imbolc

Tink About it

February, 2015

My Imbolc traditions

 

You can find the traditional meaning and celebrations around Imbolc everywhere. In books, on websites, in this e-magazine, etc. So I won’t go there. Instead I’ll share some personal Imbolc celebrations.

 

Traditionally Imbolc is linked to Brighid. I’ve worked with her on several occasions but the last few years another goddess took over the lead so to speak. I’ve told you earlier (in another column) about Skadi and how she came into my life. She has a strong connection with winter and snow. The colour of Imbolc is white and it’s celebrated right in the middle of the two coldest months of winter around here. So it feels very good and obvious to me to work with Skadi at this time.

There is no traditional, historical or other ground or source behind this. Skadi simply claimed this sabbat in my wheel of the year and it feels right to me. My altar is white and icy blue, Skadi’s colours. If possible I use fresh snow for my ritual at Imbolc, but I also have some in the freezer. The water is melted snow from the last time we had snow over here.

tink

 

 

Another, completely different tradition at Imbolc is making slemp. Slemp? Yes, slemp! It’s an old Dutch recipe for hot spiced milk, made of warm milk with tea and spices. The first written source that talks of ‘slemp’ dates back to 1542, the drink itself may be older.  In Dutch we also have a verb ‘slempen’ meaning ‘to gormandize’.
Milk is a symbol of fertility and belongs to Imbolc. The spices have strengthening and protective qualities. I’ll share the recipe I use:

Ingredients:

  • 5 liter milk
  • 3 teaspoons black tea
  • 5 cm cinnamon stick
  • a bit of lemon peel
  • 6 whole cloves
  • a piece of mace
  • 3 saffron threads
  • 50-100 grams sugar (to your own taste)
  • egg yolks or cornflour (Am. cornstarch)

 

Bring the milk to a boil. Tie the spices and tea in a cotton cloth (or put them in a tea ball) and hang it in the milk, or add them directly to the liquid. Put a lid on the pan and let it simmer for one hour to let the spices infuse in the milk. Add the sugar towards the end. You can thicken the drink with a few egg yolks or cornflour.

Filter the slemp before serving it hot. Enjoy!

tink2

 

 

 

Let me know what you think of it!

 

Do you have your own personal Imbolc traditions or recipes?

I’d love to hear/read them!

 

Blessings

Celebrating The Old Ways In New Times

February, 2015

Bright Blessings!

Imbolc in upon us. One of my favorite Sabbats.

It originated in Pre Christian times when there was milk because lambs had babies and it was time for a feast!!!!!!!!!!!

And believe it or not, in that hard frozen ground…first signs of Spring appear. A few birds return, buds appear on the trees, and for many of us, cabin fever creates an eagerness for warm weather.  Seed companies in modern times anticipate this, and send out their catalogues, and stores begin stocking up on gardening supplies. If you are like me, you buy everything you can! As a matter of fact, a seed catalogue came in the mail for me yesterday, and I simply cannot put it down!

At Imbolc, life in brewing within the earth, and will burst forth in a matter of weeks after MONTHS of cold and fallowness. It is a good time to plan for the return of the growing season and an even better time to enjoy the last month or two of winter and the deep introspection it brings.

Like the earth, we hold many ingredients for newness and change and growth.  If you are earth based and you cycle with the seasons, you already slowed down after Samhain. Perhaps you wander the stretches of nature year round, and observe how active the critters still are in wintertime. You see the plants die back, but their dried branches, berries, and leaves are still eaten by deer and birds even as the ice storms ravage the land.  The odd squirrel can be sighted and geese pop out from time to time en route to elsewhere. The earth too is moving, rustling in the wind. Ponds and creeks freeze and unfreeze. Streams creep along or stop. Once the trees lose leaves, you see father into the forest to where ravines you were unaware of lie and sometimes, when you are walking a trail, you can HEAR, absolutely HEAR a hissing from the snow as it compresses upon itself.

Nothing smells quite like the air does in wintertime. Sweet, crisp, and smoky. Not like the smokiness of falltime, or the summertime campfire smoke. But winters sweet smokiness is the smell of fallen leaves after all the life has shrank out of them and their spent bodies lie on the ground, protecting the earth and tender new life within it. It is out of all this nothingness and decay that everything will come.

While you wait for Spring, why not take advantage of the powerful energy from this nothingness, which is the source of all life to focus on your own growth?

Or those things within you brewing , that have yet to take shape and become form, and that are waiting to come out and be? Some folks spend more time at home in wintertime, and have had time to think about things they want to do when weather warms up.

If there is one thing I have learned about human beings, it is that we are always changing. Even people who consider themselves creatures of habit. Our bodies and the things we do change even if we don’t realize it. If there is something else I have learned about us humans, it is that we want things. We want new experiences and to enjoy them. For some, it is improving their favorite things, or finding better ways to continue experiencing them, and for others, it is going on new adventures.

Whatever it is you have brewing inside you, Imbolc is a good time to pull the ingredients together and start the “activation” process.

First, a little history of what the Sabbat was in past times, and then suggested ritual!

The goddess Brigid, later Christianized into Saint Brigid has long been the deity of this Sabbat. Not being a devotee of Brigid, myself, I however have been in her presence. It was about four or five years ago when a woman who is a devotee of Brigid did a healing well ritual invoking the goddess. Brigid was THERE, and touched us all even though the officiant was the only devotee of hers. There was not a dry eye in the house that day.

Brigid, from what I experienced is a goddess of mercy and healing. She is one of the high matrons who was mother not only to entire peoples , but to other gods.  Different forms of her name were used by different cultures of peoples and worship of her lasted for centuries. So great and important was she, that I believe many of her merciful, and compassionate traits were absorbed into Catholicism not only as making the goddess into a Saint, but her characteristics went into veneration of Mary, mother of Christ. Catholics cannot do without their great mother.

Some say  all the gods and goddesses are reflection of one true god and one true goddess that exists that people view in different ways. One need only talk to Kali Ma as opposed to Minerva to see they are not one and the same.  Rather, in seeing how many forms of the same name exist, views of goddesses like Brigid may have evolved as cultures changed and people were influenced by neighboring religions. Same goddess, different cultural characteristics, and different spelling and pronunciation of her name.

Different names for Brigid are  found in different Celtic regions. To be lazy, I found an excellent list in the Wikipedia article about her name variants…’

Brighde/Bride is Scottish

Fraid is Welsh

Brigindu is Gaullish

Brigantia and Brigantis  is from Great Britain

Brigantia is also Gallician and Gallicia has another spelling of her name, which is Braga

Braganca is Northern Portugese

Bregenz is Austrian

Sacred wells and eternal flames were tended by her devotees, and Catholic Nuns continued this practice.

One of the most famous sites is the Cathedral to Saint Brigid in Kildare, Ireland. The Cathedral began near 480 a.d. with the settling of nuns and construction of a humble building. Brigid was the head nun who was so highly regarded, after her death, a shrine and new building went up. It was destroyed many times, and by the late 1600’s, the building was redone almost 20 times.

It was officially consecrated in the 1200’s, and up until the 16th century, a “firehouse” temple that originated in pre Christian days was maintained.  It was ruined after the Protestant Reformation and Irish Confederate Wars of the 1600’s. There was much breaking away from Catholic influence after this time, and reconstruction, without the firehouse was completed from 1875 to 1896.

Interestingly, this illustrious num, Saint Brigid of Kildare patronized the same things as the goddess Brigid. Some  of the things St. Brigid patronized included milk, poetry, and blacksmiths. As St. Brigid was also seen to be merciful, she patronized some of the people who were looked down upon and who suffered greatly including abused children, and the poor. More similarity to the goddess- St. Brigid of Kildare’s feast day is Feburary 1, Imbolc.

The Saint became Abbess and Abbesses preceding her from her order for many years were regarded at superior generals of monastaries in Ireland. Even the Episcopals recognized them.

Many miracles of healing, charity, and defending the defenseless against cruelty have been attributed to this Saint.

Naming Christian children after Pagan gods and attribution of the gods characteristics to Saints is just one way Christianity helped unknowingly keep Pagan traditions alive.

Backing up for centuries before Christianization, the beloved, and well-used Mound of Hostages provides evidence of the sacredness of this time. The inner chamber aligns with the sunrise both Imbolc and Samhain. Long believed to be then markers for beginning of winter (Samhain) and beginning of Spring (Imbolc). Imbolc was about the fires of new life and fertility.

The fires in the home were extinguished and the ashes were consulted for signs that the goddess had visited in the night. An image of the goddess was taken from house to house the next day to bless the homes, and inhabitants. Like St. Brigid, who watched over children, the goddess tended an eternal flame that protected herds and people. Healthy herds meant food for the folk. Healthy folk meant more babies. More babies meant the folk endured.Brigid, keeper of the sacred flame was the protector, and giver of life.

In my research for this, I discovered that although it was deemed too Pagan, and the flame was extinguished in the 1600’s, it was relit in 1993 by the Brigidine Sisters.

It still burns.

The Fire Temple was also rebuilt on the grounds in Kildare. It was constructed where it is believed the original stood, and while that flame is not kept burning at all times, fires are lit there for special occasions. You can read more about this wonderful group and the fire sites at www.brigidine.org

 

On doing ritual for this Sabbat.

Many of us do not leave candles or hearth flames burning 24/7 in our homes because we have central heating and air conditioning and we don’t want a house fire!  Many neo-Pagans do not follow the goddess Brigid either. So the tradition of extinguishing a hearth fire and looking for signs of the goddess and then inviting her into the home may be a fitting rite for some Pagans, but not for everybody.

But the powerful energies of life brewing is what can be harnessed by everybody. I do not recommend an exciting, cool, very ethereal working for this. But a plain old, bland, boring list making session you light one candle for and a bit of journaling, and a lot of footwork.

Why?

Because I believe magic is not just spell slinging. I believe it entails active work on our part. I have seen people say a prayer or “put it out there to the universe” when they wanted something to manifest, and that worked. I am of the mind, however, that the times that all is required is making a wish to get results are few and far between, and I think it is up to us to try and be proactive in bringing about manifestation of what we want.

The operations for simply putting a request out to the universe are as simple as writing the desired outcome on paper and burning it and releasing the ashes to the wind or leaving libation to a god or goddess and asking them for help. If you want to preface my suggested ritual for Imbolc with this, go right ahead. I think everybody has to do what works for them, but I suggest also following up with action.

Ready?

Get paper, plenty of it, and pencil with eraser. Get a candle you can light multiple times over the course of a week or two if needs be. You may well be sitting down with your list more than once while you are deciding what you want and just how to go about getting it. Shut off your cell phone and music and tv, and sit comfortably in solitude someplace where you will be undisturbed.

Light your candle and take a moment to gather your thoughts before you begin.

Then start writing about what change you want to manifest in your life. Be as specific as possible, keeping in mind that you can be as lofty with this initial writing session as you please.Take as long as you need, and when you have finished, extinguish the candle and go do something else. Wait a good twenty-four hours before revisiting this list.

Sit down undisturbed and light that candle again. Repeating use of the same candle for this consecrates it and links it to this working. Use of a single notebook or a stack of papers kept in the same folder can establish this link , too. These are your ritual tools for this. As you write on the papers, save them. Number the pages or put the date you began on each page so you can refer back to your progress.

Now is time to revise. Maybe you put a complete overhaul changing every aspect of your life and you are just not looking to tackle that much at once. Maybe you want something that is just not going to happen. I am sorry to say, but sometimes, we have to accept that we just cannot have everything we want. Try to whittle it down to a single thing you want to focus on and that you feel is attainable.

Get a new piece of paper, and do a mission statement of sorts starting with “I want…”

For example, “I want to eat healthier this year because I want my overall health to improve.” Or even , “I want a higher paying job.” Or even, “I want to break off/ start a new romantic relationship. “ Short and sweet, and not too much to focus on. The more simplified and specific, the more time and energy you can effectively focus on that and the faster you can be successful.

Extinguish the candle and wait another twenty-four hours. If you have to work on this mission statement over more than one session, that is okay. Once you have your mission statement, start again in a quiet place where you can be undisturbed and light that candle and take out that notebook or folder of papers.

Next you are going to examine that goal and think of three things you can do to accomplish it. By now, you might have found yourself thinking about your goal outside the quiet time you spent writing. You may be driving home from work, or at your workout, pondering things.

Your list may be something like this.

“I want to eat healthier this year for my overall health to improve.

Three things I can do to work towards this are:

Give up eating dessert and stop putting sugar in my coffee and tea.

Take a multivitamin every day to get more nutrients in me.

Give up soda for good, and instead drink at least eight glasses of water a day.”

Extinguish the candle. Put your mission statement and three goals someplace where you can see it.

Twice a week, light your candle and write at least a paragraph about your progress. In a month evaluate your success. Revise and redo as necessary. Some goals are long term, and some practically instantly accomplished.

What I just listed about eating healthier is actually my list. I started doing these things a month-and-a half ago and I am proud to say, I have not faltered. BUT, this is a long term project. If I drink ONE soda, it does not mean I have failed, but if I do one every day, I need to try harder. And I am not assuming I will never have a dessert again for as long as I live. I am just one of those people who “can’t eat just one” and I have seconds and thirds and I like sweets all day long every day. Going on a sugar fast to get the cravings under control was literally, a gods-send. But I know myself well enough to know that if I am not vigilant, I will fall back into the habit of being ruled by sugar addiction, and I will never be healthy that way. So this list is one I will have to adhere to for my whole life.

We all want better things in life and positive changes, but as Pagans and witches in general, we sometimes forget to add mundane action to our quest for improvement or acquiring what we want. I am not suggesting an end to spellwork. Goodness, no! I am simply suggesting that in addition to spellwork, we do footwork. As a matter of fact, I suggest footwork and spellwork always be combined.

Have a blessed Imbolc and may you bless yourself with accomplishing new goals. And wish me luck, my dears…because I had a dream last night I was eating a candy bar. (Don’t tell my husband on me!)

Blessed Be.

Bardic Song of the Month

February, 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Imbolc Song”. It is a simple tune that institues poetic license in that it doesn’t always rhyme.
When I initially created this song back in 2002, I never put words to it. It was created as part of a Witchy Lesson I had with a previous Coven. I was rummaging thru those old Lessons looking for something else and this song popped out of nowhere. I entered it into the computer and my Muse tapped my shoulder and gave me the words to coincide with this month’s Sabbat – Imbolc. I hope you enjoy the lovely melody line and the picturesque words and phrases that resonate with the Holiday.
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away. If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.
All songs for this and future monthly articles are published by the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan by Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer aka Wayne Minich, II. Any similarities to other songs is coincidental and not intentional.

Acts of Power for Sabbats

February, 2015

Acts of Power for Sabbats – Imbolc

 

There are so many different types of Acts of Power (Magical Activities) you can do within a Sabbat Ritual – after you have created Sacred Space, Cast a Circle and Called the Quarters… Each Act of Power is usually geared to the specific Ritual theme, whether it’s an Esbat, a Sabbat or a specific Ritual. Ultimately, the Intention behind the Act is more important.

 

I would like to share an Act of Power we use in the Coven for our Imbolc Sabbat. We call it “Banishing the Winter”.

 

Quite simply, we make paper snowflakes. After folding and cutting them, each person opens them one at a time to divine the different shapes and figures that reveal themselves within the snowflake. It’s amazing the things you can see within the paper snowflake after cutting and opening it. It is similar to reading Tea Leaves, except it’s a snowflake…

 

Second, we ball the snowflakes and have a paper snowball battle. It releases the tension that cabin fever can bring… And paper snowball battles are relatively safer indoors. Oh, the frivolity it alludes!!

 

Last, we take each snowball and burn them in the Cauldron to “Banish the Winter”. We recite the following incantation over the paper snowballs before we burn them:

 

“Awaken, O slumbering Earth.

Bring us Joy and bring us Mirth.

The long Winter’s Sleep lingers still.

Cold nights decreasing

And warmer days increasing.

Cease ahead the cold Winter’s chill.

Banish the snows traditional,

Until the need arises next Yule.

So Mote It Be!!”

 

I hope that anybody who likes this specific Imbolc Act of Power shares their interest. Obviously, anybody who uses it has the option to augment it to their desire as it is given without interpretation. This is an AoP that I conceived many years ago and has always been successful and fun.

Imbolc Correspondences

January, 2015

February 1, 2

Other Names: Imbolg (im-molc)(em-bowl’g) (Celtic), Candlemas (Christian), Brigantia (Caledonii), Oimelc, Festival of Light, Brigid’s (Brid, Bride) Day, La Fheill, An Fheille Bride, Candelaria (Mexico), Chinese New Year, Disting-tid (Feb 14th, Teutonic), DisaBlot, Anagantios, Lupercalia/Lupercus (Strega), Groundhog Day, Valentines Day.

Animals & Mythical Beings: Firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation.

Gemstones: Amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.

Incense/Oil: Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot, carnation.

Colors/Candles: Brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver.

Tools,Symbols, & Decorations: White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container,evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle annointed in oil (see above)can be used to sybolize the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.

Goddesses: Virgin Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene(Greek), Branwen(Manx-Welsh).

Gods: Young Sun Gods, Pan, Cupid/Eros(Greco-Roman), Dumuzi(Sumerian).

Essence: Conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal, dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan, prepare.

Meaning: First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter.

Purpose: Honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light.

Rituals & Magicks: Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread.

Customs: Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting.

Foods: Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppyseed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea.

Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow.

Element: Earth

Gender: Female

Threshold: Midnight

Imbolc Correspondences

February, 2014

February 1, 2

Other Names: Imbolg (im-molc)(em-bowl’g) (Celtic), Candlemas (Christian), Brigantia (Caledonii), Oimelc, Festival of Light, Brigid’s (Brid, Bride) Day, La Fheill, An Fheille Bride, Candelaria (Mexico), Chinese New Year, Disting-tid (Feb 14th, Teutonic), DisaBlot, Anagantios, Lupercalia/Lupercus (Strega), Groundhog Day, Valentines Day.

Animals & Mythical Beings: Firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation.

Gemstones: Amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise.
Incense/Oil: Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, and wisteria, apricot, carnation.
Colors/Candles: Brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver.
Tools,Symbols, & Decorations: White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container,evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle annointed in oil (see above)can be used to sybolize the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.
Goddesses: Virgin Goddess, Venus, Diana, Februa, Maiden, Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Brigid, Selene(Greek), Branwen(Manx-Welsh).
Gods: Young Sun Gods, Pan, Cupid/Eros(Greco-Roman), Dumuzi(Sumerian).
Essence: Conception, initiation, insight, inspiration, creativity, mirth, renewal, dedication, breath of life, life-path, wise counsel, plan, prepare.
Meaning: First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter.
Purpose: Honoring the Virgin Goddess, festival of the Maiden/Light.
Rituals & Magicks: Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread.
Customs: Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting.
Foods: Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppyseed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea.
Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow.
Element: Earth
Gender: Female
Threshold: Midnight

The Witch’s Cupboard

February, 2014

Blessed Imbolc!

Pathworking for Imbolc includes some of the following:

*    Go for a holiday walk.  It can be short or long, whichever you like.  See if you can feel the impending season.  Imagine, as you walk, what activities are occurring under the soil.

*    Clean house.  Physically first, then psychically, magically.

*    Make a list of things you would like to plant in yourself, and keep the list in a place you will remember.  Add to it between now and Ostara, whenever the mood strikes you.

*    Light candles for yourself and your loved ones, saying prayers and sending them light ad color symbolizing that which they most need or want to come into their lives.

*    Make some candles.  One can make hand-rolled ones from sheets of beeswax (they’re easy and quite beautiful), poured candles (this requires a mold—see what kinds of molds you can make from inexpensive items around the house), or you can ever try hand-dipping some.  You will need to heat your wax in a deep vessel—I suggest a large coffee can, and have another can nearby with very cold, or even iced water.  You will start with only a string of wick, perhaps a foot and a half long, divided in half.  Dip both ends in the wax a few times, then dip them into the cold water to set the wax.  Be sure to keep the ends from sticking together.  Repeat the above (it will take some time), until they look right to you.   Remember to dip in and out of the wax quickly, or you’ll melt off what you’ve just dipped.

*    See your healers, and give your body a “tune-up.”  You’ll feel better, more energetic, more able to let in the light and energy that is growing so rapidly this time of year.

*    Purchase some small (I call the “seed”) crystals, and think of what you will program into them, so that you will be ready to “plant” them at Ostara.

One of my favorite activities is to plant seeds that will be open by Ostara.  Take a container of soil and perhaps some Nasturtium seeds, 9 in all (which grow fast) and make a wish with each seed you plant.  A wish for the upcoming Spring Equinox.  Once the seeds have germinated keep in a sunny window and watch them grow, then blossom.  Nasturtiums are edible so come Ostara you can throw them into a nice garden salad. 

Here’s some information on Nasturtiums:

The entire plant is edible…leaves, flowers, stems, seeds, and all. I consider nasturtiums a spicy green, and grow them in my garden as such. Add the leaves and flowers to any green salad, stuff the blossoms with an herb cream cheese, or chop them and add to pastas for a delicious addition to any meal. During the mid 20th century, people used nasturtium seed pods as a replacement for pepper. We can still do this today! All you have to do is wait for the seeds to dry and then grind them in a coffee grinder (I have one that I use specifically for herbs). Note: Make a yummy herbal seasoning salt by adding ground nasturtium seeds with other dried kitchen herbs from the garden.

Nasturtiums are nutritionally dense, as their leaves contain significant levels of vitamin C and iron. Medicinally they are known to be useful in breaking up congestion of the respiratory system and they provide excellent relief from colds. Likewise, nasturtium is said to encourage the formation of blood cells and can be given as a blood purifier and detoxifier. When preparing for a harvest, remember to choose fresh leaves and flowers that show no sign of browning or withering.

Pair Nasturtiums with other edible early spring flowers such as Violets, Pansies and Cover tops for the ultimate in edible flower salads!

Nelland Living

February, 2014

Magical soft smoothies for Imbolc

Pamper yourself with these healthy treats, and feel the difference! Become more energetic and loaded with positivity. Get “high” on health!

 

 

There is true magic in these delicious smoothies. They ooze an amazing, happy vibe, that will take over you! Try starting by one a day.
The recipes are mild-tasting and require only common ingredients. They are all vegan (thus cholesterol-free) and mostly raw.

 

 

Soft Strawberry Smoothie (yields 1):

1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 sweet apple
1 banana
1 cup soymilk

+ Throw all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until super-smooth. (Add soymilk if needed.)

 

 

 

Magical Carrot Cake Smoothie (yields 1):

2 carrots (peeled to remove bitterness)
1 apple
a handful of almonds
1/2 lemon, zest of
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 – 1 tsp ground vanilla
(raw honey, if you like it sweeter)

water (as needed)

+ Blend until totally smooth.

 

 

 

Healthy Zatziki Smoothie (yields 1):

15 cm piece of cucumber (with peel)
1/2 small zucchini
a handful of sunflower seeds
1/2 avocado
1/2 clove garlic
1 tsp dried dill
seasalt, to taste
water (as/if needed)
+ Blend everything in a blender until creamy. Check for salt.
  Savory smoothies are a new thing for me, and I´d rather call them soups really. My Zatziki smoothie is an easy starting point to blended soups, because the taste is something most of us are familiar with already. So don´t hesitate to try.
  I like my smoothies quite thick, so they are more filling. Often I have a smoothie for breakfast, and sometimes also for lunch.

There are as many recipes as there are ingredients in your fridge. So once you get the hang of it, feel liberated to try out wild combinations!

Happy and healthy Imbolc to all!

 

Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

February, 2014

Perpetual Flame

 

Born yellow, orange and red I was

to this wooden limb

to this oak dweller

but in the sacred grove, wise as a tree,

silently walks our caretaker,

tending her duty

though between solstice and equinox, fall it now

was birthed in times of long ago.

 

Now my entire intention’s to purify

Kildare’s sentient beings worth protecting

from pestilence, vermin, and imps

that no individual petition

would overcome

clever maliciousness manifested in darkness, each attack

unmade, undone – swathed in my embrace.

 

Wise one, revered Lady

of Imbolc we offer bannock and drink;

showered by your kindness

we raise goblets abundantly flowing with ewe’s milk:

Sweet sister, stay

not of weariness or hunger, but linger

lay in this bed; bless us, bless us.

Musings of a Hereditary Witch

February, 2014

The Need Fire of Imbolc/Brighid’s Fire

In ancient Ireland, all hearth fires would be extinguished and laid with fresh logs on Imbolc. A community fire would be built and presided over by the community leaders, most often Chieftains of the tribe. The fire represents the purification from the winter energy and a blessing from Brighid.

A young girl would be chosen to light a torch from the fire. In a procession, she would then go house to house with her torch. She would be welcomed in and praised as the embodiment of Brighid. The girl would then light the hearth fire and offer a blessing to the household.

On Imbolc morning I extinguish all fires in my home, from the gas heater (turning off the gas of course) to shutting off the breakers for the electricity.  Going out onto my patio, I take the Yule greenery, some juniper berries, candle for Brighid, bowl of sand, my flint and steal. On a stone paver, I pile a small amount of soft starter material like dried moss, lint, anything soft that will catch a spark. Next, I set up a simple ritual space and ask Brighid for her blessing and to grant me patience. Working with flint and steal isn’t always easy.

Taking the flint and steal, I begin striking them together, hoping to get one of the sparks to catch in the starter material. Once I get a spark to catch and a thin ribbon of smoke to rise, I blow gently on the spark, attempting to coax a flame from the ember. This doesn’t always work on the first try, hence asking for patience. When a small flame does catch, I slowly begin adding a few sprigs of left over Yule greenery, some juniper berries, a few twigs and leaves, until I have nice little fire going.

I meditate on what the fire represents to me: warmth, creativity, inspiration, light, life. There is something about the act of creating the Need Fire that speaks to a deeper part of my spirit. When I am ready, I light the candle from the fire. Then I extinguish the fire, by smothering it with sand. I leave everything to cool and open my ritual space.

Next, I take the candle inside and re-light the pilot lights (ok, I light a match from the candle and re-light the pilot light). Then I take the candle with me to the breaker box and hold it in front of each breaker switch as I turn them back on.

When I am through, I place the candle to my altar where it will sit burning all day. If the candle should burn too quickly, I will move the flame to another candle so it can continue to burn. All of my candles for my Imbolc ritual will be light from this Need Fire candle.

I would love to hear from anyone else who does this or if you do something similar for the fires of Imbolc.

Happy Imbolc/Brighid’s Fire

Note: You can purchase a flint & steel kit at a sporting goods store or just about anywhere they sell camping supplies. If you cannot find one, you can use a magnifying glass and hope for a sunny day.

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