Circling the Hearth

tumblr_nezctn6t671thn7i0o1_500I   remember when I used to give my little ones stacks of pots and pans with cooking utensils to bang on them with. Nothing like a 15 month-old toying around with an improvised set of drums. At around 2 they got their first can of Play Doh. My kids still love Play Doh. Hell, I still love Play Doh. It’s wondrous how children love to imitate us and how we as grown-ups love to imitate them. I mean, who doesn’t like to make mud pies of either the earthly or culinary kind?

Cooking to me is an experience of bringing to life individuality, concentration, ingenuity, patience, and resourcefulness, just to name a few. Young or old, creative or meticulous, adventurous or cautious, cooking has it all, and sometimes all at once. The all at once thing is probably one of the reasons children love to cook and why I want to let them. However, I have yet to master the patience of allowing my kids to take over in the kitchen and it may be a long time before I leave the sidelines. Cooking takes preparation, it’s time consuming, mess making, and most times a big ordeal.

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Meet Endora Endive. She resides on our kitchen shelf overseeing the Wiccan Kitchen.

My lack of patience combined with fear for my children’s safety makes it mandatory for this Witch to take a big breath of Zen before handing over an apron; both the apron and deep breath are imperative before teaching a little one how to crack an egg. Of course it took me some time to learn this.

My youngest daughter is the child who has always loved to help me in the kitchen. I’ll admit I’m still freakishly afraid of letting her handle raw chicken but I’ve gotten much better about most things….well, except sharp knives, cheese graters, can openers, and even those dumb little tubes of refrigerated crescent rolls. I’m telling you, I’ve cut myself on everyone one of those things (yes, even the crescent roll tube) and I, like those who regularly cook, have plenty of scars to prove it. Of course every time I can think of, those slices and nics happened when I was in a mad rush to complete dinner. Someday I suppose I’ll learn my lesson.

One of my parental milestones was accomplished when I finally let her take over the pan on the burner without cringing in fear that she would burn herself or create a disaster of monstrous proportions. Loosening my grip on controlling the kitchen has been hard, especially when I step back and watch those little mistakes happen so that she can learn from them. In the end, her bright smile of pride is all I need to dispel my fears (within reason of course).

Here’s a few of our favorite (easy) Mabon recipes. Enjoy!

Spicy Mabon Punch

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 orange
4 whole cloves
3 cups apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice

DIRECTIONS:

1.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stud the whole oranges with cloves, and bake for 30 minutes.
2.
In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the nutmeg, honey, lemon juice, and pineapple juice. Can be placed in a slow cooker on low heat with clove-studded oranges floating on top.

Autumn Apple Salad

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:
8 tart green apples, cored and chopped
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds,
toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
2 (8 ounce) container vanilla yogurt

DIRECTIONS:

1.
In a medium bowl, stir together the apples, almonds, cranberries, cherries and yogurt until evenly coated. Serve Immediately

Yellow Squash Casserole

Be creative and use different types of squash if you wish.

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups sliced yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped onion
36 buttery round crackers, crushed
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS:

1.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.
Place squash and onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in a small amount of water. Cover, and cook until squash is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, and place in a large bowl.
3.
In a medium bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and cheese. Stir half of the cracker mixture into the cooked squash and onions. In a small bowl, mix together eggs and milk, then add to squash mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Spread into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cracker mixture, and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
4.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Autumn Beef Stew

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water

DIRECTIONS:

1.
In a large pot or dutch oven, cook beef in oil over medium heat until brown. Dissolve bouillon in water and pour into pot. Stir in rosemary, parsley and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
2.
Stir potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion into the pot. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 teaspoons cold water and stir into stew. Cover and simmer 1 hour more.

Mabon Cornbread

Serve with butter and honey if you wish

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
2.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
3.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Rustic Fruit Tart

1/2 cup butter, chilled
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 pear – peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup apricot jam, warmed

DIRECTIONS:

1.
Cut the cold butter and cream cheese into the flour with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (This can also be done in a food processor: pulse the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles cornmeal; add the cream cheese and pulse until it’s the size of small peas.) When you squeeze a handful of the mixture, it should form a ball. Shape the dough into a round disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2.
Toss the sliced apples and pear with the orange juice. Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cornstarch. Toss the fruit with the sugar-spice mixture and set aside.
3.
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Set out an 8-inch tart pan, or, if you’ll be making a free-form tart (galette), lightly grease a baking sheet.
4.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to form a 10-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the tart pan or baking sheet. Arrange the fruit decoratively in the tart pastry. If you’re baking the tart on a baking sheet, leave a 2-inch rim of dough and fold it up over the edge of the fruit (the pastry folds will overlap).
5.
Bake the tart in the preheated oven until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and brush it with the apricot jam.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

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Bountiful Tides; A Lesson in the Blessings of Spontaneity

This past Lammas family celebration happened several days later than actual “Lammas” because I was away priestessing the prior weekend. So this year’s Lammas was celebrated during our annual trip to the beach. I battled the perfectionist in me and just went with it. Nothing fancy, nothing planned, no props, just an impromptu altar carved into the sand by the kids followed by many spontaneous blessings to (and from) Earth, Land, Sky, and of course, Sea. Uncomplicated, unexpected, and perfectly imperfect.

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August at the Oregon Coast is the best chance for seeing sunshine & warm (mid 60’s-70’s) weather days. I’ll admit I love the gray, drizzly, foggy days the best (you know, like any minute you’ll catch a glimpse of a ghost ship on the horizon) but I have no problem sacrificing the mood mist in exchange for watching the kids splash in the cold water without their lips turning blue.

When I break down the weekend, I see the bountiful gifts Lammas had given to us in exchange for nothing more than our awareness and acknowledgement of the ebbing flow of Earth’s yearly cyclical tide.

We enjoyed amazing cracked black pepper and sea salt sourdough wheat bread served before our main meal at our favorite restaurant. Breaking the bead, we each handed the other a piece with a blessing of, “may you never go hungry and may you always be nourished.”

We took joy in wandering around the tide pools and even explored a few secluded beaches we happened upon. We lit a beach bonfire and toasted marshmallows, huddling together in our sweatshirts as we watched the sunset.

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We watched in awe as the bats swooped through the darkened night sky, taking advantage of the abundance of bugs; a lesson in harvest indeed! It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about the blessings the Goddess gives in all things. We took time to talk about the cycles, how Summer will soon be winding down, and our thoughts and feelings about it.

We visited a glassblowing gallery, becoming completely absorbed in the artist’s craftsmanship and technique of creating something so beautiful out of a molten blob of glass. The connection to Lugh, The Shining One, was not lost on us.

We spent the better part of an afternoon switching between napping drowsily on the warm sand to gazing upon the amazing colorful kites as they danced in the Pacific coastal wind.

It’s a true delight to look back on the last few days and see how we were touched by the hand of the Goddess and God. For me, it’s a reminder of how the spontaneity of Pagan Parenting blesses our lives in many untold ways. It fills our hearts, minds and souls with experiences in mindfulness which are difficult to describe. It’s about letting our instinctive and intuitive connection to the world around us be our guide by simply being aware of what is happening in the present moment and embracing its gifts.

Many blessings on your Journey )O(

The Real Me, The Real You

My True Self


It’s strange to think about all the roles I have played in my life. I was a daughter, then eventually an adopted daughter, only child, competitive figure skater, good little Catholic girl, a Duranie, rebellious teenage runaway, juvenile delinquent, friend, lover, teen mom, college student, wife, heart-breaker, teacher, occult student, Tarot reader, Priestess, & one who lives with chronic pain. These are just a few off the top of my head. Now obviously there are some roles I am not proud of and there are those that make me happy inside. Each one of those roles has been a unique learning experience and has led my life in many different directions. Two of those things I have been for more than half my life; and those two things are a wife and mom.


The role of a wife and mom are are what most people identify me as, because they are the two roles I show most to the world. They are big pieces of my life, and I love being those things. My journey as a wife and mom has given me some of my most beautiful and amazing memories and I know there are good things to come (even through the muddy waters of problem children). The roles of wife and mom are pieces of my life but they don’t define me. These roles are what they are; roles. The real me, (the real you, the real them) is infinite and immeasurable. Everyone is their own being with a unique spirit and a spark of the divine, and yet I can sometimes bog myself down with labels. Do you do that too? Yes, I’m married, I have children, I’m a pet owner, volunteer, and homemaker. I have many interests and hobbies. I am blessed with those things and those are a part of my being, but not the totality of me.

Why do we limit ourselves with our self-image? Why do we habitually identify our uniqueness with roles and titles, employment and status, what we own or what we don’t own, our personality traits and our looks? It’s self-limiting, and I don’t believe that’s the entire reason for this incarnation and most definitely not my soul’s existence. There’s so much more to me. It was time to knock down those walls I’d made. It was time to expand my sense of self and open myself up to new opportunities. There was room needed for my new dreams and ideas to flourish.

So, who am I?

In learning to know myself, I have had to become more aware during times of meditation, journaling, and when reading the Tarot for myself. From time to time I pause and ask myself if I am keeping to certain roles during this time of introspection, or am I floating free of those labels? Am I looking at the whole picture of me? This has helped me tremendously in letting go. I was surprised at first when I felt more complete the more I let go. Now it comes naturally when I’m in my quiet time and space of solitude. It has become an immeasurably important piece of my life, allowing me to step back in order see the strength and beauty of who I was, who I am, and the woman I aspire to be.


                  magic recievers - supernatural links often attributed to things that people do not understand. Mirrors seemto posses a power beyond the natural, a reflection of the truth, and so became a handy repository for many mystical and supernatural ideas. They did seem to be portals to another world at times..

    Blessings on your Journey )O(

Create Garden Goddesses

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My kids and I got Craft Happy and made some cute little Garden Goddesses to grace our little Fairy Village currently under construction beneath the holly bush/tree. I grabbed some small clay pots, I thought they’d be a sturdy base, and turned them over creating the ‘skirt’ if you will. The bodies were made with another tiny clay pot turned upside down secured in place with a small wooden dowel through both drainage holes and then secured with help of a glue gun. Actually the entire project incorporated the use of a glue gun. I bought my kids a low heat glue gun and I use my regular one. The kiddos still need to be extra careful because hot glue can blister little fingertips.

 

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The upside down clay pot for a sturdy base and shape for the 'skirt'.

The upside down clay pot for a sturdy base and shape for the ‘skirt’.

 

I also grabbed my Craft Crap Box that has you-name-it inside and found plenty of fabric scraps, including tulle (didn’t even know I had that) and muslin, different types of craft moss, flower embellishments, seashells, straw, twine, feathers, etc. We also went outside and gathered twigs and other interesting items, and then we were set.

We each had full reign of our individual Garden Goddess, designing and constructing them with our own vision. Not surprisingly, each of the Garden Goddesses came out very different from one another, and were as unique as we each are. When we were finished, we named our Goddess and told a little bit about her personality and purpose.

I made mine as an Earth Garden Goddess to bring magick to the soil and to nurture seedlings, roots, trees, and everything in-between. She will bring blossoming energy to help create a perfect environment for our Fairy Village, enticing the Fairy Folk to come and occupy the garden. As an Earth Garden Goddess, she will give protection to all creatures big and small, blessing our Fairy Village with stability and abundance.

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My 9 year-old daughter’s Garden Goddess is named the Whispering Willow Goddess. She will bring song, laughter and joy to our Fairy Village. She plays the flute and sings in harmony with the fairy folk, and if your heart is open, then you too can hear the merriment. Her voice whispers on the wind, and her giggles land softly on the outdoor wind chimes. Her happiness and mirth is the dandelion fluff that floats through the air on a warm sunny day breeze. She brings whimsical happiness to our Fairy Village.

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My 7 year-old son’s Garden Goddess is The Seashell Goddess, who has come to help the fairy Village stay green and happy by bringing rain from the sea. The life giving water is essential for the survival of the Fairy Village and the woodland and creatures all around. As a Shell Goddess, she is deeply connected to ocean waves and the pull of the moon. She reminds us to look at the sky on the night of the Full Moon and admire her beautiful glow, which will also light up the Fairy Village for their Full Moon Dance!

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I do hope you try these cute Garden Goddesses with your children. We can’t wait to place them in the garden to watch over our new Fairy Village beneath the holly tree.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Honoring Our Mother in all Her Forms

As an eclectic pagan family we celebrate Mother’s Day as a day to respect and honor the our Mother, both cosmic and human, whether biological, kinship group, or fostered. Our mother figure is the one who nurtured us, loved us unconditionally, and with whom we are bonded to. It’s also a day to give honor to the Divine Feminine, the quintessential mother archetype.

Many customs, traditions, holidays, and observances can be traced back to their pagan roots. We live closely connected to the cycles of the seasons and the ebb and flow of the moon cycle, but we also choose to embrace other age-old holidays and traditions of the world as well. It’s our way of teaching our children to understand society’s connection to the ancient ways and to gain knowledge about how customs and traditions evolve over time, just as societies have continued to do.

With Mother’s day tomorrow, we as a family have been discussion the origins of the Great Earth-Mother and her importance throughout history. The sacred feminine is a powerful influence in human history, as Mother-Earth worship was around long before the recent patriarchal society which began around 3,000 BC. Evidence of the powerful feminine influence and importance weaves itself through the patterns of ancient matriarchal societies (a small handful still exist in the world today).

Mother-Earth worship and reverence for the Feminine Divine has been found as far back as the Paleolithic period. The Venus of Willendorf sculpture, one of the most well-known figurines representing the Sacred Feminine, is estimated to have been carved between 30,000-22,000 BCE. When I look at her I am in awe of the sheer power of her female body. For me, there is no doubt that she encompasses the magick of the sacred feminine as a symbol of fertility, abundance, strength and stability. She is the embodiment of motherhood and (although some would disagree) beauty.

Even long before the Venus of Willendorf was created, there is evidence of Feminine Divine worship. It has been discovered to exist throughout time and that ancient cultures around the world share its characteristics. These discoveries have been dated as far back as 2.5 million years ago up until the introduction of agriculture around 10,000 BCE. This time-span covers the greatest portion of humanity’s time on Earth, proving how powerful their dedication and reverence for the sacred feminine and the Mother archetype was. They understood the enduring connection of the divine love between a mother and her child.

There is something beautiful, remarkable, and inexplicable to others when trying to describe the love I have for my children. Yet, the intimate bond that mothers share with their child has existed throughout time and throughout the world. Once bonded with their child, the connection between mother and child is said to be one of the strongest connections in nature. I remember holding my firstborn child for the very first time just as much as my second, third, and fourth. For me there were no favorites, just an immeasurable quantity of love. It’s a powerful emotion when you love your child, and the experience brings much laughter and joy. However, the same power of that emotion can just as easily make you weep with tears. It’s a relationship that is as demanding as it is rewarding, and as humbling as it is cherished.

My children are now 24, 18, 9, and 7 and I can honestly say that It didn’t matter how many temper tantrums, adolescent woes, and disagreements there were, my love stayed true.  I somehow knew the bond was meant to shift and change as each child grew more independent, becoming the person they were meant to be. Even as they begin to reach adulthood, the strength of that bond never fades.

It is difficult for me to step back and allow them to make what I feel are really bad decisions, like having relationships with people I disapprove of, or deciding not to go to college. It breaks my heart and hurts my soul that my oldest is a heroin addict, but she is still my child.

My empathy has grown through my experiences raising children and when I look out at the world, I cannot fathom the heartache the Great-Mother must be feeling. But She remains steadfast, and She is ever-present with a watchful eye, unwavering in Her unconditional love. Like me, she hopes for the best. I admire her enduring strength and compassion and I honor her by following her lead, aspiring to be the best mom I can be.

I’ve overheard excited whispers throughout this past week as they plan a special treat for me on the morning of Mother’s Day. I am overwhelmed with joy at their excitement and whether they bring me breakfast in bed or spray me with silly string, I will join in with their laughter, and relish the bounce as they jump into bed with me.

I will also appreciate and cherish the effort made from my older children by way of cards, small gifts, or just doing something nice for me (I desperately need my car washed). I hope for a phone call from my oldest. No matter what I receive/don’t receive, I will give special thanks for the opportunity to be a mother to these special beings of light in my life.

My way of honoring my mom will be letting her know how thankful and appreciative I am for all that she has given me. I want to thank her for adopting me, giving me a home and family. For sharing the joy in my accomplishments as well as for putting up with my rebellious teenage years. I am going to let her know how important she is is to me by taking her out for coffee and piece of pie, then off to her favorite nursery to let her choose some flowers for her garden (and I may find something for myself as well), It’s a time and place set aside just for us, to appreciate the loving energy we share for one another.

Is she the perfect mother? No. Am I the perfect daughter? Oh Hell No! Am I a perfect mom? I’ll admit that I am not, but I sure try my best. It’s those imperfections that make us human and remind us that one of the greatest lessons in life is to learn compassion and to love without judgement. And what a beautiful feeling it is when you feel that unconditional love in return.

Who is the Mother-Figure in your life? How are you planning to honor her? If you yourself are a mother, how are you planning on honoring yourself?

 Many Blessings on your Journey )O(