickal practitioners, we attract a lot of attention on the astral plane. We do draw other lights and we also attract shadows. Each one of us will eventually have to deal with these types of problems in some way, shape or form. The trick is to study these “hot button” topics and to gain knowledge and to become aware. Awareness is important because when you become informed and aware on how to handle these situations, you actually remove fear.

When I did a lecture entitled,  “Psychic Vampire Survival Guide” in Montreal this past December- which was a preview of one of the chapters of the book. The audience went crazy over it. They laughed, they learned, and they really got into it. I was thrilled.

So in a couple of weeks Practical Protection Magick will ship out and be in your hot little hands. You guys are going to love this one. Get ready to add to your repertoire of witchery, to learn how to work defensive magick from a place of neutrality, to be empowered and to embrace the warrior-witch within!

Blessed be, Ellen


Sunday, February 13, 2011

While Hunting for Sea Shells... I found Myself.

I just got back from vacation yesterday afternoon. For five days in a row I was up before dawn sitting on the beach and waiting for the sun to rise over the Atlantic ocean. Each day’s sunrise was different and as soon as the sky brightened I would take photos, and then go on long, long walks, and search for seashells and beach glass. Some days it was warm and sunny, others it was cloudy and a bit chilly. Each day brought its own treasures, and lessons. Here are some of the pictures I took while on my sunrise walks.


At the half point of my morning walk I would find a nice spot in the sand. Spread out my celestial sarong, like a blanket, and sit with my journal and pen, and write. I did not work on any book projects… I wrote for myself. I sipped from my bottle of water, ate a granola bar and pondered the mysteries of life… such as they were to be found on a quiet beach at sunrise.
I usually walked from six am. until nine am. Three glorious hours all to myself. Just me, the ocean, the shells and the seagulls.



Somehow while hunting for shells and beach glass, I found myself again. I got out of the crazy schedule of deadlines and demands that my life has become and I remembered. Who Ellen is. What Ellen wants, and why Ellen started to write in the first place. The only writing I did while on vacation was in my journal and that was a pleasure.



I think it was my third day in Florida when the tide was low, the Portuguese man-of-wars had been swept out to sea and I hit the mother load of gorgeous little shells. I was so thrilled each time the waves tossed one up, that I was up to my knees in the surf, and my jacket pockets were bulging. When I hit the half way point of my three hour walk I sat down, transferred my shells to my tote bag, and got out my journal and started to write.

I was amazed at how light I felt sitting there and wondered what other lessons the Gods had in store for me that day. A seagull landed nearby and inched his way to my side. He eyed my granola bar and ambled over closer and closer.
I looked over at him and said “I’m on to you buddy.” He ruffled his feathers and cocked his head to the side. He walked right up and stopped about three inches from my knee and then stayed there quietly. So for about a half hour the seagull and I shared that little section of  beach and I thought deep thoughts and wrote in my journal. Finally I gave in and shared a tiny bit of my granola bar with that gull. He dropped a feather and I picked it up and tucked it into my journal. Then he followed me all the way back to the hotel. 


For me, Florida brought many surprises. Some personal lessons and most importantly some spiritual healing. So I am rested, relaxed and recharged. This Witch is ready to roll. Just in time for book number twelve, which hits bookstore shelves in two weeks! 

I do have plans to go back to that little section of beachy, palm tree laden heaven that I found in Florida. Probably next year…. But I think next time- I’ll bring the Hubs.

Blessed be, Ellen

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Witch takes a Vacation!

Every once in a while something magickal happens. In my case a friend called me a few months ago and asked me if I’d like to go on a winter vacation with her.
To. The. Beach.

The only caveat was that I was not allowed to bring my laptop and absolutely no working was allowed. Only relaxing. Gee, let me think about that for a moment…. Escaping from the snow and cold, taking a break for once in my life, and going to a tropical beach for warm sun and sand in the middle of winter?



I grabbed the chance the way a drowning person snatches a life preserver. Then I wept tears of gratitude. I worked my ass off last year… Book tours, family responsibilities, writing, the coven, my daughter graduated from University and moved home- my second son moved into his own place…

Honestly, besides a fun three day fishing trip with the Hubs at a rustic state park late last summer- I do not remember the last time I had a – can I actually say this word? “Vacation”.
And a vacation that does not have the phrase, “Lets go fly fishing” in it? 
Well, for this to occur it requires certain rare astrological alignments.

So, plans were made and I found myself giddily shopping for a swimsuit in January. Snagged one on sale and a cool flowing cover-up in black.  Picked up some sunscreen, packed my sunglasses and sandals, and tried to imagine having a tan in February.

So, keeping my fingers crossed for smooth travel and then Beach here I come! My plans for the next five days include the Five “B’s” as we’ve begun to call them. The five B’s are Beach, Book, Beach-chair, Blanket, and I added a fifth element--Booze!

I have a hankering for some girly tropical drinks… the kinds with little paper umbrellas in them. If I am going to have a “girls only” escape to the beach- then I damn well want to complete this dream with a tropical drink. I have always wanted to sip a margarita while I stand under the warm sun, with the ocean surf lapping around my ankles….. 


I am so outta here.
Blessed be, Ellen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Imbolc!

Happy Imbolc!

As I write this blog a blizzard warning has been issued for my area in Missouri. We are an hour or so away from the beginning of thundersnow and white out conditions. Something not seen in my area since 1982. This will be a shorter blog as I do not know how long my power will hold out. We already have a thin coating of ice on everything from yesterday and the big snows are coming quickly.

Here at home we are ready. We hauled up firewood, stocked up on groceries, and propane for our camping stove, and we also have our generator ready should we need it. I also went out and stocked up on candles and paraffin oil for our lanterns. The synchronicity of stocking up on candles at a Sabbat famed for candles and hearth fire magick has not escaped me.

We may be at the half-way point of winter and spring but winter still rules the show. February the second is a day that is sacred to the Goddess Brigid. Brigid is a deity of inspiration, poetry and smith-craft. She is also linked to hearth and home magick, fertility and creativity. Brigid, or Brigit or Brid, is a very popular Goddess among Witches and Pagans.

Brigid is a perfect deity for hearth and home magick, so while we are preparing for the storm, it was Brigid that I called upon to help protect the family and our home. If you are interested in learning more about Brigid and brushing up on hearth magick, check out my book Cottage Witchery: Natural Magick for Hearth and Home. There are plenty of ideas in there to keep you conjuring away either by candlelight or at the hearth.

So, if you are also affected by this big storm, take it easy and be smart and safe over the next few days while we all ride this winter storm out.

I wish you all I wish you all a Blessed Imbolc!
Ellen
PS. We still have power! Whoo Hoo! So, I just dashed out to take these pics of the garden under the ice. Enjoy!