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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Introducing Children to Spirit

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
This elusive and hard to define element has went by many different names. From Akasha to simply the Great Spirit. It represents the ethereal planes and while separate then the other elements it encompasses them.

Normally honored in the center of the Circle. It is symbolized by the spiral, much like the Milky Way Galaxy and the color of white.

Yet since it is so abstract this element can be hard to fully and properly explain to children. But when I explained this to my daughter, I put it in terms of one's own spirit and soul.

But if you want to cast a circle and then invoke it you can use the following invocation (or of course use your own);

I stand in the center of the Circle
And call up the Great Spirit of Creation
The spark of Life found in our spirit and soul
Come and join us in this circle

Now have your children sit and meditate on the element of Spirit.

When done you can use this devocation;

Love and Blessings we return to you
Great Spirit we Bid you Hail and Farewell

Blessed Be!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Children and the Element of Earth

Sunday, February 12, 2012
Now in this series we move into the element of Earth. Up to this point we have talked about Air, Fire and Water, in relation to introducing those elements to children. 

Earth is the fourth step in any elemental journey. It lies in the North, the direction of   renewal, wisdom and our ancestors. This element rules over fertility and grounding. 

The following exercise can be held at any time, but I recommend any time after the fall of dark. Since the time associated with the element of Earth is midnight. 

Lay out your altar with a green cloth and decorate it with symbols of Earth. You can put on it a pentacle disk or a potted plant. Put statues or drawings of aquatic animals on there as well, maybe a buffalo or a turtle.

Have your children lay down on the Earth and feel its solidity. Have them flex their muscles and feel their bones. The rocks of the Earth are like those bones. 

Now cast a circle. And invoke in the element of Earth. A sample invocation could be;

I stand in the Earth and invoke the Element of North
I call the powers of midnight and the depths of the caves
Come and attend to us, let us know your presence

Now all can sit and meditate on the energy of Earth that you have called to circle. Help your children to become comfortable and familiar with the element of Earth. Ask them questions like;
  • Is it male or female?
  • Are the energies fast or slow?
  • Do you see any colors?
  • Or have any impressions at all?
Just let them talk and see what comes of it.

The purpose of this exercise is to let the child become comfortable with the energies of the element, so that at some point, when they call the Quarters, they will be able to know what energies to invoke.

When you are done you can bid farewell to the Element of Earth. Again here is a sample devocation;

I return to the North to the Element of Earth
To offer thanks for your presence this night
And to bid you Hail and Farewell!

When you are ready you can close circle. Make sure that you take time for any more questions and for everyone to eat something small so that they can be properly grounded.

We have covered the four major elements so far and next week I am going to talk about the element of Spirit. 



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Circle Casting and Children

Thursday, February 9, 2012
I've been reposting my series on explaining Elements to children. To help with today's article I am going to post an excerpt from that article.

Tell them that when we do ritual we cast a circle made of spirit around us. It separates from our world, where we have to go to work or do chores and takes us to a magickal place. And in circle we call the Four Elements as watchtowers to watch over us and protect us while we honor the Gods.

If you feel that your children are old enough then you can take this time to continue to talk about spirit. Take their hands and create a "circuit" of energy between the two of you. In other words send them energy and then feel it return to you. Ask them if they feel anything and if so what does it feel like. Is it hot or tingly or anything like that?
Then tell them, if they can feel it, that is spirit as well. Tell them that that is the energy that we use to cast circle and to work magick and to heal. Go back to my post on ethics and tell them that this energy must be used responsibly. 
Ask them next if they would like to send you some energy. If so then let them. After you are done make sure you take some time for snack time. So they can properly ground.
Now grounding can wait until after today's exercise is finished. But if they are able to feel and send the energy, and be patient it may take a few times, then you can move onto casting Circle.

With help my youngest, she is almost eight now, cast circle the last Full Moon. She used her own athame and walked the circle sunwise imagining a beam of energy going out the tip of her athame and forming a circle around her.

If you try this out or are already doing, I would love to hear your experiences. So please comment below.

Blessed Be!



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Children and the Element of Water

Sunday, February 5, 2012
Now in this series we move into the element of Water. Up to this point we have talked about Air and Fire, in relation to introducing those elements to children. 

Water is the third step in any elemental journey. It lies in the West, the direction of the sunset and endings. It rules our deep emotions, those things that move us deeply.

The following exercise can be held at any time, but I recommend the evening. Since that is the coolest part of the day and the marking of the end of the fiery heat of the day.

Lay out your altar with a blue cloth and decorate it with symbols of Water. You can put on a chalice or a cauldron or both. Put statues or drawings of aquatic animals on there as well. Maybe even a pet fish, if you have one. 

To start, help your children find their pulse. Tell them that that steady beat is the flowing of their blood and the pumping of their hearts. This should show them that as we have Air and Fire in us, we have Water as well.

Now cast circle. And invoke in the element of Water. A sample invocation could be;

I stand in the West and invoke the Element of Water
I call the powers of evening and the cool depths of the ocean
Come and attend to us, let us know your presence

Now all can sit and meditate on the energy of Water that you have called to circle. Help your children to become comfortable and familiar with the element of Water. Ask them questions like;
  • Is it male or female?
  • Are the energies fast or slow?
  • Do you see any colors?
  • Or have any impressions at all?
Just let them talk and see what comes of it.

The purpose of this exercise is to let the child become comfortable with the energies of the element, so that at some point, when they call the Quarters, they will be able to know what energies to invoke.

When you are done you can bid farewell to the Element of Water. Again here is a sample devocation;

I return to the West to the Element of Water
To offer thanks for your presence this night
And to bid you Hail and Farewell!

When you are ready you can close circle. Make sure that you take time for any more questions and for everyone to eat something small so that they can be properly grounded.

Now this is just one of the Elements. Over the next few weeks I am going to cover the elements of Earth and Spirit. So make sure you subscribe, if you haven't already and stay tuned. I would love to hear any feedback so that I can fine tune the coming articles.



Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thank You For All the Support

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Now that the fundraiser has come to a close I wanted to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who donated. Being sick this past week slowed down some things that I needed to be working on. But my plan is to have the completed workbook out by Beltane, with pictures for the Crafts.

So to accomplish this I am planning on cutting back on posting after Imbolc until Ostara.

And not to forget I will be moving the hosting sometime next week. So look for some changes to come real soon.

Again thank you to all of you for your support and I hope you all have a Blessed Imbolc!

Blessed Be!


It's Lughnasadh Somewhere

I didn't want to forget those of you way down South so here is some links for Lughansadh.

Lughnasadh Family Ritual
Natural Candle Holders
Let's Bake Some Bread
Seed Necklaces

Hope you have a Blessed Lughnasadh!


Happy Imbolc -- Family Ritual

I wanted to say Happy Imbolc to you all. Please leave us some comments on your plans for Imbolc or if later than that, how your Imbolc went.

Supplies:

Three small votive candles - I use white, yellow and green
And Bells for each participant
Imbolc Crown
Corn Dolly

Decorate the altar with the Imbolc Crown and light the candles. But wait to light the other candles until you pick them up at the different parts of the ritual. You can also have the Corn Dolly on the altar to represent the Sleeping Maiden.

Have one of the kids ring their bell three times and say the following;
I ring the bell To cast the circle So Mote it Be!
Then an Adult casts the circle, saying the following;
I weave around us a circle With love and light Where we can Honor the Lady and Lord
Tell the kids to imagine a silvery-blue light surrounding them in a large circle. Explain that this "Circle of Light" means that we want to make this a sacred place to honor the Goddess and God.

Next you can pick up the white candle and talk about Winter. If you don't live in a warmer climate, like I do, then you can also have snow in a bowl to represent Winter. Light the candle and say;
The world still sleeps in Winter Covered in snow and ice
Have the kids ring their bells to represent the snow that has been falling for so many weeks.
Then you can light the yellow candle and say;
The Sun is growing stronger And Spring is coming closer
Tell the children you chose yellow to represent The Sun, the radiant power of God.

Have the kids ring their bells again. This time tell them they are the warm, fresh breezes of spring, coming to melt the snow. Let them have fun with it. Remember you want your children to look at ritual as the happy, fun celebration it was to our ancestors!

Then pick up the green candle and tell the children that it represents the Earth. Light it and say;
Mother Earth we call you Awake to let all things grow
When you have lit the candle than set it next to the Corn Dolly.

Now you can read to the children the Imbolc Story that I posted earlier. Tell them of the wonders of this Sabbat and how soon the warmer weather will be here.

Now you can close the circle. Let the child who rung the bell first, ring their bell and say;
I ring the bell To close the circle So Mote It Be!



Monday, January 30, 2012

Imbolc Crown

Monday, January 30, 2012
One of the more traditional props for this Sabbat is a crown of light. This craft combines the Goddess Brighid's aspects of firekeeper and fertility Goddess. Although this was traditionally worn on the head, I do not recommend this. Because I have seen people set themselves on fire. I would put it on the altar.

Supplies Needed:
  • A circular wreath frame, either of straw or grapevine
  • Winter evergreens, such as pine, fir or holly
  • Spring flowers, such as forsythia, dandelions, crocus, snowbulbs
  • Red, silver and white ribbons
  • Candles at least 4" long -- tapers are perfect for this
  • A hot glue gun
Instructions:
  1. Place the wreath form on a flat surface. Using the hot glue gun, attach the candles around the circle.
  2. Next, attach a mixture of winter greenery and spring flowers to the wreath. Blend them together to represent the transition between winter and spring. Make it as thick and lush as you can, weaving in and around the candles.
  3. Wrap the ribbons around the wreath, weaving between the candles. Leave some excess ribbons hanging off, if you plan to hang this on your door or a wall, and then braid it or tie in a bow. If you're using it on an altar, light the candles during rituals to honor Brighid.
courtesy of about.com


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Children and the Element of Air

Sunday, January 29, 2012
I already have an article on Teaching the Elements to Children but I wanted to spend some time focusing on the separate elements.

In the beginning of the journey through the elements we find, fittingly enough, the element of Air. This oftentimes is put in the East which is the direction of dawn and like the element of Air of new beginnings. It is represented by the color of yellow and the tool of either the athame or the wand, depending on your tradition.

If you are teaching this element to children then you should take them outside in the early morning. Although I don't recommend that you choose dawn, because I think that is a little to early for anyone to be up and about.

Have an altar laid with a yellow cloth and decorated with symbols of Air. A feather, fan and/or a flute would all be good choices. Spend a moment standing at this altar with your children and have everyone still themselves and listen.

Everyone should be focusing on their breath. Let each breath in feel you completely and then each breath out totally empty you. Understand and tell your children how important Air is for life. How without it we could not breathe.

Then have them stay there while you cast circle. How you do this doesn't matter; you can check out one of my other rituals for a suggestion. When the temple is raised then return to the East and invoke the element of Air.

A sample invocation would be;

I stand in the East and invoke the Element of Air
I call the powers of dawn and the gentle breezes
Come and attend to us, let us know your presence

Now all can sit and meditate on the energy of Air that you have called to circle. Help your children to become comfortable and familiar with the element of Air. Ask them questions like;

  • Is it male or female?
  • Are the energies fast or slow?
  • Do you see any colors?
  • Or have any impressions at all?

Just let them talk and see what comes of it.

The purpose of this exercise is to let the child become comfortable with the energies of the element, so that at some point, when they call the Quarters, they will be able to know what energies to invoke.

When you are done you can bid farewell to the Element of Air. Again here is a sample devocation;

I return to East to the Element of Air
To offer thanks for your presence this day
And to bid you Hail and Farewell!


When you are ready you can close circle. Make sure that you take time for any more questions and for everyone to eat something small so that they can be properly grounded.

Now this is just one of the Elements. Over the next few weeks I am going to cover each of the other three elements and possibly spirit as well. So make sure you subscribe, if you haven't already and stay tuned. I would love to hear any feedback so that I can fine tune the coming articles.

Blessed Be!

And yes I know I am doing these slightly out of the 'traditional' order but that is due to the Pagan Blog Project.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blessing Your House

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Earlier this month I talked about making a Brighid's Cross to be used in a house blessing ritual. Well here is the house blessing ritual. You can use this after you clean your house for the Sabbat. If you don't want to use chemicals for this cleaning, then look back at my post on using vinegar to clean.


Items Needed
  • White Candle
  • Chalice of Water
  • Brighid's Cross
  • Bell for each child participating

Instructions

Let the children walk through the house ringing the bells in each room. Tell them to imagine the sound bringing in light. As they do so have them say in each room:
The sound brings the light
Chases the shadow
Then walk through with the children helping them to sprinkle water in each room. Have them say:
With this water I bless this house
Let it be washed clean

Next go through the house with the white candle. Parents hold the candle unless your child is old enough to not set themselves on fire. Have the children say:
With this fire I bless this house
Let it be made pure
Finally take the Brighid's Cross through the house. In each room have them say:
Brighid, Brighid bringer of the light
Bless this house and fill it with love 
When you are done you can hang the Brighid's Cross over your front door. This will ensure blessings for the entire year.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Imbolc Breakfast Recipes

Tuesday, January 24, 2012
While Yule is the more traditional time for us Pagans to get up at dawn and have an early ritual, I figured  that I would share some breakfast recipes for Imbolc. Hope you all enjoy


Maiden Wakes Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, grated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almonds, sliced
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2tsp.vanilla 
Soak raisins in hot water, in a covered bowl, for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large non-metal bowl, mix flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt. 
Stir in carrots, raisins, apple, and almonds. 
In a separate bowl, beat eggs, oil, and vanilla until well blended. Stir egg mixture in to the flour mixture until just wet. 
Grease muffin pan with a little butter or use cupcake/muffin cups. 
Divide the batter into the cups and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown. 
Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 8 servings. 


Returning Sun Spice Bread

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup poppyseeds
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup raisins, plain or golden
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup Karo golden corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbs. milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. mixed spices** 
**Equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Sift the flour, soda, and baking powder into a non-metal bowl. Add the mixed spice and ginger. 

Next add the brown sugar and raisins. Mix.
 Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. 
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and the syrup over a low heat, then pour liquid into the well in the middle of the flour mixture. 
Add the beaten egg and the milk, and mix very well. 
Pour into a well greased 2-lb loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes. This bread can be made the night before as it improves with age. Makes 8-10 servings. 


Monday, January 23, 2012

Traditional Food for Imbolc

Monday, January 23, 2012
Traditional foods for the Imbolc celebration include those made with seeds, (to symbolize growth), raisins (a fruit of the Sun God), pork, poultry, or lamb, with sides of potatoes, cabbage, onions, and garlic. Imbolc is the mid-point of the dark half of the year, and though stored foods are running low, it is a celebration of renewal and preparation for Spring.

Imbolc Feast Lamb Stew

2- 1/2 lb. lamb neck chops
1 tbs. lamb fat
4 medium onions
1 tbs. butter/margarine
4 medium carrots
2 1/2 cups water
4 medium potatoes
1 tbs. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 tbs. chives, chopped

Don't let the butcher trim the fat off of the lamb chops. Shred some of the excess fat and cook it down in a large pot or Dutch-oven. Peel the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cut the onions and carrots into quarters, and put all the vegetables aside. Cut the meat into8 pieces, and trim away the rest of the excess fat. The bones need not be removed. Place the meat in the hot fat and brown. Repeat with the onions and carrots. Add water, salt, and pepper carefully. Put whole potatoes on top. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat is cooked, approx. 2 hours. Remove from heat. Pour off the cooking liquid into a separate sauce pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, skim off grease, and reheat. Add butter, chives, and parsley to the reheated liquid in the sauce pan. Pour heated liquid back over the stew. Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Blessed Bride's Cake

1 cup sugar
1 cup walnut meats, chopped
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together until they are wet. Do not over mix. Pour into a greased and floured 9"x9"x2" square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until knife inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Moon Ritual for Children

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Preparation

Start this ritual in silence and darkness lit by a single candle, black or a dark color would be good but is not necessary. Have your children take a moment to still themselves and focus on their breath. Guide them if needed. Breath In, Breath Out. Breath In, Breath Out.

Tell them that tonight you are going to call on the Goddess. Not as the Mother but as Her Mother, the Grandmother. That tonight is a night to listen. For the Grandmother loves to tell stories and through them provide wisdom to the people of the Earth. Take a moment to answer any questions that they may have. And that with her the Grandfather as well.

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 widdershins (counter-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 Calling

Start tonight in the West the direction of sunsets and endings. 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.

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.

Next we come to the East. 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.

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.

Ritual Body

Now is a time to reconnect as a family. Talk about your day and the trials you have had to face. You can also read from the Rede of the Grandmother and Grandfather.

If your children are old enough, you can spend some time scrying whether it is with the candle on the altar or a fire, if you are lucky enough to have a yard or space to have one.

To finish up have a goblet full of some dark juice. And hold it up the sky and say:

Grandmother, Grandfather shine on us
Imbue this goblet with your darkling rays
So as we drink we can find answers
So Mote It Be!

Then all can drink after asking, silently or aloud, the question(s) that they need answers to. Also be sure to spend some time tonight reflecting on the past year. I know many of you will be doing this on Samhain but I like to reflect on things as we move closer to Samhain.

When all have 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

Grandmother and Grandfather we thank you for your presence
This evening as we came to honor you
And to seek wisdom.
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

Return to the North;

Element of Earth 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)

South

Element of Fire 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)

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 deosil (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.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Goddess Brighid

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brigit was one of the great Triple Goddesses of the Celtic people. She appeared as Brigit to the Irish, Brigantia in Northern England, Bridein Scotland, and Brigandu in Brittany. Many legends are told about Brigit. Some say that there are three Brigits: one sister in charge of poetry and inspiration who invented the Ogham alphabet, one in charge of healing and midwifery, and the third in charge of the hearth fire, smithies and other crafts. This actually indicates the separate aspects of Her three-fold nature and is a neat division of labor for a hard-working Goddess.

Actually, the Goddess Brigit had always kept a shrine at Kildare, Ireland, with a Perpetual Flame tended by nineteen Virgin Priestesses called Daughters of the Flame. No male was ever allowed to come near it; nor did those women ever consort with men. Even their food and other supplies were brought to them by women of the nearby village. When Catholicism took over in Ireland, the Shrine became a Convent and the virgin Priestesses became Nuns but the same traditions were held and the Eternal Flame was kept burning. Their tradition was that each day a different Priestess/Nun was in charge of the Sacred Fire and on the 20th day of each cycle, the fire was miraculously tended by Brigit Herself. For over a thousand years, the Sacred Flame was tended by Nuns, and no one knows how long before that it had been tended by the Priestesses.

In 1220 CE, a Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigit of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and therefore must open their Abbey and submit themselves to inspection by a Priest. When they refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform any inspections, the Bishop was incensed. He admonished them to obedience and then decreed that the keeping of the Eternal Flame was a Pagan custom and ordered the Sacred Flame to be extinguished.

In 1220 CE, a Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigit of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and therefore must open their Abbey and submit themselves to inspection by a Priest. When they refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform any inspections, the Bishop was incensed. He admonished them to obedience and then decreed that the keeping of the Eternal Flame was a Pagan custom and ordered the Sacred Flame to be extinguished.

Remember to check out my fundraiser.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fire and Children

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Last week, about this time, I wrote about teaching the element of Air to children. This week as the title suggests I wanted to talk about introducing them to the element of Fire.

Fire is the second step in any elemental journey. It lies in the South, generally. And rules over love and passions. It is the active and planning phase of a project, whether magickal or mundane. Its color is red and its tool is the athame, although as I said last week it may otherwise be the wand depending on ones tradition.

The following exercise can be held at any time, but I recommend midday. Since that is the hottest part of the day and the height of the sun's power.

Lay out your altar with a red cloth. You can decorate it with symbols of Fire. Candles, peppers and symbols of cats or phoenixes would all be appropriate. Light the candle and stay at the altar and let everyone (carefully) feel the heat of the flame. Then have your kids put their hands over their hearts and with eyes closed, feel the heat of their bodies and the beat of their hearts.

Let them know that we contain all the elements and that this is proof of the Fire within us. That Fire animates us, gives us life and allows us to continue on. Now is a good time for a group hug, let them know that fire represents love as well.

Now cast circle. And invoke in the element of Fire. A sample invocation could be;

I stand in the South and invoke the Element of Fire
I call the powers of midday and the warmth of the flame
Come and attend to us, let us know your presence

Now all can sit and meditate on the energy of Fire that you have called to circle. Help your children to become comfortable and familiar with the element of Fire. Ask them questions like;
  • Is it male or female?
  • Are the energies fast or slow?
  • Do you see any colors?
  • Or have any impressions at all?
Just let them talk and see what comes of it.

The purpose of this exercise is to let the child become comfortable with the energies of the element, so that at some point, when they call the Quarters, they will be able to know what energies to invoke.

When you are done you can bid farewell to the Element of Fire. Again here is a sample devocation;

I return to South to the Element of Fire
To offer thanks for your presence this day
And to bid you Hail and Farewell!

When you are ready you can close circle. Make sure that you take time for any more questions and for everyone to eat something small so that they can be properly grounded.

Now this is just one of the Elements. Over the next few weeks I am going to cover the next two elements and spirit as well. So make sure you subscribe, if you haven't already and stay tuned. I would love to hear any feedback so that I can fine tune the coming articles.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Imbolc Crafts -- Part Two

Monday, January 16, 2012
One of the more traditional props for this Sabbat is a crown of light. This craft combines the Goddess Brighid's aspects of firekeeper and fertility Goddess. Now since I've got kids of course I'm not going to make one with real candles and stick it on her head. So instead we are going to make a paper one. 


Basically you will need;

  • Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  1. Cut a strip of cardboard long enough to go around your child's head and overlap slightly and tape the ends so that it forms a circlet. 
  2. Next cut out candle shaped pieces of construction paper.
  3. Then let your child decorate and color those pieces to their heart's content.
  4. Finally tape those 'candles' to the crown and voila a crown of light.

Blessed Be!


Asking for Help

As some of you may know I have big plans for both Pagandad and the Pagan Village in the coming year. From self-hosting both sites and allowing extra flexibility with the Pagan Village, since we won't be limited by Yahoo Groups.

But currently this is outside of my budget. Family has to come first. So this is why I am turning to all of you. For the next two weeks I am asking for you all to donate a small amount to this effort.

And because I don't want to just take your money I am going to sweeten the deal. Currently I have finished an ebook, or at least the first half of it. So if you can give five dollars or more then I will email you a copy of the first half. And when it is finished then the second half as well. If you donate and don't get the email with the link to the book within four hours, send me an email (you can find that on the paypal page on the bottom right corner) and remind me. This is just in case I happened to miss the email.

I am planning on offering the whole ebook for 10 dollars when it is finished. So effectively this is half off the cost of the finished project. Currently it covers from Imbolc to Litha. Including crafts, traditions, rituals, decorating tips and even some fun endings for the kids to try their hand at. I know most of the material is already available on the website but this puts it all in one place, easy to access.

Now as to the how, just head to the blog Pagandad.com and look in the right column. The widget from Chipin is where to get started.

Thank you all for your support, whether or not you donate I do appreciate you all as readers.

Blessed Be!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Children Activities for Imbolc - Part One

Sunday, January 15, 2012
Brideo'gas

Materials:
1-peice Wooden Clothespin, Red, Yellow, or Brown Yarn, 1 White Pipe Cleaner, Several Scraps of White Material, Black and Red Markers, Scissors, Glue, Gold Glitter.

Children will enjoy making these little Bride images that can be used later as an alter decoration. Take a scrap of white material, (silk, satin, cotton, etc.), and cut out a 6" circle. In the center of the circle cut a hole large enough to poke the "head" of the clothespin through. Fold the circle in half and cut along the fold from both perimeters to the center hole, leaving approx. 1/8 inch between each slit and center hole. Dab "neck" of clothespin with a very small amount of glue, and push clothespin "head" up through the center hole in the material. Cut appropriate length of pipe cleaner to make arms and slide up through the slit in the clothespin until it is pushed up to the end of the slits on both sides of the material. Gather the material tight around the clothespin just under the arms, and tie off with a small piece of string or yarn. Glue a couple of short pieces of yarn to the clothespin head and make eyes and mouth with markers. Finish with dabs of glue and gold glitter around the white wedding dress. A bridal veil glued to the yarn hair is optional. Explain to the children how the Goddess is a sacred bride, pure and renewed, waiting to be re-united with her consort the God.

Bride's Bed

Materials:
A Box, Colored Construction Paper, White, Yellow, Green, and Red Tissue Paper, White Flowers or Cotton Balls, Glue, Paint Brush, Crayons, Scissors, Glitter.

This is a great little activity for the smaller children in the household, and they two can boast of helping with your alter decor. Paint one side of the box at a time with a bit of glue, not too thick, just enough to adhere green tissue paper. Cover the entire outside of the box with the green tissue paper. Cut a 2" wide strip of colored construction paper the length of the sheet (11"/14"). Let the child draw symbols and pictures that reminds them of Spring, the Goddess, brides, and weddings on the strip. Cut the white and yellow tissue paper into 2" diameter circles. While you are doing this, allow the child to draw pictures and symbols on the box with glue, and sprinkle with glitter. Place finger in the middle of a tissue square and draw up tissue around finger. Give a slight twist to crinkle paper into a flower shape. Remove finger and adhere to box and decorated construction paper strip with a dab of glue. Remember to leave about 1-1/2 inches on each end of strip. Attach these ends to the inside of the box with some glue. Let dry. Fill with white flowers or cotton balls. Tell story to children of how the Maiden is a Bride and that the Earth is her Bride's Bed.
courtesy of http://www.wicca.com/celtic/akasha/imbolcchildren.htm


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Air and Children

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I know that this is a repost but with Imbolc coming up soon and all the beginnings that it brings us, I wanted to go back over the elements. Starting with Air since it is the element of beginnings. And besides I needed an A article for today's Pagan Blog Project Post.

I already have an article on Teaching the Elements to Children but I wanted to spend some time focusing on the separate elements.

In the beginning of the journey through the elements we find, fittingly enough, the element of Air. This oftentimes is put in the East which is the direction of dawn and like the element of Air of new beginnings. It is represented by the color of yellow and the tool of either the athame or the wand, depending on your tradition.

If you are teaching this element to children then you should take them outside in the early morning. Although I don't recommend that you choose dawn, because I think that is a little to early for anyone to be up and about.

Have an altar laid with a yellow cloth and decorated with symbols of Air. A feather, fan and/or a flute would all be good choices. Spend a moment standing at this altar with your children and have everyone still themselves and listen.

Everyone should be focusing on their breath. Let each breath in feel you completely and then each breath out totally empty you. Understand and tell your children how important Air is for life. How without it we could not breathe.

Then have them stay there while you cast circle. How you do this doesn't matter; you can check out one of my other rituals for a suggestion. When the temple is raised then return to the East and invoke the element of Air.

A sample invocation would be;

I stand in the East and invoke the Element of Air
I call the powers of dawn and the gentle breezes
Come and attend to us, let us know your presence

Now all can sit and meditate on the energy of Air that you have called to circle. Help your children to become comfortable and familiar with the element of Air. Ask them questions like;
  • Is it male or female?
  • Are the energies fast or slow?
  • Do you see any colors?
  • Or have any impressions at all?
Just let them talk and see what comes of it.

The purpose of this exercise is to let the child become comfortable with the energies of the element, so that at some point, when they call the Quarters, they will be able to know what energies to invoke.

When you are done you can bid farewell to the Element of Air. Again here is a sample devocation;

I return to East to the Element of Air
To offer thanks for your presence this day
And to bid you Hail and Farewell!


When you are ready you can close circle. Make sure that you take time for any more questions and for everyone to eat something small so that they can be properly grounded.

Now this is just one of the Elements. Over the next few weeks I am going to cover each of the other three elements. So make sure you subscribe, if you haven't already and stay tuned. I would love to hear any feedback so that I can fine tune the coming articles.

Blessed Be!



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Making Brighid's Cross

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Next week I will be sharing a house blessing ritual that uses a solar cross. So I encourage you to make one using the instructions below. It can also be a decoration to use in the house to bring blessings throughout the year. 

I find that it is best to use plant material either vine or palm fronds. Just make sure to soak them overnight.
  1. To begin, you'll form a base for your Cross by bending two pieces of vine in their middles to create a pair of loops -- in fact, you'll do this with each piece as you make your Cross. Link the two pieces together at their centers.
  2. Next, turn these two pieces so they lie flat, and at a right angle to one another. This basic two-piece unit is the base for the rest of the Cross, and it's the only time you'll have two pieces hooked together in the middles like this.
  3. Next, bend a third piece of straw in half, and loop it over one of your two base pieces. Both legs of the loop in the new piece will pass over both legs of the base piece. Pull this third piece tight to hold it in place.
  4. Take a fourth piece, and bend it in half as you've done with the others. Loop this one over the legs of the piece you added in. You should now have four pieces, each pointing in a different direction.
  5. Finally, you'll continue looping pieces over one another as you did in the last step, until your cross reaches the size you want. Each piece loops over the previous one. When you're all done, use a piece of string, ribbon, or even another bit of straw to secure the four ends. Trim off excess pieces.
These instructions are courtesy of about.com.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recipes for Imbolc -- Meat

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
There were many traditional foods for Imbolc. Some of these included those made with seeds, representing growth. Since this was also a festival of light, marking the halfway point through the dark of winter, fried foods were also important. So I hope that you enjoy these recipes.

Imbolc Feast Lamb Stew

Ingredients
  • 2- 1/2 lb. lamb neck chops
  • 1 tbs. lamb fat
  • 4 medium onions
  • 1 tbs. butter/margarine
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 tbs. parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. each salt & pepper
  • 1 tbs. chives, chopped
Preparation:

Don't let the butcher trim the fat off of the lamb chops. Shred some of the excess fat and cook it down in a large pot or Dutch-oven. Peel the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cut the onions and carrots into quarters, and put all the vegetables aside. Cut the meat into eight pieces, and trim away the rest of the excess fat. The bones need not be removed. Place the meat in the hot fat and brown. Repeat with the onions and carrots. Add water, salt, and pepper carefully. Put whole potatoes on top. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat is cooked, approx. 2 hours. Remove from heat. Pour off the cooking liquid into a separate sauce pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, skim off grease, and reheat. Add butter, chives, and parsley to the reheated liquid in the sauce pan. Pour heated liquid back over the stew. Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs your favorite white fish: tilapia, haddock, flounder
  • 4 large russett potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Rosemary
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 bottle of dark beer, cold
  • Oil for frying
  • Cornstarch for dredging
Preparation:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat the oil in a large pot until it reaches about 375.
  2. Wedge the potatoes, leaving the skin on, and drop then in a large bowl with cold water.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, Old Bay seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Finally, pour in the beer and whisk until the batter is smooth. To help batter adhere to the fish, try chilling the batter in the fridge for about half an hour.
  4. Drain the potatoes, and submerge them in the oil. Work in small batches so the oil doesn't cool off too much, and cook them until they're crisp and golden brown. Remove from oil, drain on a rack, and season with rosemary and kosher salt. Place them in the oven to stay warm while you cook the fish.
  5. Reduce the heat of the oil to about 350. Lightly dredge your fish fillets in cornstarch, and then dip in the batter. Place in the hot oil, and allow to cook until the batter sets. Turn fish over, and cook until they're a golden brown color. Remove from oil, drain on rack, and serve with potato fries.
  6. For maximum flavor, sprinkle with malt vinegar and salt.



Monday, January 9, 2012

Sabbat Cooking - Imbolc A Review

Monday, January 9, 2012
A few months back, Octover actually, I did a review of a cookbook from a student of mine, Stacy Evans. That cookbook was for Samhain and if you remember I thought the recipes were absolutely fantastic. So when I was offered the chance to review her recently released cookbook for Imbolc, I jumped at the chance.

This time I had a little more time to review it and so I got to try out some of the recipes. And after getting a chance to try out a few of the recipes, I must say that this book is even better then her last.

The potato soup recipes was rich and flavorful and its making coincided with a cold snap here in Florida, so it's warmth was greatly appreciated. Also I made the latkes in the book and unlike many other recipes, I actually got them to hold themselves together.

And like last time there is a list of some of the ingredients, starred throughout the book and then listed in an appendix with their magickal qualities.

So again I highly recommend this book, and it will be well worth your while to head over to Wyrdwood Publications and purchase this Imbolc cookbook. And while you are at it why not give her blog and Facebook page a look and a like?

Blessed Be!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Monday Update

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Here is this Monday's Video Tip of the Week. And for the Full Moon a ritual outline. Hope you have a Blessed Full Moon!






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.

Ritual Content

When you return to the Center talk to them about the Goddess and the God and how they are always there. Let them know about Love and the Blessings that the Gods can give us. If you are outdoors then have them look up at the moon. Tell them that tonight is the night of the Mother Goddess, represented by the Full Moon. While you are doing this you can light the red candle to represent the mother aspect.

Read to them the Rede of the Mother. Or just tell them what the Mother means to your family. Let them know that they are loved always and that the Mother provides for all of her children. 

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.

Bidding Farewell

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.

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, January 5, 2012

Altar for Imbolc

Thursday, January 5, 2012
courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
I have decided to participate in the Pagan Blog Project. This wonderful idea thought up by Rowan (check out her blog), basically entails writing an article about a topic that starts with the letter of the week. This week being A I wanted to share some tips on setting up an altar for Imbolc.

So let's get to it. So we should all know what an altar is, if not check out this article on setting up a basic family practice altar. But how can you use the altar to mark the changing of the seasons and the changes in the Wheel of the Year?

There are many options available to you. You can change the Goddess and God statue to mark the changes that they undergo in an year. For example my Goddess statue has both a spiral side and a tree side, one for the dark half and one for the light half of the year.

But you can also decorate it with silk flowers and other things. While we decorate a grapevine wreath in our house, the same process can be applied to your altar as well. And if it is big enough then you could use the wreath as a centerpiece. So here is a list of things that you can use to decorate with;
  • Daffodils
  • Snowdrops
  • Daisies
  • If you lay it down and let it act as a centerpiece then you could put a candle in the center
  • If you choose to you can also set a Corn Dolly in among the flowers. Letting the wreath act as the Bride's Bed
Don't have a corn dolly? Stay tuned here and I will post some instructions for one on Monday.

I would love to hear about your altars for Imbolc. So comment below.

Blessed Be!

And oh yeah Thank you Rowan for a wonderful idea!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Imbolc and the Plow

Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Courtesy of DigitalPhotos.net
Imbolc is about the slow return of light to the earth and in my children's story I talk about the quest that the Young Sun King goes on to find the answer to that.

But I don't want to talk about us going on a quest today. Instead I wanted to talk about what else this Sabbat is about. This is a time that in some places they began to plow the Earth and prepare to plant seeds for the year's harvest. So my question is what have we done to prepare for the things that we want to manifest in the rest of this year and in years to come?

This is probably the most important step. Even more important than sowing seed. If the ground is not plowed then the birds will eat the seed as it lays on top of the Earth. And while that is good for the bird it is obviously not good for the harvest.

I talked to my kid a few months ago about magick. And the point I made is that magick is simply a tool, and that a spell doesn't work without some kind of physical work. For example a spell to get you a job most likely won't get you a job, if you don't apply anywhere.

So let me issue to challenge to all of us, myself included. Take a moment to figure out what it is that you want to manifest in the coming year and then figure out what steps you need to take before you start trying to manifest.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Looking Forward to Imbolc

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I get a lot of requests for my children's story. So I figured I would start off the march to Imbolc with this Sabbat's story.

In other news I have started putting videos on YouTube, so check out my channel and tell me what you think about this week's video. I also have some big things in the works that I will announce at the beginning of next week. So stay tuned and have a great week!

"Grandfather? Grandfather, is it time for another story," asked the littlest child, barely refraining from jumping up and down in excitement.

The old man leaned back in his chair and smiled, as he lit his pipe. After taking several puffs, he said, "Yes. I think is about a time. So where was I? Ah, yeah the Sun King born and the Maiden sleeping.

"Well the Sun King returned to the side of his Mother and meditated for a long time seeking an answer but none came. So he went to the land of the Sidhe and sought for answers from the Wise Ones there.

"The Sidhe came and sealed the Maiden within a crystal casket to protect her from the world until they could come up with a solution. After a short while they recommended to the Sun King must travel the world and to the Faery Oracle and seek for answers.

"How you must remember that during this time the Sun King has not been warming the Earth like he should. And the long journey to the Oracle will do little to help the Earth. But still the newborn Sun must arm himself and travel through the worlds to the World Tree and climb it to find the magick needed to waked the snow white maiden.

"A Long, long time he spent climbing that tree, after he found it, and as his hope waned he came across a grove, lit from within of its own light. Knowing that this was the Blessed Vale he entered into it and weaved through its labyrinth, into the center. There he found a standing stone surrounded by grass.

"Above was the stars and in front of the standing stone, sat the Oracle. The Sun King crossed to Her and sat before her and began to tell his story and then asked for answers to his quest.

"Then the Oracle spoke, 'Many people come seeking fame and fortune, yet you come in love. Realizing that love, the greatest gift, is all you need in life. You seek help to fulfill the will of Nature herself so I tell you that love's true kiss will waked Her that sleeps.'

"Now as you can expect at this simple answer, the Sun King was angry and frustrated. Remember though he was only a few months old at this point. So he yelled, in anger, at the Oracle, 'Is that it? If that is the answer why did I have to take this long journey?'

"The Oracle not offended, just smiled and raised her hand for patience and said, 'Oftentimes the journey is more than the answers we seek at the end. So go now and waken the Maiden and in turn waken the Earth before it is too late.'

"And with that the Sun King found himself, surprised of course, again at the top room in that tallest tower where, in her crystal casket, the Maiden slept. The Sidhe, after they got over their shock of course, gathered around the Sun King in breathless awe, as the God lifted the lid of the casket and set it to the side.

"Then with great happiness they watched Him kiss the sleeping Maiden and let out a cry of joy when her eyes fluttered open and she took a deep breath.

"As the Maiden rose from her bower she began to speak about her journeys and of her conversations with the Holly King. She told of the new cycle that had began and been laid out. She told him of the upcoming and past events in the Wheel of the Year.

"In celebration the Faeries spun a beautiful dress of spidersilk and the morning's first dew. Because the Faeries knew that this momentous kiss was akin to a betrothal and that the Goddess and God would be married soon. Plus the Goddess said as much herself.

"This is why children we make the corn dolly at this time of the year. To represent the Maiden and the future bride. And when we dress her in white it is a representation of the dress that the Faeries made for her.

"And our holiday of Imbolc is the day that the God returned from his long quest and the day the Maiden awoke. So this is why we give praise on this day and why we have our feast. Like at Samhain, when we say farewell to the Goddess, so do we at this holiday say greetings to Her.

"So that is the story of the Season of Imbolc. Go now children and let your grandfather rest."
Then almost as one the children ran off to play as, either the sleeping Maiden, or the Sun King on his long quest, letting their grandfather drift off into sleep.