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.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Children Activities -- Making Statues

Sunday, March 30, 2008
One of my children's favorite activities is playing with clay. And there is no better thing for their altar is a image of the Goddess and God that they have made with their own hands. Now you can go and buy some store bought clay to use. Some of which can be fired in your home oven.
But there is an alternative that adds to the fun for the kids. You can make your own flour clay. While not as sturdy as polymer clay it is sturdy enough to sit somewhere and not break apart.

Materials Needed:

* 2 Cups Flour
* 1 Cup Salt
* 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
* 3/4 - 1 Cup Water

Instructions:
Mix together flour and salt. Add the oil and then slowly add the water and stir until you get a nice clay consistency. Once completely mixed, make into the desired shapes. Bake in a 250 degree oven for approximately 1 hour. This will vary depending on how thick you creations are. One hint, do not make shapes too thick or they will crack with baking. courtesy of about.com

So have fun with your kids making sculpted images of the Gods to decorate their altar and perhaps the family altar.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our World Runs to Fast -- Time to Slow Down

Thursday, March 27, 2008
Take a moment. Breathe deeply and look at the world around you. What do you see?

When I do this I see a world spiraling out of control. A world where there is no moderation in anything that is done. Our children's and our own lives are drastically over scheduled. I think that many people do this because they cannot stand the thought of being alone in their own heads.
Many people that I have met are afraid to face themselves. There are just simply too many things that they have done that they are not proud of or that they are afraid of people finding out.
But I have always encouraged people to face this and come to terms with it. And so I urge you, the reader, to take time in the next few months to reduce the speed and complexity of your life.
I know that with children that your lives seem just naturally complex and busy but too many add to that complexity.
Here are some tips, that I have found that work for me:
  • Cut back on activities (Children don't always need to be busy and involved. Take the time saved to spend time with each other)
  • Choose jobs, if you can, that allows more time to be home with your family
  • Reduce clutter in your home and car and life (If it is broken, fix it or get rid of it. The best advice I have ever received)
I know that a minimalist lifestyle can be tough to achieve. But you will be able to reap the benefits quickly. Less stuff means less money to maintain and less time to clean. So take the time to think about these words and try to implement them. Your children will thank you in the long term.

Here is a link to an earlier post about living a minimalist lifestyle with children.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Charge of the Horned Lord

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Now that Ostara has come and gone and Beltaine is coming, the God of the Light half of the Year is coming into his own. This aspect of the God is called by many names. Some of those include, The Horned One, Sun King, Oak King, Greenman.
Below is a poem that I wrote long ago about this particular aspect.

I am the Horned Lord, Cernunnos, guardian of the cycle of birth and rebirth. I am the youth of Spring and exuberant life. My breath is the warming Southern wind. I am the Oak dressed in Brown and Green. I am the protective hunter, King of the animals and I am the wild Pan. Lovemaking, laughter and feasting are all testaments to my power and might. To love is to worship me. I am the Lord of the Greenwood, The Sun King and Heaven's Lord among countless other incarnations. I give to man these gifts; little children of all ages, ecstasy of the spirit and of the body, and I provide the path to self-illumination.

I am the Sun and consort to the Earth Mother and the Star Goddess. I am the priest of the Sun. I am the gnostic upon the throne at the center of all life. And I am the leader of the Wild Rade that leads to the Underworld, which is your inner self.

I am the fire in every beating heart and the waters of the soul, the Earth of the body and the breath of the mind. Call on me as protector and warrior for I am the God of Battles.
I bring the rain, the ultimate promise of life, hear my voice and my laughter in the sound of the falling rain and be joyous.

Blessed Be!



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How to Save Money in the Kitchen

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Now I know this is not a Pagan topic but one that I think is still worthwhile. With uncertain economic times ahead there is an ever growing need to be more conservative in the kitchen. And even in great economic times, who doesn't love ways to save money in anything you do.
My family lives off of rice and beans for the most part. Simply because beans, while simple in design, vary widely in variety and also pack a hefty nutritional punch. And rice is filling and if prepared properly can be very tasty. Now while I won't be covering any recipes today in anything approaching great detail, I will cover many tips and tricks that I have learned that I have found to be helpful.
For example smoked meats are one of the best buys in the grocery store. Now while I find them not to be the most appetizing foods, due to the normally heavy salt content, smoked neckbones are a great addition to beans when they are being cooked. Normally I will fry the meat first with some onions and then add the beans and water and boil until beans are done. For cooking greens I have found that smoked turkey parts are the best for adding seasoning.Neckbones, the unsmoked variety, are useful also in adding flavor to spaghetti sauce and they also are good to eat.
Another great buy are chicken backs. Now while they do not provide the most meat, in fact hardly any at all, they provide an excellent starter for chicken stock or chicken soup, just add water. Also if you buy a whole chicken to cook and save the bones and carcass, you can also boil that to make stock for soups.
Now these are not the only ways to save money in your kitchen, they are a good start to change the ways that you cook. You will be amazed at how a few simple changes will add up to big savings in the end.
Some other ways to save money in the kitchen are;
  • Coupons
  • Cut back on meat consumption
  • Drink more water
  • Don't waste food (Now while this may seem self-explanatory, you will be amazed at the food people waste. Cut back on portions for children, they can always have seconds)
  • Aim for homemade dishes instead of bag meals
Just remember to start small and grow in the number of things that you do. Living and cooking frugally is a mind set that must be cultivated.

Good Luck and Blessed Be!


Monday, March 24, 2008

Ritual Tools and Children

Monday, March 24, 2008
I have been practicing the Craft for almost 11 years and have never felt comfortable working with tools but I have met many people that have a need for the focus that tools can help to provide. But the point of today's post is not necessarily on the necessity of ritual tools, rather it is on whether to introduce children to tools and if so then when they should be introduced.
I believe that this a worthwhile argument because there are some tools that can be dangerous for young children. The prime examples being the athame and the bolline. I don't know about you but I don't want my young children running around with knives. Even if I decide that they are old enough to participate in more mature rituals.
But things like wands and cauldrons are relatively harmless as long as they don't run with them. And in fact a wand hunting expedition is a great activity to participate in with your children. If you make the decision to include your children in your family tradition and in small family rituals, then you will want to give considerable thought to gathering items for the children's own altar and ritual tool box.
These tools could include, but not be limited to;
  • Athame (Depending on age)
  • Bolline (As above, depending on age)
  • Wand
  • Chalice
  • Cauldron
  • Bell
  • Broom
  • Gemstones (Both precious and semi-precious; A great example is quartz points)
  • Pentacle Altar Tile
And although I personally don't use tools in my own practice, I believe that it is a good thing to introduce the tools to children and to all newcomers to the Craft at the beginning. For many people find them helpful and you should not deprive them of the chance to learn about them.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Ostara Everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Spring is finally here and here is to a quiet year with quiet weather. Hope all finds you all well.

Supplies:

Two small votive candles - I use yellow and green
And Bells for each participant

Have one of the kids ring their bell three times and say the following;

I ring the bell To cast the circle So Mote it Be!

Then an Adult or one of the older children casts the circle, saying the following;

I weave around us a circle With love and light Where we can Honor the Lady and Lord

Tell the kids to imagine a silvery-blue light surrounding them in a large circle. Explain that this "Circle of Light" means that we want to make this a sacred place to honor the Goddess and God.

Then you can light the yellow candle and say;

Sun King - Oak King growing stronger. Spring is here and Winter is gone. We say hail to the God.

Tell the children that you chose yellow to represent The Sun, the radiant power of the God.

Have the kids ring their bells again. This time tell them they are the warm, fresh breezes of spring. Tell them also that warmer days are coming if they aren't here already. Let them have fun with it. Remember you want your children to look at ritual as the happy, fun celebration it was to our ancestors!

Then pick up the green candle and tell the children that it represents the Earth. Light it and say;

Still young is the Earth Maiden and Spring is just upon us. We send her strength for the seasons to come.

This time instead of bells, have the children lay down on the Earth. And think about new plants growing out of the dirt. Then have them stand and ring their bells just once.

Now you can close the circle. Let the child who rung the bell first, now ring their bell again and say;

I ring the bell To close the circle So Mote It Be!


Wednesday Recipes -- Eggs and Dessert

I always wondered over the waste of colored Ostara Eggs and why people don't cook with them. Well at least my family didn't always. So I figured today I would cover some recipes that include eggs. I also figured I would cover one of my favorite deserts.

Deviled Eggs

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
¼ cup Light Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing
½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
½ teaspoon white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Paprika for garnish

Pop out (remove) the egg yolks to a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard powder, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Fill the empty egg white shells with the mixture and sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day before serving.

Now in my experience it is easier to use mustard in a jar (the stuff you use for hot dogs and the such) instead. And cut out the mustard powder and the vinegar and

Hot Cross Buns
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 1999

1 envelope (1/4-ounce) dry yeast
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk (about 110 degrees F.)
1 stick of butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 cup of raisins
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk

Combine the yeast, sugar and milk in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Add the butter, egg and raisins. Mix for 1 minute. Add the salt and flour. Beat on low speed until all of the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Then, beat at medium speed until the mixture forms a ball, leaves the sides of the bowl, and climbs up the dough hook. Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set-aside in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the bowl and invert it onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Roll up the dough, beginning with the long side and stopping after each full turn to press the edge of the roll firmly into the flat sheet of the dough to seal. Press with your fingertips. Tuck and roll so that any seams disappear into the dough. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Place the rolls on the baking sheet, 1/2-inch apart. With a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg evenly over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and set-aside in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour. Bake until lightly brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. In a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar and milk. Mix until smooth. Ice each bun with the frosting in the shape of a cross. Serve warm.

Now I know that Hot Cross Buns are traditionally a Easter dish but if you look closely at the 'cross' on most of them it is a solar cross. The kind with four arms equal in length. More Pagan than Christian.

Good Luck and Happy Cooking!

Blessed Be!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Children Activities for Spring -- Garden Crafts

Monday, March 17, 2008
I covered in an earlier post the building of a garden to draw the Faeries. So I figured today I would talk about crafts that you can do with your children to help with the drawing of the faeries and to decorate the garden
Some of the crafts that you can do are:
  • Windchimes
  • Mosaic Stepping Tiles
  • Bird Houses
  • Hummingbird Feeders
Windchimes

Materials

• Medium-size clay flower pot
• Adhesive tape
• Colored cord or yarn
• Nails of varied sizes
• Scissors
• Aluminum pie tins

Directions

Cut shapes out of the aluminum-hearts, diamonds, circles-and punch a hole at the top of each shape. String 1 or 2 shapes along 15 inches of cord by knotting. Do the same with the nails. Tape the ends of the cords to the edge of the flower pot and test for sounds and security by holding the pot upside down. Take several lengths of cord and tie a large knot at one end. Pull the free ends through the hole in the pot to make it hang. Tie a strong knot with the ends and place wind chimes in a tree or under an overhang where the wind brows. source parenting.ivillage.com

Mosaics

Mosaics are a great activity that children absolutely love to do. There are many great sites out there that cover this but the best site that I have found is KimGrantMosaics. She has detailed instructions on making mosaics and on decorating concrete spheres for the garden.


BirdHouses

Making birdhouses are not for the faint of heart or for the uncrafty. A knowledge of tools and basic woodworking is necessary unless you can find and buy a kit. Below are some links for some kits that you can order from Amazon. And here is a link for those who are willing to brave it on your own.



Hummingbird Feeders

I have never had the joy of seeing an hummingbird in the area that I live. But for those that want to either attract them or know that they live in the area and could use a place to stop and eat.

What you will need:

*Small red or red colored bottles.
Crafting wire
Water
Sugar


*Note: The color red is what attracts the hummingbirds to feeders. Many of the hummingbird feeders that you see in retail stores come with “nectar” which is red in color. With this craft the red color of the bottles is going to attract your hummingbirds. You can make your own homemade nectar and save bundles!

To get started:

Choose the bottle(s) you want to use as your feeder. Be sure that the bottle(s) you choose has a large enough opening at the top for the hummingbird to get his beak into. Most any home decor or crafting store stocks these small decorative glass bottles.

1) Cut a long enough piece of crafting wire to securely hang the bottle. You will want to be sure the wire is also long enough the hang the feeder in your designated hummingbird feeding area. Wrap the wire securely around the lip of the bottle. You make want to secure the wire with a small dab of hot glue or superglue depending on the weight of the bottle.

2) Once you have securely connected the wire to the bottle, mix up the nectar. Combine 4 parts water and 1 part sugar. These birds love sweet nectar.

3) Pour your nectar mix into the bottle and hang in a visible area, preferably at eye level. That’s it! You can make a large quantity of nectar and store in a bottle, periodically filling the feeder back to the top. I would recommend emptying the feeder, rinsing it with water and refilling it approximately 2 to 3 times a month. And be on the lookout for ants! If you find that ants are hanging around you may want to move the location of your feeder.

Note: Hummingbirds are very timid. It may take a few weeks or more for these little creatures to discover your feeder, so don’t fret. If you won pets you may want to hang the feeder in an area where you pets will not be. The presence of animals paired with noise will prevent the birds from visiting.

Hummingbird Nectar Mix:
(You can make changes according to the size of your bottle.)

1 cup of water
1/4 cup of sugar
Mix Well.

It’s that simple!

Additional Tips for your Hummingbird Feeder:

Make a collection of hummingbird feeders and hang in a cluster from a tree. You can hang the bottles at varying heights from the tree limbs and the sun shining through the colored glass is beautiful.

Use a “shepard’s hook”, which can be purchased at your local home and garden store, to hang your feeder from.

Hang the feeder from a hook on your patio in front of a window. You will be able to watch the hummingbirds even closer! source rubyglen.com



Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring is Coming -- Spend Some Time Outdoors

Thursday, March 13, 2008
The warmer weather is on its way (I promise). And with that warmer weather comes more of a chance for us to spend time outside comfortably without freezing. Yet it seems to me that many people, Pagans included, don't get out of civilization for even a few hours. Some, I would venture to guess, probably don't even know what to do outside. So for those I have put together a small list of activities.

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Nature Walk
  • Photography
  • Bird Watching

Some of these activities require more preparation then others. Namely the first two. But the others can be done simply and with little cost. Although photography can become an expensive hobby quickly. But small and simple digital photos don't require much more than patience and a camera. The others can be done with children and they will have a blast running around the forest and such (supervised of course) looking for animals.
If you are working on a Book of Shadows for them then you can help them to identify local plants and leaves. And of course to collect some of these and press for their Book of Shadows.
So I really want to know what you all think of these activities and what activities some of you may do with your kids to celebrate the coming of Spring.

Blessed Be!


Ostara Story


I have in the last few weeks put out the first part of the story in an earlier post. I debated over whether or not to re-include it with this posting but I thought that for the sake of convenience that I would post it. Since the second half of the story depends so much on the first half I felt that it would be too much hassle for you the reader to have to click a link to just make sense of the story posted here. So for those you have read the first half, I apologize.

The old story teller paused for a moment to collect his thoughts and puff on his pipe. He looked around at the audience before him, all his grandchildren and he smiled. Then he said, "Now the kiss has wakened the sleeping maiden, but the Earth has been sleeping with her too long. So together the God, King of Sun and Oak and his consort the Maiden of Spring prepare to work the magick required to bring about the springtime and the growth of the plants and animals.
"After deep thought the Goddess and God gathered together the Faeries of the land and made plans to gather together all the eggs in the land. Then, the plan was, they would boil and color the eggs to draw upon the magick of the eggs. Which they would then spread among the lands, bringing new life and springtime.
"But as they gathered the eggs and colored them, they didn't realize, until to late, that the Trickster was stealing the eggs a little at a time. So before they knew it that sly fox, the cunning coyote had stolen all the eggs and hidden them all over the land.
"As often happens though, the plans of the Trickster wind up tricking and fooling him in the end. For as he scattered the eggs so did he scatter the magick all over the land. Now as you can guess this made the magick work better than the original plan. For the magick was scattered pure all over the land.
"So you see children this is why we hide the eggs after we color them to take the role of the Trickster. We help the Gods spread and work the magick of Springtime."
"But, grandfather," asked one of the the children at his feet. "Did they ever find the eggs?"
Laughing the grandfather nodded and answered, "Why yes they did. Then they had a great feast. But the strange thing was that the only people in all the land that could find the eggs were the little children and the Faeries themselves. So that is why you children look for the eggs."
"But grandfather," asked one of the children, "what happened next?"
"Well now the eggs, once lost and now found, were cleaned and polished to a high gleam. Almost like gems they looked their, laid out at the feet of the Sun King and the Goddess. Then all kinds of creatures from all across the land, from the birds that fly high into the sky to the moles that burrow within the earth, joined hands and began to dance a circle dance around the Goddess and God and the newly shined eggs. Faster and faster they spun, raising the energy of love and light and of new hope. Around and around the animals spun crying out in their voices both small and large songs of joy until at last, when they could no longer keep dancing, they fell down laughing and magickally around them the Earth turned green and fertile. The last of the snows that were upon the ground melted and finally Spring was here. And for a moment peace rested upon the Earth, the lamb laid down with the lion and was safe. And the children marveled to see all of this. Knowing that they had seen the sacredness in nature.
"Seeing them, the Sun King gathered the little children to him and blessed them and told them about the magick that they had just witnessed. That this magick must be done each year by not only the animals of the Earth but by the people of the Earth also. And if the children will look closely when they dance they may just see Faeries darting between them in joy. Then the Goddess spoke and said that if the children worked this magick, then they would receive the gifts of the season on the morning of Ostara.
"Now you see children this is why when you wake on Ostara morning that you will oftentimes find a basket with gifts of candies and the such that represent Springtime. You see the chocolate bunny represents new life and young children, the hope that the Earth will continue on. The hot cross bun represents the balance of the Seasons, for you see Spring is a midpoint between the cold of Winter and the heat of Summer. And if you get any eggs then they represent the promise of new life that comes with each new Spring.
"So be thankful on Ostara morning and dance for joy. Dance the circle round and hunt for eggs and know that if you look closely then you too may see Faeries dancing around you. Go now little children play and let me rest. I will tell you another story tomorrow."
And with this the little children went off in search of faeries in the woods around their home.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday Recipe -- Vegetables

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
For the vegetarians out there among us. Here are some recipes for Ostara.

Squash Casserole

6 cups large diced yellow squash and zucchini
Vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon House seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed butter crackers (recommended: Ritz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the squash in a little vegetable oil over medium-low heat until it has completely broken down, about 15 to 20 minutes. Line a colander with a clean tea towel. Place the cooked squash in the lined colander. Squeeze excess moisture from the squash. Set aside.

In a medium size skillet, saute the onion in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and mix all ingredients together except cracker crumbs. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish and top with cracker crumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

House Seasoning

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Serve with favorite dish as a side.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. source

Tofu and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

* 6 medium cloves garlic, peeled
* 3/4 cup vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup low-fat firm silken tofu (115 grams / 4 ounces)
* 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 675 grams / 1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes (4 medium), peeled and cut into 5 centimeter chunks
* 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* Pinch of ground nutmeg


METHOD

In small saucepan, combine garlic and broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer broth to blender or food processor. Add tofu and oil and process until mixture is smooth and creamy. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in large saucepan, combine potatoes with enough cold water to cover. Add 1 t salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of potato cooking water; drain potatoes well.

In large bowl, mash potatoes; gently stir in warm tofu mixture and enough reserved potato water to make smooth puree. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg and serve. source


Monday, March 10, 2008

Making Candles -- Beeswax

Monday, March 10, 2008
There are many ways to make candles and many things that candles can be made out of. From paraffin to beeswax to waxberries and beyond. But I am focusing on beeswax, today, for many reasons. First I am able to find it locally and for a cheap price and because it is a naturally occuring product and also because it is relatively easy to work with.
The supplies that you will need are as follows:
  1. A pan with water and something to melt the wax in that can fit into the pot. The alternative to this is a double boiler
  2. A wax or candy thermometer
  3. Molds or jars. Either will work well
  4. A wooden spoon
  5. Wicks made specifically for the wax you are using
  6. Beeswax or some other kind of wax
  7. Also if you want to have colored or scented candles, then you need to buy candle dyes and candle scents
A note of caution before I list the instructions. Wax is very flammable (obviously) and therefore extreme caution must be exercised during the melting process. Also since you will be boiling water in the pot to melt the wax you must also keep an eye on that so that you don't either crack your pot or cause a fire that way.
I have found that the best thing to melt wax in is a clean and used coffee can and that the wax melts easier and faster if it is shaved down into small pieces.
Heat the wax to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You can always go up from there if the wax is not melted enough. When the wax is melted enough then you can add any scents necessary. And then, always last, add the dye. You can drip some of the wax onto a piece of paper and let it cool so that you can have a pretty good idea of what the final color will be. Remember though to always add the color last so that whatever you add for the scent does not change the color.
When the wax has melted completely then you can insert the wick into the mold or jar and tie it off the top so that the wick does not fall into the wax when you begin to pour. Next you can pour the wax to a level just slightly below the top of where you want your candle to end.
Let the wax cool at room temperature for just about 6 hours. Then reheat the wax to just slightly warmer then the last time you heated it. You are planning to repour the wax because the candle is not flat on the top. This time you can pour the wax to the top of the mold or where you want the candle to end.
Let cool again and congratulations you have a candle. Repeat as often as you wish.

Now some of you may be wondering about the necessity of making your own candles. Why make them, when I can buy them? Well as I have always said you don't know where it has been. With making your own, you can personally choose the colors and scents that you wish. Also you should be able to see some savings versus commercially made colors. Besides I remember making candles as a kid when I actually went to church. It was a fond memory and it could make a fond memory for your kids and mine.

Good Luck and Blessed Be!


Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring is Coming -- Go Fishing

Friday, March 7, 2008
Now I know that not all parts of America are having great weather right now, but warmer weather is on its way. I promise. So I figured it was time to start looking at activities to do with the coming Spring and the warmer weather. Fishing is one of them that came to mind first.
Fishing the sport of ultimate patience is also a great opportunity to bond with your children. Some of the best conversations that I have had with my oldest child has been around small lakes or on the banks of small creeks. We have a blast. Now I know that all are not old enough to sit still for the wait.
Now for this activity, check this link for tips on equipment and tips on fishing.
  • But to summarize all you need is;
  • A rod and reel and some bait.
  • A cooler with drinks and snacks for the day.
  • And if you are going to keep what you catch then you need room in the cooler, or another cooler, to put the fish on ice.
  • Also be sure to check local regulations for requirements on licensing.
For places to fish look for state, local or national parks in your area for those that allow fishing. You should be able to find at least a couple places, unless you live in the desert. You can also stop in at local fishing or tackle shops for tips and directions to other local fishing areas.

Good Luck, Happy Fishing and Blessed Be!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Kosher or Halal -- Should it apply to Pagans?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008
What is kosher or halal? Kosher food is food that meets Jewish dietary laws, or kashrut, which comes from the Hebrew word for "fit" or "proper." And Halal is the Arabic word for fit or proper. Essentially the same as kosher.
These rule systems cover both the killing and preparation of all the food that you eat.
There are many benefits to kosher food. For example;
Kosher meat is healthier. USDA standards are disgustingly lenient regarding the animal's health. "Sixty Minutes" once did an expose on this--many kosher butchers reported a large increase in gentile customers. Cold-water plucking helps prevent the spread of salmonella bacteria, and meat from diseased animals cannot be considered kosher. Kosher slaughter is more humane than non-kosher slaughter, as it kills the animal in a painless fashion. Although kosher slaughter does not kill the animal instantly, the animal passes out from the sudden drop in cranial blood pressure and dies in a minute or so. There is no pain. source about.com
Also animals killed in kosher slaughter houses die in less pain and tend to be healthier then animals in normal slaughter houses. source
I believe that both of these facts are enough to win the argument that we as Pagans should be concerned about whether our food is Kosher or Halal.
At the core of both, outside of the part about God and religion, there are sound principles for both dietary restrictions and for food preparation. And with the prohibition of animals suffering in kosher slaughter houses it also falls under the Rede of 'harm none'.
So take the time to research Kosher and Halal practices and try to apply as much of them into your life as you can. Frequent your local Jewish or Muslim butcher and buy there if you can. I do not urge becoming Jewish or Muslim or even completely and utterly following the guidelines religiously. But I do urge you to be more conscious of the food you eat and how it makes its way to your table.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why we as Pagans should be Self-reliant

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We live in a world of great technological advancements, we as a race produce more then enough food to feed the whole world. But at what cost have we managed this? We have turned over the responsibility for our food to complete strangers. Our plants are fed fertilizer (made from petroleum in most cases) and pesticides. Our animals are fed growth hormones and in some cases the parts of other animals. And in extreme cases both our plants and our animals are genetically modified.
Now I recognize that in our modern society it is next to impossible to avoid any of this contamination of the food that we eat, we do have the power to greatly reduce the amount of this kind of food that we eat. And I also recognize that it is our responsibility, as Pagans, to do this. We pledge to 'harm none' so how can we continue to eat foods that could be harmful to us.
So what is my solution? I propose that we grow most of our own vegetables and if we have the property to raise chickens and the such. And if we do not have the area for livestock then we should reduce the total amount of meat that we eat. Red meat especially and with white meat to choose it with discretion. Of course if you have any health problems you should consult with your doctor before making any changes in your diet.
This growing of your own food will serve many other purposes as well. Including the increasing of harmony with the energies of the Earth and the Sabbats. Growing your own food will save you money depending on what you grow.
If you are lacking in space, or even if you are not. you can start with containers. Here is a link that will help you to begin this project. Also check out your local agriculture office for more tips and help. Some offices even offer a free service to check the acidity of your soil.
Now I know that having a garden is hard work and will cost some money to start up. But the benefits, such as avoiding harmful chemicals and living more in harmony with the Earth, far out way the work involved.
Also if you can not grow some things, then try to buy local. This lessens the impact on Mother Earth and many communities have the farmers markets that sell organic for cheaper, sometimes, then the big stores.

Happy Gardening and Blessed Be!