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, October 30, 2008

Happy Samhain!

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Supplies:
  • Four Candles -- yellow, red, blue, green,
  • A bowl of water
  • A bowl of dirt
  • A feather
  • Musical Instruments if you so wish
  • Bell for each of the children participating
  • Jack O' Lantern
Ritual:

Arrange the colored candles and other items in a circle around you. In the East put the yellow candle and the feather. In the South put the red candle. In the West put the bowl of water and the blue candle. And finally in the North put the bowl of dirt and the green candle. Light these candles as you set them out. Walk with your children from candle to candle, ringing a bell as you leave from candle to another.

Start in the East and tell them that it represents Air. Wave the feather at them so that they can feel the wind.

In the South tell them that here is Fire represented. Carefully let them feel the heat from the candle.

In the West talk to them about Water. Have them wash their hands in the water.

In the North speak about the element of Earth. Let them touch the dirt.

When you return to the Center talk to them about the Goddess and the God and how they are always there. Let them know about Love and the Blessings that the Gods can give us.

Now sit with your children and tell them about Samhain. Tell them that this is the time that our ancestors can cross over and visit. Set out a plate for the dead and for the Gods. Read them a children's story for Samhain.

But don't let this day be all about solemnity. Have some fun and celebrate. Play some music and sing some chants. Raise some energy.

When you are done spend the rest of this Sabbat enjoying a huge feast. Take a look through the different recipes that I have posted in the last few weeks or cook your own. But be sure to enjoy the bounty of the Earth at this the third harvest.

Since many of you will be trick or treating tomorrow, here is a link to a site on safety. Remember safety is important, fun can come later.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Samhain Dessert Recipes

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I know my earlier post on pumpkin recipes, had dessert recipes in it but there is more to Samhain then just pumpkins. So I figured a separate post was in order. Here are some classics, hope that you enjoy.


Ultimate Caramel Apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 10-inch square piece of styrofoam
  • 6 popsicle sticks or small wooden dowels
  • 6 Red Delicious or Golden Delicious apples
  • 3 ounces white chocolate
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
In heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water and sugar.
Over low heat, stir mixture gently until sugar is completely dissolved.
Increase heat to medium low and cook, without stirring, until mixture is a dark amber color.
Remove from heat and carefully stir in heavy cream (mixture will bubble up and spatter a bit, then subside.)
Set aside to cool and thicken.
Cover styrofoam with waxed paper to catch caramel drippings (this will be a stand for caramel apples).
Insert popsicle sticks into bottom center of apples.
Dip top half of each apple into thickened caramel.
Insert bottom of popsicle sticks into styrofoam, allowing apples to stand upright so caramel runs down sides of each apple.
Refrigerate to harden.
Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in top of double boiler above gently simmering water; stir until smooth.
Transfer melted chocolate to pastry bag fitted with small writing tip.
Drizzle thin, random strips of white chocolate over each caramel apple.
Repeat melting and drizzling with semi-sweet chocolate.
Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Apple Butter Muffins

From Pastrywiz.com
Recipe By : Jenni Miller
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raisins or nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (the first 7 ingredients) and make a well in the center.
In smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients (the next 6 ingredients).
Pour wet mixture into the "well" of the dry ingredients and stir just to combine (10-15 strokes).
Fold in raisins with as few strokes as possible.
Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups (if you don't use muffin liners, spray the pan with cooking spray). Bake 20-25 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
Remove muffin tin to cooling rack and cool 5 mins. before removing muffins from tin. (Do *not* let muffins cool completely in the tin.)


Monday, October 27, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Recap

Monday, October 27, 2008
Now that I have covered all the virtues on my list, I feel it is time to put up a summary of this topic. One of the most important roles of a parent is to create an ethical system for their children. For they are too young and inexperienced to create one.

So I encourage you to go back over this list and make your own list. Talk with your significant other, if you have one, and write a list of what your family's virtues are going to be and a little explanation. I don't recommend including your children in this, because you may wind up with virtues like eating ice cream for lunch on Sundays. Now while this may be a fun one, it will get old quick enough.

Let this list be fluid and as your child(ren) gets older or your family gets larger (or smaller) go back and reexamine this list so that it makes sense for your current situation. When your child gets old enough (teenager is my plan) have them examine this list and try to figure out on their own why the list has the virtues and ethics that it does. Because a time is coming when they will be moving away and will have to create their own reasons for living an ethical life. They won't have you the parent(s) looking over their shoulder to make sure they live good, so "Because I said so", wont be good enough.

I hope that you have enjoyed this multi-part post and have learned something from it. If you have any comments, the form is below.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Samhain Activities - Mute Supper

Thursday, October 23, 2008
Probably one of the most common traditions in modern Wicca and Paganism is the Mute Supper. This being a plate of food that is set out for any visiting spirits on Samhain night, specifically spirits of ancestors that have passed on.

This is one tradition that we try to follow every year. We do not always have the opportunity to all sit down and have a meal together as a family, but we do our best to make time to have dinner with the family, both the living and the passed on, at Samhain.

There are no set rules for this activity. But our Mute Supper is never solemn. We believe in honoring the dead through laughter and drink. A lot like an Irish wake. Of course your Supper can be solemn if that is what works for you.

But either way take the time this Samhain to lay out a supper for the dead. Honor your ancestors with this ritual.

Blessed Be!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Wisdom

Monday, October 20, 2008
A lot of people throw the word wisdom around. They talk about how wisdom only comes with age. But it has been my experience that some times it doesn't even come then. In fact I have met children and young adults with great wisdom.

But what exactly is wisdom? Well first off it is not knowledge or common sense, but it includes those things. Rather wisdom is the proper use of knowledge and thoughts. We can have knowledge but if we don't act on it in a proper and "wise" manner, what good is it?

Wisdom is that which allows us to make decisions that do not involve ourselves getting drowned in drama or calamity. And as to be expected, wisdom cannot be taught. It can only be gained through experience, whether in this life or in past lives.

So I call on parents to let your children grow up without a lot of interference. To many parents are quick to save their kid from all obstacles and disasters. But if they do not have to save themselves growing up, then how can they learn to ever save themselves? How can they gain the insight and wisdom to make the right decisions if they never have to learn or to think? Now don't think that this means to let your kids get in over their head, but it means if they fail a test or to get on a team, then tell them to work harder next time, don't call the teacher or coach and complain. Let the child face the problem head on.

Thoughts? Comments? Please comment below.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Recipes for Samhain -- Fruits & Vegetables

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
There are a few fruits and vegetables that are traditional for Samhain, besides pumpkin that is. A few of these are squash, and apples. Nuts are also traditional for this time of the year. It is the time of the last harvest and so those things that we associate with late fall are the foods we will be wanting to prepare.

So here are a few recipes for you to enjoy:

Apple nut Stuffing in Acorn Squash
  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 6 slices of white bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. dried poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. each rosemary and thyme
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 4 dried apple rings, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp. slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup warmed milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsps. butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare squash, set aside. 
  3. In a medium bowl, toss together bread and spices, set aside.
  4. In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tsp. butter until melted. Add chopped apple rings and nuts. Saute until apple is slightly softened and nuts are golden in color.
  5. Add apple and nut mixture to bread mixture.
  6. Add warmed milk and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Dot squash halves with butter.
  8. Scoop stuffing into hollow squash halves
  9. Put squash halves on a baking sheet, brush lightly with butter, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  10. Squash will be ready when soft and fragrant
Clear Sight Carrots
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions

Boil or steam the carrots until tender. Drain. Add the butter, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon; stir until the carrots are well-coated.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Discrimination

Monday, October 13, 2008
This is a virtue that cannot be taught it can only be given the room and time needed to grow on its own. For discrimination (in this case) is the ability to be able to discern the truth in others. To see the real meaning of what people say. In other words to not be gullible.

As parents there is not much we can do in this regard. But we can help to point out our children's errors in logic. To show them, through example, how to see the real truth behind people. This requires us, as parents, to be candid with our kids.

Yet many parents I have met cannot have a real conversation with their kids. It is something that is beyond their capabilities as parents. But this isn't just in their role as parents they have a real problem having a "real" conversation with anyone. I talked about this in my post on efficiency as a virtue.

I encourage you to read that post and the book that it talks about. Then sit down and talk with your kids. They need and want that attention from you. Have regular conversations with them, it is the only way they are going to learn anything worthwhile.

Blessed Be!



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who is Odin? What can he teach us?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008
He is the Norse God of wisdom, war, battle, and death, and also magic, poetry, prophecy, victory, and the hunt. Yeah I know that is a big list but he is a big and powerful God.  As the principal deity of the Norse Pantheon he was the head of the Aesir. His children include Thor, Baldur, Horur.

One of the best known stories about Odin is his adventure on Yggdrasil, the World Tree. In this story Odin hung from the World Tree, after being pierced in the side by his own spear, for nine days and nights. In exchange for this sacrifice he was given the wisdom that gave him his power over the nine worlds.

As we approach this quiet time of Samhain, this introspection and seeking of wisdom seems to be quite appropriate. But oftentimes wisdom does not come with out a price, we cannot have the room to embrace new things unless older and more worn out things pass away.

So take some time and examine your own spiritual life. What things do you need to cut away? What are you yearning for? What holes do you need to be filled in? You may find that as you listen that those things are already there just waiting for you to be ready.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Recipes for Samhain -- Pumpkin

Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Personally I have never been a fan of pumpkin flavored anything, but since this the most prevalent food of this season, I figured I would give it another try. So I went to the store and bought a small pie pumpkin. A small one that weighed like two pounds or so.

I then chopped the pumpkin in half and gave a half to each of the kids for them to scrape out the seeds and the strings, which I had to help them with. I then baked each half for about an hour at 350 degrees. Then, when cool, the kids got their half back to scrape out the flesh of the pumpkin from within the shell.

The recipe we used for pumpkin bread is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree, packed
Directions
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. 
  2. Add the eggs and mix well. 
  3. Combine dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. 
  4. Stir in prepared pumpkin. 
  5. Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until bread tests done.
Now that I have baked this bread, I must say that my palette has truly changed. I actually enjoyed the pumpkin and am planning on buying a larger pumpkin this week to make more of this fantastic bread. I must tell you that the two pound pumpkin only yielded me about 3 cups of usable pumpkin puree, so if you are planning on making more than a couple of loafs you will want either more pumpkins or a larger one.

Happy Cooking and Blessed Be!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Efficiency

Monday, October 6, 2008
Efficiency, defined by Webster, as the quality or degree of being efficient. A wonderful thing that is, being efficient. Doing things successfully with as little effort as is required. This is the key to a minimalist lifestyle. But one that many of us struggle with. As the deluge of books and TV shows on organization and productivity can attest to.

We can't seem to organize things or even let go of things that we don't need. We buy bigger houses so that we can buy more stuff, which we pile in storage and the garage and the occasional closet and then forget about it.

So how can we be efficient? Well you can make the resolution, this is a great time for that since Samhain is sometimes called the Pagan New Year, to clear out your life. Both of physical and spiritual things. Clean out the things that you don't genuinely need, if it makes it easier then just box the stuff up and come back to it in six months and see if you have missed anything.

Also take the time to clean out the dead weight in your personal life. I think most of us can say that we have friends, that aren't really friends. They come around to mooch off of us and disappear when we are strapped and can't help them anymore.

This won't be an easy process but it will make your life run better. Guaranteed.

What do all of you do to be more efficient? Share any links or tips below in the comments.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Raising Children in Wicca

Wednesday, October 1, 2008
This is a topic that my views have changed on. When I was with my first wife I believed that since she was Christian and I was not that we should take the middle road and not "impose" religion on our child. Now I have been through divorce and am remarried with another child. My new wife is Pagan and so we decided together that at the very least our child together will be raised Wiccan.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I believe, after much deliberation, that to not give your child a religion, regardless of what that is, does the child a great disservice. And makes them unprepared for a world of different religions vying for their soul.

So what steps should you take if you want to raise your children in Wicca? Well that answer depends on their age. For the older children it can be as easy as just telling them what you know and including them in ritual.

But for the younger children, how do you explain things as complex as ethics or even the different faces of the Goddess and God? I recommend breaking these different topics down into smaller chunks, that their short attention spans can process.

Physical representations can be helpful as well. When I taught my child about the elements, I sat her down with the different colored candles all around us, along with items symbolizing the different elements. I then walked her around the circle, letting her experience, see and learn about the different elements.

This is just one of the many things that you can do to introduce your child(ren) to Wicca. The key to all of this is to be creative. And above all make the lessons fun.

I would love to have some comments on what all of you do to teach your child. Or have you even made the choice to raise your child in faith?

Blessed Be!