harvest

Mindful Meditation

November, 2018

Samhain Mindful Meditation

Samhain, or the third harvest, historically was a time for farmers to harvest their last crops and head into the dark times when the nights were longer than the daylight. Also known as “Witches New Year,” we can use this time to reflect on our accomplishments and regrets as we begin to look ahead to the coming new year. What are we letting go of and what are we calling in to our lives? 

Items you will need:

-a quite room to be completely alone in

-a comfortable seat

-writing utensil & paper

-cauldron or fire pit

-special box for safe keeping

Intentionally create sacred space and allow yourself to relax into this meditation.

Imagine yourself throughout the evolution of this past year, from November 2017 up until today. Watch your milestones, your mundane actions, and life changing decisions unfold before you. Notice how each movement through out life this year has gotten you to where you are right now. 

Write down any regrets, missteps, or perceived mistakes or missed opportunities you have made.

Now, imagine yourself in the future year from this day until November 1st, 2019. What accomplishments do you see yourself making? What do you wish to manifest for this coming year? Write the manifestations in an affirming way by using phrases like, “I will have” or “I am”. Envision yourself achieving these goal and living it as if it is a normal day, like a waking dream. 

You have your future manifested now in your mind and affirmed on a piece of paper. 

Fold the paper intentionally, mindfully, and place it in your special box. You can place your box upon your Altar or in a special place to be kept secretly.

Now, take the first sheet of paper which refers to your past year and hold it in your hands. Say, “I forgive myself for _____” (stating each individual regret) and once you have released the energy from your heart and tears, through the paper into the fire, watching it burn away before you. Allow the fire to fully extinguish.

Thank yourself for taking the time to sit with your thoughts, thank the fire for burning away the past, and thank your future self for creating this intention-setting moment.

***

About the Author:

(Amy Dubenetsky & Becky Coates, respectively; Writers of the Mindful Meditations column & Coven Sisters.)

This Mindful Meditation is brought to you by Amy Dubenetsky, a Bodyworker/Reiki Practitioner/Witch based out of Manchester, CT whom leads group meditations as well.  Amy is deeply involved with her Coven, Organic Farming, and various Dance Communities across the country.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

30-Days of Samhain Offered by Robin Fennelly

October, 2018

30-Days of Samhain Offered by Robin Fennelly

A Witch’s Sacred Journey

The final harvest calls, the Ancestors await and the veils between the worlds have thinned offering the gifts of healing, transformation and deeper communion with the cycles of nature.

Last year I decided to explore the mysteries of Samhain using a daily format of postings and suggestions to deepen your awareness of this sacred time of the year. I am sharing this again for this year’s celebrations and will be adding some other material as we move through the 30-Days of Samhain. Let the journey begin…

The countdown ends with Astrological Samhain, so Day One begins on October 9th and Day Thirty ends on November 7th. Enjoy…

Day One begins here… Welcome and Introduction

For Quick Links visit: 30-Days of Samhain-Index

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Mabon Correspondences

September, 2018

(Persephone’s Descent Goddess Harvest Mabon Fine Print by Tammy Mae Moon of MoonSpiral on Etsy.)

 

MAY-bon, MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon or MAH-bawn, – Lesser Sabbat

Fall/Autumn Equinox, September 21-23

Michaelmas (September 25th, Christian), Second Harvest Festival, Witches’ Thanksgiving, Harvest Home (Anglo-Celtic), Feast of Avalon, Wine Harvest, Festival of Dionysus, Cornucopia, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Chung Chiu (China), Night of the Hunter, Alban Elfed “The Light of the Water”(Caledonii/ Druidic-celebrates Lord of the Mysteries), Winter Finding (Teutonic, from Equinox ’til Winter Night or Nordic New Year, Oct 15th.)

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!

Purpose: Second harvest festival, new wine pressing/making preparation for winter and Samhain, rest after labor, Pagan day of Thanksgiving, honoring the spirit world, celebration of wine.

Dynamics/Meaning: death of the God, assumption of the Crone, balance of light and dark; increase of darkness, grape harvest, completion of the harvest.

Essence: Beauty, joy; fullness of life, harvest of the year’s desires, strength; laughter; power; prosperity, equality, balance, appreciation, harvest, protection, wealth, security, self-confidence, reincarnation.

Symbolism of Mabon: Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

Symbols of Mabon: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Tools, Symbols & Decorations: Indian corn, red fruits, autumn flowers, red poppies, hazelnuts, garlands, grains especially wheat stalks, and colorful, fallen leaves, acorns, pine & cypress cones, oak sprigs, pomegranate, statue/or figure to represent the Mother Goddess, mabon wreath, vine, grapes, gourd, cornucopia/horns of plenty, burial cairns, apples, marigolds, harvested crops, burial cairns, rattles, the Mysteries, sun wheel, all harvest symbols.

Herbs & Plants: Acorn, aster, benzoin, cedar, ferns, grains, hazel, honeysuckle, hops, ivy, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak leaf, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Foods of Mabon: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, cornbread, wheat products, grains, berries, grapes, acorns, seeds, dried fruits, corn, beans, squash, roots (ie onions, carrots, potatoes, etc), hops, sasssafras, roast goose or mutton, wine, ale, & cider.

Incense & Oils of Mabon: Pine, sweetgrass, apple blossom, benzoin, myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, sage wood aloes, black pepper, patchouly, cinnamon, clove, oak moss, & sage.

Colors/Candles of Mabon: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, gold, deep gold, green, orange, scarlet, all autumn colors, purple, blue, violet, & indigo.

Stones of Mabon: Sapphire, lapis lazuli, yellow agates, carnelian, yellow topaz, & amethyst.

Customs: Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather, bringing in harvest, cutting willow wands (Druidic), eating seasonal fruit, leaving apples upon burial cairns & graves as a token of honor, walk wild places & forests, gather seed pods & dried plants, fermenting grapes to make wine,picking ripe produce, stalk bundling; fishing,. on the closest full moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting corps by moonlight.

Activities of Mabon: Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Spellworkings and Rituals of Mabon: Protection, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance. Celtic Festival of the Vine, prosperity rituals, introspection, rituals which enact the elderly aspects of both Goddess & God, past life recall.

Animals/Mythical beings: Dogs, wolves, stag, blackbird, owl, eagle, birds of prey, salmon & goat, Gnomes, Sphinx, Minotaur, Cyclops, Andamans and Gulons.

Goddesses: Modron (Welsh), Bona Dea, Land Mother, Aging & Harvest Dieties: the Triple Goddess-Mother aspect, Persephone, Demeter/Ceres, Morgan (Welsh- Cornish), Snake Woman (aboriginal), Epona (Celtic-Gaulish), Pamona (roman), the Muses (greek)

Gods: Mabon ap Modron (Welsh), Sky Father, The Green Man, Wine Gods, Aging Gods, John Barley Corn , the Wicker-Man, the Corn Man, Thoth (Egyptian), Hermes, Hotei (Japanese), Thor, Dionysus (Roman), Bacchus (Greek) & all wine Deities

Element: Water ‘

Threshold: Evening

GoodGod!

September, 2018

Meet the Gods: Mabon

Merry meet.

The fall equinox sabbat takes its name from the Welsh god Mabon. He was called “Mabon, son of Modron,” which means “Great Son, Son of the Great Mother.” The great mother, his mother, was the earth.

According to Arwynn MacFeylynnd, who wrote “A Guide to the Sabbat’s Symbolism” found on WitchesOfTheCraft.com, “In the myth of Mabon, the god disappears, taken from his mother, Modron, when only three nights old. Mabon is freed with the help of the wisdom and memory of the most ancient living animals – the blackbird, stag, owl, eagle and salmon.

All along, Mabon has been quite happy, dwelling in Modron’s magickal Otherworld – Modron’s womb – to be reborn as his mother’s champion, the Son of Light. Mabon’s light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom to become a new seed.”

In that way, his fertility is recognized as we harvest the bounty of the earth. During this the time of abundance, Mabon is putting his energy and light into the seeds that will be planted for next year’s harvest.

As one of the ancient, most likely lesser gods, most stories about him have been lost.

All we know is that he was stolen away from his mother when he was only three nights old and imprisoned until he was rescued by King hur’s companions,” MacFeylynnd stated.

Knowing what it was like to be held captive in a dungeon, Mabon was said to be a god of freedom, freeing caged animals and those unjustly imprisoned.

He protects all that is wild and free. His animal totems are the owl, the blackbird, deer, eagle and salmon. We honor Mabon when defending the animals, and when we work for the freedom of all people,” is written on witchingtime.com.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

GoodGod!

August, 2018

Meet the Gods: Dionysos

Merry meet.

This month we get to know Dionysos, the Olympian god of the grape harvest, wine and wine making as well as the god of ritual madness, wild frenzy, festivity and pleasure. He is also called Bacchus.

He was usually accompanied by Satyrs (lustful, drunken woodland deities who were part human and part horse or goat) and Mainades (frenzied female devotees).

The thyrsos (a staff topped with a pinecone), a crown of ivy, fruiting grapevines, a drinking cup and a panther are all associated with him. Frequently represented in ancient art, he was first shown as a mature, bearded adult wearing an ivy wreath and a long robe that was sometimes draped with the skin of a fawn or a feline. In later times, he was depicted as youthful and beardless, effeminate, and partially or entirely nude.As such he is among the most versatile and elusive Greek gods.

According to mythagora.com, Dionysos’ life began with intrigue and disaster. “Zeus was attracted to the lovely princess of Thebes but his appreciation of Thyone did not escape the notice of his sister/wife, Hera. The vengeful goddess dared not interfere overtly with Zeus’s affairs but she was a master of subtlety. When it became obvious that Thyone was pregnant, Hera enchanted Thyone and induced her ask Zeus to come to her in his radiant splendor. Zeus was flattered and revealed himself to Thyone in all his flaming glory … she was utterly consumed by the flames.

Zeus’s son Hermes rescued Thyone’s premature child from the conflagration that consumed Thyone’s mortal body and gave the babe to a woman named Makris, daughter of Aristaios, on the island of Euboia. Makris did what she could to sooth the child but Hera was quick to realize what had happened … she drove Makris from her home. Zeus took the infant from Makris and sewed it into his thigh so that it might have his protection.”

Dionysos later journeys to the underworld, gets his mother and takes “her to Olympus where Zeus transformed into the goddess Thyone,” according to the Theo Greek Mythology website.

When Dionysos and his companions as were traveling through the Land of Thrakian, the king drove them into the sea. “As punishment,” the website states, “the god inflicted him with madness causing him to murder his wife and son and mutilate himself with an axe.

When King Pentheus of Thebes refused to accept Dionysos’ divinity, Dionysos retaliated by driving the king’s daughters into a crazed frenzy and they tore him apart limb from limb, Theo Greek Mythology states.

Another myth shared on the website tells of Dionysos traveling through the Aegean Sea when he was captured by a band of Tyrrhenian pirates who planned to sell him into slavery. “The god infested their ship with phantoms of creeping vines and wild beasts, and in terror the men leapt overboard and were transformed into dolphins.”

Dionysos married princess Ariadne of Krete (Crete) whom he found abandoned by Theseus on an island.


He traveled as far as India, and upon his return to Greece, those who welcomed him adopted his rituals. His followers also wore or carried pinecone-topped staffs, ivy crowns and drinking cups. Dionysos punished those who rejected him with madness or physical afflictions, or he would turn them into animals. Over time, drinking wine became his sacrament, even to the point of drunkenness.

According to N.S. Gill’s article on Thoughtco.com, “Dionysos is a patron of the theater and an agricultural/fertility god. … Writers often contrast Dionysus with his half-brother Apollo. Where Apollo personifies the cerebral aspects of mankind, Dionysus represents the libido and gratification.”

Despite being the creator and god of wine, the ritual madness associated with Dionysus did not involve alcohol or drugs. “Their wild dancing and estate ecstatic behaviour were interpreted as ‘madness’ only by the uninitiated,” according to the Ancient World Project at the University of Michigan.

Greek theater is said to come from the worship of Dionysus in Athens. The Theater of Dionysus held 17,000. Plays were performed honoring Dionysus as god of wine. It’s said that tragedies dramatized his negative and destructive traits while comedies incorporated innocence, humor and his many festivals

When you incorporate wine into your celebrations, rituals, or for cakes and ale, honoring Dionysus can bring fertility and gratification.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:


Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Lughnasadh

August, 2018

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Lughnasadh

Lammas and Lughnasadh get a bit of a bad rap. The biggest issue is the dating. When the shift from old to Gregorian calendars happened in 1782 the year lost 11 days. So we have two dates 31 of July and August 12. The next thing was that instead of celebrating on the day, the church bumped the celebrations to the nearest Sundays or saints’ days.

So what is this celebrating? Who is Lugh? What is a loaf mass anyway?

This is the beginning of harvest. From wild foraging, to gardens and fields full of golden wheat and barley all was about to gathered in. A good harvest can be spoilt with a run of bad weather, a sudden storm or infestation. It is then with all of your food for winter on the line a good idea to get the Gods on side. If it went well it was a time of celebration and merry making.

Lugh of Lughnasadh (the death of Lugh- feast of Lugh) is sometimes interpreted as a storm God or even a sky God in general. He is also the God of skill and many games. Sometimes he is seen as the sun God or God whom dies, much like the grain so the land is fertile. This sacrificial cycle makes sense and the “death” of the grain is part of many other Celtic traditions around Europe. Many harvest rituals of strangers cutting the last of the wheat or throwing the sickle as to avert bad luck come back to the “I don’t want to kill a God” part of the harvest. It is also the time when you will need to figure out what to hold back for next year’s planting, what to sprout for whiskey and beer, and what to keep for bread.

Farming communities would all help each other out, and everyone was expected to help bring in the harvest. This is still why at least in the UK our school holidays happen when they do, because children were also expected to help. “Straw marriages” of a year and a day would happen as the community was already gathered together and likely going to get drunk too!

Bilberry babies” were children conceived at this time. The fact that the wild places and ancient ritual mounds and wells had plenty of bilberries as an excuse to be there didn’t hurt either.

Sacred wells were often dressed with flowers and while Lughnasadh seems all about Lugh it is always a good idea to make sure that the ancestors and Goddesses were happy too. Ireland and Britain have a huge number of sacred wells. Water was seen as the connection to the Otherworld. Offering from swords to cauldrons, flowers and butter were left. Much like our wishing wells. Wells usually had a sacred tree nearby and a sacred hill. The deosil (anti-clockwise) route was usually taken to properly visit all three. Women in particular were to wash and/or drink from the well and then tie a strip of cloth to the tree, then maybe rub the standing stone or lie on a stone on the hill to help conception.

Lammas then? Loaf mass was exactly that. A Christian mass to celebrate the return of grain and fruit. I think this is always why I prefer Lughnasadh as a name. It is more complex and odd but it speaks of something older. It is important to understand something of the Celtic mind set to understand the wheel of the year properly. Celts celebrate death. A good death is important. Even now an average wake could last up to four days in more rural parts of Ireland. It isn’t morbid as such more that death is a necessary part of life. Community celebrations strengthened the bonds between them and created the future (in a real and Bilberry baby sort of way!) and gave an opportunity for the old songs to be sung and those lost to be remembered. Sure they WENT to the loaf mass. They made the bread, beer and whiskey, but they also went to the wilds, to the wells, and the ancient trees. They went up the Reek and watched the sunrise.

So what does this mean to you? What is your harvest? What is in a fragile state and requires gentle tending and an extra bit of luck? What food matters to you? Where does your food come from? Be it grain, bean or berry; what you put into your body now and later matters.

So how to celebrate Lughnasadh? It is a time to gather, food and people. To sit in the dark with a fire and sing the ancient songs. The sad songs, the old songs, the bawdy songs. To twist wildflowers in the hair. To whisper your sweet nothings under the stars and beside the standing stones. If you are alone for Lughnasadh you could have a fire, or make bread or cake. You could go and “pick your own” or give a little offer to Lugh before you harvest your own garden. It is an excellent time to mindfully harvest your herbs and flowers for the coming year.

You could go to a well, river or spring and decorate it with flowers. You could also go give to a food bank or homeless shelter. Or clean up a local cemetery or wild space of rubbish. Cleanse if you need to, be it at a sacred site or your bathroom.

Go outside, go to the wilds if you can. You are not separate from this sacred earth, not immune to its seasons. Plant something, scatter some seeds. Tie some cotton to a tree and make a wish.

For as you sow so shall you reap. I would advise listening to some folk songs, John Barleycorn in particular. Or maybe some Jethro Tull, and enjoying the poppies red and roses filled with summer rain.

The Harvest Calls!

August, 2018

 

The harvest calls

Time to reap

What you have sown.

 

Flesh and bone

Tears and blood

All into the making

Of your harvest’s yield.

 

And, what have you sacrificed

As you stand ready to

Receive your reward?

 

What have you tended

And nurtured that

Has not produced

Sweet fruit?

 

What have you neglected

And allowed to wither and fall

Because you did not

See its bounty?

 

What sunlight and rain

Have you drawn into

Your own being to grow

The harvest of your

Own potential?

 

The harvest calls

Time to reap

What you have sown!

 

Author’s Notes: In the Spirit of Lammas, this poem offers up a call to look more carefully about how your efforts and focus are directed. The First Harvest brings us to a place of sacrificing what is not viable yield and gathering to ourselves what will nourish and sustain us throughout the months ahead. What hope and potential was fed at Imbolc is now manifest and what choices we make to cut away to reach the ripeness of that potential will impart their wisdom on the next Turn of the Wheel.

 

Blessed Lammas!

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Lughnasadh/Lammas Correspondences

July, 2018

Lughnasadh (Loo-nas-ah)/Lammas

(Lughnasadh ‘s Pentacle – Harvest Magic – Lugh’s Protection handcrafted by YabYum from the shop PaganOdana on Etsy.)

 

Major Sabbat (High Holiday) – Fire Festival August 1, 2

Other Names: Lunasa (meaning August), Lughnasaad, Lughnasa (Celtic),First Harvest, August Eve, Feast of Cardenas, Feast of Bread, Tailltean Games(Irish), Teltain Cornucopia (Strega), Ceresalia (Ancient Roman) Harvest Home, Thingtide (Teutonic), Lammas (Christian). Laa Luanys, Elembious, Festival of Green Corn (Native American)

Animals and Mythical beings: Griffins, Basilisks, Roosters, Calves, Centaurs, Phoenix

Gemstones: aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx, yellow diamonds, citrine

Incense and Oils: wood aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, safflower, corn, passionflower, frankincense, sandalwood

Colors: red, orange, golden yellow, green, light brown, gold, bronze, gray

Tools, Symbols, and Decorations: corn, cornucopias, red, yellow flowers, sheaves of grain (wheat, barley, oats), first fruits/vegetables of garden labor, corn dollies, baskets of bread, spear, cauldron, sickle, scythe, threshing tools, sacred loaf of bread, harvested herbs, bonfires, bilberries, God figures made of bread or cookie dough, phallic symbols

Goddesses: The Mother, Dana (Lugh&’s wife & queen ), Tailltiu (Welsh-Scottish), Demeter (Greek), Ceres (Roman grain goddess .. honored at Ceresalia), the Barley Mother, Seelu (Cherokee), Corn Mother, Isis (Her birthday is celebrated about this time), Luna (Roman Moon Goddess), other agricultural Goddesses, the waxing Goddess

Gods: Lugh (Celtic, one of the Tuatha De Danaan), John Barley Corn, Arianrhod’s golden haired son Lleu (Welsh God of the Sun & Corn where corn includes all grains, not just maize), Dagon (Phoenician Grain God), Tammuz/ Dummuzi (Sumerian), Dionysus, plus all sacrificial Gods who willingly shed
blood/give their life that their people/lands may prosper, all vegetation Gods & Tanus (Gaulish Thunder God), Taranis (Romano-Celtic Thunder God), Tina, (Etruscan-Thunder God), the waning God

Essence: fruitfulness, reaping, prosperity, reverence, purification, transformation, change, The Bread of Life, The Chalice of Plenty , The Ever-flowing Cup , the Groaning Board (Table of Plenty)

Meaning: Lugh’s wedding to Mother Earth, Birth of Lugh; Death of Lugh, Celtic Grain Festival

Purpose: Honoring the parent Deities, first harvest festival, first fruits grains & drink to the Goddess in appreciation of Her bounty, offering loaves of sacred bread in the form of the God (this is where the Gingerbread Man originated)

Rituals and Magicks: astrology, prosperity, generosity, continued success, good fortune, abundance, magickal picnic, meditate & visualize yourself completing a project you’ve started

Customs and Activities: games, the traditional riding of poles/staves, country fairs, breaking bread with friends, making corn dollys, harvesting herbs for charms/rituals, Lughnasadh fire with sacred wood & dried herbs, feasting, competitions, lammas towers (fire-building team competitions), spear tossing, gathering flowers for crowns, fencing/swordplay, games of skill, martial sports, chariot races, hand-fastings, trial marriages, dancing ’round a corn mother (doll)

Foods: loaves of homemade wheat, oat, & corn bread, barley cakes, corn, potatoes, summer squash, nuts, acorns, wild berries (any type), apples, rice, pears, berry pies, elderberry wine, crab apples, mead, crab, blackberries, meadowsweet tea, grapes, cider, beer

Herbs: grain, acacia, heather, ginseng, sloe, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, aloes, frankincense, sunflower, hollyhock, oak leaf, wheat, myrtle

Element: Fire

Gender: Female

The Kitchen Witch

September, 2017

Harvest Stir-Fry with Shrimp

 

     If you are like me, you either make too much pasta or not enough. Generally, I err on the side of too much. So I often use leftover pasta in stir-fries. Pasta reheats fabulously in the stir-fry pan, and absorbs the flavors of the cooking oil, vegetables and other seasonings.

     The other day, I went to the farmer’s market in Downtown Buffalo. I bought these wonderful purple and pale green peppers, as well as cherry tomatoes and zucchini. I decided to use them in the stir-fry with the leftover pasta. I also had onion and shrimp.

Here is the recipe and how you prepare this yummy stir-fry:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium zucchini, cubed (about 1 cup)

1 purple pepper, diced (about ½ cup)

1 pale green pepper, diced (about ½ cup)

¼ cup diced red onion

13-15 cherry tomatoes, halved

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

2 cups leftover pasta, broken into pieces

¼ cup white wine or chicken broth

10-12 medium cooked frozen shrimp, thawed, with tailed removed

Fresh parsley and basil to taste.

     Heat the olive oil in a heavy cast iron pan or wok until just about smoking. Add the vegetables and toss in the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper and keep moving in the oil. Add the leftover pasta and stir it in well. Add the white wine or the chicken broth, stirring well. Add the shrimp, then the parsley and basil. Toss a final time and serve. With a salad, this is a perfect light dinner for two people.

Enjoy! BB!

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

August, 2017

Bright Blessings!

 

August already!

 

(pinterest.com)

 

Depending on your tradition, you will likely celebrate either Lammas, or Lughnassadh, and while I’ve written about Lughnassadh, I’ve delved into little about Lammas.

 

(drieddecor.com)

 

The difference lies in what is being harvested. Lughnassadh is about corn harvest, and Lammas is about wheat harvest.

 

The underlying principle is the same. Both wheat and corn were very meaningful to the people who grew them, and both crops can be used in multiple ways. Meal is ground from corn, while wheat makes flour, and both can be used to bake spectacular things tons of different ways. Both also store well, and were important food for our ancestors. While many shun both corn and wheat these days for reasons ranging from wanting to avoid carbs to stay thin, to gluten intolerance, ancient people relied heavily on these foods. They celebrated the success of the harvest of these important foods, and thanks was given to the gods.

 

Many modern Pagans don’t grow wheat or corn, let alone rely on those foods like our ancestors did. However, Pagans still celebrate harvests. For those like me who are gardeners, carrying in the first fruits and vegetables to feed your family with makes you prouder than most anything else. Imagine how much more proud the people were of a successful harvest whose livelihood depended on the work they did on those foods in the fields.

 

For most of us, this is the first of three harvest celebrations, the next being Mabon, and the final Samhain. We typically celebrate symbolically, and ascribe the term harvest to things we have accomplished in our lives. Maybe there was a pay raise, or a new baby is on the way. Maybe a new furbaby joined the family! Maybe you were able to get into grad school, or earned good grades for the year in your classes. Maybe a loved one got over an illness, or maybe there was reconciliation in a relationship that was thought beyond saving. We all have our own personal harvests to celebrate, no matter how great or small they happen to be.

 

Unexpected Harvests

 

What about the things we feel like we failed to do? The goals we have been unable to reach? What about when we had big goals we planned well for, worked towards, and we watched them crumble before our eyes?

 

What do we celebrate during the times we feel like he failed ourselves, and feel we have nothing to be proud of, or thankful for?

 

I hate to say it, but if you live long enough, you might feel this way about yourself.

 

Fortunately for us, the ambitious species we are, we are also an intellectual species, and we can shift our perception.

 

The trick is going to be to focus in the unexpected things you DID accomplish, no matter how small they were, as opposed to grieving the things you were unable to do.

 

Sometimes, we pick the wrong goals, and our attention, and time are better spent on things we are able to do. You would never expect a blind person to pilot an airplane, would you? No, because that would not be fair. It’s equally unfair to expect yourself to do things you are not meant to do.

 

Then again, there are times when you just need to dig your heels in, and keep trying!

 

It’s difficult to know which is the case when it seems you are failing. Nobody but you can decide whether to keep trying, or to go try something else.

 

When I think of all the things I have tried to excel at in my 41 years, it makes me chuckle. Hell, at least I tried, but you never know whether you are gifted with something UNLESS YOU TRY IT FIRST.

 

I’m not sure what is on your list of things you tried, and moved on from, but mine include music, math, dancing, being skinny, trying to make my first marriage work, trying to get pregnant, trying to be tan (I burn), trying to be “normal” , being politically correct, keeping mosquitos from eating me ( OMGS, they LOVE me!!!!) and much more!

 

Every last time I do not excel or accomplish something, I beat myself up over it, and take it as a personal failure, and I get all upset for days on end.

 

Eventually, I have to stop boo hooing, pick my ass up, and start doing something else, instead of feeling bad.

 

I don’t know what the list of things you are a success in are. Mine are being a good cook, and mastering new foods regularly, learning to crochet, being a good customer service professional, graduating college, and then getting a professional certification beyond that, moving cross country and traveling all I wanted to- much of which was done on my own, btw, gardening, raising furbabies, a happy second marriage, reading tarot professionally, and much more, including writing for this amazing ezine!

 

If I only focused on what I could NOT accomplish, I would never have achieved any of the wonderful things I have in life.

 

None of us would. These things are our unexpected harvests. The things we accomplished and are thankful for that were not our number one plans! These are the things we were meant to do while we were making plans to do other things! These Unexpected Harvests are sometimes the most abundant, and joyous things in our lives.

 

Keeping this in mind, I will share a very simple personal working you can do for Lammas to celebrate these Unexpected Harvests.

 

Saoirse’s Unexpected Harvests Working

 

This is a very personal working, and you don’t have to share if you don’t want to.

 

There are two ways to do this.

 

First, you can do this alone, with nobody else knowing about it, or two, you can do this with a group.

 

For the group working, do circle, or open circle as you prefer, and for the working part, pass out pencils and paper to participants.

Have everybody write ten things they accomplished or “harvested” since Midsummer- or if you want to, a longer timeframe, even for the whole year.

 

Then, have each person read their list out loud, and give a gift to thank their person gods for their help in accomplishing these things. Feast and do fellowship as you prefer! People can keep the lists, or discard them as they prefer. Another good thing to add to this working is a gift exchange. That way each person gets a little gift, or treat for their good work towards their harvest. You can have everybody wrap the gifts, and put them all on a table together. People can draw numbers, and choose their gift in the order of number they drew.

 

If you are doing this alone, I suggest a longer list of twenty or more things. You can sit down all at once and do it, or you can work on your list for a week or more. When you have finished, give thanks and gifts to your gods who helped you, and reward yourself with a little something. Hey, after all, you put work in to do the harvest, didn’t you? Yes, you did, and you deserve a little gift!

 

You can cast circle, light candles, or not. Be as simple or as detailed as you would like to be about this.

 

You can seal your list up to read at a later time if you like, or you can discard it as you see fit.

 

I personally, like to burn my papers, and release the ashes to the wind. However, saving your list to read another time is always beneficial to show you how far you have come. You can even make three lists. One Lammas, one Mabon, and a final one at Samhain.

 

May you have a Blessed Lammas.

 

Blessed Be!

 

 

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