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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

After Samhain Musings

Monday, October 31, 2011
Hope you all had a wonderful Samhain and for those to the South a joyous Beltane. Our Samhain was good, took the kids trick-or-treating and went to saw some relatives as well. Had a ritual planned but this Samhain has come home to roost.

My youngest daughter's pet bird who she has had for nearly three years is reaching the end of his life. And so most things are postponed while we deal with that. Although we took time to talk about Samhain and how all things must pass to allow room for the new.

So this is why tonight's post is short. But any thoughts on helping to explain this and soften the passing would be appreciated.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's Beltane Somewhere

Sunday, October 30, 2011
I wanted to take some time today and put together a link post, for those readers of mine who live in the Southern Hemisphere. Since I live up here in the States, all of my articles this past month have been about Samhain. So for those readers, here is Beltane;


Blessed Be!



Trick or Treating Tips

First off let me say Happy Samhain!

Many of us will be planning to trick-or-treat this Saturday, so I figured I would share some tips, courtesy of about.com for all of us.

Have each child carry or wear something lit, such as a flashlight, glow bracelet or necklace, or flashing attire for visibility. Light-up shoes are also practical, and ever-so-noticeable on a dark Halloween night.

Adults should plan out a route in advance and check it during the daylight for such obstacles as broken sidewalks (or no sidewalks), construction timber, or other obstacles that could trip up trick or trickers. Trick or treat in familiar neighborhoods or areas.

Require well-fitting shoes to be worn; preferably sneakers. While adorable in the store as a costume accessory, kids planning to go trick or treat should wear sturdy shoes and not the princess high-heel, too-large boots, or other types of shoes often shown with costumes. Save those types of shoes for costume parties and not when a child is going trick or treat. Their feet--and most likely you who may end up carrying either the shoes or the child--will be thankful.

Avoid costumes that drag on the ground. While cute initially, costumes that drag can trip up little feet, get caught on bushes, and create a tussle that sometimes results in the child wanting to remove the costume. Remember, kids who trick or treat want to be costumed AND comfortable.

With the thought of comfort, pick costumes that are bathroom-friendly as well. On this same subject, parents should pre-plan a bathroom stop along the way (a friends' house will do and is a good time for a water break as well), or at a public facility if driving.


Be sure a child's mask allows full visibility and breathing. Spiderman masks, for example, sometimes only have small eye slits and nothing for the nose or mouth. Parents should try on masks for size and not hesitate to cut out larger openings for a trick or treater's comfort. If possible, find a mask that "breathes" and is easy to put on and off. The types of mask that easily can slide up on the head and then pulled down are best.

Trick or treaters should walk, not run, and should never cut across lawns or driveways. Obstacles could exist that aren't readily visible in the evening.


Only carry flexible props, such as knives, swords, ninja items, etc., that can't cause injury if a kid accidentally falls. No play prop should resemble the real item; and consider leaving play weapons at home and not part of trick or treat night. Remember, some individuals are offended by seeing small children carry these items; and trick or treating should be a fun and positive experience for everyone.

Only trick or treat at houses that are lit. Residents who do not wish to be bothered by trick or treaters often leave off their lights as a sign; respect their preference by only going to houses that are lit.

Be sure kids don't get over-heated and keep hydrated. Plan costumes according to weather; don't have your child dress in an adorable lions costume with heavy fur and hood if you live in Southern states where temperatures could still be in the 80s in the evening; by the same token, a fairy costume might be impractical for a cold northern evening. Be one of those creative parents who accessorizes jackets or thinks "cool comfort" for their kids.

Think "practical" over "cute" when picking a trick or treat goody bag or container. Some of seemingly-fun ones sold in stores are heavy--before any treats are added; others are too long and will drag the ground or have sharp edges that could scrape against tender skin. One of the best and simplest suggestions is have kids utilize a backpack to keep their hands free except for perhaps a flashlight.

Keep track of time and don't trick or treat after 9 p.m. (general recommendation). That allows ample time for children to trick or treat, and by then, the excitement of the evening and the candy/treats means little ghouls will be tired, anyhow.

Check the link for more tips.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Samhain's Children Ritual

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Samhain falls this year on the coming Monday. But I wanted to share this ritual with you tonight, so if you need the time, you have it to prepare. Hope your Samhain is a blessed one. Blessed Be!

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. Samhain in the language of the Ancient Celts meant Summer's End. Ask your children what they think this means. Read to them the Children's Story for Samhain. Talk to them about what that story means to you and see if they have a different viewpoint of it.
In the Ancient world this was a time that the old year ends, so it is also a time to speak on the year past and to make any resolutions for the coming year, starting at Yule.

If you choose to wait until afterwards to feast, here is a Cakes and Juice that you can do.

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, October 26, 2011

Carving a Pumpkin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
What is more iconic for Samhain then the carved Jack O' Lantern? Tracing its roots to the imigrants to America of the 1800's, this tradition was originally done with turnips. Carved and lit with a small candle these lanterns represented the souls of departed loved ones and were placed in windows and on doorsteps to welcome those spirits back.

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

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

Blessed Be!

And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Samhain Party Recipes

Monday, October 24, 2011
Yesterday I talked about games that you could have at a Samhain party. Today I wanted to share some recipes.


Ingredients:
  • 8 cups popcorn
  • 1 cup candy corn
  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter - plus extra to grease hands
Preparation:
In a large mixing bowl pour in candy corn and popcorn. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Then melt marshmallows, stirring consistantly. When the marshmallows are melted, pour over the popcorn and candy corn. Mix together with a large spoon. Be sure candy corn gets mixed in as it weights more than the popcorn and tends to go to the bottom of the bowl. When cool enough to handle, grease hands with butter and begin forming 2-inch balls. Makes 15 - 20 balls.

Witch Cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2  cups chocolate frosting
  • 1  package (4-3/4 ounces chocolate cones (Nabisco Oreo Cones)
  • Orange nonpareils
  • 1  can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting, divided
  • Neon-green food coloring
  • 12  cupcakes, removed from paper liners
  • Chocolate chips
  • Green and red tube icing
  • Mike and Ike Tangy Twister candies
  • Chocolate Jimmies
Directions
1. Place chocolate frosting in a freezer-weight zip-top bag and snip off a small corner. Pipe base of cones, dip in orange nonpareils, and set aside.
2. Place 1/2 cup vanilla frosting in a another zip-top bag and snip off a small corner. Tint remaining frosting green and frost cupcakes.
3. Turn cupcakes on sides, then place decorated cones on top. Using vanilla frosting, pipe eyes on cupcakes. Attach chocolate chips for pupils and pipe a dot onto chips. Use red icing for mouths, green icing for warts; shape candies into noses. Pipe chocolate icing onto cupcakes for hair and sprinkle with chocolate jimmies.

And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Samhain Party Games - For Children

Sunday, October 23, 2011
I wanted to run this from last year. Hope you all enjoy. And by all means feel free to share any games your family plays.

I figured the best way to do this is to make a list of games that you could play;

-Bobbing for Apples
-Snap Apple - Instead of the mess of sticking your head in a bucket of water, what you do is hang an apple with a stem from a string and have the children try to snap a bite of it.
-Witch's Hat ring toss - I know probably a little corny but hey they're kids and will enjoy it.
-Pin the nose on the Jack-O-Lantern - Just like pin the nose on the donkey
-Jack-O-Lantern carving - This one will require adult supervision but the kids will love to make their own to take home for Samhain. Next week I will be putting up a post on different designs that you can use to carve your very own pumpkin

Above all just remember to have fun and don't stress. If you have any other suggestions I'm sure that we would love to hear them. So please leave us some comments.

Blessed Be!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ancestors

Thursday, October 20, 2011
One of the biggest things missing from most of modern Paganism is the worship of the Ancestors. Now I know that we honor them on Samhain, but for many of us that is the only time that they come up. We have separated ourselves from the natural world and by doing that we have also separated ourselves from death. So after we bury our Ancestors, we are done with them. It is almost like, for many of us, that we fear death and do not want to think about it.

There are some Pagan religons that do honor the Ancestors and I feel I need to mention them to be fair. These are the Asatru, which oftentimes include many toasts to them in their blots and sumbels. And Voodoo that honor them like the spirits of the land and the Gods, or loas.

One of the things that I am planning on doing in my house is setting up an area, in my living room, dedicated to those that have passed on. I hope that, like many other religions (Asatru, Voodoo etc.) that they will come join my family and lend us their energies and wisdom.

But today's post is just not about those who have passed on, it is also about those who have birthed us, our parents. Just think when was the last time that you had a large dinner with all the members of the living family, or even a dinner with more then just the immediate family that lives in your household? I am guilty of this as well. Although I visit my parents often, I have not seen my last living grandmother in many months. These people are our part of our families too, are they not?

We live in a society that sticks the eldery in homes, far away from the general population. A society that has forgotten that many of these same Elders have wisdom to pass down to us from their long lives. They are portrayed in movies and on television as senile, slow and grouchy. And while we all have probably met some that fit into this stereotype, there are many more that do not and have something priceless to offer. Their life-experience and wisdom.

So as we go about our daily lives, let us take the time to say "hi" to some of the Elders around us. Strike up a conversation and see where it leads the two of you. Treat them with the respect that they deserve, they may just surprise you by returning the favor.

If you haven't talked to your parents in a while, give them a call or drive across town and see them. Tell them how much you love them and maybe invite them over for dinner.

I understand that there are some parents that it may not be healthy for you to be around. In this case I then encourage you to "adopt"  a parent(s). Whether it is the in-laws or maybe some older lady or guy that you know. I have my own "adopted god-mother", even though I am on very good terms with my real parents. They all are very important to me and I would not trade them for anyone else.


And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Goddess Hecate

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
One of the most misunderstood Goddesses of the Greek pantheon. She was the patron Goddess of magic, and the moon. Hecate was the Goddess who aided Demeter in her search for Persephone. And after Persephone was rescued she served as her minister in Hades.

In all likelihood, Hecate was originally a supreme Goddess, much like the Goddess of the Wiccans. I say this since she was associated with Artemis and Selene as a Moon Goddess. She was also the Goddess given dominion over earth, heaven and sea when the Titans ruled before their overthrow by Zeus.

In modern times Hecate is oftentimes feared and portrayed as a "wicked witch". Some even consider Her to be dangerous or evil. But She is far from these things. Rather She is a fierce protector of her children and grandchildren. You can turn to her when you are the victim. Just be sure that you share no blame for you to shall be judged.

And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Who is Odin? What can He Teach Us?

Monday, October 17, 2011
I wanted to cover this week some of the darker aspects of the God and Goddess. Hope you enjoy.

He is the Norse God of wisdom, war, battle, and death, and also magic, poetry, prophecy, victory, and the hunt. Yeah I know that is a big list but he is a big and powerful God.  As the principal deity of the Norse Pantheon he was the head of the Aesir. His children include Thor, Baldur, Horur.

One of the best known stories about Odin is his adventure on Yggdrasil, the World Tree. In this story Odin hung from the World Tree, after being pierced in the side by his own spear, for nine days and nights. In exchange for this sacrifice he was given the wisdom that gave him his power over the nine worlds.

As we approach this quiet time of Samhain, this introspection and seeking of wisdom seems to be quite appropriate. But oftentimes wisdom does not come with out a price, we cannot have the room to embrace new things unless older and more worn out things pass away.

So take some time and examine your own spiritual life. What things do you need to cut away? What are you yearning for? What holes do you need to be filled in? You may find that as you listen that those things are already there just waiting for you to be ready.

And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Samhain Decorations - The Straw Man

Sunday, October 16, 2011
The straw man is an easily constructed symbol of the God of the Dark Half of the Year, the Holly King. You can keep him on your altar until after Yule when he will retire to Summerland until Lughnassadh.

You can make a straw man from leftover plants in the garden, or you can gather together some plants from the woods. (Just make sure that they are not poisonous or capable of causing an allergic reaction.) You will need two bundles of these plants, one slightly larger then the other.

Here are the simple instructions:
  1. With a long piece of string tie the fatter bundle together about a fourth of the way from the top. This end will wind up becoming the head.
  2. Separate the bundle a little bit, and slide the thinner bundle of weeds through the center. These will be the arms. Use the string and wrap in a criss-cross shape around the body to hold the arms in place. Tie it off to keep it tight, but don't cut the string.
  3. Finally, spread the lower part of the fatter bundle apart, forming two halves as the legs. Bring the string down and wrap around the "thighs" to keep the legs in place. If your branches seem like they're too fluffy, tie a small length of string in place around the wrists and ankles; as the greenery dries it won't stick out as much.
Put the King of Winter in a place of honor in your house, so that he may watch over and protect you through these coming months.

And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Samhain Recipes - Desserts

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Yes it is a second day of recipes. But I hope you enjoy these as well.


Ultimate Caramel Apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 10-inch square piece of styrofoam
  • 6 popsicle sticks or small wooden dowels
  • 6 Red Delicious or Golden Delicious apples
  • 3 ounces white chocolate
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
In heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water and sugar.
Over low heat, stir mixture gently until sugar is completely dissolved.
Increase heat to medium low and cook, without stirring, until mixture is a dark amber color.
Remove from heat and carefully stir in heavy cream (mixture will bubble up and spatter a bit, then subside.)
Set aside to cool and thicken.
Cover styrofoam with waxed paper to catch caramel drippings (this will be a stand for caramel apples).
Insert popsicle sticks into bottom center of apples.
Dip top half of each apple into thickened caramel.
Insert bottom of popsicle sticks into styrofoam, allowing apples to stand upright so caramel runs down sides of each apple.
Refrigerate to harden.
Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in top of double boiler above gently simmering water; stir until smooth.
Transfer melted chocolate to pastry bag fitted with small writing tip.
Drizzle thin, random strips of white chocolate over each caramel apple.
Repeat melting and drizzling with semi-sweet chocolate.
Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Apple Butter Muffins

From Pastrywiz.com
Recipe By : Jenni Miller
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raisins or nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (the first 7 ingredients) and make a well in the center.
In smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients (the next 6 ingredients).
Pour wet mixture into the "well" of the dry ingredients and stir just to combine (10-15 strokes).
Fold in raisins with as few strokes as possible.
Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups (if you don't use muffin liners, spray the pan with cooking spray). Bake 20-25 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
Remove muffin tin to cooling rack and cool 5 mins. before removing muffins from tin. (Do *not* let muffins cool completely in the tin.)

And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Samhian Recipes -- Fruits and Veggies

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
There are a few fruits and vegetables that are traditional for Samhain, besides pumpkin that is. A couple of these are squash, and apples. Nuts are also traditional for this time of the year. It is the time of the last harvest and so those things that we associate with late fall are the foods we will be wanting to prepare.

So here are a few recipes for you to enjoy:

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

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

Boil or steam the carrots until tender. Drain. Add the butter, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon; stir until the carrots are well-coated.

And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sugar Skulls

Sunday, October 9, 2011
AlfeniquesIn Mexico the Sabbat of Samhain is celebrated as Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. OK technically it is the two days after but I'm close. It is during these days that they clean the tombstones of their ancestors and offer up prayers for them.

They also have the tradition of making sugar skulls. And while I have never made one of these I wanted to share the recipe with you all.

Mix together well in large bowl: 1 teaspoon Meringue Powder for every cup of granulated sugar used.  Mix dry ingredients well. Sprinkle sugar mixture with 1 teaspoon water per cup of sugar used.

Mix well with hands until every bit of sugar is moistened. If your fingerprints remain when you squeeze the sugar in your hand, it is ready to mold.  It should feel like cool "beach sand." If it doesn't hold together, mixture is too dry.

Remember, water sinks, so keep the sugar mixture mixed up frequently as you make your sugar skulls.

Pack sugar mixture FIRMLY into mold with special attention to chins & edges. Use a straight edge to scrape the back of the mold flat. Pack down some more until perfectly tight. Place a stiff cardboard square (approx. 5" x 6") over mold and invert immediately.

Lift mold off carefully. Throw any "mistakes" back into your bowl, stir up and try again.

If mix is too dry, spritz with a water bottle.

To decorate you are going to need some Royal Icing; Mix 2/3 cup water, 1/2 cup meringue powder and 2 pounds powdered sugar with an electric/stand mixer until icing peaks (about 9 minutes!) In this you can mix different colors to 'paint' on the skull.

All of this is courtesy of http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/sugar_skulls/instructions.html

Blessed Be!

And remember our giveaway, here at PaganDad, is still going on. Head here for details. Or to just enter click here and be sure to Like my Facebook page.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Samhain Crafts -- Skull Garland

Thursday, October 6, 2011
While it may seem stereotypical skulls are an iconic symbol of Samhain. Yet like it or not they are that for good reason. Since Samhain is the Festival of the Dead, you may want to decorate your house in things representing that, much like the Mexican Festival of the Dead.

That being said here are instructions for making your very own skull garland;

You'll need the following:
  • Felt in a variety of colors 
  • Embroidery floss
  • Cotton balls
  • 1/2" wide ribbon
Start by cutting out skull shapes from the felt. The ones in the photo are about two inches long and about an inch wide. You'll need two pieces -- a front and a back -- for each skull you plan on making.

To make the faces, snip a pair of small circles for the eyes. Place a contrasting piece of felt behind the holes, and then use the embroidery floss to stitch them in place. Once you've done that, add other features like noses or teeth. Get as creative as you like -- add flowers, swirls, dots, etc., to your skulls.

Once you've decorate the face, place the backing piece of felt on, and stitch about 3/4 of the way around the edge of the skull. Stuff the inside with a pair of cotton balls, and then stitch closed.

After you've made all your skulls, measure out a length of ribbon. Use a whip stitch to anchor the skulls to the ribbon, about 8 - 10" apart. Hang your garland over your door or place it on your altar.

courtesy of about.com


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Samhain Activities - Colored Flames

Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Now that the cooler weather has finally come to Florida we can be outside and actually not melt while we have a fire. So if you enjoy a fire as much as I do than this activity should intrigue you. Now let it be known that the preparation for this can be slightly dangerous, especially for children. So I recommend that you 1.) Exercise caution and 2.) keep your children away from it.
There are many options available to you for the coloring of flames:
  • Toss dry colorants onto the flames.
  • Soak logs in an alcohol solution of colorants.
  • Soak logs in an aqueous (water) solution of colorants and allow the logs to dry.
  • Prepare pinecones, sawdust, or cork with colorants.
There is no specific proportion for the adding of dry ingredients with liquid solutions. You basically want to add enough of the dry to completely dissolve into the wet. I recommend adding a little at a time.

Steps for preparing pinecones or sawdust
  1. Pour water into a bucket. Use sufficient water to be able to wet your pinecones, sawdust, or waste cork. Skip to step 3 if you purchased your colorant in liquid form.
  2. Stir in colorant until you can't dissolve any more. For sawdust or waste cork, you may also add some liquid glue, which will allow the pieces to stick together and form larger chunks.
  3. Add the pinecones, sawdust, or cork. Mix to form an even coat.
  4. Let the material soak in the colorant mixture for several hours or overnight.
  5. Spread the pieces out to dry. If desired, pinecones may be placed in a paper or mesh bag. You can spread sawdust or cork out on paper, which will also produce colored flames.
To do logs the steps are pretty much the same. Just remember to not BBQ with the logs and to let them dry completely.
Before I list the materials and their corresponding colors, I must stress to wear eye and hand protection. And to do the preparation outside to avoid suffocating from any fumes.
  • Yellow - Sodium chloride
  • Purple - Potassium chloride
  • Orange - Calcium chloride
  • Green - Copper sulfate
  • Red - Strontium chloride
  • Blue - Copper chloride
  • Carmine - Lithium chloride
The first four chemicals are easiest to find. Sodium chloride is, of course, common table salt. Potassium chloride is the ingredient in "no sodium" salt substitutes. Calcium chloride is the chemical in dehumidifying/moisture-absorbing products such as Damp Rid(tm). It is also found in blossom end rot spray for your tomatoes. Copper sulfate is found at hardware stores in products such as copper sulphate root killer.

Good Luck and Blessed Be!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Samhain Recipes - Meat

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Samhain was the third of the three harvests in the Wheel of the Year. This one being the harvest of meat. And since the cooler weather seems to have to come to many people here in the States, I wanted to talk about something that is warm and filling. So on that note here is a recipe for a shepherd's pie:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice
Instructions
  1. Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.
  3. Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.
  4. Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.
  5. Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.
  6. Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
  7. Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.



Monday, October 3, 2011

Samhain Traditions -- Mute Supper

Monday, October 3, 2011
I have had the pleasure of making some new friends in the last few months. It is another family and this Samhain the plan is to gather before ritual and feast together. Much like our ancestors did long before. With this being the third harvest, the harvest of the herds, it would most likely be their last chance for a large celebration until Yule with long, cooped up, winter months between them.

Also, much like those who celebrated this Sabbat in days long ago, at this feast there will be an extra setting for our Ancestors. Before we eat we will say a prayer honoring and inviting the ancestors to come and join us for the period of the meal. This is called a Mute Supper and is probably one of the most common traditions in modern Paganism at this Sabbat. While there are no set rules for this tradition, our Mute Supper has never been solemn. We believe in honoring the dead through laughter and drink. A lot like an Irish wake. But of course your Supper can be solemn if that is what works for you.

But either way take the time this Samhain to lay out a supper for the dead. Honor your ancestors with this tradition. Maybe you have some stories that you can share with your kids about those that have passed on and are no longer with us.

In addition here is a sample prayer that you can use to honor the Ancestors;

Hail to the Ancestors!
Those who have gone before us,
We pray to you tonight to join us,
So that we may honor you at this feast,
Bring us your wisdom and watch over us.
Hail!

Blessed Be!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Book of Samhain Recipes - A Review

Sunday, October 2, 2011
As a Pagan who likes to cook, I am constantly in search of new resources for recipes to try out and enjoy. So when, Stacy Evans, student of mine recently had the first in her series of e-cookbooks published I jumped at the opportunity to review it.

Inside my review copy I found 40 individual recipes running from appetizers and sides to main dishes, soups and desserts. And not just a few recipes for each, but enough to enable you to provide variety for any gathering you are hosting or attending.

All this combined with a brief history on Samhain and this book would be complete and well worth the price. But she wraps it up with a list of some of the ingredients, starred throughout the book, and their magickal properties. So not only can you make some delicious food you can also make a theme to your dishes to support any of the workings that you may be doing at your Samhain ritual.

So head over to Wyrdwood Publications and be sure to download a copy, I guarantee that it is well worth the price. And while you are at it why not give her blog and Facebook page a look and a like?

And one last thing, when you get it try the pumpkin pancakes, they are to die for!