The last volume in this series is "Traditional Witchcraft for Fields & Hedgerows" (Melusine Draco). Whereas the previous volume was organized by season, this volume is organized by month. The difference between Woods & Forests & Fields & Hedgerows is that of time & domesticity. Woods/Forests are ancient creatures, full of knowledge, sometimes hostile & unsettling. Fields/Hedgerows are recent (comparatively) innovations, with a tendency towards the domestic & homely. Believing both necessary to understand, two volumes are included in the Traditional Witchcraft series.
Quote #1: "Everything is covered with a glittering film of hoare-frost that forms when moisture in the air freezes on cold surfaces ( usually overnight), producing ice crystals in the shape of scales, needles, feathers, & fans. This heavy frost represents magic, mystery, & Otherworld----the spiritual life-blood of traditional British witchcraft." (page 11, paragraph 1)
A lovely image,which would have been enhanced with another sentence or two as to why hoare-frost so strikes Draco so deeply. In the previous paragraph, Draco writes that "Snow represents tradition, custom, & history---the ancestral life-blood of traditional British witchcraft.". Given how careful she is to provide succinct explanations of why Draco thinks what should be done, I am puzzled as to why Draco doesn't offer any explanation for these two statements which are so important to her (she wrote them in bold font).
Quote #2: A simple recipe for toasting apple trees on 5 January/12th Night. Perfect for this time of year. "Wassail: 6 cooking apples, soft brown sugar, 1/2 oz ground ginger, 1/2 grated nutmeg, pinch of powdered cinnamon, 8 oz Demerara sugar, 3 pints mild or brwn ale, 1/2 bottle raisin wine, 1/4 bottle of sherry, 1 lemon, lump sugar. Core apples, fill with soft brown sugar. Roast in moderate oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Take care that they do not burst. Mix in a saucepan the ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, & Demerara sugar. Add one pint of the ale & bring to a boil. Stir in the rest of the ale, the wine, & 10 lumps of sugar that have been rubbed on the rind of the lemon. Heat the mixture, but do not let it boil this time. Put the roasted apples in a large punch bowl & pour in the hot ale mixture with half the peeled & sliced lemon." (Page 18-9, paragraph 4 & 1)
Happy holidays! :)
Visual: "The tree sports some barbarous spikes & gives its name to the 'blackthorn winter'---a sudden, bitterly cold spell in the spring when the tree is in flower." (Page 133, paragraph 1)
The blackthorn is an important tree in older craft, & this description fits the more modern sinister reputation of this lovely wood.
All four volumes are neatly tucked into my bookshelves. Until January comes, & that long month will give me time to reread & plan & practice.