Level 5 Member
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 9:01 AM
"Shall we go out into the street, Easter my dear, and repeat the exercise? Find out how many passersby know that their Easter festival takes its name from Eostre of the Dawn?" - "American Gods" (chapter 11), by Neil Gaiman
Spring is here but winter's chill still cluches tightly to the days. Still, there is work to be done. The last week in March was spent scrubbing the house top to bottom: Dusting the furniture and ceiling fans, washing the curtains and venetian blinds, washing the walls & baseboards and hard floors with a few drops of Louisianna Van Van oil added to the water, etc.
As last year, the holiday snuck up on me so I delayed my spring celebration until Easter. My first task on easter morning was the spiritual cleansing of the house. I had my ritual bath, got dressed in light colored clothing and began.
White flowers are a must, both for offering and asperging. My fumitories are an uncrossing incense (to which I will add a pinch of sulphur) and white sage.To my usual smudging feather, I have attached a black hen's feather. The basin is for my cleansing wash which contains a tea made from 13 uncrossing and protection herbs, sea salt, and Firey Wall of Protection oil.
When I was finished, I did not have the dramatic sign that I did last year but the house felt calm and peaceful. So I began cooking/baking. This sweet almond bread hides some golden rasisins inside.
After the intense spiritual cleansing and two dinners I was near exhausted but still one more thing to do: My Ostara ritual!
I dyed my eggs naturally. The yellowish orange color was made by boiling the eggs with a tablespoon of ground tumeric. The light blue was made by boiling the eggs with a handful of blueberries. The decorations were paint and marker.
Only after taking the picture did I realize that in my tiredness I drew my celtic spiral wrong. But I left it because it was still made with love and one has to learn to laugh at one's self rather than get frustrated because the offering wasn't perfect. The Gods don't demand perfection, but honesty.
My offerings were the eggs and the bread I had made earlier. I also had a small glass of honey mead. For this ritual, I used the Homeric Hymns to Jupiter and Juno. It was my first time invoking them together but it felt comfortable, if a bit serious. I finally lay down to rest after my long day but I had the beautiful smell of lilies in the house for days!
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8:18 AM
Where does the time go? I realized that it's nearly Beltane and I haven't even posted about Imbolc yet!
Well, I'll keep it short and sweet. I had been making my plans for a garden. Given last years poor showing, I've decided to let the vegetable garden law fallow while I work on ammending its soil. Instead, I will focus on expanding my herb garden on the side of the house.
As I did last year, I welcomed the return of light, blessed my seeds and made my goals for this new year.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 7:16 PM
Here's hoping everyone had a safe and blessed Yule.
On the night before Yule, I helped a friend of mine celebrate Mother's Night, a tradition of staying up all night to greet the Norse goddess Freya in her arrival as the morning Sun. I didn't make it the whole night but I stayed up as late as I could and woke early to watch the sun rise. I was outdoors and I played the song "The Dawning" by Hagalaz Runedance on my phone as I recited this prayer:
Hail to the Day! Hail to the sons of Day!
Hail to Night and her daughter!
Gaze on me gently standing here;
Give your blessings on my battles!
Hail to the Gods! Hail to the Goddesses!
Hail to the all-giving Earth!
Wisdom and lore grant me, so long as I live,
And healing hands.
(Adapted from Poems of the Elder Edda, by Patricia Terry)
I didn't travel this year but I was blessed in that a dear friend of mine participated in my ritual with me. Here are a couple shots of the altar with fresh Holly and Pine:
The cookies in the offering bowl are gingerbread men. It was a simple improvised ritual but the two of us had great energy. It is a memory I will cherish.
This holiday season was also an important occassion as not only was it my niece's first christmas, it was the first time my Boyfriend's parents would be joining us for christmas dinner. I would be cooking for 7 people. So, lighting a candle to Vesta, I tackled this menu:
Appetizers: pigs in a blanket, maple-bacon wrapped cocktail weenies, cheese/crackers and sliced summer sausage, goose liver pate, and mulled apple cider
Sides: Salad of mixed greens with walnut & cranberry served with a balsamic vinegarette, Stuffed artichoke hearts, brussel sprouts with cranberry and bacon, and mustard-roasted potatoes.
Main Course: Roast Goose with sage apricot stuffing and Baked Ham with a honey-mustard glaze.
I'm including this information about the dinner because I believe that the act of preparing food and sharing a meal with the ones we love can itself be a form of magic. I have noticed how people come together over food and it's vital to any celebration.
It also reminded me how special it is to give a gift of of your own labor. Earlier in the month I had made an advent wreath for my mother using pine boughs purchased from a local nursery. I had also made some cross stitched ornaments that I gave to many of my family members.
When I finally settled down after all the cooking and family visitations were done, I rang bells to celebrate the birth of Sol Invinctus and mediatate on the meaning of this season.
Sunday, November 4, 2012, 11:20 AM
"Real?" Moundshroud, insulted, almost fell from his bramble-cat broom. "Ye little gods and fishes, lad, every town had its resident witch... In every tiny village, boy, in every scrubby farm the old religions hide out." - The Halloween Tree, Ray Bradbury
I hope everyone had a safe and blessed Samhain. Luckily our neighborhood sustained very little damage from Hurricane Sandy. But the weather on halloween was definitely gloomy.
Jon and I had carved pumpkins the night before and I gorged myself on old Universal Pictures monster movies.
Halloween night was a blast. I had spent over $75 on Halloween candy to give out to the kids and by the end of the night had forked over 134 bags of candy. I dressed as a witch and turned my porch into a witch's lair.
Sppoky music and halloween tunes, played coutesy of my iPod and speakers. I was handing out candy, performing a fire trick with some flash paper, and reading fortunes for about 3 hours (even managed a broom dance number to "I put a spell on you") then I headed inside to do my ritual.
My altar was mostly the same "memnto mori" set up as last year, adorned with a small pumpkin, indian corn and some dried maple leaves. The potted plant in the window is Nicotiana, a couple leaves of which were burned to honor my ancestors. Since June I had started researching my family tree and through a combination of family interviews, documents, and research on Ancestry.com I can now trace at least two branches of my family tree back six generations. I called upon these relatives by name and welcomed them home for this night, pouring wine in greeting. Because of my Italian heritage, I have been feeling more and more connected to the Roman Pantheon so I invoked Pluto and Proserpine as my dieties for this rite.
This winter I have several projects in mind to keep myself busy and deepen my study. I will post more on these as they progress.
Sunday, September 30, 2012, 11:39 AM
Blessed Mabon. It occurs to me that I started journaling my Sabbats a year ago. I love looking back on the entries here to see how I celebrated. Now, I get to see how many elements stay the same with me and how many I choose to change. This should be a fun learning experience.
I started my reflections the day before. Realizing that the last day of summer was upon us, we should stop and acknowledge all the best of that season. As kids we tred to pack every day of summer with adventure and there's no reason to stop because we grow up.
This mabon was very busy. I hustled and bustled to clean the house and do my shopping (being sure to buy autumn flowers for my altar)...
and then I baked whole wheat rye rolls in honor of Vesta. For my dinner I made a hearty venison stew with root vegetables.
And for desert, an Apple Rasin Strudel. Apples being one of the foods associated with Michelmas, I really saved myself some time.
Then I set up my Altar. The offerings were from my garden: Onion, tomato, Jalapeno, basil, and one of my freshly baked rolls.
And here's the finished result:
The altar cloth was a gift from Jon shortly after last mabon. It was an autumn themed placemat and I just adore the colors and leafy patterns. The minicorn was a purchase from last year but the flowers and gourds are new and add a much needed touch.
For my ritual, I used the Hymns of Orpheus for my invocations choosing the Hymn to Ceres for the Goddess and the Hymn to Bacchus for the God. The blackberry wine in my offering I'm sure must have pleased him.
After my busy day, the ritual was peaceful and very much needed. Afterwards, I met some of my friends for a girls night out and we celebrated (again, thanks Bacchus).
Mabon is supposed to be the witch's thanksgiving and over the course of the day, I found myself grateful for many things: the home I help keep in order and the family I keep it in order for, the food we have (and are very rarely wanting), the friends that surround me, and the talents I possess.