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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.