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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Want to Introduce You to a Rabbit . . .

Thursday, March 31, 2011
I just finished reading the best book for teaching the Sabbats to younger children. It is written by a good friend of mine Kyrja and published through Schiffer Books. This book covers from Beltane to Mabon, with the next one due out some time soon. And it introduces the concepts behind the Sabbats in rhyming couplets from the viewpoint of a little rabbit called Rupert.

When reading it earlier today, I was reminded anew of that sense of wonder that we have all felt when we started down this road into the Craft. Rupert's Tales (as it is called) also does a wondrous job of describing the sacredness of nature and that deity is everywhere.

And this doesn't even cover the beautiful illustrations by Tonia Bennington Osborn. They do so much to add to the story and to charm of this book.

So if you are looking for quality books to teach your children about the Sabbats. Me and my youngest daughter highly recommend this book. If you have read it or do read it, be sure to come back and comment or send me an email, and let me know what you think.

And for future updates from the world of Rupert, since I don't think that two books is all that we can expect, be sure to check out Rupert's page on Facebook. And for a whole variety of links, including a CafePress store and more information, check out the webpage for our friend Rupert.

And below is the link to Amazon where you can get the book.




Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The High Priest

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The High Priest, the leader of the church, coven, grove. Ruling with the High Priestess by his side he shoulders the mantle of responsibility. He is a counselor and an arbitrator. With the High Priestess, he leads ritual and other spiritual activities for the coven.
They are often held to a different standard than the other people around them. The title itself signifies knowledge and learning. Normally a High Priest does not become one until he has spent many years in the Craft, after which it is assumed that he would know what he is doing.
And while we are all priests of the Goddess not everyone can be nor do they want to be a High Priest. For that mantle involves responsibility for other people's spirituality and religious well-being.

Now you have seen some of the different roles that men can take in Paganism. And hopefully you will take these words to heart and think about what role you fit into or what role you want to fit into. Pagan men although oftentimes are all around us, receive no attention. The God has been completely replaced by the Goddess. Instead of Duality we have become as the patriarchal religions, focusing on only one deity.
So take a stand against this and fight for recognition. Establish mens spirituality groups with like minded men, so that men can find their place in the modern neo-pagan movement.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Pagan Shaman

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Shaman exists in multiple cultures around the world. But many people often forget about the existence of the Shaman in ancient tribal Europe. And so they don't associate the Shaman with Paganism.
So what is a Shaman? The Shaman is the bridge between worlds; between light and dark, between Heaven and Earth. He is the traveler of the Otherworld and the Underworld. He seeks after visions for the knowledge of how to heal the world and the people around him.
He sees the Divine in all things. His friends and allies include not only humans but also plants, animals, rocks, winds, waters, fire, stars, and other life forms. He commune with the Source some call "God" as both Mother Goddess and Father God, for both aspects are necessary for the Unity.
So what does all this mean for men in Paganism? Where does this role fit into the scheme of things? Paganism, to me, has always been about duality, but for a long time Goddess and women have taken precedence over God and men.
The Shaman has the power to shift the pendulum back the other way towards a more balanced view of the Craft and the world. Too long the High Priestess has been given the monopoly of knowledge and of leadership in the Craft and Paganism, when both man and woman should have been given equal precedence in leadership.
But the Shaman is not the priest nor the spiritual warrior. More a guide than a commanding force, although he speaks with great power. Although he heals this is not is primary role, the Healer focuses more on the world right around him and the Shaman is often times more concerned with the world as a whole. More a follower of the will of the Creator than he is of his own individual wants and desires.
Blessed Be!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Role of Men in Paganism

Monday, March 28, 2011
I have talked about being a Pagan father, but I think that doing only that leaves something out. There are Pagan men that are not fathers but still have roles to fill in Paganism. I still feel, though that I must issue the standard disclaimer. The following list is in no way and should not be considered a whole and complete list in any way.

  • There is the Shaman, the one who bridges the path between the worlds.
  • The Spiritual Warrior, the one who recognizes the inner and ultimate truth and struggles against the obstacles of the world to stay in tune with it.
  • The Healer, the one who seeks to heal the world and the people in it.
  • The Priest, the one who leads a religious movement, no matter how small or large, and communes with the Gods.
Many of us won't be able to be pinned down into just one of these categories. People are just to different and complex to be just one thing in their life.

So over the next few days I will be covering these many roles that Pagan men can play. Their attributes and detributes and what exactly it is that defines these people.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Planning a Magickal Garden

Sunday, March 27, 2011
Depending on your living arrangements and the area of the world you live in there are many herbs booth culinary and magickal that you can grow. Some of you may be wondering why you should grow what you can more easily buy.
The answer is simple and twofold. One, you can include you children and two, you can better control the quality of the gerbs and what is put on them (in the way of fertilizer and pesticides).
For those of us wihtou backyards you can grow many things in small pots. Rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley are just some of those that grow well in small pots.
And for those of us that have a yard with more space there are plants such as lavender, catnip, aloe, chamomile, mugwort that grow well.
I found this site that has many wonderful tips and correspondences on growing your own herbs, both magickal and culinary. It also has wonderful ideas on the use of essential oils and incense.
http://www.moonsmusings.com/pagan/herbs.html

Tend to and grow the plants in your garden with love and they will grow fast and well. If you use these herbs in your magickal workings they they will help to amplify the effects of your spells.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Children, Ritual and Small Spaces

Thursday, March 24, 2011
This is a repost from around this time last year. Hope you enjoy.

While I am blessed with a house and a yard, I know that many live in apartments and cities where they can't just go to the local park and do ritual with their kids. So what is a busy parent to do?

I posed this question on Facebook earlier and got some great responses. (Any more are welcome here, just comment away) So I wanted to share some of those responses and my own thoughts as well.

Some of the greatest rituals I have done have been in limited space. So if you can remember that sometimes all the 'trappings' are unnecessary you will be able to do ritual in small spaces.

Casting Circle

Stand in a circle and have everyone join hands and close their eyes. Then have them visualize energy moving in a circle from person to person in this circle. Slowly expand this circle out into an area around you. This doesn't necessarily have to be the area that you are planning on doing ritual in, you could cover the whole house if you want. Although if you have family that is not participating, this may not work for you.

Calling Elements

This is where the suggestion from Facebook comes into this. Janet suggested that you run in place to call fire, make swimming motions for water, blowing hard for air, and sitting still for earth. While I haven't had a chance to try this out, I think that these are really great ideas.


Calling the Goddess and God

With my youngest one when we do this, I tell her about the aspects that we are going to be working with. By doing this I focus our attention on the Lady and Lord, with a little energy this works well to draw Them to us.

Ritual Content

Another suggestion from Janet was to have ritual around a table with everyone sitting. This would solve the issue of space but you could also stand in a circle, with joined hands, and talk about the ritual theme and raise any energy for magick that you have planned.

As you can see there are many easy ways to hold ritual and raise a spiritual child even if you only have a small place to work in. Again I would like to hear any suggestions that you have.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Faith vs. Religion

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
This is one of the great questions of our age. Faith vs. Religion. Which one do we need more of? Is there a difference between them? Can you have one without the other?
To me there is a huge difference between the two. We have all met the Sunday School Christians. You know, those Christians who have the religion (i.e. they go to church on Sundays or as little as Christmas and Easter) but don't have the faith that backs that up. They may believe in God but they do not have the faith in Him. And yes there is many Pagans that fall into this category as well. They celebrate the Sabbats, if there is a public ritual, and worship with the best of them but they don't have the deep faith that others have.
So what is faith? I guess that this is the next question to answer and probably the most important next to the question in the title. Faith is the belief in something greater then the sum of yourself. But it goes beyond just belief or dogma, it is the life altering realization that changes our outlook. It is what makes me Wiccan always. I am just not Wiccan at the Sabbats or in other rituals I am a Wiccan in all parts of my life.
So now that we have defined faith, can one have faith without religion? In other words can a atheist have faith? Is belief in a Divine Presence a requirement for faith? For me the answer is yes to the first and no to the second. I have met atheists that have faith in mankind and the spirit of hope that can arise in man. This can be a powerful motivating force.
So yes we can have faith without religion. And we can have religion without faith. But we cannot survive without faith. If you don't agree, look around at the hopelessness and confusion that is the hallmark of our age. Our youth have nothing to believe in and so they have no drive. They are easily led astray by anyone or anything that promises a better future. Without direction the youth cannot lead themselves, much less the country that they are going to inherit, in a productive direction. A direction of growth and new life.
It is not the lack of God in schools that is the problem, contrary to some people's belief, it is lack of faith that our children hold. The push away from organized religion has stripped generations of their faith. And so it is time to bring back faith to our youth.

But what do you do if your family (or yourself) is lacking in the faith department? I mean it is understandable, we live in a stressful, non faith conducive world; so it is easy to do, to fall away from faith and stop living a spiritual life.
Well, there are many things that one can do to both connect with your family and to connect them (and yourselves) to faith.

    * Family Altar
    * Meals together with Prayers
    * Bedtime prayers said together
    * Worshiping in Circle together
    * Acting as living reminders to each other

Some of these are harder to do then others but they all will work to remind each of you to have faith. For space reasons, I personally do not have a family altar up, but it is in my plans for the new year, when I can afford to buy smaller furniture which will clear up room. Yet the idea of a house altar that serves as a focal point for the faith of the family is a very ancient idea.
The best placement for the altar is up to you. But strive to place it somewhere that everyone will see it often. You can decorate it for the different Sabbats and make it a center of your family rituals.
Praying together, whether at meal times or at bedtime or any other time, strengthens the bonds of family with the glue of faith. So do it. Pray together often. And when the occasion arises take the time for all to say thanks to the Gods for all that they have received.
When the children get old enough they should be included in ritual with the family. This serves at least two purposes. The first being of course to increase the bonds of family. And the second being to prepare them for the ritual outside of the home in the public eye.
The last one may be the hardest one and is one that I have borrowed from Christianity. We all "backslide". You know, get tired of the effort and the daily grind. Yet if we have someone at hand to remind us of why we do what we do and to hold us up through the trials our faith can survive and even strengthen. This is really what family is supposed to be for, to increase the strength of the individuals to multiply the strength of the whole family.
So as we come up to Ostara, the time to give thanks for the bounties we have received, why don't we make the resolution to bring our family together in faith? Take a moment to bow your heads in prayer and offer up thanks for all that you as a family have received together. And in the coming year let us all make family our focus, as it should be.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment below.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Children and Music

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Kids of all types seem to love music, whether it it listening to or making their own. Among pagan families drums and rattles seem to be preferred. But these things can be expensive so here is a rattle that you can make with your children

Things You Will Need

Empty Coffee Cans
Construction Paper
Glue
Scissors
Dry Beans or Rice

Instructions

1. Make sure the coffee cans are clean
2. Measure the construction paper to fit around the cans
3. Decorate the paper
4. Glue the paper around the cans
5. If you wish to go a step further and make rattles then add the beans or rice
6. Make music and have fun

Now that you have an instrument you need music to sing.

Goddess Chant

Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali

We all come from the Goddess by Z. Budapest and Ian Corrigan

We all come from the Goddess
and to her we shall return
like a drop of rain
flowing to the ocean.

Hoof and horn, hoof and horn
All that dies shall be reborn
Corn and grain, corn and grain
All that falls shall rise again

The River is Flowing by Diana Hildebrand-Hull

The river she is flowing
flowing and growing
The river she is flowing
down to the sea
Mother, carry me
Your child I will always be
Mother, carry me
down to the sea


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ostara Family Ritual

Sunday, March 20, 2011
courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Spring is almost here and here to a quiet year with quiet weather. Hope all finds you all well.

My calendar has Ostara tomorrow, sorry if this is late in coming for you guys that celebrated this weekend.

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!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ostara Bunny

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Last week I talked about one of the most iconic symbols of Ostara, the painted egg. Today I wanted to talk about one of the other iconic symbols of this Sabbat, the Ostara Bunny.
The sacredness of hares and eggs at this time of the year lead back to second century C.E. (Common Era) in Europe. Where there was a raucous fertility festival celebrated by the Saxons in honor of the Goddess Eostre. Lost to history is the knowledge of this Goddess. But there are some references to her from that time period. That she was a Pagan fertility Goddess; That her sacred symbols were the hare and the egg.
The egg, and the hare for that matter, also go back much further to different Goddesses throughout history. The hare with different moon Goddesses and the egg with fertility and also as a solar symbol.
Now that we have established the origin of the sacredness of the symbols, how did we go from Eostre to the Easter Bunny? Well for that answer we must go forward from the Saxons almost 1500 years to Germany.
It was here and when that children looked forward to a visit from Oschter Haws, a rabbit that laid colored eggs in nests of grass for children to find. This then came to America via the Pennsylvania Dutch, who were actually the Deutsch, or Germans.
So if you had any doubts about the Easter Bunny, or rather the Ostara Bunny, I hope that they are all gone. Tell your children about Oschter Haws and have them expecting colored eggs and maybe some chocolate come Ostara morning.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ostara Recipes - Hot Cross Buns

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Egg Shell Mosaics

Monday, March 14, 2011
This time of the year many of us are going to be making colored eggs and if you use my natural dyes then you can eat those eggs. But what to do with the egg shells, well you can use them in your garden but I like the idea of making a mosaic from all those tiny colored pieces.

To get started;

Rinse eggshells and let dry
Use a rolling pin and go over the eggshells once or twice. You don't the pieces to small.
Arrange them in a pattern on a piece of paper or cardboard
Then secure them with glue

Blessed Be!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Time Crafts for Children

Sunday, March 13, 2011
I covered in an earlier post the building of a garden to draw the Faeries. So I figured today I would talk about crafts that you can do with your children to help with the drawing of the faeries and to decorate the garden
Some of the crafts that you can do are:
  • Windchimes
  • Mosaic Stepping Tiles
  • Bird Houses
  • Hummingbird Feeders
Windchimes

Materials

• Medium-size clay flower pot
• Adhesive tape
• Colored cord or yarn
• Nails of varied sizes
• Scissors
• Aluminum pie tins

Directions

Cut shapes out of the aluminum-hearts, diamonds, circles-and punch a hole at the top of each shape. String 1 or 2 shapes along 15 inches of cord by knotting. Do the same with the nails. Tape the ends of the cords to the edge of the flower pot and test for sounds and security by holding the pot upside down. Take several lengths of cord and tie a large knot at one end. Pull the free ends through the hole in the pot to make it hang. Tie a strong knot with the ends and place wind chimes in a tree or under an overhang where the wind brows. source parenting.ivillage.com

Mosaics

Mosaics are a great activity that children absolutely love to do. There are many great sites out there that cover this but the best site that I have found is KimGrantMosaics. She has detailed instructions on making mosaics and on decorating concrete spheres for the garden.


BirdHouses

Making birdhouses are not for the faint of heart or for the uncrafty. A knowledge of tools and basic woodworking is necessary unless you can find and buy a kit. Below is a link for a kit that you can order from Amazon. And here is a link for those who are willing to brave it on your own.




Hummingbird Feeders

I have never had the joy of seeing an hummingbird in the area that I live. But for those that want to either attract them or know that they live in the area and could use a place to stop and eat.

What you will need:

*Small red or red colored bottles.
Crafting wire
Water
Sugar


*Note: The color red is what attracts the hummingbirds to feeders. Many of the hummingbird feeders that you see in retail stores come with “nectar” which is red in color. With this craft the red color of the bottles is going to attract your hummingbirds. You can make your own homemade nectar and save bundles!

To get started:

Choose the bottle(s) you want to use as your feeder. Be sure that the bottle(s) you choose has a large enough opening at the top for the hummingbird to get his beak into. Most any home decor or crafting store stocks these small decorative glass bottles.

1) Cut a long enough piece of crafting wire to securely hang the bottle. You will want to be sure the wire is also long enough the hang the feeder in your designated hummingbird feeding area. Wrap the wire securely around the lip of the bottle. You make want to secure the wire with a small dab of hot glue or superglue depending on the weight of the bottle.

2) Once you have securely connected the wire to the bottle, mix up the nectar. Combine 4 parts water and 1 part sugar. These birds love sweet nectar.

3) Pour your nectar mix into the bottle and hang in a visible area, preferably at eye level. That’s it! You can make a large quantity of nectar and store in a bottle, periodically filling the feeder back to the top. I would recommend emptying the feeder, rinsing it with water and refilling it approximately 2 to 3 times a month. And be on the lookout for ants! If you find that ants are hanging around you may want to move the location of your feeder.

Note: Hummingbirds are very timid. It may take a few weeks or more for these little creatures to discover your feeder, so don’t fret. If you won pets you may want to hang the feeder in an area where you pets will not be. The presence of animals paired with noise will prevent the birds from visiting.

Hummingbird Nectar Mix:
(You can make changes according to the size of your bottle.)

1 cup of water
1/4 cup of sugar
Mix Well.

It’s that simple!

Additional Tips for your Hummingbird Feeder:

Make a collection of hummingbird feeders and hang in a cluster from a tree. You can hang the bottles at varying heights from the tree limbs and the sun shining through the colored glass is beautiful.

Use a “shepard’s hook”, which can be purchased at your local home and garden store, to hang your feeder from.

Hang the feeder from a hook on your patio in front of a window. You will be able to watch the hummingbirds even closer! source rubyglen.com



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Attracting Faeries to Your Garden

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Planting a Faery Garden

Whether you set aside part of your yard or just a corner of your porch or balcony. There are many options for you in what you can choose to plant. In addition to flowers and the such you should also consider adding a small fountain, low bird bath, waterfall or fishpond to attract fairies. Focus on the area around the water garden and work your way out from there. Garden statues of fairies will also help attract the wee ones. In addition you can add shiny wind chimes, gazing globes and colorful garden flags to help to entice gnomes and elves to add their presence.

Don’t forget that the wee ones are nature loving and enjoy their fun. When attracting fairies into your garden make sure to keep it clear of weeds and slugs, although a small patch that is unkempt or planted with wildflowers is fine.
  • BLUEBELLS: Faeries are summoned to their midnight revels and dances by the ringing of these tiny flowers.
  • FERNS: Pixie faeries are especially fond of ferns. One story tells of a young woman who accidentally sat on a fern, and instantly a faery man appeared and forced her to promise to watch over his faery son and remain in Faeryland for a year and a day. Ferns make nice soft beds for the little guys.
  • FOXGLOVE: The name "foxglove" came from the words "folk's glove." Folks referred to little people, or faeries. One legend says that faeries gave the blossoms to foxes to wear as gloves so they would not get caught raiding the chicken coop. According to another legend, if you picked foxglove, you would offend the faeries. And if the faeries stole your baby, the juice of the foxglove would help to get it back. In some stories, foxglove appears as a faery's hat. Foxglove can sometimes heal and sometimes hurt. It is a poisonous plant, but it is also used as medicine to treat heart disease.
  • HEATHER lights the flame of fairy passions and may open the gates between the fairy world and our own.
  • PANSIES: These may be used in fairy love potions.
  • POPPIES: These will bring faeries into your dreams.
  • PRIMROSES: Primroses are one key into faeryland. There is a German legend about a little girl who found a doorway covered in flowers, and when she touched it with a primrose, the door opened up, leading into an enchanted faery castle.
  • RAGWORT, CABBAGE STALKS, GRASS and STRAW: All of these were used by faeries for transportation in the same manner as a witch uses a broom.
  • ROSES: The sweet smell and soft petals of roses attract faeries to your garden. A popular love spell uses roses. Sprinkle rose petals under your feet and dance on them softly while asking the Faery for a blessing on your magic
  • SAFFRON CROCUS: The stamens from this fall flowering crocus constitute the herb saffron. Any food prepared with saffron is a favorite faery food. Saffron used as a dye will turn cloth a royal gold. Such cloth is very valuable to faeries.
  • THYME: Wear a sprig of thyme to increase your ability to see the wee ones. Thyme may also be planted by the doors and windows of your house to invite the fairies to come inside.
  • TULIPS: The faeries like to use the tulip bloom to put their babies to bed.
list from http://www.afaeryhunt.com/fairyfun.htm

Planning a smaller area on your Porch or Patio

The first step is to create an area that is private and shielded from view by the casual passerby. Whether you use an oriental screen or a trellis with climbing flowers such as morning glory or moonflowers growing on it, the idea is just to create seclusion.
You can still plant some flowers such as mugwort or foxglove. And a small vessel of water or a fountain. It may be easier to build the area in a corner with the fountain as the center piece.

Tell your children some of the stories as you plant them and keep them involved in the uptake and care of the flowers. It will help to teach them responsibility.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ostara Eggs

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
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 8, 2011

Ostara Recipes - Vegan

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
For the vegetarians out there among us. Here are some recipes for Ostara.

Squash Casserole

6 cups large diced yellow squash and zucchini
Vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon House seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed butter crackers (recommended: Ritz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the squash in a little vegetable oil over medium-low heat until it has completely broken down, about 15 to 20 minutes. Line a colander with a clean tea towel. Place the cooked squash in the lined colander. Squeeze excess moisture from the squash. Set aside.

In a medium size skillet, saute the onion in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and mix all ingredients together except cracker crumbs. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish and top with cracker crumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

House Seasoning

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Serve with favorite dish as a side.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. source

Tofu and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

* 6 medium cloves garlic, peeled
* 3/4 cup vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup low-fat firm silken tofu (115 grams / 4 ounces)
* 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 675 grams / 1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes (4 medium), peeled and cut into 5 centimeter chunks
* 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* Pinch of ground nutmeg


METHOD

In small saucepan, combine garlic and broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer broth to blender or food processor. Add tofu and oil and process until mixture is smooth and creamy. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in large saucepan, combine potatoes with enough cold water to cover. Add 1 t salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of potato cooking water; drain potatoes well.

In large bowl, mash potatoes; gently stir in warm tofu mixture and enough reserved potato water to make smooth puree. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg and serve. source


Monday, March 7, 2011

Ostara Crafts - Paper Mache Egg

Monday, March 7, 2011
Ok all you crafty witches! Here is a fun thing to do for Ostara.

You will need:

  • a balloon
  • paper
  • flour
  • and paint
  • easter egg grass
  • candy


  1. Blow up the balloon to the size you want. 
  2. Make a paper mache paste by mixing 3 cups water and 1 cup flour. 
  3. Tear the paper in strips; newspaper works best but any paper will do. 
  4. Soak each strip in the paper mache paste and place on the balloon the thicker the layers of the paper the stronger the egg. 
  5. When done allow to dry usually takes 2 days depending on how thick it is. 
  6. When dry decorate egg how you like. 
  7. Finally cut out a hole and place easter grass inside and then fill with candy. 

This is a guest post from my wife Danielle.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wicca 101 - The Conclusion

Sunday, March 6, 2011
I hope that you have enjoyed this series. In the next few weeks I am going to be releasing it as an ebook, so stay tuned for that.

But I also wanted to try and wrap up everything that we have talked about. We have went from explaining what Wicca/Paganism is to delving into the triple aspects of our deities. Then to the elements and their various energies and wound up at tools and building our altars.

In my class that I teach in person I would next move on into the Sabbats and the Esbats but you read this blog and I do that on a very regular basis. But I wanted to say that, as I always have, the time when a child is ready for ritual is as different as is every child. So be patient and slowly introduce them to the concepts, unless they are already ready.

If they are not ready for ritual then just let them see you in your daily devotions and prayers. If your altar is in a the public area of the house then do magick there for your children to see. It has been my experience that children will pick things up by osmosis but we do have to show them.

Any questions? Don't hesitate to use the contact form or just comment below.

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wicca 101 - Tools - Kid's Version

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tools and children. This is an interesting topic one with many questions. When are they ready to use tools? Should any young children be allowed to be responsible for a dagger? These are all questions that will vary upon the child but I have tried to put together a short checklist to not only tell when a child is ready for their own magickal tools but also for when they may be ready to enter into Circle with the rest of the family.


Patience
Awareness of the Self
Responsibility
Ability to follow simple instructions

I think that these few things are self-explanatory and so I won't belabor you with long explanations. 

Now that your child (and you) have gathered your tools they will need to be consecrated. So here is a sample cleansing and consecrating ritual, that is kid-friendly.

Items Needed
  • Blessed Water - This is basically just water with a pinch of salt that has been imbued with positive energy making it pure and clean
  • Sage or some other cleansing herb
Circle Casting

Start by casting circle in any way that is comfortable to you. I have included a circle casting to help with those who are new.

Have all join hands and still their thoughts. Let the first to speak say;

From Me to You; followed by the next person saying
From You to Me
and repeat until all have said both lines.
For the purpose of tonight's ritual have the chant move deosil (clockwise) around the circle of people.

Then when it gets back to the first let them say;

The Circle is Cast and the Temple is raised.
So Mote It Be! (All can repeat)

Ritual Content

Now that you have cast circle, lightly sprinkle the item to be consecrated with some of the blessed water And smudge it with smoke from the sacred herb.

Next have the child hold it and repeat after you:

I claim and bless this item
In the name of the Goddess (Lay it on the Earth below)
And the God (Hold it up to the sky)
So that it may serve me well in ritual

Have them focus on clearing the object of negative energy (you may have to help them in this step) and making it their own. 

Blessed Be!



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ostara Recipes -- Lamb and Rabbit

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
These are two of the traditional meats served as main courses for this Sabbat's feast.

Chunky Lamb Stew recipe
Chunky Lamb Stew ingredients list:

2 large Celery stalks, chopped.
1 large Onion, chopped.
3 Medium Carrots.
3 large Potatoes.
3 Medium Turnips.
1 lb Lean lamb for stew, cut into 1" cubes.
1 tablespoon of Veg. oil.
1 tablespoon of Soy sauce.
1 teaspoon of Sugar.
½ teaspoon of Salt.
¾ teaspoon of Gravy Powder.
2 tablespoons of All Purpose flour.
2 tablespoons of grated Lemon peel.
1 tablespoon of chopped Parsley.
1 can Stewed tomatoes.
1 can Beef broth.
1 packet of Frozen Peas(10 oz.).
Instructions for Chunky Lamb Stew:

* Cut carrots diagonally into 3/4" chunks. Peel and cut potatoes and turnips into 1 1/2" chunks. Remove any fat from the lamb.
* In 5 quart. Dutch oven over a med-high heat, cook the lamb in a small amount of hot oil, sprinkled with salt, until lamb is browned on all sides. With a slotted spoon, remove lamb to bowl.
* Cook the celery and onion in the remaining juices until lightly browned. Return lamb to Dutch oven; stir in the can of stewed tomatoes, beef broth, and 1 cup water. Over a high heat, bring to the boil.
* Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes.
* After the lamb has cooked 25 min., add the potatoes, carrots, turnips, soy sauce, sugar and Gravy Powder; over high heat, heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 min or until meat and vegetables are tender.
* In cup mix the flour and 2 tbs. water until mixed. Stir the flour mixture into meat and vegetables; cook over med-high heat until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the peas; heat through. Sprinkle with lemon peel and chopped parsley to serve.

Greek Roast Lamb recipe
Greek Roast Lamb ingredients list:

4 lb leg of lamb.
18 small white potatoes.
2 cloves garlic, halved and peeled.
1 onion, chopped finely.
Juice of half a lemon.
1 cup of dry white wine.
½ cup of water.
½ cup of vegetable oil.
3 tablespoons of butter, melted.
1 tablespoon of salt.
Pinch of pepper.
Instructions for Greek Roast Lamb:

Wash the leg of lamb thoroughly.

Slit the lamb in 4 places and insert garlic into the slits; then season with salt and pepper.

Combine the melted butter and lemon juice and brush over the lamb. Place in a roasting pan with a lid. Add the white wine, onion, and water. Cover and bake at 325°F (160°C) for 2 hours.

Remove the lid and increase heat to 375°F (190°C) and bake for another 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes.

Transfer to platter and keep warm.

In a skillet, heat vegetable oil to sizzling and fry the potatoes until golden brown.

Skim fat from the meat pan and add the potatoes to the meat drippings.

Bake, uncovered, at 375°F (190°C) for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

recipes courtesy of http://www.lambrecipes.org/
Baked Stuffed Rabbit

SHOPPING LIST: fine bread crumbs, dairy sour cream, flour, margarine, onions, pepper, salt, salt pork, savory, rabbit
INGREDIENTS

1 medium sized rabbit,
4 cups of fine bread crumbs,
2 tbsp. onions,
1/4 cup butter,
three or four thin slices of salt pork,
1/2 tsp. salt,
2 tbsp. savory,
1/4 tsp. pepper.

For the Gravy

2tbsp. flour,
dairy sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the dressing mix together 4 cups of bread crumbs, 2 tbsp. of chopped onion, 1/4 cup of butter, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp. savory, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Cooking
Stuff the rabbit with the dressing and fasten with skewers.
Place in roasting pan and lay four or five slices of fat port across the top.
Add a little water and cover the pan
Bake at 350F degrees or until the meat is tender (about 25 minutes per pound.)
Remove from oven and make gravy.

Gravy
Skim fat from cooking liquid, reserving 2 tablespoons.
In a saucepan, heat the 2 tbsp. fat and blend in 2 tbsp. flour.
Gradually stir in 1 cup of the liquid remaining in the roasting pan from the meat.
Cook, stirring until thickened.
Mix in 1 cup of dairy sour cream and heat thoroughly.

Hasenpfeffer - German Rabbit

2 1/2 pounds rabbit (up to 3 lb) -- cut up
2 cups dry red wine
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves


Place cut-up rabbit in flat refrigerator container. In bowl, combine remaining ingredients; Pour over rabbit. Marinate overnight in refrigerator. Place marinated rabbit in Crock-Pot. Add 1 1/2 cups marinade. cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours. Remove meat to warm platter. Thicken gravy, if desired. Serves 4.

Blessed Be!