Archive for December, 2011

Fire on the Mountian: A Gathering of Shamans

Posted in Documentary with tags , on December 28, 2011 by theredlass
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Mead Making-Learning How

Posted in Cooking, Experience, Fun and interesting, Ritual with tags , , on December 27, 2011 by theredlass

I would like to add, before anyone reads the rest, that I am in the beginning process of learning how to make my own mead. What comes below is not the words of an expert, but the comment of someone delving into the experience for the first time. I strongly advise doing your own research before taking me at mine and learning about the history.

Furthermore, I would DEARLY love to see what other people have done to create this golden delicacy, your recipes, advise and suggestions. I will promise to include photos when I start on my first batch!

Ah mead! What is there in this world greater than the sweet sharp flavor of honey wine! More than just an alcoholic beverage, it is a staple of modern pagan culture. You’d be hard pressed to find an experienced witch or pagan who does not brew, rock and share their own bottles. Recipes are held as dear as spells and rituals within the grimoire. It is found at most pagan summits, festivals and at no few coven gatherings.

The brewing of mead has been called an art form. It’s creation is sacred and magical, not to mention a ton of fun! It has been known in multiple locals but is most widely attributed to the Norse Vikings. Though the method has changed greatly from the early “sextarius of rainwater and pound of honey”, there is a long and fruitful history of brewing. Mead was a way of producing alcohol in places where grapes would not grow and (until taxation) was a tradable good.

Mead also plays a strong role in mythology. The Mead of Suttungr (Norse origin), was said to turn whoever drank it into a scholar, due to the fact that it has been made from the blood of the near omniscient Kvasir. Dionysus, (Greek god of wine) was said to have great festivals and cult rituals (Dionysian Mysteries) in which everyone became so drunk they turned mad and lost all manner of self control or civility. The Lacandon people (Mayan) believed the brewing and drinking of the mead was a way of communicating and becoming one with their gods. The Finnish Walpurgis Night (coinciding with Midsummer) is considered a good night to brew sima (mead) as it has connections with The Wild Hunt in Norse mythos.

There are a variety of meads, usually named according to the region and ingredients used. It is easy enough to research them yourself, so I won’t go into it here.

The best way to experience mead is to make it yourself! Materials can be expensive to come by, but the easiest way to get everything is to buy a wine makers kit. A good one comes with everything you will need expect the water, honey, fruit, campaign yeast and bottles. It is easiest to start with about a gallon batch as larger batches can be difficult to store and get more expensive. All recipes are for that amount.

Mead Recipe

Tools

Time

Purpose

Instructions

-1 gallon spring water-1 lbs. honey-large spoon

-stainless steel pot

-hydrometer

-wine/champaign yeast

-1 cup room temperature water

-syphon tube

-2 glass/plastic jugs

-cool dark place

-airlock

-cork

-funnel

-Initial Preparation: 2 hours
-First Fermentation: 1 Month-Racking: 1 hour- Secondary Fermentation: 1 month-6 weeks

-Aging: 6-9 months

-to create a basic mead mixture from which any amount of flavors and or spices can be mixed or one that can be drunk straight -put the stainless steel pot on the stove and heat a ½  gallon of water to simmer (not boiling) slowly-put in 1 lb. of honey and mix till dissolved-while that heats, get ½ cup of water (room temperature) and drop in yeast and gently stir it to activate

-let it sit for about 15 mins.

-let the mixture cool on the stove and make sure to skim off the foam that forms at the top. Allow to cool to room temperature. This mixture is called the must.

-Once it has cooled, pour it into your jug.

-At this point you can start adding ingredients into mix to create different flavors. Recipes are included for ideas down below.

-Pour in the rest of the room temperature water till it hits the top of the body before the shoulder. (Image below)

-stopped the bottle and shake it with a firm motion for about 10 minuets. It should start bubbling.

-Pit the yeast (pour it in) using the funnel. Cork the jug again and gently stir it around.

-Fill your airlock half full with water and plug it firmly into a cork with a hole in it. Place it tightly into the jugs neck.

-Within a day or two the airlock should start bubbling actively. Store in a cool, dark place.

ONE MONTH LATER

-You will need a second plastic/ glass jug and your syphon tube.

-Start syphoning the liquid over into the new jug gently, leaving behind the dead yeast (or sediment) at the bottom. Any ingredients you mixed in before to soak should be left behind as well and cleaned out later.

-Check your airlock, perhaps add a bit more water if it needs it, and transfer it over to the new jug.

-Allow the mead to age for at LEAST another month. Watch for the airlock to cease bubbling entirely. Wait two weeks after this and then you can begin racking.

-At this point you can transfer the mead to bottles or let it age in the jug. You can even start the tasting process and smell it to get a sensation and to make sure everything went well.

-Most people suggest racking the mead for 6 months to a year before it is ‘drinkable’.

A Little Breath of Truth

Posted in Uncategorized on December 26, 2011 by theredlass

The Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti

Posted in Feminism, Poetry with tags , , on December 15, 2011 by theredlass

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpecked cherries-
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries–
All ripe together
In summer weather–
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy;
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye,
Come buy, come buy.”

Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bowed her head to hear,
Lizzie veiled her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger-tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.
“O! cried Lizzie, Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”
Lizzie covered up her eyes
Covered close lest they should look;
Laura reared her glossy head,
And whispered like the restless brook:
“Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds’ weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “no, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.”
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat’s face,
One whisked a tail,
One tramped at a rat’s pace,
One crawled like a snail,
One like a wombat prowled obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry-scurry.
Lizzie heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather.

Laura stretched her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.

Backwards up the mossy glen
Turned and trooped the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry,
“Come buy, come buy.”
When they reached where Laura was
They stood stock still upon the moss,
Leering at each other,
Brother with queer brother;
Signalling each other,
Brother with sly brother.
One set his basket down,
One reared his plate;
One began to weave a crown
Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
(Men sell not such in any town);
One heaved the golden weight
Of dish and fruit to offer her:
“Come buy, come buy,” was still their cry.
Laura stared but did not stir,
Longed but had no money:
The whisk-tailed merchant bade her taste
In tones as smooth as honey,
The cat-faced purr’d,
The rat-paced spoke a word
Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;
One parrot-voiced and jolly
Cried “Pretty Goblin” still for “Pretty Polly”;
One whistled like a bird.

But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste:
“Good folk, I have no coin;
To take were to purloin:
I have no copper in my purse,
I have no silver either,
And all my gold is on the furze
That shakes in windy weather
Above the rusty heather.”
“You have much gold upon your head,”
They answered altogether:
“Buy from us with a golden curl.”
She clipped a precious golden lock,
She dropped a tear more rare than pearl,
Then sucked their fruit globes fair or red:
Sweeter than honey from the rock,
Stronger than man-rejoicing wine,
Clearer than water flowed that juice;
She never tasted such before,
How should it cloy with length of use?
She sucked and sucked and sucked the more
Fruits which that unknown orchard bore,
She sucked until her lips were sore;
Then flung the emptied rinds away,
But gathered up one kernel stone,
And knew not was it night or day
As she turned home alone.

Lizzie met her at the gate
Full of wise upbraidings:
“Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;
Should not loiter in the glen
In the haunts of goblin men.
Do you not remember Jeanie,
How she met them in the moonlight,
Took their gifts both choice and many,
Ate their fruits and wore their flowers
Plucked from bowers
Where summer ripens at all hours?
But ever in the moonlight
She pined and pined away;
Sought them by night and day,
Found them no more, but dwindled and grew gray;
Then fell with the first snow,
While to this day no grass will grow
Where she lies low:
I planted daisies there a year ago
That never blow.
You should not loiter so.”
“Nay hush,” said Laura.
“Nay hush, my sister:
I ate and ate my fill,
Yet my mouth waters still;
To-morrow night I will
Buy more,” and kissed her.
“Have done with sorrow;
I’ll bring you plums to-morrow
Fresh on their mother twigs,
Cherries worth getting;
You cannot think what figs
My teeth have met in,
What melons, icy-cold
Piled on a dish of gold
Too huge for me to hold,
What peaches with a velvet nap,
Pellucid grapes without one seed:
Odorous indeed must be the mead
Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink,
With lilies at the brink,
And sugar-sweet their sap.”

Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other’s wings,
They lay down, in their curtained bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fallen snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipped with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars beamed in at them,
Wind sang to them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapped to and fro
Round their rest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Locked together in one nest.

Early in the morning
When the first cock crowed his warning,
Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,
Laura rose with Lizzie:
Fetched in honey, milked the cows,
Aired and set to rights the house,
Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,
Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,
Next churned butter, whipped up cream,
Fed their poultry, sat and sewed;
Talked as modest maidens should
Lizzie with an open heart,
Laura in an absent dream,
One content, one sick in part;
One warbling for the mere bright day’s delight,
One longing for the night.

At length slow evening came–
They went with pitchers to the reedy brook;
Lizzie most placid in her look,
Laura most like a leaping flame.
They drew the gurgling water from its deep
Lizzie plucked purple and rich golden flags,
Then turning homeward said: “The sunset flushes
Those furthest loftiest crags;
Come, Laura, not another maiden lags,
No wilful squirrel wags,
The beasts and birds are fast asleep.”
But Laura loitered still among the rushes
And said the bank was steep.

And said the hour was early still,
The dew not fallen, the wind not chill:
Listening ever, but not catching
The customary cry,
“Come buy, come buy,”
With its iterated jingle
Of sugar-baited words:
Not for all her watching
Once discerning even one goblin
Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;
Let alone the herds
That used to tramp along the glen,
In groups or single,
Of brisk fruit-merchant men.

Till Lizzie urged, “O Laura, come,
I hear the fruit-call, but I dare not look:
You should not loiter longer at this brook:
Come with me home.
The stars rise, the moon bends her arc,
Each glow-worm winks her spark,
Let us get home before the night grows dark;
For clouds may gather even
Though this is summer weather,
Put out the lights and drench us through;
Then if we lost our way what should we do?”

Laura turned cold as stone
To find her sister heard that cry alone,
That goblin cry,
“Come buy our fruits, come buy.”
Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit?
Must she no more such succous pasture find,
Gone deaf and blind?
Her tree of life drooped from the root:
She said not one word in her heart’s sore ache;
But peering thro’ the dimness, naught discerning,
Trudged home, her pitcher dripping all the way;
So crept to bed, and lay
Silent ’til Lizzie slept;
Then sat up in a passionate yearning,
And gnashed her teeth for balked desire, and wept
As if her heart would break.

Day after day, night after night,
Laura kept watch in vain,
In sullen silence of exceeding pain.
She never caught again the goblin cry:
“Come buy, come buy,”
She never spied the goblin men
Hawking their fruits along the glen:
But when the noon waxed bright
Her hair grew thin and gray;
She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn
To swift decay, and burn
Her fire away.

One day remembering her kernel-stone
She set it by a wall that faced the south;
Dewed it with tears, hoped for a root,
Watched for a waxing shoot,
But there came none;
It never saw the sun,
It never felt the trickling moisture run:
While with sunk eyes and faded mouth
She dreamed of melons, as a traveller sees
False waves in desert drouth
With shade of leaf-crowned trees,
And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze.

She no more swept the house,
Tended the fowls or cows,
Fetched honey, kneaded cakes of wheat,
Brought water from the brook:
But sat down listless in the chimney-nook
And would not eat.

Tender Lizzie could not bear
To watch her sister’s cankerous care,
Yet not to share.
She night and morning
Caught the goblins’ cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy.”
Beside the brook, along the glen
She heard the tramp of goblin men,
The voice and stir
Poor Laura could not hear;
Longed to buy fruit to comfort her,
But feared to pay too dear,

She thought of Jeanie in her grave,
Who should have been a bride;
But who for joys brides hope to have
Fell sick and died
In her gay prime,
In earliest winter-time,
With the first glazing rime,
With the first snow-fall of crisp winter-time.

Till Laura, dwindling,
Seemed knocking at Death’s door:
Then Lizzie weighed no more
Better and worse,
But put a silver penny in her purse,
Kissed Laura, crossed the heath with clumps of furze
At twilight, halted by the brook,
And for the first time in her life
Began to listen and look.

Laughed every goblin
When they spied her peeping:
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter-skelter, hurry-skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes, —
Hugged her and kissed her;
Squeezed and caressed her;
Stretched up their dishes,
Panniers and plates:
“Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plums on their twigs;
Pluck them and suck them,
Pomegranates, figs.”

“Good folk,” said Lizzie,
Mindful of Jeanie,
“Give me much and many”; —
Held out her apron,
Tossed them her penny.
“Nay, take a seat with us,
Honor and eat with us,”
They answered grinning;
“Our feast is but beginning.
Night yet is early,
Warm and dew-pearly,
Wakeful and starry:
Such fruits as these
No man can carry;
Half their bloom would fly,
Half their dew would dry,
Half their flavor would pass by.
Sit down and feast with us,
Be welcome guest with us,
Cheer you and rest with us.”
“Thank you,” said Lizzie; “but one waits
At home alone for me:
So, without further parleying,
If you will not sell me any
Of your fruits though much and many,
Give me back my silver penny
I tossed you for a fee.”
They began to scratch their pates,
No longer wagging, purring,
But visibly demurring,
Grunting and snarling.
One called her proud,
Cross-grained, uncivil;
Their tones waxed loud,
Their looks were evil.
Lashing their tails
They trod and hustled her,
Elbowed and jostled her,
Clawed with their nails,
Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,
Tore her gown and soiled her stocking,
Twitched her hair out by the roots,
Stamped upon her tender feet,
Held her hands and squeezed their fruits
Against her mouth to make her eat.

White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood,
Like a rock of blue-veined stone
Lashed by tides obstreperously, —
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire, —
Like a fruit-crowned orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee, —
Like a royal virgin town
Topped with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguered by a fleet
Mad to tear her standard down.

One may lead a horse to water,
Twenty cannot make him drink.
Though the goblins cuffed and caught her,
Coaxed and fought her,
Bullied and besought her,
Scratched her, pinched her black as ink,
Kicked and knocked her,
Mauled and mocked her,
Lizzie uttered not a word;
Would not open lip from lip
Lest they should cram a mouthful in;
But laughed in heart to feel the drip
Of juice that syruped all her face,
And lodged in dimples of her chin,
And streaked her neck which quaked like curd.
At last the evil people,
Worn out by her resistance,
Flung back her penny, kicked their fruit
Along whichever road they took,
Not leaving root or stone or shoot.
Some writhed into the ground,
Some dived into the brook
With ring and ripple.
Some scudded on the gale without a sound,
Some vanished in the distance.

In a smart, ache, tingle,
Lizzie went her way;
Knew not was it night or day;
Sprang up the bank, tore through the furze,
Threaded copse and dingle,
And heard her penny jingle
Bouncing in her purse, —
Its bounce was music to her ear.
She ran and ran
As if she feared some goblin man
Dogged her with gibe or curse
Or something worse:
But not one goblin skurried after,
Nor was she pricked by fear;
The kind heart made her windy-paced
That urged her home quite out of breath with haste
And inward laughter.

She cried “Laura,” up the garden,
“Did you miss me ?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me:
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”

Laura started from her chair,
Flung her arms up in the air,
Clutched her hair:
“Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted
For my sake the fruit forbidden?
Must your light like mine be hidden,
Your young life like mine be wasted,
Undone in mine undoing,
And ruined in my ruin;
Thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden?”
She clung about her sister,
Kissed and kissed and kissed her:
Tears once again
Refreshed her shrunken eyes,
Dropping like rain
After long sultry drouth;
Shaking with aguish fear, and pain,
She kissed and kissed her with a hungry mouth.

Her lips began to scorch,
That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
She loathed the feast:
Writhing as one possessed she leaped and sung,
Rent all her robe, and wrung
Her hands in lamentable haste,
And beat her breast.
Her locks streamed like the torch
Borne by a racer at full speed,
Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
Or like an eagle when she stems the light
Straight toward the sun,
Or like a caged thing freed,
Or like a flying flag when armies run.

Swift fire spread through her veins, knocked at her heart,
Met the fire smouldering there
And overbore its lesser flame,
She gorged on bitterness without a name:
Ah! fool, to choose such part
Of soul-consuming care!
Sense failed in the mortal strife:
Like the watch-tower of a town
Which an earthquake shatters down,
Like a lightning-stricken mast,
Like a wind-uprooted tree
Spun about,
Like a foam-topped water-spout
Cast down headlong in the sea,
She fell at last;
Pleasure past and anguish past,
Is it death or is it life ?

Life out of death.
That night long Lizzie watched by her,
Counted her pulse’s flagging stir,
Felt for her breath,
Held water to her lips, and cooled her face
With tears and fanning leaves:
But when the first birds chirped about their eaves,
And early reapers plodded to the place
Of golden sheaves,
And dew-wet grass
Bowed in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
And new buds with new day
Opened of cup-like lilies on the stream,
Laura awoke as from a dream,
Laughed in the innocent old way,
Hugged Lizzie but not twice or thrice;
Her gleaming locks showed not one thread of gray,
Her breath was sweet as May,
And light danced in her eyes.

Days, weeks, months,years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat,
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town;)
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
“For there is no friend like a sister,
In calm or stormy weather,
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

This poem was shown to me by my English teacher my first year at college and it took me this long to find it again!

Do You Really Believe This Stuff?

Posted in Experience, Life, Theory with tags , , on December 12, 2011 by theredlass

Sometimes, when making new friends or going into a new job, you get asked questions. Most of them are simple enough to answer. How old are you? Where are you from? Do you like in town? All very mundane things that help people get to know you and help develop friendships and lines of communication between the people you will now be with on a frequent basis.

For pagans, witches and the like, this line up often includes some variation of the question: What is that star for? It can take many forms, my favorite is “Are you Jewish?” my least preferred is “Are you like, a devil worshipper?” I am thankful to say that this second one has only cropped up once or twice. I’ve found that for my little area of Ohio most people are fairly willing to, if not accept, at least listen and consider what I am saying when I tell them I am a witch. It’s kind of funny to see the surprised double take when a person hears that word used without irony r sarcasm. They often don’t know what to make of it and frankly, wonder if you are serious. Let’s be honest, can you blame them? But after a brief explanation I usually get asked the following;

Do you really believe this stuff?

For some of us the simplest answer is yes. After all what else can you say after proudly proclaiming partnership with the polytheistic peoples. But what I often end up saying is; “It’s a bit more complicated than that.” I don’t often have the time it takes to really get down to it and explain everything to someone, so I feel bad leaving them with possible misconceptions about what it means to be pagan /wiccan/heathen/etc.

The truth of the matter is, ask 5 pagans what it means to be pagan and you will get 20 answers at least. I’d assume it’s the same for most religions, but pagans in particular are quite proud of their eclectic and broad individualism. I explain that, while I can describe what I believe, they should by no means take this as a general statement as to what pagans believe as a whole. We have just as many if not more sects as Christianity so it all needs to be taken on a person by person basis. I try to narrow them down to the important questions, the ones I know they really want to ask but, (for risk of offending me) are hesitant to ask.

1)      Do you believe there is more than one god?

  1. Yes and no. I believe there is a conscious, contentious Source of all things that is translatable into any religious path. It is neither male nor female at its core, and yet can easily be seen either or none at all for their qualifications are within its prime make up. As humans, we are simply unable to understand the enormity of the Source and all its power, it is too far above us. It is however a part of us, as it is a part of all things, and we can connect with it because of this. Through socio-cultural conditioning, psychological and philosophical perceptions, we visualize the Source in images which are translatable to us, things which are familiar. Thus, all religions have some validation in that we create the Gods which we follow to meet our needs. To me, the name of the Gods are representative of aspects of the Source which reflect our needs, wants, desires and the world around us.

 

2)      Do you practice witchcraft? Like do you cast spells and everything?

  1. On occasion yes, I have been known to cast a spell or two. But I view spells the same way I view asking any god for a favor. The gods won’t do for you what you won’t do for yourself. I do rituals and make offerings to increase my connection with the Source, to recognize it better and to open myself up to its presence in all things. I don’t do love spells or money spells, both are the product of greed and desperation. I do practice witchcraft in that I endeavor to learn more about the gifts of the world around me, herbalism and healing arts, necromancy and meditation, that sort of thing. I will occasionally do magic for a friend, if I can, but more often than not I simply give them the tools and know how to do it for themselves. My request will never be as strong as their own.

 

3)      Offerings? Do you sacrifice cats and stuff?

  1. Some branches, like Santeria, Vodou and Hedgecraft do practice animal sacrifice, but cats are not recommended or ever used for this. Mostly it’s livestock animals like chickens or goats. I personally have never made an animal sacrifice either from live or already butchered meat, though I know some who have. With this it is more important to understand what the animal represents to the people who sacrifice it. I don’t raise chickens, so if I went a bought a live chicken and then killed it, it doesn’t mean as much as someone who got the chicken as a chick, fed it, raised it, took care of it, and kept it safe only to give it to the gods as an offering. I garden. My herbs take time, care and concentration to grow and be fertile. So a handful of fresh green onions, the fattest tomatoes and carrots mean more because I have worked to make them good. Offerings are not as simply as throwing something into a fire. You offer it because it is your best and the best goes to the gods. This shows both sincerity and a willingness to give up something in order to achieve something.

 

4)      Do you worship the devil?

  1. I do not give recognition to the Christian concept of the devil. Nor to any other god meant to represent ‘evil’. Obviously as there is light and dark in the world, there is also light and dark inherent in the Source. But the idea of ‘evil’ is more of a human invention to explain it or give someone blame when bad things happen. I believe we create most of the evil in our world both on a personal and large scale. If you take an objective look you will realize that we facilitate our own fates either be taking control or by allowing someone else control over us. By either taking good advice or by ignoring it out of pride or ignorance. I try to recognize the darkness in the world as simply part of the natural balance. Would the colors of a sunset be so brilliant if not for the contrasting shadows? Would the full moon shine as brightly in the daylight? Would the deep void of space not leave of us wonder of limitless possibility if we could knew just how far the blackness went? No, no the only evils that exist are of human invention, the Source is amoral, and acts out of nature and necessity for everything in the cosmos, not just for the outcome of one planet, much less one species.

 

5)      Do you worship nature?

  1. As much as I worship anything else. Much like Shinto beliefs, I think everything has a spirit, this includes the earth itself. Both as individuals, like trees, rocks, rivers and plants, and as a whole, the earth represents a microcosm example of the order of the universe. Everything is connected to the earth, much like everything is connected to the Source. Though I can’t claim to have seen these spirits, I think they exist and like to be appreciated for their efforts. Once again you are going back to the idea that the Source is inherent within all things, so whatever form you view it as is legitimate.

 

6)      So what does the star mean?

  1. I explain that most pagans give a great deal of significance to the five elements and their place in both ancient witchcraft and alchemy. The circle confining the star represents one’s desire to control these elements and find the harmony of using them in both their mundane and witchy workings. For my part, I personally prefer the aesthetic, introspective and historic nature of the triquetra. It is more simplistic and rooted in a practical mindset. 3 was considered a sacred number to the Celts and it could take on many interpretations both in ancient and modern thought. (Earth, Sky, Sea/ Mind, Body, Soul/Maiden, Mother, Crone/Youth, Father, Sage/Male, Female, Androgynous/ Gay, Straight, Bi/)

I am not saying that these are the ‘correct’ answers for anything. They aren’t. They are simply my thought process and often it goes a long way to easing people’s concerns when they first meet me. It is not, by any extent, the end of what I believe in, and I would greatly appreciate comments and conversation as to your own thoughts and beliefs! But hopefully this gives other people a chance to really gather their minds and give good answers when someone comes to you with legitimate curiosity.