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Other Holidays

Please Do Not Wish Strangers a Happy Mother’s Day

A Public Service Announcement for Mother’s Day

Repost from An Arts Notebook, Bridget Eileen Madden’s arts, culture, and entertainment blog

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would just like to give the following advice: please, do not wish *random women* a “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Of course, for any person who you know for certain is a mother and will be happily celebrating mother’s day with their family and loved ones, definitely *do* wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.

However, for a lot of women this is a complicated and not necessarily celebratory day. A person may not be able to have kids, or may have recently miscarried, or may have sadly lost a child, or–in my case–may have never met the person with whom they’d like to settle down and have children. They may have recently lost their mother, or be estranged from their mother, or never knew their mother. In such cases, hearing someone, however well-intentioned they may be, say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” gives a stinging, painful tug at the heart.

For a long time, while my mom lived in New Orleans and I in New England, I stopped going out in public on Mother’s Day. Having no kids, I just didn’t feel like being around those who were celebrating. And I don’t want to ever be subjected to any strangers who might wish me a Happy Mother’s Day again, like those times it happened in the past, which precipitated my desire to stay in for the day.

Now that my mom is my downstairs neighbor, and she is getting on in years, I do love celebrating Mother’s Day with her. But there are a lot of people for whom this day is complicated and perhaps painful. So, best not to make assumptions, however well intentioned.

If you want to be nice, saying something like, “Happy Springtime!” should do the trick just fine. The purpose of your desire to wish someone a “happy something or other” is to show kindness & manners. For some, skipping the assumption of their happiness in motherhood is the best way to do so.

…for some, skipping the assumption of their happiness in motherhood is the best way to show manners and kindness during Mother’s Day…

So, if you know of people who could use this very kindly given advice, please spread the word! Thank You and Happy Springtime!

Categories
Sabbats, etc.

Happy Beltane 2024

I’m a bit late with my traditional Sabbat Graphic, but I made a Beltane one, finally. This holiday comes at the second busiest time of year at work, so my celebration is usually delayed, and this year was no exception.

This weekend I will start what I am hoping becomes a long-standing tradition, where two of my friends from high school and I get together at each other’s houses for the sabbat to talk witch-y stuff, and life stuff.

We have gone out to events and such, but we wanted to start going to each other’s houses, so that we don’t have to spend and arm and a leg to do witchy things. Plus, I have so much stuff at home–crystal ball, crystals, tarot, books, tea, plants, decos. I just want to be able to appreciate all that I already possess, and share it with my dear friends.

I am looking forward to the weekend celebration. I hope your Beltane has been a good one!

Categories
Sabbats, etc.

Happy Ostara 2024

Happy Ostara!

I hope your first few days of Spring are going well.

The blustery wind actually blew my storm door open until it broke 😳🌬 Guess we’re still in the “lion” portion of March — I’m ready for som lamby weather! How about ewe? (Ah but I love a terrible good bad dad joke.)

Ostara Blessing for the start of this new season 🐇🥚 

Happy Equinox to all!

Categories
Sabbats, etc.

Happy Imbolc 2024

Imbolc Is My Favorite Sabbat, and It IS Because I Am Named Bridget — Sort Of

Imbolc is my favorite Sabbat, and it IS because it’s in honor of the deity I was (in a sense) named for—but there’s more to it than that. The bigger story is that because I am a Bridget, I learned about modern and Celtic paganism, the alleged syncretism of Brigid/ Bridget, and the feast day/ goddess day in honor of this Celtic figure when my friend wished me a Happy Bridget Day on February 1, 2011.

After Kara did that, I went down a Wikipedia click-hole while working at the library that night, and the more I learned about modern paganism, the sabbats and modern witchcraft, the more I said to myself, “Yes! Exactly! This is what I have always thought!”

Whether about reincarnation; the fact that sexuality in absolute terms has no morality tied to it; the sacredness of nature; the connection of spirituality and smashing the MFing patriarchy/ kyriarchy; the prevalence of pantheism; and many more aspects that fall under the umbrella terms of modern pagan and modern witch, I found myself finding 🔥myself🔥 with each new click and read through.

Within a year, I had come to wholly embrace this identity. A year after that, by summer of 2013, I was fully out of the proverbial broom closet and openly expressing my modern paganism.

And today, lucky number 13 years later? I have this project: this slow-growing blog. Writing is how I process my thoughts and express myself. I do a lot by long hand, hence the moniker “Notebook Witch.”

I’m also grateful that I have made more friends in the witch community, and become closer to existing friends, knowing we share similar witchy ideas. And I am a Unitarian Universalist witch, so I have that community as well.

Happy Imbolc to all who celebrate. May the spirit of Bridget and Brigid be infused with this wintry time and the fire of the goddess bring hope for community, communion, and connection for us all. 

Categories
Other Holidays Sabbats, etc.

Merry Yuletide and Holidays 2023-24

Merry Yuletide! Season’s Greetings! Happy New Year!

What do Hannah Waddingham, Snoop Dogg, Blossom Dearie, Bad Religion, Leslie Odom Jr, Tori Amos, Ella Fitzgerald, Zooey Deschanel, Fred Schneider from the B52’s, Louis Armstrong, Weezer, Sam Smith, Run DMC, Diana Krall, the Living Sisters, The Teskey Brothers, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings…to name a few people…all have in common?

My epic holiday playlist!

My gift to you all is “Yule Love This Playlist 2023” available on YouTube Music:

https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7oN6qUdxYpMTtQlVEOk6F87k17W_gM7j&si=TXy17FqJuryBnHbm

Categories
Sabbats, etc.

Ostara 2023

Ostara sabbat graphic for Facebook cover, Twitter post, and other social media. Feel free to use on your social media as well! Please credit NotebookWitch.com.

Spring Is Here

Happy Spring Equinox, northern hemisphere friends! Hope you’re having a lovely early autumn, southern hemisphere folks.

I felt like making a sabbat banner with a vintage vibe this year, for no particular reason.

It was a relatively mild winter in southeast New England. How about you? What things are you excited for, for Spring?

My Spring Plans

I’m looking forward to planting a stellar, burgeoning herb garden this year.

I’ve got ideas in mind for my container garden: LOTS of lemon balm, since Sweet Melissa is good for so many things but can really overtake a garden, trustly old chive and scallion since they’re first to arrive to the party and one of the last to leave, and low maintenance.

And then I hope to do a raised bed in the side yard, with a lot of different varieties of herbal plants. I was looking at past photos from my patio garden in Federal Hill Providence, and it was so abundant! I want that again.

We shall see! Happy planting and planning, gardeners! Spring is here!

Categories
Sabbats, etc.

Yule 2022

Merry Yuletide to All Who Celebrate!

I seriously could not be happier to welcome in a new season. Fall 2022 was a complete and total PITA (pain in the a$$).

Feel free to use the graphics in this post on your own social media. Please credit @NotebookWitch on social media, or @TheNotebookWitch on Instagram.

How I Observed Yuletide for 2022

I celebrated the Sabbat this year by:

  • Finally getting all my outdoor holiday decorations up (and they’re STAYING UP until Imbolc!)
  • Doing two readings for the Bell Street Chapel Unitarian Universalist Church’s Yuletide service this past Sunday
  • Taking a BIG step to (hopefully) usher in better changes for me at my job (hoping the higher ups see the [Yule] light…ha! — thanks to my friend Ellen for the pun idea)
  • And, as always, writing a post for my blog for the Sabbat. (I am not the self-ascribed “Notebook Witch” for nothing!)

Where the Heck Did the Flying Reindeer Come From, Exactly???

At the Yuletide service this weekend at the Unitarian Universalist church I started attending in October (and I really need to do a blog post about this!), we also learned about the origins of the Christmass tropes of reindeer, red and white furtrimmed attire, and flying through the night sky.

Of course, it is all related to pagan customs from Arctic-adjacent regions. According to Danielle Prohom Olson’s essay, “Doe, a Deer, a Female Reindeer: the Spirit of Mother Christmas,” the female reindeer drew the sleigh of the Sun Godesss at Winter Solstice and “the Ancient Deer Mother flew through winter’s longest darkest night with the life-giving light of the sun in her horns.”

The red and white fur trimmed costume of Santa comes from red and white amanita mushroom, which was ingested by female shaman in far north, and that is how they would “take flight.” 🍄

Fascinating!

Merry Yuletide!!!

Whether you’re flying through the night sky on mystical fungi or just cozying up with a thick sweater, hot cocoa and cookies, I hope you have a very Merry Yule!

Five Hours of Holiday Music

PS If you’re looking for a pop-genre-expansive holiday playlist, I make one up each year, and it’s called “Yule Love This Playlist 2022” (or whatever year). Here’s the link to this year’s: https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7oN6qUdxYpMzbHKEGD6JydZ6ev-417R1&feature=share

Categories
About Sabbats, etc.

Samhain 2022

One Year Since Notebook Witch Was Started

Smahain graphic for your social media – Facebook cover photo, Twitter post, good old Tumblr; feel free to use! Please credit @NotebookWitch (@TheNotebookWitch on Instagram)

Happy Samhain! It’s officially been a year since I woke up and decided to start that witchcraft blog I’d been mulling over for a while! And how is it going? Well, in truth, it’s okay…I’m actually writing this opening part of the post a month after Samhain because, as I’ll explain in a moment, this year has been RIDICULOUSLY busy.

Still, I’m glad I’m finally fitting in a time to make yet another Samhain graphic, which you are welcome to use for your social media. (Bonus, since I didn’t post it this year on my own social media, I can use it for next year!)

Why Samhain Is a Good Time of Year to Start a New Adventure

It’s the New Year! In a witch-y sense. Samhain is the final harvest holiday so it’s the end of one year of rest, sow, grow, then reap. The quietude of the resting period is a great time to make plans for the future.

I don’t save resolutions for the start of the calendar year. I do them at various times throughout the year. Like in September, since I work in higher education, I do a New Academic Year Resolution each year. It may or may not be directly related to work. Sometimes it’s a thing to help me be more productive at work, like KonMari-ing the office. Sometimes it’s a thing to make a better work-life balance for myself, like do Tori Amos’s post-show skin care regime each night (failing at that elaborate regimen, but at least I’m at least washing and moisturizing my face before bed, as opposed to falling asleep in my makeup and waking up look like a member of the rock band KISS).

My Samhain resolution this year is to get a 10-minute walk in each afternoon. But last year, it was to start this website…

A Year Since Notebook Witch Started: Samhain 2021-Samhain 2022

So, why have I been so busy? Well, I did take some time out around the actual Sabbat to make a Facebook post about what has kept me from being more prolific in official blog posts. And with that preamble, I’ll copy and paste below.

I started Notebook Witch right around Samhain last year. I’ve built the website, established the social media accounts, and posted a decent amount of blog posts.

Not bad for a year in which I also:

  • started working in-person again (hour commute each way)
  • moved (albeit up one story but no matter how far you go, it’s still a pain)
  • moved my mom up from New Orleans
  • started another book club (Tori Amos Book Club)
  • kept Boston Austen Book Club going
  • expanded Boston Poetry Marathon to a hybrid event
  • kept the fundraiser aspect of BPM going and raised almost $1000 each for the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund and Rhode Island’s The Womxn Project
  • won a seat on my city’s Democratic Committee
  • was sick with the worst (non-covid) virus I’ve ever had
  • had a bad break up; was sad; started trying to date again
  • started “The Artist’s Way” and kept up with my Morning Pages almost every day
  • was tested for ADHD and diagnosed with inattention issues due to anxiety and ‘porr sleep hygiene’
  • started going to therapy for my anxiety
  • worked on better sleep hygiene and practices
  • started becoming a morning person
  • lived my plain old day-to-day life with chores, errands, grown up tasks, and the all-important rest

Hmmm. Before I listed out all those things, I hadn’t even realized how much I’d been up to and was kinda feeling bad I hadn’t had more posts up on the blog. Now I’m surprised I was able to do anything at all! ☺️

Well, thanks to everyone who is supporting the page! I appreciate your interest as I explore what’s going on in the witch and modern pagan community-at-large, what’s going on locally, and what I’m up to on my own as a solitary eclectic neopagan witch.

Here’s to whatever else I get up to in the next year of Notebook Witch!

Categories
Sabbats, etc.

Mabon

big changes in a new season

Mabon 16×9 Graphic for Facebook Cover, Twitter Post, and Social Media in General

Here’s a cute little graphic I made for the Mabon sabbat. Feel free to use it on your social media to observe the holiday. If you do, please credit Bridget Eileen at Notebook Witch.

About the Sabbat Mabon

The Autumn Equinox has arrived to the Northern Hemisphere and by golly have I been going through from sweeping changing with this season that ushers in sweeping changes!

Mabon signifies the end of summer, the start of Fall, and the winding down of the growing season. The apples, squashes, pumpkins and Halloweeen decor is coming out. The swimsuits and beach chairs are getting stored away.

Sweeping Change

Though Spring cleaning is a well-known custom, the start of the Fall season is also a good time for sweeping up and battoning down for winter. Many witches often do ritualistic cleaning, including a deliberative sweeping ritual.

My sweeping change is in fact much bigger and more metaphorical. I have a new neighbor in the 2-family home that my mother and I own: my mom! She lived in New Orleans for a dozen years and has now returned to New England. She is retired and wants to be closer to family now. She’s really close to me–just a stairway apart.

In all the chaos of moving my own belongings to the second story apartment and moving my mom out of New Orleans and into the first story apartment, I have not had much time for Notebook Witch blog posts.

Remember to Follow Notebook Witch on Social Media

I have put up a few posts on my Instagram account, which is @TheNotebookWitch. I didn’t have time for much in New Orleans during this trip, save for packing up my mom and getting some delicious food.

I did, however, get one visit into the New Orleans Healing Center in St Claude, and bought some lovely things at the Island of Salvation Botanica there. I took some photos and plan to do a blog post about it sooner rather than later.

Blog Plans for the Rest of 2022

Notebook Witch will remain in “soft launch” mode for the rest of the year, given the moving circumstances. And given that things are very wild at my day job. It’s chaos everywhere, it seems.

My goal is to at least observe each Sabbat with a post here at the blog. Here’s hoping I can stick to that!

Categories
Sabbats, etc.

Happy Lughnasadh!

Lughnasadh, Half Way to Fall

Happy Pumpkin Spice Season! Hahaha. I am a fan of pumpkin spice flavored things. Since I’m a New Englander to my core, I like to go to Dunkin for my pumpkin spice drink of the season. My order is a little fancy though: medium iced coffee, with 4 pumpkin, 2 mocha, and oat milk. It feels like I’m drinking Pumpkin Milk…or something.

Lughnasadh graphic for social media PNG file

What is Lughnasadh?

Since we’re halfway between Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox, neopagans, witches, and others celebrate this midpoint between the seasons with a sabbat, aka holiday.

Lughnasadh is pronounced LOO-nah-sah. (There’s a series of videos on YouTube that help with pronouncing sabbats, including Lughnasadh. They’re very helpful!) It is the first of the harvesting festivals. The other two harvesting festivals are Fall Equinox, aka Mabon, and Samhain (sow-een), aka Halloweeen.

Lughnasadh is often symbolized with wheat, corn, or other grains, since those things are harvested around this time. That is why the graphic I made has wheat and corn in it.

Lughnasadh story size graphic

Lughnasadh is also called Lunasa and also goes by the term “Lammas.” You can learn more about the Celtic origins of the celebration from this informational post at the Boston Public Library blog: https://www.bpl.org/blogs/post/the-origins-and-practices-of-lammas-lughnasad/

Lughnasadh Graphic for Social Media

Anyone can use these graphic for their Facebook banner, Twitter post, IG story or whatever they like in order to commemorate the Lughnasadh sabbat on social media. (If you can magick it into a video, go for it, since that’s all that Instagram is paying attention to as of August 2022, in order to compete with TikTok. Wah.)

Please credit @NotebookWitch on most social media or @TheNotebookWitch on Instagram, if you use this graphic.

Happy Harvest!!!