Recipes

Book Review – Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic by Hoodoo Sen Moise

January, 2019

Book Review

Working Conjure

A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic

By Hoodoo Sen Moise

Due to the fact that, in all honesty, I say I know absolutely nothing about Hoodoo, I was pleased to see that the first chapter was entitled, “What is Conjure/Hoodoo?”

The author explains the when, where, how and proceeds to tell us of Hoodoo’s principles in chapter 2.

I love the explanation of how

“Conjure was birthed out of a need to overcome the

oppression of slavery. It was a way for the slaves

to turn the tide against the slave masters and take back,

at least in some way, what had been taken from them.”

He speaks lovingly about the ancestors, those who came before and laid the foundation for all that has followed.

There are a few chapters that discuss roots, plants and animals and how each have their own spirit. He discusses the “spirit of a place”, with a whole chapter on conjuring in graveyards.

“Conjure is not a religion, but a tradition of work that

holds strong ties with the Spirits, of the Root, God

and the Ancestors.”

There, too, were many quotes from the Bible that fit with this work.

Included are many recipes for oils, powders, workings, and mojo hands.

Hoodoo Sen Moise has written an informative, warm, loving book. His respect and devotion comes through in every word. If Conjure is something you have always wanted to learn about, this is the book to get you started.

Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic on Amazon

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis on Amazon

Book Review – Moon Magic: Your Complete Guide to Harnessing the Mystical Energy of the Moon by Diane Ahlquist

July, 2018

Book Review

Moon Magic: Your Complete Guide to Harnessing the Mystical Energy of the Moon

by Diane Ahlquist

Moon Magic by Diane Ahlquist is a small book, but as promised by the subtitle it offers a complete perspective of Moon Lore, recipes, astrological considerations, and more. The author has managed to fill 253 pages with practical applications and information that is suited to both the longtime lunar practitioner and the newest of Moon devotees.

The book is separated into four sections, each building upon the next; the fourth giving suggestions for advanced Moon work. Additionally, each section holds a wealth of exercises to foster a deeper and deepening connection to the Moon from contemplative to journaling and creation of oils and food.

Part 1-Chapters 1 through 4 give a thorough, yet readily readable, overview of the astronomical science inherent in the phases, the history of Moon workings, familiar names given historically to the monthly moons and a brief section on energy management and subtle anatomy basics. 

Part 2-Chapters 5-10 dive right into moon magic and the types of workings that are suitable for specific phases, healings and the planetary correspondences of the days of the week to be used in consideration with timing your lunar work. Worksheets to outline your intention and the steps towards bringing into manifestation what you desire all lead to Chapter 10, which gives directions for creating a Vision Board (aka. Manifestation Chart/Treasure Map). This is a technique used in a variety of ways, both mundane and spiritual for visualizing what you want, employing the tactile component in selecting pictures, symbols, etc. and strategically placing the completed project in a location where it is in sight and therefore always in mind.

Part 3-Chapters 11-16 offer suggestions and info about auspicious lunations such as eclipses, blue moons and more with loads of accompanying activities for bringing Moon Magic into your daily living as you honor the cycles in a very organic and intuitive way. The previous parts all serve as the foundation for Part 4 and advanced lunar practices.

Part 4-Chapters 17-21 provide an opportunity to apply the basics learned and branch it more broadly and inclusively aligning astrology, both Eastern and Chinese (a nice little add in). Permanence is represented in a chapter dedicated to creating your own Moon altar and the traditional correspondences used by the farmers in planting by the moon are explored in suggestions for creating a moon garden. 

The finishing touch in this informative little treasure is the final chapter dedicated to food and drink with decidedly lunar themes and correspondences. This last impression takes the reader from embarking on a quest to connect with Mother Moon and her dynamics of change and brings them right to the table, or in this case altar to eat and drink in the lunar energies.

Given the abundance of books available on this subject, and having read a great many of them, I was nicely surprised to find this small tome of reference that speaks from the author’s heart and apparent knowledge of the webbing of many disciplines being part and parcel of lunar work. 

To read more about Diane Ahlquist, visit her site at:  www.DianeAhlquist.com 

 

Moon Spells: How to Use the Phases of the Moon to Get What You Want

 

***

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.

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

July, 2018

As a child, I led such a weird childhood. I was known for seeing things that weren’t there and knowing things before they happened. I felt like a sin in my parent’s household as I was being raised in a Christian church. As I aged, I found solace in Wicca. Life and the things going on finally made sense.

When I was pregnant with my son (Little Bear), I made the decision to raise him in a Pagan household and support him, no matter what religion he decided on. Little Bear is now 4 years old and this has proven to be the best decision. He has shown signs of experiencing the same things that I went through as a child. Little Bear is a natural born healer, empath, and animal lover. He has to sleep with a light on because the dark brings weird things with it. While I cannot confirm it yet, it sounds like he is seeing people that have crossed over.

One of the major things that Little Bear and I have started doing is celebrating the Sabbats. Any reason to celebrate, right?

June 21st was Litha or the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year and Little Bear and I took full advantage.

Every Sabbat, we discuss the Wheel of the Year. This helps remind us where we are on the Wheel and where we are headed. Because this follows the seasons, it is easy for Little Bear to understand. We discussed how Litha falls in the summer and some of our favorite summer activities. Little Bear loves grilling out, riding his bike and playing in the water.

The day started before sunrise. I poured out orange juice and we headed to the porch to watch the sun. It was a warm, quiet morning. I explained to Little Bear that we should be grateful for everything we have. I asked him what he was happy to have. “My bike, my mom, my bed, my dog” and the list went on and on. I smiled at his innocence and gave my own thanks internally. As the sun rose above the horizon, the world started coming alive. The birds started singing, the neighborhood stray cat came to visit, and we watched a herd of deer in the field across the street. We ended the morning with a barefoot walk around the property. We stopped at the outside altar and poured orange juice into the fairy dish as an offering. This is one of Little Bear’s favorite parts. We actually had to make a fairy altar closer to the house so he could easily access it without supervision.

After work, I had Little Bear help with dinner. We were preparing Grilled Chicken Salads. As we pulled the vegetables out, we talked about each one. Where they came from, how they grow, what the health benefits are, and what kind of super powers the vegetables might give us (This was Little Bears idea). I feel that knowing the health benefits of each vegetable will help Little Bear develop his Kitchen Witch side as he grows.

While making the salad, I noticed Little Bear had made a pile that contained a piece of each vegetable that went into the salad. It was his offering for the fairies.

We ended the night with a bonfire and watching the sunset. The longest day of the year had officially ended.

It may seem like I do a LOT of talking with Little Bear and I do. Little Bear is at the age where he is like a little sponge. He is asking tons of questions and curious about everything.

The next Sabbat is Lammas and I’m excited about it. This has always been a personal favorite because I love to bake bread. Lammas is the start of the harvest season. So breads, wheats, grains, grapes, apples, corn and wild berries are great foods. While I don’t have recipes pulled together yet, corn dollies and bonfires are part of the ritual for sure!

Some ideas to do with children are:

-Corn Dollies

-Magical Picnics (Make sure to leave an offering!)

-Collect berries for jams or jellies

-Time to harvest the garden

-Create a Witches Bottle (smaller children will need help with this since you will be working with sharp objects!)

-Time to redecorate the altar

-Visit an apple orchard (bring some home if the apples are ready!)

-Collect rain or storm water

-Bake bread, cakes, or muffins (cookies could be substituted so the little ones can decorate)

The biggest thing to remember, “It’s not about the action you are doing but the intent you are putting into it”.

What are some fun ways you are celebrating the Sabbats with your child/ren?

Blessed Be!

The Kitchen Witch

June, 2018

Browned Butter Blondies

The first time I made “Blondies”, I was in fact making Chocolate Chip Cookies and I realized that I didn’t have enough time to bake four pans of twelve cookies on each pan, so I put the cookie dough into a lightly-greased 9×13 pan and a picnic tradition was born. This was many years ago – my son James was just a little guy. I have made many pans of “Blondies” – some with dark chocolate chips, some with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, some with crushed peanut M&M’s, some with walnuts or pecans or even cashews – the variations are endless.

So, I was pleasantly pleased to come across this recipe for Browned Butter Blondies at The Food Charlatan, a blog I discovered recently. I love browned butter. I love its nutty aroma and the added dimension it brings to food. I usually brown butter for my popcorn – it really rocks – especially if you add a touch of garlic salt to the butter before putting it on the popped corn.

If you don’t know how to brown butter, I suggest you go to YouTube and check out some of the tutorials on how to do it. It’s much easier once you’ve seen it done in front of you. I was lucky – I learned as a young girl from my mother. It’s quite like scalding milk – you have to keep the heat at medium and you have to keep stirring – the fun part when you’re a child. It’s very easy to burn butter – just like milk – but the technique, once you have it down, is also quite easy. Honestly, it’s like riding a bike. When you’re first learning, you fall off a lot and scrap your knees and elbows – and maybe you cry a little bit – but suddenly you just know how to do it. And then you always know how to do it.

The first thing I did was start the butter to melting.

As I slowly melted the butter, I got out the other ingredients that I needed: brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt, and the chocolate chips. I didn’t have any nuts in my pantry except for the almonds that I snack on each day and although I personally think that all cookies and bars of this type ought to have nuts in them, I decided that I didn’t want almonds in this batch. I also decided that I didn’t feel like running to the store to buy any other nuts!

After the butter is melted, immediately pour it into your mixing bowl so that it doesn’t burn sitting in the hot pan! I let it cool for a few minutes before adding the brown sugar.

Remember to pack the brown sugar! When you add it, mix it well! But wow! This is like candy. In fact, this makes me think of making homemade butterscotch candy with my mother when I was twelve or so. That was a lot of fun. A lot of work but a lot of fun.

Add the vanilla and mix well. And then the eggs. I put the eggs into a bowl first because I’ve had too many eggs break badly and pieces of shell fall into the batter – and this is exactly what happened – there was a bad break and I had to pick pieces of shell out of the egg in the bowl before beating them. But at least the pieces of shell weren’t in the batter. It’s always easier to get pieces of shell out of the egg than out of the batter.

And then you add your dry ingredients – the flour, the baking soda and the salt. If you have a sifter like I do, add them in that fashion, but if not, just measure them into a bowl, mix well, and then add them.

Then add the all-important chocolate chips!! Yummy!!

The recipe didn’t say to grease the pan but I did anyway.

My pan was slightly smaller than 9×13 and I had to bake them longer than the 23-27 minutes that the recipe said it would take for “gooey” bars but of course, I have an electric oven and every oven is different, even the gas ovens that I prefer. Your oven might bake these faster than mine or it might bake them slower. And in a 13×9 pan, they might have been done in that time frame. But I am not complaining.

THESE THINGS ARE AWESOME. They smelled so great that I couldn’t even wait for them to cool to cut into them and try them out and of course the first one fell apart completely but then I had the most fabulous idea of putting a little ice cream on the top of it – yeah really – all it needed was some hot fudge sauce and whipped cream! But damn! Was that ever good!

(picture blurry cuz I was in a hurry to chow down)

After the pan cooled, the bars came out in perfect fashion, as shown here:

And everyone who had one of these Browned Butter Blondies raved about how good they were! Believed me! They are fabulously, magically good!

So – make this recipe! I’m not even phrasing this as a suggestion – I’m telling you to do it. Add chocolate chips, nuts, oats, even dried cranberries would be good! This is kitchen witchery at its finest!

References

The Food Charlatanhttp://thefoodcharlatan.com/browned-butter-blondies/

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Notes from the Apothecary

March, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Dill

Feathery and fragrant, the herb dill is so much more than just a flavouring for fish dishes or pickles. This magical herb has been used for centuries as a medicine, and as a potent tool for magical practitioners. From a muscle toner for Greek athletes, to a medicine for treating boils, this versatile herb is truly fascinating.

The Kitchen Garden

You can find dill growing wild, so if you manage to harvest a few seeds, or purchase some from your local supplier, you could cultivate a little patch of dill yourself. It likes loose soil with good drainage, and you can plant the seeds directly where you want the herb to grow, ideally in a sunny spot. It’s an annual or biennial, which means that at most each plant lasts two years, or two growing seasons. However, it self-seeds, which means that you should get plenty of fresh seedlings the following spring.

The delightful, tiny yellow flowers are a real draw for bees, butterflies and other essential pollinators, so planting dill will definitely increase the number of visitors to your garden. Conversely, dill helps repel aphids and other pests, making it a great companion plant to cabbages, lettuce and many other food crops.

If you don’t have a garden, or quite frankly, the time and energy to grow herbs, dill is widely available at grocery stores as well as herbal retailers.

For culinary purposes, it’s normally the leaves that we’re talking about. Small amounts of leaves can be cut from each plant, so that you don’t kill the plant by harvesting. If you have more leaves than you need to use immediately, put some in a sandwich bag and pop them in the freezer. Don’t forget to label them!

Dill leaves can be added to salads, cheese (such as cottage cheese), soups and other foods as a garnish and to add flavour. Leaves or seeds can be added to a bottle of vinegar to create a unique, flavoured condiment.

The seeds are also used, primarily for flavouring the liquid that pickles are soaked in. Hence the term ‘dill pickles’.

These are but a very few of the culinary uses of dill. It is used all over the world in dishes from curry to crayfish. Because of this, it is relatively cheap, and very easy to get hold of.

The Apothecary

Charlemagne had dill tea made available for his guests who dined with him, to aid their digestion and prevent hiccups. It has been used as a ‘gripe water’ for infants, helping relieve colic and gas, but obviously don’t feed herbal remedies to children without consulting a pediatrician first.

It is normally the seed of dill that is used medicinally, as it has high amounts of the oil anethol, or anethole, also found in anise and caraway. Mrs Grieves recommended it as a stimulant and for easing stomach issues, flatulence and simply as an aromatic.

Modern research has found that the active oil has antimicrobial properties, which are effective against some bacteria, fungi and yeast. It’s even been found to be effective against salmonella in some instances.

It can also be used as an insecticide, which probably explains why it’s effective at repelling certain unwanted critters in our gardens.

Wash your hands after handling dill and don’t use the oil in massage. It causes photosensitivity so can lead to burning. Don’t take if pregnant or breastfeeding, as it can affect the uterus.

The Witch’s Kitchen

Mrs Grieve notes that during the Middle Ages, dill was used by magicians in spells and in charms against witchcraft. If this is true, we can surmise that there is a protective aspect to dill, particularly against supernatural or magical attack. Dill can be used in a poppet to provide protection to the person you are visualising. You could carry a sprig to ward off negative intentions towards yourself, or sprinkle some seeds around yourself and visualise a wall of light rising up from the seeds, protecting you from all harm.

In the bible, the Scribes and Pharisees are berated for paying a ‘tithe’, or tax of rich goods, but neglecting their morals and ethics. One of the items in the tithe is dill, along with mint and cumin, so we can assume that dill was very valuable. This can be translated magically into using the herb for money spells, perhaps a little in your purse to protect your existing funds, or used in a little pouch with other herbs to draw wealth towards you.

Both Culpeper and Cunningham assert that the plant is ruled by the planet Mercury, which one can also extend to include the god the planet is named for. This reaffirms the wealth and money connection, as the Roman god Mercury is strongly connected to financial gain, especially commerce and trading. He is also associated with eloquence, so dill could be used to help you find the words you need in a tricky situation. Linking the two, a charm made with dill is ideal for a sales person, as it will boost the holder’s communication skills and promote wealth coming to them.

Cunningham also states that placing dill in the cradle protects a child, which most likely links back to the herb having been used in children’s medicine for centuries. A sachet under the mattress where the child cannot reach it, or even under the bed or cot itself would be best for safety.

Home and Hearth

Sprinkle dried or fresh dill leaves or seeds around the boundary of your home to keep out unwanted visitors or negative energy. Walk widdershins (anti-clockwise) whist doing this if you feel there is an existing energy you need to banish. Walk deosil (clockwise) if you are wanting to boost the current mood or atmosphere in your home. You can boost the power of this simple spell by adding elemental energies, if appropriate to your path and beliefs. Sprinkle water, salt for earth, carry a candle for fire and walk the boundary again holding a lit incense stick to represent air. Don’t try and carry them all at once! Juggling candles and incense might seem impressive but actually it just leads to burnt fingers and clothing. If you are not mobile, hold the dill or have it near you, and visualise your energy surrounding your home or sacred space.

Once a year (I would do this at Imbolc as I have the idea of early spring cleaning firmly ingrained in my psyche) sweep the boundary and refresh your protective ward.

I Never Knew…

There is a superstition that burning dill leaves will cause thunderstorms to clear up.

Image Credits: Anethum graveolens by Forest and Kim Starr via Wikimedia Commons, copyright 2007; Dill seeds by o Alanenpää via Wikimedia Commons, copyright 2008.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

For Amazon Information Click Images

The Kitchen Witch

February, 2018

5-Ingredient Insta Pot Rotisserie Chicken

My sister Sue bought me an Insta Pot Pressure Cooker last year for my birthday. I have to admit that until recently, I haven’t used it too much. In my last apartment, there wasn’t enough room for it on my counters – let’s face it, I had no counterspace whatsoever. And I first moved back to Buffalo, I was in the grip of a pretty strong depression that I am just coming out of. I haven’t felt much like cooking – or eating – since I live in a town famed for local food, I have been doing a lot of eating out.

But as the weather has gotten less conducive to getting out and about, I have used the Insta Pot a few times and I am beginning to learn how it works. One thing I do know – I have a lot to learn. Not only is this a pressure cooker but it’s a steamer, a slow-cooker, a deep-fryer and it even bakes cakes!

In the past few months, I have made my mother’s famous meatloaf dinner – the moistest meatloaf known to man, with potatoes and carrots, cooked in only ten minutes! I made a fifteen-minute chicken cacciatore. At Thanksgiving, I did the acorn squash in the Inst Pot – using the steam application – they were done in four minutes! To perfection. Honestly, I’ve never had acorn squash so deliciously good.

I am on literally dozens of recipe email lists – my inbox is constantly full. I can’t remember when “5-Ingredient Insta Pot Rotisserie Chicken” passed through my email but I know I thought that it sounded fabulous and the picture certainly looked appetizing. I saved it – I even printed it out – and of course, promptly forgot about it. And this very morning – as I live and breathe – I received a recipe for “Insta Pot Vegan Cabbage Detox Soup” from Allrecipes Daily Dish. I am definitely going to try that one! Who doesn’t want to drop a few pounds before the end of the winter months? Or just clean out their systems? That seems like a New Moon kind of thing, doesn’t it? Clean out all the toxins to do magic for the coming month? I love that idea!

Soon after the New Year, I was doing my annual reorganization of notebooks and files and closets and just about everything. Somewhat of a spring cleaning but it happens in the beginning of January. Here in Buffalo, we’re generally more or less snowed in during the winter months – this is a very hard winter, this year – so rather than sit around and watch movies on Netlix or Hulu and munch out, it’s more productive to clean out closets and attics and basements. So, during this process, I found the printed-out recipe of “5-Ingedient Insta Pot Rotisserie Chicken” that I had printed out months ago and I decided to make it. One of the supermarkets near me had roaster chickens on sale for 99 cents a pound, so that worked out perfectly.

As usual, I assembled the ingredients that I would need before I started. I counted six ingredients but maybe the author of the recipe wasn’t counting the chicken. I didn’t have onion salt so I used celery salt. Since it called for two teaspoons of either of them, if onion salt had been on my shelf, I probably would have used a teaspoon of both of them. I didn’t have garlic puree but I always have garlic powder. The recipe didn’t call for pepper but I could not imagine not using freshly ground black pepper. That’s a incredible exclusion, IMHO.

I took the chicken out of its packaging and put it in a mixing bowl. There were giblets, but I put them into a bag and set them into the freezer for future use. Then I whisked together the olive oil, the celery salt, paprika, garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper. It’s really thick. Almost a paste. I was thinking about thinning it out a little bit but I thought – this is the first time using this recipe, let’s see what happens. You know – like when you do a spell the first time. You follow the instructions exactly.

(Except that I didn’t follow them exactly – I added freshly ground pepper!)

After mixing this up, you pour this over the chicken. Since it was so thick, it didn’t really pour very well and I spread it over the entire chicken using my hands (yes, I was wearing gloves) to make sure the seasoning was evenly distributed.

I let it set for a little while so the seasonings could soak in. If I hadn’t been so hungry, I would have stuck it into the fridge for a half an hour to let it marinate. Yeah, I know – the recipe doesn’t say to do that but it just makes sense to me. I was also thinking about other seasonings you could use. Perhaps a mixture of ground parsley, oregano and rosemary with the garlic powder and onion/celery salt mix – or lemon-pepper with the garlic powder and onion salt – and certainly there has to be a way to do this barbecue-style. The possibilities are endless.

Meanwhile, I plugged in the Insta Pot and put a few tablespoons of olive oil into the basin and pressed the Saute app. When the display reads “Hot”, it’s ready. Carefully set the chicken into the hot oil, breast side down, and brown until it’s golden. This should take about five to seven minutes. Then flip the bird – sorry! I couldn’t resist! – and brown the other side. This shouldn’t take as long – five minutes tops.

Once the chicken is browned on both sides, add the chicken broth and cover. Seal the lid and twist the vent toward “sealing”. Set to Manual High Pressure for 25 Minutes.

This is the hard part! You hear the steam and you see it coming out of the vent. And you an hear the broth boiling inside of the pressure cooker. And you watch the numbers ticking off the front of the pot – it seems like they go so slowly! But think about it – twenty-five minutes for a fully roasted chicken isn’t any time at all! You can have pre-dinner drinks with your guests, set the table with your family or take a nice shower by yourself and relax while your dinner is cooking.

Turn the vent to “vent” and let the steam escape. Once it’s all gone, carefully open the Insta Pot. Lift the chicken out – I had to use two utensils to manage it – and set it on a platter. I admit that the picture in the recipe looked better but I was quite pleased.

I served mine with a baked potato and steamed broccoli.

The chicken was so tender, I could cut with my fork. It was really moist and super flavorful. I was disappointed in the skin (I admit it) but I rarely eat skin anymore so that’s not really a problem. But I would say that next time I would use a little more olive oil in the basin of the Insta Pot when I am sautéing, and leave the chicken in there a minute or two longer. Let it fully brown.

But hey! It was great for a first time and I’m real happy with the results! And there’s plenty leftover! I’ll be eating chicken for a few days for sure! Maybe make a chicken soup – or maybe a chicken pot pie – who knows? The possibilities are endless!

The recipe follows. If you don’t have an Insta Pot Pressure Cooker, there’s instructions for doing it in a regular slow cooker or in your oven.

5-Ingredient Insta Pot Rotisserie Chicken

1 5-lb whole chicken

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for browning the chicken

2 teaspoons onion or celery salt

2 teaspoons paprika

1 tablespoon garlic puree or 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup chicken broth

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, onion or celery salt, paprika, and garlic. Pour over chicken.

  2. Drizzle a little olive oil into the Insta Pot, then press the Saute button. Brown the chicken (breast side down) until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Flip and brown 3-5 minutes more. Pour chicken broth into the Insta Pot. Cover, seal the lid, and twist the vent toward ‘sealing’. Set to Manual High Pressure for 25 minutes.

  3. Allow to depressurize naturally, about 15 minutes. Once the floating valve drops, twist the venting knob to allow any last pressure to escape. Remove the lid and transfer chicken to a serving platter.

  4. For Slow Cooker: Place in a slow cooker and cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

  5. For Oven: Bake at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) for 5 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 180 degrees F (82 degrees C).

References

http://www.kichme.com/recipes/5-ingredient-insta-pot-rotisserie-chicken

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

February, 2018

Imbolc Incense

Merry meet.

The smell of the ocean. The scent of a forest of pines. The aroma of bacon cooking. Each not only has a unique smell, they also touch us in other ways, eliciting memories and emotions, and shaping perceptions. Our sense of smell is strong, and sometimes unconscious, and it can set the mood. (For the record, dogs do not have a better sense of smell than do humans.) Think of it smells as aromatherapy. All I have to do is smell sage burning and my mind relaxes as my body absorbs its healing and my spirit absorbs it wisdom.

When cleansing a space, setting the mood for a meditation or celebrating a sabbat, consider making incense a part of the ceremony. For centuries, people of many cultures have used mixtures of herbs, berries, bark, flowers, resins and other botanicals to send their prayers up to the gods – by throwing them into a sacred fire as well as by burning them in a censer swung by a priest walking down the aisle of a Catholic church.

While many wonderful blends can be found, it’s easy to make your own. With astrological Imbolc coming on February 3 this year, there is still time.

Everything has its own energy, and you will add your intent while mixing them. All of that is released when it’s burned.

Depending on the source, correspondences list cinnamon, myrrh, vanilla, violet, wisteria, basil and bay as incenses for Imbolc, or they list chamomile, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, myrrh and rosemary. Another source gives basil, camphor, cinnamon, lotus, frankincense, myrrh, basil, jasmine and wisteria. The lists you will find will differ as well.

Sometimes I look for ingredients common to multiple lists – in this case, myrrh is on three while cinnamon, frankincense, basil, jasmine and wisteria are on two of the three lists – but most times I go by what I’m drawn to. When I feel limited by what I have on hand, I remember what Rosenari Roast, a wise herbalist, once told me: “I have found magical blends to have more to do with one’s own personal relationship with the plants than any recipe, formula or dogma. And what one has on hand at a time of need is there with reason, purpose and value.

The easiest to make is loose incense that is burned on a charcoal disk (a pinch at a time) or tossed into a fire (by the handful).

When using essential oils or resins, combine them first, mashing them together in your mortar with your pestle. When they are gummy, add any berries or bark. Dried herbs and flowers are added next, with powdery items put in last. As you work, focus on your intent, perhaps using a chant or an incantation while blending the ingredients. Store in a tightly sealed jar.

Patti Wigington gives this recipe for Imbolc incense on thoughtco.com, explaining it “evokes the scents of a chilly winter night, with a hint of spring florals.

2 parts cedar
2 parts frankincense
1 part pine resin
1 part cinnamon
1 part orange peel
1/2 part rose petals

The Real Witch’s Kitchen” by Kate West offers several recipes, including these:

Imbolc Incense 1
3 parts frankincense
2 parts dragon’s blood
1 part cinnamon
1/2 part red sandalwood
a few drops of red wine


To this mixture add a pinch of the first flower available in your area (dry it first) at the time of Imbolc.

 

Imbolc Incense 2
3 parts cinnamon
2 parts rosemary
1 part frankincense
1 part myrrh
1 part bay
1 part basil

 

Imbolc Incense 5
3 parts frankincense
1 part myrrh
1 part cinnamon
½ part sandalwood
½ part jasmine flowers
3 drops sherry or sweet white wine

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 How-To Guide on Washing Your Hair with Natural Ingredients

December, 2017

A Few Words

Tired of all the chemicals beauty products put into your hair? There is an alternative and it may be more beneficial than using store-bought shampoos. If you love your hair, then you should consider switching to using natural ingredients to clean your hair.

Natural ingredients bring with them all the vital nutrients your hair needs to look its best. If your hair looks good, then so do you. You may not be sure that you can use natural ingredients on your hair. That is okay, our guide on how to do wash hair properly with natural ingredients will provide you with the confidence you need to try it yourself.

The Benefits of Using Natural Ingredients

(Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/spices-jar-kitchen-cooking-wooden-2548653/)

Everyone knows what store bought shampoos bring to your hair. Most are great products that contain the vitamins and nutrients your hair needs to shine and look great.

Sadly, most of these products also bring a lot of harsh chemicals that may bring you shiny hair but it will also damage your hair as well. Cleaning your hair with natural ingredients brings all the vitamins, nutrients and other vital natural contributors your hair needs to feel soft, be shiny and look healthy, without the harmful chemicals.

If you add baking soda to your new natural ingredient shampoo you will be able to remove all the dirt, grime and other buildups that comes from using other shampoos and cleaners. But only use baking soda on rare occasions each month. Too much of this natural alternative will also hurt your hair.

Step by Step Guide

Learning how to wash your hair using natural ingredients is quite simple. You do not need an advanced degree in chemistry or be a rocket scientist to mix the new cleaning mixture together and clean your hair.

Here is one simple and easy-to-use method that will change your life and how you will wash your hair in the future.

  1. Gather your ingredients – in this method you will need water, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and a cup.
  2. Add baking soda to water – you will only need to use just enough water in order to make a nice paste and to cover your head.
  3. Massage – you apply this paste to your scalp and roots only. Massage the paste so it covers all of your head and then after a few minutes of massaging let it sit. Make sure you do your temples and the back of your head completely.
  4. Mix the vinegar in water – you will only need approx.. 2 tbsps. of vinegar and between 8-12 ounces of water.
  5. Rinse the baking soda paste – you need to rinse the baking soda and water paste out of your hair before applying the vinegar and water mixture.
  6. Pour the vinegar and water over the ends of your hair and let it sit for roughly one to two minutes then rinse that mixture out as well.

And that is it. We told you it was simple and easy. There are other methods you can use, just click on the word methods to find what those are.

You do not have to worry about a shortage of alternative ways to clean your hair with natural ingredients. There are a variety of recipes that will help you avoid the risk of using too many chemicals.

Shampoo:

  • 2-3 raw eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. of honey (melted)
  • Mix thoroughly

Rinsing mix:

  • 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 liter of water
  • 3 drops of scented essential oil

Of course, the amount of the ingredients will vary depending upon the length of your hair

A Word to the Wise

Don’t believe every word you hear about washing your hair with natural ingredients. Your results will vary and not all natural ingredient shampoos work right away. It may take a few shampoos to see and feel the difference. You may need to customize the amount of ingredients you use to fit your hair quality and make up.

Some Final Words

Switching to natural ingredients may be your ticket to being the envy of all the women you know. You can get that great store-bought shampoo look without hurting your hair with the harsh chemicals they use.

Using natural ingredients is easy and simple. It may even save you money as you possibly have the ingredients in your home right now. One key to having great looking hair is to make sure that you do not wash it every day, even with natural ingredients. One last word you can dry your hair with the best hair dryer in the world but towel or sun drying is best.

 

***

About the Author:

 


Justin Bounds is the main editor at The Barbr – a Hair Care blog dedicated to providing honest advice and trustable information about the topic. He also spent hundreds of hours researching just to find out the most natural ways to take better care of our hair. He is also the author of 12 Bad Habits That Can Lead To Hair Loss. You can also follow him on Twitter to learn more about his work.

Book Review – Celebrating Wiccan Spirituality: Spells, Sacred Rites, and Folklore for Each Day of the Year by Lady Sabrina

December, 2017

Celebrating Wiccan Spirituality: Spells, Sacred Rites, and Folklore for Each Day of the Year”

by Lady Sabrina

 

 

Published by New Page

Published: 2003

Pages: 319

Available at Amazon and elsewhere in paperback and Kindle editions.

If you’re looking to make your craft a daily part of 2018, this is a book for you. Take a magickal journey through the year with holidays, folklore, festivals and customs from a wide variety of cultures. Some are internal pagan practices while others are secular in nature.

Beginning with January 1, Lady Sabrina covers each day with everything from simple reminders to more elaborate spells and rituals as the wheel of the year turns. It takes advantage of the changing astrological configurations and energies.

After a brief introduction to January, with its magickal theme and correspondences, January 1 starts off with New Year’s Day – the deities associated with it, and instructions for making an amulet to attract happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

January 2 talks about the day set aside in ancient Egypt to honor the goddess Isis, the Queen of Sorcery, the Mother of the Moon and Life of the Nile. The magickal activity presents an Isis Protection Spell.

January 3 explains three things the day is dedicated to: Paris’ patroness St. Genevieve, the dear dance and weather forecasting.

January 4 presents the Sacrifice to the 7 Stars, the day ancient Greeks honored Callisto, the moon Goddess who loved was by Zeus and bore him a son. Wishing to hide her, Zeus changed her into a bear, later shot by emis who placed her among the stars. Instructions for making a willow wand, and a prayer to use it when needing flexibility and accommodation are given that day.

January 5 is the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany. In Italy, the 11th day after Christmas is dedicated to the fairy Goddess Befana. In much the same way children now put out stockings on Christmas Eve in the hopes Santa Claus would fill them with gifts, children of long ago would put out stockings in the hopes Befana would fill them with presents while adults would write their wishes on pieces of paper and toss them in the hearth where they catch fire and float up the chimney, granting the petitioner’s wish. The day’s activity is a hearth blessing – incorporating a broom, a length of cord and a white three-wick candle.

For January 6, Lady Sabrina presents King and Queen Buttermilk Clove Cake as a magickal activity to celebrate the Epiphany of Kore from the Greek tradition.

January 7, Saint Distaff’s Day, is an example of an inauspicious day. It was not a saint’s day at all, but a jokingly marked the day women returned to their distaffs of unspun wool.

Days bring spells, prayers, rituals, crafts, details about deities, meditations and other activities as a way to celebrate the day. You can begin any day of any year and reuse the book every year, making for a daily practice.

In the appendixes are suggestions for Sabbat celebrations and six pages dedicated to correspondences, making the book a general reference as well.

Lady Sabrina is an initiated Priestess of the Wiccan religion and the founder of Our Lady Enchantment, a Wiccan seminary. She published three books before this one, including “Reclaiming the Power- The How and Why of Ritual Magic,” and two more after it. Her most recent is “Witch’s Master Grimoire: Encyclopedia of Charms, Spells, Formulas and Magical Rites.”

For Amazon information, click images below.

 

**

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.

 

Gael Song

October, 2017

Kindred Spirits of the Forest Glades

     For years I’ve dreamed of doing a ceremony in gratitude to the fae folk who’ve been constant guides and helpers along my lifelong spirit path. Such a ritual would have to be held in a quiet forest glade, near the gurgling song of a river with an overhanging white oak. Standing stones would add a mystical touch, too. And it would need to be at sunset, that time of night when dusk deepens the forest and the wind drops to a whisper, when the sense of mystery just beyond the veils is strongest, the time between, when we can slip through small spaces into numinous realms. I envision many candles on a great boulder under the oak boughs, lit one by one, as grateful friends wind their way to the altar, each calling out the name of one fae friend for every candle they set alight. How many times the tapers of my heart and mind have been lit like that by the fae folk themselves, who come so softly into the quiet corners of my life and whisper truths long forgotten.

     For my own first candle, I would call out, “Iriseem!” She’s my fae friend with long light-brown hair and delicate damselfly wings. Running ahead of me in the early morning ethers, she usually leads me to hidden wildflowers in the meadow or hovers above newly opened blossoms in my garden. It was she who taught me to make flower essences, an easy process. [Put unpolluted river or spring water (I buy Evian or Fiji) in a large glass pitcher, the glass infused with lead, which will have small rainbows when you hold it up to the sun. (Lead keeps out false will force energies.) Then place the water and one immersed blossom (wash your scissors and hands first) in the pitcher. I place a Svarovski crystal on top to concentrate the light, and then say a small prayer for the highest possible essence to be made. Leave this for 5 hours in the sun and pour into a glass jar (boiled ahead of time for 10 minutes), adding 1/3rd brandy to hold the vibration. Store in a dark quiet place, and it will keep for about 2 years.] It’s Iriseem who comes when I take essence baths, too (1/2 cup of essence in warm water and soak! Mmmm!), sending messages into my mind and heart about the spirit of that particular blossom and plant. It is AMAZING how varied and powerful they are (another whole article). And every time I take such a bath, one full-body sheath of darkness is peeled off and moved out of my aura, a gentle, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes tearful process, as my spirit expands into a whole new way of being. Lovely as anything! Iriseem has also taught me the ray colors of flowers and how to bring these into my garden designs. In my yard (very small), I have one crescent garden of Goddess flowers, another stuffed with divine father plants, and another (even more stuffed) with One Beloved romantic flowers, especially roses.

     Then, as I light the second candle in my ceremony, I’ll call out, “Angelique!” She‘s a child with long blond, baby-fine hair, about as tall as a five year old, her long wings always quivering. But she is wise beyond her years, for she’s the one who taught me the phases of light and shadow that go into building each human person during their childhood and adolescent years and how these phases relate to the ladder of light within, the 350 planes and seven heavens of the inner realms. It’s a bit complex, this process (another article!), but to make it short; every child faces all wounds of their long ago descent from the seventh heaven to earth during their human growing years during each lifetime, from birth to age 22. These impulses move down through the seven heavens, and the matching seven inner sheaths of light in every child’s aura light up during these phases of growth and then close down, until only the same-gender lowest sheath remains open and flowing at the end of age 21, at the end of the full descent process. So, at age 22, each person embodies the same fears and truths they carried when they ended their last lifetime on earth. This is the platform each one steps off as life shifts into the ascension pattern of adulthood, facing all those fears again, but with the intent to heal and get them out of the way. Along the adult path of life back up the ladder of light, the inner seven sheaths of light reopen during 18.6 year cycles of growth. What an invaluable help these teachings from my diminutive fae friend have been!

     And then, the next candle I light will bring tears to my eyes, for I will call out, “Sebhia” (sheveeya, Gaelic pronunciation). I met her one night many years ago, when I went down the long steps from my home then to the small river below, standing beneath a full moon on a humid night in early June, as the fragrance of the flowers in my essence garden, just across the water, filled the air. I remember how warm it was, with the mist, rising from the water, wafting in front of the high cross in the center of the medicine wheel shaped garden, making me think of Avalon somehow (and giving me goosebumps). As one ray of moonlight hovered beside me, it suddenly brightened so much that I gasped and reached out. For I could feel the presence of someone I had loved long ago, a presence I’d known intimately in some other realm. And for the barest instant, I saw a willowy golden fairy standing in the shaft of light, with eyes full of tears. She wanted to hug me, I could feel it intensely, her heart full to overflowing with ancient love. “I am your sister in the Creator Sun,” she whispered through the mist. “I knew you at the very beginning, before fear was ever known, dear. You’re a priestess there; we both are, love.” And then, the vision and the moonlight faded. And ever since, my heart has ached to hold Sebhia close, too, to be real sisters once again. And SHE was the one who taught me all those planes of light and what color each one beams, plus the one quality of love each ray carries, my most favorite teachings! There is such magic and wonder in meeting the fae world face to face.

     Then, with the next to last candle I light in that ceremony, I’ll call out, “Donardin” (pronounced donarstin, Gaelic again). He came to me when I was working on my first book, moving into the ethers very quietly one afternoon years ago and sitting beside me in the afternoon sun on my deck above the river. I felt him there, a gentle fae friend, and listened carefully as he enumerated the Laws of Love of the Celtic realms of the Creator Sun. His is a very stalwart upright presence! And he, too, tells me he’s my spirit brother from the Creator Sun. He teaches me about all things Celtic; laws in days gone by, illusions that must be healed, the Celtic ceremonies and customs of heaven, the geometry of light beneath nemetons, and the Celtic regents of that seventh heaven, too. How HAPPY I’ve been to listen to his voice within and learn about my Home in the Creator Sun, to feel his gentleness and respect for my inner feminine that is so rare in our ordinary earth world. I LOVE Celtic everything!

     And as I light my last candle, but very far from least, in that future ceremony, I’d call out, “Fìrinn” (feereen, meaning truth in Gaelic.) It was a bright summer day in the Apple moon (August) when I met him. I’d gone down the steps to the essence garden again. And bending down, I saw a startling flash of green light in the grass and was STUNNED to find a real dragonfly that was 5 to 6 inches long! HUGE, the largest I’d ever seen. And then, glancing up across the little bridge, I saw the veils part for one small moment. And there he was, a great dragonfly prince in green tights and white shirt, as tall as a man, his long dragonfly wings strong and shining in the morning sun. “I am your forever love,” he said. And my heart beat so wildly with the sudden impulse to fly into his arms, I knew I’d once known him very intimately indeed.

     Much later, as I wrote the ending to the second book of my Trilogy, I saw that he and I had been created in one instant out of the bright primordial mystery of the Creator Sun, both of us drifting from it in a single bright auric bubble of light. We were forever in love, forever young, our hearts united in one dream for good that we would someday create together. He, too, is fae, a djinn, another surprise. (Does that mean when I am on the other side, I am fae, too?) Fìrinn is my higher self. And I feel him always with me now, every day, especially when I write, helping me express subtle concepts, sending small baskets of words down into my mind for me to choose from, hovering close and sending soft messages of patience or faith when life is challenging, or simply being nearby in silence on lovely summer evenings beside the sea, where I live now. But his most delicious lessons are about partnership, how true loves always channel the beloved stream from God and Goddess for their outer partners, the teachings of sacred partnership. Once humanity heals all fear and steps into true love, all of us will manifest our dreams into real life through lovemaking, in the exact image of God/Goddess, the sacred sexuality of the future. I just smile, a bit like Mona Lisa, whenever Fìrinn is near! The dark chocolate kisses I have instead of coffee every morning after breakfast were his idea, too. (Dark chocolate is the food that carries the essence of the high Beloved God). Mmmm again!

      So, if you haven’t found a sacred silent nook in the forest or in your garden and begun to connect with the fae world there, DO!!! The teachings are many and WONDROUS! Fae humor is a constant bubbling spring, fae sensuality, too. And their surprises of truth under the drab coverings of our world will ever delight, lift, and inspire (not to MENTION the dancing, recipes, decorating, and clothing suggestions, FANTASTIC every one!). Bright blessings then, to fae and human alike!

**

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She is hoping to found an intentional community in southern Scotland in the near future. For information, please see www.thehomestarcommunity.org

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornVolume One Revised, and Volumes Two and Three. 

For Amazon Information Click on Images

 

 

 

 

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