Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are you Ready for Spring?

Good Morning,
I am getting itchy for spring to arrive, which is why I updated the blog design to a cheerful springy/ vintage  theme. 
That, and birds, nests, babies and kids have been on my mind a lot lately. 

Part of that is due to the fact that I was assigned to write the Ostara ritual and article for the 2013 Sabbat Annual. The ritual I came up with incorporates birds, eggs and tiny bird's nests for symbolic props  in the Vernal Equinox ritual.
It was different and fun to conjure up that new sabbat ritual and those types of images and themes are always very season appropriate .

Perhaps it's the baby quilt that I just finished last night for a coven sister who is due in a couple of weeks... Maybe its the fact that my empty nest here at home- which my husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed for the past year- is about to fill back up as one of our chicks will be moving back home in late March.

Our daughter is moving back home to save up for graduate school. She wants to get a better car and put some money away before she takes the big leap and goes to get her Master's degree. Her father and I both support this decision and she will move the bulk of her items into storage and then move back home with her personal items and so forth. 

She is excited and is raring to go, so I imagine by this fall our nest will be empty again as she is looking at universities that are all out of state. We are happy to help her out while she saves up, gets a better car, and prepares for the next chapter in her life.
The girl is a hard worker, she was an RA in college and also held down a part time job off campus. She's been working full time since she graduated with her Bachelor's degree, and I have no doubt that her goals will be achieved.

This morning when I woke up I heard birds singing outside the windows. My daffodils and hyacinths are getting taller every day, and just yesterday when I was gathering some herbs I noticed my butterfly bush is covered in bright green leaves.
Seems to me that the Goddess of Spring is making an early appearance this year.

I imagine I will be running outside a lot in the next few weeks and covering up my plants with buckets to protect them while the temperatures swing back and forth. The perennials are pushing through the ground and the spring birds have returned. At this point I can only hustle and get ready for the new gardening season and all of the projects that are about to come to fruition.

I will be getting the proof pages for Seasons of Witchery, in a couple of weeks, (It will be released in June), the Witches Tarot deck is in its final stages, and I have started yet another new magickal manuscript. Why? because I had an idea and I wanted to explore it. So far while it has been a lot of work, it has also been fun.
No doubt about it, this spring is going to be busy on many levels.

No matter how you look at it spring is always a busy time. So my friends, brace yourself. Because spring and all of its changes and opportunity for growth- is just around the corner. Enjoy them all.
Blessed be, Ellen
Seasons of Witchery: Celebrating the Sabbats with the Garden Witch

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Green Magick

Good Morning,
Tomorrow is my second class in my practical magick series and it is on Green Magick. This classed is based on my book Garden Witch's Herbal: Green Magick, Herbalism & Spirituality. This a topic near and dear to my heart. It is also one of my favorite touring lectures. I am looking forward to Sunday, as this will be the first time I have taught this class here in Missouri. Here is the class description. 

Garden Witch's Herbal by Ellen Dugan
Green Magick and Herbalism-
This class will be held on Sunday, February 26. 

Join award winning author and Master Gardener Ellen Dugan for a lecture on Green Magick & Herbalism. Ellen will discuss the fundamentals of the green path, and the magickal tools of the green trade- which may surprise you. Discover the magick of plants, trees, flowers and herbs that can be easily incorporated into your own style of witchery, in practical and profound ways. This class will inspire, and motivate you to take your magick to the next level. A group green magick ritual will close out the 2 hour class. 
Class Date: Sunday- February 26
Time:  2:00pm
Class fee:
Wellness Center (Chapel of Love & Light)
1600 Boone's Lick Road
St. Charles, MO. 63301
Ages 18 and up are welcome. 

Snow on dogwood blossoms
Honestly, green magick is a style of magick that works well with any tradition or personal eclectic practice. It is so much more than just gardening and herbs. This is a mind set and it teaches you how to work in harmony with your own flora, fauna, and the seasons. No matter what part of the world you happen to live in. Or what time of year it happens to be. Especially at this time of year when we are hovering between winter and the beginning of spring. Green Magick is indeed all around you.

I always get a kick out of my student's reactions when they discover the truth about green magick. It is extremely gratifying to see them have their ah-ha! moment. For once they make that connection to the natural world, they never look at magick the same way again. They learn to tap into the rhythms of the seasons. To flow with the cycles of nature and to appreciate the magick that is found in the part of the world that they call home. 
Which makes green magick intensely personal and unique for each individual practitioner. For folks who hate the "cookie cutter Wicca stuff", green magick is your answer. Embrace the idea and bring something personal and different into your Craft.

Here in Missouri, spring has been flirting with us and giving us a hint of what is to come for the past few days... I was able to get out and take my walks enjoying the sunshine, and the 60 degree temperatures for a couple of days this week.  Just before the big cold front came through. We have had high winds for the past couple of days, and it is damp and chilly- more like February again. But, I think we are supposed to get some mild warmer weather this coming week! 

While I was out on my walks I saw patches of bright yellow crocus blooming around the neighborhood. It was so cheerful.  Especially against all that brown winter grass. 
I also noticed a lot of buds swelling on trees. I hope they hold off for a while... Winter is not done with us yet. While we are enjoying the classic "February Thaw", we still have about a month to go before spring officially arrives. 

However, the wheel of the year is turning! Celebrate the seasons and their magick, however they manifest in your neck of the woods. Explore green magick, open your heart to nature, and see where it leads you.
Blessed be, 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Witches Tarot- Coming Fall 2012

Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan
For two years I have had to keep my "secret project" ... well, a secret. But I was just given clearance to post the cover image, and to announce the newest book- so here we go. The Witches Tarot, will be a boxed deck and book. It is being published by Llewellyn Worldwide.

I am finishing up the book now and the artwork is almost complete. The artist's name is Mark Evans and the art is magickal, vibrant and gorgeous. I am really happy to finally be able to share this news with my fans. I will not be posting any of the card art for a while... but the cover image is actually "The Moon" card from the deck- with a cool border all around it. The release date is set for Fall 2012. As I get more information, and am cleared to post a card or two... I will be sure to let everyone know.

Tomorrow my first class in my new Practical Magick Series. I am really looking forward to the classes and meeting the students. Here is the information on tomorrows class- if you live in the St. Louis area and would like to attend.
Class Dates: Sundays- February 19, February 26, March 4 & March 11
Time:  2:00pm
Class fee:
$30.00 each- or attend all four classes for $100.00 and save! (Payment for all four classes in the series is due in full at the time of the first class.) Cash or Check only.

Wellness Center (Chapel of Love & Light)
1600 Boone's Lick Road
St. Charles, MO. 63301
Ages 18 and up are welcome.
Need more info? For more information, directions to the Wellness Center, or to pre-register for classes, please contact Ellen via email at edugan_gardenwitch@yahoo.com

Candle and Crystal Magick: Going from Basic to Advanced-
This first class will be held on Sunday, February 19.
Candle and crystal spells are the stock in trade of most Witches and magickal practitioners. The trick is how do you take the basics and turn them into more advanced practices? In this first class of the four part practical magick series, award winning author Ellen Dugan, shows you how to advance your Craft. This class focuses on candle and crystal magick, and shows you how to think outside the box and how to personalize your spells. The law of correspondence, and vibration will be discussed, as well as a look at how lunar timing, and the magickal days of the week can work in your favor. There will also be information on troubleshooting your spell-work. This 2 hour class will end with group candle and crystal spell-work.
The following classes in the series are:
Green Magick & Herbalism 2/26/2012
Practical Prosperity & Abundance Magick 3/4/2012
Practical Protection Magick 3/11/2012

For more information plus detailed class descriptions- at www.ellendugan.com go to the "Tours" tab at the top of the page. or look at the previous blog about the classes. 

Practical Protection Magick in French!
Now I have to go print up my handouts and lecture notes for class tomorrow! Wishing you all a great weekend. Hope you are as excited about the new project as much as I am!
Blessed be, Ellen

PS. I just received the French version of Practical Protection Magick.  It was translated by ADA Editions (Canada) the website is www.ada-inc.com Here is the French version- Loving the cover!

Monday, February 13, 2012

How does Love Magick Work?

Good Morning,
I think people often wonder....Do Witches celebrate Valentine’s Day? Well of course we do!  Wearing flowing black is entirely optional. Many Witches may take a more sexy and gothic tone to their V-Day celebrations, but I promise you we are NOT all slinking around like Morticia Addams in public. At home... maybe. At the grocery store? Probably not.

Witches bake cupcakes, make and give cards, or create candy for our kids. We give little gifts to our loved ones, we send or receive flowers. Or we pick up pots of blooming tulips, hyacinths or daffodils, to celebrate the coming spring... In other words we celebrate the secular holiday, pretty much like everyone else. 

The difference is we may choose to spice up our lives with a bit of love magick. A few years ago I had the opportunity to write an empowering book for witchy women on the topic of love magick. The title was already set when I tossed my hat in the ring and let my publishing company know I was interested. So, How to Enchant a Man- came to be. Here is the book pictured below with my Rose Pentacle and a Love Spell altar all set up...

Rose Pentacle available for sale on ellendugan.com
It is to date one of my funniest, snarkiest, and bawdiest books. It is still my most controversial. Which baffles me. This little book is all about female empowerment and how to boost your confidence, your inner beauty, and invoking the goddess within. 

If I am sitting at a festival and all of my titles are on the signing table before me- guaranteed that is the book that fires people up. What I find fascinating is the women who are confident and happy, pounce on it, giggle and devour. Also, gay men LOVE it. And to that I say, “Right on!” 

However I have noticed that women who have self-esteem issues tend to shy away from the book. I have even had a few women yell at me about the topic. The men however seem to like the book, and often offer to buy it for their wives/ partners. Awww that’s sweet. While this makes for some pretty saucy, cute and suggestive verbal exchanges and laughter between the book-buying couples, it has also cause a few women to glare at me and stomp off. And they are missing the whole point. Love magick is not about putting the whammy on someone else.

What many folks do not realize is that when it come to love magick…. the secret to enchanting a man, or a woman for that matter- is simple. You have to “Enchant Yourself” FIRST. You need to put yourself in the correct frame of mind and be happy with who you are- to attract a positive and loving partner into your world. So this Valentines day, think about that. If you feel beautiful/ handsome and confident you will attract beauty and more confidence into your life. So…

Go. Enchant. Yourself.

If you want a fun, and sassy read, go pick up a copy of the book. It is available on Kindle too. For now, here is a “Finding Your Inner God/dess” Spell from my book, How to Enchant a Man, The entire ritual is found on pages 31-32. 
This spell is a pick-me-up type of spell. Designed to brigthen your aura and make you feel happier and more confident. And confidence is a beautiful thing.
Quick version; light a small vanilla scented candle- (for love and comfort) hold it in your cupped hands up at heart level, and repeat the spell verse three times.

*As the scent of vanilla wafts around,
No more self-doubt or sadness shall be found.
As this candle burns away, let my inner light shine,
I see myself for who I am: a God/dess divine!
A positive change begins on Valentines day, 
May this spell bring joy, romance and happiness my way.
*This spell is copyrighted material and may not be reproduced without the author’s permission.

Once the charm has been repeated, set the candle in a fire proof container/ holder and allow the spell-candle to burn out in a safe place. Be sure to keep an eye on the candle while it is burning.

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends. Go be enchanting, and remember that the strongest magick always comes from the heart!
Blessed be, Ellen

Friday, February 10, 2012

Magickal Home Offices & Book News

Good Morning,
As many of you know I am currently putting together a book proposal for magickal book #15. I have been buried in reference books and notes for weeks and lately my home office has felt stuffy and "off". I have a big corner desk and it's well... in the corner. After a year of my office being arranged like this I was starting to feel a little smothered. 

I was chatting with a writer friend of mine yesterday, Tess. I told Tess I was thinking about turning the desk around or rearranging the office. She asked me how my desk was oriented. Was my back was to the wall, or was my back to the door?
I said, "My back is to the door. The desk faces the far corner of the room," and she gasped in horror.
Apparently having your back to the door is a major Feng Shui no-no for any office- let along a home office.

Tess is the perfect wise woman to ask as she is a Feng Shui consultant, and has written a great book called Magical Housekeeping. Here is a picture of her first book.
I first met Tess at INATS back in 2010 and she is just the kindest and sweetest person. We hit it off and have stayed friends.

So after our conversation was finished, I called my oldest son- it was his day off- and I asked him to help me rearrange my office. I bribed him by offering to buy him lunch, and he came over a bit later and helped me disconnect and move the desk. And then he reconnect all the computer and printer equipment for me. Goddess knows he is so much faster at it than I am.

After I was back up and running, I sprung for lunch and then I came home and de-cluttered and cleaned. Then I lit some candles, blessed the office with my "Elemental Workspace Charm" which can be found on page 49 in my book Cottage Witchery: Natural Magick for Hearth & Home, and got down to business.
Finally I cranked out some pages yesterday afternoon and made real progress on that proposal.  Whoo Hoo!

It feels so much better in my office now. My daughter dropped by last night and peeked in the office and rolled her eyes at me and announced, "Mom, I told you last year to turn your desk around. How in the hell could you be creative facing the corner?" Darn kids. It's my trial in life to have my adult children sigh and roll their eyes at me.

Anyway, I'm going to look around today and see if I can find a little lucky bamboo plant or African Violet to put in my office. Since I can't bring in flowers from the garden, with it being winter, maybe I'll pick up a little houseplant today and cheer myself up with a green plant. Plus a little green magick is just the thing for my home office.

In other book news... I should be able to finally make an announcement next week on book project #14. Its been a couple of years in the making. And I am so excited that I will finally be able to share the news. (Cover art too!) So far I can tell you this much.... Book project  #14 will be released in the fall of 2012 or early 2013.
I'll keep you all posted. 

Now I have to get to work on the next book proposal. It certainly feels lighter and brighter in my cozy little home office. Remember to take the time to de-clutter and to magickally enhance your own office at home. I bet you'll be charmed by the results!

Blessed be, Ellen

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back from Florida & Back to Writing

My husband and I took an early 30th anniversary trip to Florida last week. Since our anniversary is in mid-March, we decided to take our trip a few weeks early- in February and avoid all the wild and rowdy Spring Break kids. We had a great time on the beach, even though we did not get a lot of sun, the ocean was warm and we had a wonderful romantic and relaxing trip.

The hubs surprised me with a pearl and diamond ring on our first night at the resort. (The 30th anniversary stone is the pearl.) It was a perfect trip, and we needed "just us" time. It was also a treat sleeping with our balcony doors open at night and listening to the surf pound on the beach.

After we returned home, reality intruded on our romantic weekend. I had a few days of catching up on laundry, answering email, sending out online classes, going grocery shopping, and other mundane things. Then finally,  I sat down yesterday at 5:30 am and began cranking out chapter 1 of book #15. (Don't ask- I never announce what the topic of the book is until it's contracted and the title is set.)

I am back to writing full time again, and have been in research mode for a few weeks before we left for the trip. Once I got home I had so much in my mind that I wanted to get onto paper- or the computer screen, as it were. So yesterday, I hit it hard. I took a break and went and got our pictures developed from our trip and then in the afternoon I had a talk with one of my writing friends, about some of the "Old School" principles that the Craft is based upon. I think Christopher and I set a record yesterday and only lost cell phone connection once. Witches on cell phones- it's not always a good mix.

I stayed working at my desk until 7:00 pm yesterday and then finally made myself take a break. I couldn't get my eyes to focus any more. This morning I'm going to go over all of my reams of notes and dive back in. I want to get this proposal off to the publisher ASAP. So that means I need to be industrious and crank out some pages.

Sunrise on Florida beach 2012
In the meantime while I am writing away.... I'm going to play my new background music CD that I purchased yesterday while I was out picking up our trip photos. Its a nature CD and is only the sounds of the ocean and the surf.
If I close my eyes and listen I can imagine myself back on the beach, and not surrounded by the February snow and cold here at home.
Blessed be, Ellen

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Imbolc Everybody!

Good Morning,
This has been such a mild winter for many of us across the country this year. Its been hovering around the 50 degree mark during the day here at home, with chilly winds and a dampness that makes it feel colder than the thermometer says.
At Imbolc we stand at the half-way point between winter and spring. It is still pitch black when I wake up in the mornings, and my gardens are sleeping away under a blanket of leaves.

I have to say this is the first time I can remember being able to harvest rosemary- which is a tender perennial- all the way into February out of my gardens. Its been fun to go raid my herbs for dishes and my parsley loves the chilly weather so it has been continuously growing all winter.

Last week I discovered a bag of pink tulip bulbs that I had forgotten to plant in the fall, so I dug into that chilly dirt in one of the beds in the front yard and planted them... here's hoping they bloom for me- They are later blooming tulips- not suppose to bloom until May so they should still have plenty of chilly days and nights to do their thing, and bloom for me in a few months.

Imbolc is a quiet sabbat, and one that is often used for reflection and for planning for the future. Brigit's crosses, snowdrop flowers and winter landscapes are familiar themes for this holiday. Other classic ways to celebrate this sabbat are fire magick and candle magick.

As you go to light your Imbolc candles, stop and say a prayer for illumination, and for healing, fresh starts and peace. This is a wonderful time to begin new projects, and to adopt a new more positive attitude.

Here is an Imbolc candle spell for self-healing from my book, How to Enchant a Man.  This spell calls on Brigit the Celtic Triple Goddess. Brigit is a goddess of smith-craft, poetry and healing. Variations on her name include: Brighid, Brigid, Breed, Bride, and Brigitania. She is often pictured as a red-haired woman surrounded by or holding flames. In the pretty illustration below, you can see her classic four- spoke crosses

Say this spell verse while you light your candles. (White or purple would be appropriate candle colors.) If you are interested, this entire Imbolc ritual is found in my book, How to Enchant a Man, on pages 154-156.

*Brigit, Celtic fire goddess of light, inspiration and healing,
Help me cast away old hurts and embrace a new beginning.
This self-healing enchantment is begun on Imbolc day,
I'll move forward and start fresh, in the best possible way. 
 *This spell is Copyrighted Material. -Ellen Dugan, How to Enchant a Man

I wish you all healing, inspiration and a fresh start!  Embrace the light of the coming spring and walk your path with joy.
Happy Imbolc, Ellen