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.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
by Clement Clarke Moore. This is a wonderful poem that in my multi-faith household is a great turn to for the holidays. I have to walk the fine line between Paganism and Christianity. So I take the time to sit down and read this story to both of my kids. Maybe you will want to do the same, so here it is. Merry Christmas!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in
my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Lessons of Winter

Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Last year I posted this article on Paganpages.org. And since I am still in holiday mode, Christmas is coming, I wanted to repost that here. 


Winter is really here. In most parts of the United States the cold weather and snow has set in. But what does this season mean to us Pagans? We know about Yule and the rebirth of the Sun, but what about that period between Yule and Imbolc? I believe that every season and every Sabbat can teach us lessons if we only have the ears to hear and the eyes to see.

This season is traditionally a time of rest and recovery for the world. A time, when in the natural world, most trees shed their leaves and many animals turn in to hibernate for the long winter. It was also a time of rest for mankind. When the toils of the the year were finished and in many villages the people gathered around the hearth to share stories and count together the blessings of the previous year.

But what place does any of this have in our modern world? A world that never seems to sleep much less take a breath. The answer for many is 'I'll rest when I am dead.'

For me this answer is far from being the correct one. The modern world's way of doing things teaches impatience and greed. And it forces us to run at breakneck pace, only to get us to the grave quicker and with far more regrets.

And this is not the message that I wish to pass on to my children. As a Pagan parent one of my responsibilities is to instill the values taught by the Goddess and God. Those values that are inherent and visible in the world around us.

The lessons I have learned from winter and that I in turn pass on to my children are many. And if you join me in looking at the world around us then I can show you a few examples.

I teach my children to be as still and quiet as a winter pond. For if we are always busy then how can we hear the Gods when They whisper to us?

They learn to be patient as well. For as we look around at the Earth and the plants upon it, and watch them seem to die and wither away, hope could be easily lost. But we know that if we wait long enough then the Earth and the plants will bloom again. This is important because sometimes the Will of the Gods are as equally mysterious and take as a long time to make sense.

But the most important lesson is for them to remember the importance of Family. For in the loving embrace of Family they can truly feel the arms of the Gods around them as well. As I said earlier, Winter was a time that friends and family gathered together around the hearth to share stories. I believe that this was important for the cohesiveness of the family and the community. And it is something that, today, is missed and is desperately needed.

This month is also marks the passage from one calendar year to another, a traditional time to make resolutions. What will our resolutions be? Will you join me and resolve to pass on the lessons the world shows us, the Lessons of Winter?



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Twas the Night Before Yule

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This is a delightful poem by Richard De Angelis, that I found again after hearing it years ago in ritual. Hope you all like it as much as I did.



'Twas the night before Yule, when all 'cross the heath,
not a being was stirring; Pagan, faerie, or beast.
Wassail was left out & the alter adorned,
to rejoice that the Sun King would soon be reborn.

The children lay sleeping by the warmth of the hearth,
their dreams filled with visions of belov'd Mother Earth.
M'lady & I beneath blankets piled deep,
had just settled down to our own Solstice sleep.

Then a noise in the night that would leave us no peace,
Awakened us both to the honking of geese.
Eager to see such a boisterous flock,
When we raced to the window, our mouths dropped in shock!

On the west wind flew a gaggle of geese white & gray,
With Frau Holda behind them in her giftladen dray.
The figure on her broomstick in the north sky made it clear,
La Befana was approaching to bestow Yuletide cheer.

From the south came a comet more bright than the moon,
And we knew that Lucia would be with us soon.
As these spirits sailed earthward o'er hilltops & trees,
Frau Holda serenaded her feathery steeds:

"Fly Isolde! Fly Tristan! Fly Odin & Freya!
Fly Morgaine! Fly Merlin! Fly Uranus & Gaea!
"May the God & the Goddess inside you soar,
From the clouds in the heavens to yon cottage door."

As soft & silent as snowflakes they fell:
Their arrival announced by a faint chiming bell.
They landed like angels, their bodies aglow.
Their feet left no marks in the new fallen snow.

Before we could ponder what next lay in store,
There came a slow creaking from our threshold door.
We crept from our bedroom & were spellbound to see
...There in our parlor stood the Yule Trinity!

Lucia, the Maiden, with her head wreathed in flame,
Shown with the radiance for which she was named.
The Lightbringer' s eyes held the joy of a child,
And she spoke with a voice that was gentle, yet wild:

"May the warmth of this household ne'er fade away."
Then she lit our Yule log which still burns to this day.
Frau Holda in her down cloak stood regal & tall;
The Matron of Solstice, the Mother of all.

Under her gaze we felt safe & secure.
Her voice was commanding, yet almost demure:
"May the love of this family enrich young & old."
And from the folds of her cloak showered coins of pure gold.

Le Befana wore a kerchief on her silvery hair;
The veil of the Crone who has secrets to share.
In her eyes gleamed a wisdom only gained by spent youth.
Her voice was a whisper but her words rung with truth:

"May health, glad tidings, and peace fill these rooms."
And she banished misfortune with a sweep of her broom.
They then left a gift by each sleeping child's head,
Took a drink of our wassail, and away they sped.

While we watched them fly off through the night sky we laughed,
At the wondrous magick we had found in the Craft
As they departed, the spirits decreed
Merry Yule To You All & May All Blessed Be!



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

God of the Week -- Oak King

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The last time I talked about the God, I spoke about the Holly King. But after Yule, which is this Monday, the Oak King takes his place. The ruler over the light half of the Year. He is the sapling and the young stag leaping through the woods. As you read in my children's story, he is the Sun King as well. Born on Yule he takes on the task to revive the Earth, his Goddess.

One of his other names is the Horned Lord. And as such I figured I would share a poem I wrote a while back entitled, 'The Charge of the Horned Lord'.
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!



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

God of the Week -- Holly King

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
OK so this is more of an aspect then a specific deity but it is probably one of the most worshiped aspects at this time of the year.

I saw a discussion the other day on whether Santa Claus can be used as a deity. Some thought that since he was close to Saint Nicholas that he was a Christian Saint and therefore could not be or at the very least they did not fell comfortable in doing that. But I took it a step farther because all the Saints are just re-characterization of the more ancient Pagan Deities. What I was speaking of was the aspect of the Holly King.

About eight years ago I was at a public Yule ritual that had an older man dressed as the woodland Santa. His job was to portray the Holly King in the ritual and read the story of the Night Before Yule. So maybe it is because of that I see the two as one and the same.

All of this being said, what and who else is the Holly King? What is his game and his purpose?


He is Jupiter, streaking across the sky. He is Cronos, or Old Man Time. He is Odin on his eight-legged horse.

While He is responsible for the winter season and the suffering of the Goddess and the Earth. He is also responsible for bringing us gifts and the Earth a much needed and deserved rest.

So turn to him in this time of reflection and give thanks for that chance to breathe. And if you feel that you can't take the time, then slow down and ask him for that time. But don't let this resting time be a period of laziness. Instead let it be a time for renewal and rebirth.

As you saw in my children's story this past week, he is also the gift giver. And while it is to make up for his wrongdoings it also serves its purpose in the grand scheme of things. 

But enough of my thoughts. What do you all think of the Holly King? Do you call him in your circles at this Sabbat? Am I off base on my concept of Santa Claus being a personification of him? Let's start some discussion. 

Blessed Be!



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yule Recipes -- Main Course

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ham is the most traditional dish for this holiday season. And while a ham is easy to cook, the glaze for it is sometimes tougher to make. Here is a recipe that I have used on several occasions to fantastic reviews.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp Dark Rum
In a medium size saucepan whisk together and heat to just before boiling these ingredients. Pour over a fully cooked ham and bake for ten to fifteen minutes more. Now don't worry about the alcoholic content the cooking should cook out the alcohol. If you are still antsy then you can let the glaze simmer for about five minutes.


One more thing on hams, I think that ham tends to have to much salt for human consumption. So I boil some water and place the ham in it for about five to ten minutes. This will serve to bring out much of the salt.

And for the Vegans here is a recipe courtesy of veganfamily.co.uk.

Sage and Onion Roast Potatoes

  • 4 teaspoons of dried sage or 8 teaspoons of freshly chopped sage
  • 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons of medium oatmeal
  • Potatoes, peeled and cut to desired size (this coating is enough for about 4 or 5 lbs/2 or 3 kilos.)
  • salt to taste
Par boil the potatoes then just when they are beginning to soften remove from heat and drain. Place in baking tray and rub the coating all over them (careful!) - roast in a hot oven until nice and crispy (30 minutes plus). You might want to baste with a little more oil half way through for extra crispiness!

Variation: sesame roast potatoes - coat the potatoes in sunflower oil and plenty sesame seeds before roasting - this has a lovely flavour too.





Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Finding the Perfect Yule Tree for Your Family

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


This past weekend my family and I went out and got our Yule tree. I know it was early but with visitation schedules this happened to be the only time before it was almost too late. We choose to get a live tree because we like the idea of bringing a little nature into our homes at this time of the year.

But where does the concept of the Yule tree actually come from? Many stories are out there that talk about the Christian origins of decorating a tree. But I believe the tree was the replacement of the Yule log as fireplaces became less common.

It also serves as a symbol of rebirth and life everlasting, both things that are present in the pagan Yule ceremonies. Evergreens have always held a special place in the heart of men, the only tree that seems to conquer winter and all its harsh weather.

With all of this being said some of you may be wondering what is the best way to pick a tree? Well for those is a list copied from commercialappeal.com.
  • Look for a tree with a healthy green appearance.
  • Run your hand along the branches to see if the needles are fresh and flexible. They should not come off in your hand.
  • Bump the trunk of the tree on the ground. If lots of needles fall off, the tree is not fresh. You can expect a few brown needles to fall off.
  • Make sure the base of the trunk is straight and 6 to 8 inches long so it can fit into a tree stand.
  • If you see splits in the trunk, the tree may have dried out previously.
  • Locally grown trees are usually fresher and less expensive than trees that have been shipped from a distance.
  • If possible, cover your tree with some type of tarp during transport to prevent it from drying out, particularly if it is going to be transported on top of your car.
  • If the tree is going to be kept outside several days before it goes into the house, place it out of direct sun and wind to keep it from drying out.
  • If the base of the tree has been cut within the last four to six hours, it will not need to be recut; if longer, the base should be recut so the tree can absorb water.
  • Cut straight across the trunk (not at an angle) and remove an inch or more from the bottom.
  • A cut tree will absorb a lot of water, particularly during the first week. It can use four to six quarts of water per day.
I recommend getting a real tree if you have the room, if for no other reason, at least because it is better for the environment. There are no readily accessible places at which to recycle a fake PVC tree (at least in my area). And a Yule tree farm, even if they use pesticides and herbicides, at least they replant what they cut and in the meantime the uncut trees are absorbing carbon dioxide and putting out oxygen.

And when the season is over, you have several options as what to do with the tree. You can compost for mulch, sometimes your local municipality may take it and use it themselves for mulch. My local municipality has a program in which they take the tree and sink it local ponds for fish habitats.

A third option is to buy a tree with roots and plant it in your yard, if you have the room. I'm not qualified to talk about finding the right species for your soil and climate. So seek advice from a qualified professional. But remember that this tree should only be indoors for about a week.

So good luck in your Yule tree hunting.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yule Recipes - The Duck

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I know, I know Yule is like three weeks away but I am already thinking about what to cook. Earlier today I had a conversation with a coworker about a duck that I cooked a couple years back. Then it led into a conversation about ham and the different glazes that we had both used over the years.

So I figured to kick off this month's recipes I would start with the duck.

Duck tends to really greasy and who really wants to eat a greasy piece of meat. Even the least health conscious of us don't want to consume all of that.

To cut this grease down I first pierce the skin and underlying fat in multiple locations being careful to not pierce the meat. I then dip the raw bird in a pot of boiling water for around 10 to 15 seconds before I cook it. You will find that a large portion of the grease will now be in the pot.

I like the flavor of duck so I didn't prepare a marinade or even a sauce for the bird. But what I did do was fire up my charcoal grill and cooked the bird on indirect heat with a drip pan under it to catch whatever grease was left, to avoid flareups.

To make sure your duck is done you should roast it at 325 degrees for around 2 to 3 hours, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Since I may wind up cooking another bird this year, I would be interested in hearing of any great glazes or sauces that you guys might have. So if you have one put in the comments.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Teaching Children Paganism and the Wheel of the Year

Thursday, November 19, 2009
As many of you know I have been rerunning a series this past month on Raising a Child in the Old Ways. But today I looked back at my previous post and was actually dissatisfied with what I had written. Of course much has changed in the last two years, since I wrote that post.

So instead I figured I would share links to some of my other relevant posts along with some of my thoughts.

This blog is all about teaching your children the Wheel of the Year and raising them as Pagans, so there is an abundance of info on how to do just that. But that material is not enough. What is lacking is parents taking the first step and just including your children in your spirituality.

Over the last year I have had many parents (either through FWTI or through this blog) ask me on how to teach their children their faith. And while my answers have been vague and very general this is done with a purpose. Wicca and Paganism is not about dogma or "right or wrong". Rather it is more about intuition and emotion.

So my advice to all Pagan parents is to just start. Whether it is just lighting a candle with them or telling them stories and the myths of the Old Gods. Or other simple activities to celebrate the Sabbats, all the way up to full fledged rituals.

In my family we try to do the Family (Full) Moons and to at least commemorate the Sabbats if we can't do ritual. With conflicting schedules my wife and I can't always be there to do a ritual with the whole family. But this doesn't make us bad parents or bad Pagans, our intent is good and that is all that matters.

Over the last few months I have picked up many subscribers and I want to say Thank You for all the comments, either here or on Facebook or email. And I hope that you continue to stay with me in the years to come as I continue this blog. After Thanksgiving (can you believe it is less then a week away?) I will start on the Yule Season. So if you haven't already please subscribe.

Blessed Be!

You may also want to check out these posts:




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Importance of Balance and Compassion

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We should all know our place in the world. Poised perfectly between the spiritual and the mundane. The world of humans and the animal world. Yet many of us have forgotten this. We have forgotten that we are all connected. That which we feed on will eventually feed on us.


Yet this does not only apply in the world around you this also applies to the world within yourself. Yin and Yang, the light balanced against the dark. Children are usually balanced from birth; it is only life itself that throws the human soul off balance.

The forgotten role of parents is to help to prevent this. In encouraging openness and teaching good communication skills, we help to prevent children from growing up with baggage. Too many parents abuse their children, whether verbally or physically, or try very hard to keep children in their "place".
I'm sure we could regale each other for hours about the trials of childhood and the baggage that we either carry or have carried. Trials and tribulations are important, for as Buddhism teaches, "suffering brings enlightenment", but parents seem to outdo themselves in providing suffering. Not that my childhood was particularly bad but I still see it in the world around me. Broken homes and adults that have no social skills. The rapid increase of mental illness and the rise in violent crime.

Don't believe me? Then take a week and just listen to the people around you. Observe them and feel their pain and hear their stories. So often in my life I have been pushed into the role of counsellor so I know the pain that is around me.
Yet we as Pagans have the ability to overcome this in our own lives and then to teach it to our children. Not all of us can be counsellors and healers of the world around us but we can first focus on our own lives and the lives of our children. Is that not our job as parents? And as Pagans we should accept responsibility for ourselves, should we not?

So now that you have read this, go to your children and spend some time with them. Let them know that you love them and when they talk to you listen to them. Really really listen, they have great stories and important things to tell you. Don't shush them when you don't have to, you have other jobs as a parents, such as paying bills but if you are just watching your favorite TV show, then don't shush them, stop what you are doing and listen to them. When they are grown you will regret the missed opportunities.

Just remember to not blame yourself if they don't turn out perfect. You don't have the only input on them and their growth and in the end they will choose their own destiny. But spend time with them in the meantime, it does a child good. Sorry, I know bad pun. Go down to their level and help them to rise and grow above themselves.

While you are there talking to them, tell them how we are all connected, one to another. Human to Human, Human to animal and so on. If they are old enough to understand, then talk to them of Carl Jung and the universal consciousness; if they are younger speak to them simply about how each animal no matter how small or how large is equal in importance in the grand scheme of things.
This is just as important as inner balance. For what good is it to be balanced within but damage the world around us? We must have both to truly balanced. Balanced within and without, both sides in perfect harmony. Seen and unseen against each other. Yin and Yang.

Blessed Be!

This post is a continuation in my series on Raising a Child in the Old Ways. I recommend checking out the rest of the articles.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Get Outside and Respect Nature!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Most people, I think, would agree that there is little that is more awe-inspiring then a sunset or sunrise. So this is probably the easiest lesson to teach your children. To love the world around them; the deep forest, the blue waters, the flash of lightning and the fall of rain.

I am blessed that the area around where I live is full of wildlife. Sometimes I have to drive an hour to the deep woods but even then that is worth it because of the deer and the calmness away from the city. This is also something that I can teach to my oldest, Juliet, that the world around us is sacred and must be both respected and taken care of.

Both of children exclaim in wonder as they see the moon rise over the trees, full and bright. I have started Juliet with an interest in astronomy. Which by the way is a great investment, meaning it costs little to begin and provides hours of fun with no extra cost. She loves to watch the moon and the planets. The youngest, Lassair, does not have the attention span for it but I let her look if she wants.
Both of my children enjoy camping and the oldest enjoys fishing. Whenever I take them they talk for days about all the stuff that they saw and did.

It is so easy for any of us, even Pagans, to get a disconnect from the natural world. Yeah we see the moon rise and maybe even plot its phases, but when do we actually go outside civilization and really experience Mother Earth. It is one of my goals in life to go out to the Southwest or somewhere that is remote enough for me to actually see the Milky Way and all the stars the way the ancients did.

So I challenge you to get off your chair and take your kids outside, and if you don't have kids, go by yourself. Take a walk, it'll do you good, breath some fresh air and listen for the birds. Sometimes their music is better than the music on the radio.

Blessed Be!

For the rest of the articles in this series, check here.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Love and Recognize the Goddess and God

Sunday, November 15, 2009
Immanent deity. In my opinion this is the greatest thing about the pagan faiths. There is no feeling like the feeling of being in the arms of the Goddess and God. I try hard to include this in the rituals that I have led. And I will try just as hard to show this to my youngest child, Lassair, (the oldest one being Christian this probably won't work). She knows about the Goddess and God already. We have told her that the Goddess lives in the Moon and the God in the Sun.

With the death of a good friend of the family, me and my wife decided that being candid was probably the best course to take. So we told Lassair that Marge had died and had gone home to the Goddess. This consoled her and she was, if not happy, at least she was not sad.

While she is not old enough to understand immanence of deity, I am starting with recognition. Once they know what the Goddess and God represents then they can learn to know who They are. This is the essence of raising a pagan child. For it is this inherent knowledge of the Deity that defines pagans as such.

Right now we are listening to music, and Lassair's favorite song is "Freya, Shakti", by Emerald Rose. She sings, some of it at least, and bounces all over the room trying to dance. This is another way that I try to show Lassair about the Gods. For can not the Gods be found in music and dance? This song can be found on the following album Bending Tradition.


So remember to tell your children about the Gods and about the old stories.

Blessed Be!
For the rest of the articles in this series, check here


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Love and Kind-Heartedness

Thursday, November 12, 2009
As we continue on my latest series, on Raising Children in the Old Ways
This is probably the hardest and easiest lesson to teach anyone, especially children. Easiest because it is easy to tell your children to love and to be kind. The hardest because you do not only have to show children love and always strive to be kind, but you have to teach them how and when to show compassion, and not pity.

Children are naturally kind and loving, such is the nature of innocence, but naivety is often times taken advantage of by the cruel. This is the lesson that must be taught; when to be kind and when to be stern.

I strive with my children to always show them love. My best friend when he lived with us in the beginning of this year, commented one day that he had never heard the words, "I love you", as many times in one hour as in my house. To me this was the most heart-warming thing I had ever heard.

Now I do admit that we say it often, but we really do mean it. It is in my opinion that parents must show love not only to their children but to each other. For parents to show love, they can't only just say it they must show it. Whether through little gifts or through activities. Yet be careful that your children don't associate love with the receiving of gifts. I instead choose to do activities with my children and include them in many things that I do. My oldest one totally and absolutely enjoys her time with me in the kitchen. Yes I cook, I know hard to imagine, a grown male cooking but I do. I have taken the oldest one fishing and plan on taking the littlest one when she gets old enough.

The best advice I can give anyone on this topic is open your eyes wide and pay attention. Take advantage of every moment available to spend time with your children. Every opportunity that arises show your children how to show compassion and kindness. Talk to them as you would adults. Speak candidly about the things you do (how candid is dependent on the age and maturity of the children) so that they know why you do what you do and why you make some of the decisions that they make. Remember the children are always watching and always listening, even when you think they are not, so always show kindness and love if that is what you wish for your children to show.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God of the Week - Varuna

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Considered to be the highest of the Vedic Pantheon, Varuna was worshipped as the Supreme Lord of the Cosmos. He was also the the keeper of divine order, the bringer of rain, and the enforcer of contracts. But he was also feared as the God of the Dead and it was believed that he would kill those who broke their promises.

Later Indra supplanted him as King of the Gods. This is likely because of the story that tells of how the demon Vitra stole the celestial waters, which falls through the holes of the sky as rain, from Iruna, which he had charge of. It was Indra who fought the demon and got the waters back.

After this he was stripped of his Lordship over the Heavens and given Lordship over the Waters of the Earth. Which is where he has remained as one of the Guardians of the Directions.



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

There are the Selfish and there are the Self-Responsible

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Continuing in my series from the other day on raising Children in the Old Way we come to Selfishness vs. Self-Responsibility. I hope you enjoy todays post and if you are a subscriber you should see a download link for my new ebook, "Introducing Children to Ritual". Please feel free to share it with your friends and I hope that you enjoy it.

There are two basic kinds of people; the selfish and the self-responsible.

The Selfish

  • Expect others to sacrifice for them
  • Make others feel responsible for their feelings of pain and joy
  • Consistently make their own feelings, wants, needs and desires important without considering the feelings, wants, needs and desires of others
  • Believe they are entitled to special treatment, such as not having to wait in line

The Self Responsible

  • Take care of their own feelings, wants, needs and desires rather than expecting others to take care of them
  • Support others in doing what brings them joy, even when they are not doing as they want them to do
  • Show caring for others for the joy it gives them rather than out of fear, guilt, or obligation
  • Have the courage to take loving action on their own behalf, even it others get angry with them for doing so
  • Have the courage to speak their truth about what they will or will not do, and what they do or do not feel, rather than give themselves up to avoid criticism, anger or rejection

Now that I have defined the difference between selfishness and self-responsibility, what category do you fall into? Your children?

Too many people give themselves up to avoid being called selfish. But is that not deceptive? Would it not be easier to be truthful and let people know (nicely of course) about how you feel about someone or something, then to lie and constantly hide your true self?

Many pagans preach self-responsibility but fail to fully implement it. All of my friends will quickly tell you that Patrick means what he says and if he is unhappy with someone or something, that you will definitely hear about it from him firsthand. I don't believe in mincing my words or biting my tongue at all. This is also what I teach my children, both of them; there is no time to hint around an issue, if you have something to say, then just say it and deal with the consequences.

Too many parents have and continue to not teach this. This is evident in the fact that we live in a country of selfish people. People who care too much about themselves and feel that they are entitled to a handout. A nation of "victims" who are more worried about their rights rather than their responsibilities. Too quick to yell offence and sue than accept responsibility for their own actions. Our culture is obsessed with the phrase "instant service". We want everything now if not sooner.

But don't accept this list as a complete, fast and unchanging list. Far from it. Part of being self-responsible is making your own way in the world. Making our own definition of ourselves for in the end we have none on the physical plane to answer to.

This is just the list I abide by and try to teach to my children. For I believe it is my job to mold my young skulls full of mush into well adjusted and well rounded adults. Able to live and survive on their own in the real adult world.

Blessed Be!


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Story of Theseus and the Minotaur

Monday, November 9, 2009
Prince Theseus was the son of King Aegeus of Athens, not too long before the Trojan War (so maybe around 1300 BC). At this time the Minoans, who lived on the island of Crete, had a very strong navy. The Minoan king, King Minos, used to send his navy to attack Greek cities, including Athens [View map] . Everyone was afraid of him and his soldiers.

King Aegeus had an agreement with King Minos that if Minos would leave Athens alone, Aegeus would send seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls to Crete every nine years, to be eaten by a monster that lived on Crete, the Minotaur. They had been doing this for a long time, but of course the boys and girls who had to go be eaten and their moms and dads hated it!

One day it was once again time to send the children to Crete. Everyone was crying. Prince Theseus said that he was going to go with them and kill the Minotaur, to save these children and all the ones who might be sent in the future. His dad, King Aegeus, begged him not to go. Aegeus was afraid that the Minotaur would get Theseus too! But Theseus said he was, too, going to go, and he got on the boat. The boat had a black sail, to show how sad everyone was. King Aegeus made Theseus promise to change to a white sail if he lived to come home, to announce that he had won, and Theseus promised.

When they got to Crete, King Minos and his daughter Princess Ariadne (arr-ee-AD-nee) came out of their palace to see Theseus and the other Athenian children. King Minos just said to throw them in to the Minotaur the next day, but Ariadne fell in love with Theseus (yes, just like that!) and she wanted to help him.

So late that night Ariadne gave Theseus a sword and a ball of string. She told him to tie the string to the door of the Labyrinth where the Minotaur lived (a big maze) and unroll it behind him as he went so he could find his way back out, and to use the sword to kill the Minotaur. Theseus thanked Ariadne very much and promised to marry her if he escaped without being eaten by the Minotaur.

The next morning all the Athenians went into the Labyrinth. The others were afraid, but Prince Theseus tied the string to the door and went to find the Minotaur. Finally he did find the Minotaur and there was a big fight, but then Theseus killed the Minotaur with his sword and followed the string back to the door. The other Athenians were very happy to see him and to hear that he had killed the Minotaur!

Princess Ariadne opened the door and let them out, and they all ran away to their ship and sailed away: Theseus, Ariadne, and all the other Athenians.

But when Theseus and Ariadne got to the island of Delos, halfway home from Crete, they stopped to rest. Ariadne fell asleep, and Theseus left her there on the island and sailed away to Athens without her. Different Greek stories give different reasons why he did this: maybe he just didn't like her very much, or maybe he thought the Athenians wouldn't like her because she was Cretan. Or maybe he was afraid King Minos would be angry. Some stories say it was because Dionysos fell in love with her. But all the stories agree that he left her there on the island.

When Theseus got as far as Sounion, he was close enough for the ship to be seen from Athens. But he had forgotten to change the sail from black to white! His father, King Aegeus, was looking out for Theseus' ship. When he saw the black sail he thought Theseus was dead, and he was so sad that he jumped off the cliff and killed himself.

When Theseus reached Athens, he was very sorry to hear that his father was dead, and it was his own fault. But then he became king, and he was a very good king who ruled for a long time.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Raising a Child in the Old Ways

Sunday, November 8, 2009
I have been combing through my archives over the last few days and came across this series that I ran at the start of my blog. So I figured that I would repost it for the newer readers. This first one is exactly as it appeared two years ago but the subsequent posts will either be minor edits or complete revamps. Hope you enjoy.

We as pagan parents, who are striving to teach our children pagan tenets, beliefs and stories face an uphill battle against our Christian society. The influence of this society is prevalent; evident in our media (news, tv shows), our stores (Christmas vs Yule - the prevalence of Easter etc) and even our schools. Not that our schools specifically support a specific religion, but the students within those walls that espouse Christianity and seek to browbeat their religion into our children.

Personally to battle this I have chosen to home-school my youngest daughter. Yet this is not the only reason that I have chosen to do this. It is my personal belief that our current school system has failed our children miserably. Take for example the following; Nearly 1 in 3 high school students in the Class of 2006 will not graduate this year, as reported by the Editorial Projects in Education (EDE) Research Center. All of this has me convinced that the best way to give my child a better education without all the brainwashing is for me to do it myself.

Between evolution, global warming and how evil the Great America is; there is little left in the current American school system that I agree with. I refuse to put my children in a second rate education system that teaches the children things that I believe are based on shaky scientifical evidence at best.

Now homeschooling is not the easiest or best choice for everyone. Most parents are not prepared to make the huge sacrifice that is necessary to home-school a child. I know that eventually some things such as a new TV or a better car will take second or even third place to the education of my daughter. But I am prepared to make such decisions and sacrifices.

But this is not just a struggle against the overly Christian culture it is also a struggle against the lack of spirituality in our culture. I know this sounds like a very large dichotomy but look around you at the culture in the western world at large. Our children are not taught consequences, they are not taught how to lose with good sport. They are raised in a society with a very large entitlement mentality.

Are these really the things that you want your children to be taught? This is the school system that has succeeded in raising generations of children without spines. Generations of children that often cannot find their home state on a map.
Whether you decide to home-school or not, there still arises the question of how to instill pagan tenets and beliefs in our children. What exactly are these things, when are they old enough to understand them? Some of these tenets I have referenced in earlier posts, but a semi-complete list would be as follows:

These are just a few of the many tenets of paganism but the finished list is up to you. Yet the two biggest questions of them all are; How do you teach these things to your children and when are they old enough to understand them? I will cover these things in subsequent posts over the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

God of the Week -- Ganesha

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Widely know as the Elephant God of India, he is revered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains alike, both in India and without. Known as the Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles alike he is also honored as a patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.

According to the stories he was born with a human head but when he came between Shiva and Parvati he was beheaded by Shiva. After which Shiva replaced it with an elephant's head.

As the Lord of Obstacles he is believed to either help remove obstacles from one's path or to put them there as a form of testing.

But he is also much more then this. He is associated with the Hindu mantra Aum or Om. According to Kundalini Yoga he resides within the first chakra.

I believe Ganesha is an important deity to turn to at this time of the year because since we are between the end of the year (Samhain) and the start of the new year (Yule) we should be focused on removing negative things from our life. Ganesha can help to remove obstacles from our path to do just that.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Samhain!

Friday, October 30, 2009
I wanted to take time off today from my series on connecting with your family this holiday season to wish you all a Happy Samhain.

We plan on taking both of our kids trick-or-treating this evening and then may include the youngest in ritual but with the oldest not being Pagan this becomes very difficult. But for those that are planning on doing ritual with their children make sure to check out Friday's post.

So here's hoping that you have a fun and a safe Samhain.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Samhain Ritual for Children

Thursday, October 29, 2009
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!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lord of the Underworld

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This is a repost from an earlier series on the different aspects of the God. But with Samhain being here this weekend I figured that it was appropriate to go back over this darker aspect.
Rede of the Lord of the Underworld

Hark and listen to my words. I who am Hades, Lord of the Underworld; who is Mars, God of War; Who has been the misshapen Blacksmith, Hephaestus. I am also the Holly King and the Lord of Shadows. The Boat Keeper Charon and he River Styx are also some of my incarnations. I am the Guide to and through the Underworld. I am the pair of the Crone and the Dark Mother.

I am the Darkness but I urge you not to fear me. War comes and yes it brings death and pain, but i also brings a chance for rebirth and renewed prosperity. The Underworld is the hidden part of the soul in every man and woman. The place where pain, hate and anger is locked away. Yet I am Lord of th is region and as such I can help you to tame this energy and use it for good. To change pain to pleasure - hate to love and anger to peace. So when you feel like all is against you then turn to me and I will aid you. I provide the power for you to help thyself.

As Hephaestus I am the protector of the outcasted people and the Unloved. For often the most beautiful comes from those with the greatest physical beauty, do you not agree? For beautiful art and other things created comes not from the body but from the heart and soul and mind. So worry not when the world laughs and jeers at you, stay strong and I will send you friends.

And if Winter has come to your life, do not be unhappy. For Winter is a time of rest and a chance for your life or the Earth to become fertile again. Just think of how fast things grow when the Spring comes and melts the snow.

And Have Heart.
Aspect

Anubis, the Jackal God of the Egyptians is a good example of the power of this aspect. Even though he was shunned and made fun of by the Romans his worship continued at least until the second century in Rome.
As the God of dying and later of death, he was the guide of the souls through the veil. And as such he was known and prayed to as the protector of lost souls, such as orphans. Anubis was also the weigher of souls and this makes him a god of judgement as well.

The lame smith God of the Greeks Hephaestus is my favorite God that falls into this aspect. His lesson is that you can be unpopular and not have good looks but still be in great need. The myths tell us that he was given the hand of Aphrodite because of his great crafting skill.
In fact his skill was in such demand that he wound up making most of the necessary items of legend for the other Gods and Heroes of old.
Hermes' winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite's famed girdle, Agamemnon's staff of office, Achilles' armor, Heracles' bronze clappers, Helios' chariot, the shoulder of Pelops, and Eros' (Cupid) bow and arrows.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Decorating for Samhain

Thursday, October 8, 2009
In my house we have a grapevine wreath and a family altar. Both of which we decorate for the Sabbats.  And if you decide to do this as well, the question may come up: "What do I decorate it with?"

Well there are many different things that you can do decorate it with. Our wreath and altar are pretty much unchanged since the last time we changed it at Lughnasadh. But we have removed the plastic corn and added squashes and gourds instead. For Samhain we will be adding a small pumpkin to the altar.

Here is a small list of the different things that you can decorate your altar or wreath with:
  • Apples
  • Acorns
  • Gourds 
  • Squashes
  • Pumpkins
  • Indian Corn
  • Oak Leaves - in Autumn colors
  • Pomegranates
Happy Decorating and Blessed Be!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

God of the Week -- Freyr

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Norse God of sun and rain he was also recognized as the God of bountiful harvests. In addition to this dichotomy he was also a God of peace and a powerful warrior.

The most beautiful of the male members of the Vanir (one of the two tribes of the Norse pantheon) he was later also called the "Lord of the Aesir".

In the Elder Edda there is a verse that sums him up.
Freyr is the best
Of all the chiefs
Among the gods.
He causes not tears
To maids or mothers:
His desire is to loosen the fetters
Of those enchained
He is married to the beautiful giantess Gerd, and is the son of Njord. His sister is Freya. He rides a chariot pulled by the golden boar Gullinbursti which was made for him by the dwarves Brokk and Eitri. He owns the ship Skidbladnir ("wooden-bladed"), which always sails directly towards its target, and which can become so small that it can fit in Freyr's pocket.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Spend Time With Your Partner This Holiday Season

Friday, October 2, 2009
Yes I know the "Holiday Season" hasn't quite started yet, but it is quick upon us. When I go to the stores I already see some of the Christmas decorations already up and for sale.

It was in one of these stores that the idea for this series of posts came upon me. This series of posts being on ways to get away from the seasonal rush and focus on what is the truly the most important, the family.

After this idea came upon me, I started to brainstorm on the best way to organize and present these posts to you. I have settled on, over the next thirteen Saturdays, alternating between posts on spending time between your partner and on spending time with your children. Since it is an odd number of weeks, the final week will be on spending time with your family as a whole.

That being said, on with today's post!

It is important for you and your partner to be connected and on the same page. But with life in general and now the Holiday Season it can be very difficult to find time to do just that.

So my challenge to all of us is to set aside a little time at least every couple of weeks, every week would be better, to take your partner out on a date. Whether it is the movies, a picnic in the park or just an evening walk. The most important thing to do is just spend time with them.

You both need time to decompress and talk to each other about how things are going. Both in your personal lives apart and together. Think of this as part State of the Relationship address and part just continue to get you know each better talk.

Think of this as dating like you used to, before you got "serious". Get dressed up and have some fun. Go dancing if that is what you used to do or just out to eat. Again just spend time with your partner.

I hope that you find this to be of some use. Got any thoughts? Then head over and comment on this article.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God of the Week -- Tyr

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Norse one-handed God of War, Tyr was in some stories the son of Odin and in other stories the son of the giant Hymir. He seems to be one of the earliest Gods of the Norse Pantheon.

Originally it appears that he was worshipped as the chief sky-god, the god of war and justice. This was in the Germanic lands but in Scandinavia he was replaced by Odin who took many of his duties.

Unlike other Gods of War, Tyr was actually brave. Subsequently he was also considered to be the god of courage and boldness. Tyr sacrificed his hand in an early encounter with Fenrir, an offspring of Loki and the giantess Angerboda. In order to bind Fenrir, the gods pretend to play game with the monster, Tyr placed his hand in the mouth of the giant wolf. However, when Fenrir found that he was been tricked and it was no game at all, he bit off Tyr's hand. Thereafter, Tyr was known as the One-handed As and feeder of the wolf.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

God of the Week -- Khnum

Thursday, September 24, 2009
In Egyptian mythology, Khnum, was one of the earliest deities in the mythology. He was honored as the god of the source of the Nile. And as such, since the Nile brings down silt and clay, the Egyptians believed that he made mankind out of clay on a potter wheel. Later it was believed that he made the other deities as well.

Khnum was also honored as the protector of the waters of the Underworld. Because he was so often portrayed with the head of a ram, he was sometimes recognized as a god of fertility. Later he was also given the job of creating the soul along with the body, the soul being called 'ka'. According to the Book of the Dead he was prayed to since it was believed that he could intervene when you stood before Ma'at for judgement after your life was over.

O my heart ...
Do not stand up against me as a witness!
Do not create opposition against me among the assessors!
Do not tip the scales against me in the presence of the Keeper of the Balance!
You are my soul which is in my body,
The god Khnum who makes my limbs sound.
When you go forth to the Hereafter,
My name shall not stink to the courtiers who create people on his behalf.
Do not tell lies about me in the presence of the Great God!

-- Heart scarab spell, translation by Thomas J. Logan



Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy First Day of Fall!

Monday, September 21, 2009
Happy Mabon to all of you!

Supplies:

Five Candles -- yellow, red, blue, green, brown
A bowl of water
A bowl of dirt
A feather
Musical Instruments if you so wish
Bell for each of the children participating

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 Mabon, while you light the brown candle. Tell them about the journey of the Goddess into the Underworld. The story of Isis or Inanna. Take this time to tell what each of you are thankful for.

Now 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 second harvest.
Blessed Be!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dionysus

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Dionysus the ancient God of Thrace was a complex diety. While he was the God of wine and ecstasy, representing the chaos and disorder in the world around us. He was also the God of fertility, crops and harvest which are all symbols of order and civilization.
One of the stories of his birth has him being born of Zeus after being conceived in Semele, a mortal. According to the story, Hera jealous of the affair convinced Semele to ask Zeus to reveal his true glory to her. This of course caused her to be burnt to ashes but before the infant could be destroyed Zeus retrieved him and sewed him into his leg. Later the child was cut out from Zeus and was subsequently driven insane by Hera.
Yet strangely in his insanity he traveled the world bringing wine and civilization with him. His insanity stayed until he met his grandmother, Cybele an Earth Goddess, who cures him of his madness and taught him the mysteries of life and resurrection

Because crops die in winter and return in spring, Dionysus was seen as a symbol of death and resurrection. In another story about his birth, Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Demeter, the goddess of crops and vegetation. Hera was jealous of the child and convinced the Titans to destroy him. Although Dionysus was disguised as a baby goat, the Titans found him, caught him, and tore him to pieces. They ate all of his body except his heart, which was rescued by Athena *. She gave the heart to Zeus, who gave it to Semele to eat. Semele later gave birth to Dionysus again. The story represents the earth (Demeter) and sky (Zeus) giving birth to the crops (Dionysus), which die each winter and are reborn again in the spring.
So as you can see Dionysus was a complex and interesting God that is a perfect for this harvest season.
Blessed Be!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Maponos

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The Sabbat Mabon is the time of the Dark God, who is still a youth. He has not become the fearsome God of Death or the joyous and wintry Holly King, but he still rules over the darkness of the coming winter.
A lot of evidence points to the idea that the name for this Sabbat is after the Celtic God Mabon or Maponos. Mabon means "great son", the child of Modred whose name means "great mother".
Mabon was also portrayed as a minor sun God, yet he represents the power in darkness. His images transcend all the life stages of other Gods. He is a king of death and the Otherworld, a deity of the harvest and fertility, and was once called "The Divine Youth" by his followers. He represents innocent youth when young, strength and virility as a young man, and the sacrificial God when elderly. He was also, in some stories, given power over storms and foul weather. Either to rule them or to dispel them.
In Irish mythology, his counterpart would seem to be the Macc Oc, who was the son of Dagda, Father of the Gods. And was frequently portrayed as a trickster and a lover.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mabon Recipes - Part Two

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries courtesy of about.com

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups pumpkin pureĆ© (15 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup fresh or dried cranberries
Preparation:
  1. Combine flour, spice, baking powder, and salt in bowl; stir to blend the dry ingredients well.
  2. Combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil in a mixing bowl, beating until smooth.
  3. Stir in flour mixture, then stir in cranberries.
  4. Spoon into a greased and floured 9x5x2-inch loaf pan.
  5. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Freezer Jam courtesy of allrecipes.com

Another great thing that you can do with fruit at this time is to make jams. Here is some simple instructions on making freezer jam.

Ingredients
  • Fruit
  • Pectin
  • Sugar
  • Water
The basic ratio for each packet of pectin is:

3 cups mashed fruit
5 cups sugar
1 cup water

It is also best to not choose containers for the jam larger than a pint.

Making Jam

The process itself is simple:
  • Wash and stem the fruit (and peel it, if applicable).
  • Place it in a wide-bottomed pan and crush with a potato masher to a smooth consistency, leaving some chunks of fruit if you like.
  • Stir in the sugar and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • In the meantime, mix together the pectin and water in a small saucepan until the powder is dissolved; bring it to a boil over high heat, and let it boil for a full minute.
  • Pour it into the fruit and stir for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour the jam into your containers, leaving a half-inch of "headspace" at the top.
  • Cover the containers and let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • The jam should have thickened significantly overnight, but it can take up to two weeks for it to completely finish its jelling process. If it's too thick, stirring it will soften it up. If it's still too runny after two weeks, you can pour it into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. It will get thicker as it cools, and you can re-bottle as you did before.
As the name implies freezer jam is meant to be stored in the freezer and can be kept there for up to an year. Or in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Also remember that once opened you should use the jam within three weeks.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cu Chulainn

Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The son of the God Lugh and Deichtine, sister of the King of Ulster. His original name was Setanta and took the new name when he killed the guard dog Culann and offered to take its place until a replacement could be reared.

He was known for his bravery and prowess in battle. In fact he was known as one of the greatest ancient heroes of Irish mythology. And he had some similarities with other people of myth, like Hercules.

Cuchulain fell in love with Emer and asked her to marry him. Emer insisted that Cuchulain must first prove his valor by undergoing a series of trials and sent him to the war goddess Scatha to be trained in warfare. On his journey to Scatha, Cuchulain had to pass through the plain of Ill Luck, where sharp grasses cut travelers' feet, and through the Perilous Glen, where dangerous animals roamed. Then Cuchulain had to cross the Bridge of the Cliff, which raised itself vertically when someone tried to cross it. Cuchulain jumped to the center and slid to the opposite side.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spirituallity Not Religion - Repost

Thursday, August 27, 2009
This an article that I wrote awhile back when I found this article. I had another article planned (don't remember what it was) but I figured that I could post at least one more time.  


This article points out the fact that children and tweens can benefit from spirituallity i.e. it makes them more happy, regardless of religious practices. To me this was common sense but I guess a scientific study was in order. This hearkens back to my blog post, earlier last year, that talked about how faith was more important than religion.

You can read the article, so I won't summarize it here. But I will say that if you have had doubts about introducing your children to Wicca or Paganism that this article may change your mind. Because even though the article stresses that religion is not important only spirituallity. For many of us Wicca and Paganism is one of the most spiritual religions that we know.

I am interested in your thoughts. So please comment below and share with all of us.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pan - WIld God or was He?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sometimes put under the same label as the Horned Lord, Pan is more well known then other Deities that fit into that aspect. And in fact has more that is known about him.
Pan has a goat's feet and two horns, and wears a lynx-pelt. He is the god of woods and pastures, and also the mountain peaks and rocky crests are his domain. He wanders along the hills, slaying wild beasts. But in the evenings he plays sweet and low on his pipes of reed, with singing nymphs or charites holding him company.
In this description I see a story about how men can, and in my opinion, should be. For too long men have been taught to be just cold stoic automatons. But a Pagan Male should be more than that, he can be the Warrior, the Hunter, the Bard, the Lover and the Peacemaker. And can do all of that without being a series of contradictions. I like to think that we all are more flexible than that.

Pan also is known more for his sexual prowess than for anything else. Yet he was also the shepherd and I have a theory that he also served at some point as a Father figure or at the very least as a God for leaders to emulate.
For, in most cases, a Father can be described as a shepherd tending to his flock or family. Facing all danger, unafraid. So that he may return to safety any family member that is lost or taken.

Meditate on this aspect also and let me know what you all think. Am I too far off base with thinking that Pan could be a Father figure? Either way just think on this Deity and what lessons he has to offer.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why are there no more Myths? - Repost

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
As a Pagan Father I have noticed that for little Pagan children there are no myths that are being taught to them. And in my opinion it is not from a lack of trying, there are just simply not any myths that are suitable for kids.
But why are myths important? To answer that question I think that we first must explore the definition of what myths are. Myths are the method and vessel by which, we as a people, try to explain our history and our beliefs. Now I know that for many of us there is very little history, either to our religion or to our own personal beliefs. But many of us have pantheons that we follow in our Craft and the stories from that pantheons will do well as myths to teach our children.
But is this all that myths are good for? Here is a list that hopefully answers that question in full:
  1. Myths grant continuity and stability to a culture. They foster a shared set of perspectives, values, history -- and literature, in the stories themselves. Through these communal tales, we are connected to one another, to our ancestors, to the natural world surrounding us, and to society; and, in the myths which have universal (i.e., archetypal) themes, we are connected to other cultures.
  2. Myths present guidelines for living. When myths tell about the activities and attitudes of deities, the moral tone implies society's expectations for our own behaviors and standards. In myths, we see archetypal situations and some of the options which can be selected in those situations; we also perceive the rewards and other consequences which resulted from those selections.
  3. Myths justify a culture's activities. Through their authoritativeness and the respected characters within them, myths establish a culture's customs, rituals, religious tenets, laws, social structures, power hierarchies, territorial claims, arts and crafts, holidays and other recurring events, and technical tips for hunting, warfare, and other endeavors.
  4. Myths give meaning to life. We transcend our common life into a world in which deities interact with humans, and we can believe that our daily actions are part of the deities' grand schemes. In our difficulties, the pain is more bearable because we believe that the trials have meaning; we are suffering for a bigger cause rather than being battered randomly. And when we read that a particular deity experienced something which we are now enduring -- perhaps a struggle against "evil forces" -- we can feel that our own struggle might have a similar cosmic or archetypal significance, though on a smaller scale.
  5. Myths explain the unexplainable. They reveal our fate after death, and the reasons for crises or miracles, and other puzzles -- and yet they retain and even encourage an aura of mystery. Myths also satisfy our need to understand the natural world; for example, they might state that a drought is caused by an angry deity. This purpose of mythology was especially important before the advent of modern science, which offered the Big Bang theory to replace creation myths, and it gave us the theory of evolution to supplant myths regarding the genesis of humanity. And yet, science creates its own mythology, even as its occasional secular barrenness threatens to strip us of the healthful awe which other types of mythology engender.
  6. Myths offer role models. In particular, children pattern themselves after heroes; comic books and Saturday-morning cartoons depict many archetypal characters, such as Superman and Wonder Woman. Adults, too, can find role models, in the stories of deities' strength, persistence, and courage. courtesy of http://www.mythsdreamssymbols.com/
Blessed Be!

Just remember that we are less then a week away from the 21 Days to the Stronger and More Spiritual Family. You don't want to miss any of this, so go ahead and sign up by Sunday. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

God of the Week - Taliesin

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Taliesin, bard of the Celtic pantheon. One of the most interesting thing about this God, is that he in all likelihood was a real, flesh and blood person. One who performed at the courts of at least three different Celtic Kings.

Here is the story of his birth, according to Wikipedia:


Taliesin began life as Gwion Bach, a servant to the enchantress Ceridwen. Ceridwen had a beautiful daughter and an ugly son named Morfran (also called Avagddu), whose appearance no magic could cure. Ceridwen sought to give him the gift of wisdom as compensation and cooked a potion granting wisdom inspiration (Awen), which had to be constantly stirred and cooked for a year and a day. A blind man named Morda tended the fire beneath the cauldron, while Gwion Bach stirred. The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron would give wisdom; the rest was a fatal poison. Three hot drops spilled onto Gwion's thumb as he stirred, and he instinctively put his thumb in his mouth, instantly gaining wisdom and knowledge. The first thought that occurred to him was that Ceridwen would kill him, so he ran away.

All too soon he heard her fury and the sound of her pursuit. He turned himself into a hare on the land and she became a greyhound. He turned himself into a fish and jumped into a river: she then turned into an otter. He turned into a bird in the air, and in response she became a hawk.

Exhausted, he turned into a single grain of corn and she became a hen and ate him. She became pregnant. She resolved to kill the child, knowing it was Gwion, but when he was born he was so beautiful that she couldn't, so she threw him in the ocean in a leather bag.

The baby was found by Elffin, the son of Gwyddno Garanhir, 'Lord of Ceredigion', while fishing for salmon. Surprised at the whiteness of the boy's brow, he exclaimed "dyma Dal Iesin", meaning "this is a radiant brow." Taliesin, thus named, began to recite beautiful poetry, saying:

Fair Elffin, cease your lament!
....Though I am weak and small,
On the wave crest of the the surging sea,
I shall be better for you
Than three hundred shares of salmon.

Elffin of noble generosity,
Do not sorrow at your catch.
Though I am weak on the floor of my basket,
There are wonders on my tongue....''

Amazed, Elffin asked how a baby could talk. Again Taliesin replied with poetry:

"Floating like a boat in its waters,
I was thrown into a dark bag,
and on an endless sea, I was set adrift.
Just as I was suffocating, I had a happy omen,
and the master of the Heavens brought me to liberty."

Also be sure to check out and subscribe to my Twenty one days to a Stronger and More Spiritual Family. It is coming up in the next week in a half as and additional email newsletter to my normal posts. I hope to see you all signed up. In case you missed it, the sign up is at the top of the page. Hope to see you all there.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Role of a Pagan Father - Repost

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I have met so many young men struggling with how to be a good father. They have the potential to be both great people and great fathers. But for whatever reason they are struggling to find their way. Whether they come from broken homes with deadbeat dads, or just dads that didn't know how to be great fathers or for any other reasons it is not their fault. All that they needed was a guide.

Yet who am I to offer advice on this topic? I am a father of two beautiful young girls; one nine and the other five. I am also divorced once and am now married to a wonderful, supportive, and beautiful woman. So since I have been a father for nine years and have worked through the trials and tribulations of raising children; Worked hard to establish traditions rooted in love and not in duty, hopefully I am somewhat qualified to comment and offer my advice on one of the ways to be not just a dad but a great dad who happens to be pagan.

So what exactly is it that separates a Dad from a Great Father? Almost any man can be a dad, all that is involved in that is enough sex to make a woman pregnant and then the child being carried to term and being born and voila the male becomes a dad. But a father, much less a great father, is involved in that child or children's personal life in a overwhelmingly positive manner. Yet so many men today are either afraid or don't know how to be whole and complete men. A man must be strong but merciful, stern but fair, no longer is it acceptable for men to be hard-asses nor should it be acceptable for men to be complete pansies and pushovers. But a strong willed man is often times feared, crucified and turned into a pariah by the women around him. And so it is often times for fathers that want the best for and out of their kids. I set my standards high for my children, hoping that they can reach that level but being comfortable with them in the meantime only reaching a half or even a quarter of this goal, as long as they continue to strive for excellence. And I am often told that I am to hard and that kids need to be kids. Yet I feel that I give them room to play and express themselves but I insist that they must learn manners and how they are expected to act while in a public place.

A lot of these comments are the result of the perception of Fathers and Men in todays culture. This perception is exceedingly negative. We are ridiculed as stupid and bumbling. The brunt of women's jokes. Yet at the same time a male is a predator. He is a nasty, vicious, hateful bigot/racist/rapist/fill in the blank. I guess the only ones who are not killing people are the ones to stupid to operate a gun or knife.
I have seen in my own life a man who is strong willed and confident in himself be lambasted by the women around him, even complete strangers. I have seen him called sexist, macho (since when was that a bad term?), egotistical, among many other things. Why is it that a strong willed man is perceived as a threat? There are bad men among us but I believe that the large portion of the problems facing us from deranged males is caused by their upbringing. If you tell a child that he is not needed by the opposite sex and in the next breath tell him that he should stop acting like a girl, what is he supposed to think and feel? If he steps out of line then you medicate him, instead of training and helping him to work through his feelings, therefore emotionally castrating him. Unable to express more than a very limited range of emotions. On the worst case he is violent and angry, on the best case he is a sobbing emotional wreck, quick to cry at every bad turn in his life. This emotional wreck is the one that stays home with Mom until he is forty, he is the one that one day because he can't afford his meds and can't control himself without them, snaps and kills a school full of people. And yes they make that choice but if you treat a child like a helpless baby and coddle him (or her) their entire life and are always there to solve their problems for them, then by definition they are codependent and unable to solve their own problems.

It is our roles as Fathers and Men to recognize this baggage in ourselves, and through faith in the Goddess and God (or whatever it is that you believe in), and through support groups if necessary, to overcome this programming, to be independent and able to make our own decisions. I used to be one of these men, quick to anger and quick to cry unable to face my problems, unable, in many cases, to even express how I felt. This cost me my first marriage but now that I have learned how to express myself with words and not through anger it has enabled me to have a serious long term relationship that is strong and continues to grow. And when we overcome our childhood training then we must teach this independence and freedom to our sons and to any and all of our friends that our ready to listen.

Now don't think that I am going to leave out the daughters of the world. We as fathers and men have a responsibility there also. They learn from us how they are supposed to be treated in their future (or current) relationships. We must teach them independence and not that they don't need men (as is often the message to little girls) but that they don't need anything or anyone in their lives that is unhealthy for them. They can have men in their lives and have deep relationships without fear as long as they seek those relationships with men that have grown up and have become true men.

So to sum up what I have said about fatherhood; A father helps to establish traditions that bring the family together and helps to hold them together. He teaches them right from wrong, teaches morality, strength and love. He is there to love and teach love. He hopefully is able to bring light into their lives and to show them that they can bring light to others through kindness. And he is also supposed to give them a basic roadmap and a how-to (if you will) of their spirituality. Not to define their faith, but to give them tools so that when they get older they can find their own faith.

So what other types of males are there? Well in my opinion the males of the world can be divided into three categories. You have boys, young males who play and have their toys and don't know how to act responsible, they are too young. Then you have guys, they are legally adults but still act like boys, they should know how to act responsible but for whatever reason they do not. They often fall into the negative stereotypes that is applied to all grown men. They are often the sexist bigots that we so often hear about. But finally you have men, a small minority of males who are true adults, able to express themselves coherently, calm and confident they are often perceived as egotistical and too macho. But they are in most cases simply trying to live their lives, trying to raise their families with the same sense of ethics and morals that they carry with them. They are stern but kind, hard but loving, strong-willed but understanding, has deep convictions but is open to compromise as long as he does not have to sell himself out.

So my challenge to you the reader is to look at yourself. What category do you fall into? What category do you wish you fell into? Ask this question of yourself whether you are a father or are going to be a father or even if you are neither; for facing yourself is the first step to being a complete human being. Hopefully since you found your way here and actually read this article to the end, you are seeking to be a real man. Complete and true. So I wish you all luck and blessings and a safe journey.

Blessed Be!

Just a quick reminder to make sure you sign up to the 21 days to a stronger and more spiritual family newsletter. This is something extra, besides my normal posts. So I hope to see you all over there. 


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

God of the Week - Shango

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This old god from Africa was honored as the God of Drum, Dance and Thunder. He is also one of the most popular Orishas, called Sky-Father. All of the major initiation ceremonies performed in the Americas, by the African descended religions, are based on his traditional ceremony. Which attests to his importance since it managed to survive the Middle Passage.

Since his energy from the Thunder is so dynamic and powerful he became the symbol of resistance by the Africans against the encroaching Europeans.

His dominance was over male sexuality and human vitality. In addition to being the owner of the Bata (double headed drums), he has dominion over the Arts of Music, Dance and Entertainment.

I found the following story from Wikipedia;

Shango had three wives, Oba, his first and legitimate wife, Oshun, his second wife, and Oya his concubine and the only one of his wives that he made his queen. At that time and in that place they would live in a compound. In that compound, Shango had his own house and each wife had her own house surrounding his. He would then visit his wives in their houses to eat and to sleep with them. Oba noticed that when Shango went to the house of Oshun he would eat all of the food that she prepared for him but when he came to her home he would just pick. Oba, wanting a closer relationship with her husband, decided to ask Oshun how she kept Shango so happy. Oshun, being asked this, was filled with resentment. As children of the first wife, Oba's children would inherit Shango's kingdom. Her children would not have nearly the same status, being born from his concubine. She decided to play a trick on Oba, out of jealousy. She told Oba that many years ago she had cut a small piece of her ear off and dried it. From this she made a powder she would sprinkle on Shango's food. As he ate it, she told Oba, Shango would desire the food and Oshun all the more. Oba, excited by this information, ran home to prepare Shango's amala, his favorite meal. Once it was done she decided that if a little piece of Oshun's ear produced such an effect her whole ear would drive Shango mad with desire for her and he would forget Oshun forever. She sliced off her ear and stirred it into Shango's food. When Shango came to eat he sat down and began eating without looking at his dish. When he finally glanced down he saw an ear floating in the stew. Shango, thinking Oba was trying to poison him, drove her from his house. Oba ran from the compound, crying, and fell to earth to become a river, where she is still worshipped today. As an Orisha she is the patron of matrimony and is said to destroy marriages that abuse either partner.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pagan Prayers for Children - Revisited

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
After receiving a few comments on my last article on this topic I decided that I should revisit it.

I am a firm believe in the power of prayer. Not only to affect change but to further and strengthen our connection to the Divine. But with children, especially younger ones, it is tough for them to just adlib the words and the experience. So in their case I have found it to be easier to give them a 'script' so to speak.

So here are some prayers for children and links to sites with others.


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.



Sunday, August 9, 2009

Raising a Child in the Old Ways - Repost

Sunday, August 9, 2009
I have decided to over the next few weeks repost a few of the older articles on this site. For the benefit of those who have just recently found me. I hope that you enjoy. 

We as Pagan parents, who are striving to teach our children Pagan tenets, beliefs and stories face an uphill battle against our Christian society. The influence of this society is prevalent; evident in our media (news, tv shows), our stores (Christmas vs Yule - the prevalence of Easter etc.) and even our schools. Not that our schools specifically support a specific religion, but the students within those walls that espouse Christianity and seek to browbeat their religion into our children.

Personally to battle this I have chosen to home-school my youngest daughter. Yet this is not the only reason that I have chosen to do this. It is my personal belief that our current school system has failed our children miserably. Take for example the following; Nearly 1 in 3 high school students in the Class of 2006 will not graduate this year, as reported by the Editorial Projects in Education (EDE) Research Center. All of this has me convinced that the best way to give my child a better education without all the brainwashing is for me to do it myself.

Between evolution, global warming and how evil the Great America is; there is little left in the current American school system that I agree with. I refuse to put my children in a second rate education system that teaches the children things that I believe are based on shaky scientifical evidence at best.

Now homeschooling is not the easiest or best choice for everyone. Most parents are not prepared to make the huge sacrifice that is necessary to home-school a child. I know that eventually some things such as a new TV or a better car will take second or even third place to the education of my daughter. But I am prepared to make such decisions and sacrifices.

But this is not just a struggle against the overly Christian culture it is also a struggle against the lack of spirituality in our culture. I know this sounds like a very large dichotomy but look around you at the culture in the western world at large. Our children are not taught consequences, they are not taught how to lose with good sport. They are raised in a society with a very large entitlement mentality.

Are these really the things that you want your children to be taught? This is the school system that has succeeded in raising generations of children without spines. Generations of children that often cannot find their home state on a map.

Whether you decide to home-school or not, there still arises the question of how to instill Pagan tenets and beliefs in our children. What exactly are these things, when are they old enough to understand them? Some of these tenets I have referenced in earlier posts, but a semi-complete list would be as follows:
  •    Self-responsibility
  •    A loving and kind-hearted nature
  •    Love and recognition of the Goddess and God
  •    Respect for nature
  •    Balance and compassion
  •    The Circle of Life 
  •    The Holidays and the Wheel of the Year
These are just a few of the many tenets of paganism but the finished list is up to you. Yet the two biggest questions of them all are; How do you teach these things to your children and when are they old enough to understand them? I will cover these things in subsequent posts over the next week so stay tuned.


Blessed Be!