Apr 30, 2009
Apr 29, 2009
(To the tune of "I Was Strolling through the Park One Day")
words by Tina Galfo
Let us sing a joyful song today,
In this merry, merry month of May.
Let us dance the circle round,
And give out a joyful sound,
As we welcome spring the good old Pagan way.
The flowers bloom,
The birdies sing.
Around us is the beauty
Spring can bring.
Let us show our gratitude today,
For this merry, merry month of May.
For our Gracious Goddess grants,
All this beauty that enchants,
So lets us feast, and dance, and sing, and gaily play.
(To the tune of "Simple Gifts")
words by Tina Galfo
Tis the time now of Springtime,
And Our Lady fair.
When the birds sing gaily
Flying through the air.
And the sweetly scented flowers
In their garments bright,
Color hills and meadows,
What a lovely sight.
Then dance and sing a joyful song,
While all around us new life sings along.
There's peace, love, and joy everywhere,
Let it in your heart, to abide there.
Apr 28, 2009
Beltane, also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.
Fun Things To Do:
*Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend.
*Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair, and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty.
*Dress in bright colors.
*Dance the Maypole and feel yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within.
*Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck.
*Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and dancing.
These cakes are not unlike those made on the night before Beltane by women around the turn of the century. These cakes were left in the garden to please Faery visitors.
*1/2 cup sweet white wine
*2 tablespoons sugar
*1 cup honey
*2/3 cup flour
*1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
*Oil for frying
*1/8 teaspoon salt
Beat the wine & egg in a medium bowl. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt & sugar in a small bowl. Stir into the egg mixture. Let stand 30 minutes. Combine the honey & nutmeg in a small bowl. Heat 1/2-inch of the oil in a frying pan until hot, but not smoking. Drop the batter into the oil 1 tablespoon at a time; fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dip into the honey.
Yield: 1 1/2 Dozen.
Apr 27, 2009
Several years ago, I lived through a very devastating and traumatic emotional incident that changed my life and affected my very soul...After the numbness from the shock wore off I had always thought of myself as a survivor and counted my blessings to have made it out with my sanity still somewhat intact.
I swore from then on I had learned some very hard life lessons... and that was that... but never really approached the fact that scars remained and issues that still simmered below the subconcious surface would someday have to be dealt with....This afternoon they bubbled to the surface... and in one shining moment the Four of Pentacles became glaringly obvious.....
Things that can be held onto with an iron grasp can also include past unresolved conflicts and emotional injuries, whether real or imagined, and are quite tangible as the little fox's pentacles are to him. This may or may not come as a suprise to many of you but I really had never considered this to apply to this type of situation... I started to question myself...Why was I hanging on to this sadness...what did I possibly hope to gain by keeping it for all these years?
So, when you look back upon events in your past, what are you clinging to unnecessarily...outmoded ideas or ways of being that can be let go to the universe in order for them to be healed? Those hurts to your heart that really have no place in your life and simply take up room that can be used in more positive ways?
Today I choose to let go of my sorrow that took up residence in my soul for far too long and I resolve from this day foward, by releasing the old, I will make room for the new more uplifting experiences in my life.
Focus on gratitude and abundance, not only on an intellectual level - but partake in prayers and ritual that allow you to feel that abundance and gratitude in your heart... these are the things that we need to cling to...not to conditions or things of the material world. By focusing our whole being on abundance we draw it to us on all levels materially, spiritually, emotionally, and we become a vessel of true wealth.
Sometimes we have to move into the new and unknown even when it is scary if we want to further our growth and progress. Sticking with old ways out of fimiliarity is stagnation. Don't be so hard on yourself over "failures" that you talk yourself out of getting up and trying again. Release the need to try to control situations out of fear. Let the Divine will step in and lead you into the proper direction. Now is not a good time to become to fixated on the material world... doing so will keep you in a perpetual state of feeling that "something's missing"
Apr 26, 2009
Food has magical properties – both in its nutritional value, but more importantly in how it makes us feel when we eat it. Living in a magical household means paying attention to the every day activities in our lives. When we go into the kitchen and prepare food it turns into an act of love for ourselves and our families – and it is magic.
We turn ordinary ingredients into fabulous meals using wooden spoons and spatulas as our wands. We perform simple alchemy to change base materials into “gold”. All good cooks know they are magicians in the kitchen, but for Pagans this daily work is as important as casting spells in the sacred circle.
A simple blessing I use before meals:
Blessings upon this food...
Blessings upon this family...
Blessings upon all who need...
May no one hunger.
1.) My children
2.) Good friends
3.) Beautiful colors at sunset
4.) Yorkshire pudding
5.) My t.v. remote
6.) A hot bath
7.) The smell of lavander
8.) Small pots of herbs growing on my porch
9.) Loreena McKennit
10.) Rainbow trout
Apr 25, 2009
Apr 24, 2009
By wearing the Tiger's Eye crystal helps clear your mind of any annoying thoughts or stress. It's recommended that you carry it with you everywhere including when you drive to help keep yourself safe from any harm that may come your way. Also its power has the ability to attract wealth, good luck, keep away evil, and protect one's family and friends.
The Tiger Eye crystal can be cleansed before ever sending it to someone as a gift or shipping it to a new location. This will help to prevent it from carrying negative energies along with it. To cleanse it, the Tiger Eye crystal should be kept in salt water overnight as a way to recharge its energy. Once it has been taken out of the salt water it should then be washed in fresh water and placed in the sun for 2-3 hours. This process should be done every 3 months at least. This allows the user to find their inner strength and light. The Tiger's Eye crystal should be protected from sharp blows or scratches so make sure to keep it in a safe place when it's not being worn or used.
Apr 23, 2009
I've had a Facebook account for a few years now but really didn't use it much until one of my friends that watches my cats' webcam (Hi Ruth!) looked me up. It's actually pretty fun and I've been able to stay in touch as well as make new friends from all over the globe.
There's always cool applications that can be added and I have my favorites like YoVille and Pet Society but not to leave out the addictive Hatchlings either...Anyhow, one of my friends put up some pictures of handmade jewelry that a friend of hers makes and I have to say that her work is absolutely incredible!
I'm always looking for unique handmade pieces to add to my collection and earth based themes are a prerequisite with my tastes. I love the Celtic and pagan looking jewelry and Mel's creations certainly fit the bill. She has even started a new blog called Mel Kickland which has an example of a necklace that she has on her Etsy page where you can view her work. I super encourage you to check it out, pagan or non pagan...I myself plan on looking closer at a necklace that she's made.....and a pair of earrings...and....well, let's just say I really like what I see!
Apr 22, 2009
Global warming isn’t opinion. It’s a scientific reality. And the science tells us that human activity has made enormous impacts to our planet that affect our well-being and even our survival as a species.
The world’s leading science journals report that glaciers are melting ten times faster than previously thought, that atmospheric greenhouse gases have reached levels not seen for millions of years, and that species are vanishing as a result of climate change.
They also report of extreme weather events, long-term droughts, and rising sea levels. Fortunately, the science also tells us how we can begin to make significant repairs to try and reverse those impacts, but only through immediate action. . By spreading the word and sharing this with others, our collective power will force governments, corporations, and politicians everywhere to pay attention.
Things we can do:
*Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs:
Replace 3 frequently used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Save 300 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $60 per year
*Inflate Your Tires :
Keep the tires on your car adequately inflated. Check them monthly. Save 250 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $840 per year.
*Change Your Air Filter:
Check your car's air filter monthly. Save 800 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $130 per year
*Fill The Dishwasher:
Run your dishwasher only with a full load. Save 100 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $40 per year
*Use Recycled Paper: Make sure your printer paper is 100% post consumer recycled paper. Save 5 lbs. of carbon dioxide per ream of paper.
*Adjust Your Thermostat:
Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer. Save 2000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $98 per year.
*Install a Low-Flow Showerhead:
Using less water in the shower means less energy to heat the water. Save 350 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $150
*Buy Products Locally :
Buy locally and reduce the amount of energy required to drive your products to your store.
*Plant a Tree:
Trees suck up carbon dioxide and make clean air for us to breathe. Save 2,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year.
This is just a sample of all the ways we can fight global warming together, let us try at least three of these ways and the savings alone is enough incentive to help in the fight.
Apr 21, 2009
What you'll need:
Empty quart sized cardboard milk carton
Cord Hole punch or Pencil
How to make it:
Have an adult help you cut a hole in the bird feeder – it should be big enough so a bird could come and sit and eat the feed, but not too big or the carton will become unstable. Have an adult help you cut a hole using the hole punch in the top of the milk carton and put a string through the hole. Alternatively, you can poke a hole on either side of the flap at the top of the carton by poking a pencil through the top. Hang the cart on a tree branch and watch the birds enjoy their snack!
A quart size carton works perfect as it isn't too large and holds a decent amount of food.You may choose to decorate the outside of the carton but keep in mind that it will be outside in the elements and decorations may wash off in the rain. Also, you wouldn't want the birds pecking at flaking paint!Check your bird feeder regularly and refill as needed.
Apr 20, 2009
April 22nd is Earth Day and I thought it would be interesting to look up a bit about how it all came to be....The next few days I will also be talking a little about different ways we can all make our planet a little greener and bring awareness to a few common topics such as green house gasses, global warming and carbon footprints.
On April 22, 1970, the Environmental Teach-In held a nationwide day of environmental education and activism that it called Earth Day. The event was inspired and organized by environmental activist and U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin. Nelson wanted to show other U.S. politicians that there was widespread public support for a political agenda centered on environmental issues.
Nelson began organizing the event from his Senate office, assigning two staff members to work on it, but soon more space and more people were needed. John Gardner, founder of Common Cause, donated office space. Nelson selected Denis Hayes, a Harvard University student, to coordinate Earth Day activities and gave him a staff of volunteer college students to help. The event was wildly successful, sparking Earth Day celebrations at thousands of colleges, universities, schools and communities all across the United States.
An October 1993 article in American Heritage Magazine proclaimed, “…April 22, 1970, Earth Day was…one of the most remarkable happenings in the history of democracy… 20 million people demonstrated their support… American politics and public policy would never be the same again.” Following the Earth Day celebration inspired by Nelson, which demonstrated widespread grassroots support for environmental legislation, Congress passed many important environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, as well as laws to protect wilderness areas. The Environmental Protection Agency was created within three years after Earth Day 1970.
In 1995, Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton for his role in founding Earth Day, raising awareness of environmental issues, and promoting environmental action.
No matter when you celebrate Earth Day, its message about the personal responsibility we all share to “think globally and act locally” as environmental stewards of planet Earth has never been more timely or important. Our planet is in crisis due to global warming, overpopulation, and other critical environmental issues. Every person on Earth shares the responsibility to do as much as they can to preserve the planet’s finite natural resources today and for future generations.
Apr 19, 2009
5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug
*Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
*Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
*Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
*Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).
*The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip
And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we
are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night! You are going to print this out straight away, aren't you
1.) My children
2.) My friends
3.) Really fast cake recipies!
4.) BBQ time!
6.) Good music
8.) Ghost Hunters
9.) Roses...they're growing big!
10.) Pulling weeds in my garden
Apr 18, 2009
The Two of Cups speak of emotional connections... these may be the deep connections made with our significant others... friends... family or co-workers. Connections compliment one another as if both halves are coming together to form a perfect union. This coming together is a new beginning and one filled with promise, hope and trust. There is a prickling at the back of our neck at this beginning and vibrancy a new relationship can bring us.
There is a focus upon the sparkly energy of high emotion as we connect more deeply and learn new communication skills.There is also a sense of vulnerability here – as if we have to remove a mask in order to tap into that promising union the Two of Cups represent. All bets are off, we must be at our most exposed in order to reap the fullest benefit of this new connection with another or ourselves.
The Two of Cups also reminds us of our need to work together in any venture for we get ahead much easier as a team. Like I tell my children...no one can cross the street unless they hold hands and I've found that to be very true. Maybe this card implies that a communication issue is at hand or we should focus on voicing our concerns or ideas in a caring, honest manner instead of just blurting it out without regard to the others feelings.
Apr 17, 2009
Rhiannon's father said that Pwyll should listen as no man deserves this treatment. Pwyll asked for Rhiannon's council. Rhiannon said that that she would take Gwawl's pledge that he would never seek revenge for what has happened to him, and she would let him out of the bag. Gwawl said he would pledge this. Pwyll said that this will be done, but that he wanted a covenant to be drawn up. And the covenant was drawn, that Gwawl would be set free, and Pwyll would keep Gwawl's counselors in the Palace, as a surety that no revenge would be taken.
Gwawl was set free, and returned to his own palace to heal from his wounds.
The next day, Rhiannon said to Pwyll, that he should give gifts to all the minstrels and should refuse no one his bounty. So Pwyll called all the court together and said for them to point out what they wanted as a gift. And he gave freely from all that he had.
So Pwyll and Rhiannon were married, and set off for Dyfed, to the palace of Narberth, and Rhiannon gave precious gifts to all of the noble Lords and Ladies of the land.
They ruled the land prosperously for four years.
In the forth year of a son was born to them, and women were brought to watch the child at night. Instead of caring for the baby, the women fell asleep, and when they awoke, the looked in the cradle, and the child was not there.
They became frightened and plotted together to accuse Rhiannon of murdering the child before their own eyes. Rhiannon pleaded with them not to accuse her falsely, and that if they told the truth, she would defend them before the Gods. But they said that they would not, for Pwyll would surely kill them for having slept, and not watching over the baby.
And Pwyll the Prince of Anuvyn, arose and the Nurses told him falsely of what happened. Word got around to all the nobles of the land, and they came and pleaded with Pwyll to execute his wife. But this he would not do.
Rhiannon, in her spirit, could not bring herself to punish the women, so she decided that she would take a penance from Pwyll, and that for Seven years she would sit everyday by the horseblock at the gates of the Palace, and offer anyone who came that she would carry them into the Palace on her back.
And she did this for most of a year. Tiernyon Twryv Vliant was Lord of Gwent Is Coed, and he was the best man in the world. And into his house there belonged a mare, and there was no other horse in the kingdom as beautiful as she.
Every year on Beltane, she foaled and no one ever knew what became of the colt. One night Tiernyon asked his wife, what could be done about the disappearing colts. and his wife couldn't answer.
The next Beltane, Tiernyon hid in the stable and when the mare foaled, he saw a great claw come in the window and grab the colt by it's mane.
Tiernyon drew his sword and cut off the arm by the elbow and heard a great wailing. He rushed off after the creature and followed it, but he remembered that he had left the door open, so he went back and at the door was an infant baby boy, wrapped in the purest silk. So he took the baby to his wife, and as they had no other children, she kept the baby for her own.
They named the baby "Goldenlocks" and he grew more strongly and quickly than any other child.
By the time two years had passed the child was as big as a six year old.
So at a certain age, they gave the colt that had been saved from the beast, to the child, being that the colt was born on the night the child was found.
Rumor came to Tiernyon of the plight of Rhiannon, and he wondered on it. And as the child grew, he noticed a strong likeness between the child and Pwyll Prince of Annuvyn, for Tiernyon had once been in the court of Pwyll.
So Tienyon said to his wife that they should not keep the boy, and send him back to Pwyll and release Rhiannon from her punishment and that Pwyll would reward them greatly for raising the child.
So Tiernyon set off for Dyfed with the child. He met Rhiannon at the gate, and both him and the child refused to be carried in on Rhiannon's back.
They went to Pwyll and presented the child as his long lost son. And Rhiannon asked what name they had given him. Tiernyon said that they called the child Goldenlocks. And Pwyll said that from hence forth the child shall be called Pryderi, which is "end of trouble" for this ends the punishment of Rhiannon.
Pwyll richly rewarded Tiernyon and all his company, and said that the child and he would support them for all of their life. and Tiernyon and his wife became the foster parents of the child, that they would be able to be with him during his life.
And Pryderi, son of Pwyll prince of Dyfed, grew up strong and fair and ruled fairly for many a year .
Apr 16, 2009
He asked what her errand was. She said that her chief quest was to seek out Pwyll. He asked who she was. She said that she was Rhiannon daughter of Heveyth Hen, and that her father was seeking to marry her off against her will. So she ran away, because she was in love with Pwyll only, and would not marry her fathers choice, unless Pwyll rejected her. So Pwyll said that he would marry her. Rhiannon said that Pwyll should pledge to meet her before she was given away to another, and that he should meet her on the same day, in the Twelfth month, at her fathers palace. He said he would keep the date. Whenever Pwyll was asked by others, what he had spoken of with the maiden, he would change the subject.
When the twelfth month came, Pwyll took a hundred knights, and went to the Palace of Heveyth Hen, so that he could marry Rhiannon. There was great joy at his arrival, and he was put in charge of the whole court.
When they went to the feast, Pwyll was seated on one side of Heveyth Hen, and Rhiannon on the other. As they finished the feast, a tall Auburn haired youth came into the hall ...Pwyll asked him to join the table, and the youth said no, that he was a suitor and would finish his errand.
So Pwyll said that he would grant the youth anything that he could to help him with his errand....and asked what he wanted. The youth said, that the lady whom he wanted was Rhiannon, and that he realized that she was to marry Pwyll, but nevertheless Pwyll had given him his word. Rhiannon asked what Pwyll had done, for he just promised her to the man that her father had wanted her to marry before, his name was Gwawl, and he was wealthy and powerful, and because Pwyll had given him his word, she would now have to marry Gwawl. Pwyll said that he would not allow this, but Rhiannon said that he must, but she would make it so that she would never be Gwawl's.
Rhiannon gave Pwyll a small bag and told him to keep it safe, and that she would arrange to marry Gwawl the next Twelfth month, and would prepare a large banquet. Pwyll should come there then and bring a hundred knights with him, but to hide them in the orchard, and come to the palace dressed in rags, carrying the bag. Pwyll should then say that he came in search of food...and Rhiannon would make the bag so that it could be filled with all the food in the palace, but would appear no fuller.
Pwyll was then to say that the bag would never be full until a man of noble birth and power, would press the food into the bag with both his feet and say"enough has been put tin the bag". Rhiannon said that when Gwawl treads on the food in the bag, Pwyll should pull the bag over his head and knot it...then sound his horn to call all the knights to the palace.
So Pwyll told Gwawl that he could have the hand of Rhiannon...and Rhiannon set the date for the feast, the next twelfth month. The next twelfth month came and Gwawl arrived at the palace for his nuptial feast. After the feast had begun, Pwyll came in disguised in his rags and begged for food.....No matter how much food was placed in the bag, it got no fuller. Pwyll told Gwawl as planned, that only a man of noble birth and power could fill the bag by pressing the food into the bag with both his feet, and saying that enough had been placed in the bag. Gwawl did this, and was captured by Pwyll.
Pwyll sounded his horn, threw off his rags, and the knights appeared in the palace. Everyone of his knights struck a blow apon the bag, and asked "what's in the bag?" Pwyll said that there was a badger in the bag. So they played the game of "Badger in the bag" by striking and kicking the bag with their feet and staffs. After this had gone on for a while, Gwawl cried out from inside the bag that he didn't want to be slain in a bag.
Apr 15, 2009
I love legends and old stories passed down from generation to generation and recently I ran across this story from Celtic lore about Pwyll and Rhiannon. I thought I would share it with you but it is rather long so I'm going to break it up into three parts. And now...the first part....
Pwyll Prince of Dyfed, was Lord of the seven Cantrevs of Dyfed; and once upon a time Pwyll was at Narberth, his chief palace, where a feast had been prepared for him, and with him was great host of men. After the first meal, Pwyll arose to walk, and went to the top of a mound that was above the palace, and was called Gorseth Arberth. There was a legend about this mound, that whoever sat upon it, would not leave without either receiving wounds or else seeing a wonder. Pwyll wasn't worried about the wounds, as he had a great host with him, who were there for the feast, but he really wanted to see wonders, so he went and sat apon the hill.
And when he went and sat there, he saw a Lady, on a pure white horse of large size, wearing a garment of shining gold, coming along the path that led to the mound; The horse was moving at a slow pace and coming toward the mound. Pwyll asked his men if anyone knew who the Lady was, and know one knew, so he sent one of them to meet her. As the man went to meet her, she passed him by and he turned to follow her The faster he pursued her, the farther she was away from him...and he realized that he would never catch up with her. So Pwyll sent him to the palace for his horse. He took the horse, and followed her, but to no avail, the faster he went, the further she was from him. Pwyll felt that there was some kind of illusion or trickery, so they decided to go back to the palace. Next day, they went back to the mound, and saw the same Lady, on the Same horse. Pwyll sent a youth on horse back to pursue her. But to know avail, he couldn't catch up with her.
The next day, he went to the mound again, and saw the Lady...this time Pwyll took to horseback himself , and he couldn't catch up with her. So he cried out to her to stop and speak with him. As soon as he did this, she stopped, and said he should've called out before. Pwyll asked her what she was doing and where was she going. She said that she had her own errand and that she was glad to see him.
Tomorrow I will post the second installment.
Apr 14, 2009
Caillech is the Scottish, Irish, Welsh Goddess of weather, earth, sky, seasons, moon and sun the Celtic hag-goddess of the land and weather on the British Isles. In Old Irish called "the veiled one" now modern in Gaelic means hag. Also called the "Old Woman of the Spells" She is a winter and storm spirit said to denote the year's weather by her actions on the 1st of February.
If it is a nice day and she comes out into the sun it brings bad luck for the year. In Scotland she is a blue-faced hag of winter, a spirit who holds the beautiful young goddess Bride captive inside of a mountain over the winter. At Bride's release on the 1st of February spring comes. She appears to men as a hideous old woman (winter) seeking love if she gets it she becomes a beautiful young woman (spring).
Celtic myth has her gatekeeper dog named Dormarth "Death's Door". Irish bards who could curse with satire were often called cainte "dog".
Apr 13, 2009
It's a very blustery day here in my little corner of the world and after a leisurely weekend and egg hunts and family dinner on Sunday, I figured that I would start out the week with a poem. Usually Mondays are so hectic around here, it's a nice change to welcome the week on a slightly slower pace but refreshed and ready to go.
Taking in the wind
The breeze blows
Upon her face
As she sits there
Yet seeing the beauty of the world
Not the starlit sky
Or the flowing hills
She sees more
Than can be seen with just the eyes
The happiness of a flower
Who has just bloomed
The last wish of a fish
Just caught by a bear
All of nature’s hopes, dreams, and despairs
She stands up
Smelling the breeze
Picks up her wand
And falls to her knees
She sits for a minute
Lost in herself
Calmly she stands
Without further ado
She begins an enchanting dance
An energy flows out of her
Pulsing in the air
Lighting up the world
As the wind blows through her hair
Suddenly she stops
And opens her eyes
With one tear and one eye
One drop of water for the world
Falls to the ground
She walks away
She will change our world.
Apr 12, 2009
Ah, here we are on a Sunday again...Today the kids and I will be going to Coral's mum's house for dinner and I'm in charge of a dessert. I wracked my brain for a few days now just trying to figure out the perfect dessert to bring. Thankfully Nola let me off the hook and suggested Ambosia Salad and I'm looking it up on the net because I haven't made one of those since before dirt! Found a good one...here it is (along with this week's list)
2 cans pineapple chunks, drained
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 jars maraschino, drained
1 can coconut flakes
1/2 bag mini marshmallows
4 oz. sour cream
16 oz. Cool WhipCombine sour cream and Cool Whip. Fold in all other ingredients. Chill covered for at least 2 hours.
1.) My kids
2.) My cats
4.) Twitter...still trying to figure that one out!
5.) Good friends
6.) Bunny cake
8.) Getting local radio on my laptop
9.) Waking up to classical music
10.) Prime rib.....Mmmmm!
Apr 11, 2009
Well, tomorrow is Easter for most of the world but we celebrate a bit differently here. I still have two children at home now, the others have families of their own now, so my eight and nine year old and I combine a bit of old and new for this season...the children hunt eggs and do a few of the "traditional" Easter stuff but I also try to incorporate a few pagan traditions so that they can see different ways that people can express their spirituality...I believe it gives children a more tolerant view of life and as the universe knows that we all could use a little more tolerance!
Today, I'm going to show a bit about the history of Easter and egg hunting that I found interesting in an article on WitchVox.....
Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre (the origin of the word "east" comes from various Germanic, Austro-Hungarian words for dawn that share the root for the word "aurora" which means " to shine"). Modern pagans have generally accepted the spelling "Ostara" which honors this goddess as our word for the Vernal Equinox. The 1974 edition of Webster's New World Dictionary defines Easter thus: "orig., name of pagan vernal festival almost coincident in date with paschal festival of the church; Eastre, dawn goddess; 1. An annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, held on the first Sunday after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21." The Vernal Equinox usually falls somewhere between March 19th and 22nd (note that the dictionary only mentions March 21st, as opposed to the date of the actual Equinox), and depending upon when the first full moon on or after the Equinox occurs, Easter falls sometime between late-March and mid-April.
As for the Easter egg hunt, a fun game for kids, I have heard at least one pagan teacher say that there is a rather scary history to this. As with many elements of our "ancient history, " there is little or no factual documentation to back this up. But the story goes like this: Eggs were decorated and offered as gifts and to bring blessings of prosperity and abundance in the coming year; this was common in Old Europe. As Christianity rose and the ways of the "Old Religion" were shunned, people took to hiding the eggs and having children make a game out of finding them. This would take place with all the children of the village looking at the same time in everyone's gardens and beneath fences and other spots.
Traditional foods play a part in this holiday, as with so many others. Ham is the traditional main course served in many families on Easter Sunday, and the reason for this probably has to do with the agricultural way of life in old Europe. In late fall, usually in October, also known as the month of the Blood Moon, because it referred to the last time animals were slaughtered before winter, meats were salted and cured so they would last through the winter. Poorer people, who subsisted on farming and hunting, would often eat very sparingly in winter to assure their food supply would last. With the arrival of spring, there was less worry, and to celebrate the arrival of spring and of renewed abundance, they would serve the tastiest remaining cured meats, including hams. This also marked a seasonal end to eating cured foods and a return to eating fresh game (as animals emerged from hibernation looking for food), and no longer relying on stored root vegetables, but eating the young green plants so full of the vitamins and minerals that all living beings need to replenish their bodies in spring.
There is much more to the article and I hope that you have the opportunity to read it in it's entirety. I just love history and it's a great way to learn about the old ways and how they have influenced us to this day.
Apr 10, 2009
This exercise is utterly simple... takes almost no time.... requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens - before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
Apr 9, 2009
My friend Nola gave me this recipe and I tell you, they make a great addition to Sunday breakfasts, in fact I plan on giving this recipe a go this coming weekend!
Monkey buns make a delicious dessert and sweet snack... The sticky bread batter is broken into walnut-sized chunks, rolled in melted butter, and rolled in a brown sugar mix. The sugary dough-balls are then dropped into a bundt pan and, a rise, baked into a delicious ring of buns that can be easily pulled apart. This recipe makes one batch of monkey bread for one bundt pan.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 pkg.)
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk
3/4 cup butter, soft
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely ground nuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
*Add yeast and warm water to large bowl and stir until yeast is dissolved.
*Mix in milk, butter, sugar, salt, and eggs.
*Mix in flour to make a stiff batter.
*Cover with wax paper and let rise in warm spot until double in size, about 45 minutes.
*Melt 1/2 cup butter in saucepan.
*Mix nuts, brown sugar, and 3 tsp cinnamon in a bowl.
*Lightly grease tube pan/angel food pan.
*Stir down dough.
*Grease fingers with melted butter to prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers.
*Pluck walnut-size amounts of dough out of the bowl, roll dough balls in butter, and in sugar mixture.
*Pile the dough balls evenly in the bundt pan.
*Cover with wax paper and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.
*Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, until done.
*Turn upside down onto a plate and let cool to warm.
Apr 8, 2009
The Star is a card of harmony and balance much like the card of Temperance. However, because the Star follows the card of the Tower, it also represents the end of a period of change and upheaval. The Star is a card of fulfillment, peace of mind, mental and emotional stability. Like Temperance, the lamb in the card holds two containers of water, but in this case she pours the water out to nourish the earth and continue the cycle of fertility which is represented by the green grass around her. Also like Temperance, she has one foot on land and the other in the water. The water represents the spiritual realm and the land is a symbol of the material world.
When the Star turns up in a reading, it is most welcome when grief and loss have overwhelmed us. In our darkest times, we need to know that there is there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Star is the opposite of the Devil who strips us of our hope in the future. This card holds out the promise that we can eventually find peace of mind. The Star also reminds us that we need to open our heart and release our fears and doubts. If you have been holding back , now is the time to give generously. It is important to remember that the Star is inspiring, but it is not a card of practical solutions . With out hope we can accomplish nothing but hope is only a beginning. When you see this card, you know that you are on the right track. Your goals and your aspirations are blessed, but to realize them, you must take positive action. Use the light of the Star to guide you in your efforts.
(Tarot of the Magical Forest)
Apr 7, 2009
I usually don't have much trouble with people giving me a bad time about my spiritual beliefs but I have this neighbor who seems to delight in scoffing at what I have experienced to be real. Usually I just let it roll of my back and pay no attention to folks like this but this one seems to have crawled under my skin, I'm not really sure as to why.... it's not like I even care what he disagrees with.
I sat on my porch this afternoon and pondered this question in the glorious afternoon sun and tried to brainstorm to myself as to why this bothers me so much. My first few answers such as "Maybe it threatens him." and "This just goes to prove that ignorance is not bliss...." or "Could he possibly be giving me a bad time to get my attention?" didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense so I found myself continuing to mull this over while cooking dinner and cleaning up the dishes afterward. Then the thought occurred to me that I was giving this entirely too much thought and that was probably just what his intention was. I really think that it bothers me because somehow I feel threatened...like my beliefs can be taken from me, which I know is utterly ridiculous. Then the question that really needed to be answered was "Why would I feel that way in the first place?!"
Not too many years ago, I was wandering aimlessly, looking for something to believe in and had nearly reached the point that it was all just hogwash, smoke and mirrors like this neighbor has...then one day wicca found me...I can't really explain how that works but for the first time in my life I realized that this new concept made absolute perfect sense...it felt so right, like it had always been there...waiting for me to notice. I realize that no one can take my spirituality but I also know that to me it is worth more than any treasure of silver or gold or precious jewels and I feel protective of it. There are many out there that put the few of us in a very bad light whether it be out of ignorance or fad and it makes me angry. Please don't lump me in with those that wear it like a charade...something to use to draw attention to themselves, be true to yourself and the god and goddess...the universal spirit. It goes far beyond a spirituality...it is a way of life...a reverence for nature and creation...respect for all that is natural around you.
I hold my beliefs dear to me and somehow writing this blog just seems to reaffirm the path I have chosen to be the correct one for me. I resolve to not let those who like to dismiss me bother me...I will continue on believing and ask the universe that perhaps someday this neighbor might know the peace and wholeness that I have been blessed with.
Apr 6, 2009
I have several kitties but three of them... Windsor (Mr. Digits to most,) Binky and Koda all have multiple toes...It's a strange sight and I get a lot of comments from those who watch my cats' webcam about how unique they look (yes, my cats have their own webcam, hello...I'm a witch!) There's an interesting story about how multi-toed cats earned their fame so I thought I would tell you a little bit about how it all came about...
Ernest Hemingway, the famous writer and also an inveterate cat-lover, loved the spirit and independence of cats and acquired his first multi-toed cat as a gift from a ship's captain in Key West, Florida... where he made his home for a number of years. This cat which may have been a Maine Coon... had extra toes (technically known as polydactyl... Latin for "many digits".)
Today approximately 60 cats... half of them polydactyl... make their home in Key West...protected by the terms of Hemingway's will. At least some of those cats are descendants of Hemingway's first cat and are given fanciful names as he once did.... after movie stars and even characters in his book. The cats of the Hemingway Museum are so popular and so well-known, that the nickname "Hemingway Cats" or "Mitten Feet" have often been given to polydactyls.
The trait for polydact comes from a dominant gene and only a polydactyl cat can parent another polydact. Although the Maine Coon (whose ancestors are also thought to have immigrated to the U.S. aboard ships) is believed to have been the first breed to have this trait... polydact is considered a fault in that breed and indeed in every other breed except the Pixie Bob... a relatively new breed. So, rather than a breed, polydact is just a genetic trait somewhat like the genetics for the tabby pattern.
Instead of the normal 18 toes (five on each front foot and four on the rear) found on most cats, polydacts have six or more toes on the front feet and sometimes an extra toe on the rear. However, unlike the popular tabby whose pattern can be found in many breeds, the polydact is frowned upon by breed registries. Why.....? Although not inherently dangerous, there is a possibility that the extra toes could be malformed, either with two toes fusing such as Koda who has two extra toes are on top of his left foot or with ingrown toenails like those that had to be removed from Windsor (aka Mr. Digits.)
Although not approved as "purebreds," polydacts are adored by their human companions. Whether called "polydactyls," "Hemingway Cats," or "Mitten Feet," these many-toed cats warm the hearts and hearths of those people (and witches) fortunate to share a home with one.
(Pictured is my Mr. Digit's... he has seven toes on each front foot and five on his back feet....)
Apr 5, 2009
Well, the painting is nearly finished...just the hallway left to be done. It's been quite the experience to be sure especially since all the furniture and knick knacks had to be moved from area to area since we couldn't exactly haul it all outside in the torrential rains we've been having. There are still pockets of things left to be put back into place but at least it's getting there. The whole living room has an almost zen feeling with it's new colors and I thought that maybe this next week I'd peruse the local import store for a few little items like a zen rock garden and perhaps some oriental accents...maybe a bamboo plant or two...
1.) My children
2.) My cats
3.) Earth toned paint
4.) Sara Brightman (beautiful voice!)
5.) My iPod
6.) Lots and lots of laughter
7.) The soft spring breeze
8.) Sweet smelling flowers
9.) Fresh brewed coffee
10.) Toodles ( one of my black cats) laying on my pillow, purring in my ear
Apr 4, 2009
Since our living room has been newly painted, I decided I'd brighten it up by putting a few new plants under my plant light. Among my violets and pots of herbs and an ailing pothos plant, I just knew I could make room for it simply because the scent is absolutely intoxicating (and it was on sale for $9.99 at Fred Meyer.)
Anyhow, since jasmine is not a hardy outside candidate due to our winter freezes it will have to be strictly an indoor plant but that's okay with me because I will have the chance of trying to grow a new variety of plant. I'm usually very gifted with the ability to grow anything (except the cactus..... of any variety) it was a great fit with my other semi-tropical loving greenery.
This morning as I walked out of my bedroom, I was met with the most delicious scent...pleasantly sweet but not overwhelming...I sat down to enjoy my first cup of coffee feeling as if I had stepped right into the tropics! It's so relaxing to sit and wake up to such a calming, soothing environment.
I also have another addition to my plant table...I recently received five little Bird of Paradise seeds straight from Hawaii, that I promptly notched and soaked (for 24 hours) then planted in loose loamy/sandy soil so I'm really anxious to see their progress. They grow very slowly and take between two to five years to flower but when they do it is a very striking vision indeed!
I just love my friends, they always seem to know which plants I secretly wish for....and that the way to my heart is a flower with all it's roots attached.
"The lattice of thy casement twines
With jasmine vines, with jasmine vines;
The stars, like jasmine blossoms, lie
About the glimmering sky.
No jasmine tress
Can so caress
Like thy white arms' soft loveliness."
Apr 3, 2009
The picture on the Three of Swords can bring up some disturbing feelings within us but these internal stirrings kick up within us because this card deals with the heart of the matter and if when we see the Three of Swords with honesty and understand it as sign for us to wake up... pay attention and begin to observe the inner workings of our heart... we can use it’s message to transform us.
The Three of Swords often represents life's curve balls that can land our direction from time to time.... betrayal, abandonment, rejection, separation.... can be quite a shock because they hit you when you least expect them. If you have drawn this card you may know what it refers to but if not, the Three of Swords is a valuable warning. It is likely there is something that needs attention in your life and you may be unaware of or unwilling to acknowledge it. Curve balls hit us when we're looking the other way and we need to look at the situation carefully. Talking to the people in your life and not taking anything for granted as well as listening to your inner voice will help you locate the problem
In this light, these swords hint to our ability to balance basic and supporting beliefs leading to heartfelt breakthroughs in our lives. The veil of obscurity is pierced, and the heart of our desire is made manifest through our practice of living an observed, aware, and balanced life.
Apr 2, 2009
April was the second month in an early Roman calendar, but became the fourth when the ancient Romans started using January as the first month. The Romans called the month Aprilis. It may come from a word meaning 'to open', or it may come from Aphrodite, the Greek name for the goddess of love.
Small animals that hibernate are usually coming out of their burrows in April. The birds fly back northward or they settle down to have their families. The bees and butterflies begin to gather nectar from the first flowers of the season.
In some parts of the world, it's planting time. In other parts, it's the harvest season. Professional baseball begins in April. Then the amateur athletes begin to go outside in the warm weather. Spring cleaning starts and people start mowing their yards again.
Special days celebrated in April begin with the first day of April, when children and grown-ups play jokes on one another. Arbor Day is a day for planting trees, and it is observed on various April days as well as Earth day (on my calender it's the 22nd. of this month) and the full moon this month, on the 9th, is called the Wind Moon.
*Daisy and the sweet pea are the flowers of the month.
*Diamond is the birthstone for April
*The Revolutionary War in America began on April 19, 1775, when British soldiers and American revolutionaries clashed in Massachusetts.
*William Shakespeare, the playwright, was born on April 23, 1564. He also died in Massachusetts in 1616.
*Feast day of the Patron Saint of England is April 23.
*The Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975, when South Vietnam surrendered.
Apr 1, 2009
Unlike most of the other non foolish holidays, the history of April Fool's Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, is not totally clear. There really wasn't a "first April Fool's Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar. Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring.
The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France. Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25. The celebration culminated on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.
However, communications being what they were in the days when news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1. These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical
This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French. April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families.
In Scotland, for example, April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.
April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" observance. Nobody is expected to buy gifts or to take their "significant other" out to eat in a fancy restaurant. Nobody gets off work or school. It's simply a fun little holiday, but a holiday on which one must remain forever vigilant, for he may be the next April Fool!