"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Monday, November 5, 2012

BBT Virtual Book Tour: The Earth Child's Handbook by Brigid Ashwood Guest Post & #Give@way

I'm so pleased to introduce you to Brigid Ashwood, touring now with Bewitching Book Tours with her book, The Earth Child's Handbook. I've often come across readers and those that have many questions for Pagan's, so I've asked Brigid to share some information about her spirituality to answer some of your questions, and to learn more about her book. 

Welcome Brigid! Thank you so much for joining us today...

Greetings! Thanks so much to B.K. for allowing me this opportunity to share with your audience.

The Earth Child's Handbook is an educational, craft and activity book for children and families who follow a pagan and earth-centric spiritual practice. One of the topics covered in the books is that of Magick and Ritual.

Non-pagans are often curious as to what exactly magick and ritual is in the context of Pagan spirituality. This is a tough question to answer because Pagan spiritual practice can vary greatly according to the religious tradition and the individual beliefs. Regardless I'll do my best to answer these questions here drawing upon parallel beliefs and practices found in other religions.

I was raised Christian in a Catholic tradition. The elements of prayer and ritual are a integral part of the Catholic religion. During my first forays into Pagan practice I immediately recognized the magickal workings, celebrations and rituals as recognizable forms of worship, transformation and prayer that are so fundamental to the Abrahamic religions.

However, since Paganism is focused on the individual we can view the Pagan spiritual community as one comprised of priests rather than of congregation. Each person is ultimately responsible for their own grace, their own transformation, their own connection to spirit. In traditional Abrahamic religions there exists a delineation between the classes of Priesthood versus congregation with a separate initiation and education for each.

When Pagans do magick, it is essentially ritualized prayer. The lighting of candles and burning of incense is of course not unique to Paganism and is commonly practiced in other religions. Many Pagans however, add other ingredients to their magickal practice. Crystals, herbs, colors and ritual tools can be important components in "magick" and "spellwork". Many Pagans believe that these materials possess very real properties that can aid them in their practice, but as Paganism is at it's heart a religion of the individual, belief in the metaphysical properties of these items is not essential. When a Pagan performs "magick" they are directing their intentions, and imploring the assistance of the divine towards their desired end. Prayer can be viewed in the same way - with the querent imploring deity for divine intervention and often augmenting this plea with offerings such as incense, candles or thru the aid of a tool such as a rosary.

When Pagans gather to celebrate their holy days, we can correlate their practice to the holy days of other religions such as Hanukah or Christmas. The celebration of Full Moons and other dates can be likened to Sunday mass and keeping the Sabbath.

As with other religions Pagans often celebrate milestones in an adherent's life such as initiations and marriages; the most essential of these celebrations are those of the initiatory nature. Just as a compelling life event (such as a near death experience) can have a profound effect on the body and the soul - so can ritual. In fact we can view ritual as a conscience engineering of a transformative experience intended as a catalyst towards spiritual growth or personal healing. In Paganism ritual aids the individual on the journey towards personal sovereignty.

Books 1 & 2
Brigid Ashwood

Genre: Pagan Parenting, Pagan Kids         

Book 1
ISBN-10: 1479265519
ISBN-13: 978-1479265510

Book 2
ISBN-10: 147927108X
ISBN-13: 978-1479271085

Book Description:
The Earth Child's Handbook is a primer, reference, craft and activity book series for families that follow Pagan, Wiccan and Earth Based spiritual paths.  Designed to appeal to all age groups (and grown-ups too!), the books address common Pagan beliefs and practices, explaining the principles and traditions behind them. 
Each chapter features:
             Instructional craft projects
             Coloring pages, mazes and word searches
             Color, cut and assemble projects
Younger children will delight in the coloring pages and paper crafts. Older children will find educational fun with word searches, mazes, connect-the-dots and instructional crafts. And parents might find it a lifesaver with easy recipe ideas and inspiration for teaching and building Pagan traditions.

The Earth Child's Handbook - Book 1 features chapters on the joy of family and diversity, honoring the earth and the principles of the four elements, the universe and Pagan beliefs regarding the Sun and the Moon, explanation of Deities, and an introduction to Magick and Ritual with simple spells and exercises.

Special topics include Shapeshifting, Runes, Book of Shadows, Animal Guides, Chakras, Meditation, Astrological Signs, The Elements, Cycles of the Moon, Magickal Correspondences, Sun Deities, Moon Deities, Triple Goddess and Triple God, The Four Quarters and Casting a Circle.

Featured activities include making a Chakra shirt, rain stick, homemade face paints, herbal infusions, bath salts, a moon phase wheel, moon cake recipe,  a complete "color, cut and assemble" paper altar and much, MUCH  more.

Earth Excerpt from Book 1


Earth is more than just the planet we live on or the dirt under our feet. You might think of the Earth as the body of the Great Goddess, our Mother, our Creator. The Earth sustains us; in it grows food for us to eat and other materials to help our daily lives. Her trees provide us with air, shelter, and shade. All of the four elements are related to each other, and cannot exist one without the others. This is especially true in their relationship to Earth, for all of these elements are found on and are part of the Earth itself. Air breezes through the trees on our Earth, Water runs through her streams, and Fire glows deep inside her core. If Earth is her body then Air is her breath, Water her blood and Fire her Spirit and Soul.

The Earth Child's Handbook - Book 2 features chapters on the Seasons, the 8 Pagan Sabbats and the Wheel of the Year. Each Sabbat chapter includes facts, traditions, correspondences and information about that holiday as well as recipes, altar decorating ideas, rituals and crafts, coloring pages, mazes and word searches.

Special topics include Seasonal Altars, Solstice Sabbats, Equinox Sabbats, Quarters and Cross Quarters.

Featured activities include cinnamon ornaments, Yule wrapping paper, Brigid's cross weaving, handmade paper, flower beads necklace, Beltaine masks, prayer flag, magickal broom and much, MUCH more.

Excerpt from The Earth Child's Handbook – Book 2

Fall/Winter – Samhain

Other Names: Third Harvest, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas, Shadowfest, All Hallow’s Eve, Martinmas, Witch’s New Year, Halloween.

Northern Hemisphere: October 31st November 1

Southern Hemisphere: April 30 -May 1

Herbs: Mugwort, Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Oak leaves, Sage, Straw, Rosemary, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, pine needles, garlic

Incense: cinnamon, sage, mint, nutmeg, rosemary

Colors: black, orange, white, silver, gold, brown, rust

Decorations: gourds, apples, cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, brooms, pumpkins.

Foods: apples, nuts, cider, squash, corn, soup, pumpkin

Gods: Herne, The Hunter, Anubis, The Sage

Goddesses: The Crone, Hecate

Spirit: Family, remembrance of the dead, introspection

Samhain is sometimes celebrated as the Pagan New Year. It is considered a night when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinnest. This doesn’t have to be a scary thing. In fact there are many Samhain traditions that are a lovely way of remembering those we love that have passed on. Some families set a dinner plate at the table for every loved one that has passed over. They set out pictures and photos albums of them and tell stories remembering the ones they miss.

This holiday, much like Yule, is a great time for resolutions. Write down what you hope to accomplish in the new year and put it in a bowl on your Samhain altar. Afterwards keep the slip of paper in a safe place, check it often to remind yourself of your goals.

Samhain is a wonderful Sabbat in its own right, but perhaps is even more popular because of its close association with Halloween. Many Pagans celebrate both holidays. Some have separate celebrations for each, dividing the serious topics from the lighthearted; others incorporate the two together for a fun and inspiring celebration. Whatever you choose I hope you have a fun and safe time.

Enjoy yourself by decorating and making costumes but don’t neglect to consider the more serious side of Samhain, and take a moment to remember those who have gone before. Even if you have not lost anyone close to you, we can all find brave and worthy people throughout history and in our local communities who deserve a moment of quiet remembrance in honor of their good works.

What a wonderful post Brigid. Thank you so much for sharing. Brigid is also giving you a chance to win a prize pack which features:

Both volumes of The Earth Child's Handbook, signed by the author. A one of a kind Pagan Kid's tote bag to hold your books. Your very own craft kit bag that includes safety scissors, glue stick, tape, colored pencils, crayons and 7 tubes of glitter glue. A $90 value!

Thanks again for joining us today Brigid. It's been such a pleasure. Don't forget to enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter above, and you can gain more chances to win by following her tour at Bewitching Book Tours.


Nightly Cafe said...

Thank you so much for sharing with us today Brigid :)

Unknown said...

I'd like to be a child and win that giveaway lol