NWK

NWK

Friday, December 19, 2014

Wrapping up Another Shitty Year

Well, 2014 is nearly over.  I wish I could say it was better than previous years, but it was about the same. At least it wasn't a lot worse.

I have failed more times than I have succeeded this year.  I figured that would happen. It always does. It's not that I necessarily set myself up for failure. It just happens.  I think it's just where I'm supposed to be, what I'm supposed to do.  Maybe I'm an even bigger masochist than I thought!

I'm going to be honest with you: I'm in the grips of a really bad depressive state.  Yes, I've been taking my medication. No, it is not helping that much.  I haven't hurt myself, but that doesn't mean I haven't wanted to. Often.  That doesn't mean I haven't wanted to just go to sleep and not wake up.

It means that I spend a lot of time just lying around in a catatonic state, tears rolling down my cheeks while my brain screams things at me.   I hear the voices more loudly at times, and this time of year is particularly bad.  I don't feel any reason or need to celebrate jack shit.  I have no holiday decorations.  No gifts.  I promised the Aussie and a work friend that I would make a nice dinner on Xmess Day.  That's about it.

One of the major reasons I don't feel like celebrating is because this time of year reminds me of one thing I can never have - a baby.  I see all of these pregnancy announcements on my FB.  Tons of pictures.  People celebrating with children.  Children full of glee at the holiday season and the magic it brings.  And I can't have that.  And it tears me apart.   Maybe I'm just a selfish cunt.

I have no resolutions for the new year.  I never make them.  I don't stick to those things. Most people don't, but I have no problem admitting it.  I'll continue to smoke. I'll continue to be fat.  I'll continue to work too much and take absolutely no time for myself.  I'll continue to have no self-esteem.  I will continue to feel worthless.  These things never change, and I am not going to pretend that they are.

I can't tell you the number of times I've wanted to delete this blog because I feel completely unappreciated.  I feel unappreciated in every aspect of my life, really.  I try to be around for people and be supportive and a good friend, but when I am really hurting...nothing.  No helping hand. No kind word. Nothing.  The Aussie continues to not work on his issues, and I continue to be celibate while in a relationship.  I continue to feel undesirable and unworthy of love.  These things will continue into 2015.  Changing the calendar doesn't change shit.  It's all the same day.  It's all one big ball of suck.

Now, in the unlikely event that anyone has bothered to read this, I do not mean to shit on your parade.  If you celebrate a holiday that's coming up, I do honestly wish it is happy for you.  Hold your loved ones tightly.  Tell them that you love them.  Check up on the sad people.  Do something good for someone if you can.  Don't end up like me.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Best-Laid Plans

Well, they often go to shit for me.   Oh, well.   Let's have some updates, shall we?

* I'm still mostly doing the meatless thing until the winter solstice. I say mostly because I've willingly ingested meat during this period, and I plan to eat some on Thursday.

* Thursday is Last Waltz Day in my house, not Thanksgiving.  I may also watch "Concert for George" a couple of days early.
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* I'm on break, but I'm not relaxed yet.

* My bathroom floor will finally be repaired. My dad is coming down here on Tuesday.

* I need to refill my prescriptions.  I'm getting a little nutty.

* I have abandoned hope of catching up with the Pagan Blog Project, but I might still participate in some capacity.

* The semester is nearly over! Hallelujah!

* I'm having...some strange personal issues. A friend of mine did a Tarot reading for me, and it seemed to pick up on things, but I still don't know what is going to happen. Most likely nothing, but I have a very wild imagination.  I seem to enjoy torturing myself with elaborate, improbable scenarios.

* I haven't done as much cooking as I'd planned. I'm tired, I have no time during the week, and I'm often too poor to buy the ingredients to make anything interesting or good.  Or healthy.   Sheetz, babies.  Sheetz and Taco Hell.

Okay, I guess that's boring enough for now.  Catch ya on the flip-flop.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

W is for WTF Happened to October?!

And November, for that matter!   I've been way too busy to blog.  I will have to post details later. This is just a quick fly-by to remind you all that I'm still here.  xoxoxo

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Behind Again!

I'm getting behind in life again. Ugh.  Work is getting busier and crazier, and it's about to go absolutely insane.  We're all going to be buried alive. It isn't going to be pretty.  *Deep breath*

My next Pagan Blog Project will be a catch-up for "T" - Tattoos.

I'm organizing a Halloween potluck at work the Tuesday before.  We have our faculty meetings then, and I think it will be nice to start a little before the meeting so we can eat and relax.  So far, only a few people have signed up.  Most people are bringing sweet things such as pumpkin bread.   I'm taking my pumpkin spice latte cheesecake.

I'm taking 2 or 3 savory dishes as well.  My butternut squash lasagna is suitable for the vegetarians, and it went over extremely well last year.  I think I'll make a meatloaf in the shape of a zombie head/face for the meat eaters.  I plan to use sliced almonds for teeth, and maybe a gooey mozzarella eyeball.  I considered filling the other eye socket with rice, but that might be too gross... What do you think?  Then, if I can pull it off, I want to make phyllo pastry "rolled intestines" with a spinach filling.  We'll see if I can pull that one off.

I'm tired just thinking about it!  I'll have to cook it all Monday evening and baking the lasagna the morning of.  I have my grocery list planned already.  I can microwave the meatloaf zombie before we hack into it.  The intestines can be reheated that morning, too, and be served at room temperature.

Now, who is going to help me carry all this from the parking lot to the building?  LOL

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Must Be the Season of the Witch

IT'S FALL!!!!!!!!!  A very blessed autumn equinox to those of you in the northern hemisphere!  I have a gathering to go to this evening.  I'm working on my potluck offerings and getting ready to have a shower.

I made butternut squash lasagna, stuffed peppers, and I will make Persephone's Salad shortly before we go.  I hope you all are having or have had a lovely celebration.

Let's get ready for Samhain!  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Tarot Collection...So Far

This is a really quick 'n' dirty video I did to show the decks I have so far.  I have only recently begun to get back into reading cards.  I was pretty good once upon a time, but a decade or so can really change things, wouldn't you say?

The sound and photos synced up fine when I put the video together, but something happened on the way to YouTube.   Also, my voice sounds like crap.  I'm a bit under the weather today.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

S is for Samhain

Long before I knew about Samhain, Halloween was my favorite holiday.  It trumped even Christmas in my young mind, and it wasn’t just because of the candy and costumes.  There  was something different about Halloween night.  Something seemed magical about the end of October, with its cool, crisp days and early darkness.  I always sensed excitement in the air.  Years later, when I began to discover my personal path to the Divine, I learned about Samhain. 

Summer’s End, the last harvest, was – and still is – a very significant time in the wheel of the year. For many, it was a time to make sure there was enough food to last through the dark days of winter.  It is a time when the veil between our world and the spirit world is so thin that our ancestors could return for a visit.  It is a time to celebrate many things – the season of introspection, the end of the year, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, and the harvest of the earth’s bounty.


It’s at this time of year that we most feel the presence of those who have gone before us.  For days or weeks before Samhain, the very air seems to change. In my house, sometimes strange things happen. These little occurrences make me think that the spirits are trying to communicate. 

Unfortunately, Samhain sneaks up on me most years. I have plans, and then I get really busy with work and don't get a chance to do much. This year, however, Samhain comes at the end of the week, and I can devote the weekend to celebrating.  

Some of the things I'd like to do is to hold a mute supper, but that plan is for when I actually have more space.  I can't even see my kitchen table, much less use it.  It's become a catch-all for crap, just like every other flat surface in this place.  SOOOOOO...this year, my Samhain plans involve cleaning and decluttering the joint.   Before Samhain arrives, I will have donated clothes and other unused items to Goodwill.  I'll also hopefully have given the place a good scrub and smudge.  

As for the actual remembering of the ancestors,  I intend to do what we started last year.  Since I don't have a lot of photos here, I am going to get a piece of poster board and write down the names of family members and friends who have passed to the other side of the veil.  The act of writing their names will bring remembrance.  I will also make the rosemary remembrance cookies I like to make but haven't in a while.  I have a spiffy new pomegranate-shaped cookie cutter to use for this.  I have also made a wreath. 

Another idea that might be nice is the Ancestors' Toast.  It's simple enough - just grab a cup of your favorite libation, toast your ancestors, and share stories about them or advice they've given you over the years.  Drink and repeat.  If you're using an alcoholic libation, you might want to use small cups or shot glasses so you don't end up joining the ancestors due to alcohol poisoning...

What are some of your ideas?  Do you have a menu planned yet?  I might use the same menu as last year.  

Last year, I made:

Crock pot cabbage rolls
Roasted chicken
Roasted potatoes
Brussels sprout gratin
Rye bread with caraway seeds
Green Man Cake - a chocolate-hazelnut torte


Friday, September 12, 2014

S is for Samhain

What can I say about Samhain that hasn't already been said?  It's one of my very favorite days of the year, one that I try to carry with me throughout the rest of the calendar year.  

Have some truly terrible Samhain haiku:


Samhain is the time
For our ancestors to come
As we honor them

Samhain is coming
It’s the season of the witch
When our souls can shine

Samhain is a day
In which we can raise power
To carry all year

A magical day
One of wonder and delight
The veil thins this night


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Double Layer Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake

So, I made a thing:  


Pardon my crappy pictures, but I took them just a little bit ago.  It's 4:23 am right now.

I think the drink is vile, but I thought it would translate well to cheesecake form.  It did!  OMG this cheesecake is sooooooooo creamy and rich. I didn't use too much sugar, either.  You can kind of see the individual layers, but the colors are pretty similar.

Crust:
·         1 box gingersnaps, finely crushed  (I had about 1 ½ cups of crumbs)
·         6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Mix butter and gingersnap crumbs and press into bottom and partially up the sides of a 9” spring form pan.

Latte Layer:
·         20 oz. softened cream cheese (2 ½ packages)
·         2 eggs
·         ½ cup sour cream
·         1 ½ tablespoons espresso powder
·         1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
·         ¾ cup sugar

Pumpkin Spice Layer:
·         20 oz. softened cream cheese
·         2 eggs
·         ½ cup sour cream
·         1 8-oz. can pumpkin puree
·         1 cup sugar
·         1 ½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
·         1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 F.
Combine ingredients for latte layer until smooth.  A food processor works best.  Spoon into the crust.
Combine ingredients for pumpkin spice layer until smooth. Spoon evenly and gently on top of latte layer.
Wrap bottom of pan in foil Place pan in a water bath.  I used a large skillet for this, but you could use a roasting pan or whatever the spring form will fit in.  (Heat some water and pour about ½ - ¾ inch into the other pan.)

Bake cheesecake at 325 for about  1 ¾ hours, until middle is set.  Run a knife around the edge. Remove from roasting pan/skillet.  Cool.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.   

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Autumn is a-cumen in!

September is a little more than a day away here.  Are you as excited as I am?  Temperatures are still pretty warm, but thunderstorms are coming to cool us down a bit.  Mabon will soon be here, and then...Samhain!  The countdown to Samhain began ages ago for me, but I'm not about to forget the autumn equinox, oh, no!

Our second harvest festival in the northern hemisphere, the autumn equinox/Mabon is a time to start turning inward a bit more.  It's a time to start focusing on things we want to get rid of at the end of the year, a time to meditate on future goals, and a time to really start connecting more with our inner selves.  It's a time to get in touch with our spirituality and prepare for the long, dark winter.

At my parents' house, it's a time for canning and freezing everything from the garden.  Tomatoes, peppers, and green beans are being preserved in jars. Pickles have been made.  Corn is going into the freezer.  My parents are enjoying delicious turnips, raw with salt and pepper.  Here, since I have no garden, I am getting ready to de-clutter the house.  I have bundles of clothes to give away, books to organize, and other assorted bits of junk to get rid of.

Celebrating the second harvest and enjoying the beginning of autumn are joyful activities. The air will soon grow cool and crisp. The days are already noticeably shorter.  Pumpkins already decorate the front of the grocery store.  Today, I baked a pumpkin spice latte cheesecake. The time is nigh!

Below is a list of activities and foods for the autumn equinox. If you're having trouble thinking of ideas for decorations, activities, or dishes, perhaps it will help you.

Mabon  Ideas for Heart and Home

·         Simmer water with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves on the stove.

·         Smudge with rosemary, sage, and thyme.  Simmer some of the herbs in water and add it to your mop water.  Clean the floors, counters, and cabinet doors.  Add some sea salt for extra protection and cleansing.

·         Decorate with autumn leaf gardens that you can purchase from a craft store.

·         Place leaves on a canvas or piece of foam board. Dip an old toothbrush into some orange, red, brown, and yellow paint.  Splatter. Remove the leaves.

·         Can the rest of the fresh green beans and tomatoes.  Make pesto with the last of the summer basil and freeze it.  Freeze the corn.  Hang bundles of herbs to dry.

·         Fall cleaning.  Get rid of clutter and give away anything you don’t use or wear.

·         Make a besom. Scent with cinnamon oil.

·         Meditate on Persephone’s descent into the Underworld.  Eat pomegranate seeds while doing this.
·         Harvest seeds.  

·         Think of your goals for the coming year.

·         Think of what you want to get rid of at Samhain. What is cluttering your mind and your life?

·         Make corn dollies.

·         Make dried apples for snacks and decoration.

·         Decorate the altar with bundles of corn.  Hollow out apples to use as candle holders. 

Foods:
·         Squash soup
·         Corn bread
·         Apple pie, crumble, or cake
·         Pinto beans cooked with smoked ham
·         Sauteed  greens
·         Stuffed onions
·         Sweet potatoes – mashed, baked, in pie form


Friday, August 29, 2014

R is for Ritual

What do you think of when you hear the word “ritual”?   Does it evoke images of smoking incense, candles, a wand, chalice, and athame?   Or do you associate it with your pre-Pagan days?  Prayers murmured in unison, standing up, sitting down, hymns?   All of the above?

I personally don’t do rituals, per se.  The last time I was in a formal circle, it felt very hollow and a bit silly, even.  Calling the quarters.  People using pen flashlights to read notes.  I dunno, there just wasn’t much appeal. 

Instead of formal acts of worship, I prefer daily practices.  I’ve written before that ritual, for me, largely includes cooking and feeding people.  I see those things as an act of worship – of nature and of the Divine.   The principle is similar, and the practice also has some similarities.  Instead of a wand, I use a wooden spoon. Instead of a cauldron, I have pots and pans.  I sometimes light candles when I cook or bake, and I use herbs, but in a different way most of the time.

I think that acts of reverence for the Divine and for nature are things that should be a part of my daily routine.  That’s one of the reasons my head is always covered.  I try to remain prayerful throughout the day.  I try to give thanks for many things throughout the day.   I personally don’t need to gather together with a group of people and make circle to do it. 


Sometimes it’s nice to be in the company of others, and I do attend gatherings from time to time, but I don’t participate as much as I observe while thinking my own thoughts and conducting a celebration in my own mind.  That’s just what works for me.  Everyone’s practice is different, which is how it should be. I believe the path to the Divine – however you see it – is deeply personal, and no one can tell you how or where to walk it.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Free Recipe Download


I've never done this before, so I hope it works!

As you may remember, I have been working on some recipes to go along with the calendars of meatless meals that I have planned for the time between Nov. 1 and Dec. 20.    Well, here they are!   If you're interested in cooking anything that I have planned to make during that time, here is your chance.

The recipes are yours to use and adapt as you see fit.  I've included some menu ideas that are similar to the post I made with the calendars, but there are some variations.  It's a total of 39 pages.  I didn't include every single recipe because some of them, such as spaghetti, are rather basic.

Please let me know if you nab the PDF file, if you cook anything, and how you like the recipes.  What worked? What didn't? What did you change?

Thank you and enjoy!

Nar


Monday, August 18, 2014

A Passing

My Samhain table will have a new guest this year.  My grandmother has passed beyond the veil.  

I love you, Grandma. So much. I hope you can feel that, wherever you are.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Q is for Queen of Heaven (music)

Mediaeval Baebes: Salva Nos

Salva nos, stella maris
Et regina celorum
Salva nos, stella maris
Et regina celorum
Que pura deum paris
Salva nos, stella maris
Et per rubum signaris
Nesciens viri thorum
Salva nos, stella maris
Et regina celorum
O virgo specialis
Salva nos, stella maris
Sis nobis salutaris
Imperatrix celorum
Salva nos, stella maris
Et regina celorum
Tu mater expers paris
Salva nos, stella maris
Manna celeste paris
Et panem angelorum
Salva nos, stella maris
Et regina celorum
O parens expers maris
Salva nos, stella maris
Partu non violaris
Paris sanctum sanctorum
Salva nos, stella maris
Et regina celorum
Celeste manna paris
Salva nos, stella maris
Lux cecis, dux ignaris
Solamen angelorum
Salva nos, stella maris
Et regina celorum
Salva nos, stella maris
Et regina celorum


Q is for Quick Kitchen Magic

Feeling stressed? Anxious? Having a bad day?  Want to bring more abundance and prosperity into your life and home?  You only need look as far as the kitchen!

Sometimes, the quickest and simplest things are the most effective for our needs at the time.  Here are just  few really fast and easy things you can do with kitchen/food items to improve the energies in your home and/or bring prosperity and abundance into your homes.

Burn herbs and/or spices over a charcoal.   Use sage to cleanse and purify.  Cloves work nicely for purification as well.  Place the charcoal in a dish on top of a bed of salt.

Mix up a floor wash to wash away negativity or introduce love, peace, and/or harmony.   Boil some lavender  and/or rose buds into a tea.  Mix with a little white vinegar.  Add to your wash water to cleanse the cabinets, counters, and floors to bring in some love energy. Rosemary and/or citrus work for cleansing away negativity.  Add some salt to this mixture, too, if you wish.  You can also place the concoction into a spray bottle.

 A dish of sesame seeds, changed periodically, will help attract prosperity.

There you have it:   just a few easy, quick little things you can do using kitchen items and ingredients.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Here We Go

There are a lot of things in this world that I do not understand.  One thing that really burns my toast and really confuses the crap out of me is the thought that there is some kind of universal contest to see who has the most chronic illnesses or mental illnesses.   I know people who introduce themselves by what is “wrong” with them before almost anything else.

Something else that ticks me off is that meme that talks about how depression is a sign of trying to be strong for too long.  Fuck you.   The causes are not immediately known.   Stop trivializing something so serious.  Also, stop diagnosing yourselves as bipolar, depressed, or having anxiety disorders.  You aren’t qualified to do that.  Dr. Google isn’t a real M.D. 

Yes, everyone likes attention.  It makes us feel special.  It makes us feel good.  Who doesn’t want to feel unique once in a while?  Well, you’re going about it in the wrong way.  Believe me when I say you don’t really want clinical depression.  It’s a screaming, lying, horrible demon that shrieks horrible things at you.  It eats at you and wears you down until there’s nothing left. Until you can’t go on.   It’s hard not to listen when you hear that shit all the time.  It’s not fun. It’s not a game.  It doesn’t make you better than someone else.  Seriously, though, if you are jealous of someone who has a legitimate illness or disorder, then, yes, there probably is something wrong with you.   Seek help.

I haven’t really said a lot about the death of anyone who has committed suicide, celebrity or not.  I don’t like to glorify this sort of thing.   It sucks. It sucks big-time.   Yet, I understand why.  I’ve been there.  I’ve wanted to.  I’ve been so close that I’ve had to be placed somewhere safe.   Since I’m not famous, it isn’t the sort of thing that would get a lot of attention.   I’d rather be recognized for things I do in life, not how life ends. I am not what I have. 

Those of us who do have actual disorders, those of us who have been diagnosed by trained, experienced professionals DO seek help. We DO talk to people. We DO take our pills like good little boys and girls.  Usually.  It isn’t a question of reaching out, however.  It’s a question of the hand on the other end.  Does it take our hand and help pull us out of the darkness?  Does it hold on and offer comfort?   Is there anyone or anything there at all?  

I’ll admit to reaching out and coming up empty-handed because people who just want to suffer from the latest thing are already taking up all of the support.  It seems so much easier to help someone who doesn’t really need it, doesn’t it? 

I guess what I really want to say is this:  If you think it’s a contest, you’re an asshole.  If you think it’s a game, you’re an asshole.  If you think it’s something I can turn on and off at will, you’re an asshole.  If you think people who permanently remove themselves from the pain and suffering they cannot otherwise escape are selfish, you’re an asshole.

I’ve been dealing with clinical depression since my teens.  It sucks.  If you really, really want it because you think it’s cool and it will get you all sorts of attention, please take mine.  If you just want to be speshul and yuneek…see above.


Thank you. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Planning for Autumn

Yes, already!  September will be here before we know it.  While I haven't made plans for my Mabon meal yet, I have started thinking about the vegetarian meals I will be making for Nov.1 - Dec. 20.    On Oct. 31, I will fast until sundown, and then I will eat my last bit of meat until Thanksgiving.  I decided to allow myself to have some meat at Thanksgiving because last year, I prepared a lovely vegetarian feast that was delicious, but...unsatisfying.  I ended up eating a burger from Sheetz.  Yeah.  *hangs head in shame*

As always, I plan too much.  I am going to have to try really, really hard to be more organized this year so I can cook on the weekends and freeze dishes for the week.  My work schedule and my boyfriend's work schedule leave me feeling exhausted during the week.  Having only one car complicates things when one person gets off work by 5 and the other works until 9.  If I can make Saturdays my shopping days and Saturdays and Sundays cooking days, it should work.  I also plan to make Sundays in November pizza days because it's easy to put together.  I actually use a calzone dough recipe from allrecipes.com, and it works wonderfully.

Here are the plans I have made for the in-between time of the year:



I hope those aren't too difficult to read!  I'll be sharing recipes when it gets closer to the time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

P is for Pagan Modesty

mod·es·ty
  [mod-uh-stee]   noun, plural mod·es·ties.
1.
the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness,etc.
2.
regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
3.
simplicity; moderation.

Now, a lot of people might see that word and think, “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”  and run screaming.   Keep reading before you run away, though, if you can.

When the concept of modesty is mentioned, people often picture plainly-dressed Quakers, or possibly Amish folk.  Perhaps you picture people (mostly woman, I’ll wager) from other Abrahamic faiths, with their long sleeves, dresses, and head coverings.   It’s what we’ve come to associate with the word. 

Now, if you look at the definition, dress is only part of it.  The definition deals mainly with manner and practice, as opposed to just what people put on their bodies.  

What I put on my body doesn’t make me modest.  There’s no such thing as “more modest than thou” because that is kind of the opposite of the meaning of the word.   I cover my body and my head for other reasons, reasons that I have outlined before. 

Do I consider myself a modest person, a modest Pagan?  Wellllllllll…no, I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m all that modest.  In dress, sure.  I don’t boast about achievements and accomplishments that much, either.  I’m a rather atypical Leo in that regard.  (I blame it on the fact that I came early and was actually supposed to be a Virgo. Hehe.)

Am I vain?  No, my self-esteem is actually pretty damn low most of the time.  That’s another story for another time, however.  I may vlog and blog, but I don’t enjoy just talking on and on about myself, even when I’m asked questions.  It makes me uncomfortable to be in the limelight.

Let’s look at the second use of the word.  Regard for decency in dress?  Again, I wear long sleeves and long dresses over leggings. I wear a head scarf.  Therefore, I guess we can say that I am modest in dress.  Do I judge other people for not covering up as much as I do?  Hell no.  If you got it and want to flaunt it, go nuts.  I’m fat and uncomfortable having my pudge hanging out, flapping in the breeze, but that’s just me. 

Speech and behavior?  Do you know me?  Have you seen the amount of swear words I’ve used in this post alone?  Okay, not that many…yet.   Every time I’m outside smoking a cigarette (smoke-free campus), I kind of laugh to myself and wonder what people might think, seeing a woman with flowing dresses and weird scarves out there, puffing away on a menthol.  

The conclusion?   I would not consider myself a modest Pagan.  I consider myself to be someone who chooses to cover up in order to protect my energy and to feel more comfortable.   In my experience, a lot of people use the term modesty very loosely and go against it by boasting about how modest they are.   Kind of like Weird Al’s lyrics for “Amish Paradise”:  I’m a million times more humble than thou art. 

I just like to blend in with the scenery.


You get away with a lot more that way.   


Sunday, July 27, 2014

O is for Offerings

This post will focus mainly on how I leave offerings.  There are, of course, a variety of ways of leaving offerings, but if you’re a kitchen witch, what do you do?  No one wants to just leave a bunch of food lying around on the altar, right?  It can spoil quickly, and who wants to offer spoiled food to the Divine?  It can also attract all sorts of unsavory creatures like fruit flies. 

Now, at Samhain, I will leave some food out for the spirits of the departed, but usually only while we eat.  What do you do with the leftovers, then?  You can either bury them or compost them, depending on the food items offered.   The dead feast upon the essence of the food rather than the physical ‘vittles’, anyway.
For a kitchen altar, I have made miniature food items out of polymer clay.  Pictures or other artificial food items can be used to represent the earth’s bounty. 

The way that I tend to send offerings to the Divine and to the spirits of loved ones is by burning representations of those objects.  I may write a letter or draw a picture or cut out pictures of food or flowers or whatever fits the purpose at the time.   To me, burning offerings is an excellent way of sending their essences to where they need to go.  I believe that the intent and message is sent through the smoke via the wind.  I have a little cast iron pot (my cauldron) that I use especially for burning offerings.


The next time you want to offer something but do not want to set out actual food or objects that might be stolen, try burning.  If you don’t have a pot, use a coffee can with some sand or dirt in the bottom, or go out in the driveway.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Catching Up: N is for Nudity

Nudity.  Does this word strike fear in your heart?   Does it make you uncomfortable?  Do you automatically think of sex?

We are an over-sexualized society.  Nudity is so strongly tied to sex in many contexts that it's nearly impossible for some people to separate the two.  Look at the whole public breastfeeding (non) issue.  In this culture, nudity and sex are not only connected, but they are also used to sell everything from perfume to cheeseburgers.

I could go on and on about this topic, but I'm really just using it as a segue into ritual nudity.   Working skyclad is a part of some people's practices.  It is seen as a symbol of liberation and as a way of connecting to the gods and to the earth.  After all, naked is the way we were born.

And as the sign that ye are truly free,
Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men
And women also: this shall last until
The last of your oppressors shall be dead

(Leland, 1899.)


It works well for some.  There are those who do find it very freeing, and it may help them feel more connected to the Divine.

 I don't do the skyclad thing.  I'm not big on being nude in front of a bunch of people I don't know, unless I'm going in for surgery or something.

This isn't because I am ashamed of my plus-sized body; I'm not.  I think that my body, as squishy as it is, is sacred.  It is the gift to my soul to carry it around in this lifetime.  I may not take the best care of it most of the time, but we'll talk about that later...

Because I see this body as my soul's gift from the gods, I prefer to cover it up and reveal it only to a select few.  I see it and I like it.  My boyfriend has seen it a couple of times.  Hell, I've even mooned people before.   I don't even show my hair to people, much less my other bits and pieces.  I don't think it's necessary at all.

The Divine knows what my body looks like already.  I don't feel the need to approach prayer or celebrations without clothing.  For one thing, it's not exactly practical in many cases.  Or legal, depending on where you're conducting your celebration/ritual/whatever.

For another thing, I am not approaching the Divine with my body. I am connecting to the Divine with my soul, my true essence.  I go naked in spirit.  My soul is laid bare before the Divine.  I may be wearing clothing on my body, but my soul is naked before the Divine.  And that's what works for me.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

N is for Newbies

This post might piss some people off.  That wasn’t an apology. 
Newbies.    The new Pagan or new witch.  We all know them, and guess what?  We all WERE new at one point in time.  Holy smokes!  We were all in the same place as some of these people!  Whoda thunkit?
This post isn’t going to bash newbies (much), but it is going to discuss the attitudes a lot of people in the Pagan community have toward those who are just beginning on their paths.

Ecauldron.com has this tongue-in-cheek post about types of Pagans.   The new ones are described as such:
1. Bright-Eyed Novice:
You just read this cool book about a religion where there's a Goddess and a God, and they meet outside in nature, instead of some scary old building. They think sex is GOOD not evil, and you want to know where to sign up.
Distinguishing Signs:
Mispronounces god/dess names, has to think a moment about which is deosil and which is widdershins. Has a shiny new athame (rhymes with "A-frame".)

Now, again, this is HUMOR, but unfortunately, a lot of people see the “bright-eyed novice” and either roll their eyes or bash them outright.  “How dare you not know such and such?  I’ve known that for years!”    Well, guess what?  You learned it from somewhere, didn’t you, oh wise one?

I’ve been a practicing (sorta practicing, anyway) Pagan for over 15 years now, and I honestly have to say I roll my eyes just as much at the more “experienced” members of the community because of their attitudes of superiority. 

That brings me to a HUGE pet peeve I have:  The term “fluffy bunny”.   As I understand it, the term can be used to describe people who are new as well as people who *gasp* don’t acknowledge the dark sides of the path.    Grow the fuck up, seriously.   Did you get into Paganism because you felt bashed for your beliefs and thought it would be fun to bash other people for their beliefs instead?   Does calling someone a fluffy bunny make you feel better about yourself?   If so, you might need to do some self evaluation there, sparky.

My approach is to listen, answer questions, and help guide people.  The path to the Divine is deeply personal, but sometimes people need help forging their own path.  I’ll let you borrow my scythe for a minute so you can start cutting down some weeds and start walking your own way, y’all.

I try to guide people away from what I see as the misconception that Paganism and D&D are intertwined.   *Whispers*  They’re not.     I’m not necessarily judging your path or your practice if you really, truly, honestly think you’re a dragon or a wolf or whatever, but I am seriously questioning your grasp on reality.  If you want to play fantasy games, go right on, but por favor, don’t attach that shit to me.  

Poor newbies get confused easily  at times, and some of them might think that that’s the norm.  Not so much.  

They are exploring. They are finding what works for them.  Some of them want to do only helpful things (aka “white magic”).  Others might want to pretend to be super-ultra-mega powerful dark witches or whatever, but again, they just need some guidance.   And possibly a boot to the head.   This goes for EVERYBODY, though, not just the newbies.

Not everyone wants guidance, and some people cannot be reached, but I still want to try, if only to protect my reputation.  Yeah, so I’m a bit selfish, but not entirely.

Some people never grow out of the attention-seeking phase.  I’ve known plenty who have, however.  This isn’t the fault of Paganism; rather that’s a combination of self-esteem issues and who knows what else.   Again, though, this isn’t something that only new Pagans exhibit.  I know way more experienced Pagans who are insufferable twits.

My point, after all of my ranting and raving, is this:  

New does not mean bad, wrong, or stupid.  It means new.  It means inexperienced and possibly in need of some more education.  Instead of being all high and mighty about your years of experience, why not try this:
·         Recommend some books by reputable authors.  Show them the basics and let them go from there.

·         Use all of your knowledge and experience to offer advice based on interest – Greek mythology, the Celts, whatever.  Factual, not fictional, please and thank you.


·         Stop using that annoying fucking fluffy bunny term before I puke through my eyes.

·         Foster a sense of community.  Work on bringing people together rather than driving them apart. 


 /bitching

Sunday, June 22, 2014

M is for Magical Names

Magical names, Craft names, Witchy names – whatever you want to call them, have a special significance to many.    While not everyone chooses one, many do prefer to take on another name while practicing or attending events.  There are many reasons for this. 

Some people choose a special, new name because they feel it fits their newfound selves. Others may choose a magical name because they don’t want to be ‘outed’ by having their real name in groups, on forums, or associated with Paganism in any other way.  There are also a few who just wanna be ‘cool’.  Come on…you know it’s true.

Names, preferences, and beliefs and practices change over time, so it isn’t unusual for a magical name to be changed once it no longer ‘fits’ its owner.   There is also the phenomenon of Ravens, Morganas, Willows, Wolves, and Ambers in the Pagan community.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered who went by Raven or Wolf or had a name that included one (or both, ahem) of those monikers.

There are many, many methods for choosing a name.  Numerology is used by some.  Magical names that reflect the owner’s path are also used.  Yet another method is meditation and allowing the name to just come, perhaps as a message from a personal deity.   Whatever name you use, it should be one that is carefully chosen and not just a “flavor of the month” that you’ll grow out of before you’re ready to change your socks.  Of course, if that’s your style, far be it for me to judge, of course!  

This brings me to my name.   When I first embarked on my path to the Divine, I had a different name.  You’ll probably laugh.  One day, I was in that state between asleep and awake, and a name came to me.  It reflected my personality and my intentions.  My brain said to me, “Greenlady”.   Not Lady such-and-such, mind you, but adopting a Lord or Lady title is something rookies tend to do.  It resonated with me…sort of.  I didn’t really use it, though.   I felt strange having another name.  I didn’t feel it the way I wanted to feel it 

 So I went without for a long time.

I don’t believe magical names are necessary at all.  In fact, for a lot of people, they may not even be desirable.  I never thought I HAD to have one, but I did like the idea of being called something other than by birth name, which I consider rather boring.  It doesn’t really fit me either.  I like my surname, but my first and middle names are just ‘meh’. 

Fast forward a few years to a non-practicing Pagan-flavored Agnostic woman living in Istanbul, absorbing local culture and customs (and fooooood!).    Wait, let me go back again.  Further back, to middle school English class.   We read the myth of Persephone, and I became enamored.  The name Persephone was – and still is – very beautiful to me.   I explored this story a bit more and read more about mythology.
Later, I became a huge fan of one of her symbols – the pomegranate.   I had had a few pomegranates before moving to Turkey, but there they are plentiful and more flavorful.  Juice stands press these gorgeous fruits into a dark red juice that is tart on the palate.   I began to connect with this symbol of Persephone, of the womb, of  life and rebirth. 

I couldn’t just call myself ‘Pomegranate’ though, now, could I?  That would be silly (she said facetiously). 
Nar.   The Turkish word for pomegranate is nar.   Now, I may not be Turkish, but I consider that just an accident of birth.  It’s a country that I really love, a beautiful country with a long and colorful (and often bloody) history.   I was learning the language, and food vocabulary is what we learned first.  After all, teachers gotta eat, right?  


The pomegranate is a sacred symbol in many belief systems, and I identify with its season of fall.  I explored the symbolism a bit more, and it just felt right.  I am Nar.   Nice to meet you. 

Let the Countdown Officially Begin!

Yesterday we observed the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  From here on out, days get shorter.  The temperatures may soar for a few more months, but there will be cooler weather soon.  Even though we are in the middle of summer, my eyes and my heart look to autumn, my favorite season.



Autumn is truly the season of the witch, and although I love cooking dishes using summer's bounty, I look forward to the harvest holidays the most.  Autumn is the time I enjoy most of all, before the biting, bitter cold of winter.  It may seem like the season of dying for some, and I suppose it is, but it is when I come to life.  It is when I feel the strongest connection to the earth, when life turns inward for a season of introspection and inner growth.

Then there is Samhain...Ah, Samhain. Beautiful, wonderful Halloween/Samhain, followed closely by the Day of the Dead.  It's a time of remembrance and feeling a stronger connection with those who have come before.  It is a time to revel in the mysteries of the wise and aged, a time to take their wisdom to heart and put it into practice.  Plus the cobwebs and dust in my house look like decorations!  Ha!

What season do you like best?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Touched by his Noodley Appendage

High five if you got the Flying Spaghetti Monster reference.

Now, on to the noodle salad!

I know I've mentioned this before, but I suck at food photography.

This makes a LOT.  I'm going to a potluck, so I needed a good amount.

Noodle Salad:
* 1 package extra firm tofu, pressed, dried, cut into cubes
* oil for frying
* 1 cup shredded carrot
* 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
* 1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into small-ish pieces
* 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips
* 1 16-oz. box angel hair pasta

Dressing:
* 1/3 cup lite soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
* 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled

Put the garlic and ginger in a food processor and pulse until chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to combine.

Cook the pasta until just al dente.  Drain.  I rinsed mine a bit, but you don't have to.

If you are using the tofu (and you can certainly leave it out), deep fry in oil until cubes are crispy and golden.  Drain on paper towels.

In a very large bowl, combine the vegetables, pasta, and tofu.  Toss with the dressing.  

Optional: Add a tablespoon or two of furikake (Japanese rice seasoning).  There are many varieties available. I used one with toasted sesame seeds in with the seaweed.

Feel free to use gluten-free pasta.


Glad Midsummer!

A very happy summer solstice to all!  It's overcast and a bit spritzy here today, but hopefully that will clear up for tonight's celebration.

 I'm about to start potluck preparations. I decided to take some chicken legs and a noodle salad.  The noodle salad will be vegan because there are a few vegetarians in the group.  I am going to do an Asian-ish noodle salad.  The idea is in my brain, but I don't have the exact measurements yet.  I will post the recipe once I work things out outside of my mind.

The chicken legs are going to get coated in a sesame-orange-ginger-pineapple glaze.  The noodle salad will be made with regular ol' angel hair pasta and cubes of fried tofu, some Napa cabbage, shredded carrot, red bell pepper, green onions, and sugar snap peas.  I'm going to make a sesame-ginger dressing for it, and I will probably sprinkle on some furikake, too.   Mmmmm!  I'm excited to get the cooking started!

I hope you all have a lovely celebration, whatever you do!  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Money and Magic

Money has been on my mind a lot lately.  There's never enough of it to go around, never enough to cover every single bill that needs to be taken care of.  It's a situation, one that makes me lose sleep and cry from time to time.

In the past, I have written about ways to save money in the kitchen, and I do my best to use a lot of those methods.  Still, there isn't much I can do to make my electricity bill lower (I've tried) or the cell phone plan, or, or, or...

I looked at my bank account this morning and saw that the car insurance had cleared.  The water bill is next.  I barely have enough to get gas in the car and a few crappy grocery items.  Payday for the Aussie is the 26th.  For me, it's the 30th.   What's a girl to do?

Sometimes people turn to magic to help with money woes.  I do and don't.  I've been known to whip up a batch of Prosperity Shortbread Cookies from time to time (actually my go-to "get a job" cookie recipe), but as for doing spells to get money, I steer clear.  Why?

Well, it has been my experience - and that of others I've spoken to - that the Universe is not particular.  You can be specific, but it still does what it wants.  If you're not specific, look out!  You might be in for quite a ride.   No, the Universe isn't terribly particular in HOW it helps when you ask it for help.

To illustrate further, a dear friend related a story to me of a man who needed a certain amount of money.  He prayed.  He did spellwork.  He did this and that to get this amount of money, and it worked.  Sort of.  It worked in such a way that it made me want to avoid money magic for the rest of my life.  Let's just say it involved a horrific auto accident in which he remained in the back seat, while his legs joined the driver in the front seat.  He got his money, but at what cost?

I don't do spellwork for money because the money might come from a source I'd rather it didn't.  An inheritance, for example.  I'd rather not have anyone die just so I can get a few extra dollars.  I'd rather not win a settlement from an accident that leaves me disabled, either.  I'm gonna pass on that and just rearrange my retirement funds to get the money I need in order to get caught up on the bills, bills, bills.

If you are in need of a small amount to help you get through the month, I think it's all right to burn that green candle.  Leave out a dish of sesame seeds.  Plant a money plant.  Visualize a little extra coming in from somewhere or something.  Then, you must take some action to make it happen.  Again, the Universe ain't too damn particular, so you kind of have to take matters into your own hands for those small amounts.   Have a yard sale.  Put something on eBay.  Practical steps of that type are what you need to take to make it happen.   Don't depend solely on magic for anything, really.  That's been my stance for a very long time.

Also, evaluate your reasons.  Why do you need the money?  Were you frivolous earlier in the month?   Or did something big and unexpected come up, like a car repair or a home repair?  Did a pet have to go to the vet?   For me, it's a chiropractic bill that my insurance didn't fully cover.  It's a cancelled satellite bill (Suddenlink finally came through and I was able to drop that awful Frontier bullshit).   It's home repairs and owing my parents back payments for the trailer because the Aussie was out of work and I wasn't able to give them anything.   I haven't been buying crazy shit that I don't need; I've just been trying to survive.   (Okay, maybe Internet isn't a necessity, per se, but I do have to work at home sometimes, so it sort of is...)

Anyhell,  it boils down to this:  Avoid the temptation to do money spells for big amounts.  Little bits of prosperity magic should be fine.  Just remember to do your part, too.  Don't leave it all up to magic.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Revision

I received some very helpful feedback from a reader, and I have slightly revised the outline.

Sabbats
Esbats
Handfastings
Home Blessings
Family Celebrations  (including baby blessings, birthdays, etc.)
Honoring the Goddess (including Maiden, Mother, Crone celebrations)
Honoring the God (Oak King, Holly King, etc.)
Passing Beyond the Veil


The sections will be organized by season, so as to use as much seasonal food as possible.  

Yes? No? Better?  Let me hear from you!  

xoxo

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Project - Feedback Requested!

Dear Readers,  as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have decided to combine a bunch of unfinished cookbook projects for the kitchen witch into ONE (unfinished) cookbook for the kitchen witch.   I'm going through recipes and brainstorming new ideas, but I need your help.

I will really, truly need recipe testers at some point, but I don't know when.

Before that can happen, I need to finalize the sections so I can get organized.  I am going to list the proposed sections of the book so you can (hopefully) give me some feedback.   I am conflicted in some areas. I just don't know if it would be worthwhile to include them.  That's where you come in.

Help?  Please? With a cherry and sprinkles on top? :)

Proposed Sections:

Sabbats (organized by season)
Esbats (organized by season or month)

And then I want to move on to Life Events.  This is where I need help.

Celebrating the Maiden - This is the section that is causing the most problems.  I want to include a section on celebrating a young woman.  This might include *gasp* menarche.   What do you all think?  How do you feel about celebrating such an event?  It doesn't HAVE to include menarche, per se, but have any of you or would any of you celebrate the maiden aspect of the goddess?   It doesn't even have to include an actual, physical maiden; it could just be honoring that aspect of the Triple Goddess.

Help?

From there, we would go to:

Handfastings

Home Blessings

Celebrating the Mother (I wouldn't leave out fathers!)  - This would include baby blessing or naming events.

Celebrating the Crone

and

Passing Beyond the Veil - This would include foods to take to the grieving families as well as foods for remembrance at Samhain, so it would sort of go along with the Samhain section.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Thank you so much!






Friday, June 13, 2014

Tonight's Honey Moon

Tonight the honey moon rises.  This moon, not seen in a century or so, is close to the summer solstice.  June is a traditional month for marriages and handfastings, making this moon a perfect time to work on harmony in relationships, methinks. 

If you are joined with a partner and wish to welcome a stronger sense of love, harmony, and even lust into your relationship, tonight is a good night to do it.  There are a variety of ways, of course (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), but one way is through the use of food.

The official statement on aphrodisiacs is that they’re bunk, but who knows for certain?  After all, intent can go a long way.  A moonlit dinner for two featuring some of the foods and ideas from this post could very well increase feelings of love, lust, and attraction.  If you are single, I would consider this a good night to work on drawing your suitor to you (as long as you aren’t being specific and working against someone’s free will, of course!).


Some of the best-known aphrodisiacal foods are oysters, asparagus, and strawberries.  While those may not go that well together to form one dish, they can certainly play parts in a romantic meal. 

Others include:
·         Apples
·         Apricots
·         Arugula
·         Bananas
·         Basil
·         Eggs
·         Garlic
·         Honey
·         Salmon
·         Shellfish such as clams and scallops

Honey Moon Menu:

·         Arugula salad
·         Smoked salmon quiche
·         Stir-fried asparagus with garlic and chili
·         Apples and honey (add a sprinkle of cinnamon)

Don’t forget the wine!  

A simple tomato-basil sauce and pasta will do the trick, as well.  No need to get too fancy. Have some strawberries for dessert. 

Eat beneath the light of the moon, if possible, or turn off the lights and open the blinds to allow the rays of the honey moon to enter your home.  Allow the rays to touch the food.  Feed each other.  Hold hands. Look into each other’s eyes and remind one another of what you love about the other person.  Make some magic together.

If you are single and looking:

Light a pale yellow candle to match the color of the moon, or rely solely on moonbeams. Grab a heart-shaped strawberry dipped in honey.   Gaze at the moon for a while and think about what it represents to you.  What do you see on the surface?  Some see a man in the moon, while others see a lady or a rabbit.  (Hey...rabbits...fertility...) 

Close your eyes and meditate on finding your perfect match.  Again, you do not want to think of a specific person; you want to think instead of the qualities that work with your own. Talk to the Divine.  Let the universe know you are ready for your love.  Your heart, mind, and soul are ready and willing to receive love.  You are worthy of love.   When you're ready, eat that strawberry and visualize.  

Happy full moon, and happy Friday the thirteenth!