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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Importance of Family

Sunday, March 29, 2009
I am just about finished with a long weekend and my wife is home for an extended period, because she broke her foot. So Sunday my wife pulled out our Monopoly game and the three of us, my youngest daughter was included, sat down to play a game.

This served to remind me of something important. That spending time with family is important. Not that I don't know this but with the buzz and hustle of everyday life it is something that tends to fall by the wayside.

So as I sat down to write this blog tonight, I figured I would share some tips on strengthening the bonds of family.
  1. Sit down to eat dinner with them. But make sure that there are no distractions. That means turn off the TV and walk away from the internet and phone. I promise it will still be there when you get done.
  2. Play a game with them. The specific game will depend on your kids and their age and attention level.
  3. Take a family walk. Find a area away from the bustle, if you can, and take a walk. If you have dogs bring them along. If you are lucky enough to live near to a state or federal park head there, and see what kind of animals you can spot.
  4. Visit the rest of your family. Wicca is a religion that honors all aspects of one's life. Including the Grandparents. So go visit the children's grandparents and aunts and uncles.
  5. Just listen to them. My kids love to talk and oftentimes you can discover some pretty wondrous things. It is like the old cliche, 'out of the mouths of babes come wisdom'.
  6. Take your kids to a movie or play. There are at least a few kid-friendly movies out there. Enjoy them.
  7. Make sure you tell your kids that you love them. That is probably the most important thing.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Earth Hour

Thursday, March 26, 2009
A friend of mine just reminded me that Earth Hour is this weekend. I think that the idea of cutting the power for an hour on Saturday is a very great idea and one the Pagans should embrace wholeheartedly.

I am camping this weekend so I can't cut the power but I will be without power. But I am curious as to how many other people out there are doing this this weekend. Comment below.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thirteen Goals of a Witch - Know Thyself

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Last week there was an article on The Witch's Voice that sparkedmby interest. The article talked about the Thirteen Goals of the Witch and how many new Pagans are not following them and should. I figured that I would put forward my thoughts on each of these items over the next few weeks. I hope that you enjoy. Oh by the way here is a direct link to the article.

The first item on this list is "Know Thyself". It sounds easy right? We all know who we are, right? At least on the surface that is correct. But how many of us have faced all the parts of ourselves?

Many of the Pagans I have met in 16 years as a Wicca do not live this. And I must admit that I haven't always lived this either. To face the Shadow within is probably one of the hardest things that we will ever do.

And we cannot truly Know ourselves until we face all parts of ourselves.

I am interested in your thoughts on this topic, so comment below and let us all know. Maybe we can spark some debate.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ostara Family Ritual

Thursday, March 19, 2009
Spring is almost here and here to a quiet year with quiet weather. Hope all finds you all well.

I know Ostara is really tomorrow but I figured I would put this up early so that you can have time to plan.

Supplies:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then you can light the yellow candle and say;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ostara Recipes - Desserts

Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Last week I covered the main course of an Ostara Dinner, this week I figured I would cover the after dinner dishes. Hot Cross Buns are a very traditional dish for this time of the year, due to the solar cross drawn on them with icing.

Hot Cross Buns
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2  tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 cup flour
  • 1 1/3 cup currants or raisins
  • 1 egg white
Glaze (you can use this one or your favorite)
  • 1 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk
This may be difficult for younger children to do themselves, but they'll enjoy helping to mix and measure the ingredients, helping to knead the dough, forming the dough into balls and adding the glaze.

In a small saucepan, heat milk to very warm, but not hot (110°F if using a candy thermometer).  Pour warm milk in a  bowl and sprinkle yeast over.  Mix to dissolve and let sit for 5 minutes.

Stirring constantly, add sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs. Gradually mix in flour, dough will be wet and sticky.  Continue kneading until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough "rest" for 30-45 minutes.

Knead again until smooth and elastic, for about 3 more minutes. Add currants or raisins and knead until well mixed.  At this point, dough will still be fairly wet and sticky.  Shape dough in a ball, place in a buttered dish, cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator.  Excess moisture will be absorbed by the morning.

Let dough sit at room temperature for about a half-hour.  Line a large baking pan (or pans) with parchment paper (you could also lightly grease a baking pan, but parchment works better).  Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (in half, half again, etc., etc.).  Shape each portion into a ball and place on baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 400° F.

When buns have risen, take a sharp or serrated knife and carefully slash buns with a cross. Brush them with egg white and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F, then bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack. Whisk together glaze ingredients, and spoon over buns in a cross pattern. Serve warm, if possible.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Take a Walk

Sunday, March 15, 2009
Since Spring is nearly here, Ostara is this coming weekend, it is a good time to enjoy the warmer weather by going out and taking a walk with your kids. I am blessed to live here in Florida, where we have had good camping weather for nearly a month if not longer.

But nothing beats the wonder in a little child's face when she sees a bird soar by or maybe an armadillo race away, if they live in your area.

If flowers are starting to bloom you can collect some and press them to put in your children's or the family coven's Book of Shadows.

Just make sure you enjoy the warmer weather of Spring.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Children's Ostara Story

Thursday, March 12, 2009
The old story teller paused for a moment to collect his thoughts and puff on his pipe. He looked around at the audience before him, all his grandchildren and he smiled. Then he said, "Now the kiss has wakened the sleeping maiden, but the Earth has been sleeping with her too long. So together the God, King of Sun and Oak and his consort the Maiden of Spring prepare to work the magick required to bring about the springtime and the growth of the plants and animals.
"After deep thought the Goddess and God gathered together the Faeries of the land and made plans to gather together all the eggs in the land. Then, the plan was, they would boil and color the eggs to draw upon the magick of the eggs. Which they would then spread among the lands, bringing new life and springtime.
"But as they gathered the eggs and colored them, they didn't realize, until to late, that the Trickster was stealing the eggs a little at a time. So before they knew it that sly fox, the cunning coyote had stolen all the eggs and hidden them all over the land.
"As often happens though, the plans of the Trickster wind up tricking and fooling him in the end. For as he scattered the eggs so did he scatter the magick all over the land. Now as you can guess this made the magick work better than the original plan. For the magick was scattered far and wide.
"So you see children this is why we hide the eggs after we color them to take the role of the Trickster. We help the Gods spread and work the magick of Springtime."
"But, grandfather," asked one of the the children at his feet. "Did they ever find the eggs?"
Laughing the grandfather nodded and answered, "Why yes they did. Then they had a great feast. But the strange thing was that the only people in all the land that could find the eggs were the little children and the Faeries themselves. So that is why you children look for the eggs."
"But grandfather," asked one of the children, "what happened next?"
"Well now the eggs, once lost and now found, were and cleaned and polished to a high gleam. Almost like gems they looked their, laid out at the feet of the Sun King and the Goddess. Then all kinds of creatures from all across the land, from the birds that fly high into the sky to the moles that burrow within the earth, joined hands and began to dance a circle dance around the Goddess and God and the newly shined eggs. Faster and faster they spun, raising the energy of love and light and of new hope. Around and around the animals spun crying out in their voices both small and large songs of joy until at last, when they could no longer keep dancing, they fell down laughing and magickally around them the Earth turned green and fertile. The last of the snows that were upon the ground melted and finally Spring was here. And for a moment peace rested upon the Earth, the lamb laid down with the lion and was safe. And the children marvelled to see all of this. Knowing that they had seen the sacredness in nature.
"Seeing them, the Sun King gathered the little children to him and blessed them and told them about the magick that they had just witnessed. That this magick must be done each year by not only the animals of the Earth but by the people of the Earth also. And if the children will look closely when they dance they may just see Faeries darting between them in joy. Then the Goddess spoke and said that if the children worked this magick, then they would receive the gifts of the season on the morning of Ostara.
"Now you see children this is why when you wake on Ostara morning that you will oftentimes find a basket with gifts of candies and the such that represent Springtime. You see the chocolate bunny represents new life and young children, the hope that the Earth will continue on. The hot cross bun represents the balance of the Seasons, for you see Spring is a midpoint between the cold of Winter and the heat of Summer. And if you get any eggs then they represent the promise of new life that comes with each new Spring.
"So be thankful on Ostara morning and dance for joy. Dance the circle round and hunt for eggs and know that if you look closely then you too may see Faeries dancing around you. Go now little children play and let me rest. I will tell you another story tomorrow."
And with this the little children went off in search of faeries in the woods around their home.



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ostara Recipes - Making Dinner

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
A tradition in my house is to cook a rabbit for this Sabbat. My kids started off looking at me funny but they enjoy the flavor. Another traditional dish is anything that involves eggs. From egg salad to quiche anything with egg would be appropriate. Here are a few of my favorite recipes, I hope that you enjoy.


Spinach Quiche

Ingredients
  • Unbaked pie crust (9-inch)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 10 oz frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 oz sliced fresh mushrooms4 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
Preparations
  1. Preheat your oven to 425F. 
  2. Prick the pie shell in a few places with a fork, and bake for 5 minutes.  
  3. Thaw out the spinach in the microwave, then blot with paper towel to dry it off. 
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat together the yogurt, eggs, flour and pepper until blended through. 
  5. Mix in the spinach. 
  6. Layer the bottom of the crust with mushrooms, cheese and onions. 
  7. Pour the egg mixture over top. 
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperatures to 350F. 
  9. Bake quiche for an additional 30 minutes. 
Rabbit Pot Pie

Ingredients
  • 1 cup potato, diced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half - you can substitute 1 cup less 2 tablespoons milk plus 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups chopped cooked rabbit
  • 2 pie crusts (either store bought or your own recipe)
Preparations
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for 10 minutes.
  3. Add flour to sauteed mixture, stirring well Cook one minute stirring constantly.
  4. Combine broth and half and half
  5. Gradually stir into vegetable mixture
  6. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly
  7. Stir in salt and pepper; add chicken and stir well
  8. Pour into shallow 2 quart casserole dish and top with pie shells
  9. Cut slits to allow steam to escape.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.



Monday, March 9, 2009

Ostara Eggs

Monday, March 9, 2009
This was supposed to go through yesterday, still not quite sure what happened.

One of the most iconic symbols of Ostara is the painted egg. But for those of us concerned with using synthetic dyes or just don't want to waste the eggs, what are we supposed to do? Well rest assured there are natural alternatives.

Below is a list of some of these natural dyes. The trick is to add about 2 tsp of white vinegar to the water before boiling. When the water begins to boil then carefully add the eggs and your coloring materials. To get different shades you will have to experiment with how much material you will add. And how long you boil the eggs and natural dyes together. I recommend to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  • Red/pink: paprika
  • Purple: concentrated grape juice (Welch's works nicely, about half a can)
  • Yellow: Skins (only) of a half dozen yellow onions
  • Gold: Curry powder or tumeric
  • Light green: frozen chopped spinach (1/3 to 1/2 package)
  • Blue: 1 Cup frozen blueberries (with juice)
If you want to put images or sigils on the eggs you can draw these symbols (before putting them in boiling water) on the eggs with a wax crayon and when you are done the images will show up as white. Here is a small list of suggestions for what symbols to put on your eggs and their meanings;

  • Circles: Protection, everlasting life, continuity, completeness. The Sun, and cycles of life.
  • Suns: The life-giving, all embracing nature of God, especially as the Sun is seen as the God. Fire and warmth, enchantment, prosperity, good fortune.
  • Curls: Protection.
  • Spirals: Mystery of life and death, divinity and immortality.
  • Crosses: These are usually equal-armed crosses, though not always. Represents the four directions, the four ages of man, the four elements, rebirth and eternal life.
  • Eternity Bands: Dividing elements on the eggs such as meanders for harmony, motion, infinity, immortality. Waves for wealth, rain. Lines and ribbons for the thread of life or eternity.
  • Triple Moon for the Goddess
  • The symbol of the Horned One
  • The Triskele
Good Luck and Blessed Be!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Listen - They Might Have Something To Offer

Tuesday, March 3, 2009
This is it. We are at the end of my series on Pagan Parenting tips. This thirteentha and final tip is simply "Listen to your kids. Give them boundaries but let them have input"

I will add to this by saying that I don't think kids should have that much input in the running of the household until they almost reach the point of being a teenager. I personally include my children on some of the major decisions in our household but it is not to let them have a vote but rather for them to see me as an example. I hope that I make the right choice but either way the kids will learn a lesson.

This age will depend on the child. But when they reach the age of physical maturity they are best suited to begin, in earnest, to take responsibility for their own actions and to take on some responsibility. Or at the very least to begin to learn how to do this.

I know there are some out there that read this blog that have older kids. I am interested in your input. Am I off base here? Totally wrong or totally right? Send me an email or comment below and let us all know.

Blessed Be!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Educate Your Children

Monday, March 2, 2009
On our trip through this list of Pagan Parenting tips, we come to these words: Encourage your children to read.

These are just a part of what we should do as parents, we should be their first educator. Our school system as a whole has failed our kids, just check the news and see. Now I am not saying that we should all homeschool our children. That just won't work for some of us or our kids. But what I am saying is that we need to take an active role in our children's life.

We should instill them a sense of curiosity about the world around us. We should help them to be eager to learn and to read.

This can be done by showing that interest ourselves. I know I keep talking about us setting an example but it is important that we be the best example that we can be.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Empower Your Kids

Sunday, March 1, 2009
We live in a society that in most cases fails to prepare children for life in adult society, especially men. And parents that expect their kids to act grown up, are told that kids should be kids.

But it is my belief that kids should be taught the skills and maturity that they need to be adults. In my house my kids are taught how to cook, do dishes and laundry. They are also expected to act mature. I don't expect them to never be kids and to never play and have fun, but I do expect them to know when to play and when to not.

The last time I took my kids camping, my oldest learned to set up the tents by herself. This was nearly the highlight of her weekend. This serves to illustrate the point that kids want to be guided. They strive best when they are given goals to meet. And while they may not always meet those goals, they will, if given the guidance that we as parents can give them, get back on the horse and try again.

Blessed Be!