Monday, February 22, 2016

Debates Raging

I walked outside barefoot today, smiling at the Moon that is still visible in the sky and taking a deep breath of the still crisp air. It was lovely.

It's still brisk here, even though there's no snow on the ground the air still holds the whispers of arctic blasts and frozen flakes. The wind, cold though it is, is overflowing with the promise of spring, and the warmer weather that we're all longing for. The trees are budding, my crocus are coming up, and Friday morning I'll be planting bulbs that I'm hoping will grow quickly and beautifully in the coming months.

While the debate over the actual start date of Spring rages in Mother Nature, the debate over the next President of the United States rages in the Media. Each side is *sure* they're right, and neither side sees the big picture. Neither side fully commits to anything definite. Neither side fully discloses their plans or goals. Neither side is free of lies.

I've read many a blog talking about the responsibilities of being a Pagan right now, but I want to touch on one that is, I think, more important than the others. We need, as a group, to be more cohesive than ever right now. We need to be Pagan, with a capital P. It doesn't matter what your personal belief path is, because honestly, there are just as many versions of the other major religions as there are of ours. We need to be Pagans: together, counted, LOUD, and knowledgeable.

The time for arguing is over. We cannot be a divided force - and it doesn't matter that what you believe is different than what I believe. At the end of the day, Pagan doesn't mean that we're all following the same path. At the end of the day, what it means is that we're all standing together under an umbrella the way Christians or Jews or Muslims are. Christianity has so many different sects that it boggles the mind. So why can't Paganism? Why are we fighting the thought of getting under an umbrella that is more than big enough for everyone?

Do any of our paths *really* say anything so different than other Pagan paths? Is it so hard for us to look at each other and say "yeah, we're similar, we should do the thing"? No. It's not.

Now is EXACTLY the time. We've been working toward this, fostering good will across all the different paths but now, in the glow of this Full Moon, is the time to really dig in and do it.

Let's show them EXACTLY who we are.

So in this change of season, be the change you want to see in the world. Vote the change you want to see in our Nation. Outreach to be inclusive the way you want inclusion to exist in the world.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Freezing one day, Thawed the next

Don't worry, this isn't about the absolutely bat sh*t crazy weather we've had up here in New England.

It's about dramatic differences and how fast a situation can change.

Monday morning was nerve wracking for me. The afternoon was devastating. Then Monday night? I went and put on the role of Consultant and helped a woman host a party at her house. I did my best to put aside the news of the earlier hours of the day and set out to be the best Consultant I could be, and to help her and her guests have a fantastic time despite the downward turn of the weather.

And you know what? It worked. I manage to forget for a little while what the morning had laid on my doorstep and immersed myself in the cooking and the laughter and the fun. The party went wonderfully and my Hostess had a great time. She thanked me again today and it made me smile.

The day went from one that made me cry to one that made me laugh and smile in the space of 3 hours. The weather wasn't quite that fast, but it was every bit as dramatic. You could barely see the front stairs today when I left for work - and when I came home they were uncovered and walkable. My grass is still green. My sage survived and is still growing. The harvest from the fall will be burned at Ostara, and it makes me incredibly happy to know the plant that harvest is from will still be producing.

The warmer weather just keeps coming, and those changes that are so marked outside serve as great reminders to the changes we find in ourselves.

It's all connected, and it all turns like the Wheel... sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Sometimes you're on the hub... and sometimes you're on the rim... but even that can change in an instant.

I tend to do more work when I'm worked up, and a good lemon cleaning of the kitchen (that is, I grab lemons whole and complete and juicy and just cut into them with a knife and let the juice run straight onto counters and the like, then wipe them all down with a wet rag) was just the thing. (as always, safety first. If you have a citrus allergy, for gods sake don't do this. Also if you know your counters can't stand up to straight lemon juice for some reason, don't endanger your surfaces. maybe just clean like normal and have a sliced lemon sitting in a glass dish nearby for the scent)

Lemon, like many things we hedgewitches love so much, is one of those straight from the earth useful items. Hot water with lemon is perfect to get your muscles unstuck, and settles morning stomach unpleasantness. It's soothing, helps the throat and sinuses, cleans marvelously, and is tasty on many kinds of food. In the summer it's cooling with ice, and all times of year it's very hydrating.

Remember how fast things change. Try not to worry. If you are going to worry, know you're doing it and do what you can to lessen the stress. Plan. Breathe.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Snowing again? That's ok - just bake something.

As snow falls harder here on my landbase that is a mere mile from the ocean, I think back on the snowless mountains I visited last weekend in New York and have to laugh. I didn't plant my bulbs before all the snow started, and now I wish I had as the snow would have held them happily in stasis till warmer weather arrived to stay.

So today, in addition to shoveling more snow, I'm baking breads (flavored whites and a loaf of banana because, banana) and making cranberry sauce to go with the turkey for dinner.

Days like this, full of icy wind and a sky that matches the color of my little grey Bug are for bright dishes and loud flavors.

I still have sage from my garden, and thyme, so tonight will be herb stuffed turkey breast, orange cranberry sauce, and almond cornbread. Yes, it's mini-Thanksgiving. Why? Well, simple really. I love those flavors. The scent of oranges and cranberries and brown butter mixed with herbs cooling through my kitchen laced with the already present aroma of baking bread....

My beloved will have an atrocious drive home, I know it. He's 45 minutes away from our house on a good day with light traffic.  Right now? well... nope. big, BIG nope.

these are loaves I baked back in January.
So I bake. I fill the house with scents that will welcome him before I even have a chance to hug him. This is my magic. It's common magic to be sure - but it's magic. Have you ever looked at the face of someone who just smelled something that relaxes their whole body? There's a smile there that is indescribable. And it makes you smile. Then everyone's smiling and it's wonderful.

That's magic.

That's being a kitchen witch - it's the little things, but they're the important things.

So in this time of dusty snow and dove grey skies, don't neglect your hearth. Bake, cook, brew... bring warmth to your hearth and it will flow to the whole house.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Yesterday I went to a high school play wearing jeans, ballet flats with no socks, a camisole and a short sleeved loose knit sweater.

Today I just shoveled 3" of snow off my driveway and now, 40 minutes after I finished and came back inside, there's another inch out there.


At least it doesn't look like this outside yet.

yet.... (furiously crosses fingers)

I say that, but for all that I complain about having to shovel we really do need the water. The overabundance of snow last year meant that we had a very high water table for the spring and summer... my garden looked amazing, and so did everyone else's. Farmer's markets were plentiful - it's easier for that to happen when you have wetter soil to start with and your seeds can get a healthy start.

The lack of snow this winter has a lot of farmers nervous, and for good reason. We all hate shoveling it... they wish they could truck it over to their fields and dump more on.

The snow out there now is the kind that doesn't fly around when the wind blows against tree branches and berms - this is the sticky wet snow that stays in place and is almost too wet for snowballs. You'd get a really decent snowman out of this stuff though...

So as this frozen gift falls on our cars and roads and we curse the messes it causes, remember that those gardens we all adore in the spring look better when we have snowy winters.

Blessings, and drive safe everyone.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cleaning... or the necessity of a purge

Spring!  It is HERE (well, on Thursday at 4am it's here) but as a community we celebrate today. Honestly, most of us will celebrate all week with cleansing and circle and feasts.

I started today at the center of my home - my hearth. I have a LOT of incense and herbal oils, and the ingredients for more. Life happened and sadly I couldn't get to it for a while, so it sat in a corner of my kitchen, gathering dust and whatnot, becoming sticky and dirty and neglected. I'd go to it every now and then, lament the state of things, and never get back to it. Well, that changed today.

See that? That's what my incense and oils supplies fit into now. (you kinda don't want to know what it looked like before, trust me) Lots of dust and a bunch of washing later I know what I have, what I'm running low on, what I have A LOT of, and what I need to do to make what I want. And I threw out a lot of stuff that was just gone.

And I found my Imbolc incense, and burning that while I worked was the icing on the cake of 'oh hey, there is floor in that corner of the kitchen.'

Working with magic as I do isn't always exciting - sometimes it's just a simple walk around the house with a trash bag. If you've never done that, try it this week. No seriously - grab a big black trash bag or a plastic grocery bag and walk around your house. Every room. Bathrooms too. Bet you'll need another plastic grocery bag by the time you're done. There's a reason I suggested the big black trash bag first. ;)

Cleaning isn't something I love, so let's get that straight now. I kinda hate it actually. I put it off like anyone else and then *freak out* when someone is coming over. That meme is actually talking about me. I bet a lot of us can say that though.

Imbolc is the symbolic start of Spring. More cleaning gets done in the name of "Spring Cleaning" than at any other time of year. In fact, most of us chose the changing seasons to motivate our cleaning than even our parents coming over.

We watch movies or we go over to other people's houses and see the beautiful, spotless homes that they say they "live in" and internally sigh,  knowing full well that it's a lie. No one's house is that spotless all the time. Unless you have a cleaning service.

If you don't have a service, or don't want a service to come in, that's ok. Just take your time, as the Goddess for help, and find the thing that motivates you to get it done.

This Imbolc, I hope you find the motivation you're looking for. I found mine starting with that neglected corner of my kitchen, and now I have about 1/3 of my house cleaned and another 1/3 on it's way to where I want it.

(and a hint? dust before you sweep or vacuum.)

Feb 1

Oh there are so many names for this day! Imbolic, Imbolg, Candlemas, Brigid's Day - it's the halfway point between Yule and Ostara.

So many, many, many posts have been put up about the difficulty for the modern Pagan in celebrating holy days that fall on dates that have no tangible meaning in our modern society. Meat is not in short supply right now, I have no need to eat only salt pork and whatever root vegetables are in the cellar. I don't need to worry about our supply of tallow for candles, or hay for the livestock.

not right now in New England... 
 I'll be lucky if any of the bulbs in my front yard know what time of year it is right now, but I can tell you they won't be blooming till closer to April. This is New England and while we didn't share in the feet of snow our lower East Coast brethren received, that doesn't mean we aren't still due for more of the frozen white.

So how, in a world that isn't going to thaw anytime soon, do we look at this mid point and have hope that in a few short weeks our land will be awash in blooming flowers?   March 20th is Ostara this year... do any of us think we're getting a Spring Rite without snow on the ground?

I don't - but it doesn't matter either.

The path of a hedgewitch is a pretty simple one. You have to be flexible. You have to roll with it. For our path is not one which is paved. Ours is the one that was cut for us, with the careful steps of our ancestors over the course of many, many eons. We can see it, it's just the path less taken. But that's how we like it. ;)

So this Imbolg, I ask you - sit quietly and talk to Brigid. Don't ask for a laundry list of things - you're there to listen more than speak. Listen for her words, her inspiration. Listen for the clues to the problems clutched to your breast. Listen, and learn.

As is my way, I'll be baking for the day - breads, a rich meat, something with corn. Simple foods, but it will be a meal fit for the day. I likely won't have people over if the weatherman is right, but then I might... we have a great guest room.

So I wish you blessings this Imbolg. Celebrate in a way that speaks to you, to you path, and to your family. Greet the sunlight that day (however much we get) with a smile and thanks, and do something creative.