Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Countdown to Yule!

 

It's time to start counting down to our Five Days of Yule celebration from December 17-21!!

We'll have articles, crafts, giveaways, music, and recipes for your winter solstice pleasure! 

How to prepare:

Start, by going to our Giveaway Rules and Regs page, and read up on how we do our giveaways. There are actual laws that apply to us, so we make sure everyone is aware of how we must operate.

After you've read the rules, go to the Register for Giveaways page. Even if you've signed up before, you must sign up again. We do not carry over your information from one season to the next. This is done for your privacy. We never give your information to anyone for marketing purposes. We only use it to notify winners and ship out prizes. 

If you'd like to learn more about the lovely folks who are bringing this merriment to you, check out our Meet the Sirens! page. We will begin featuring each one of them on our Sirens Life Facebook site in early December.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us via sirensallaround@gmail.com. We love hearing from you!

See you soon!

The Sirens


Sunday, October 31, 2021

13 Days of Samhain- Day 13

 

Photo courtesy of Freestocks

Welcome to Our Final Day of Celebration!

Before we get started, let's announce the winner of our Day of the Dead Witch-ball giveaway from Cordelia's Charms...

   River Eno!

Congratulations!



Today's Music Selection: All Soul's Night by Loreena McKennitt

submitted by Alexis Kennedy




Today's Article: Samhain Eve with Alexis Kennedy

Since Celtic days start at night, tonight will be the beginning of Samhain (Summer's End) and time to honor our ancestors, and our birthrights. Some of us will participate in the traditional Halloween Trick-or-Treat with children/grandchildren, giving out treats in exchange for the delighted faces of children who show up at our doors, eager to see what we'll give them. We'll then turn our faces toward our Beloved Dead, and honor them with a meal. 


Some will participate in a "Dumb Supper," where they will serve a meal with places set for the dead, and not speak until the meal is over. Some will simply prepare a feast of things our loved ones liked when they were corporeal. My family will set the meal outside, as an offering to those who are passing through the veil, and would like some sustenance on their way. We'll light candles, and invite our visitors to share time with us, until the veil closes again. The night is holy and sacred, and is honored by many cultures in different ways. This is one of my favorite holidays of all. 


I want to thank each of you who have participated in our celebration of this season, and wish all of you the very best of Samhain feasts and blessings. May your ancestral visits be joyful. We'll be back ion December 17  to celebrate the Winter Solstice. We hope you've enjoyed our gift of merriment and mirth, and accept our offering to you, our community, with love.


Today's Cocktail: Spiked Mulled Cider with Alexis Kennedy







Ingredients
1 gallon unfiltered apple cider, preferably fresh from a local farm

1 large orange, cut into 1/4” slices
3 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1” ginger root, sliced
1/2 bag of fresh/frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups spiced rum (this is optional. You can do it without the alcohol)

Instructions

To a large 10 qt dutch oven or a large slow cooker, add apple juice, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole cloves, whole allspice and ginger root. (If you have a spice ball, add clove and allspice to that.  Or, if you are a witch, you can always use one of those muslin bags we're sure to keep around. It’s easier cleanup afterwards.)

Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover for 2-3 hours.
Add rum to the apple cider mixture. (again, optional)
Remove fruit and spices from the pot.
Serve!
(optional: garnish with orange slices, apple slices or spices)


Today's Recipe: Traditional Irish Colcannon with Jaye Todd

Colcannon recipe

Colcannon or in Gaelic “Cal Ceannann” which translates as “White-headed cabbage” is a simple recipe usually made of cabbage or kale and fluffy mashed potatoes. 
Traditionally during Samhain in Ireland charms would be hidden within the dish and depending on what you found in your portion it was thought that this is what was in your future.
For example finding a coin was said to predict wealth coming to you, a ring – marriage, a thimble or button meant you would remain a spinster or bachelor for the coming year.
It was also thought that filling your socks with Colcannon and hanging it on your front door would bring a young ladies future husband to her door.

Ingredients

7/8 large potatoes (‘old’ potatoes work best)
1 head of cabbage or kale
7fl oz of milk/cream (or alternative)
40g of butter x3 (120g in total)
4-5 scallions (spring/green onions)
Fresh parsley or chives
Salt & pepper (to season)

Method

1. Peel & boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to mash.
2. Slice the cabbage into strips and place into a large sauce pan, covering it in boiling hot water from a kettle, and then cook for 3-5 minutes or until the cabbage has turned a dark green (be careful to not overcook your cabbage)
3. Drain the cabbage, ensuring that any added moisture has been drained and return to the saucepan. Add one of the 40g of butter to the cabbage, cover and leave to the side.
4. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain completely of water and return to the stove on a low heat. Slice the scallions (use kitchen scissors for ease). Add the milk/cream (or alternative) along with another of the 40g of butter and allow the heat to melt the butter.
5. Using a potato masher or a fork (do not use a mixer), mash the potatoes ensuring the milk and butter are thoroughly mixed.
6. Add the cabbage to the potato and scallions and mix together thoroughly. 
7. Place into a serving bowl sprinkle the fresh parsley/chives season with salt and pepper.
8. Finally create a small well in the centre of the dish and place the last 40g of butter into it and serve.

Samhain Beannaithe ~ Blessed Samhain

Jaye – The Gaeilge Moonchild


Forget Me Nots



It is our tradition to honor our dead on Samhain. Some of our Sirens have been gracious enough to lead by example here, and we are posting their tributes to those who have passed through the veil.


Renee Sosanna Olson's Tribute:



Sandra was my favorite aunt. We shared everything together. I was born six days after her birthday and lived with her and my grandmother until I was just over 6 years old. I remember being with her and my cousin Tony at my grandmother's house. As we grew Tony and I played in the yard and eventually Sandra was a high school bus driver for our local high school. She played the flute in the school band and went to beauty school after graduation. I wanted to be a flute player and a hair stylist. I loved her dearly. She moved away just as I was becoming a teenager. She came to me on visits and offered me books on surviving abuse. She knew what I was living through. Just two years ago, she left us. Cancer rattled her body and in the end, I did not go to her bedside. I reached out to her but she did not want me to see her that way. She wanted to preserve the memories I had of her. She was an amazing loving soul. At times, I wanted her to be my mother. She was always my dearest aunt who I miss terribly. For my forget me not this year, I'm adding Sandra to the list that I have shared on this blog project I love so dearly. Previously I shared Tony's story, and then my Grandmother. Now I share her. May her spirit visit me and share the wisdom that she always had for me here in this life. Must love Sandra, finally you rest in peace. 

Lynn Green's Tribute: 

For my Mom and Dad. So many years have came and went since you crossed over. I celebrate your life and your love. I hear your echos of laughter and often catch glimpses of you in myself. Thank you for all of the pennies and dimes that you leave on my path, so that I know you are ever present. Remembering you with love always. 



Jaye Todd's Tribute:



My amazing grandparents, Elizabeth and Peter I miss you always and think of you often. Love you until the end of time… gone from sight but not from heart.


My familiar, Clarkus Maximus aka Clarkey. My boy, my friend, my familiar, my Clarkus Maximus. You are always in my heart and missed dearly, eternally loved and never forgotten.








Johanna Lawson's Tribute: 

Today, at Samhain, I honor two very special women in my life who passed beyond the veil this year. Both are considered honorary members of my family and will never be forgotten. They have been added to my "fallen leaves" on my Samhain ancestor altar this year.

Bridgette McCallen
February 16, 1941 - May 11, 2021

Bridgette moved in next door to me over 11 years ago and we quickly became friends. Our conversations were easy and she was full of stories of her life, her family, and her friends. She was the matriarch of her family, being a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and was always excited to share the latest family news and photos. She was an immensely kind and generous soul, bringing me wine and little gifts every time my husband, son and I helped her with something she needed done but knew she could not do on her own. However, she was fiercely independent and often refused help when offered, wanting to do the task on her own. She loved animals, especially her dear dog Murphi, who passed shortly after Bridgette, so missing her "Mom". Bridgette also wrote poetry, something I did not learn until after her passing, and loved her evening cocktail of vodka and cranberry juice and her True Blue cigarettes, enjoying both after a long day's work. She worked right up until the day she died. Bridgette is sorely missed but her spirit lives on in my life.

Patricia Kerrigan
July 5, 1924 - September 30, 2021

Patricia, better known as "Miss Pat", was an amazing and interesting woman and lived a very long and happy life, passing at the age of 97. I had the honor of knowing her through her daughter, who is my boss and friend of over 20 years. She immediately became an honorary grandmother to my family, sending us cards at the holidays, delighting in the birth of my niece and the pictures I shared with her, and often sitting with us at gatherings, telling stories of her life and family. She found it quite amusing that she knew an actual witch and would lower her voice to discuss my witchy ways in an almost conspiratorial manner. She had a hearty laugh and a sinister giggle, something I still hear in my head when I think of her. I learned shortly before she passed that she had been an actress, performing in plays as a young girl and woman. This explained so much about her and her dramatic retellings of family lore. Miss Pat took a real liking to my husband, and her daughter and I referred to him as "her boyfriend". I hope Miss Pat knew what a lasting impression she made upon him. Another fiercely independent woman, she continued to drive until last December and lived on her own until June of this year, defeating the limits of her age spectacularly. Miss Pat was a legend and will live on as such in my heart.




River Eno's Tribute:


Adam, you're not forgotten. Maybe it's time we see each other again.















Alexis Kennedy's Tribute: 
Henry Bradbury Coons III
(December 14,1938-July 13, 2021)

To the man who gave some other man's child a name at a time when there was no abortion option, and to be a 'bastard' was a terrible thing: Thank you. While I did not keep your name, and when I had it, I didn't know how valuable it was, when I did, I'm very glad I could discuss it with you and thank you in person. You had one of the kindest hearts of anyone I've ever known. I wish you really had been my father. I loved you dearly, and I am so glad you had a chosen family to see you through to the other side. I know they plan to scatter your ashes in a local forest, there. You'll love that. Thank for all that you have been to me, and for being you. May your next journey bring you peace and joy and good health in abundance!





Our Grand Prize Giveaway!

The following items will be sent to our grand prize winner:

House Blessing Smudging Kit from Tree of Life Apothecary - Value $55



Wreath by J. Lynn Green- value $55 (U.S. Only)
All items sourced from the earth.





Tarot Reading (your choice) from Alexis Kennedy at Bone Songs

Tarot reading value: $125 



This is a 1 year reading that comes with a 6-month checkup reading.


Also: Samhain Traditions: 13 Simple & Affordable Halloween Spells & Rituals for the Witches’ New Year Paperback: Value $12












Book set by River Eno Valued at: $65




Pint of Honey from her personal hives by Jayme Conner- $40 value






Handmade Ogham Set by Jaye Todd - $27 value


"Ogham is a medieval alphabet used in Ireland in the early Irish language and later in the ‘old’ Irish language. Each Ogham is represented by a tree and carries its own special meaning which is used when practising divination. These Ogham have been lovingly hand crafted from responsibly sourced wooden slices acrylic paints and have been sealed to ensure they last a long time."

 

Banishing Box from Black Dahlia Boutique
Value: $65



Grand prize total value: $444!

Note: where it says U.S. only, that means the vendor cannot ship to Canada


U.S. Residents:
Your entries have already been calculated.

Canadian Residents:
Your entries have already been calculated.


If you have participated in the giveaways over the past 12 days, you'll receive an entry for each of the comments you've made that are relevant to the giveaways. 

Our sponsor will announce the grand prize winner at 12pm EDT today,  on the Sirens Life Facebook page . Winner has 36 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond in time, there will be another drawing on November 3.

Note: each of the vendors will ship or reach out via email to the winner, after the winner has confirmed receipt from the sponsor. Each vendor will have three business days (after Nov 1) to send out their prizes or reach out to schedule any readings. If the winner is a Canadian resident, a second winner in the U.S. will be chosen for US only prizes.

Please send your questions to sirensallaround@gmail.com  and we will happily answer them.

May the blessings of Samhain be upon you all!

See you on December 17 for our 5 days of Yule Celebration!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

13 Days of Samhain- Day 12

 

Photo courtesy of Paige Cody

Welcome to Day 12 of our Sirens Samhain Celebration!

Before we go further, let's share the winner of the Strength Spell and Inspiration Spell Bottles from Black Dahlia Boutiques...


Becky Harman!

Congratulations!


Today's Music Selection: Helvegen by Wardruna

submitted by Dawn Leith Dougherty



Today's Article: Connecting with Ancestor Energy- Oracle Reading with Renee Olson

Fall is my favorite time of the year. October is of course the best month as I feel more connected to, not only my witchiness but also to my ancestors. I love working with the dead more now than ever before in my life. As I begin to connect more with my Crone energy, I feel as though I am able to work better with the dead.  I sometimes start with an update to my ancestor altar.
Samhain is traditionally the time of the year for working with the dead. This is the time of the year when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest, allowing us to make contact and work with them directly.
 The last ten years have been a real change for me as I lost my grandmother and a dear aunt that I was very close to. These are the energies I call on when I do my work with the dead. There is a strength there and a love that each had that resonates with me as I do my spell work. With intent and focus I call their energies into the room and look to them for information, answers or just energy to guide me through my work.
I look to Samhain as my new year. I treat it much the same way others treat January 1st. I take this time to shake off the old energies and connect with the new. I cut ties and begin new ventures. In recent years I've started doing a special oracle reading to help me get started for the new year.  I'd like to share this year's reading with you.

1. Past - What you've learned - The Direction Guardian tells us to choose our path. We look in all directions and evaluate our options. We trust our instincts to take us down the right path.
2. Past - What you've lost - The Summer card tells us to bask in the joy and light.  The world is a little less bright right now. The joy seems to have faded.
3. The Present - The Shaman tells us to trust in higher forces. Look within to find that inspiration, that force or energy to push forward.
4. Future - What you'll learn - The Snake tells us to shed old skin. Don't be tied down to things simply because it is the way it has always been done.  You are not your job, your race or your religion. Change can be good.
5. Future - What you'll gain - The Magick Guardian tells us to unlock the magick within. We should look within ourselves for this is where the magick is.  Cards, wands and robes do not, the witch make. You are the magick. Own it.
I hope you've enjoyed this reading. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, leave comments if you'd like.
I hope you all have a safe and blessed Samhain.


Today's Cocktail: The Pumpkin King with Ciel Luciole

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon Pumpkin pudding (or butterscotch pudding if you can’t find pumpkin)
1 oz Hiram Walker’s Pumpkin Spice Liquor
Whipped cream
Candy corn

Directions:

Prepare the pudding mixture beforehand according to the instructions on the box (or not, if you are the experimental type).

Mix both ingredients and pour into a shot glass. If the mixture isn’t thick enough, you can add some heavy whipping cream until it reaches your preferred thickness/texture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. After refrigeration, top with whipped cream and a piece of candy corn. This is one instance where I did opt for the can of whipped cream versus making my own to get the look I a going for. It’s also just easier when using shot glasses. 


This drink is adorable! Definitely a drink to trot out for social gatherings and parties. It is easy to make and the presentation is fabulous. The original recipe called for 1 oz of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum but I, being ever on a mission to get the most Autumn-y flavor I can, discovered this bottle of Pumpkin Spice liquor and had to try it! Besides, a drink called The Pumpkin King had to be as Pumpkin-y as possible! Though we did try it with the Spiced Rum as well and found it to be quite tasty, so if you aren’t inclined to all things pumpkin spiced by all means, use the rum!

One thing I noticed is it can be somewhat tedious to make shot by shot so if you are entertaining (or just don’t feel like mixing a shot every time for yourself) I would definitely recommend mixing a large batch and filling the shot glasses ahead of time. There is a lot of room for playing with the ratios, as well. The recipe recommends using heavy cream to thicken it up but I didn’t want the cream to dilute the pumpkin flavor. You can also control the thickness of the end result with the amount of liquid you add to the powdered pudding when mixing it up beforehand. I will admit it would likely have given it a creamier texture but I preferred flavor over texture personally. Decide for yourself! Taste testing is a totally legitimate excuse.

All Hail the Pumpkin King!


Today's Recipe: Soul Cakes with Alexis Kennedy

The tradition of giving soul cakes to soulers came from Medieval Britain and Ireland. Soulers, mostly children and poor people, with songs and prayers went to the rich people. Round cookies were given to them “for the souls of the givers and their friends” at the Halloween season. This is considered the origins of "trick-or-treat" in the U.S. Soul cakes are easy to make, and they taste delicious. 


Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup butter (please use real butter- margarine is terrible)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 3 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 3/4 cups of flour
  • 2 tsps of mixed spice (1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (for you haters out there, you can substitute dried cranberries or leave out)
  • 6-7 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar (for dusting- optional)
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Add butter to the large bowl. Add sugar.
  • Using hand mixer or stand mixer, mix butter with sugar.
  • Add egg yolks and mix again.
  • Sieve flour in egg, butter and sugar mixture.
  • Sieve spices on top of the flour.
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a spatula.
  • Gradually add milk, combining with a spatula until the dough comes together.
  • Transfer the dough to the silicone mat or surface, dusted with flour.
  • Knead the dough with hands until well combined.
  • Add half raisins, and knead them in the dough.
  • Add more raisins while kneading the dough.
  • Roll the dough with a rolling pin about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Cut the round shape cookies with the cookie cutter.
  • Transfer the cookies to the baking tray, layered with parchment paper. Leave the space between the cookies. Cut the cross on each cookie. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.
  • Bake another batch of cookies. Let them cool for 10 minutes. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar, if desired.

Today's Giveaway: Day of the Dead Witchball from Cordelia's Charms with Kourtney Leaf


Dia de los Muertos is actually celebrated on November 1st, but for myself, feels like a culmination of a month long celebration of our ancestors. I adore the festive imagery of sugar skulls and the idea of an ofrenda, or home alter to the dead. It is this altar that I tried to embody with this witchball. 

This simple 8½" round glass ornament is filled with Calendula and Copal Resin with white tulle. The Callendula’s fragrance will lead spirits home, while the Copal Resin ensures that it will be safe for them to stay. It is then decorated with red, yellow and orange crochet thread knotted, macrame style leading to pretty tendrils with beads that include Sugar Skulls, Skeletons, Roses and Butterfly Wings; all festive imagery from Day of the Dead celebrations. The tendrils are also adorned mid way down, with smaller butterflies and flowers.  

This is a Limited Edition Cordelia’s Charms Witchball, with only three being made. You can find the other two listed in my Etsy shop CordeliasCharms.Etsy.Com





How to enter: (US residents)
Visit Cordelia's Charms shop, peruse the wares, come back and tell us about your favorite item in the comments.

Bonus entries:
Like/Follow Sirens Life on Facebook

For Canada residents:
Your country's laws require us to test you in order for you to earn an entry. So, for four entries, here is your quiz question:

Where is Canada's most-visited historic site located?

To all:

We must have your name and email address in order to notify you that you won. If you like, you can put it in the comments with your entries. Or, for privacy's sake, you can enter here. We do not sell or give your information to any 3rd parties, and we only use it for this giveaway.

Your entries will be pulled tomorrow morning, east coast time, and will be numbered by Alexis Kennedy (sponsor). She will then run a number generator at random.org, and will announce the winner on tomorrow's blog post. The winner will be notified first via email. The winner has 36 hours from announcement to claim the prize, or it will go toward the Grand Prize Giveaway on October 31.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email sirensallaround@gmail.com and we'll happily respond. Note: The sponsor is not eligible for any giveaways.

That's all for today. Tomorrow is our last day of celebration, where we will announce today's winner, and have the grand prize giveaway. If you signed up for any of our giveaways during this celebration, you'll be entered in our grand prize giveaway drawing. Winner announcement will take place on the Sirens Life Facebook page tomorrow at 5pm EDT.

We'll see you on All Hallow's Eve!!

Friday, October 29, 2021

13 Days of Samhain- Day 11

 

Photo courtesy of Bee Felten-Leidel

Welcome back to Day 11 of our Sirens Samhain Celebration! Before we go further, let's announce the winner of the Zoom Yoga Session with Jayme Conner...

Jen Kolise!

Congratulations!


Today's Music Selection: Deity by Wendy Rule

submitted by River Eno



Today's Article: A Short Story, "Perfect" by River Eno

We met on Halloween, walking the streets of my town illuminated by October’s full Hunter Moon. He was dressed as a vampire with white makeup, fake fangs and an accent I’d never heard before. I couldn’t tell how old he was. I was sixteen and dressed as a witch. He said I was perfect.

When I turned eighteen, he paid to have my eye color changed. It was all the rage. He assured me it wouldn’t be painful. They numbed me before the procedure, with a long needle in each eye. More serious pain came days after. The clamps used to keep my eyes open left bruises. And because my eyes were dark it took a good long while to bring them to a lighter color.

He said my brown eyes were beautiful, but green eyes set off my red hair, making me perfect. My mother cried for weeks. Said she didn’t recognize the person looking back at her. She said I looked cold and vacant and alien. I stayed with him after that. I couldn’t listen to her drone on about sweet talkers, and how he’d expect something in return for shelling out so much money.

At twenty-one he paid for me to have breast augmentation surgery. That’s what the doctor called it. He said he loved my slimmer more athletic body, but the blouses he bought me looked better with cleavage. It won’t hurt, he said. I was bedridden for a week, and the medication for the pain made me sick.

My mother cried, lamenting the daughter she’d had, compared the things I used to do — field hockey and track — to the new me, his girlfriend. She overreacted about everything.

For my twenty-fifth birthday he threw a Halloween masquerade in the polished gardens at his home outside town. He told me I was a full-grown woman and had a white silk dress made to show off my perfect body. The guests wore white gowns, black tuxedos, and beautifully ornate masks like at Carnevale. Expertly painted disguises with authentic gold and silver accents. Some adorned with jewels. Some covered their face entirely, expressionless and airbrushed a blushing rose gold with black mesh concealing the eyes.

I was formally introduced to every guest, over one hundred strangers. They curtsied and kissed my hand while he stood behind and a bit above me in a tailored tuxedo. At precisely three in the morning, bathed in the light of the full Hunter Moon he took me to the dais in the middle of the grounds, had me bow to his guests, and killed me.

When I woke the next evening, I marveled how the strength of my new body made it look graceful … flawless. He gave me clothes and told me I had to say a proper goodbye to my mother before we left for his estate in Dresden. He said I would feel guilty if I didn’t have closure, and he wanted our life to be perfect.

Mom burst into tears when she saw me, then got hysterical when I told her I was leaving the country. Nothing at all pleased her since dad left.

Many moons passed —then years, then decades.

He said he was throwing a masquerade for the Hunter Moon falling on Samhain. The first ball since my birth into the life. He said a new dress would arrive. Only I wanted to wear a costume like I’d seen at the first masquerade. He said the dress was already made and that was that.

I took the long way to the top of his family’s vast mountain manse to the attic filled with centuries old furniture and paintings. I wanted to find the costumes he’d shown me years ago from previous parties. The crate was made of dark cedar, the box lid hinged with medieval hardware. I tilted the lid back to get a good look at the choices and picked out a black ball gown with green accents. I gathered the material and went to stand in front of the Cheval mirror set by the wall. While admiring the dress I noticed a small, ordinary cardboard box set on a Lindenwood dresser behind me. The plainness of the box made it obvious in the sea of woods and precious metals.

It was the box my mother gave me when I left home. A collection of memories she threw together, to tether us through time, is what she said. I was strangely afraid to open it. I hadn’t thought of my life before the change, except when he told me she died. He said I needed to know.

A kitsch photo album sat on top of a few other items. I lifted it out and settled into a tall, dusty chair from the 1700’s. The first photos were of me when I was a baby. The classic ones, on the belly and sitting up with my big brown eyes wide.

Strange … I had forgotten my eyes were brown. I looked in the mirror. My pale green eyes were shocking compared to the warmth of the picture.

The next photo was of me and my mother at the beach on Labor Day. The following was when we lost the final game at the end of my senior year. My long, red hair hung in corkscrews. I was on the porch. I remembered my mom snapping the picture while I was upset … but suddenly … I could see myself through my mother’s eyes. And I was beautiful.

Pain attacked my chest and tears ran down my cheeks. A longing for who I was and all I’d lost completely enveloped me. I dressed and found him in the study. I set the picture on the desk in front of him.

“You said I was perfect.” I whispered.

“I knew you could be,” he smirked.

The ache in my chest grew to unbearable proportions. I hated him.

“Wear this at the ball.” He handed me a long black gown and left the room.

The costumes were as stunning as before. Coffins and headstones marked the grounds for a Halloween theme. The women wore black gowns and black eye masks. The men, black suits with white masks covering one side of their face. They complimented me and smiled.   

The longer I stood with him, staring at the scene of revelers, the more indignation rose within me. My thoughts unraveled thinking of what he planned. And for the first time since we met, I decided I didn’t want it.

At precisely three am, he guided me to the fountain in the middle of the gardens, maneuvering me around coffins and fake head stones. Two masked men carried a sleek black coffin from the bushes and set it near the fountain. A stillness settled and he had me bow.

“Step in, my beloved.” He smiled as the lid was opened.

“No.”

The word popped out. I looked at him, at the coffin and then all around me. I saw two wooden staves resting on the fountain edge.

“No.”

Instinct had me move away from him, away from the crowd, toward the fountain. He frowned, strangely, then surrendered to his anger.

“Come now…” He gripped my arm with preternatural strength. “Do you not want this to be perfect?”

His grip hurt, and when he pulled me, my high heels wobbled on the grass, and I stumbled against the fountain’s edge, sliding a stave with me as he tightened his grip, pulling me upright. He sternly put me in my place.

Except … in that moment, calm and clarity rose within. One of those perfect instants in time. When everything came together as one. My fury. My understanding of what he had done to me and what he was going to do. His arrogance that he’d always had, allowing him to turn his back on me.

“To continue,” he said, and clapped his hands together. “Thank you all for com…”

Gripping the stake, I’d taken from the wall when I faltered, I threw up my arms, and I jammed the wood into his back until it burst through his chest. A collective gasp came from the guests as he slid off the stake and collapsed face first into the coffin. I was shaking as the mass of menacing onlookers approached.

A woman in a black mask with long feathers came forward. She seemed important. She looked at him. My teeth were chattering when she looked at me. She smiled and bent to one knee. The rest of the party goers following suit.

“I’ve seen his show dozens of times,” she said, “But this … this was the perfect ending … my queen.”

I looked over a sea of people genuflecting as he lay hemorrhaging in a coffin meant for my body. And I had to agree. This was perfect. 


Today's Cocktail: The Witch's Heart with Rowan Sliger

The Witch’s Heart

1 shot apple brandy (or apple vodka), chilled
2 shots Blackberry Liqueur*, chilled (recipe below)
1 tsp grenadine
dry ice (for effect, DO NOT CONSUME)
martini glass (chilled)

In chilled glass, add 1 tsp of dry ice (not necessary, but the effect is spectacular)

In a shaker, mix the apple brandy, blackberry liqueur and 1 ice cube for a few seconds and then strain in to your glass (if you want more shimmer, add a tsp more of the blackberry liqueur). 


Drip the grenadine slowly in to the glass, from about an inch above the liquid. The grenadine will sink to the bottom, becoming the “bleeding” heart.

Add ½ tsp more of dry ice if desired. Garnish with a blackberry or two. Stir to make the “potion” shimmer and enjoy!

*Blackberry Liqueur Recipe

1 cup vodka (80 proof)
7-8 blackberries, cut in half
½ c simple syrup (get this at the grocery or you can make your own)
Violet Luster Dust (you can get this at a hobby store or online) 

In a clean, sanitized 2 cup size jar or bottle (must have a lid or closure), add your vodka and the blackberries. Put your lid on it, swirl it up a little bit and put it in your cupboard. Leave it alone for a week or two, swirling it occasionally if you can’t leave it completed alone (that’s me).

After 2 weeks, strain it through cheesecloth to remove any small particles. Discard the berries (or eat them, because yum!) and pour your blackberry vodka back in the jar. Add ½ tsp of the luster dust to your bottle and swirl. It should shimmer beautifully. If you want more shimmer, add more dust ½ tsp at a time until it looks perfect. Refrigerate and use alone or with anything you like!

Today's Recipe: Vegan Apple Pie Cookies

I am what you might call a "vegan wannabe." In other words, I eat mostly vegetarian foods, but I eat chicken, fish, etc on occasion. I love this recipe. It's quick, easy, and as healthy as I believe a cookie can get.
I hope you enjoy! 


P.S. I found out that River Eno is also a vegan, so this is dedicated to her today!

Ingredients
For the cookies:

1/2 cup shortening, vegan and organic
1 cup coconut sugar
1 egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup apple - McIntosh, Granny Smith & Gala are great but use your favorite, peeled and chopped very fine or grated
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Instructions
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the cookies:
With a hand mixer cream the sugar and shortening together for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the prepared egg substitute, vanilla and prepared apple.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
Combine the dry mixture with the wet mixture and just blend.
Scoop into heaping tablespoons full and roll into balls.
Mix the cinnamon/sugar mixture:
Combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a small bowl. Roll each ball in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Place on the parchment-covered baking sheet about 2" apart. Slightly flatten.
Bake at 350 degrees 12 minutes.
Do not over bake. They will be a little soft when they are removed from the oven but they will harden.
Remove to a rack to cool. The photo makes them look larger than they are in reality. They are about 2" in diameter.




Today's Giveaway: Strength Spell Bottle and Inspiration Spell Bottle from Black Dahlia Boutiques with Sandi Crawford

Luna Sol Inspiration Spell Bottle  - $10 retail -    is designed to help you find a muse anywhere. Use the power of inspiration to finish your masterpiece, write the great American novel, create the best craft booth at the festival, etc. 

Luna Sol Strength Spell Bottle - $10 retail - is designed to boost inner strength and the feeling of empowerment! With the power of this spell bottle you cannot be stopped! 

Luna Sol Spell bottles are designed to work with the power of the Sun and Moon to manifest your desires quickly and with intention. Each bottle is filled with herbs, oils, glitter, and crystal chips specially formulated to bring power to your manifestations. Each bottle is sealed with spell candle wax and a chunk of Copal Resin to boost and amplify your power.  These spell bottles are small but pack immense magick if the ritual is performed correctly. Exact instructions are included. Use responsibly. 







How to enter: United States Residents

Visit Black Dahlia Boutiques, peruse the wares, come back and leave a comment on which item is your favorite.

Bonus entries: (1 comment = 1 entry)

How to enter: Canada residents
Your country's laws require you to "earn" your entries through a quiz or test. Here is your quiz question, worth four entries:

Which city is home to North America's largest mall?

To ALL:
You must provide your name and email address in order for us to notify you that you have won. You may enter it in the comments with your entries, or you may enter it here, for privacy purposes. We do not sell or give your information to third parties, and we only use for this giveaway.

Your entries will be pulled tomorrow morning, east coast time, and will be numbered by Alexis Kennedy (sponsor). She will then run a number generator at random.org, and will announce the winner on tomorrow's blog post. The winner will be notified first via email. The winner has 36 hours from announcement to claim the prize, or it will go toward the Grand Prize Giveaway on October 31.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email sirensallaround@gmail.com and we'll happily respond. Note: The sponsor is not eligible for any giveaways.

That's all for today! We hope you have been enjoying our celebration!
See you tomorrow!


Countdown to Yule!

  It's time to start counting down to our Five Days of Yule celebration from December 17-21!! We'll have articles, crafts, giveaways...