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 29, 2010

Children and the Magickal World

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Children live much closer to the world of magick then we as adults typically do. But are they ready to actually work magick like we, as adults, do? Of course as always this will depend on the child. But any child can learn how to keep this connection to the magick in the world.

As Pagans we know that the Gods walk with us every day and are constantly by our side. This is the essence of a Pagan Household. And it is our job to teach this to our children. Take them places to see the sun set or if they are old enough to see it rise. Let them experience nature as much as you possibly can.

For if we are to raise up the next generation in faith then they must know all parts of our faith, right?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Paganism and Minimalism

Monday, December 27, 2010
As many of you know, I often turn to nature for answers to problems and to how to live my life. Since we as humans tend to oh so often and oh so dramatically over-complicate things.

So to continue in my series on Spiritual Leaders of our houses, I wanted to talk on the subject of minimalism. As I said above, we as humans tend to complicate things to much. But if you look at nature, they find the simplest way to get things done. Now that isn't always me (finding the simplest way) but I do strive for that.

Many people when they get started in the idea of minimalism they buy more things to help them get organized but that sort of defeats the purpose. My recommendation is not to go all gung-ho either. Rather just pick one thing and focus on bringing simplicity to it.

There is a Zen saying that I am reminded of here; When eating, eat; When walking, walk. Basically this means to find a focus and to do only that thing. The true essence of minimalism. To do more with less and to stop trying to multi-task.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

We Are All Spiritual Leaders

Sunday, December 26, 2010
As many of you know I am currently training in a degree system within a Wiccan tradition. Originally this was going to lead to clergy status, but that must now come from another road. But this has not stopped me from stepping forward and becoming a leader in my community and my own household.

And it is that second part that today's article is about. Not many of us feel the urge to take on the role and responsibility that comes with being clergy. But we all are clergy of a sort. Or if you prefer we are all the spiritual leaders of our own house. Whether that house is a hotel room, an apartment or a house. We may share this responsibility with roommates or our partners but there will be many times that one looks to us to lead.

Over the next week I am going to talk about the different faces of this role that I am familiar with. In the meantime I would love to get your thoughts on this topic. Please comment below.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Night Before Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010
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 21, 2010

Comment Love

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
While I am going to post my normal after Yule post tomorrow I wanted to share some of the comments over the past week, here on PaganDad. 

Scattered Owl on Children and Ritual Tools;

i have a 3 year old and she wanted an alter just like mine, so i wen and got her a small shelf that we have hanging on our wall, on that alter I put similar thing as to what was on mine she has a small glass challis, a set of her own runes(we are waiting until shes a little older to start teaching her how to use them) a crystal, and something to represent each element, along with anything that is to be taken home and put on your alter after our circle rituals, in pace of an athame we use oils and or wands, for the yule celebration one of the things i will be doing with my daughter is making a willow wand, we do a lot a fairy magick with her so willow which is loved by fairies because of the great amount of magical properties is the perfect wood to use! 


Ok, so this isn't really a dessert, but more of a side dish. My stepmother makes this around Fall/Winter, and being that it's a pineapple dish and we are celebrating the rebirth of the Sun, I find it rather fitting. Thought I'd share:
Pineapple Casserole (tho I consider it more of a bread pudding type)
1/4 lb. margarine
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
5 slices of bread - break into pieces)
20 oz. ( 2 1/2 cups) crushed pineapple

directions:
drain pineapple. Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Blend in the well-drained pineapple and the broken up bread pieces. Bake in un-greased, uncovered 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish at 350 for one hour.

Hope you all enjoy this one! 


Campbell's Kitchen just emailed me this recipe for holiday ham. I may try it next year as we are doing turkey this year.

Cherry & Port Glazed Ham
from Campbell's Kitchen

Prep Time: 20 min.
Bake Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 1/2 cups Swanson® Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup port or other sweet red wine
1 package (5 ounces) dried cherries (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 turkey size oven bag
1 unglazed fully-cooked bone-in spiral-sliced ham (about 9 pounds)

1. Stir the cornstarch and stock in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth.

2. Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the allspice and cook for 30 seconds.

3. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir the wine, cherries and brown sugar in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir the cornstarch mixture in the skillet. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens.

5. Place the oven bag into a large roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Place the ham into the oven bag. Pour the cherry glaze over the ham. Close the oven bag with the nylon tie. Cut 6 (1/2-inch) slits in the top of the oven bag. Tuck the ends of the bag under to seal.

6. Bake at 250°F. for 1 1/2 hours or until the ham is heated through. Remove the ham from the oven bag to a serving platter. Spoon some of the cherry glaze over the ham. Serve the remaining cherry glaze with the ham.

Make-Ahead: The cherry glaze can made in advance. Prepare as directed above and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat the glaze in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve with the ham as directed above.
Makes: 24 servings.

Kitchen Clip
For the best flavor, look for dried tart cherries - sweet ones won't balance the richness of the ham quite as well. Dried cranberries can be substituted for the cherries if desired. 



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pagan Yule Carols

Thursday, December 16, 2010
One of the warmest memories I have of the Yule season, is of a public ritual, held in the dark and cold. We huddled together trying to keep warm, a woodland Santa told us tales of the holiday.

Then the high priest (dressed in a toga of all things), came to circle carrying a flaming torch that he cast into the central fire pit, lighting our circle and heralding the return of the light to the world.

After ritual we gathered as friends and shared hot cider and sang pagan carols. Here are some of the ones that we sang.

We Wish You a Merry Solstice

Tune: We Wish You A Merry Christmas
words adapted by Susan M. Shaw

We wish you a merry Solstice
We wish you a merry Solstice
We wish you a merry Solstice
And a happy New Year!

Chorus:

Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin
We wish you a merry Solstice!
And a happy New Year!

Our feasting is not so simple
Our feasting is not so simple
Our feasting is not so simple
On this Hollyday!

Chorus

We've eggnog and punch and wassail
We've eggnog and punch and wassail
We've eggnog and punch and wassail
And hot chocolate too

Chorus

We've breads, cakes and Solstice cookies
We've breads, cakes and Solstice cookies
We've breads, cakes and Solstice cookies
Plus crackers and buns

Chorus

Now bring us some figgy pudding
Now bring us some figgy pudding
Now bring us some figgy pudding
And bring it right now

Chorus

We won't go until we get some
We won't go until we get some
We won't go until we get some
So bring some right now

Chorus

Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland

Tune: Walking in a Winter Wonderland
words adapted by "Alexander & Aarcher"

Pagans sing, are you listenin',
Altar's set,candles glisten,
It's a Magickal night, we're having tonight,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland.

Chorus:

In a Circle we can light a Yule Fire,
And await the rising of the Sun,
It's the Great Wheel turning for the new year,
Loaded with abundance and great fun.

Blades held high, censer smoking,
God and Goddess, we're invoking,
Through Elements Five, we celebrate life,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland.

Queen of Heaven, is in Her place,
Triple Goddess, now the Crone Face,
Above and Below, She's the Goddess we know,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland.

Chorus

Now the God, is the Provider,
Supplying game for our Fire,
Above and Below, He's the Horned One we Know,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland.

Later on, by the fire,
Cone of Power, gettin' higher
It's a Magickal Night we're having tonight,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland.

Now that I have shared some of these songs, make sure to gather with family and friends and make some warm memories of your own. Don't worry about whether you can sing or not. Just sing and be merry.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

13 Days of Yule by LuhnnaZita

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Thirteen days of Yule... Yup. That’s right – 13 days. I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, I’m not
crazy. Here’s how it works:

BEFORE YULE

You’ll have somewhere in the neighborhood of about 3 weeks to prepare - from Black Friday until Yule’s Eve. You’ll need to manage decorating your home (inside and out, should you choose to do so), setting- up and decorating your family altar, finishing your holiday shopping, and sending out your holiday cards. If you are a true glutton for punishment, as I am, you’ll also want to bust out your favorite advent calendar and countdown the days until Solstice. If you are going with a traditional Solstice Tree, you will need to get your tree, set it up and string the lights. We generally hunt down our Solstice tree on Black Friday, but the truth is, as long as you have the tree at home and set-up by Yule’s Eve, you’re good to go. You may want to save the actual tree decorating until Yule begins.


THE FUN BEGINS

Yule’s Eve is when the fun really begins. On Yule’s Eve in our home, we will share our version of the traditional Yule Story and light the first of our 13 solstice candles to symbolize the growing light with the return of the sun. We will also light 3 oil lamps and set them outside our door to burn through the night and welcome the God home. We will each open a gift and make thank you cards for the gifters; and I will turn the first card of my Sacred Days of Yule Tarot Spread (courtesy of a post by June Kaminsky on BellaOnline.com – http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art26918.asp) onto the Wheel of the Year located at our family altar. Finally, we will stay up all night long, listening to holiday music and making
homemade ornaments, pine cone fairies, and popcorn-cranberry garland to decorate our tree, while
excitedly awaiting the rising sun.


THE CANDLES

Yule is a festival of lights. As such, the main element to our 13 days of Yule celebration is the candle- lighting ritual. Each night you will light ritual candles and observe the symbolic return of the sun. As I mentioned before, the first candle is lit on Yule’s Eve. On Yule you will light two candles, on the third day – three, on the fourth day – four, and so on until New Year’s Day when all 13 (or 12 depending on the year), have been lit signifying the sun’s full return from the womb of the earth. Some traditions suggest that the lighting of the Yule candle should be done by the youngest member of the family, however I see no reason why this can’t be done as a combined effort from the entire family – each lighting candles in turn (obviously adult assistance and supervision is necessary for younger children). We will perform the candle ritual late in the evening, after the stories, but before the kids go to bed.


THE STORIES

Storytime each night before bed is another critical part of our Yule-Days ritual. As I mentioned before, on Yule’s Eve, we will share our family’s version of the Yule Story. In our home, we still incorporate the concept of Santa into our holiday as well, so from Yule until Oak’s Day (Christmas Day), we will read or share Santa Stories from around the world – there are so many to choose from, and I have found that the more my children understand about the history and stories behind what we know of Santa today, the more they appreciate and excite in the stories and the traditions. Some of my favorite “Santa” stories are of Odin and his eight-legged horse, St. Nick and the demon Krampus leaving gifts or coal in children’s stockings, the departure of the Holly King, and Italy’s holiday witch, Bephany, who dropped gifts down the chimney for children at Twelfth Night.

In the final days of Yule, from Oak’s Day until Hag’s Day (New Year’s Day) our stories focus on the more traditional Deity stories about rebirth and renewal, focusing on the rebirth of the sun and the beginning of a new year. I am particularly fond of the story of Freya & Loki from  Complete Book of Witchcraft, Revised and Expanded (2003) by Raymond Buckland.


THE GIFTS and CARDS

Traditionally, when celebrating the 13 Days of Yule, each member of the household would open one gift, each night for each of the 13 nights. In our family, we’ve had to make some modifications to this one. For instance, Grandma sends multiple gifts for each child. Instead of choosing just one gift and opening the rest on consecutive nights, we have our kids open all of the gifts from Grandma all at once. This way, when we have them make out their thank you cards, which we have them do within a few hours of opening their gifts, they can thank them for everything. On Oak’s Day, we open the gifts left by Santa, and any gifts brought to the Oak’s Day festivities in person.

We like spreading out the gifts and handcrafting thank you cards because we feel it teaches children about patience and respect for others, two values far too often lacking in so many today.


ALL THE OTHER STUFF

I do not work during the last two weeks of December, so I get to be home with my little ones, and because I am blessed with all this extra time, I have found ways to use it. Some additional Yule festivities my children and I share include daily baking and holiday crafts, including homemade wrapping paper and cinnamon-dough ornaments. We also make it a point to get out and get involved – we patronize local light displays, attend holiday festivals and parades, and we make it a point to give back, by volunteering to serve food or pass out blankets at a local shelter, or visiting senior citizens in a local home who aren’t fortunate enough to have friends and family to share the holidays with.


Holly’s Eve and Oak’s Day

We set out offerings of milk and cookies for Santa, carrots for Rudolf and Bailey’s Irish Cream for the fairies on Holly’s Eve (Christmas Eve). We feast with family and friends on Oak’s Day and travel to see family and friends we missed on Oak’s Day on December 26th.

Hogmaney and Hag’s Day

On Hogmaney (New Year’s Eve), we share the story of the Crone Goddess preparing to depart and of her transformation at midnight into the beautiful sleeping Maiden as the old year ends and the New Year begins. We put together a time capsule, make resolutions and burn habits we want to rid ourselves of in the Ritual Fire. And of course, we stay up with our children until after midnight to count down the seconds to greet the New Year.

Hag’s day (New Year’s Day) marks the final day of Yule, when we honor the transforming Goddess and delight in the youth and potential of the New Year. For our family that has traditionally meant spending the day sledding at the mountain and playing in the snow, but the point here is to spend the day together, doing something fun and youthfully uninhibited, as a fresh start to the New Year. Do whatever feels right for you.

WRAPPING IT UP

After the last candle has been lit and the festival is over, we like to cut a few small logs from our Solstice Tree to use as Yule Logs for the upcoming years Solstice rituals. Another option is to use a log from the Solstice Tree to make a handcrafted Yule Log candle holder for the 13 candles ritual.

As for cleaning up is concerned – the jury is still out. Some choose to pack up their winter decor immediately after Yule on January 2nd; and I’ve heard of witches who keep up their lights and decorations until Imbolc arrives – but we tend to pull things in the weekend following Twelfth Night. It’s really up to you.

I have found that just as every other aspect of the craft demands individualization so do the rites of the Sabbats and festivals of the Old Religion. The blending of cultural stories is what the craft we know today is made of – so be flexible, trust your intuition and do what works for you and your family. What I have outlined above, is nothing more than what works for us – when it doesn’t, we’ll change it.

For more details on how my children and I will celebrate the holiday season, please visit my blog –

Magick Mirror: http://magickalmirror.blogspot.com I look forward to meeting you there.

Blessed Be –

Luhnna


Monday, December 6, 2010

Salt Dough Ornaments for Yule

Monday, December 6, 2010
Salt dough ornaments are an easy project to make with children. They need to be supervised when
using the oven, of course, but they can really let their creativity come out. Adults and children alike can
also add herbs for specific purposes.

Basic recipe:

*2 cups of flour
*1 cup of salt
*1 cup of water

Mix the salt and flour. Add half the water, mix it in, and add the other half. Knead the dough until
smooth. This will take 5-10 minutes. If you’re making these ornaments for a specific purpose to hang on
your Yule tree, now would be a good time to do a chant or two.

Roll the dough out to no more than ½”. Use cookies cutters to cut out shapes – people, stars, moons,
hearts, Yule shapes, Samhain shapes, whatever you fancy. Use a skewer to make a hole large enough
for string so you can hang your ornaments.

Bake the ornaments in a 325-degree oven until dry. This can take up to 90 minutes. Be careful not to let
them brown or burn.

If you wish, you can add some dried herbs to the dough. Divide the dough into pieces or make a double
batch.

*Cinnamon – love
*Cloves – love, money, protection
*Basil – love
*Rosemary – Remembrance , protection
*Allspice – money
*Nutmeg- psychic awareness
*Dried mint – purification

Charge the herbs with their intent either before or during the kneading process.

After the ornaments are dry, you can decorate them with acrylic paints. Spray them with an acrylic
sealer to help them last longer. After everything is completely dry, loop a string through the ornaments,
hang them on the Yule tree, and admire your work.

This was a guest post by Zedral Z over on Witchin' in the Kitchen



Sunday, December 5, 2010

YuleTide Crafts

Sunday, December 5, 2010

There are many decorations for Yule, that you as a family can make. Take a nature walk with your kids and collect pine cones. We buy spray paint, the colors do not matter too much, but I would stay away from oranges and pinks. Reds, greens and silver and gold are all great colors for Yule.
Take gold foil paper and cut out sun and star symbols to use as ornaments and for decorations in the rest of your house.
Another great addition to your holiday planning is the wreath. There are different kinds of wreaths that you can make. Here is a link to one kind:
http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a--Christmas-Wreath.


You can also use a grapevine wreath and decorate it for the holidays with either real or fake greenery and other symbols of the holiday. In fact this is a great addition to your house, because as one holiday goes you can then remove the decorations and replace them for the next holiday.


Here is a link to a tutorial on making a wonderful 3d snowflake.

Blessed Be!



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wanted to Share Some Comments

Saturday, December 4, 2010
For a long time on this blog we have been kind of sparse on comments. But that has recently changed so I wanted to draw your attention to some of the comments that have been left here in the past week. I have only did the larger of the comments, because to repost them all would make for a very long post. So please don't feel slighted, because I do appreciate them all very much.

Over on the article; Time to Decorate for the Season Sharon left some wonderful tips on how she decorates her house for the season.

Oh, I love making Yule decorations! I'm drying slices of oranges on a low heat at the moment to hang up as well as whole scored oranges, I've tied cinnamon sticks in ribbons, the kids and I are going to go out hunting for more pine cones today now the news is through that my son's school is closed due to the snow, I've got a lovely apple branch that I pruned from my lovely tree this autumn that will be used to hold the hanging decorations on the altar.... oooh, it's exciting! I'm also recycling my autumn equinox decorations of poppy seed heads - covering them with glue and sprinkling with glitter (another fun one for the kids to do!)

Then over on the article; Only Three Weeks Away . . . Bridget left a comment about her family's traditions for Yule;

We light a candle during the 13 mights of Yule. My family also celebrates over those 13 nights. We do not celebrate Santa though. We tell lots of different stories, make a chain from construction paper to count down the days to Yule beginning then all the way through until the last day of Yule (my kids love this - it carried over from when I was a kid in school and the teachers had us count down the days to Christmas). Since we celebrate over so many days, the children only open 1 present each day. That present may be from us, or it may come from grandparents that have dropped by for a holiday visit. All in all, we make the holiday about our family, blood and otherwise. I also have the kids write thank you notes to whatever relative may have brought them something (aunt, gramps, grandma, etc). We sing, dance and have a great time the whole holiday. Since our 13 days ends with the New Year, we are usually making treats of some sort to ring in the year and end our celebration.
The kids truly do enjoy the way we celebrate and we have all found it to be less stressful for everyone.
Oh, and sometime during the first 2 weeks of December we get the tree and decorate.

In response LuhnaZita left a comment on her traditions for Yule as well. She also has a guest post coming up this week, so make sure to check out her blog in the meantime.


What I like most about the 13 days idea is the one gift per day. We have 4 kids and a large extended family. Our kids rip through their presents so fast I can't keep up - even for photographs. The other problem is the thank you notes. 2 of my kids are just now 4 years old, the others are 9 and 11. Getting any of them (especially the little ones) to hold still long enough to make thank you cards for each gift giver is REALLY trying. I like that if they only open one gift per day (or the gifts from one person that day), then they can really take the time to express their thanks and love for that person. I REALLY like this idea. 

We do celebrate the "Santa" concept still, however we try to take a different cultural approach each year - and the family traditions of Yule/Christmas dinner, presents under the tree and so forth, will have to stay. I don't see why we can't do a combination of both though. 


Then Chantal made a cogent point on the same article about my family's tradition of lighting candles;

I love that you've brought the candle lighting tradition into your home for this Yuletide. Of course I say with a bias because it is the one tradition I have kept from celebrating Advent with my family during my childhood. It's a beautiful and simple weekly ritual than reminds us of light in the darkest season, but also the people and events that bring light to our lives. It's hope for things to come, and gratitude for things that are. The weekly lighting of a candle can symbolize so many things, it doesn't not have to be specific to one Faith!
If you want an activity for your kids (or yourself!), one thing I've always done on the first week of December, is gone out in the woods and pick up sticks and bows and things and made up my own candle wreath. I could then use it to place a candle in every week until Yule. Blessed Be!



Friday, December 3, 2010

Reconnect With Your Partner

Friday, December 3, 2010
Here is the last post in my series on reconnecting with your family this Yule season.

As parents we are tasked with several important jobs. First we work to keep a clean and ordered house. One that our kids can feel safe and continue to be healthy in. Second many of us work at a job, to bring home money to pay the expenses of running a household. We are also charged with the task of raising our children and correcting them when they misbehave. On top of all of this we are tasked with keeping a strong and straight face and keeping the stress and problems of raising a family from our children. What I mean by this is that we may, at times, have problems paying the bills or paying for the miscellaneous expenses that arise, and while we do not need to lie to our kids, they do not need to feel or be exposed to those stresses at a young age.

These things, as we all know, can be tedious at best and world-ending at worst. If we just focus on all of this and our family then we face a sundry of assorted stress-related disorders. In fact constant exposure to stress is one of the leading causes of disease in our modern and western world. We need to make and take the time for ourselves and for our partner(s). A chance to decompress and unwind. Just remember to do this without guilt. Tell yourself that "you are a worthy individual, deserving of good things and the chance to spend time on yourself." Because isn't that a true statement?

Now I know that this is and will not be an easy thing to do, especially for new parents or parents of very small children, and even more difficult for the single parents among us. But it is something that we should work very hard towards doing and take the opportunity when we have the chance. Whether we take thirty minutes between work and picking up the kids at the daycare/school; Or we wait until the kids go to bed and turn down the lights and have a small candle-lit late-night-snack with our partner or ourselves., any time we spend will be time well-spent.

Remember though that this is not about just finding time for the adults together, it is also about finding personal, quiet and alone time. Because with the duties of being a parent we also have the responsibilities of being a husband, wife or partner as well. And we all know that sometimes our patience can be stretched in those situations, often times to or near our limit.

No one that I have ever met and talked to has a perfect relationship with their partner(s). We all face trials and tribulations and it is important that we take to "find ourselves". If we do not truly know who we are then how do we know how to respond in a relationship and as a parent?

So as we go forward from today, remember that you deserve time with your partner(s) and deserve time to yourself. Don't let the daily minutiae bog you down with the specifics. What can you cut and still provide the happy and content family life that we are seeking? Remember that family should be our first priority. This being said how can we give it our full and best attention if we are stressed out and nearing the end of our patience?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Children's Yule Story

Thursday, December 2, 2010
“Grandfather can you tell us a story?” the children asked in unison as they ran up to the old man reclining peacefully by the fire.

The old man sat up straighter in the chair, took a puff from his pipe and asked with a grin, “What story should I tell? What story do you want to know? You there,” he said pointing to one of the children, the smallest, “you haven't had a turn to ask for a story in quite a while. So you pick, tell me what you want to hear.”

In a small voice, the child said “Grandfather can you tell me of the story of the first Yule? I always liked that one the best.”

With a clearing of his throat and another puff on his pipe, the Grandfather started to spin the tale of the first Yule.

“We all know that Yule is at the end of December. When the night and the day are equal to each other. But the story really starts much earlier. In fact over a month earlier. For you remember that in August the Harvest Lord laid down his sword of power and went away to Summerland to rest. Well the Goddess missed her husband so much that she began to grow old just with the grief alone and that is why we have Winter. The time when the Earth grows barren and cold.

“Well the Goddess because of her sadness after a time, left us also and went on a journey to Summerland to try and find him. Now she doesn't die now, she only goes on a vision quest. But she is gone so long that at Samhain her body passes on and when she is found frozen in the forest two weeks later a wake is held for her in the Holly King's drinking hall.

“It took over a week for all the faeries and other mourners to come.For they came from all corners of Creation. But there was one unexpected guest, an old woman. She was so old that she almost looked like a walking skeleton. So of course everyone there was mean to her out of fright and disgust.

“Yet when she greeted the Holly King, calling him her Son, everyone realized with much fright that this was the Goddess returned to them. The very Goddess whose death, they were there to mourn.

“So angry was she, that she was treated so poorly, the Goddess passed a prophecy to the Holly King. That she had within her the Oak King, soon to be reborn. And for rebuking her the Holly King would pass to Summerland upon the birth of that child.

“Now this scared the Holly King that he decided to lock the old Crone away in the top room of the tallest tower in all the world. Then he walled up the doors and all but one of the windows so that she is trapped within the room at the top of this tower. The window he left open so that he could have the birds fly food to her.

“Now he did this hoping that he could escape the doom that was foretold to him. But the Crone knew that the birth of her child was her only hope of escape. The Crone then wove magick and took the light and warmth from the Sun, and passed it to her son. So that in just four weeks, she gave birth to the Oak King. Who ever after was also given the name of the Sun King. For he was born fully grown and glowing with a golden light so bright that it caused the dying of the Sun to be reversed.

“Those four weeks of magick are why we light the candles for the four weeks before Yule. One candle for the first week and two for the second and so on until we have four candles lit on the night of Yule. This represents the growing light inside her as outside the Sun grew weaker.

“But the birth was hard on the old Crone, so hard that she slipped into a sleep very near to Death. So the Sun King in his anger thinking that his mother was dead, flew out the lone window as a large golden eagle. All across the Earth he hunted the Holly King, Lord of the Wintertime. Finally cornering him at the shores of a great ocean.

“And when he found him he threw his magickal spear at him and destroyed him. The spear hit the Holly King so hard that his body just vanished. But don't worry, for the Holly King simply reappeared in Summerland. When he got there he found the Crone in one of her other aspects, the Young Maiden.

“She spoke to him of prophecy and the Wheel of the Year. She spoke of the new cycle that had been made in the last year. That the events of the last year would repeat themselves forever and ever.

“And although the Holly King had passed away now, he now knew that he would return just past the height of Summer to take the Sun King's place again.

This is why the Holly King, as Santa Claus, brings us gifts every year to make up for the Winter that he brings with him. But he only brings presents to good little boys and girls because he wants us to learn to not be mean like he was to the Crone on that first night that he met her so long ago.

“Now back to the Sun King, when he returned to the Crone he saw that she wasn't really dead but only asleep. So he went out and found a large log, the first Yule Log, cut from the largest Oak he could find. In hopes that this would revive the Goddess. And for their lifegiving properties he decorated her room with evergreens. Even bringing in a tree and decorating it with his light.

“But all this magick did was to make her youthful again, so that now she was a beautiful youthful Maiden. Yet she still slept a deep sleep almost near death.

“So you see my grandchildren there are good reasons why we do the things that we do at Yule. They served a purpose long ago and it is good to recognize and honor that. “
“But Grandfather,” spoke up the eldest, “What happened next? I know the Goddess didn't stay asleep forever. Please tell us more.”
Shaking his head, the old man said, “Lunch is overdue and I'm hungry so let us go to eat and then I will tell you all another tale. I will tell you of what happened next to the Goddess and to the Sun King. I will tell you the story of the first Imbolc.”


Monday, November 22, 2010

Over Commercilization of Holidays

Monday, November 22, 2010
With Thanksgiving this weekend, the "Official Holiday Season" begins. You know, the time when we all are supposed to run around like mad buying all that we can get our hands on. But I think that this isn't the real way this time is supposed to be.

This is a time that we should all gather as family and not worry about the expense or cost of the gift. It is the exchange of energy that is truly important.

But what is it that has led us to this point of overcommercilization? I think it is the combination of greed by the companies that profit from this shopping spree and the lack of spirituallity in our culture. If we as a culture move away from looking at the sacredness, not only of this time but of all life, then how can we expect this holiday season to be anything else other than maddening?

I would love to hear any comments from you readers on your thoughts on this topic. So please comment below.

Blessed Be!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Take Your Kids to the Kitchen

Friday, November 12, 2010
Happy Saturday! To continue on my series on reconnecting with your family this Holiday Season we return to spending time with your children. Today I wanted to encourage you to cook and then eat your creation with your kids.

It seems that some of the most popular posts on this blog are on recipes. So I know that a lot of you already cook, but how many of you include your kids and teach them how to do the same?

This can be an educational experience for the children as well as a bonding one. Not only will they learn to cook but they will learn about measuring and counting and even fractions.

What you cook isn't important. What is, is how much fun you and the kids have. Whether you bake, fry or fricassee bring your kid along (maybe not let the younger ones take a turn at frying) and enjoy.

And the best part? Well, it is the eating of said creation. My kids get very disappointed when we don't cook. They like fast food but like home cooked meals the best.

Blessed Be and Happy Cooking/Baking!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Divination and Children - Pendulums

Sunday, November 7, 2010
When I started this series again last month, I got some feedback on how many children out there love the pendulum. So I decided to run an article on selecting, cleansing and using the pendulum.

Selecting a Pendulum

While any weight will do, it is better for you to take a moment and still the mind. The pendulum acts as a focus for your subconscious. So it is good to allow your intuition to decide. If it is does not come with a string or chain then you can simply tie a string to the end. Personally I would aim for less than a foot, maybe around six or seven inches.

Cleansing and Programming your Pendulum

The cleaning can be as simple as putting it in a bowl of salt for a day or so, preferrably in direct sunlight. But you can also bless it with charged salt water and/or the smoke from white sage.

As to programming it, draw a cross on a sheet of paper and below it a circle. Then holding your pendulum over the cross, clear your mind and ask what an Yes looks like. Followed by a what a No looks like. You can do this over the circle as well. In the first you may find the circle moving horizontally or vertically and in the second you should see it move clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Using the Pendulum

Now start out with questions you know the yes or no answers to. That way you can get a gauge for the accuracy of your new pendulum. The more you work with the better feel you will get for its particular method of revealing answers to you.

If you have anything to add by all means feel free to comment below so we can all learn.

Blessed Be!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Spend Some Time Looking Back

Friday, November 5, 2010
Yes I'm back with this series on reconnecting with the family during the Holiday Season. Hope you enjoy.

I talk often focusing on the now and being present but there is a time for reflection. And that time is now, during the dark half of the year. One of the best ways to reconnect with your partner is to look back at the "good old days". Not that today isn't great but the "honeymoon period" of any relationship is a time of great excitement and romance. And don't we all miss that from time to time?

So my advice to you all today is to look back and see what has changed. What did you all do back then that worked and that you don't do today? Now don't go assign guilt, either to yourself or to your partner, but rather make some small changes.

A few weeks ago I talked about taking your partner out on a date and just spending time with them. Today is about more than that. Be imaginative. I can't say what the answer is because it is going to be different for each of you. But I would love to hear any ideas that you have. Comment below and let us all share in the excitement.

And for more tips on reconnecting with your partners and children this holiday season, check out the rest of this series.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teaching Children Divination -- Tarot and I-Ching

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Here is the third part of my series on divination. The next part is coming next week.

Most of us should be familiar with what the standard Tarot deck is and what the cards in a deck are. But just in case, tarot is typically seventy-eight cards; comprising of twenty-one trump cards, one Fool (this is referred to as the Major Arcana) and four suits of fourteen cards each (the Minor Arcana). These cards are then laid out in different ways and "read" for the purpose of divination.

So how to teach this complex system to young children is not a question to be approached lightly. People can make a lifetime of studying the Tarot and still not catch all the hidden symbols and cached meaning. But you can start a child to the idea of Tarot of working with them using your own deck.

Have them to look at the cards and tell you what they see. Children, being young and uncluttered, often times have an easier time seeing and understanding the archetypes that can be found in Tarot, especially the older Rider-Waite deck. This will, by the time they are old enough to know what deck is theirs, give them a solid understanding of the basics of this divinatory art.

The next topic that I would like to discuss is the I-Ching, or Book of Changes. I have not met many people that have heard of this ancient Chinese divinatory art. But I have had very good results with the system.

The system is comprised of eight trigrams that come together to make thirty-two hexagrams. These hexagrams are then looked up in the I-Ching and the proverb is given that is the fortune. I know it sounds more complicated then it really is

To find out what hexagrams you are using there are multiple methods. The easiest method I have found is the three coin method. In this method you throw three coins and count the number of heads and of tails. Heads count for three and tails for two. You add these three numbers and come up with the first of six lines.

The math to do so is as follows:
a 6 is an old yin (broken) line
a 7 is a young yang (solid) line
an 8 is a young yin (broken) line
a 9 is an old yang (solid) line
Where there are old (6 or 9) lines, the statements for those lines are read. Additionally, those lines should be converted into their opposites and the proverb for the new hexagram that results should be consulted as well.

You can search on Google for the specific meanings of the different hexagrams, but I recommend buying a book that gives more detail into this method and into the other methods as well. In addition to the meanings of the hexagrams.

So good luck on your journey into teaching your children divination.

Blessed Be!






Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Children and Divination - Runes and Ogham

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
As promised here is the second part on the series on teaching children divination. In this part I am going to talk about runes and ogham. First off I guess I should define what these things are.

Runes

Although there is very little historical evidence that runes were used in divinatory practice, they can be a very useful tool for doing just that. The most common set used are the futhark runes. Pictured here:

 

These runes each have a different meaning. And can be cast for divination in various ways. When I use them I typically draw out three runes. One for the question, one for the answer and one for advice. But there are nearly as many layouts as there are readers.


Ogham

The ogham are very similar to the futhark runes but at the same time more complex and completely different. It is a Celtic alphabet dating from the fourth century and named after the Celtic god of knowledge and communication, Ogmos.



Typically carved into staves and then pulled or cast from a bag in different numbers and then read according to their meanings. Here is a link that tells their various meanings.

To make your own set of Ogham staves, start with sticks of even lengths. You'll need 25 of them. I have found that 4 - 6" is a good size for Ogham staves.

Inscribe each of the sticks with one of the Ogham symbols. You can do this either by carving them into the woods, painting them on, or using a woodburning tool.

When should Children start with these?

This answer will as always depend on the child. But they should have some ability to sense the unseen energy currents that run below and through things. Although these two divination methods can be easier to learn then tarot they still require some minor skill, most of which can be learned.

In fact they may be able to start these soon after they learn to read words on their own with no help. But I'm interested in what all of you have to say. Do your children practice divination? If so what kinds and what ages did they start?

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
What is more iconic for Samhain then the carved Jack O' Lantern? Tracing its roots to the imigrants to America of the 1800's, this tradition was originally done with turnips. Carved and lit with a small candle these lanterns represented the souls of departed loved ones and were placed in windows and on doorsteps to welcome those spirits back.

Since I don't have a lot of artistic talent, I have always done just the traditional jack o' lantern. But for those who either have more talent or are just a little more adventurous, here are some links to both a how-to and some sample templates.

Then the next thing is how do you light the thing? There are several options available from glow sticks to candles, whether those candles are the "real thing" or the battery operated ones. Just be sure to exercise caution and not set anything on fire. i.e. Do not leave it unattended.

Here is another link to a blog that I read that has the definitive how-to on pumpkins for Samhain. From selecting to carving and preserving to lighting.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Samhain Recipes - Meat and Vegetarian

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Since Samhain is around the corner, I figured that I should share some recipes for the meat lovers and the vegetarians in my readership. Hope you enjoy!


Leg of Lamb
  • 1 leg of lamb (about 6 lbs.) not sirloin half
  • Several lg. cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 c. tarragon vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 lg. onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 c. dry red wine
  1. Cut garlic into slivers and insert randomly into lamb, using point of sharp knife. 
  2. Mix together thyme, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper, and flour. Rub mixture well into lamb. 
  3. Pour over lamb leg mixture of tarragon vinegar and water. 
  4. Roast lamb in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
  5. Lower oven to 300 degrees and remove lamb and scatter vegetables on bottom of roasting pan and return lamb to pan on top of vegetables. Insert meat thermometer into fleshy part of lamb without touching bone. 
  6. Pour wine all over; return to oven. Continue roasting for about 1 1/2 hours, basting a few times. Meat is medium rare at 145 degrees, 155-160 degrees for medium, and 165 to 170 degrees for well done.
  7. Remove lamb leg and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Pour off fat from pan. Add 1/2 cup boiling water to pan; allow to boil up, scraping pan well. Pour liquids and vegetables into blender and blend until smooth.
Gravy for Lamb
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. flour
  • 1/2 to 1 c. reserved liquids from roasting pan
  • 1 can beef consomme, undiluted
  • Dash of freshly ground pepper
  • 2-4 tbsp. dry red wine
  1. On board, mix flour and butter into paste.
  2. In saucepan, heat reserved liquids and consomme. Add butter/flour mixture, bit by bit, beating with wire whisk until sauce comes to boil and is slightly thickened.
  3. Stir in pepper and wine; return just to boiling. Serve with roast lamb.
Recipe courtesy of cooks.com


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

So here are a few recipes for you to enjoy:

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

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions

Boil or steam the carrots until tender. Drain. Add the butter, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon; stir until the carrots are well-coated.http://www.pagandad.com/2009/10/samhain-mute-supper.html



Monday, October 25, 2010

Making an Ancestor Wall

Monday, October 25, 2010
Credit for today's post goes to my wife. Over on the Village, a few weeks ago, we had a discussion about honoring the Ancestors this October and she remarked on her side project, her Ancestor Wall. Basically what this is is a family tree with some additional photos of loved ones who have passed on.

We currently have it placed above our altar but in the Spring, when we hope to repaint, I plan on moving this to the Northeast corner of the room, with a dedicated shelf for offerings and some info from my side of the family. As I have talked earlier on this blog, we use five points instead of four in our circle castings. That fifth one dedicated for the Ancestors.

Starting your own Ancestor wall is a worthwhile and easy project for you to do. I recommend starting with a family tree and trying to compile photos along the way. Here are some tips to get you started:

Getting Started


*Go to the living. Talk to your existing family and gather as much information as you can on as much family as they can remember.
*Remember that stories are important, you may even want to compile those stories. Either in written form or in video or audio form.
*Then go to the physical records. Starting with family bibles, diaries, letters, photograph albums.
*And ending up at non-federal records. By this I mean, local sources like courthouses. For birth and death certificates. Along with marriage documents or deeds.

For more tips on doing this check out archives.gov.

Where do I go from here?


Now that you have started on this project and have something that you can put up, what do you do next? There are many ways to go. Like we plan to do in the Spring, you could hang up a special shelf for your Ancestors and put up pictures and the family tree. Then regularly clean that area and leave offerings and light candles to honor them. Or you could put that material on your normal family altar and always be reminded of them. The list goes on and on about the way you could honor your Ancestors in this way. Each way is unique to the family being honored.

Yet the more you work on bringing them into your home and into your rituals the more helpful your Ancestors can be. From lending energy for magick to giving you warnings of things to come.

Do you guys do something like this? If so I would love to hear your stories. Or if not then I would still love to hear from you.

Blessed Be!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Bring Music to Your Child

Friday, October 22, 2010
I look around at the youths of today and they seem to have no appreciation for fine music. There are many benefits to music beyond the cultural ones though. According to Science Daily, music education also helps in language arts, mathematics and spatial reasoning.

I have heard this blamed on the rise of the mp3. With mp3 the music is so compressed that one loses the nuances of music, to compensate for this the music industry just cranks up the volume.

Now while this may very well contribute to this I think that a bigger influence is the parents. I say this because many parents of today only know of certain genres of music.

I am guilty of this to an extent as well. While I listen to a wide variety of music, or at the very least know of the different genres. I do not listen enough to tell you much about the music beyond what I like and don't like.

With the homeschooling of my youngest my wife and I have strived to introduce her to different music of different genres. From Big Band to the 50's to modern rock.

So this weekend crank up some older music. Either music that you love or maybe just pick something neither you nor your kids have listened to and clear some space for dancing and have fun. Your kids may start off looking at you funny but with a little encouragement they are likely to join in the fun.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Samhain Party Crafts

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Over the last couple of days I have talked about games and then recipes for your Samhain party. So today I wanted to share a small craft that I found. These specific instructions are for making a bowl that looks like Frankenstein. With a little craftiness and construction paper you could make this look like a jack-o-lantern instead. Or almost anything that your imagination can conceive of.

Supplies

Large Balloon
35mm Wiggle Eyes
Large Neon Green Pompoms
Two Bolts
Broad Black Marker
Bright Green and Black Paint
Newspaper
Flour
One Large Bowl
One Small/Medium Bowl
Cardboard
Low Temp Glue Gun

Instructions

Blow up a balloon and set it inside a tight bowl to hold it upright.
Mix one part flour with two parts water. Mix thoroughly. Your solution should be the consistency of wall paper paste. Add more water or flour if necessary.
Tear paper into 1-1/2" strips and dip them into the paste. Run a strip between two fingers to get off excess paste. Lay the strip on the balloon, smoothing it out. Continue until the top half of the balloon is covered with two or three layers. Let dry overnight.

Mix up another batch of paper mache. Turn the balloon over and cover the bottom half of the balloon with two or three layers. Let dry overnight.
Cut off the tied end to deflate balloon. Pull it out and discard. Cut off the bottom of the balloon all around to create a base for the bowl to sit on. Cut a circle out of a piece of cardboard and hot glue it inside the bottom of the bowl. Cut the top off. Poke a hole in each side of the "neck" for bolts. Paint Green. Let dry.

Paint a fringe in black along the top of the bowl for hair. Glue on eyes and nose. Draw on mouth. Push bolts into the neck holes, securing with hot glue. Fill with bags of candy.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Join With Your Partner in Circle

Friday, October 15, 2010
Continuing my series on the importance of spending time with your family this Holiday Season, I wanted to talk about the importance of Ritual time with your partner. With the New Moon this Sunday this is can be something you do almost immediately.

A friend of mine from Texas, Jon Edens of Blackberry Circle, has a quote that he doesn't mind me sharing. The Family That Circles Together, Dances Forever. His organization as well as FWTI believes that the inclusion of family in ritual is one of the most important things that we can do.

But for the sake of this article I wanted to focus on just doing this with your partner. Wanted us to step away from being Father Priest or Mother Priestess and instead focus on being a Husband Priest or Wife Priestess. As adults, not only do we need this alone time, we need to reconnect on an energetic and spiritual level with our partner. This is so we can present an united front when we engage as parents with our children.

So this next Full Moon or any time in between take your partner by the hand and lead them to Sacred Space. Cast a Circle and light the candles and incense and praise the Ancient Gods together. Recognize Deity in each other and be joyous.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Should Children Learn Divination?

Thursday, October 14, 2010
The short answer to this question is, maybe. I believe that there are as many answers to this question as there are parents in Paganism. So this answer will vary from child to child and from family to family. But for myself and my family the answer is a resounding yes, when they are old enough. I say this because I am a firm believer that divination works, this is from both readings I have done for others and for readings that have been done for me.

So When Are They Old Enough?

Well they are old enough when they understand simple magick and can tap into that energy that is all around us. In divination they must be able to see, feel and understand the currents that are surrounding us. I know that much of this feeling comes with practice, but if the child can't charge a candle or a stone, then how can we expect them to be able to see the pattern of the future? So it will come with time and age. But how can you prepare them for this kind of working? You can begin by including them in rituals as active participants just not spectators. Also when they reach an age where they can understand cause and effect and are aware that they are responsible for their actions, you can begin to teach them simple magick. And finally you can train them to meditate and focus on their breath and their own energy currents. These few actions will give them the needed experience that they need to both become Wiccans with awareness and able to perform divination.

I would love to get any thoughts you have on this. So don't hesitate to comment below.


Blessed Be!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Play With Your Kids

Saturday, October 9, 2010
Continuing with the series I started last Saturday on the importance of Family in this Holiday Season, this week I wanted to talk about the importance of spending time with your kids.

So this week the suggestion is to spend some time playing with your kids. There are many important benefits for your child to engage in play, besides bonding with you. Some of these are:
  • Building the imagination
  • Promoting their social skills
  • Advancing their physical development
  • Helping them work through their emotions
  • Teaches patience and problem solving skills
I know that for me it is difficult for me to remember how it was that I played as a child. And when my kids wanted me to play with them in the past I found it difficult. But I found that if I just let them lead in whatever we were doing that it worked out quite well. Now this does not mean that you can't choose the activity. In fact my kids oftentimes want me to pick what me do. So here are some suggested activities that you could try;
  • Play a game. Whether cards or a board game I promise you will all enjoy yourself. 
  • Get crafty together. Make something. What exactly will depend on your skill level but these are the kinds of memories that will last a lifetime. 
  • Listen to music together. Introduce them to some new music or even introduce both of you to something you've never heard before. 
  • Watch a movie together. With my oldest we are watching old classics from the 40's to the 70's.
  • Read a book together. Not only will this help to broaden your and the kids' vocabulary but you may just both learn something. 
  • Get outdoors. Play hide and seek or tag. Or just watch the clouds or the birds. There is always something new and exciting to see.
Whatever you do just make sure you have fun. Turn off the cellphone and unplug from our connected world. Make the time you set aside just about the kids.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Children's Story for Samhain

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
The little children ran up to the old man in the chair and yelled in unison and great excitement, "Grandfather, Grandfather! Can you tell us another story?"

With a smile and twinkle in his eye, the old man asked, "What story do you want to hear? I have told you the stories about the first seven Sabbats, why don't I tell you the last one? The one about Samhain."

With eager nods the children yelled out, "Yes. Please."

So the Grandfather settled himself comfortably into his chair and began to speak. "If you will think back and remember. The story for Mabon found the God dead and living away in Summerland. And found the Goddess returning pregnant, from a spirit quest, after she found the God and got his promise to return at Yule as her unborn child.

"But the Goddess aged from the elements, remember Winter is coming quick as we approach the end of October, was found dead in the wilderness. Or so the faeries that found her thought. They brought her to the Holly King, Lord of Winter.

"When he saw her body he turned in bitterness and fled to his drinking horn in his mighty hall. But the faeries prepared Her body and laid in rest. Then they gathered all they could from far and wide and held a wake in Her honor.

"And they were gathered and mourned Her and most of all the death of their hope for the future. For how could they carry on without a Goddess to watch over them? But then the crowd fell silent as the oldest and ugliest lady any had ever seen hobbled into the hall.

"They all, to the last person, shunned her for they were disgusted at her hideous looks. But the old lady hobbled up slowly and in great pain, to the very foot of the throne of the Holly King. And looked up at Him as he turned his head away.

"After a long moment the old lady spoke, 'Do you not recognize me, my Son? I am your mother that you had given up hope on. Near death I was but I have returned with a promise of new life and light. That will come from my womb at the end of hope. When light is at its shortest. And on that day you shall pay for your arrogance.'

"The Holly King was struck to his heart with fright at these words and he ordered her to be locked away in the tallest tower. So that he may have hope of avoiding this doom that was laid upon him by his ancient Mother.

"But as we know, since the Sun is reborn every Yule, this did little to help the Holly King avoid the punishment for his arrogance. We also should know that it is on Samhain night, since the Goddess came back to us from death, that the veil is thin and torn in some places and that we may see other friends and family that have passed on. This is why we carve a pumpkin so that those familiar spirits can find their way to our homes. And when they are there we lay out the Mute Supper for them to gather strength for their journey back to Summerland.

"What was that little one, why do we dress up? Well we dress up so that those ghosts that are not our family do not take us back with them. They can't find out who we are, if we are covered up.

"Now run along children, have your parents help you carve the Jack O' Lantern and make your costumes. And let this old man rest from all this storytelling."


Friday, October 1, 2010

Take Some Time to Reconnect With Your Partner

Friday, October 1, 2010
Last year I ran this series of weekend posts to remind us to reconnect with our family as we venture forth in to the dark half of the year. So I hope that you enjoy them. And as a side note I talk about the Holiday Season and while it isn't here yet. It won't be long until we see the decorations up. I saw my first turkey of the year at the store earlier this evening.

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 please leave me some comments.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just for Today, I Will Be Kind to Every Living Thing

Thursday, September 30, 2010
The last in my series on the Reiki Principles and how they can apply to parenting, is this principle. And like yesterday this is a principle that could possibly offend people. Because aren't we all kind to people and other living things?

I know, again, that I am far from perfect. Anger and me have an old relationship. While I have learned to control much of mine, it still can get out and make me say and do things that I shouldn't do. But I am working on being a good example for my kids. 

But on the other hand you can be over kind to living things. There is a story of a Buddha; where he told one of his disciples to draw him a bath. The disciple went and found the tub full of bugs and since he couldn't hurt them he returned to the Buddha. Who of course asked him about his bath. When the disciple told him of what he had found and asked what to do, the Buddha said again, 'draw me a bath'. This was repeated multiple times until the disciple realized that we can't not hurt everything all the time. And as long as we don't go out of our way to harm things then there are allowances made. 

Now again like yesterday I would love any comments and thoughts that you can share.

Blessed Be!



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just for Today, I Will Be Honest

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
When I decided to write this week long series on the Reiki Principles and children, I knew that this principle would be the one that gave me the biggest problem. I know that we are all honest and if not I don't want to be the one to say it.

But that being said I am going to jump into this with both feet first. So don't be angry and leave. Just leave me some comments, I can deal with criticism.

Our children are always watching us, whether it looks like that or not. So when we deal with the world they are learning how they should deal with the world. This includes the little white lies that some of us (me included) tell to avoid either people of the tasks that they may saddle with us.

So I don't have a lot of room to preach here. But I recognize that I am not perfect and I do strive to be an example of honesty at all times, but especially when my children are watching.

And I guess that the title of today's post is for me just as much as it is for some of you out there. Please give me your thoughts on this topic. It would be much appreciated.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just for Today, I Will Be Grateful

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Continuing on my series on Reiki and children, we come to the third principle. Be Grateful.

I don't know about yours but my children seem to be growing up faster and faster. I'm waiting for the day that as I watch them play, they grow a foot in a matter of seconds. It seems that in just a few years, they are going to be grown and having children of their own. (For reference they are 6 and 10).

Yes, I know that this sounds facetious but if you are a parent, then you probably know what I am talking about. The world around us is speeding up as well and we are definitely not getting any younger.

While I know that it is difficult with all of the stress in our lives but we do need to take time to be grateful for the blessings we have received in our lives, especially our children. Because, like I have pointed out, they will be grown and apart from us before we can blink.

I'm not going to go into any lists on how to be grateful, because I think we know how to do that. I just wanted to remind you to take some time out to do just that. Light a candle and sit for a moment, strike up a conversation with the Deity(ies) that you follow and say thanks. Then make sure to let your kids know how much you appreciate them.

Hope your week is going well, Blessed Be!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Reiki and Children Pt. 2

Monday, September 27, 2010
Yesterday I introduced this series on the Five Reiki Principles and how they could apply to parenting. Specifically I covered the first of these five principles; Just for today, I will not be angry. And how this applies to being a parent. And  Today I wanted to move onto the second principle which is, Just for today, I will not worry.


As evidenced by the overabundance of helicopter parents, worry seems to be the theme of parenting in our modern times. Now sometimes that worry is necessary with the unique stresses that our age puts upon us. But like yesterday we cannot let that worry rule us.

I have for a long time said, that I am not raising kids. Instead I am creating adults. If we worry over our kids and try to save them from any pain, then they have learned nothing. They must learn by failing, because eventually they will learn why they failed and correct it. All our job is, is to teach and encourage them to get back on that horse.

But dealing with worry can be a daunting challenge in the best of times. So here are some ideas on dealing with worry.
  • The first step in dealing with worry is to notice it and then let it go.
  • Like anger, the next step should be, to breathe.
  • Don't 'self-medicate'. If you worry so much that you need to smoke or drink to deal with it, then find someone to talk to.
  • Nurture that which is within. Meditation can work wonders on helping us to find our center. 
  • Cut off the TV. We don't have cable in our house and aside from the cost savings, we don't have the bombardment of worry from society.
If you guys have any other ideas on dealing with worry. I would love to hear it from you guys. This is something that we shouldn't have to deal with alone. Just remember that Just for today, I will not worry.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reiki and Children Pt. 1

Sunday, September 26, 2010
For those of you who don't know, Reiki is a healing practice using the energy of the Divine. It is practiced by many Pagans and New Agers (is that a word?) alike. And it is also taught to massage therapists and to nurses as therapeutic touch. Now I know that is a real simple definition, so any Reiki practitioners out there, please don't shoot me. Thanks.

But all joking aside, Reiki practitioners espouse Five Principles. Combined these Principles work to make one a better person so they in turn can be a better healer. How can we heal someone, or in this case act as the channel to do that healing, if we are not pure of thought and action?

A while back a friend of mine posted for a few weeks the Five Principles individually as her Facebook status. This got me to thinking about how they could be used to remind us how to be better parents. This article comes from that thought.

So without further adieu, here are the Five Principles;

Just for today, I will not be angry
Just for today, I will not worry
Just for today, I will be grateful
Just for today, I will be honest
Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing

Today I wanted to just focus on the first and then move on to each of the others in turn, as this week moves forward.

I will not be angry.

Just five simple words but sometimes the best of kids can lean on your button or buttons in some cases. They have great skill in finding all of them. And I like to think that even Job, in his great patience, probably got at least a little exasperated with his children.

We all get frustrated and maybe a little angry at times. This doesn't make us bad parents, it makes us human. We all undoubtedly have busy lives and in our world they are probably stress filled as well. So after a day of fighting the grind, we don't want to come home to children who misbehave.

But we cannot allow our anger to rule us. So here are some tips to help us, Just for today, to not be angry.
  • Take a break. Put some distance between you and the situation. This will probably help with the misbehaving child. 
  • Breath. Remember that we are all human and make mistakes. 
  • Learn to act and not react. Count to ten before you speak or make a decision. Make a conscious decision to nip anger in the bud.
Now I know that today's topic won't apply to all of you. I have talked to some of you in email and the like and you seem like fantastic parents. But I hope that this might help some of you.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mabon Time Activity

Thursday, September 16, 2010
I live in Florida where we really don't have a Fall. It gets cooler but most if not all off the trees keep their leaves. But I know that many places are already moving towards fall and their leaves are changing.

So in that spirit I wanted to suggest a nature walk. Mabon is all about the bounty of the earth being harvested as it comes to full bloom. So enjoy the wondrous beauty of nature.

But while you are out there make sure to collect some things for the children's Book of Shadows. Collect some milkweed pods to decorate the house and altar with at Yule, to attract the faeries. Find some exceptional pretty colored leaves to hang for this Sabbat and the next.

If you happen to make it out, share some of your experiences with us here.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The God Mabon or Maponos

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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.