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, June 29, 2011

Daily Devotions for Pagan Children

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
This will help to strengthen their connection to the Goddess and God and as they get older allow them to have greater control over both their bodies and minds. And yes I said for children but adults can have a go at these exercises to.
You can take your children out to watch a sunset and if they are older a sunrise since it is to early in the morning for most younger children. Tell them to watch and not talk, I know hard for some of the younger ones but be patient and they will learn to be patient also. When the sun is gone and most of the colors have faded sit still and talk to the children about what they saw, but let them do most of the talking. I have found that if I just sit and listen to my children I will hear the most wondrous things. They are so full of imagination and innocence.
Then you can say a small prayer either to greet or say farewell to the sun.

Farewell to the Sun

Hail and Farewell to you glorious sun
Rest well and rise upon the morn
Merry Meet and Merry Part

Greetings to the Sun


We greet you in joy newborn sun
Rise quickly and banish the night
Light our path in the day ahead
Hail and Blessed Be



Another thing that I do often is try to point out the moon, no matter what phase it is in. Or even just take the kids and point out the stars. Identifying for them the major constellations that are visible. We have a telescope that we have used a few times to look at planets. Lassair, my youngest one, is not to interested. I think she is to young to be patient enough to be interested. But Juliet gets very excited.

I hope that these things have sparked your interest and perhaps you will take the time out to show your children or perhaps just look yourself at the wonders of nature that are revealed around us all the time.

Blessed Be!



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bringing Family Together in Faith

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
This past week I have talked about the importance of faith over religion and raising children with faith. But what do you do if your family is lacking a little in the faith department? 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.
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.
If anyone out there has any other ideas please feel free to post them in the comments below.
Blessed Be!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Raising Children with Faith

Monday, June 27, 2011
Yesterday I reposted an article on Faith vs. Religion.  I talked about how faith is more important than religion. In that post I also talked about how faith is missing from the world as a general rule. And since it is up to parents to instill the appropriate values in their children, how does one begin to teach children to have faith?
To begin to answer this, we should first define it; Faith is the belief in something greater then ourselves. So to teach faith to our children, we should teach them about Divinity and a respect and honoring for that Divinity. To have faith, children must find a belief in the Gods.
To instill this belief there are many things that you can do. From something as complex as daily devotions and prayers to something as simple as taking time with your children to appreciate the beauty of nature.
For example I take my oldest child on nature walks so that she can get a sense of respect for the wonders that surround us. In the suburban lifestyles that so many of us lead, we are almost completely cut off from the natural world. And as Pagans this should be of utmost concern to us. For how can we truly honor the Earth if we do not know her and haven't connected to her.
But let us not leave out the idea of leading by example. The faith I have in and for the Gods is my strength and my motivation and my children see this. It is my hope that they will learn to have faith from the activities that I do.
What kinds of things do you do towards this goal?
Blessed Be!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

What is More Important; Faith or Religion?

Sunday, June 26, 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 open Sabbats 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 in our youth. The push away from organized religion has stripped generations of their faith. And so it is time to bring back faith to our youth.
So stay tuned the rest of this week for more posts in this vein.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Families are Built on Traditions

Thursday, June 23, 2011
One of the cornerstones of a strong family is the traditions that they hold and practice. These common activities are the glue that holds a family together through all the problems that they may face. Whether it is something as simple as breaking bread together just once a week or as complex as that Yule time trip to see relatives.
As I have always said we live in a hectic world, one that is counterproductive to the idea of family and the idea of creating routine and structure. Both of which are important to the creation of a strong family. So if we can take, or make, the time to carve out some of these traditions then it will help to instill family values into our children. This also gives us the much needed opportunity to talk about our lives in a relaxed environment.
The benefits of building family traditions reach far beyond the present and even the near future. Research shows that children raised in families with traditions are far less likely to do drugs or engage in other risky behavior. These traditions can become their “escape” from the struggles that we all face in growing up and just living. This also creates an everlasting bond between parents and children, one that creates that intimacy that is so important to a Strong Family.
In my own family, I have strived to create traditions that I hope will outlast my children. Something that my children, when they get older, will want to repeat with their children. I know this seems like this should be the definition of traditions but I have seen many parents, with good intentions, focus more on activity than on making the traditions fun. The fun part is what is most important, get the children engaged and they will want to do it over and over again.
The holidays are an easy time to create these traditions. Whether we make candles at Imbolc or hunt for eggs at Ostara or carve Jack-o-Lanterns at Samhain, there are countless things that we can do that our children will remember for years and decades to come. But what about the time between the Sabbats and other holidays?
These times are just as important as the rest. The question is, what to do? For as we all know in our modern world, and the world many of us grew up in, we do not have our own family traditions to fall back on. We do not have that legacy passed down to us from our parents or grandparents. This leaves us at a loss as to how to begin.
So here are some suggestions:
  • Read to your kids
  • Have at least one meal together each week (that includes all of the family)
  • Pray together
  • Take at least one day a week for family fun – whether it is outside or inside just have fun
This is just a small list of ideas and your list can be much longer. The important thing to remember is to just get started.
So take some time today and have a family meeting tell them what you are trying to do, you may want to talk this over with your partner before you start, just to be prepared. But start today on the journey of building traditions. You may have to float a small armada of trial balloons to find something that sticks but don't be discouraged just keep at it, your kids will eventually thank you for your efforts.

Blessed Be!



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Children Out of the Broom Closet

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Should children be out of the Broom Closet and open with their beliefs? This is a very good question with no clear and definite answer. This is because the answer depends on the area you live in and the people in it along with many other things.

Because of this I am not going to try and argue either side. Instead I wanted to address a comment left a while back on this blog. This young lady talked about her pre-teen daughter and her trials with being open with her beliefs.

Now this is something that I don't have a lot of experience with. My youngest is home-schooled and my oldest is Christian. So I hesitated on writing this article. Yet the more I thought about this topic, the more I realized that all children face this problem in some degree  about some topic or some choice that they have made. Whether they wear glasses or even like ranch dressing with their french fries at lunch. Or to larger things like being Wiccan/Pagan or even openly homosexual. This kind of problem is universal and encompassing. So I decided to approach it from this side of things. Figuring that universal answers may help to solve this problem.

Not to breach her privacy, but my oldest (she is ten) has faced some of these issues. Much like I was at her age, she is far from the most popular kid in her class. And on a recent camping trip her unpopularity came up. Speaking from experience I told her that to be patient and that these things will change once she gets into middle school and out of Elementary school. Since her antagonists will be underclassmen and will be facing their own problems.

I think that this is the key. We, as parents, cannot change the world or the prejudiced people in it, but we can help to strengthen our children. To teach them that the opinions of others matter very little in the grand scheme of things. And we can be there to console them when they cry and/or scream in hurt.

Yet if your kids feel that they cant come forward and talk to you then none of this advice will be of any help. This is why in my house I have created an open door policy. Now the open door policy works two ways. They trust us with their secrets and we make the oath not to yell at them. A good example of this is the scene from the movie, 'Bringing Down the House' with Queen Latifah and Steve Martin. Martin goes and picks up his drunk daughter from a party and brings her home. The house guest, Latifah, counsels him to do just this and not yell at her. Instead he should be there and be understanding. A few minutes later Martin leaves his daughter's room in shock because of all the secrets that he has just been made privy to. So avoid this shock and start it now while they are young.

I believe in this policy because I believe that we are not raising children, instead we are creating adults. They need the freedom to make choices and fail and subsequently learn from those mistakes. All we can do is to help them to see those mistakes and to help them find a way to fix them.

If any of your children have had this issue I would love to see your comments on how you have dealt with this.

Blessed Be!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Children's Litha Ritual

Monday, June 20, 2011
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 Children's Story for Litha. Litha is about the height of the Year before the decline of the sun so make this ritual about celebration of family and all that is important to your family. Because as Fall comes, followed by Winter,  it is those things that will keep you through the cold. 


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.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Litha Crafts - God Figure

Sunday, June 19, 2011
Back at Imbolc we made a Corn Dolly and now at Litha I wanted to talk about making a doll to represent the Holly King. I plan on keeping this on the altar until Yule in which I will burn it and replace it with the Oak King. I have put some pictures at the bottom to give you an idea of what it could look like.

Items Needed
  • Raffia
  • Vine
Instructions
  1. Braid together some of the vine to form the body and use the raffia to tie it off and secure it. Make sure to include a loop at the top as a head. 
  2. Split the bottom of the braid and tie them separate to make two legs.
  3. Take a second, smaller, braid and stick it through between the loop for the head and the legs. This represents the arms if you need to you can tie off the ends. 
  4. Now if you choose you can decorate it as a symbol of the coming Autumn and Winter.
  5. Set it on the altar with the Corn Dolly as a representation of the God.




Friday, June 17, 2011

Grilling Desserts for Litha

Friday, June 17, 2011
I know that the title of this post probably has many confused. How exactly can one grill dessert? Well that is what I am going to answer for you. Fruit is one thing that can lend itself well to the grilling experience.
So let's get to it. Here are the recipes and even a link to more recipes.

Grilled Pineapple Sundae

Ingredients:

* 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch slices
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons melted butter
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Preparation:

Combine brown sugar, butter, lemon juice and cinnamon and mix until even. Brush mixture over pineapple slices. Place pineapple slice on preheated grill over a high heat and grill for about 1 minute per side or until browned.

Remove from grill and immediately top with a scoop of ice cream and serve. These are best if the pineapple is warm when you eat it.

Stuffed Peaches on the Grill

Ingredients:

* 4 large peaches
* 1 cup frozen blueberries
* 1/3 cup brown sugar
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preparation:

Wash and halve peaches. Remove pit. Place peaches on aluminum foil so that you can fold up the foil and seal the peaches in. Spoon 2 tablespoons of berries into each peach half. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of brown sugar on each and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
the foil.

Grilled Sweet Potato S'More Pies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecan pieces
2 tablespoons Bourbon whiskey or dark rum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg
6 (6-inch) pie crusts, recipe follows
3 chocolate bars
1 cup mini-marshmallows
2 tablespoons softened butter

Preparation:

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill.
Place the sweet potatoes on the grill and cook, turning often, until the sweet potatoes are soft and yield when gently squeezed, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from the grill and allow to cool before handling.
Scoop the sweet potato flesh into a mixing bowl and discard the skins. With a potato masher or heavy fork, mash the potatoes with the cream, then add the brown sugar, pecans, Bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg and egg, mixing well. Divide the mixture into 6 portions.
Place 1 pie crust on a flat work surface and place one portion of the sweet potato mixture in the middle. Top the sweet potato filling with half of a chocolate bar and 2 tablespoons marshmallows, then fold one half of the crust over the filling. Crimp the edges of the pie crust and turn over to seal well. Repeat with the remaining crusts and fillings.
Gently rub about 1 teaspoon butter on both sides of the pies and place in aluminum foil. Place the filled pies on the grill, and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Unwrap the pies and return to the grill to brown on both sides, being careful that the crusts do not burn, about 2 minutes per side.
Serve immediately.

Basic Sweet Pie Crust:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the shortening and work it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water to the flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, and work it in with your fingers, adding only as much as needed to form a smooth ball of dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 small disks. Roll each piece of dough out on the floured surface into a circle about 6 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Fill and proceed as directed in the recipe.

And for more ideas check out foodnetwork.com.

Blessed Be and Happy Grilling!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grilling Vegetables for Litha

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Almost any kind of vegetable can be grilled. Whether on skewers, in a grill basket or directly on the grilling surface. But you have to be careful not to overcook the vegetable that you are trying to eat. Here are some tips from about.com on some of the most commonly grilled vegetables:

Asparagus: Cut off ends. Soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Pat dry and brush with olive oil. Place on grill, turning every minute. Remove when tips start to turn brown. You can add some extra flavor to asparagus by mixing a little sesame oil in the olive oil before you brush them.

Bell Peppers: Cut through the middle of the pepper top to bottom. Remove stems, seeds and whitish ribs. Brush lightly with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Chili Peppers: Brush with oil. Grill whole on each side, 2-3 minutes. To reduce the heat, cut off the stems and pull out the seeds.

Corn on the cob: Gently pull back the husks but don't remove. Remove the silk and cut off the very end. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Dry and brush with butter. Fold the husks back down and tie or twist the ends. Place on grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn to avoid burning.

Eggplant: Cut lengthwise for smaller eggplants or in disks top to bottom for larger eggplants. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry, brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes.

Garlic: Take whole bulbs and cut off the root end. Brush with olive oil and place cut side down over a hit fire. Grill garlic bulbs for about 10 minutes or until the skin is brown.

Mushrooms: Rinse off dirt and pat dry. Brush with oil and grill. 4-5 minutes for small mushrooms, 6-8 minutes. Use a grill basket or topper for small mushrooms.

Onions: Remove skin and cut horizontally about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with oil and grill 3-4 minutes.

Tomatoes: (Yes, I know, technically a fruit) Cut in half, top to bottom. Brush with a light coating of oil and grill cut side down 2-3 minutes.

Potatoes: Wash thoroughly and dry. Rub with oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally.

Zucchini and small squash: Slice 1/2 inch thickness. Brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side. Small squash can be cut down the middle and grilling in halves.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Myths of Apollo

Monday, June 13, 2011
Apollo is probably one of the most famous of the Sun Gods. He was worshiped by the Greeks and had temples scattered all over the ancient world, from Syria in the East and Britain in the West.
In addition to the Sun his domains include music, prophecy, colonization, medicine. The temple at Delphi was dedicated to him.
Apollo is in many respects the paradigm of a Greek god. He represents order, harmony, and civilization in a way that most other Olympian deities cannot quite equal. And in fact he can be best described as the God at the opposite end of the spectrum from Dionysus. While Dionysus is chaotic and frenzied, Apollo is a God of structure and peace.

So reflect on these attributes during this Sabbat to come, Litha. Pray for prophecy and sight of the future. Take up herb crafting for medicine. Try to learn how to play a new instrument. Sing to Apollo for his gifts.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summertime Activities - Camping

Sunday, June 12, 2011
I know that a portion of the States are in the middle of summer heat, but some places actually can only camp in the summer. Can you tell I'm jealous of the cooler weather?

Camping is one of those activities that provide many different opportunities for family bonding. From hikes and watching the sun set or rise, to bird watching or the occasional deer. Both of my kids really enjoy the time that we spend camping.

Yet for those who have never camped before, where to start can be confusing. A lot of first timers over complicate things, both in what they bring and what they attempt to try and do for activities. For those people I have tried to put together a list to help you out.

First What to Bring
  1. Tent - If you have little ones then you are going to want to buy a tent large enough for all of you. I have found that when they say eight it is more like six comfortably. My kids roll around a lot. 
  2. Camp Stove - And don't forget the fuel. While cooking over the fire sounds like fun, it is easy to get burnt.
  3. Sleeping Bags - Buy for the temperatures you are likely to experience on your trip
  4. Blankets - Just in case you get colder at night.
  5. Pillows - It is my experience that the ground is not usually soft.
  6. Food and Drink - Aim for simple things. Canned food and anything other then chicken or thick roasts work as well. You could also pack marshmallows and things for smores.
  7. Utensils (both for cooking and for eating) - I haver forgotten these things many times. 
  8. Paper Plates and Napkins - Again I have forgotten these and always regret it. 
  9. At least two Frying Pans - In case you drop one. Or if you plan on two courses
  10. Flashlights - For those late night trips to the bathroom or tree.
  11. Cooler - And ice. You have to keep the food from spoiling and the drinks from getting warm.
  12. Matches - And newspaper or dryer lint or firestarters. 
  13. Toilet Paper - For those less then civilized camping sites



Thursday, June 9, 2011

Litha Crafts - Solar Cross

Thursday, June 9, 2011
Predating Christianity for thousands of the years, this simple symbol represents the Earth and the Sun all in one. Sometimes the Sun Cross appears as a swastika or as a equal armed cross enclosed within a circle. It is also know as Odin's cross.
To make your own you can follow the instructions below:

Items Needed:
  • Two sticks of cinnamon
  • A hoop of some kind, that is no wider then the sticks of cinnamon
  • Thread (Raffia is a great idea, also)

Instructions:
  1. Start off my binding the two pieces of cinnamon together forming a traditional equal armed cross shape.
  2. Then fasten the cross to the hoop at the four intersecting points.
  3. You can then decorate your house with your brand new Solar Cross or you can use them in your family's ritual.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summertime Activities - Fishing

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
To start off my series on summertime activities I wanted to start with fishing. This isn't just an activity for fathers and sons, rather it can be a whole family event. One of my oldest's favorite activities is spending time with me fishing. Even if we don't catch anything.

Fishing, the sport of ultimate patience, is also a great opportunity to bond with your children. Some of the best conversations that I have had with my oldest child has been around small lakes or on the banks of small creeks.

Now for this activity, check this link for tips on equipment and tips on fishing.



But to summarize all you need is;
  • A rod and reel and some bait.
  • A cooler with drinks and snacks for the day.
  • And if you are going to keep what you catch then you need room in the cooler, or another cooler, to put the fish on ice.
  • Also be sure to check local regulations for requirements on licensing.
For places to fish look for state, local or national parks in your area for those that allow fishing. You should be able to find at least a couple places, unless you live in the desert. You can also stop in at local fishing or tackle shops for tips and directions to other local fishing areas.

Good Luck, Happy Fishing and Blessed Be!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grilling Beef for Litha

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
There is nothing more iconic then grilling beef. So I have posted below some recipes. Hope you enjoy!

The Perfect Bacon Cheeseburger


If you're going to forget about your doctor's cholesterol warnings and go all out, this cheeseburger made with ground beef will take you back to your childhood. Serve it with all the trimmings -- sliced tomato, onion, lettuce, and ketchup and mustard. Don't forget the pickles!
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 slices of sharp Cheddar cheese
  1. Cook the bacon until it's very crisp, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Make six hamburger patties from the ground beef. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn it once halfway through the cooking time.
  4. About a minute before you take the burgers off the grill, put a slice of cheese on each patty and allow the cheese to melt. You can also toast the buns on the grill for a few seconds.
  5. Top with the bacon and let each person build their own burger by adding their favorite toppings.
Herbed Beef Tenderloin

  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks (about 1" thick)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Combine all the herbs and rub it into both sides of each steak.
  2. Grill directly over medium heat until they are cooked to your preference. Seven minutes will be rare, nine minutes will be medium, and eleven minutes will be well done.
Cheeseburgers are perfect for budding grill chefs, but the steaks are not much harder and would be great for those who are working on their BBQ skills. These are two great beef recipes to get you started.
recipes courtesy of bbqrecipesecrets.com



Monday, June 6, 2011

Myths of Ra -- Egyptian Sun God

Monday, June 6, 2011
According to E. A. Wallis Budge he was the one god of Egyptian monotheism, of which all other deities were aspects, manifestations, phases, or forms. Ra itself, however, was also a monotheistic god. A Hymn to Rah (approx. 1370s BC) was written to stress the pantheistic nature of Rah to combat encroaching polytheism. In it, several deities are described, not as beings in their own right, but certain forms of Rah. For example:

"Praise be unto thee, O Ra, thou exalted Power, who dost enter into the habitations of Ament, behold [thy] body is Atum."
"Praise be unto thee, O Ra, thou exalted Power, who dost enter into the hidden palace of Anubis, behold [thy] body is Khepera." courtesy of wikipedia.com

As Litha comes upon us think about the story of Ra overcoming Apep, the darkness. Apep was represented as a giant snake that laid below the horizon and lied in wait for Ra to set so that he could overcome him. This according to the ancient Egyptians led to earthquakes and thunderstorms. And if Apep was bold enough then there would be a solar eclipse. Because the snake would eat the sun.
See in this the story of the epic battle between the Oak King and the Holly King.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Children Crafts for Litha - Suncatchers

Sunday, June 5, 2011
For a long time there were many AOL free CDs floating around my house. And I'm sure that if you look around then you could perhaps find some in your house as well.

Things You’ll Need:

  • 2 old CD's
  • Needle
  • Fishing line
  • Markers
  • Paint
  • Stickers
  • Sequins
  • Plastic Gems
  • Buttons
  • Assorted beads
  • Greeting card pictures
Instructions:

  1. Locate two old CD's that are blank one side.
  2. Using a strong permanent adhesive glue the printed sides of the CD's together. The result should look like a regular CD with double the thickness. Let dry.

  3. Heat a needle over a candle flame. Guide heated needle through the double thickness of CD to create a hole for a hanger at the top of the CD. Continue until hole is 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide. Repeat to make three holes at bottom edge of CD. Space these holes 1 inch apart.
  4. Cut pictures from old greeting cards. Glue pictures on CD positioning image to cover center hole.
  5. Use markers to decorate front and back of CD's. Accent design with sequins, buttons and plastic gems.
  6. String fishing line through hole at top of CD to create a hanger.
  7. Thread assorted beads on a 5-inch length of fishing line. Tie fishing line around first bead to keep string from unraveling. Tie other end of fishing line to one of the holes in bottom of CD. Repeat for remaining two strands of beads. courtesy of ehow.com



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summertime Activities - Star Gazing

Thursday, June 2, 2011
With summer and the warmer weather upon us. Many of us can actually venture outside. I urge all of you that the next time you do, to take the time to look up at the sky and see the stars. And better yet take your kids out with you and see how many constellations that you can spot together.
There is a great program called Stellarium that will give you an interactive map of the night sky.
My family has a great time finding the Big Dipper and Orion and all the others.
For a better and easier experience you can buy a good pair of binoculars. They won't show as much as telescope but they are easier to use and give you a wider view of the sky than a telescope will. For astronomy the larger the front lenses the better. You should aim for 7 to 10 power binoculars.
So tonight take the time with the family to go and learn the skies and the stars. Enjoy and appreciate the beauty that the Gods put there for us.
Here is a great site that should help all of you:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/

Blessed Be!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grilling Pork for Litha

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
When it comes to the grill, my favorite dish is pork. Whether ribs, or chops, or roasts, there is just something that the grill lends to pork that makes it the best. I've included some recipes below for your enjoyment. Happy Grilling!

Maple Glazed Ribs


Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds baby back pork ribs
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
Directions:
  1. Place ribs in a large pot, and cover with water. Cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until meat is tender. Drain, and transfer ribs to a shallow dish.
  2. In a small saucepan, stir together the maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and mustard powder. Bring to a low boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool slightly, then pour over ribs, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. Prepare grill for cooking with indirect heat. Remove ribs from marinade. Transfer marinade to a small saucepan, and boil for several minutes.
  4. Lightly oil grate. Cook for about 20 minutes, basting with the cooked marinade frequently, until nicely glazed.
Texas Pork Ribs

Ingredients:
  • 6 pounds pork spareribs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 5 tablespoons pan drippings
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups ketchup
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup wood chips, soaked
Directions:
  1. Clean the ribs, and trim away any excess fat. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup salt, ground black pepper, paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Coat ribs liberally with spice mix. Place the ribs in two 10x15 inch roasting pans, piling two racks of ribs per pan. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Bake uncovered for 3 to 4 hours, or until the ribs are tender and nearly fall apart.
  3. Remove 5 tablespoons of drippings from the bottom of the roasting pans, and place in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion in pan drippings until lightly browned and tender. Stir in ketchup, and heat for 3 to 4 more minutes, stirring constantly. Next, mix in water and brown sugar, and season to taste with cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, adding water as necessary to achieve desired thickness.
  4. Preheat grill for medium-low heat.
  5. When ready to grill, add soaked wood chips to the coals or to the smoker box of a gas grill. Lightly oil grill grate. Place ribs on the grill two racks at a time so they are not crowded. Cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Baste ribs with sauce during the last 10 minutes of grilling, so the sauce does not burn.