Archive for group

Mead Experamentation

Posted in Circle, Experience, Mead with tags , on November 25, 2012 by theredlass

At our first Samhain as a group, everyone chipped in to help make a large 5 gallon batch of simple honey mead.

As the secondary fermentation nears, we all made the decision to split the mead into 5: 1 gallon jugs. Each member who pays for a jug will get to experiment with a gallon of mead, playing with ingredients, taste, and such. This has a double intention actually, as a 5 gallon batch is expensive to make, but a 1 gallon batch much less so. This way, when our first mead is done, not only will everyone know how to make mead, but we can all continue through out the year on our own at very little personal cost. I’m think about next Yule (2013) hosting a mead contest to see who made the best batch by vote.

As it stands, I will be making a mix I am dubbing Snapdragon Mead, with a mixture of peaches, almond extract, and ginger. I know one of the members is going to be fiddling with pomegranates, another is doing blackberry/raspberry, someone is doing apple/cinnamon and another isn’t sure yet but she’s thinking on pears. Since everyone put money/time/ingredients into the original batch and we have 9 members, the hope is that everyone will get at least 3 bottles of mead to rack and drink later. Plus we will be keeping 8 bottles aside for the Sabbats to drink as part of the “cakes & ale” portion of the ritual. Plus, with Yule coming up, the secondary fermentation should be ready to bottle at Yule!! *sequels of delight*

Aside from that, I have to express about a 50/50 level of disappointment and enjoyment with how the groups lessons are progressing thus far. For our first meeting after Samhain, only 4 members showed up, with the rest either making no notification or (in two cases) having perfectly legit reasons not to be there. However, I am happy to say that everyone seems to be keeping up with their book lessons as well as reading the material I’m providing online so not bad really.

I set up this first year as a group with only minimal expectations. I am 27 where as most of the members are in their early 20’s, so I am taking a lot of the responsibility on myself in order to create lessons, provide resources, host events and as such. I am not the high priestess (mainly because I disagree with the entire hierarchy), but as the more practiced member I am more or less providing a map to where people need to go. We decided as a group not to call ourselves a coven/grove/etc. for at least the first year because a lot of us are either entirely inexperienced or haven’t practiced in a while. So it felt unfair to try and place labels on ourselves. That being said, the curriculum I set up amounts to a first degree study program for eclectic paganism and I am expecting it to be treated as such.

Next Samhain (2013), we had discussed holding a large, overnight festival as well as “initiation” of ourselves as a formal coven/circle/whatever. However, I had made the proviso (which in hindsight was a little short sighted or me) that anyone who could not attend at least 14/18 of the years meetings would not be up for initiation into the group.

My intention was to see who was really sincere about studying along these lines. Be honest, we’ve all gone through phases and interests which petered out later on and while I would generally welcome anyone who wanted to learn or felt they wanted the experience into a group, we all agreed we were looking for something a little more formal and frankly that takes work, time and effort. But what I didn’t put into consideration was that 6 of our members are still in college, three of them hold full time jobs, and one lives about a half an hour drive from our meeting places.

In other words, I have to make allowances.

After conversing with another group member (as well as my girlfriend) the decision was made that 14/18 would be ideal and something that should be striven for, but if someone can not make all of those meetings, that is okay. I will post all the info, discussions and resources on fb and ask people to keep up with this in their field grimoire. At the next meeting (whichever they can attend) when we all take the opportunity to comment on what we’ve learned, they can show that they have been keeping up with the group even if they can’t be physically present. Anyone who is sincere in their interest is more likely to “show their work”.

 

One day…tea will save the world

Posted in Mead, Samhain with tags , , on September 29, 2012 by theredlass

So I know I haven’t been posting here as often as I’d like. A lot of that has to do with me keeping up on my fair blog. but don’t let that fool you! I’ve been pretty active on the witchy front, especially lately. Something about this time of year really brings the witch out of all of us.

I got a really bad sinus infection a few weeks back, which, as always, turns into a persistent angry chest congestion that makes me wheeze and growl for two weeks. I tried everything to kill it, antibiotics, water, Mucinex DM (which held it off but felt like shit). Until finally I walked into this little booth I swear I have never noticed before called Standing Stone Herbs. They sell, duh, herbs. Culinary, medicinal, and teas. I saw this little package called Suzy’s Cold and Flu and figured it couldn’t do me any harm.

By the end of the weekend my cough was gone and I was feeling better by a ton!Ever since then I’ve been starting every day with a piping hot cuppa tea. I went back last weekend and bough another kind called “Witch’s Brew”, a yummy apple scented tea with deep fall reds and oranges in it. I’m likely going to be dropping a good $20 there before the end of season.

As far as our little group goes, we’ve been getting together whenever we can. It’s sporadic, but we usually manage about 2-4 times a month with all 5 of us and we’re discussing what we want to do for the upcoming Samhain. We even started making cloaks for ourselves!

Now I know the concept of cloaks carries with it a certain connotation in some circles, but to be honest, this is Ohio. Shit gets COLD come winter and if we’re going to be holding meetings, we need to be toasty. We bought a pattern as are hard at working putting it together. Everyone is picking their own colors and fabrics, but most of us are going double sided. I picked a lovely natural green shade (which is going to be Scotchguarded like a couch before buffalo wings) and then a black fleece side which will keep me toasty warm.

The funny part is when you combine that with the silver clasp I look like I’m in Slytherin house. 😉 Our dear sweet goth girl went with black on black. Laugh if you must but she’s one of the perkiest people I know and a wiz with rocks and stones. Our energy worker chose two lovely shades of blue (which fits her personality to a T). The last two members were working so we will have to work on their stuff later.

I know this may seem a little trivial, but this is the kind of stuff I miss doing with a group! Sometimes it’s hard to get yourself motivated without people to work with and sitting here, helping people cut patterns and working the sewing machine creates a sense of community. We decided we will be doing robes within the next month or so. Thankfully robes are simple as hell, but we can all add our own embellishments to them.

Let’s be honest, witches love our costumes.

We also decided to make a Samhain mead mixture! *squeel* I’m super excited! I’ve been wanting to do this again for a while but a 5 gallon batch isn’t cheap. But with all of us chipping in it should be fine.