Archive for August, 2011

Local Flora

Posted in Flowers, Fun and interesting with tags , , on August 24, 2011 by theredlass

I’m getting started in learning to identify local flora. I’m actually surprised at how many different species are just right within a mile of me. I think I’ve made a positive identification of some and I’m checking out with some people to make sure before I start drying and using them.

 

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Kitchen Witchery: The Magic of Home Cooking

Posted in Cooking, Experience, Life with tags , , on August 24, 2011 by theredlass

Since loosing my job at the end of July, I’ve had a lot more free time on my hands in between job hunting. This has lead to a re-kindling of my interests in cooking and basic kitchen magic. I have a special, but oft overlooked, spot in my heart for hearth goddesses. In our usual life, especially when school starts up, there ends up being a lot of eating out. When you get home at 8o’clock at night there isn’t a whole lot of passion to go into the kitchen, heat everything up and get everything into a big mess.

But when I feel that special urge to go in, take my time and really cook a meal from scratch, there is a special pleasure that comes with it. I find myself thinking of Hestia, Greek goddess of the house. I don’t have a state of her specifically, but I do have a little handmade goddess image on my table and I like to think she looks over me when my creative side comes through and I get busy.

Cooking is something that has been special to me since I was little. There is an element of science and alchemy inherent in mixing ingredients, watching the chemical reaction, and seeing how it turns out. You are constantly experimenting and suffering through trial and error with every meal, even ones you have cooked before.

Example: Today I was going to make my Cheesy Potato & Bacon soup, a thick, creamy meal that is SO good in mid winter. I went to all the trouble of making an extra trip to the store and went off forgetting the heavy cream! I was frustrated because the cheese simply won’t melt thoroughly in milk and you end up with a gritty texture and globby appearance that is unappealing. I was going to chuck it and make hamburger helper when something snapped in my ear.

“Make a roux.”

I argued with it for a minuet, thinking that the thing would get clumpy and if it didn’t work it was a waste of food we can’t afford but the voice INSISTED on me to make a roux and mix in the cheese with it.

I did so hesitantly and voila! The cheese (mixed in over time), melted beautifully with the bacon grease and flour, binding together something like a thick cornbread. I began slowly adding the stock and milk and it changed, slowly spreading out and thickening into a beautifully smooth creamy soup with a better smoky after taste than previous attempts! The scent was absolutely invigorating and homey, like good cooking should be! I must remember to make a suitable thank you to Hestia for this little tidbit of genius! I’m sure it’s no amazing culinary technique to a pro, but to me it was a novel idea that I had never tried in this context!

Cheesy Potato & Bacon Soup
4 large russet potatoes
1lbs bacon (maple or honey)
4 cups shredded or crumbly cheese  (bleu, extra sharp cheddar, mozzarella, pepper
jack)
1 cup (total not individual)
-diced peppers (green, red, orange, yellow)
-spinach
-onions (vidalia)
-green onion
milk
chicken stock
flour
garlic
pepper

*Take the potatoes and cube them up, dropping them in a large pot with boiling water. Allow to cook till almost soft (bends but resists slightly), drain and rinse with cool water. Set to the side for later. Rinse pot and place back on stove.
*Take 2 lbs of bacon and cook till crispy. Remove from grease (DO NOT DRAIN, you need the grease) and allow to cool on paper towels.
*Take the bacon grease and turn the pot down to low. Start taking handfulls of flour and mixing it in, being sure to keep stirring so that it whisks properly and keep adding till it thickens into a nice roux.
*Add the cheese. Do it about a handful at a time, mix in thoroughly until it melts. You will start to see the roux change into a yellowish color. This is good. You want all the cheese your mixing in to be nice and melted down.
*Start adding the chicken stock and milk. It kinda run to how thick you want it. I added plenty of both till it was smooth and creamy. At least three cups of each was good for me but again judge as to how you like it.
*Once you get it all nice and creamy, dice the bacon up and dump it into the pot along with the potatoes and veggies, garlic and pepper to taste. Let it all cook while stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. About 10 minuets should get everything well mixed. Serve with sliced french bread and a little bit of cheese on top. (YES MORE CHEESE DAMMIT)

Impeccable Karma

Posted in Experience, Life, Theory with tags , , on August 18, 2011 by theredlass

If you know what karma means then you know the impossibility of this statement.

I don’t want this to turn into a slam down about others, that’s not what this blog is about, so let me try to do this in a way that doesn’t implicate anyone in particular.

Lets say you have a favorite brand of hot dog. It’s good, your prefer it over other brands. But does that make all other brands “bad”? Of course not! It simply makes them different. Maybe not your preference but you couldn’t label them all inferior to your brands. So if someone else served another brand of hot dog in their house, you wouldn’t be so rude as to refuse to eat it now would you?

People seem to get into this concept that one tradition of witchcraft must be better than the other. Well the truth of the matter is their all just different brands of hot dogs. Some people prefer Dianic, others Gardenarian. Some people are Druids and others lean towards Shamanism. These are all FINE! There is nothing wrong with any of these concepts or paths and arguing over correct terminology or spell-craft is futile. Most people I know are eclectic to some extent any how so why get your dander up over how something is accomplished in word, deed or spell?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t know your work, you should. If you specialize in a particular branch of witchcraft then you need to know what your doing (especially with herbs!). All I’m saying is that opinions differ, and you should neither belittle or indulge others opinions too far. Just be respectful when differences arise within the craft.

 

Don’t Eat The Food

Posted in Dreams, Experience with tags , , on August 2, 2011 by theredlass

When there is a great deal of stress in your life, it tends to effect your subconscious. The content of your dreams changes drastically and you may even find yourself having more nightmares and panic dreams. With everything that’s been happening to me lately, it’s no surprise that I had a whopper last night.

I was traveling with friends (no one I recognize just random faces) and we went to this hotel where someone told us about this great underground club. We got on an elevator to go and it plummeted so fast you could see the action lines around you. When we arrives there was this swanky club with a man in a suit and a devious smile telling us to enjoy ourselves. I walked around for a moment then got the strangest sensation and ran back to tell me friends not to eat or drink anything or we wouldn’t be allowed to leave. I told them we had to leave right away and we were being watched. As we climbed the stairs I warned them not to look behind or we wouldn’t make it to the top.

When I woke up I was automatically reminded of Persephone and Orpheus (respectively) and what their stories entail. I wonder if I am simply responding to emotional feelings of people trying to keep me down and struggling to keep my soul in the process or wondering if I just had a trip to the Underworld!

Lugh and Tailtiu

Posted in Herbals Oils, Lughnasadh, Media, Ritual, Spellcraft with tags , , on August 2, 2011 by theredlass

The first of the harvest festivals and the celebration of Lugh, bonfires and tests of strength and skill. The first fruits are offered up and given to the fires as a sacrifice. This was also the time when marriages would begin. I say begin because Celtic marriages didn’t work the same way ours do now. Marriages were often made for political alliances, financial gain, tribal status and clan benefits. However women had more rights in ancient Celtic society and had the right to divorce, maintain their own property and such. (1) So even arranged marriages were only required to last about a year, during which the couple would get to know one another and discover if they were compatible.

Initially this celebration is meant not really for Lugh (whom it is named after) but for his mother Tailtiu, who cleared the forests of Ireland for farms and died in the process. Because of this I will be spending the season getting started on my oils and such. I feel it’s an appropriate time to begin as we are heading out of the light half of the year and into the fall season (even if it’s too hot out to actually feel that way) and this is when most people began collecting their herbs and getting supplies together to be dried, preserved and stored for winter.

I have to wonder for a moment what that must have been like. Unlike today where you can simply buy bulk herbs on-line, back then it was a much longer process. You had to plant the seeds, nurture them all through the long spring and summer months, pick them, wait weeks for them to dry, preserve what would could… the entire thing could take up months of time and if there was a mistake during that time you were out of luck! A good harvest meant survival and was so important that the entire community was involved and invested in it’s success. You have to give some consideration to that whole concept and understanding how much more convenient life is for us now.

Although next year I intend to start growing my own herb garden so that my product will be more labor intensive (thus driving my own energies into it on a more intrinsic level) for right now I will be order my herbs on line. Hey we all gotta start somewhere!

I hope to spend the fall and winter not only learning more about this path I’ve set myself on, but really perfecting it by coming up with my own recipes, spells and mixtures. The prospect both thrills and frightens me on a lot of levels. Seriously, I mean if you had any idea how many herbs are poisonous…well…lets just say I research the hell out of everything before I use it.

But anyhow, photos bellow of my celebration to Lugh and Tailtiu.

The cornfield where I did my ritual. It’s Ohio soooooooo yeah there are a lot of these.

 

I love these tiny tassels!

 

 

 

I believe sunflowers are sacred to any solar deity, so I feel it’s important to offer them, their seeds and such during a solar ritual.

 

This is some of the wine our friend bought for us at North Market mixed with some elderflower syrup. I poured this as an additional offering and imbued it with the virtues we associate to Lugh, courage, cunning, wisdom, artistry…

 

I poured the libation onto the ground (after imbibing a small amount to take Lugh into myself) as an offering to his mother Tailtiu, who sacrificed her life to sew the fields.

 

(1)   If you want a GREAT read about marriage and concepts of sex in pagan Ireland, read Sex & Marriage in Ancient Ireland by Patrick C. Power.