Just an FYI this site will be going down for maintenance in the next couple of hours. Should be up by tomorrow. I apologize for any incovenience.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Traditional Foods for Imbolc

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Traditional foods for the Imbolc celebration include those made with seeds, (to symbolize growth), raisins (a fruit of the Sun God), pork, poultry, or lamb, with sides of potatoes, cabbage, onions, and garlic. Imbolc is the mid-point of the dark half of the year, and though stored foods are running low, it is a celebration of renewal and preparation for Spring.

Imbolc Feast Lamb Stew

2- 1/2 lb. lamb neck chops
1 tbs. lamb fat
4 medium onions
1 tbs. butter/margarine
4 medium carrots
2 1/2 cups water
4 medium potatoes
1 tbs. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 tbs. chives, chopped

Don't let the butcher trim the fat off of the lamb chops. Shred some of the excess fat and cook it down in a large pot or Dutch-oven. Peel the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cut the onions and carrots into quarters, and put all the vegetables aside. Cut the meat into8 pieces, and trim away the rest of the excess fat. The bones need not be removed. Place the meat in the hot fat and brown. Repeat with the onions and carrots. Add water, salt, and pepper carefully. Put whole potatoes on top. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat is cooked, approx. 2 hours. Remove from heat. Pour off the cooking liquid into a separate sauce pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, skim off grease, and reheat. Add butter, chives, and parsley to the reheated liquid in the sauce pan. Pour heated liquid back over the stew. Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Blessed Bride's Cake

1 cup sugar
1 cup walnut meats, chopped
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together until they are wet. Do not over mix. Pour into a greased and floured 9"x9"x2" square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until knife inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chivalry

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I was surprised when I looked up the definition of this word on google. Three simple words; courtesy towards women. This, I think, defines my movement and my philosophy.
I am struggling to raise pagan children and while I don't have a son, two daughters, I understand that there is a lack of pagan male role models for boys. Our culture doesn't help us either. Our sports stars, for the most part, are crooked and dirty. The same can be said for almost anyone else you could think of.
But the image of the knight appears around us all the time. Whether it is Zorro or Skywalker or Bathman. The ideal of the courtly warrior who devotes his life to excellence, justice, and right action seems to seize almost all boys right in the gut. The flaming desire to become your best self, and to test that best while creating greater good for all, becomes an unsurpassed parenting tool in the hands of a parent who fully understands and supports what's happening.
Encourage this in your sons. Help to break the cycle of messed up men raising messed up homes. Whether by being there or being absent, Fathers do have a huge influence.
If your sons like to play knights or some such thing, insist that they live that fantasy to the healthy limit. Encourage them to learn, or teach them, about the ethical code of the Knight. You might just be surprised.
Blessed Be!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Nine Noble Virtues -- Part Two

Monday, January 28, 2008
I covered the first four of the Nine Noble Virtues in a post on Friday. Those four were Courage; Honor; Truth; Fidelity. The remaining five virtues are Discipline; Hospitality; Industriousness; Self-Reliance; Perseverance.

Discipline is best described as self-discipline. It is the exercise of personal will that upholds honor and the other virtues. It is that which transforms impulse into action. Look around you at modern culture, and it isn't hard to see the lack of discipline that is evident. We are surrounded people obsessed with their rights and that seem to forget their responsibilities entirely.

Hospitality is the center of ancient culture. Without hospitality and the included kindness for each other than we would have never made it this far as a race. And again this is something that is lacking in our modern culture. Kindness for strangers is gone, and is replaced by the "gimme" culture.

Industriousness is best defined as persevering determination to perform a task. To embody this is not to just simply work harder than anyone. Rather it is to live life to the fullest, complete to the end every task that we begin, and to be the best at everything that we do.

Self-Reliance in relation to the Nine Noble Virtues is important. The Virtues are basically a self-imposed morality, meaning that self-reliance is necessary if we are to follow this ethic system. This is also important in the religion of the Asatru, they believe that if we are to ask things of the Gods then we must be worthy of them and the things that we have asked for.
This can also be extended to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, to be truly self-reliant then we must learn to live with only those things that are absolutely necessary.

The final virtue is Perseverance. It is also the one that I believe that we must hold first in our mind. Our world is far from perfect and if we are to make anything out of ourselves then we must persevere. It is easy to have Perseverance when we continue to succeed but at some point we will eventually fail and it is the truest measure of our character if we continue on after a failure.

Even if you are not, or decide not to follow the Asatru path, I hope that you choose to embody the Nine Noble Virtues in your life.

Blessed Be!


Friday, January 25, 2008

Nine Noble Virtues -- Part One

Friday, January 25, 2008
My best friend is starting on a path in the Asatru tradition, which is a recreation of a religion from the writings of the ancient Norse. The Nine Noble Virtues are part of this religion. And while I am not currently interested in following this path, this creed of ethics appeals to me.
  1. Courage
  2. Truth
  3. Honor
  4. Fidelity
  5. Discipline
  6. Hospitality
  7. Industriousness
  8. Self-Reliance
  9. Perseverance
In this post I am going to cover just the first four of these virtues.
In Latin, the word cor is the root for the word coraticum which means heart. This is the known etymology for the word courage, which is also translated as with heart. So Courage is to "have heart". Now Courage can mean to be brave or can mean to face life head on with passion. To operate from the heart, seat of passion and love. But it also means to live your own life in the right way regardless of how others view you.
Truth probably sounds relatively easy. Tell no lies. But Truth means much more than that. I have found that it is easier to not tell lies when you don't do things that you feel that you have to lie about. In other words be honest with yourself, first and foremost. Truth is also about having the courage to always own up to what you did.
Honor is synonymous with the word respect. When you honor other people you express your feeling that the other person has earned your respect. All of the Nine Noble Virtues center around Honor. If you act with courage, tell the truth, are loyal to others, behave with discipline, are hospitable and industrious, rely on yourself to accomplish things, and persevere until you finish what you set out to do, you will certainly command honor from others. More important, if you live that way, you can honor and respect yourself as well and never need to be ashamed of what you have done. Honor means to respect others and their beliefs and also to demand Honor from others and defending others that are not treated honorably.
But most importantly having Honor is to fulfill the promises that you make. Sometimes that this may mean that you have to think before you act and speak.
Fidelity is just a fancy word for being faithful or loyal to a person or thing and to give them help when they need it. But not if that means that you violate one of the other eight virtues to give them that help. And to not ally yourself with some group or person that stands against your own ethics. Having Fidelity also means being faithful to yourself.

So Courage, Truth, Honor and Fidelity are the first four of the Nine Noble Virtues. Courage to do what is right, and to tell the Truth at all times, to be loyal to yourself and to others that are worthy of your respect. You may find, as I did, that you believe and practice and implement some of these things already in your day to day life.
I try my best to practice all nine of the Virtues and to pass them on to my children through example and spoken lessons.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pagan Activities for Children

Thursday, January 24, 2008
There are many activities that you can involve your children in, that teach them about Paganism. Here are just a couple.

Salt Dough Ornaments

Salt dough is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and you can create just about anything from it. Use it with cookie cutters to make your own Sabbat ornaments. You'll need:

* 1 Cup salt
* 4 Cups flour
* 1 ½ Cups hot water
* 1 tsp vegetable oil

Combine the salt and flour, then add the water until the dough becomes elastic. Add the oil at this time and knead the dough (if it's too sticky, add more flour). Once it's a good consistency, make your decorations with cookie cutters. Bake ornaments at 200* until hard (about 20 - 30 minutes). Once they've cooled, paint them with designs and symbols, and seal with clear varnish.

Make a Wand

What's not to love about making your own wand? Take your kids out in the woods for a nature walk, and ask them to keep an eye on the ground for the "right" stick. The wand should be about the same length as the child's forearm. Once your child has a stick, bring it home and decorate it with ribbons, glitter, even crystals. Hold a consecration ceremony so your child can claim the wand as his or her own.

Consecration Ritual courtesy of About.com

You'll need a white candle, a cup of water, a small bowl of salt, and incense. Each corresponds to one of the cardinal elements and directions:

* North/Earth: salt
* East/Air: incense
* South/Fire: candle
* West/Water: water

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now. Light the candle and the incense. Take the tool or other item you wish to consecrate in your hands, and face north. Pass it over the salt and say: Powers of the North,
Guardians of the Earth,
I consecrate this wand of willow (or knife of steel, amulet of crystal, etc)
and charge it with your energies.
I purify it this night, and make this tool sacred.

Now, turn to the east and, holding the tool in the smoke of the incense, say: Powers of the East,
Guardians of the Air,
I consecrate this wand of willow
and charge it with your energies.
I purify it this night, and make this tool sacred.

Next, face the south and pass the tool over the flame of the candle -- be careful if it's a flammable material like Tarot cards or a robe! -- and repeat the process, saying: Powers of the South,
Guardians of Fire,
I consecrate this wand of willow
and charge it with your energies.
I purify it this night, and make this tool sacred.

Finally, turn to the west, and pass your ritual tool over the cup of water. Say: Powers of the West,
Guardians of Water,
I consecrate this wand of willow [or knife of steel, amulet of crystal, etc]
and charge it with your energies.
I purify it this night, and make this tool sacred.

Face your altar, hold the wand (athame/chalice/amulet/whatever) to the sky, and say: I charge this wand in the name of Old Ones,
the Ancients, the Sun and the Moon and the Stars.
By the powers of the Earth, of Air, of Fire and of Water
I banish the energies of any previous owners,
and make it new and fresh.
I consecrate this wand,
and it is mine.

Now you've not only consecrated the tool, you've claimed ownership. In many Wiccan traditions, it's considered a good idea to put the item to use immediately to bind the consecration and strengthen the energy of the tool. If you've consecrated a wand, athame, or chalice, you can use those in a ceremony to consecrate another tool. If you've consecrated something that is worn, such as an article of clothing (for example, a ritual robe) or a piece of jewelry, begin wearing it now.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Children Activities for Imbolc -- The Corn Dolly

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The corn dolly is an ancient harvest custom, still widely practiced throughout Europe. In ancient Europe it was customary at harvest time to leave a small portion of the grain in the field, often twisted or tied into the shape of a man or the symbol of a god or goddess. Sometimes, it was even dressed in men's or women's clothes, kept in a cradle, or hung atop a pole.
One folk tradition that continues in both Christian and Pagan home on St. Brigid's Day (or Imbolc) is that of the Brigid's Bed. The young girls of the household or village create a corn dolly, adorning it with ribbons and baubles. The older women then make a bed for Brigid to lay in. On St. Brigid's Eve (Jan. 31), the young women gather together in one house to stay up all night with the corn dolly, and are later visited by all the young men of the community who must treat them and the corn dolly with respect. Meanwhile, the older women of the community stay at home and perform other ceremonies.
I recommend making a corn dolly, instructions below, and laying it in a Bridal Bed, to represent the Goddess Brigid. For Imbolc, use it as a household decoration throughout the year, because there are other traditions involving the corn dolly at the other Sabbats.



http://www.motherearthnews.com/Livestock-and-Farming/1992-08-01/Making-Harvest-Corn-Dollies.aspx


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Goddess -- Arianrhod

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Arianrhod (ah-ree-AHN-rhohd), Arian meaning 'silver', and Rhod meaning 'wheel' or 'disc'. Celtic Moon-Mother Goddess. Called the Silver Wheel that Descends into the Sea. Daughter of the Mother Goddess Don and her consort Beli. She is ruler of Caer Sidi, a magical realm in the north. She was worshiped as priestess of the moon. The benevolent silver sky-lady came down from her pale white chariot in the heavens to watch more closely over the tides she ruled. Her Festival is on 2nd December, she is also honoured at the Full Moon.

In addition to native variations by locality or over time, there are often several possible transliterations into the Roman alphabet used for English, Arianrhod Aranrhod - Arianrod.

A star and moon Goddess, Arianrhod was also called the Silver Wheel because the dead were carried on her Oar Wheel to Emania (the Moon- land or land of death), which belonged to her as a deity of reincarnation and karma. Her consort Nwyvre 'Sky, Space, Firmament' has survived in name only. Caer Arianrhod is the circumpolar stars, to which souls withdraw between incarnations, thus she is identified as a Goddess of reincarnation. The Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess in Wales, her palace was Caer Arianrhod (Aurora Borealis), or the secret center of each initiate's spiritual being.

The moon is the archetypal female symbol, representing the Mother Goddess connecting womb, death, rebirth, creation. (Albion, the old name of Britain, meant 'White Moon'). The Celts "know well the way of seas and stars", and counted time not by days, but by nights, and made their calendars, such as the famous Coligny Calendar, not by the sun, but by the moon. Ancient astrologers took their observations from the position of the moon and its progress in relation to the stars - the starry wheel of Arianrhod.

In Celtic Myth the Goddess has three major aspects: the maiden, the mother and the crone. These three represent the three stages in life of a woman. Blodeuwedd is the flower maiden, Arianrhod represents the mother and The Morrigu at last is the crone. These three aspects of the Celtic goddess may have different names in different regions and regional legends. For example, Morrigan also takes the mother role at times.

Arianrhod is said to be able to shapeshift into a large Owl, and through the great Owl-eyes, sees even into the darkness of the human subconscious and soul. The Owl symbolizes death and renewal, wisdom, moon magick, and initiations. She is said to move with strength and purpose through the night, her wings of comfort and healing spread to give solace to those who seek her.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Goddess Brigit

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Brigit was one of the great Triple Goddesses of the Celtic people. She appeared as Brigit to the Irish, Brigantia in Northern England, Bridein Scotland, and Brigandu in Brittany. Many legends are told about Brigit. Some say that there are three Brigits: one sister in charge of poetry and inspiration who invented the Ogham alphabet, one in charge of healing and midwifery, and the third in charge of the hearth fire, smithies and other crafts. This actually indicates the separate aspects of Her three-fold nature and is a neat division of labor for a hard-working Goddess.
Actually, the Goddess Brigit had always kept a shrine at Kildare, Ireland, with a Perpetual Flame tended by nineteen Virgin Priestesses called Daughters of the Flame. No male was ever allowed to come near it; nor did those women ever consort with men. Even their food and other supplies were brought to them by women of the nearby village. When Catholicism took over in Ireland, the Shrine became a Convent and the virgin Priestesses became Nuns but the same traditions were held and the Eternal Flame was kept burning. Their tradition was that each day a different Priestess/Nun was in charge of the Sacred Fire and on the 20th day of each cycle, the fire was miraculously tended by Brigit Herself. For over a thousand years, the Sacred Flame was tended by Nuns, and no one knows how long before that it had been tended by the Priestesses.
In 1220 CE, a Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigit of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and therefore must open their Abbey and submit themselves to inspection by a Priest. When they refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform any inspections, the Bishop was incensed. He admonished them to obedience and then decreed that the keeping of the Eternal Flame was a Pagan custom and ordered the Sacred Flame to be extinguished.
In 1220 CE, a Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigit of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and therefore must open their Abbey and submit themselves to inspection by a Priest. When they refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform any inspections, the Bishop was incensed. He admonished them to obedience and then decreed that the keeping of the Eternal Flame was a Pagan custom and ordered the Sacred Flame to be extinguished.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Making a Sundial with the kids

Friday, January 11, 2008
Making a sundial is an easy and fun activity that your kids can easily help with. And with the days getting longer and longer, it is a good activity to go out and honor the sun as He grows stronger.
Talk about how the Earth is rotating on its axis. And that that is how time was kept for centuries, even after clocks and watches were created.
Good Luck and Have Fun.

Materials

• 12 inch by 12 inch piece of heavy card stock
• Block of wood
• Thumb tacks

Directions

First, take the heavy card stock and fold it corner to corner, then cut the card in half. Fold a flap on the bottom of the card to tack into the piece of wood. Attach the card to the wooden block, making sure the triangle is straight up and down. Place the sundial on a flat surface in the sun. Every hour, mark off where the shadow is cast. You might even want to paint a nature design on the wood block. Remember to keep the sundial facing the same direction so your hour marks will be accurate.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Pagan Prayers for Children

Monday, January 7, 2008
A great thing to teach your children is how to pray. Yes that's right I said pray, Christians do not and should not have a monopoly on prayer. There are many kinds of prayers that children can learn and do. Bedtime prayers, prayers in the morning, and saying grace are just a few.
So take the time today and tonight to teach your children these prayers. It maybe even a good idea for you also to use them. Prayer serves a purpose of strengthening the connection between you and the Goddess and God.
Besides in the case of food and drink something sacrificed its life so that you could eat, so it is just good manners to thank the Gods and the Earth for the meal you are about to eat.
So for thanks or for aid, offer up prayer, They will listen to us and to you. I have had very moving rituals where all I did was bow my head in silence and send up my thoughts in prayer to the Lady and Lord.
Simple Prayer for saying Grace

Lord and Lady, watch over us,
and bless us as we eat.
Bless this food, this bounty of earth,
we thank you, so mote it be.

Bedtime Prayer
found on Beliefnet submitted by RevRaven


Now I lay me down to rest
Goddess guard my little nest
Like the wee bird in the tree
Lovely Goddess, care for me.

Above, below, and round about
Keep all evil spirits out
Bless those I love, and bless me too.
Dearest Goddess, I love you.



Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Pagan Healer

Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The Healer. Found in all cultures, all healing in a different way. From the Native American, in all the different tribes; to the Shaman of Old Europe; to the Reiki master of the New Age, there are as many ways to heal as there are reasons to need healing.
I am a 2nd Degree Reiki and so I lean towards that way of healing, and have integrated it into my Pagan Practice. But I have used different color lights and different kinds of stones for healing. I have also drawn out sickness from people.
But a good Healer does not or rather should not just heal the bodies of people and animals, they should also heal the spirit and soul. Along with the the Earth and the society that they find themselves in.
And in healing the Healer is healed also. The way I have always explained is, that during healing the Healer draws in energy from Creator and passes that energy to the one in need of healing. So in essence the Healer is simply a channel for Creator. And this energy that passes through the Healer helps to heal him also.
But healing is not only about energy and prayer, there can and should be (in most cases), herbs or medicine involved. Again the good Healer, knows when something is beyond him alone and will refer the patient to a licensed medical practitioner.
If you feel drawn towards this path then you should follow it earnestly for our world is sick and in trouble and we need more Healers.. Study Reiki and study herbs, perhaps even study how to be a counselor.
Below are just two of the many books on this topic. Feel free to check out my store on Amazon, for other books on this and other topics. If you have any suggestions for things in the store that I forgot to list, let me know.
Blessed Be!




Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Spiritual Warrior

Tuesday, January 1, 2008
What is the Spiritual Warrior? He is a man of honor who strives to live in strength and truth. Holding himself to a higher morality than the world around him. It is tough to be a warrior in the spiritual world. Because the most common thing that we battle will be ourselves. This is the true nature of jihad, the struggle to be good and complete.
What Sun Tzu talks about is accepting reality and working with it. This has always been the true Warrior's way. The most important aspect of a Warrior's perception of reality is honest self-evaluation. "Dishonesty to oneself is bad discipline." I accept my limitations, and either make them work for me or do what I can to turn them into advantages. Each person has natural qualities and abilities as well as certain faults and limitations.

Jungian psychoanalyst Robert Moore put it this way:

"A man who appropriately accesses the archetypal Warrior draws upon enormous resources that enable him to live an empowered life in the service of his fellow creatures... When the Warrior is on-line, we feel a rush of blood and adrenaline, a quickening heartbeat, and a sense of something momentous about to happen. We feel mobilized for action, ready to charge forward to meet life head-on. Our daily concerns fall away from us and we are swept up into a kind of ecstacy in which we see ourselves and the world with a sharpened focus and clarity. Hidden rage is transmuted into energized courage. We come into touch with the great mystery of life and death, and we feel a strange sense of pleasure in the midst of pain."

So what should a spiritual warrior do? What is his job and responsibilities? To first accept responsibility for themselves and to overcome all spiritual handicaps. And then to fight for what is right, in accordance with the Creator's will. For more info I would read these books, one is new and one is older.
Blessed Be!