Sunday, December 30, 2012

Have an Enchanting New Year


I hope you all have enjoyed the past few weeks of festivities with your friends, coven and families. As 2012 comes to a close, I wish you all a new year full of good health, success, love, and magick.

Here is a spell of mine that was first published in the Spell-a-day Almanac in 2007 for New Years eve. I thought you would all enjoy it!

December 31st (New Years Eve)
At midnight on New Years Eve stand at your threshold and repeat this spell to welcome in the year. This New Year’s Eve spell calls for prosperity, health and happiness. It also reaffirms your vows as a Witch to “Harm none.”  A few minutes before midnight, light a white candle, to symbolize the new year. Then set it in a prominent place and move to your front door. Open the door wide and repeat the spell as the new year is born.

*As the clock strikes twelve, so begins a new calendar year,
Now ring in prosperity, health, happiness, and good cheer.
I welcome this magickal year with hope and open arms,
May I keep my vows to help, to heal, and to cause no harm.
By the powers of hearth and home this spell is spun,
                                             As I will it so shall it be, and let it harm none.

 *Copyrighted material- This spell was written by Ellen Dugan and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from author.

Have an Enchanting New Year!
Blessed be, Ellen

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Embrace the Light: A Yuletide Spell!

Good Morning,
The Winter Holidays are fast upon us, and no matter what holiday you celebrate, Light and the return of the light is the common theme. As the autumn months come to a close and winter gets ready to officially begin, take a moment and be thankful for the blessings that are in your life.
On the morning of December 21st at 6:12 am EST the sun enters the astrological sign of Capricorn, signaling the Winter Solstice our longest night time hours , and the shortest daytime hours of the year.

To the left is a striking photo of sunrise at the winter solstice at Stonehenge.Photos like this always inspire me and remind me that simple celebrations are often the best. Take a moment to reflect and celebrate the rebirth of the sun in your own way.

Now, since a trip to Stonehenge is not an option for many of us, you can still note the position of the sun no matter where you live-- if you pay attention to the daytime sky over the next week or so.
On the day of the winter solstice and for a few days after, the sun's path and its zenith (the sun's highest point in the sky) will look to be about the same for a few days. Which started the "sun standing still" moniker. Around the 24th of December, you will begin to notice that the sun is indeed traveling higher in the sky the daylight hours have lengthened, and even though the days will be cold, and winter has officially begun, remember that the season of winter is all about introspection. It is a time to prepare, to gather together, and to rest up for new beginnings in the coming spring.

Here is a spell I wrote that was originally published in the 2006 Llewellyn Witches Datebook for Yule. I thought it would be fun to share it with you all.

"On the day of the Winter Solstice, celebrate the birth of the Sun God in simple ways. Tuck fresh sprigs of berried holly around the house for protection and good luck. (If you have little ones make sure the berries are well out of reach.) 
Burn red, cinnamon scented candles to honor the Sun King’s birth, and green, bayberry scented candles for prosperity and good fortune. 
Drape some pine roping over your doorways to ward your home, and to encourage good health and joy. Rumor has it that by doing this you are inviting the faeries of winter into your home so they can have a warm place to celebrate the Yuletide festivities."
The charm is just below. Please remember that this is all copyrighted material and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author- which would be me. 
"When a Witch decks the halls with boughs of holly.  
Expect that the Yuletide feast will be jolly.  
Now add a touch of magick and a pinch of glee, 
Welcome renewal in Yuletide’s season of peace." -Ellen Dugan Copyrighted material

 Now go bake some cookies, bring in a few sprigs of fresh holly, boxwood, rosemary and pine and enjoy the coming holidays with your friends and family.
For more ideas on decorating, my family's gingerbread cookie recipe and plenty of magick to inspire you throughout the holidays check out the Yuletide/ Winter Solstice chapter of my new book Seasons of Witchery.

Learn more about the wild hunt and it's ties to Yule, celebrate the holiday season in magickal style and embrace the light. After all the Solstice is the reason for the season!

I wish all a you a Happy Holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year!
Yuletide Blessings,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yule is just aournd the corner....

Good Morning,

Today I have to finish up some Yule shopping, (hopefully) and I am looking forward to getting out of the house for a few hours. Either something I ate on Saturday night at the restaurant did not agree with me or I have a touch of a bug. Blah. I am starting to feel better and besides being stiff from either being at my desk or crashed on the couch, I am on the mend.

Yesterday I took the pile of gifts that had been stacked up in my office and had a marathon gift wrapping session in the kitchen. Now I can see the floor of my office again. I am typically a very tidy person so Having a pile of shopping bags all lined up on the office floor was starting to make me twitchy.

Today is going to be cold again, but I am going to bundle up and head out to the historic section of town anyway, I need the fresh air and the walk on Main Street will do me good. I have to pick up a few gifts that I ordered,  and figure out what I want to purchase to finish up the kid's gifts.

 This coming weekend my husband and I are going to cook a turkey and have all of our adult kids over for supper. After enduring two dried out turkeys on Thanksgiving, undercooked casseroles and vegetables at various relatives houses I want a good turkey and all of the trimmings that we like.
The Hubs got a turkey from work, so this week I will start to organize the trimmings and get it ready to go. I think I will make a red velvet cake the day before the dinner, just for fun. They are so festive. Or if I can find a Yule log cake at a local bakery I might just do that instead.

This year our holidays are going to be different. Typically we have our adult kids over for a quiet dinner and to relax after the craziness of seeing all the relatives on the 24 and 25th, but this year, since my oldest son Kraig, just bought his first house a few months ago... we will be going to Kraig's house for dinner on the 25th. So a new tradition for my brood and I am looking forward to it.

Yeah, I am still doing most of the cooking. But either I rush home from the relatives, and set everything up here... or I go to his house and set everything up ahead of time. I am thinking of doing pulled pork in a crock pot, and I need to figure out the logistics of hauling food and dessert across town. Kraig and Kyle can handle the drinks, chips, dips and cheese trays.

Besides his house is seriously great and he is excited to share his home with the family at the holidays. He and his brother Kyle used to share an apartment now Kyle is his room mate at the house. Last week I went over to help them decorate and that's when we kicked around the idea of him hosting the dinner on the 25th. So as I helped him put up his little 4 foot tree in his living room, the lit pine garland in the kitchen, and the table top Cardinals Baseball tree that is his brother's- which ended up in their kitchen on top of the big kitchen table, which looks great there... we hatched our current plans.

It took everything I had NOT to go crazy and run out and get more holiday decorations. What he has was great for an apartment, but now that he has a house- the holiday trimmings need a bit more oomph. However, I did restrain myself. I am a floral designer and I will decorate any surface in front of me.... so I reminded myself that its not my house and if the boys want more decorations they would ask me for help.Oh and if you are wondering, yes they did and still do roll their eyes at me.

So, Yule is just around the corner, I am finishing up the shopping and soon cookie baking will begin. Today I want to listen to some holiday music, enjoy the chilly day and relax. If you want more ideas for celebrating Yule- and getting in a holiday spirit, check out the Yule chapter in my new book, Seasons of Witchery. 
Blessed be, Ellen

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Witches Discussion Group!

Good Morning,

In a few days, Saturday- December 8th,  my friend Charlynn and I will host the first (of what I hope will be many) St. Louis area Witches discussion group. The two of us have been kicking around for a while a way to have a friendly way to allow other Witches, Pagans and magickal minded folks a way to network, meet and to exchange ideas.

This first Discussion group will meet at a public library, and I am tickled to be able to find a space that is FREE. I am also curious to see how many folks show up. I know that most of my coven sisters, and recent students are coming to show support, so that will be fun. I have not seen some of my favorite witchy people since our big Halloween party.

Charlynn and I have a few other ideas we have been working on as well, and we will see how those unfold in the next calendar year.

After I finish up book #15 I will start to work on a year long Witchcraft class. Something where the students will gather together for lessons but also celebrate the Sabbats together for an entire year. This is still in the planning phase and I will be sure to keep you all posted. For now however, That contracted book is my priority. Once that is off my desk in the spring, then I can focus on the new year long classes.

Here is the information for the Witches Discussion Group. Saturday, December 8 2:00-3:30pm. 
I hope to see many of the St. Louis area Witches there! It is FREE, and it is a fun way to get out and meet and greet with other magickal minded folks. Plus I will have some door prizes to give away!

Topic for December: Yule - A Witch;'s Guide to Surviving the Holidays.

Witches Discussion Group
Hosted by Ellen Dugan and Charlynn Walls
Date: December 8th 2012
Time: 2:00- 3:30 pm.
Place: Kathryn Linnemann Library (Meeting Room)
2323 Elm Street
Saint Charles, MO. 63301
Library Phone Number 636-346-6294
Ages 18 and up are welcome.

A new discussion group for the Witches, Wiccans and Pagans of the St. Louis area.
Topic for December: Yule- A Witch's Guide to Surviving the Holidays
We will be meeting monthly to discuss magickal topics of interest. This will be a friendly exchange of ideas, magick and the discussion group will allow for attendees to have the chance to network and meet other magickal folks from the area. Ages 18 and up are welcome. The discussion group is free.

Please note: Due to work on the Blanchette Bridge, please consider taking 370 or the Page Extension to come to Saint Charles. We look forward to seeing you there!
Blessed be, Ellen

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Yuletide...

Good Morning,
Last night the Hubs and I took in the sights and sounds of the Holiday happenings of historic Saint Charles. The weather was lovely and in the low 50's high 40's. The warm temperatures brought folks out in droves. Here is a link if you want to check it out.

They have been doing this Holiday festival for years and it gets bigger and better every year. Here is a picture of the Civil War Santa- from their website- and one of the first Santas we saw this year.Oh and yes, we saw Julinesse again, as well as Frontier Santa, Pere Noel, Jack Frost, (he always is so cranky and argues with everyone. It's funny and the kids and teens love it). Ah lets see... we also saw Clara from the nutcracker, the town crier, an Angel and of course the Sugar Plum faerie.

As I wrote about in my book, Seasons of Witchery, taking a walk along the cobblestones of Main Street and enjoying the lights (I think there were even more lights this year- it was gorgeous) and seeing all of the characters always help to put me in a Holiday mood. So the Hubs and I walked around for a couple of hours, grabbed a hot chocolate and a cookie from "Grandmas Cookies", listened to the Drum and Fife Corp and of course I ended up stopping at Main Street Books, to order a few things. Here is a link to the store- check it out!
I did an author event for Seasons of Witchery and Witches Tarot, there this fall, and I always support my local independent book store! That and hello, a writer shopping in a book store? What are the odds?

Since the weather is so warm this weekend the holiday lights are going up on the house- today. No more excuses from the Hubs... I mean jeez, we have orange lights all over the house for Samhain/ Halloween, it feels funny to be one of the last folks in the neighborhood to put up their winter holiday lights. I know its only the first of December but, wow. I feel like a slacker. There is one house in our neighborhood a block over that is really something, and holy crap you could signal passing planes with the light display. Its a little tiny ranch style house, but I would imagine he has an extra breaker box. That's a LOT of lights, its a toss up between over the top obnoxious and jaw droppingly cute.

I really wanted to switch over to outdoor LED lights this year, but after dropping several hundred dollars on computer repair and sewer line clean outs the week of Thanksgiving, our white icicle lights will have to do. Besides we could not agree on new LED lights anyway. He wanted the old 1950's vintage looking big colored bulbs and I preferred the faceted looking large bulbs in the nifty new colors.

When we drove home from Main Street last night he even pointed out to me all of the houses that have those old school types of lights. Yeah they did look nice, when they wrapped them in a garland. So we agree to disagree and are putting back up the icicle lights along the roof line of the house. Half of them are only 1 year old anyway, We had to replace them last year as they blew out while we were hanging them up!

A week from today is the first Witches Discussion Group. My friend Charlynn and I will be hosting this. Here is all of the information for that- I hope to see many of the St. Louis area Witches there! It is FREE, and it is a fun way to get out and meet and greet with other magickal minded folks. Topic for December: Yule - A Witch;'s Guide to Surviving the Holidays.

Witches Discussion Group
Hosted by Ellen Dugan and Charlynn Walls
Date: December 8th 2012
Time: 2:00- 3:30 pm.
Place: Kathryn Linnemann Library (Meeting Room)
2323 Elm Street
Saint Charles, MO. 63301
Library Phone Number 636-346-6294
Ages 18 and up are welcome.

A new discussion group for the Witches, Wiccans and Pagans of the St. Louis area.
Topic for December: Yule- A Witch's Guide to Surviving the Holidays
We will be meeting monthly to discuss magickal topics of interest. This will be a friendly exchange of ideas, magick and the discussion group will allow for attendees to have the chance to network and meet other magickal folks from the area. Ages 18 and up are welcome. The discussion group is free.

Please note: Due to work on the Blanchette Bridge, please consider taking 370 or the Page Extension to come to Saint Charles. We look forward to seeing you there!

Blessed be, Ellen

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Owl Moon

Good Morning,
For the past two mornings I have been woken by the call of a pair of Great Horned Owls. Yesterday they were very close, I'm betting the tree at the end of the driveway, and they woke me up before four am. They tend to be more vocal around the full moon anyway, and these two were calling back and forth for about an hour. I didn't mind. Eventaully I fell back asleep listening to them with a smile on my face.

Now somebody is probably ready to ask how am I sure that's what species of owl they are. Well these owl have lived in my neighborhood for years, and I have seen them at night sitting at the top of the neighbor's large spruce. That silhouette is hard to mistake. They look like a big winged cat sitting up there in the trees. Plus you can identify them by they distinctive 5 note call. If you want to hear what they sound like click on this link.

Yesterday while I was Yule shopping I found some adorable owl ornaments. These were natural looking and kinda "furry", but they looked great --a sort of really miniature horned owl. I snagged one for our four foot nature theme tree that is in the family room.
This morning I was treated to another horned owl serenade at around 4:30 am. This time they called back and forth for around a half hour. I live in the suburbs west of the St. Louis area. The homes in my neighborhood range from well over150 to 60 years old, so the trees are large and well established. It is not unusual to see racoons, possums and the occasional fox. We also have falcons and red tail hawks in the neighborhood as well. Occasionally we see a bald eagle as we are not too far from the Missouri river. But the horned owl are a special nighttime treat.

We often hear them in the late autumn early winter months and as mentioned before they are very vocal around the full moon- especially on clear nights, like we have had for the past two nights. Last fourth of July I was walking in the backyard around 11:00pm and disturbed one of the Horned Owls.  He swooped down from a low maple tree branch and I admit I jumped and then ducked as he silently flew over to the neighbors yard. You forget how big they are until you get close to one. I found the picture to the right online- and thought it would give you a good idea of the shape and size of these owls. Now imagine that swooping out of the dark and a few feet above your head....

Traditionally an owl is a symbol of clairvoyance, wisdom, magick and of course the mystery of the night. A classic symbol of the moon and witchcraft. The owl is associated with the goddesses Athena, Lilith and Lakshmi. According to Ted Andrew's book "Animal Speak", "One who works with owl medicine will be able to see and hear what others try to hide."

Take a careful look (and listen) at the wildlife in your own neighborhood, I bet you are in for some surprises.
Blessed be,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mercury Retrogrades- Are We Having Fun, Or What?

Good morning,

This past few days have been so fabulous and glamorous I just have to share! (Yes, that IS Sarcasm).
First, my husband's car went back to the shop for repair.  I called in Roto Rooter in a panic the day before Thanksgiving to have the sewer lines cleaned out, The plumbing was making horrific gurgling sounds- and I know what that means- that clean out service cost me over 200 bucks. I tried to be a good sport about it, after all it needed to be done.

My daughter and I  were baking gingerbread while the plumbers were here, and they were blown away by the yummy smells in the kitchen. As I signed the check the plumber looked at me and said he had not smelled anything like that since he was a little boy.  I calculated his age mid 50's and he was such a nice guy that I ended up sending he and his partner home with a bag of gingerbread cookies still warm from the oven.

Then to add to the fun of Mercury Retrograde, next  the computer needed an overhaul (that one really cost me) and then... our internet started acting up.  I called the SBC Global Internet hotline so many times in the past weeks, it wasn't even funny. If I ever hear the phrase... "Most problems can be solved by turning off your  modem and then restarting the modem and computer...." it will be too soon.

First my internet connection slowed down, then it disappeared, and came back on.  Then we would loose connection for no rhyme or reason. Then it would come back- for a few moments- then disappear again. Thursday (Thanksgiving) morning I was working online when "pop" no internet. But a message saying that there was no broadband source.

So I called the SBC Global hotline again, and the young man named "Bob" with an Indian accent politely asked me if we had been experiencing any static on our home phone lines. We had been for weeks, and on cue the static became very loud. "Bob" promptly informed me that it was probably a line issue and transferred me over to the repair center.  I spoke to another person who got me scheduled for Friday, the very next day, to have a lineman come out.

I crossed my fingers and hoped that it was an exterior equipment or a line problem as those are not repairs that we would be charged for. The lineman showed up early and got to work. I was so nervous I watched out the kitchen windows while I did the dishes. I heard him climb down his ladder, from the side of the house, saw him squint up at the phone lines and shake his head. Then I watched him walk along the side of the house and dive into his truck. He started tossing tool belts and huge boxes on the ground, and I literally cheered and  ran down the hall to wake up the Hubs, pestering him with excited questions.

"Hey! the lineman is here and he's tossing lots of stuff off his truck! Do you think we lucked out and its an exterior problem?" I asked as I bounced up and down.
My husband sat up in bed and tried to focus on me while I shot off rapid fire questions. Finally when I wound down he looked at me and said, "Ellen he's not going to replace anything unless it really needs it. What is he doing exactly?"
Which sent me scrambling back to the kitchen to watch. (It also probably also bought my husband 5 more minutes of peace.)

The lineman ended up replacing the phone lines from our house and then two telephone poles over. He even had to turn off the neighbors phones while he worked. After he was finished he came to the door and asked how long we had lived here- (29 years) informing us that the lines were over 25 years old and corrupted- in other words they were so brittle and old that we probably never had a decent internet connection.

So NOW I have a computer in proper running order and a better internet connection than ever.And since it was exterior work there was NO CHARGE for us! Hooray!

All we gotta do is hang in there until the 26th of November and then Mercury goes direct. And we are on the downward slide now. So hang on kids, we are almost through this!

Catch you on the other side of Mercury Retrograde!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Turkey Day & an Affordable Pagan Dream Cruise!


Life is slowly returning to whatever passes for normal here at home. Tour season is done and OMG Thanksgiving is less than a week away. I will be putting in many hours in the kitchen this week as I typically get asked to bring pies. Currently I am up to having to make four pies...

Also my adult kids and nieces and nephews will rise up in revolt if I don not bring gingerbread cookies to my sister's house. Typically we go to my sister's house for the first meal and then to my mother-in-laws for supper later in the day. You have to pace yourself and eat light, when you celebrate with both sides of the family (Mine and the Hubs) and have two holiday meals...

I think I will definitely make pumpkin pie with fat-free condensed milk and egg beaters. You can't taste the difference but ever calorie saved helps! As to the gingerbread cookies.....the recipe that I use for gingerbread people cookies is found in my book Seasons of Witchery, in the Yule chapter. Check it out. I promise the cookies are awesome.

In other news, I have just announced that I will be the guest speaker on the 2nd Annual Pagan Dream Cruise! I worked with the event coordinator and our hosts at BBCMS and together we came up with a more affordable option this time around.  For starters the cruise departs from Jacksonville, Florida and Southwest airlines flies there.

Which means if you are like me and tend to book your flight months in advance you could really SAVE on the flight! (That's exactly what my husband and I will be doing.) Yesterday we were both looking at the Atlantis website and grinning like lunatics at all of the absolutely cool stuff there is to do... We went out to dinner and the movies last night and all we could talk about was seeing the Bahamas and Atlantis.
Here is the information...

Come join us September 7 - 12, 2013 for 5 nights aboard the Carnival Fantasy in the Beautiful Bahamas!
We will be visiting 2 great ports of call including Nassau, home of ATLANTIS!
We will have 4 Fantastic Classes Taught By author Ellen Dugan!
We will be leaving out Jacksonville FL, which for all of you flying SouthWest flies in and out of Jacksonville!
Rooms starts at ****$462**** per person for 2 people! 
For 3 or 4 people in a room it would be even less!
For more information visit the 2nd Annual Pagan Dream Cruise- Facebook page. Here is the direct link. 2nd Annual Pagan Dream Cruise
 So that's it from here. I am going to try and get a little holiday shopping started this weekend and goddess knows I need to hit the grocery store and stock up on baking supplies. 
Wishing you all a Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Heading to Galveston Island, Texas for Author Event

Good Morning,

The Witchery Store- Galveston Island, Texas
This week I head to Galveston Island, Texas to "The Witchery" store for my final author event of the year. Here is a link to their website.
I am really looking forward to this event, and as I have never been to Galveston, I am excited to see this part of Texas. This is a big author event and a three day long one at that. Here is a picture of the storefront.
Just below is all of the information about the events.


Dates- Friday, November 9th, Saturday, November 10th and Sunday, November 12th.

Place: The Witchery
2116 Postoffice Street
Galveston Island, Texas 77550

Author Meet and Greet
Date: Friday, November 9th

Time: 4:00 to 7:00pm
Place: The Witchery
Come meet award-winning author Ellen Dugan and have your books signed. Ellen will be at The Witchery on Friday night for a free book signing and chat. Looking forward to seeing you there! Ellen will be at The Witchery on Saturday and Sunday as well. Doing tarot readings with her new Witches Tarot deck, and teaching three classes.

Tarot Readings by Ellen Dugan
Date Saturday, November 10th

Place: The Witchery
2116 Postoffice Street
Galveston Island Texas
Time: Tarot Readings from 11:00am to 5:00pm: By Appointment Only- (Call the store to schedule your time.)
Tarot Reading Price: $30.00 for a15 minute reading.

Ellen Dugan offers Three Magickal Classes at The Witchery

Class Dates: Saturday and Sunday November 10th & 11th, 2012
Time for Classes: See below with each class description
Classes Offered: Magick of the Witches Tarot , Herbs for the Seasons, and Practical Protection Magick
Class fees: $40.00 per class
Class Descriptions:

Saturday Evening Class- (7:00 - 9:00 pm) Magick of the Witches Tarot- Join award winning author Ellen Dugan for this two hour class as she explains the symbolism and magick behind her new deck, Witches Tarot. Learn about the archetypes and magick behind the symbolism, as well as discovering more information about the new card spreads that she created specifically for this deck. The Major and Minor Arcana will be discussed. This class also features tips and trick for working magick with your Witches Tarot deck. Bring your Witches Tarot deck along and we look forward to seeing you there! Class fee- $40.00. Call store to reserve your spot in class.

Sunday Afternoon Class- (2:00 to 4:00pm) Herbs for the Seasons: Herb magick is available to us through every enchanting season. Join award winning author Ellen Dugan for a lecture on the Herbs for the Seasons and learn new ways to incorporate practical herb magick into your Witchery all year long. In this lecture Ellen discusses her new book Seasons of Witchery, practical plant magick, herbal folklore and of course ways to personalize your Craft all year long. Looking forward to seeing you there! Class fee- $40.00. Call store to reserve your spot in class.

Sunday Evening Class- (6:00 - 8:00pm) Practical Protection Magick:  As a special treat Ellen is teaching her very popular workshop on Practical Protection Magick This class will cover your psychic strengths and weaknesses, explain how to diagnose a magickal problem, and discuss the difference between a hex and a crossed condition. This live class has been popular across the country and Ellen is delighted to offer it for the first time in Texas. This class will explore real-life psychic self-defense, and it gives practical advice on dealing with emotional and uninvited psychic vampires. Several techniques of protective spell-work will be discussed, and you will also discover what the phrase “Magick follows the least path of resistance”, truly means. Class fee -$40.00. Call store to reserve your spot in class.

I had to stop and reconsider what clothes I would wear to these author events as the climate on the Island is drastically different than what we have here in Missouri at the moment. Thank you Weather But I broke out all of my pretty Capri pants and my lighter, and dressy sleeveless tops. I also pulled my dressy sandals out of the closet. So I think I am all set.

I will also bring some of my Garden Witch Charm Bracelets to sell, and for fun I am bringing along a mug and three car charms with the art from my Witches Tarot for give-a-ways at each separate event at The Witchery store.
I hope to see many of you there! This is gonna be a blast!
Blessed be, Ellen

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wishing you a Blessed Samhain & Happy Halloween!

Well our 3rd annual Gothic Halloween party has come and gone and tomorrow is the sabbat of Samhain. Today I cranked out the last of the annual articles for Llewellyn and now its just me and book number 15.  Hooray! From the day after Samhain my total writing attention is devoted to the next book. Period.

I have one author event left this year and that will in November be at The Witchery, in Galveston Island Texas.  I will be teaching three separate classes and doing readings over a three day period. I am really looking forward to going to see Clyde and the fabulous folks in Texas.

Our 3rd annual Gothic Halloween party was our biggest one yet! My daughter and I went out the afternoon of the party and had our hair done for our costumes. So when you see the pictures of my hair to the right- I had that done. I could not pull that off myself. I was Bellatrix LeStrange and my husband Ken did a Gentleman Ghost.

This year we had some very creative costumes. From Bob Ross and a Happy Tree to  Beetlejuice, to Assassin's Creed characters, Gypsies, Zombies, Vampires and of course some very fine Witches.

My adult kids rocked out some Arkham City Characters. Namely Harley Quinn, The Riddler and Bane. Here they are. They even got their friends to come as Catwoman, Twoface, and a Lady cop. Here are my trio below.
Folks gathered around the fire pits in the garden, gobbled up food, had a few drinks and eventually starting posing in the coffin. The black lit garage turned out better than ever and yes we managed to squeeze five Witches into the coffin for a group picture below.

Tomorrow will be a quieter night. For the family and a few close friends and of course the neighborhood trick or treaters.
I wish all of you a blessed Samhain.

Happy Witches' New Year!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Samhain! A Kindle & Nook Sale For Seasons of Witchery!

Good Morning,

I have some news to share! My new book "Seasons of Witchery" is part of a Special Halloween e-book Sale only $1.99 for a limited time... follow the link just below and go get a copy for your Kindle while it's on sale!
Kindle Sale for Seasons of Witchery

Also it IS on Nook as well for the same sale price here is the Nook link.  Nook Sale for Seasons of Witchery   
Remember that this e-book sale only lasts for a week or so- so don't delay go snag a copy now!

I was contacted this summer by Llewellyn and asked if I would be interested in taking part of this Halloween sale. They had nominated Seasons of Witchery for part of the sale and them Amazon and Barnes & Noble chooses which best selling books they want. To my delight, it was chosen. So go get a copy and enjoy the sale price! 

Here is the banner the folks up at Llewellyn made for me- for Samhain and with a quote from my Seasons of Witchery. I pinned it to my Pinterest and put it up on a couple of my Facebook pages.

Here at home things are busy. We are gearing up for our annual Gothic Halloween Party.  I have a Samhain article and ritual to finish for the 2014 Sabbats Almanac. And it is the perfect time of year to do it- as I'm all in the mood! 

Here is a picture of Six-foot Stanley, our Scarecrow guarding over the front yard at dusk. I just took this the other day.  

Looks like I will have to rake many, many leaves this week as all of the pin oak leaves are falling... a cold front is due to slide in and the temperatures will snap back to autumn which I actually prefer. I have had enough of the heat.

That's it for now- I hope you will enjoy reading Season's- Samhain chapter and remember to relax and enjoy the Samhain/ Halloween  festivities. 

Blessed be and Happy Samhain, Ellen

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Never Tick Off your Muse....


Lately I have been battling with book number 15. Why you may ask? Well, because I actually started writing this particular book last year. (As in Fall of 2011.) I was working full time outside the home as a floral designer last year for about 6 months... so I was not able to devote all of my time to writing. Then just when I thought it was safe- the book had to be put aside to work on the tarot deck. I grumbled about it, but did what was necessary. I worked on book #15 off and on while the art from the deck trickled in... and then the book had to be put aside a second time for the mad-dash-to-the-finish writing marathon that happened when Mark turned the last of the art in mid-April 2012.

After that I promptly got a sinus infection and was sick for a while. Once I got over that I put my nose the grindstone and sent in a proposal for book #15. Then I was busy with author events for Seasons of Witchery and surprise! the Witches Tarot was released a month early. And all my plans of quietly writing in the early fall- went straight out the window.

So as I could, (in between writing several Llewellyn annual articles and teaching classes)  I kept chipping away at the newest magickal book over the past few months. Now, finally I am writing and working on it exclusively full time. And you know what? There have been days I feel like I am chipping away at concrete with a toothpick.

Apparently, my inner Muse is one pissed-off-cranky-bitch.
Seriously. She makes me work and sweat for every freaking page I manage to put on paper. I don't think I have ever worked so hard at getting back into the flow of a book in my life. And to be honest I have never had a book get derailed so many times either.

The good news is this book will be more magickally in depth than any I have written before. It is deeper and and has made me stretch and grow as a writer. It has become more than I thought it would be when I first outlined it. So that makes me happy. Even while I bust my ass.

Anyway, I am chipping away... the deadline is March of next year and I need to have it done by mid-February as I will be a guest speaker at Convocation 2013 in Detroit, February 21-24. So yeah, no pressure or anything. My husband just went to second shift at his job and now he is home during the day and puttering around and making noise while I battle this book.  Which is going to take some adjustment.... on my part.

Because honestly, if I can hear anybody breathe right now it's just annoying. So lately I have been playing my iPod and singing while I write. It drowns out background noise and helps me stay on point. Since the last thing I need is another distraction.

Yes, that's new for me. The loud music and belting out songs while I write. But it seems to be helping... So it's "Butt in chair-hands on keyboard time", as my author friend Jeanne Adams says.

Are you listening Muse? You and book #15 have my full and undivided attention. Lets rock and roll.

Blessed be, Ellen

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Bewitching Project for Halloween

Good Morning and Happy October!

I have begun decorating the house for Samhain over the weekend. I swear we have more Samhain / Halloween interior decorations than most folks do for X-mas! It took me most of the day on Sunday to put everything in place with a lot of help from my husband and daughter. And it's not even all up yet. The really intense decorations go up about a week or so before Samhain. No room is safe- not even the bathrooms, as we prepare for our annual Halloween party. I wrote about this in my new book, Seasons of Witchery. Check out the Autumn Equinox and Samhain chapters for more information.

For the past three years my husband and I have thrown a Gothic Halloween party. And every year it gets bigger and more elaborate. Last year he built a toe pincher coffin and everyone had their picture taken in it out in the garage. Here is one of the pictures from our "Photo Shoot" last year. This is Noir, me, Ember and Draco. I wish you could see the garage when it was black lit, but alas when the camera flashes you loose the black light and the creepiness.
2011 Coffin Photo Shoot.
In a couple of weeks I will get started in the garage and transform it once again into a Gothic lair.  Also, my husband built a lid for that big toe pincher coffin.

Imagine my 24 year old walking in the house back in early September and casually asking when she hears the buzz of the saw, "What's Dad doing out in the garage?" And my equally casual response of, "Oh, he's building a lid for his coffin."

She didn't even blink. 

We are planning to use more backdrops this year in the garage. This year we have black fabric and yards of grey and black tulle to drape the walls with- for the background of the coffin set up. (To cover the walls I snagged some flat black sheets on sale.) Much more economical than buying yards of black fabric and its wider!

This summer I found via Pinterest, some directions for making "candles" out of PVC pipe, hot glue, and battery operated tea lights. I couldn't wait to try it out.
This idea appealed to me for many reasons. First of all when I have a garage heavily decorated with spiderwebs, pumpkins, a coffin, a wine bar, and it's all lit with only black light... and you have lots of folks laughing, dancing and partying- the LAST thing I want to worry about is an open flame.

So I thought this was a fabulous idea. I showed the directions to the Hubs and off he went to the hardware store and came home with 6 feet of PVC pipe for about 5 bucks. Here are the pictures of the PVC Candle project in progress.
First he got out his big chop saw and cut the PVC pipe into various lengths. To start, we chose 8 inches, 5 and 3/4 inches and 3 and 1/2 inches. Then I took blue painters tape- (because I had it lying around) and made a sling across the top of the PVC pipe deep enough for a battery operated tea light to fit inside of.

Once we had that done I took my low-temp glue gun and made "drips" down the side of each PVC pipe. Totally covering the tape. This was done in layers so it would build up, and look like a real meting candle. This takes some time AND you will go through MANY glue sticks. So stock up before you begin, otherwise you will find yourself stopping to run to the arts and craft store- (Like we had to do).
For the long drips I started at the bottom and ran the hot glue up the side of the "candle". Then I would let it pool a bit at the top.              Be careful NOT to let the glue drip inside of the pipe. If you do, you may have a tough time getting the battery operated tea-light in and out of the "candle".  So keep the inside clean and clear of hot glue.

We let the hot glue harden up, and then we used acrylic craft paint in black and brushed it over the "candles". Be sure to paint inside of the pipes and if you have white battery operated tea-lights paint around the top of the tea-lights. (Be sure to wipe any paint off the "flame.) See the picture I took on the right- for the painting in progress.

Then we let the paint dry. Just below and to the left is a picture I took of the candles and tea-lights drying.
Ellen dry brushing the "drips".
 Once the candles were completely dry, I used white acrylic paint and dry brushed the "drips".
Dab the paintbrush on paper so it is almost dry- like stenciling before you start brushing the candle with it.
Starting from the bottom of the candle and then brushing up, I highlighted all of those simulated candle wax drips. This really makes it pop against the black. And it made the candles look more realistic.

Variations: I have seen PVC candles done in black with red drips or purple drips, but I really like the white against the black. To me it looks the best. Plus it looks creepy. White candles with red drips would be pretty nifty. But we wanted to stick with black.

Finally we gathered them up turned on the tea lights and took a few pictures. They looked amazing when they were all grouped together. As a matter of fact they looked so good that we went and made about a dozen more the next weekend.

Oh, and also if you look around the Halloween stores you can find black battery operated tea-lights. We snagged some of those too, and at last count I think we have about 20 or so of these PVC Halloween candles for the party.

For display purposes they do look better when you group them up in groups of 3 or 4 candles.
These PVC candles would be great for outdoor rituals as well if there was a concern for wildfires or if it was windy outside. I bet you can think of lots of uses for these. Red candles with sparkly white drips would be pretty for Yuletide as well.

Use your imagination and see what you can conjure up.
As for me... I am on the lookout for the next big Halloween decorating idea. Enjoy the month of October and Blessed be,

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumn has Arrived- It's the Season of the Witch!

Good Morning,
Autumn has arrived and right on schedule the nights are much cooler, and a snap is in the air here at home. On the day of the Equinox Six-foot Stanley the Scarecrow made his annual appearance in our front gardens. The cornstalks were fastened to the front porch post and I tucked in a few more orange/ bronze colored mums into the gardens.  Stanley will stay in place warding the front gardens and the house until after Samhain. You can read all about the history and magick of the Scarecrow in my book "Autumn Equinox". There is a Scarecrow Spell in the book that you can use too!

It seems that September is just flying past so quickly this year. The harvest moon is just around the corner. This year the Harvest Moon will occur on Saturday, September 29. It hits the "full moon" phase at 11:19 pm EST.

I am working on book #15 and trying like hell to stay home and to get some serious writing done. It has not been easy, as there have been non-stop distractions. I managed two blissful uninterrupted days last week. I hope I can get 3 or 4 days alone without dramas and interruptions this week. All of the interruptions makes me cranky and my muse is not a happy camper at the moment. I can feel her tapping her foot at me. Once I sit down to write she yanks me all over the place, and I struggle to keep up with her. Apparently my writing has been bottled up too long.

Also, I wanted to announce that to celebrate the autumn season I am offering a FREE bonus Samhain spell with the purchase of any of my online classes. One of my most popular classes is the Full Moon Magick class. This work-at-your-own-pace class includes magickal lessons and 14 lunar rituals so you can easily work full moon magick all year long. At only $22.00 dollars this class is a bargain. You can order any of my online classes by following this link Ellen Dugan's Online Classes  

If you would like more information on all eight of the Sabbats check out my new book Seasons of Witchery.  Its chock full of new ideas and magick for the Autumn, and the sabbat of Samhain, which is fast approaching!

I hope you will take a few moments and enjoy these final days of September and the beginning of the autumn season.

Take a walk and really look at the leaves as they start to turn this year. Plant some spicy mums in the garden and employ some color magick. (you will find tips on magick with mums in both Autumn Equinox and in Seasons of Witchery), Decorate your home for the autumn Sabbats and enjoy the Season of the Witch as it begins!
Blessed be, Ellen
PS. The article I wrote about the Witches tarot is now on the Llewellyn Worldwide website you can read it by following the link. Llewellyn Journal article by Ellen Dugan

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gardening in the Late Summer- Early Autumn

Yesterday I finished up my two part class on the Witches Tarot. It was a fun series of classes and very well attended. I have finished my 2014 almanac articles for Llewellyn, and now I am focusing everything on book #15. The newest magickal book is due in about 5 months. So I will be working away all fall and winter on the new book. Not sure about a release date- maybe early 2014?

Here at home, we have enjoyed a lovely August. No seriously. It was fabulous. It rained on a fairly regular basis- the temperatures cooled off and the gardens sprung back into action. I snagged some pretty annuals- sun tolerant impatiens. They have gorgeous purple-green foliage, and best of all they were on clearance. 

A few weeks ago I went to work on the front gardens. They needed some freshening up after the drought had toasted everything. The new annuals are blooming away in coral and eye-popping orange. The coleus hung in there and pushed out new growth in the rain, so I tucked in some baby mums (that will eventually bloom in orange) and freshened up the front gardens. Here are a few pictures.

Even my clematis sprung out in new foliage with the rain and cooler temperature. I honestly figured it had withered up and died from the drought. Even though I watered it, it just could not stand the extreme heat we had this year.

But after a few showers and then the nice, heavy, several days of rain we got from Tropical Storm Isaac, lots of my plants pushed out new growth. So I pinched back my hanging baskets and containers, fertilized them... and about 2 weeks later they exploded in new blossoms.

Remember the post I did back this spring about "Window box Witchery"? Well those window boxes hung in there all summer... and here is how they look now. Even my husband is amazed at how well they have done. The verbena is still blooming and it pushed out new growth. The petunias are rejuvenated and even the lobelia is blooming again.The hummingbirds love these flowers and will fly right next to you to get at them. They chatter and squawk, at each other and anyone sitting on the back patio, it's really cute.

In a few more weeks when all of the mums start to bloom in the front yard I will post some new pictures of the front gardens.

 Yesterday we pruned back the oak tree in the front yard. That was a hell of a job. Its a massive tree. Then we tidied up in the gardens, I trimmed back plants and noticed that my Oakleaf hydrangea was teasing me with a hint of it's autumn colors to come.
For now I am enjoying the morning glories- they are September's flower after all, and noticing the leaves are starting to change on the trees. Just as they do every September. This time the color we see is from the season- and not drought stress. Hooray!

For more information about gardening in the summer and autumn please check out my new book Seasons of Witchery. As the wheel of the year turned I did share my gardening journal in the book along with plenty of seasonal spells to keep you happily conjuring all year long. With all of the hub-bub and excitement of the Tarot deck being released early, I feel like Seasons of Witchery got a little lost in the shuffle. It is a nice chunky book, and has a whole fresh take on the Sabbats and the wheel of the year. This book is personal, and will give you plenty of ideas for your celebrations and how to keep your magick vital and an active part of your life all year long.

I hope you will pick up a copy and enjoy it! Here is a direct link to order it on Amazon with a nice sale price to boot! Order Seasons of Witchery on Amazon Enjoy the last week of summer and embrace the autumn as it rolls into your life and magick.
Blessed be, Ellen

PS. Follow me on Pinterest.
It's fun and I have lots of magickal and witch-theme boards to look at! Click on the link below to see all the pretties! Oh and yes, you know I have plenty of boards on the Elements, Magickal Gardening, Autumn, Vintage Halloween, Faerie, and Samhain/ Halloween Boards!