Thursday, October 28, 2021

13 Days of Samhain- Day 10


Photo courtesy of Colton Sturgeon

Welcome to Day 10 of our Sirens Samhain Celebration! 

Let's get right to the winner of the wall/door hanging from Wormwood and Sage...

Cami Molina!


Today's Music Selection: All Hallows Eve by Type O Negative

submitted by Ciel Luciole

Today's Article: Paths to the Past by Johanna Lawson

Three years ago, I began a journey to discover my ancestors to better understand who I am and the people from whom I descend. My parents told me stories of people I’d never met, all long gone before I was even born, and I did not have much beyond my grandparents on the branches of the tree I kept in my mind. I longed to know them and to uncover the stories of their people. I knew most, if not all, of my family, both paternal and maternal, had immigrated from Italy. However, the exact places were long forgotten. I wished I’d asked my grandmother and the handful of great aunts and uncles around me for exact details, but what child thinks of that as they’re gathering around the family table, listening to funny stories about this person or that person?

After my parents both passed away, I felt an overwhelming need to hear the stories again. Yet, they were only a jumble of surnames and familial relationships, faint black and white pictures that my mind's eye struggled to see. It was as if I could not see past my parents on the family tree anymore because I was desperately trying to etch everything about them into my memory before they too were lost.

So, on a warm sunny day in June of 2018, I joined Ancestry©. I quickly filled in my own information and that of my sisters and our parents. The branches then expanded to include my grandparents. Then, amazing things began to happen. Hints! Lots of them! Soon I discovered my great grandparents on both sides. I found many of them immigrating to America from Italy in the late 1800’s and the very early part of the 20th century, all settling in Philadelphia. Census records even showed that the homes they lived in were still occupied by living family members. Suddenly, the stories told to me began to flood back. These people were no longer a tale but real beings who had walked the same streets as I did, gathered around the table in the same houses I visited at holidays and family events. They were no longer ghosts of the past.

However, as it tends to be with ancestral journeys, a few walls began to block my path. But it was not long before one ancestor in particular, a person I had not thought of in at least two decades, surprisingly began to gently guide me on my way.

About a week into working diligently on my family tree, I went to bed very frustrated over the walls I hit. I tossed and turned a bit before finally falling asleep. Then she came. I dreamt I was in a vast green field, bathed in deep orange and red sunlight. Trees dotted the field, silhouetted against this brilliant undetermined sunrise or sunset. I realized I was standing on a circular platform, maybe cement, that was ice cold against my bare feet. A soft breeze caressed my face, lifting a tendril or two of my hair. I felt something cool and soft in my left hand. I looked down and saw that I was holding someone’s hand. My gaze followed the hand to the arm to the shoulder and then the face. 

There, sitting in a rocking chair, was my second great aunt, Zia Magdalena, or as I called her as a child, ZiZi. Her face, weathered by life and age, smiled up at me, her eyes dancing with happiness and playfulness as they did when I was little. She wore her customary black housedress and lace-up black shoes, tapping her right foot as she rocked away in the chair. Her silver hair was in a coronet of braids atop her head, just as I remembered. ZiZi said something to me in Italian. I never could understand most of what she said but her eyes always conveyed the gist of her message, in this case a welcome, a “long time no see”. The joy I felt brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. I hadn’t seen ZiZi in over 40 years, 40 summers without her greeting me as I ran in from a long day at the beach and she’d show me what was cooking, without her giggling and whispering to me in Italian as I got into a bit of trouble with my parents or great aunts who gathered with us at our shore home.

I started to bend down to hug ZiZi but she held my hand fast with her right hand and gently waved her left at the scene around us. I looked out again to find that four paths extended out from the center platform, one in each direction, and upon each path were people lined up as far as I could see. They started to come forward, some smiling at me with a nod of the head, some reaching out and touching my face, and some embracing me quickly so the next person could do the same. There were adults, elders, and children, even babies held by young women and men. They were in all manners and periods of dress. Most spoke Italian but an occasional Irish brogue or British accent was heard. Amid the greetings, I turned to ZiZi and must have looked quite bewildered because she said, “La tua famiglia”.

And then I woke.

In the time since that first dream, ZiZi has come to me in others, helping me to open the paths to other ancestors, presenting me with the keys to unlocking other branches. Each year as the veil thins again, as we approach Samhain, I can hear her giggle, see those dancing eyes in my dreams, feel her cool plump hand in mine. For too long, she was lost somewhere in my memory but now lives on, a beaming face looking out at me on my ancestor altar, guiding me on paths through the past and walking with me into the future.    

Today's Cocktail: Butterbeer with Jaye Todd

Butterbeer recipe

Have you ever thought about sitting in The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade or The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon alley enjoying a delicious Butterbeer? 
Whether you are 5 or 50 now is your chance to recreate that and get your taste buds around a glass of Harry Potter Butterbeer.


1.3 litres (1300ml) of cream soda
100ml of butterscotch syrup
50g melted butter
2x tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml double cream


1. Empty the cream soda into a large mixing bowl and add the butterscotch syrup mixing as you go ensuring it’s fully combined together.
2. In a separate bowl, start to beat the cream until peaks begin to form.
3. Add the sugar, vanilla and butter to the cream mixing thoroughly.
4. Using a ladle, serve some of the cream soda and butterscotch mix into a glass and finish off with a scoop of the cream mixture.
5. And finally sit back and enjoy.

Samhain Beannaithe ~ Blessed Samhain

Jaye – The Gaeilge Moonchild

Today's Recipe: Apple Brown Betty with Christine Pinder

This recipe evokes warm memories of my grandmother saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” all the whole I had no clue that she was referring to fiber and sitting in her kitchen drinking hot tea from the ‘good’ cups. As I look back now, we were poor but I never knew it. Recipes like this are part of the rich fabric of my childhood. 

1/4 c melted butter
1 pint bread crumbs (we used to tear up old French bread or use what we had)
1 pint sliced apples or other fruit
Cinnamon or pie spices to taste
1/2 c fruit juice or water
1/2 c sugar or molasses
Juice and rind from an orange, if you have it

Arrange layers of crumbs and apples in a casserole dish, sprinkling each layer with spices, sugar and juices. Finish with a later or crumbs. Top with sugar and juices, cover and bake in a slow oven (250-350 degrees) for 30 mins, remove cover and bake 45 mins longer. 

These instructions are as clear as mud. Basically you’re going to layer apples, crumbs, butter, juice/water and spices in a dish then cover and bake until brown and bubbly. Have fun with it and make a little magic in the kitchen!

Today's Giveaway: Zoom Yoga Session with Jayme Conner

One hour, beginner yoga session, via Zoom. 

Value $40.

Here's how to enter in the US: 

Bonus entry:

We must have your email address in order to inform you if you win. We do not share your information with any third parties, and we only use it for giveaway purposes. You can leave it in the comment with your entries or you can enter it here, for privacy purposes.

For Canada: You have to EARN your entries. So, for two entries, tell us:

" How many time zones does Canada have?"

Your entries will be pulled tomorrow morning,  5 am east coast time, and will be numbered by Alexis Kennedy (sponsor). She will then run a number generator at, 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. 

All entries for each day will be added to the grand prize giveaway on Sunday.

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

That's all for today! Enjoy!


Happy Yule from The Sirens! December 21, 2021

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