Merry Meet and Welcome!

Merry Meet and Welcome!

We hope that you will find our content to be uplifting and educational. Please keep in mind that this is not a space for debate or criticism but rather a place for respect, curiosity and learning.

You are encouraged to take what you can from what we share here. If you want to know more, do not look to the contributors of this blog to teach anything beyond what we post. Seek out what feels right for you, trust the Spirit to guide you and have faith in our heavenly parents who are the givers of all pure knowledge.

September 30, 2011

Our Mabon

Life has been busy and I did not do anything very fancy for this feast, but I did cook up a sausage squash special with these cute little squashes from our CSA box. (It's just what it sounds like, sausage, squash, and cheese smooshed together with a little egg to hold it together and baked for a while.)
And I made an apple pie.
Apples + squash = good harvest food, right?

Mabon is a time of giving thanks for the harvest, and for all our blessings. I had grand intentions of doing something with writing things we were grateful for, and maybe putting them in the fire to carry our gratitude heavenward in the smoke...
But then we got a phone call from some neighbors who had extra caribou and asked if we wanted some. We said sure. So they brought it over (and the rest of our plans got put aside for processing the meat).

It was about 4 whole caribou (that piece of cardboard the quarters are laying on is about the size of a door...)

We butchered about 2 1/2 of them and passed the rest along to someone else. ☺
My husband and the neighbor working away


Hubby and a different neighbor who also came to help...
yes of course we shared with them

September 29, 2011

Our Annual Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas Fest

Cross posted on my personal blog here :)

Mommy dressed as Sir George for story telling.



A chilly wind makes my toes curl, my heart skips a beat at an amber colored leaf - in short, I’m an Autumn addict. Every year I try and find new and improved ways to celebrate this time of year. Last year we had so much fun with this plan!

Autumn Equinox falls the week prior to the Waldorf celebration of Michaelmas. These two holidays are often celebrated in similar fashions, with harvest feasts and various fall merriment.

Michaelmas adds the exciting adventures of Sir George slaying the dragon through the spirit/guidance/help of the angel Michael. Michaelmas is a fun way to look toward our inner selves for bravery and guidance as the days grow shorter and winter descends.

This is our second year holding a week long Fall Equinox and Michaelmas bash! The first ingredient in the fun is the story. Told in eight parts the story brings to life the changing of the seasons and weaves these changes into an empowering narrative of one boy’s defeat of a mighty dragon.

To join our celebration simply read the eight parts of the story guide and then expand the story line as long or short as you like. Add places, names, descriptions and details. Be sure to tell the story to your children without reading it from a page, look at them, really engage them.

I dress up as Sir George with a knitted knight hat and red silk cape when I tell the tale. Be sure and tell the story early on in the day so you have time for the craft or activity I have suggested to accompany the narrative.

If you’re artistic use paper and crayons, paint, chalk or whatever to create a picture to go along with each day’s story. Encourage your children to create impromptu artwork about the story as well.



Ronan on a dragon hunt.


I’ve also created a list of things you will need for your week long celebration, don’t worry, it’s all very simple!

Supplies for the Week:

Local vegetables (to bake or steam)
Local, grass fed meat
Candles and candle holders
Leaves (don’t worry if they haven’t turned yet, that’s OK)
Paper and crayon for leaf rubbings
Clay Ingredients - Baking soda, corn starch
Silks, scarves or blankets for a cape
Cardboard, scissors, tape
Cookie ingredients - 2 cups almond butter,  2 eggs, 1 TB vanilla extract, three tablespoons of sweetener like raw sugar or stevia


Nykki by the glow of candle light during story time.

Friday, September 23rd, Autumn Equinox

Story guide: All the people in the land (Mother Nature’s Realm, Avalon, Zion, God's Kingdom, or ?) are harvesting their crops and hold a big feast.

Activity: Simple Harvest Dinner using your local veggies and grass fed meats. Talk about where the food came from.


Saturday

Story Guide: Father Sun says he’s tired of shinning all day when the people no longer need him to grow their food. He asks the Angels to make the days shorter.

Activity: Set out candles in your home in anticipation of Father Sun’s long naps or carve gourd lanterns.


Sunday

Story Guide: Sister Wind grows chilly without the sun around all day. She blows and blows and makes the leaves cold. The cold leaves try to warm up by turning the color of fire.

Activity: Leaf rubbings


Monday

Story Guide: But it does no good, they are still cold so slowly they drop one by one to the ground. Some fall upon a huge mound of earth and they become the scales on the back of a mighty dragon.

Activity: Rake up some leaves into a pile, pretend it’s a dragon. Give him a scary name. If you don’t have leaves work with what you have; straw, a mound of dirt, a tree stump or a pile of laundry. To get even more creative make a head or tail.


Tuesday

Story Guide: The dragon frightens Mother Night and she is too scared to let the moon come out. The people know that without the fall moon there will be no winter and without a long winter nap the animals and seeds will not have energy to grow next spring. So the people ask their angels to help them.

Activity: Make clay angels using this recipe. Bake them with ribbon inside and a loop at the top. Hang your angels on the trees outside to protect you from the dragon (or inside if your dragon is a pile of laundry).


Wednesday

Story Guide: The Angels agree that something must be done. They send a magic cape and sword to a young boy named George and knight him, Sir George, the brave knight of Mother Nature. He is afraid but he accepts the challenge to fight the dragon.

Activity: Make a cardboard sword



Thursday

Story Guide: George chases the dragon all around the earth, up into heaven and back. George prays and asks for strength.

Activity: Make a cape. You can get fancy and use silks that you dye naturally or simply use a cut up sheet, blanket or scarf.

Friday

Story Guide: God sends Michael and Michael tells George about the war in heaven and how he cast out Lucifer. George gains new strength to slay the mighty dragon. All the people are happy and bake good things to eat and give them to the brave George.

*Don’t be tempted to think this tale as too violent for young ones. Children view the world and death differently than we do as adults. The simple triumph of slaying the dragon will not translate into violent animal murdering adults, I promise. Fairy tales speak to the soul and part of that magic is the death of the evil in the story. This empowers children to believe they can conquer their own woes, putting them to “death.”

Activity: Dress the family up and act out the whole story, bake almond butter cookies (see recipe below), shape them into dragons, leaves, trees, etc.

Hint: If you’re Christian you may want to read Revelations Chapter 12 at some point in the week.

Happy Autumn Equinox and Michaelmas!



Almond Butter Cookies

2 cups of almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar or stevia
2 eggs

Blend everything together in a bowl, drop onto ungreased cookie sheet, shape as desired, cook at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes

September 21, 2011

Celebrating Mabon


Background:
Mabon is the second of the three harvest festivals. Lammas celebrates grains, berries, and other early foods. Samhain celebrates the meat harvest of hunting and slaughter time.

Mabon was not an authentic ancient festival either in name or date. The autumn equinox was not celebrated in Celtic countries, while all that is known about Anglo-Saxon customs of that time was that September was known as haleg-monath or 'holy month'. The name Mabon has only been applied to the neopagan festival of the autumn equinox very recently; the term was invented by Aidan Kelly in the 1970s as part of a religious studies project. Previously the festival was simply known as the 'Autumnal Equinox', and many neopagans still refer to it as such.
The name Mabon was chosen to impart a more authentic-sounding "Celtic" feel to the event, since all the other festivals either had names deriving from genuine tradition, or had had names grafted on to them. The use of the name Mabon is much more prevalent in America than Britain, where many neopagans are scornfully dismissive of it as a blatantly inauthentic practice. The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.
Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter's Night, which is the Norse New Year. [source link]


Also called Harvest Home, this holiday is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the Earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and God during the winter months.

This time of year also coincides with Michaelmas (Sep 29), which celebrates the Archangel Michael's victory over the Dragon (the devil). For more on that, visit Ayla's neat posts from last year: part one, part two, and the dragon hunt!


Symbols:
  • red, orange, rust, brown, maroon
  • apples, nuts, squash, gourds, pomegranates
  • pinecones
  • vines (grapes, ivy, etc)
  • corn stalks

Symbolism:
  • Gratitude for the harvest
  • Gratitude for everything else
  • Balance (the balance between light and dark, also between life and death as plants are giving fruit at the same time they are dying. It is appropriate to recognize all forms of balance at this time.)
  • Harmony
  • Self-reliance 
  • Wisdom 
  • Old age (including the transition from "mother" to "crone/wisewoman," or from midlife into old age)(here is a great site about the crone archetype)


Activities:
  • Sing songs of thanksgiving and harvest home (see below)
  • Pick apples
  • Dry apples to make little wrinkly 'faces' and then add corn husk bodies to make little harvest people
  • Write down things you are thankful for on little pieces of paper. Read each one aloud, and put it into the fire to let the smoke carry your gratitude heavenward.
  • Make cider, juice, or wine
  • Make applesauce
  • Gather seeds from dying plants to use for next year 
  • Gather nuts
  • Gather herbs and dry them
  • Make grapevine wreaths (or buy grapevine wreaths and decorate them)

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
 
All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

(You can hear the hymn here.)


Food:
  • Have a lavish feast!
  • Apples
  • Apple cider (there is a recipe to make your own here)
  • Apple pie
  • Squash
  • Beans 
  • All vegetables that are in season, including root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and onions
  • Grapes & wine
  • Nuts and nut breads

Resources:

September 5, 2011

The Magic of Faith



Moon  Night Sky


Two nights ago I lit ritual candles and drank milk out of a special cup.  I meditated on angels and
stars.  I spent hours talking to friends close enough to me to be called a coven, as we designed rituals to bond us and use our energy for mutual benefit.
Two nights ago, I got on my knees and prayed for each of my coven sisters by name for help in supporting them in specific trials they are facing.  It wasn’t a whiny prayer or a begging prayer, but a solid prayer of faith and expectation of help.  I prayed in the name of Christ, and imagined my Brother kneeling next to me with His arm around my shoulders, approving my words and desires.



Two nights ago, I acted as a Pagan Christian.                       

Many Christians cannot reconcile the two paths I tread.  They don’t see how I need the extra ritual and mysticism to bring my mind and spirit to holy places.
Many Pagans shun Christianity because of the guilt-saturated traditions and the strict moral codes that they feel are harmful.

Here’s one way I make this work: prayer.  There are piles and piles of articles and books on the law of attraction—how to make it work and make all your dreams come true.  And there are piles and piles of spells and rituals that involve sending your will into the universe.   I certainly believe in that, and I believe that anyone can get anything they desire on this earth.  But that’s only half the story.

There are scriptures that explain you only need ask for something and believe that you’ll receive it, in the name of Christ, and it shall be given you.  How many Christians can actually pray with that kind of faith?  Too many of us shoulder unnecessary guilt or over-indulge in appropriate guilt.  We feel unworthy, blemished, imperfect, unlovable.  Our prayers are begging and pleading for things while deep down we don’t truly believe we’ll ever get what we ask for.  I've been that way, myself.  I don’t want to be that person anymore, and Pagan rituals are strengthening my Christian faith.

My prayers are mostly short: I ask for guidance in my path, I express my deep gratitude for the blessings that never cease, and then I’m done.  Throughout my day, I expect that guidance because I know my Heavenly Parents love me and want me to be happy.  You could say I have a prayer always in my heart.  Then I’ll do rituals that involve lighting candles and feeling the strength of my power and will to create something or heal someone.  I hug trees and find stillness in nature to quiet my mind so that it’s open to divine influence.  Then I go and do the work I feel pulled to do—whether it’s schoolwork, playing with Sprout, making feminist comments at church, writing she scriptures, or talking for ridiculous amounts of time to a coven member when she is in crisis.

So here is my testimony: Jesus is my Savior and Redeemer.  God and Goddess are my Parents, and they bothwant to hear from me.  The earth has a spirit, as does everything upon it.  There is a life force and energy that we have the power to manipulate, and the responsibility to manipulate with caution, generosity, Divine guidance, and courage.  We are all connected, and loving the weirdos and freaks; the gays and homophobes; the socially inept and the smooth politician; and your family, warts and all, is the only way to find the path to true happiness, whatever your religion.
These are the things I believe, and strive to live in accordance with.

Blessed be.



Tranquil Beach