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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Children Activities for Imbolc -- Corn Dolly

Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The corn dolly is an ancient harvest custom, still widely practiced throughout Europe. In ancient Europe it was customary at harvest time to leave a small portion of the grain in the field, often twisted or tied into the shape of a man or the symbol of a god or goddess. Sometimes, it was even dressed in men's or women's clothes, kept in a cradle, or hung atop a pole.
One folk tradition that continues in both Christian and Pagan home on St. Brigid's Day (or Imbolc) is that of the Brigid's Bed. The young girls of the household or village create a corn dolly, adorning it with ribbons and baubles. The older women then make a bed for Brigid to lay in. On St. Brigid's Eve (Jan. 31), the young women gather together in one house to stay up all night with the corn dolly, and are later visited by all the young men of the community who must treat them and the corn dolly with respect. Meanwhile, the older women of the community stay at home and perform other ceremonies.
I recommend making a corn dolly, instructions below, and laying it in a Bridal Bed, to represent the Goddess Brigid. For Imbolc, use it as a household decoration throughout the year, because there are other traditions involving the corn dolly at the other Sabbats.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Imbolc Recipes -- Desserts

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
One of the other traditional dishes for this Sabbat are things made with milk. This comes from the original word for Imbolc, Oimelc which means "in milk". Since milk lends itself well to dessert I figured I would share this recipe. Hope you enjoy.

Baked Custard

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350.
Combine all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and blend for about 15 seconds, or until well mixed.
Pour custard mix into ramekins or custard cups.
Place the ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with hot water up to a depth of about ¾".
Bake the custards for one hour.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mandalas and Children

Thursday, January 22, 2009
One of the symbols of this Sabbat, to me, is the labyrinth. The spiral spinning in to the hidden mysteries. As the Sun King travels the land searching for the answer to waken his sleeping beauty, he finds the labyrinth and travels it. In doing so he learns that the journey is as important as the answer.

But there are other mandalas that one can make and use for this Sabbat and others. Their is the pentacle, the yin yang, the hexagram and many others. Take the time to look around with your kid and try to find examples of mandalas in the world around you.

Another fun activity is for children to draw their own mandalas. I recommend cutting out circular pieces of paper and giving them the necessary supplies (crayons, paint, markers) and the freedom to paint what they want. Have them think for a moment about a topic and then to draw about that topic. Some of those topics can be;
  • Love
  • Goddess
  • God
  • Friends
  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Sister or Brother
Now while this is far from a complete list it should be a good start. Another option to introduce children to mandalas is to provide ones that they can color. Below is a list of links that provide several mandalas for children to color.
I would love to hear any suggestions or comments that you guys have. So feel free to comment below.

Blessed Be!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Imbolc Vegetarian Recipes

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
There aren't many vegetarian recipes available for Imbolc because usually the Earth is draped in snow at this time of the year. But here is a recipe for you to enjoy.

  • 3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 tbsp. milk or unsweetened/plain soy milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage or kale
  • 2 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp. margarine or butter, for frying
  1. Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender (at least 20 minutes); drain, reserving water.
  2. Place potatoes in a large bowl.
  3. Add chopped cabbage to the reserved potato water. Cook 6-8 minutes or until tender.
  4. Mash potates with a hand masher.
  5. Add milk, salt and pepper and beat until fluffly.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crafts for Imbolc -- Sand Candles

Monday, January 12, 2009
Sand Candles are an easy and fun way to include children in the Sabbats. But be sure to exercise extreme caution, since you have to heat the wax to a very high temperature. I would personally do this with only children who are 8 years or older.
Something I have learned over the past year is that there is color and scents for candles. You can use essential oils but they tend to lose their scent quickly, usually before the first pour. So I would recommend hitting up the local craft store and checking out their selection of scents made specifically for candles. 

Materials & Equipment:

  • Any sand free of dirt and debris
  • An object for making the impression in the sand, such as bowl, square block of wood, old sand candle, etc
  • A dishpan to hold the sand
  • Drill with 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Soft Paint Brush
  • Watering Can
  • Jar Lid

Place the sand in a dishpan or similar container. Dampen the sand with the watering can, careful not to get the sand any wetter than you have to. If you are using an old sand candle then you will not have to make depressions in the sand for legs, if you aren't then make sure that the depressions for the legs are even so the candles won't wobble. Make the depression in the sand with the mold you have chosen, and make sure to firm up the sand on all sides of the object you use to make the depression, leaving no loose sand or air pockets. Remove the object you have used for the depression carefully.

Place the jar lid in the depression, it should be centered directly where the wick will be placed. If you are using multiple wicks it may be necessary to have more than one lid.

Heat the wax to the desired temperature, the sand candle should be poured white because high temperature will distort the color of the colored wax, add the dye to the last layer. Pour the wax slowly into the jar lid in the depression, this keeps the wax from making a hole in the bottom of your sand mold. The more moisture the sand holds the more noise you will hear when it is poured, you should expect a lot of bubbling and cracking as you pour.

Allow your candles to cool and skim over, your candle will have shrunk about 1/2 inch into the depression, reheat the remaining wax add the desired color to your wax. Pour the remaining dyed wax to fill the remaining depression in the sand. when the candle has hardened remove from the sand, bush off any excess sand with your soft brush.

To position the wick or wicks in your candle you will need your drill and a drill bit that is slightly larger than your wick (use a heavy wire core wick). Mark on the candle the position you want the wick to be, warm the drill bit in hot water and position the drill bit on the area you have marked. Drill through the candle till you have met the jar lid, but do not pierce it. Now insert the wick all the way in until you have hit the jar lid. Trim the wick to 1/2 inch. Let set for 24 hours, then light, sit back and enjoy.
Courtesy of http://mama.essortment.com/candlesmakingi_rdfv.htm

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sage/Dark God/Lord of the Underworld

Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The final aspect in my series on the aspects of the Goddess and God is the Dark God under all his many names. I hope that you have enjoyed this series.
Rede of the Lord of the Underwold

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.

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.

Lord of the Harvest

As a father I feel closer to this aspect out of all others. Like me the Harvest Lord is prepared to give it all up to protect his children and to provide for them.

Rede of the Lord of the Harvest

I am the aging man toiling day after day to provide for his children. I am the Father who regardless of his worries always has a smile for his fellow man. I am the Earth aging and giving up its last crop. Yet I am also the promise of life unending even into Death. I am true love made real by a willing sacrifice. I am the yellow corn that gives life to the masses.

But still I am feared because I bring death soon, robed in black I bring the scythe that cuts down the wheat. Yet do not worry for does not the wheat continue your life? See my willing death in the waning sun and the leaves turning crimson and orange.

Yet remember my death is willing for in my death I end the battle between Son and Father and I spare the Earth. Look for me on the other side of this world in Summerland for I will be there to guide the souls of the dead and give them a chance at rebirth

He is our Father, ruler of the Earth's bounty and of the High Places. That grain that grows, yet also the scythe that cuts it down. He is Life and Death and the bridge between the two. For He is the grain in life and in death he is still the grain that gives us new life. He is the provider that walks that line, willing to sacrifice all, including himself, to provide for his family.

The Lord of the Harvest is also the patron of the arts and crafts. Lugh was example of this, associated by the Romans with Mercury, because of his patronship of the arts and of all crafts and skills. He was also the god of traveling, money and commerce.

Romano-Celtic images of Lugh show a bearded, mature and handsome man, carrying the symbols of the caduceus and purse, accompanied by his totems; the ram, cock and tortoise. He was often shown accompanied by Rosmerta or Maia, representing wealth and material benefit. Such companionship parallels the old Celtic custom of the marriage of the king to the material goddess of the land.

The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote of a version of the myth of Osiris. In this myth Osiris is described as an ancient king who taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization, including agriculture. Eventually Osiris is murdered by his evil brother Set who cuts the body of Osiris into twenty-six pieces. The great mystery festival of Osiris began at Abydos on the 17th of Athyr (November 13th) which commemorated the death of the god, which is also the same day that grain was planted in the ground. The resurrection of the god symbolized the rebirth of the grain. This aspect is representative of the ability of all things to be reborn. Remember all that falls shall rise again. Turn to the Lord of the Harvest when you feel you are at the end of your rope and look for the hope of rebirth, it is never that far.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Horned Lord

Sunday, January 4, 2009
This week I will be covering the different aspects of the God. Hope that you enjoy.
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.

The Horned Lord, he who is the warrior, the hunter. Lover and consort to the Maiden, While She is the rolling meadow, He is the deep forest. Gentle stream, raging river; Quiet reflection, Ecstasy of Song and Dance. He is the Oak King, the Lord of the Dance. The newborn sun rising quickly to his zenith. He embodies the dynamic power of youth. Quick to word and action not yet tempered by age. He is not violent or angry except when he has no other choice.

Many pagans will include this aspect but ignore or gloss over the essential part that includes his warring nature and his love of the hunt. This world that we live in, as much as we hope otherwise, is not a peaceful one. There is war and there is death. But the Horned Lord is not about war for war's sake or hunting just to hunt and not to eat what is killed. Hunting at one point in our history was necessary not so much now but if do hunt say the prayers to the soul of the animal that you killed and give thanks when you consume its flesh. Choose to fight only when you have no other options before you. This aspect embodies tolerance and forbearance. Be tolerant of others but do not let others tread on you.

The Peaceful Warrior. These three words sum up the definition of the Horned Lord in his warring aspect. The warrior, first and foremost, seeks to reach above himself; to overcome his false perceptions. His highest achievment is not of victory but rather of absolute truth. And it is this truth that He integrates into all parts of his life.

The lives of the innocent and the weak he places above himself. For he has banished his ego knowing that all things are transient and fleeting. He seeks to be just and honorable, taking pride only in what he does, rather than what he has done. And to those that seek to be awakened he shows the way and guides them down that path.

Try to accept these lessons in your life. Act with truthfullness, tolerance and forbearance. Live in the moment for it is soon gone and Death will be here. The Horned Lord does not seek brilliance or the void instead he focuses on living his life, thinking deeply and working hard. Seek to do the same.

The Horned God is an iconic symbol that stretches across much of the ancient world. From the Celts into Rome and even into the Indus Valley in India. There are many names for Him. The best known is Cernunnos, even though there is nothing written about him by the ancients. Yet the images of him are consistent. He is often portrayed with antlers like a stag, and older man with long hair and beard. Most often he is pictured near a stag and near a ram horned serpent. It is because of his association with animals that he is called the Lord of the Animals or of the Hunt. Cernunnos is often portrayed sitting in what appears to be a meditative posture so he is in addition to being believed to be a God of fertility often believed to be a shamanic God.

But the Horned Lord does not always need horns. A God that represents the freeing power of this aspect is Dionysus. Again the serpent makes an appearance here in addition to the bull, the vine, and ivy. All of it infused with the power of this God. An ancient God dating at least back to the Minoans he is often depicted in a chariot being drawn by panthers.

Many think of Dionysus as a God of drunkenness and excess but he is not an old fat drunkard as many portray him. In fact he is much more than that. He is a God of fertility and growth, as well as freedom. He was born to a virgin mortal mother fathered by the King of Heaven (Zeus), killed only to be reborn. Turn to Dionysos when you are looking for ecstasy of the spirit and freedom for a time from the worries that plague you.