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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Children's Beltane Ritual

Thursday, April 28, 2011
OK I know that Beltane is still technically Sunday but I figured why not give you time to prepare. Here is a ritual for Beltane. Hope you enjoy!


Circle Casting

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)

Quarter Callings

If you would like you can give the children bells and have them ring them after the invocations are spoken.

Start today in the East, the direction for new beginnings. Have a fan here and wave it at all present so that they can feel the presence of air.

In the East we call Air.
May it clear all obstacles that seek
To block us in our search.

Now move to South where you have a candle ready to be lit. Light it now. And have all focus on its flame. Carefully let them feel its heat.

In the South we call Fire.
May it light our way
To find wisdom tonight.

Come to the West. Have a cup of water there and have all take a small drink. Have all think about the water and how much we need it.

In the West we call Water.
May we have the vision tonight
To see inside its murky depths.

Finally we come to the North. In my practice I like to have a bowl of patchouli here so that we can smell it and be reminded about the Earth.

In the North we call Earth.
May it grant us the strength
To face the wisdom granted us.

Take this time to talk to the children about what this Sabbat means. Read to them the Beltane Story

If you want you can make a mini-maypole


When you are finished you can do Cakes and Juice to ground or feast afterwards.

Cakes and Juice

Touch the plate of cookies or cakes and say; Flesh of my Flesh
Then touch the juice in the goblet and say; Blood of my Blood

We are of Them as They are of us
Joined in Love and Light
Married in Strength and Truth
Showered in Power and Blessings
We Drink from Her womb
We Eat from His hand

Drink from the chalice and then eat from the plate of food feeling Their Love and Strength.
So that we always remember our Love for Them and Their Love for Us
Pour out a libation and leave some food for the Earth and for the Gods.

Closing

Return to the North;

Element of Earth we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

West

Element of Water we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

South

Element of Fire we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

East

Element of Air we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

To close circle have all join hands. And the first to speak at the casting releases his grip on his left hand and says; We open the Circle.

Moving widdershins (counter-clockwise) have each member repeat until the chant moves back to the first person. Who says; But we remain a Circle. Family united in spirit. Circle open but unbroken.

Then have all have a group hug. Remembering that we are all one family. Not just those present but all those on the Earth.



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Growing up Pagan - Another Book Review

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
After my review of Rupert's Tales, Schiffer Publishing was kind enough to ask if I would be interested in reviewing another book on Pagan children. This book, by Raine Hill, is called Growing up Pagan A Workbook for Wiccan Families.


At first glance this book seems deceptively simple. But after a thorough reading and testing my youngest daughter, I found myself thoroughly impressed.

Through the use of familiar myth, the author presents much of the Wiccan basics in a way that even young children could understand. But it doesn't end there, with wordsearch and crossword at the end of these stories, the vocabulary is enforced. There is also a guide to building a first altar and learning the basics of the Wheel of the Year, along with symbols and their meanings.

Ending with a test on the lessons taught in the book and a certificate your child could personalize and then show with pride, I would recommend this book to you. Especially if you are just starting out the Pagan path with your children. And if you're not sure you would know the answers to the test at the end, don't worry there is an answer key.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Food as Ritual

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The sacrifice of the first of the harvest to the Gods. The laying out of milk, honey and bread for the faeries. The mute supper laid out to honor the dead on Samhain. The partaking of Cakes and Ale in circle to ground us after ritual.
These are just a few of the rituals that we as Pagans may celebrate with food. Throughout the centuries our ancestors celebrated many more. So what is it about food that allows it to serve such an important role in so much?

Well my theory is that when we do anything with intent it becomes charged with energy. And food is one of the few items with the huge potential to store energy. Food by itself holds much energy, that is how we can live off of food. So if you ritually prepare food as an offering to the Gods or to any spirits then it becomes a hyper charged vessel of energy.

And to prepare our own food is to become more in tune with the energies of the Earth around us. I also think that, as a modern culture, with all of our processed foods, we have forgotten the wonders of wholesome food. They have stripped our food of all that was good for us and added sugars and preservatives. This is convenient for us, so we don't complain. Yet this disconnect has also served as another way we have been divorced from nature.

So the next time you cook your food or sit down to eat spend time to savor each bite and morsel. There is a Zen saying, "When walking, walk; when eating, eat". So eat with intent and in thankfullness for the bounty we have received.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Beltane Recipes -- Desserts

Monday, April 25, 2011
I assumed with Beltane being tomorrow that I would throw out some last minute recipes for you to try. So I hope you all enjoy. Happy Baking

Orange White Chocolate Chip Beltane Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest.
  3. In a bowl of mixer, cream butter on medium speed, adding sugar gradually. Add vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture gradually, stopping frequently to push down from sides of bowl. When flour mixture is thoroughly combined, mix in chips.
  4. Drop dough by scant spoonful onto baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart, flattening slightly with back of spoon. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) 10 to 12 minutes or until beginning to brown. Allow to cool completely on cooling rack. courtesy of allrecipes.com

Ginger Beltane Cookies

Ingredients


  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 3 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cream butter and sugars.
  4. Beat in molasses and egg.
  5. Combine all dry ingredients in seperate bowl.
  6. Stir all together.
  7. Add in chopped ginger.
  8. Roll into balls, or drop by tablespoonfull.
  9. Sprinkle with red colored sugar, nuts, chocolate chips, or granulated sugar.
  10. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  11. Cool and enjoy! courtesy of recipezaar.com



Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Greenman

Sunday, April 24, 2011
The Greenman is an aspect of the God that is appropriate for this upcoming Sabbat. He is the God of the deep and wild woods as well as the God of wild animals.

He is part of the Horned Lord aspect and he is also called Jack O' the Green. Dionysus and Pan can fit into this aspect. But the color green did not just mean the foliage that the Greenman was known for, it is also the universal color of the fairy folk.

With this in mind I thought it fitting that I share this craft that I found while looking for Beltane activities.

This is basically to make your own Green Man mask.

You Will Need
Mask form (or craft foam, paper plate, cardboard, etc.)
Tack glue or hot glue gun
Silk leaves, variety

Get a full or half-face blank mask form from any costume supply shop, or make a simple one by cutting eye-holes in a paper plate, or cut a half-mask with eyes out of cardboard or craft foam. Punch holes in the sides and


thread ribbon through to tie it around your head.

Arrange the silk leaves on the mask, starting with the larger leaves going around the outer edges. Glue them on, slightly overlapping. Have the edges of the leaves hang slightly off the edge of the mask.

After completing the perimiter, move inward an inch and put another circular layer of leaves. Stagger them so they don't match up perfectly with the first set of leaves. Glue them all the way around. Continue doing this until you cover the mask, avoiding the eye holes.

Finish by arranging and gluing some smaller leaves around the eye holes, being careful not to obscure the vision.

If you like, arrange leaves to resemble a mustache or beard if desired. This Pagan Craft can be quite spiritual as masks have been used for millennia in rites and rituals.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day - Ritual to Heal the Planet

Thursday, April 21, 2011
courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
Beltane is almost here and today (22nd) is Earth Day. Here is a ritual that some of you may find familiar, but I made some changes to it.

Our world is in trouble. Between pollution, deforestation, and overfishing our land and seas are facing a threat that they can barely fight against. Now things aren't quite as bad as some environmentalists would have you believe. They continue to find new species of fish and other animals. And there have been great strides in combating pollution. It also seems to me that many Pagans look for something to do but find that a solution is hard to come by. So here is a ritual that you can do with your kids to lend energy to Mother Earth.

Circle Casting

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)

Quarter Callings

If you would like you can give the children bells and have them ring them after the invocations are spoken.

Start today in the East, the direction for new beginnings. Have a fan here and wave it at all present so that they can feel the presence of air.

In the East we call Air.
May it clear all obstacles that seek
To block us in our search.

Now move to South where you have a candle ready to be lit. Light it now. And have all focus on its flame. Carefully let them feel its heat.

In the South we call Fire.
May it light our way
To find wisdom tonight.

Come to the West. Have a cup of water there and have all take a small drink. Have all think about the water and how much we need it.

In the West we call Water.
May we have the vision tonight
To see inside its murky depths.

Finally we come to the North. In my practice I like to have a bowl of patchouli here so that we can smell it and be reminded about the Earth.

In the North we call Earth.
May it grant us the strength
To face the wisdom granted us.

Now have the children sit and think on the Earth. For younger children you could have them imagine the Earth going to the Doctor to get better. For older children they could just imagine the earth, as pictured from space, bathed in golden or blue light. When you feel that the time is right then have them lay their hands on the Earth and say how much they love the Earth and all the animals on it. Have them ask for the Earth to be healed and strong.

You can take this time now to talk to your children about how we are all connected in the Circle of Life. You can tell them about the Elements and how they all are a part of each of us. You can sing this popular chant that I have put below.

Earth my body
Water my blood
Air my breath
And fire my spirit

When you are finished you can do Cakes and Juice to ground or feast afterwards.

Cakes and Juice

Touch the plate of cookies or cakes and say; Flesh of my Flesh
Then touch the juice in the goblet and say; Blood of my Blood

We are of Them as They are of us.
Joined in Love and Light
Married in Strength and Truth
Showered in Power and Blessings
We Drink from Her womb
We Eat from His hand

Drink from the chalice and then eat from the plate of food feeling Their Love and Strength.
So that we always remember our Love for Them and Their Love for Us
Pour out a libation and leave some food for the Earth and for the Gods.

Closing

Return to the North;

Element of Earth we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

West

Element of Water we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

South

Element of Fire we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

East

Element of Air we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

To close circle have all join hands. And the first to speak at the casting releases his grip on his left hand and says; We open the Circle.

Moving widdershins (counter-clockwise) have each member repeat until the chant moves back to the first person. Who says; But we remain a Circle. Family united in spirit. Circle open but unbroken.

Then have all have a group hug. Remembering that we are all one family. Not just those present but all those on the Earth.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beltane Recipes - Custards

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Custards are a traditional recipe for Beltane since they include eggs and milk. These are traditional symbols of fertility and also traditional gifts to the faery folk. So Happy Cooking!

Marigold Custard

Ingredients
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup unsprayed marigold petals
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 to 2-inch piece vanilla bean
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. rose water
  • whipped cream
Using a clean mortar and pestle reserved for cooking purposes, pound marigold petals. Or, crush with a spoon. Mix the salt, sugar and spices together. Scald milk with the marigolds and the vanilla bean. Remove the vanilla bean and add the slightly beaten yolks and dry ingredients. Cook on low heat. When the mixture coats a spoon, add rose water and cool.

Top with whipped cream, garnish with fresh marigold petals. adapted from Scott Cunningham's Guide to the Solitary Practitioner

Chocolate Custard Pudding Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup chocolate, grated
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
1. Melt the chocolate with a little hot water.
2. Add the milk, mix well, put on fire and bring to a boil.
3. Mix eggs and sugar together.
4. Add the chocolate and milk and mix well.
5. Fill a pudding dish with the custard mixture.
6. Set pudding dish in a baking pan partially filled with water.
7. Bake in moderate oven for about 30 to 35 minutes. courtesy of recipes.lovetoknow.com

Blessed Be!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Beltane Crafts - Faerie Chair

Monday, April 18, 2011
I had something else planned for today's post but I am currently in the midst of fixing my laptop. So instead I am going to post this unique garden craft that I found.

Faerie Chair

You'll need the following items:
  • An old wooden chair
  • Some primer paint
  • Exterior paint in your favorite Faerie color(s)
  • Polyeurethane or sealant
  • Seeds for a climbing flower, such as morning glory or clematis
  • A sunny spot in your garden
To make this cute outdoor project, start by applying a coat of primer paint to the chair. It's really easiest if this is in white or another light color. Next, apply a coat of your favorite Fae-attracting color -- pastels look very pretty, such as lavenders or sunny yellows. Decorate the chair with designs in acrylic paints if you like. Once the paint has dried, apply a coat or two of polyeurethane to protect the chair from the elements.
Find a sunny spot in your garden, and loosen the soil a bit. Place the chair where you want it, but be sure that it's the right spot, because it's going to become a permanent fixture. Once the chair is in place, plant seeds around the base of the chair, just a few inches away from the legs.
Water the soil each day, and as your climbing plants appear, twine the vines up through the legs of the chair and around it. Pretty soon, you'll have a chair covered with leafy greens and bright flowers. It's the perfect place for your kids to spot a Faerie!

I almost forgot to put in the teaser for this summer's upcoming project. Why is it that Christians get Vacation Bible School? What about us Pagans?


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Paper Baskets

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Next to the Maypole nothing is more iconic for May Day than the baskets that children carry, stuffed full of flowers and treats. But for those of us, like me, who don't have a lot of skill yet want to make their own baskets, what are we to do?

The answer is paper baskets. I looked around and found some instructions on making these kinds of baskets. I decided to go with two of these, posted below.


Paper Berry Baskets

What You'll Need:

    * Plastic berry basket
    * Fabric or ribbon
    * Scissors
    * Construction paper
    * Stapler
    * Tissue paper

Step 1: Cut several strips of fabric or ribbon as wide as the openings in your basket. Weave the strips in and out of the slots around the basket. Tie each strip in a knot and trim the excess.

Step 2: To make a handle, cut a 1-inch-wide strip of construction paper. Secure 1 end of the strip to each side of the basket with a stapler. If you want, use a strip of fabric or ribbon to tie a bow around the handle.

Step 3: Line your basket with tissue paper, then fill it with goodies.

African Tutsi Basket

What You'll Need:

    * 2 sheets 9x12-inch red construction paper
    * 3 sheets 9x12-inch beige construction paper
    * 5-inch plate
    * 9-inch plate

Tools:

    * Clear tape
    * Ruler
    * Pencil
    * Scissors
    * Craft glue

Step 1: Cut 8 strips of red construction paper, each 12 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. With 2 pieces of the beige construction paper, glue the 12-inch-long edges of the pieces together (overlap the edges a little). After the glue has dried, cut 4 strips 16 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

Step 2: Glue 2 red strips together at the middle to form a cross. Do this with all the other red strips until you have 4 red crosses. Place the 4 crosses on top of each other, and fan them out evenly. Glue them in place -- they should look like a star.

Step 3: Use the 5-inch plate to draw a circle on the other piece of red construction paper. Cut out the circle, and glue it to the center of the star. This forms the bottom of your basket. Fold the rays of the star up at the edge of the circle.

Step 4: Tape a beige strip horizontally across the bottom of 1 ray. Weave the beige strip over and under the rays all the way around. Remove the tape, and glue the ends of the beige strip together. Hold ends together until glue begins to dry. Repeat with remaining beige strips. Push beige strips close together before gluing.

Step 5: After you've finished weaving the beige strips, fold over and glue the red ends to the inside of the basket, forming a rim. Make a pointed lid for the basket by using the 9-inch plate to trace a circle on the last sheet of beige construction paper.

Step 6: Cut out the circle, then cut a pie wedge out of the circle (the bigger the wedge, the taller the lid). Overlap and glue the cut ends together.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The God Belenos

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
One of the many ideas of the origin of the name of Beltane is that it comes from the Celtic God Belenos. Belenos was one of the most widespread Celtic Gods of the Ancient World. Known from Italy in the East into Gaul and as far as Ireland in the West.

Beltane fires were lit to encourage the sun's warmth. These fires also had restorative properties and cattle were herded between them before being loosed on the new spring pastures. From this it is likely that Belenos was a fire deity, a patron of flame and the sun's restorative powers (which explains his classical association with Apollo).

Belenos, along with Apollo, was also associated as a God of Healing. Which is definitely fitting for this time of the year, since the Earth is in need of healing after the harshness of Winter.

Some historians believe that Belenos was a different aspect of Bile who was married to the Irish Mother Goddess, Danu. This fits with the aspect of the God as Lover during this Sabbat.

It is my personal opinion that Belenos is indeed the root of the Sabbat Beltane and that the fires were most likely lit in his honor to aid energy to Sun (Apollo-Belenos) so that he could produce a good offspring from his union with the Goddess, Mother Earth.

Blessed Be!



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beltane Recipes -- Vegan

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Yes it is that time again. Four weekly posts on recipes for the upcoming Sabbat. Some of these recipes have milk and butter in them but perhaps those with better experience with cooking vegetarian meals can find a way to substitute those ingredients.

Leek and Broccoli Quiche
Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients
  • 1 frozen ready to use deep dish pie shell or pastry for 1 pie shell
  • 2 leeks cleaned, and chopped finely
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese, any kind you like
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prick the bottom of the pie shell with a fork to allow ventilation, set aside.

In a large fry pan, saute leeks and broccoli in butter until leeks are lightly browned. Remove from heat to cool. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk or cream, flour, salt and pepper until frothy. Set aside.

Add cooled leek mixture and cheese to pie shell. Spread evenly. Pour egg mixture slowly over the top. Put into the oven for 30-35 minutes or until top is slightly browned. To check for doneness, the top should be firm, insert a butter knife in the middle to ensure it comes out clean.
Serve immediately. courtesy of Canadian Wiccans

Now I know that the following is not in the normal pattern but I figured a vegan version of my favorite desert was a good fit.

Vegan Carrot Cake

Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 3 Cups shredded Carrots
  • 1 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup of Orange Juice
  • 3/4 Cup of Granola Oil
  • 1 Cup of Raisins
  • 1 Cup of Copped Walnuts
Topping:
  • 8oz Tofutti cream cheese or other kind of soy cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2tsp vanilla
Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Do not use a hand mixer for this recipe, use a ladle or spoon.
3. Mix all the dry Ingredients together.
4. Then mix in the Carrots and the Oil to the dry ingredients.
5. Add the Orange Juice and mix it all together.
6. Grease pan with cooking spray or oil.
7. Put the batter into cake pan.
8. Bake for 45 minutes or until knife/toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
9. Let cool completely
10. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together with hand mixer.
11. Pipe into a plastic ziplock bag and close bag.
12. When cake is completely cool, cut a little snip off the bottom corner of the ziplock bag and drizzle the creamy frosting over the top of the cake as pictured.
13. Or you can always just frost it regular.
14. Enjoy!
courtesy of grouprecipes.com


Monday, April 11, 2011

The Maypole

Monday, April 11, 2011
Many of us know of the Maypole, but for those that don't; The Maypole is a tall pole, typically made of maple, that is decorated with flowers and has long ribbons tied to the top. Then there is done that activity that is know as the Maypole Dance. Where the dancers spin around the pole weaving and entwining the ribbons. This is representative of the fertility that this Sabbat is known for.
Now fertility connotations aside, the Maypole is an entertaining and fun activity for children. And for those that don't want to, or don't have the means to erect a giant pole in their yard, there is the mini Maypole. http://www.mppl.org/kids/maypole.html
In my opinion it is not necessary to explain it all to children who are to young to understand the sexual connotations. But older children, and this is completely up to your discretion, could be told some of what the Maypole means. And in fact could probably use this occasion as an opportunity to do magick with you for things that they need in their life.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

What is the Great Rite?

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Beltane is almost here and I realized that I haven't yet talked about the event that the Sabbat celebrates. The Great Rite. Now I know that this is not really a kid appropriate discussion but I will talk about explaining this to children in a subsequent post. 

So first off, what is the Great Rite? Although many of you may know the answer already, the answer simply, is that it is the sexual union between the Horned Lord and the Maiden, Goddess of Spring.

But more complexly it is the union between the masculine and feminine energies present within nature and more importantly within ourselves. It is Shiva, the inseminator, descending into Shakti, the Divine womb. If you look deep within this then you will see that there is a great lesson to be learned. That without action there can be no growth. And that without thought and a container for action then there can be no fruit from acting.

This can also be described in the balance within Yin and Yang. Neither can exist without the other, if there is to be balance in nature and within ourselves.

I see that this is a problem in most religions of the world, Wicca and Paganism included, some religions have excluded the feminine energies of the divine and then there are those that swung the pendulum to the other side, excluding almost completely the masculine component to Creator. (I must say for fairness sake, that this is not always the case. No rule can be defined as all encompassing).
So over the next few weeks look at how you behave. Are you all action and no focus, no container for your activity? Or are you a thinker without action?
Either one is pointless and will achieve nothing or very little in the end.

Spend time in meditation this Beltane visualizing the athame dipping into the chalice. Also take the time in normal waking life to try to integrate the masculine and feminine energies within yourself, striving to be a more complete and whole person.

Blessed Be!

On an extra note, I am currently moving my Facebook presence to a Facebook page. So if you are interested in following me there for updates and the like. Here is the link. I will be clearing my friends list out this week, so make sure to click like to continue to get updates. 



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beltane Crown of Flowers

Thursday, April 7, 2011
This has long been a tradition for Beltane and it is a good idea to include this into your family traditions.
Some suggestions for flowers are daisies or dandelions. You can also choose wildflowers. Just be sure that they won't cause any allergic reactions for you or your kids.

Things You’ll Need:

* 25 flowers
* Knife (optional)

Step 1:
Gather 25 flowers, such as daises or dandelions. Make sure that the stems are about 4- to 5-inches long so they can be tied easily.

Step 2:
Make a slit in the stem about a 1/4-inch long through the middle of each flower stem. This should be 2 inches below the head of the flowers. Use your fingernail to do this or you can use a sharp knife.

Step 3:
Slip the end of another flower's stem through the slit you have made and pull it until you get to the head of the flower.

Step 4:
Do the same with the next flower, weaving the stem of another flower through the next slit. Keep going in this manner until you've made a chain of flowers.

Step 5:
Make sure the chain will fit your child before you finish it off by measuring it around her head.

Step 6:
Twist the ends of the chain together to form a ring. Stick each end through slits in the stems to secure it.

Step 7:
Place the crown of flowers around her head and watch proudly as she dances around her kingdom. courtesty of ehow.com

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Family Ritual for Abundance

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I was looking around the internet tonight looking for things on Beltane and came across this intriguing ritual over on about.com. It is a ritual for family abundance. Here is the text from the article below. 

This family ritual is one that you can easily include children in. Hold it at night, if possible. Before beginning, prepare your family's evening meal. Include spring foods, such as a light salad, fresh fruit, or breads. Set the table as you normally would, and go outside. For this ritual, you'll need the following:
  • A small flower pot for each person in the family
  • A bowl of dirt or potting soil
  • Seeds for your favorite herbs or flowers
  • A cup of water
  • A small fire
  • A piece of paper for each person in the family
Go out in your yard with the entire family -- be sure you have a small table or other flat surface you can use as an altar. For the fire, you can either build a large one in your yard, or if space is an issue, use a table-top brazier. A small cast iron pot is perfect for this purpose. You may want to decorate your altar space beforehand with symbols of the season. If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

The oldest person in the family should lead the ritual. Begin by saying:

      Welcome, spring!
      The light has returned, and life has come back to the earth.
      The soil is dark and full of energy,
      so this evening we plant our seeds.
      They will lie in the soil, taking root and growing,
      until the time has come for them to meet the sun.
      As we plant these seeds, we give thanks to the earth
      for its strength and life-bringing gifts.

Each person fills their pot with soil. You can either pass the bowl of dirt around, or if you have small children, just let each approach the altar or table. If there are a number of people participating, you may want to sing a chant as everyone fills their pot. A good chant for this is:

      Earth my body, water my blood,
      air my breath and fire my spirit…

      repeated multiple times, or sung as a round-robin.

Once everyone has filled their pot with soil, pass out the seeds. Say:

      Tiny seeds, containing life!
      They travel upon the wind and bring to us abundance.
      Flowers, herbs, vegetables, fruit…
      all the bounty of the earth.
      We give thanks to the seeds,
      for the gifts that are to come in the harvest season.

Each person should push their seeds down into the soil. Older participants can help smaller children with this. Finally, pass around the cup of water. Say:

      Water, cool and life-giving!
      Bringing power to these seeds,
      and moistening this fertile soil.
      We give thanks to the water,
      for allowing life to bloom once more.

When each person has finished potting their seeds, set the flower pots on the altar or table. Give each participant a small piece of paper and something to write with. Say:

      Tonight we plant seeds in the earth,
      but Beltane is a time in which many things can grow.
      Tonight we plant seeds in our hearts and souls,
      for other things we wish to see blossom.
      We plant the seeds of love, of wisdom, of happiness.
      We dig deep, and begin a crop of harmony, balance, and joy.
      We add water to bring life and abundance of all kinds into our homes.
      We offer our wishes into the fire, to carry them out to the Universe.

Each person should write on their paper something they wish to see blooming in their own life -- harmony, happiness, financial security, strong relationships, healing, etc. For small children, it may be something very simple -- even if your first-grader writes down that he wants a pony, don't discourage anyone's wishes. After each person has written their wish down, they approach the fire one at a time and cast the paper into the flames (help little ones with this part, just in the interest of safety).

When everyone has placed their wishes into the fire, take a few moments and think about the meaning of Beltane. Think about the things you want to see bloom and grow in your own life, in both the material and the non-physical realm. When everyone is ready, end the ritual. You may wish to follow the ceremony with another Beltane festivity, such as a Maypole Dance, or the traditional cakes and ale.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beltane Recipes -- Meat and Drink

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Cherry and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops

2 tbsp. canola oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup dried sweetened cherries, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops, 1-inch thick
1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup cherry juice

In large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add celery, onions, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Stir in cherries, thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.Cut deep pocket in side of each pork chop. Fill with 1/4 of cherry mix. Skewer pockets closed with toothpicks. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1 tbsp. oil. Add pork chops, brown over medium heat for 8 minutes per side or until no longer pink.
Remove chops from skillet. Pour off fat. Add flour to skillet, cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth and juice. Scrape brown bits from skillet, cook 1 minute more to thicken sauce slightly.
Return chops to skillet. Turn to coat evenly. Spoon remaining sauce over chops before serving.


Soft (non-alcoholic) Mead
  • 4 cups spring water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  1. Bring the water, honey, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon to a boil in a non-metallic pan. 
  2. Stir until honey is dissolved; heaviness should disappear from bottom of the pan. 
  3. Use wooden spoon to skim off skin that forms at top of brew. 
  4. Add lemon and orange slices, squeezing as they are placed in the pan. 
  5. Cool completely; strain. 
  6. Store in bottle in refrigerator. courtesy of clannada.org



Monday, April 4, 2011

Children's Beltane Story

Monday, April 4, 2011
The children came to their grandfather, crying out for another story. "Tell us grandfather about the Gods and what comes next in their story."
Smiling the grandfather said, "Well children, if you remember the Gods and the animals had just worked the magick to bring back Spring. And so they spent the next few months enjoying Spring and falling in love.
"So the faeries smiled knowingly and began to make a gift for the Gods. For they knew soon that the Gods would come together in love and be one. So they wove and wove until on the Eve of May their weaving was done. And there where the Faeries had worked so hard was a bower of flowers for the Gods. A bed made of flowers, sweet smelling and pretty to behold.
"Yet still the Gods tarried in the garden of the world. So the faeries called the children and taught them the dance of the Maypole. To bring fertility to the Earth and to urge the Gods to do their part in furthering the cycle. They went across the land gathering brightly colored ribbons and brought them to the pole that the faeries had erected in the forest glen.
"And as the children danced on that May morning, weaving around and around the pole they raised their voices in song. And finally the Goddess came to the God and they became one in that Divine Marriage, the Hieros Gamos.
"So, in celebration, the faeries lit a sacred fire from eight woods. Birch to represent the Maiden, white and pure. Oak to represent the Horned God, strong and mighty.
"Then rowan for life and willow for death. For all life must end to come again. Hawthorn to purify the union. Hazel for a wise child to be made. Apple to aid in fertility and grape for joy. Fir that the union lasts evermore. And when the fire was kindled and grew up to kiss the sky, couples and those looking for another gathered. With great joy these couples jumped the fire to share in its gifts. Wishes they asked for and such was the magick that all the wishes asked were granted.
"When the Gods left their bower of flowers that the faeries had led them to, they smiled and caused the Earth to grow even more bountiful. And because the faeries served so faithfully they were gifted with the first of the bounty of milk and honey.
"So my children that is why we weave and dance the Maypole and light the sacred fires. For it is on this day that the Holly King begins his life. And the magicks we weave help to bring him here safely, so that the cycle may continue forward.
"Now listen children to the hidden meaning and lesson to be found here in these few words. For you to be complete and to grow, you must also blend the two halves. The Goddess and God within.
"Know that great things will come from it. And be strong.
"Now run along children and play let me rest. I will tell you the next part of the Story of the Gods another time"
And the children went to gather ribbons for their own version of the maypole. For they all wanted to do their part.