31 August, 2010

Help End Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels


 Please sign the Solar Bill of Rights.  The entire world needs to depend more on renewable energy sources and the sun is one of our greatest resources.  Don't let big oil ruin the earth any further.  Click on the link below to sign and call your local representatives.  Petitions do a lot but you need to let Congress and the Senate here your voice too.  Please encourage your non-Pagan neighbors to do the same.  It's not just our responsibility as Pagans to do our part.  Humanity needs to do it together.

Solar Bill of Rights

Mabon Feast Recipe Swap

 Mabon
The witch's thanksgiving.  The second harvest.  The celebration of the vine.  The time of balance.  The return of the Lord of Shadows.  The time of thanks.  The time of remembrance.

As witches, Mabon is the time of year when we gather to give thanks for what we have been blessed with during the harvest.  It is a time when we prepare for long winter ahead and for the final harvest at Samhain.  One of the many ways we celebrate and give thanks to our Gods is through the feast.  Mabon begins my favorite time in the Wheel of the Year as it is time for all my favorite harvest/fall foods.  And what is a fall feast without cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes!

Cranberry-Orange Sauce
2 cups fresh/frozen cranberries
1 Tbs grated orange zest
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute (add more if you'd like a sweeter sauce)

Place all cranberries, zest, cinnamon and water into a medium sized saucepan over medium heat; stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until berries have popped and sauce has thickened (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and add sugar/sugar substitute.  Serve at room temperature.

Sauce can be made up to one week before Mabon and refrigerated (NOT FROZEN!) in a covered container.

Cider Roasted Sweet Potatoes
3lbs of Sweet Potatoes, sliced into wedges
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup apple cider

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss together potato slices, oil, cinnamon, salt/pepper in a large bowl.  Transfer to a baking dish and drizzle with cider.  Roast until browned and cooked through (30 min).


Once you're done cooking and the table is set, say some form of prayer/thanks (see below for my personal favorite) for the harvest and remember those who may have to go without.  I always make it a point to go through my closets, especially my winter items, and give them away to local charities as well as making my donation to Island Harvest (a Long Island version of City Harvest).  You can also donate your time to a local soup kitchen and help feed those less fortunate than ourselves.  I always try to get my students to remember that people are hungry all the time, not just during the holidays and making charitable contributions throughout the year is important. 


Equal hours of light and darkness
we celebrate the balance of Mabon,
and ask the gods to bless us.
For all that is bad, there is good.
For that which is despair, there is hope.
For the moments of pain, there are moments of love.
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again.
May we find balance in our lives
as we find it in our hearts.


What are your favorite Mabon recipes?  What do you plan on cooking this year?  Share your recipes with the Linky tool below or in the comments section!

29 August, 2010

Sunday Nature Musings

 From hiking in the Catskills

"Faery Songs" by John Keats


I.
Shed no tear! oh, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Weep no more! oh, weep no more!
Young buds sleep in the root's white core.
Dry your eyes! oh, dry your eyes!
For I was taught in Paradise
To ease my breast of melodies,--
Shed no tear.

Overhead! look overhead!
'Mong the blossoms white and red--
Look up, look up! I flutter now
On this fresh pomegranate bough.
See me! 'tis this silvery bill
Ever cures the good man's ill.
Shed no tear! oh, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Adieu, adieu -- I fly -- adieu!
I vanish in the heaven’s blue,--
Adieu, adieu!

II.
Ah! woe is me! poor silver-wing!
That I must chant thy lady's dirge,
And death to this fair haunt of spring,
Of melody, and streams of flowery verge,--
Poor silver-wing! ah! woe is me!
That I must see
These blossoms snow upon thy lady's pall!
Go, pretty page! and in her ear
Whisper that the hour is near!
Softly tell her not to fear
Such calm favonian burial!
Go, pretty page! and soothly tell,--
The blossoms hang by a melting spell,
And fall they must, ere a star wink thrice
Upon her closed eyes,
That now in vain are weeping their last tears,
At sweet life leaving, and these arbours green,--
Rich dowry from the Spirit of the Spheres,
Alas! poor Queen!

28 August, 2010

Fur Baby Friday (a little late - sorry!)

Frankie (the Siamese) gets most of the attention of these Fur Baby posts.  I'll have to work harder to catch Marty in acts of cuteness.  It's just difficult when all the little one does is sleep!

Frankie plays with Marty's favorite toy - the carrot!

26 August, 2010

Thank You!








to Dancing with a Spatula Wand for bestowing me with the Versatile Blogger Award.
I don't tend to do the blog awards for a couple of reasons 1) for a while I was getting too many to keep up with 2) I love too many blogs to give to only a few!  So, thank you Dancing with a Spatula Wand!  I'm going to cheat (as usual) and award this to all the blogs I follow.  I can't pick only a few of you since all of you have helped shaped this blog into what it is today.

25 August, 2010

I'm not very crafty . . .

Scarf I'm currently working on for the hubby

In fact, I can only knit (see above) and I'm not very good at it.  I keep trying though.  I would like to be more crafty.  I look at all the wonderful things that many of you post on your own blogs and I'm very jealous of your talents.  I hope that once I'm done with Graduate school this fall I'll have more time for crafty things.   I'm actually looking for suggestions for crafts I can do.  I'm a beginner, so nothing too complex.  I'm open for anything.

24 August, 2010

Elementals: Earth

From hiking Slide Mountain - highest mountain in the Catskills
 Earth
Direction: North
Time of Day: Midnight
Colors: Green/Brown
Represents: the Goddess, old age, strength, stability, wisdom, business, money, career, wealth, physical form
Sabbat: Yule
Herbal Correspondences: cedar, clove, fern, honeysuckle, jasmine, mandrake, patchouli, pine, sage, slippery elm
Zodiac Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Tarot Suit: Pentacles
Used for: material matters, fertility rituals, strengthening oneself, prosperity spells

One of my favorite meditations to use to connect with the Earth is the Tree Blending Meditation in Ann Moura's Grimoire for the Green Witch.  It's one of the few pre-written meditations that I use and have  done so several times.  I wanted to use it on our camping trip but I didn't get a chance to.  There's always next time.  It's a lengthy meditation and it's great to use on the night of a full moon or a new moon.  I tend to do meditations of the new moon as it's a more reflective time for me.  There's one tree that I tend to talk to the most in my yard, a Japanese Maple.  I love the way she looks in winter best.


There's just something about those little trees that I love dearly.  I'll often sit in our pool (which is to the right of the tree - not pictured), gaze at it and talk to it quietly.  I helped plant her in 1995 with my Dad and ever since then I've had a very keen connection with the tree.  I'll even admit to hugging her, which I feel is one of the best ways to connect with the earth.  Hug her.  Hug a tree.  Hug a beloved pet.  Lay on the ground with your face towards the earth and just feel her beneath you.  You'll be amazed by the warmth and love you feel back.

23 August, 2010

I am a Hurricane!

For those of you who don't know, I use my Craft Name (Willow) as my blog identity.  However, the name my parents gave me is Danielle and I am also a hurricane!

Elementals: Fire


Campfire from camping trip to the Catskills, NY


 Fire
Direction: South
Time of Day: Noon
Colors: Red/Orange
Represents: youth, energy, drive, passion, ambition, career, creativity, healing, protection, will, divine within, male fertility, the God
Sabbat: Litha
Herbal Correspondences: alder, basil, bay laurel, carnation, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, garlic, holly, hyssop, marigold, pepper, primrose, rosemary, rowan, rue, saffron, St. Johnswort
Zodiac Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Tarot Suit: Wands
Used for: to heal and/or harm, creation and/or destruction, purification, bring new life, end the life of the worn out and old

One of the many ways I love to work with fire is through cooking.  And what better place?  The kitchen holds the hearth of the home and, of course, plenty of fire energy.  There's something that comes alive within me while I'm cooking and the energy that builds in the house when my fellow witches cook together is amazing.  I cannot wait to make something for the Full Moon tomorrow.  This is a recipe I tried recently and loved.

Fire Spice Pork Chops
You will need:
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to mix herbs and garlic into a paste) - Approx. 2 Tbs.
4 center rib pork chops, about 1/2" thick
4 lemon wedges
1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper

  1. In a small bowl, combine herbs, garlic and pepper.  Add olive oil and work into a paste.  Press spice mixture onto both sides of each pork chop.
  2. Coat a grill or grill pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high.
  3. Grill pork until there is no pink inside (6-8 minutes per side)
  4. Divide and serve with lemon wedges.

20 August, 2010

Fur Baby Fridays

Even my cat is a book nut!  He wants to be one with Barnes and Noble bag.

19 August, 2010

Elementals: Air


Video taken by Willow in Western New York

 Air
Direction: East
Time of Day: Sunrise
Colors: Yellow/White
Represents: The God, childhood, intellect, thought, mind, victory, power, conflict, conscious mind
Sabbat: Ostara
Herbal Correspondences: broom, elder, eucalyptus, hazel, lavender, lemon, verbena, marjoram, mistletoe, mugwort, nutmeg, peppermint, sandalwood, spearmint, thyme, wormwood
Zodiac Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Tarot Suit: Swords
Used for: communication, wisdom or the powers of the mind, carries away troubles, blows away strife, and carries positive thoughts

Air is the element I feel least connected with.  Perhaps it's because I'm deeply a water sign in so many ways.  I fall into every Scorpio stereotype imaginable.  I'm in love with being in water, snow, ice, etc.  However, air and its powers escape me.  I'm horrid with conflict.  I'm a bigger dreamer than living in reality.  I'm smart but I'm not always aware of it.  In fact, I'm humble.  I drown myself with guilt.  I surround myself with my troubles.  I brew in my mistakes.  I could use the power of air often but I have not found balance with this element yet.  I hope to work with my coven on expanding my abilities with Air.  I think it would make a much happier and calmer person. 

When I return from camping this weekend I hope to have some great videos for earth and fire.  I'm not sure what I'll do for spirit yet, but I'll think of something.  My school district gave the laptop program teachers - a group of 200 teachers trained on MacBooks and we use them in our daily lessons - Flip Cameras.  I took the 2 videos I've posted with my Flip Camera and edited them on my Macbook.  It's all practice for eventually using it in my classroom and I'm having an awesome time using it for my witchy things.

Elementals: Water



Video taken by Willow at Niagara Falls

Water
Direction: West
Time of Day: Sunset
Colors: Blue/Gray
Represents: The Goddess, maturity, emotion, psychic ability, intuition, love, subconscious mind
Sabbat: Mabon
Herbal Correspondences: apple, ash, burdock, catnip, chamomile, cypress, elecampane, geranium, henbane, hyacinth, ivy, meadowsweet, myrrh, orris root, poppy, rose, star anise, willow and yarrow
Zodiac Signs: Cancer,  Scorpio, Pisces
Tarot Suit: Cups
Used for: healing, cleansing, and purification

Water has always been a source of power for me.  This past weekend the hubby and I visited Niagara Falls and I cannot begin to tell you how much I felt the power of the place within me.  I stood watching the water fall in front of me, mezmorized by its beauty.  If we didn't have an 8 hour drive in front of us, I would of stayed there until the park closed.  I cannot wait to go back so I can see it lit up at night as well as from the Canadian side (we forgot our passports at home).

I'm currently working on a water meditation.  As soon as it is finished I will share it with all of you.  I think I'll complete it on our camping trip this weekend.  I'm going to be making a few posts today to make up for the ones I'll be missing while we're away.  I know it seems like I've been away a lot lately but I'm trying to make up for some lost (fun) time.  I spent almost all of my summer doing work for my Graduate class.  I only have 3 more weeks left before the school year begins and I start writing my thesis.  This little witch needs some Nature time!

17 August, 2010

While I edit photos

I thought everyone could enjoy this as much as I have been enjoying it.  I haven't bought a copy of Rolling Stone in years, but I'm sure getting this one!  Team Eric! <3

13 August, 2010

A Patriotic Fur Baby


Hail to the chief, who in triumph advances,
Honored and bless'd be the evergreen pine!
Long may the tree in his banner that glances,
Flourish, the shelter and grace of our line.
 
My posts may or may not happen this weekend as the hubby and I are headed to Buffalo, NY for a wedding.  Hooray for 8 hour+ car rides!  I'm going to be taking tons of pictures of the beautiful landscape while we're away and since water is my power element, I plan on making the trip to Niagara Falls before we come home on Sunday.  I'll be bring my laptop with me, so I will attempt to post.  I don't want to fall back into lazy habits.

12 August, 2010

For Isaac


We wish you all the love
and happiness we may.
We will never forget you.
Do not you forget us.
Whenever we meet here,
you are always welcome.
So mote it be.

- from Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft

Some setbacks

I made my usual mistake of weighing/measuring myself when I went to the gym today.  I thought that I'd gained some weight during the summer and I was right.  I was also wrong.  It wasn't some weight.  It was a lot of weight.  Almost all of the weight I've lost, in fact, has come back.  This is where my laziness has gotten me.  I've spent too many days merely sitting on the computer when I should have been doing laps in the pool.  And now I must attend a wedding this weekend in a dress that will be too tight on me.  I'm more than disappointed in myself.  I lashed out at my husband in the middle of Macy's and screamed at my mother when we got home.  I don't like the person I become when I'm depressed.  I wish I knew a better way to handle these kind of setbacks in my life but I just get downright bitchy.

So, it's back to South Beach as I think Weight Watchers is a load of crap.  I'm sorry to those of you who use it - I don't agree with their plan.  I agree with portion control but I don't like that you have to pay them for their weight loss advice.  They (finally) started selling their cookbook in bookstores but even after flipping through it, I'd rather stick with South Beach.  This is also another big motivator to purchase my own house soon.  I love that my parents are doing my husband and I a HUGE favor by letting us live here rent free but I cannot control the menu and it's driving me bonkers.  What my Mom views as healthy cooking/eating is basically cutting out bread or just not eating until dinner.  I need to have my own kitchen back.  I miss cooking for myself all the time.

Since I haven't been following the South Beach exclusively for over a year, I need to start back in phase one.  Starting tomorrow and for the next two weeks I cannot eat anything on the list below.  It's going to be hard but I've done it before and I can do it again.  Here's to a new start and better luck this time.  I've got 55lbs to lose and I'm not giving up.  I will look the way I used to.  Magick is the power of words as well as power in faith.  Look over me Lord and Lady.  Help me not fail this time.

Foods NOT Allowed and to be Avoided in Phase 1
VEGETABLES
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Potatoes, white
  • Potatoes, sweet
  • Yams
BEEF
  • Brisket
  • Liver
  • Other fatty cuts
  • Rib steaks
POULTRY
  • Chicken, wings and legs
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Poultry products, processed
PORK
  • Honey-baked ham
VEAL
  • Breast
FRUIT
Avoid ALL fruits and fruit juices in Phase 1, including:
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Berries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
CHEESE
  • Brie
  • Edam
  • Non-reduced fat
DAIRY
  • 1/2 cup of plain fat-free yogurt (once per day max.)
  • Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2, Nonfat milk, 1% milk,
  • Soy milk allowed with coffee. Otherwise avoid all other dairy products (unless listed under protein choices or sweet treats).
  • Limit to < 2 TBS per cup of coffee. Otherwise, avoid all milk products in Phase 1, including:
  • Yogurt, cup-style and frozen
  • Ice cream
  • Milk, low-fat, fat-free, whole
  • Milk, soy
STARCHES AND CARBS
Avoid ALL starchy food in Phase 1, including:
  • Bread, all types
  • Cereal
  • Croutons, all types
  • Matzo
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice, all types
  • Pasta, all types
  • Pastry and baked goods, all types
MISCELLANEOUS
  • Alcohol of any kind, including beer and wine
  • No regular ketchup or cocktail sauce
  • No pork rinds - too high in saturated fat
  • No jerky - too high in sugar content
  • Limit Caffeine-Containing Beverages to 1-2 servings per day 







11 August, 2010

Today is a special day

Today marks my 100th blog post!  I'm sorry I've been out of the loop since Friday.  My final paper for my Shakespeare Grad class was due by midnight last night.  I, as per usual, waiting until the last possible moment to hand in the paper.  For some reason I can only work well under pressure.  I've been checking throughout the day to see if my grade has been posted, but alas, nothing.  I'm afraid that I can't claim that the paper was my best work either.  Too many things going on all at once!

I also have a bunch of pictures from my backyard that I wanted to share.  It's not my garden, so I can't take credit for all the work that goes into it.  However, I do help my Mom out when I can and I always put the used coffee grinds and tea leafs into the tomato soil (a good gardening tip for those of you who don't already do so).

So, here is where the Green Witch plays!







06 August, 2010

Fur Baby Fridays

Mommy!  I made a fort!
 
I can even blend in with the pillows, see?  I'm camouflage kitty!

I don't have the heart to tell him that we can see him in there.

05 August, 2010

Politics

I know that this vote was from last week but I never did get to post about it.  I'm proud that Anthony Weiner is from my home state of New York but I'm still ashamed that Democrats still want to play the politics game.  In the words of a close friend of mine:
If somebody without legal citizens status aided, in any way, in the first response to the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero, then I think that they should not only receive taxpayer funded health care for illnesses directly related to being there, but they should be automatically granted citizenship. In fact, the cost of their health benefits should be taken directly from the health care packages provided to all members of Congress.
The fact that this bill couldn't pass upsets me as human being.  I lost a family member who was a first responder as did many others.  Those that survived are suffering every day with health problems due to their selfless act of heroism. Shame on you Congress.  Shame on you.


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
I Give Up - 9/11 Responders Bill
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

04 August, 2010

Giveaway from Mrs. B!

Mrs. B is having another great giveaway.  It is an 8"x10" ceramic tile by steampunk artist Brigid Ashwood (see picture on right)!  It has an .08" cardboard easel back that features a hinged angled let with two hangers for table display or wall hanging.

Plus, as a HUGE bonus, Brigid is going to sign the tile for the winner!
Hop on over to Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom to enter the giveaway.  I know I'm excited!

Witchcraft Wednesday: Moon Cycle Pains

I was reading back through Wizardess Epi's Bloody April series and I was hoping to find some advice on the pain that comes along with our lovely moon cycle.  Although I did find all of those great links to reusable pads that I still need to purchase and a bunch of spells that will come in handy in the future, I didn't find any spells, rituals or herbal treatments for pain.  Of course, I have my books and they always recommend the same herb: camomile.  I've tried it.  It eases some of the pain but not enough to make the week go by a little easier.  I was actually wondering if any of my readers have something that they've done.  I'm trying to do something natural and I'm willing to try just about anything.  I'm trying to be a little bit more "proud" of my womanly cycle but the pain makes it very difficult!

So, readers?  What treatments do you have hidden in your cauldrons?

Favorite Fictional Witches

Ever since I read Wicked back in college, I've loved Elphaba.  I loved her long before she was even a glimmer in the lights of Broadway.  I was reminded of my love for her at the bookstore today.  While passing one of the tables before the register, there laying on the clearance stack was the 3rd book in the Wicked series: A Lion Among Men.  I remember seeing it when it first came out and reminded myself to hold off as 1) hardcover books are always out of my price range and 2) pleasure reading is during the summertime - too many papers to grade during the school year!

I often feel that I'm not good enough, that my work either at school or as a teacher or even as a witch isn't enough.  There are many moments when I'd rather just curl up in bed and stay there because it's safer and no one is there to tell me I'm worthless.  I've struggled with depression for most of my adult life and it's only with committing myself to my life as a Pagan where I've finally found some common ground.  Reading the lives of people like me, either those who are new Pagans or old hats, and just knowing that I'm not crazy with how I feel inside or what I believe.  I suppose it's some of that Catholic guilt left over.  My parents know how to use it against me so well.  I know I'm not perfect and I know that trying to be is what gets me down half the time.  Today was one of those days where attempting to be perfect didn't get me anywhere.  I guess it's why seeing that book in the bargain bit was the little bit of light that I needed to kick me back into reality.  I know that I'm "different" and no one, not even my parents, should make me feel badly about it.  I know that in my heart of hearts but sometimes I just need a sign from somewhere to get me to remember it.  Elphaba is the perfect character to help me remember.  It's why I adore her and why part of me always pitied the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz.

I'm really looking forward to reading the 3rd book.  Hopefully it will cheer me up a little bit.  I just have to wait till next Tuesday to get started.  Only one more week of Graduate class left.  I love you Shakespeare but I need a break from thinking!

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down! 
-"Defying Gravity" from Wicked

03 August, 2010

Thank You Candles & Wicks!

I had no idea until I was checking through my Google Reader today that Rowan from Candles & Wicks was promoting my blog today.  I just wanted to extend a big thank you to her. 

Rowan's blog is amazing.  I love reading about her experience with the craft as well as her stories about her mundane life.  She is honest and her knowledge of the craft is extensive.  As someone who is merely beginning her life as a witch, her posts have been most helpful to me.  If you do not already follow her blog, you should!

02 August, 2010

Blog Makeover

The Blog Fairy has completed an amazing makeover on my blog.  Goodbye boring blogger templates!
For those of you who promote my blog button, be sure to grab one of the new ones!

Monday Recipe Swap: Summer Favorites

Everyone has their favorite summer recipes.  I thought I'd share one of mine with you.  Use the Linky at the bottom to post links to your own blog or post your recipe in the comments section.

Shrimp and Penne with Dill

1lb large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
8oz pasta (I use Barilla Plus)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup plain yogurt (low fat or non fat if you'd like to be healthy)
3 scallions sliced fine
2Tbsp chopped fresh dill *see below for Book of Shadows notes
1Tbsp capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
2tsp finely grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil.  Add shrimp, return to a simmer, and cook until pink (1-2 min).  Transfer shrimp to a large bowl.  Keep the water boiling on high heat.

2. Add pasta to boiling water and cook to your liking.  I'm a fan of al dente.  Drain pasta (do not rinse) and add to bowl with shrimp.

3. Add tomatoes, yogurt, scallions, dill, capers, lemon zest, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss well.  Serve warm.

Dill in Ritual Use
Dill is often used for unity and fellowship.  It is perfect to use in recipes for family, especially if there have been some tensions or fighting between anyone.  If you want to use this recipe for such purposes, light a white candle next to your stove.  Mix the dill in last.  When mixing it in with the other ingredients, say the follow (or your own blessing):

Goddess make it your will
and work with this dill
to fight off any ill
So mote it be!

This is also a great article from The Examiner on Dill and its magical uses. 

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