We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Something new for Yule this Year

I remember shopping at a local flea market a few years ago looking to buy a book on Jewish culture for my Wiccan friend as a Yule gift. I saw a used book stand and confidently walked up to the saleswoman and said, "Good day! I was wondering if you would happen to have any books on Christmas? I have a friend who wishes to learn more about his Jewish heritage." Of course, after I misspoke I immediately realized my "slip of the tongue." But before I had the chance to correct myself, she very sternly replied, "No, no it's Hanukkah, my de-ah, Hanukkah!" I promptly apologized and we both shared a little chuckle, deservedly so, at my expense.

The friend whom I am referring to is my very dear friend and our long-time solitary group member, Matthew. When it comes to witches, some of us are what are considered to be a hereditary witch - meaning a witch who can trace his or her bloodline back at least three generations. Some of us are natural witches and some of us are even mixed with another faith. Such is the case with my friend Matthew. He is a Wiccan; however, he also chooses to acknowledge his Jewish roots. Traditonally in the Jewish religion, it is the mothers' side of the family which determines the faith of the next generation of children. Even though Matt's mother does not choose follow the Jewish faith, his grandmother did.

(taken from the CD, "Songs of the Earth")
Since every year I try to add something a little new and different to my rituals, I thought that I would add this old Yiddish folk song called, "May Sweetest Dreams Be Thine" for us to sing right after the lighting of the Triple Goddess and the God candles. I heard this song growing up as it was one of the songs off of my favorite Christmas album which my mom always played endlessly. I have always thought that it was such a beautiful song and whenever I hear it now I think about our God born of the Goddess at Yule.

"May Sweetest Dreams Be Thine"

Shalom, lecha, may peace be with Thee, ahavti, O Baby mine,
Alma k'dosha, alma k'dosha, may sweetest dreams be thine.

Lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu. . .

They say a star shines bright in the heavens to glorify a newborn King.
But sleep, my Joy, let no one destroy Thy peaceful slumbering.

With gems and gold, with myrrh and frankincense,
All in praise came travelers three.
I wonder why, I wonder why they came in praise of Thee.

(Shalom lecha = peace to you; Ahavti = You have my love; Alma k'dosha = virgin holy)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Homemade Yule Gifts: Bath Salts


I always feel that the best gifts are the ones which are homemade because they have that personal touch, you know? Here is a quick and easy way to make homemade bath salts. After all, who doesn't love bath salts, right? This particular recipe is meant for Yule.

What you need:
Zippered plastic bags
Rock salt or Epson salts
Your choice of Yule oil (citrus fragrances are nice)
Food coloring, green
Bottles or jars with screw-on lids
A square of burlap & tie for each jar or bottle (if you feel like getting a little more decorative)

Fill zippered bag 3/4 full with rock salt. Add the essential oils one drop at a time ~ it's okay to blend several ~ until you have a fragrance that you like. Add a few drops of food color, then zip the bag and give it a good shake. If you prefer multi-colored bath salts, add two or three drops of another color, zip the bag and shake it again. Pour into jars or bottles, then cap and label.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Yule Log Cake


Here's a really easy recipe for a Yule Log Cake. I found it in Edain McCoy's book, "The Sabbats" (but, of course it's chocolate ~ my favorite vice)!

What you need:
1 package commercial cake mix, preferably chocolate (Duncan Hines brand is my personal choice, if you can find it in your local stores)
1 jelly roll pan
2 cans (24 oz.) pre-made frosting in a dark color
Several tubes of cake decoration in green and red
Several toothpicks

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and line a jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Mix the cake according to package instructions and pour a thin layer ~ no more than 1/4 inch thick ~ into the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake the cake until just underdone. If you can't tell by looking, then you can use the knife test. When the knife emerges not quite clean from the center of the cake, and when a light touch does not bouce back easily, it needs to come out. Check the cake at 7 minutes and then every 2 minutes after that. DO NOT over-bake or the dough will be dry and hard to work with. Remove  the cake from the oven and let it cool slightly. Then remove the cake from the pan by lifting out the wax paper.

With the dark frosting, coat the top of the cake. Carefully lift one end of the cake and begin gently rolling it up as if you were rolling up a map. When you are done, anchor the cake with toothpicks and let it cook for about 5 more minutes. Cool the cake for 30 minutes, then frost it with the dark brown icing. Next, take the tubes of colored cake decorating frosting and make holly and mistletoe over the top. To finish, take a toothpick and etch lines into the frosting to resemble tree bark.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Gemstones and Jewelry

I come to you in gentle love,
Uniting Earth with Heaven above;
Be peaceful children and never afraid,
For in love and light we all were made -
Youngest species, human child;
Learn to be gentle, loving and mild,
I teach you ALL, birth, death and rebirth
Together we can create Heaven on Earth.
~ Amethyst Prayer

Even as a small child, gemstones and rocks of all kinds had always held a certain fascination for me. The shapes and colors are so beautiful, especially when worn as jewelry. When I began studying Wicca and all that it generally entails, I couldn't wait to learn about all the various gemstones with their properties and meanings. 

Among my favorites, have always been my birthstone amethyst and amber (actually a resin, of course) which is also traditionally worn by Druid High Priests and Priestesses. Here are just a few more of the stones I love ...

Amethyst ~ used to increase psychic ability. It is also known as the "sobriety stone" and is good for protection.


Rose Quartz ~ known as the "love and friendship" stone and adds strength to relationships.

Snowflake Obsidian ~ You can use this stone by closing your eyes and picking one. The spots will depict the number of Guardian Angels guiding you on the course you have chosen.

Tree Agate ~ Worn to gain tolerance, patience and acceptance. Also enhances endurance.

Lapis Lazulli ~ Wonderful medication stone and helps bring clarity to any situation.

Rhodochrosite ~ known as the Inca Rose brings acceptance and forgiveness to all relationships. Bathe this stone in rosemary to aid with meditating about your relationships.


Moss Agate ~ Promotes simplicity, peace and happiness. Scatter several of these stones across your garden plants to bring about their abundance.



Pink Botswana ~ Helps to accept oneself as one actually is. Gives gratitude and security. Eliminates animosity and brings people with shared beliefs into your life if you focus on unity.


Some of my own favorite pieces of handcrafted gemstone jewelry set in sterling silver ...

Amber pendant and bracelet

Tiger's Eye & Carnelian necklace and bracelet with Yellow Jasper
Crystal Quartz Pendant
Mermaid necklace made with mixed Agate

 
Gorgeous Amethyst necklace (gift from hubby)


It is so truly amazing to me how many beautiful gemstones there are and how absolutely exqisite they look when worn! They are wonderful reminders of how breath-taking our Mother Earth truly is.

Those who befriend me know and see,
The Earth in Her eternity
Healing and wise, protective and strong,
I sing to you a loving song;
A tiny Earth Mother in your hand,
Expression of Air, Fire, Water and Land,
My charge always has been and always will be,
Heal the Earth as I heal thee!
~Agate Prayer

Thursday, November 24, 2011

THANKSGIVING WISHES & a Prayer


Harvest your wishes, harvest your dreams
Gather in stardust, reap the Moon's beams;
All things are possible ~ but love the Earth first,
She feeds your hunger and quenches your thirst;
Life never ending of Autumn I sing,
Yes, winter cometh, but comes then the Spring
I sing of the season's, Earth Mother's great wheel,
Attune to the rhythm to harvest and heal.

 ~ Carnelian Prayer

Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting ready for Yule


One of the things I love the most about our home is the fact that there are two huge holly bushes out in the front of the house, one on each side. These bushes were already there when we moved in and I thought it fitting for a witch to have holly bushes decorating our front yard all year round. Hollies are very hardy plants and live through every season and the berries have started blooming about a month or so ago.


Every year I use a tiny little branch of the tree to place on my Yule altar in honor of the Holly King. I also make a stop at one of our local nurseries and pick up some mistletoe to represent the Oak King. 


I always use the Triple Goddess candles of white, red and black in order to honor Her in her aspects as Maiden, Mother and Crone.


I know that these things are merely tangible symbols of our Goddess and God, but like many of the other tools we sometimes use, they hold a very sacred meaning to me because they help to allow me to feel even closer to our beloved deities.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Strange morning ...


This morning wasn't exactly my typical routine of usual events. It started around 5:30AM when I heard my hubby in the bathroom getting ready for work. Suddenly, I heard a "crash" which was loud enough to hear from our bedroom. Too tired to get up and see what it was, I went back to sleep. An hour later as I got up to get myself ready for work, I noticed my cat Kiki playing with something on the bathroom floor. Turns out that my husband had accidently broken one of my figurines while he was rushing around getting ready. 

No biggie and nothing that I can't fix later on after I get home from work. Then, I had spent the next 15 minutes or so chasing that same cat (Kiki) away from the Yule tree as she kept trying to climb up it ~  UGH! (Yes, I realize that I broke my tradition for Black Friday this year, but it couldn't be helped).

Next, as I had pulled into the parking lot at work and was getting ready to walk into the building, I saw a small sparrow lying on the ground wounded. Apparently it had flown into the glass front doors and was then struggling to get up. So I picked it up, grabbed a large box from the mailroom, placed an old sweat jacket I had sitting in my car inside of it and put the bird inside, box uncovered, in an attempt to help keep it warm until I could figure out exactly what I was going to do with it! It had definately broken its' leg and I wasn't sure if it had broken one of its' wings as well? About two hours later, I went back out to my car to check on the bird and it was moving both its' wings and eventually was able to fly out of the box on its' own.

Then, as I opened my car door, it flew out and landed underneath the car which was parked aside if mine. I figured that if it could fly, then atleast it might have a fighting chance to survive?

... as I said, it was a very "strange" morning indeed!

BTW, sorry I was unable to get an actual pic of this guy, but I do not own a camera phone (although this is what the sparrow looked like).

(image credit)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Favorite Yule ornaments

Ever had those few ornaments which you simply must include on your Yule tree every year? You know, the ones that you have had for so many years and yet you just can't seem to part with because they have some kind of special, sentimental meaning for you?

I, myself, have many such ornaments. Some are gold-plated with the names of all of our cats, both past and present, engraved on them ~ each with the year on them in which they joined our little family. Some are, of course, celestial and/or Pagan in nature, and still others I like because I think that they are just plain unique ...

 Celestial

Green Man


 
   Handmade/painted Cat by "Suzanimals"

Engraved cat ornament


I treasure the engraved cat ornaments the most; however, especially the one above as it was given to me by my mom for Christmas the year that my very first cat, Whiskers, had passed away. I have had it since I was 14 years old.

These ornaments are kind of my small way of preserving their memories and they always bring back found ones as well!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chocolate De Mexicanos

Here is a really delicious hot chocolate drink for snuggling up on a really chilly night. I have made it as a great after ritual treat several times and if you love chocolate as much as I do, you'll love it , too!

All you need is:
4 1/2 cups of milk (or 2%)
4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 shot tequila
Cinnamon sticks (optional)

Place all ingredients, except for the tequila and cinnamon sticks, in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. With a hand held mixer or traditional wooden beater, beat the mixture until it stops boiling and becomes slightly frothy. Stir in tequila. Serve immediately in mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks.


Of course, if preferred you can prepare without the alcohol.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another trip to New Hope


Lately, my mom has been very much in need of "getting away from it all." She pretty much takes round the clock care of my poor dad who has, shall we say, his share of medical issues. Last year, he had his second pace-makeer put in, this past year he had a total knee replacement (painful but necessary rehab and all), and for the past few weeks his arthritis has been getting much worse. In addition to the reiki treatments I have been giving him on a bi-weekly basis which does seem to help him a lot, he now has to attend rehab for his arthritis in his neck as he has a hard time moving it most days.

Last weekend while he was having his reiki, he asked me if I could take my mom out shopping or something for the day so that she could take a little breather from taking care of him. So we decided to take her to one of her (and our) favorite places yesterday ~ New Hope, PA ...


We started with a cool little shoppe called, "Christmas Past" which is open all year round there (it happens to be my mom's favorite shoppe ~ next to the dog store called, "Bow Wow," that is).


They also sell some Halloween items there as well so my husband just couldn't resist snapping this pic of my donning a witches hat!

"Jake & Elwoods's House of Chews" is yet another great shoppe. Here you can buy both dog and cat items, etc.

We spent the entire day walking around shopping and enjoying the weather which was a bit cool, but beautiful none-the-less. New Hope was hopping busy with dozens of cars driving up and down the main strip and huge crowds of people doing their Christmas shopping. While walking along the sidewalk, my mom spotted three very lovely greyhounds and their owner.


Naturally, I couldn't visit New Hope without popping in to see Morganna at my favorite shoppe, "Mystickal Tymes." My mom even joined me in buying some great candles. Morganna is the owner Jason's 16 year-old cat and she never wonders outside of the shoppe. As Jason had said to me, "She hates it out there!" 


We wrapped up the day with eating some delicious fine dining at "Tuscany."  The atmostphere is so awesome, with a romantic fire burning and live piano music in the middle of the room.


I am so glad that we were able to take my mom out for some well-deserved (and much needed) fun!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Corn Rivil Soup

With the weather gradually getting a little cooler lately, I have been thinking about making some homemade soups. This one was handed down to me from my Pennsylvania Dutch Nana (grandmother) and it is such a delicious and tasty meal that I just thought I would share with you all.


It is fairly easy to make and, like most other kinds of soups, tastes even better re-heated as left-overs.

Ingredients:
1 (4-pound) chicken
4 quarts water
1  (10 ounce) package frozen whole white kernel corn
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Directions:
In a large stock pot, cover chicken with water. Cook slowly until tender (approx. 1 hour). Remove chicken, let cool and remove meat from bones. Cut meat into 1 inch pieces, discarding skin and bones. Cut corn from cobs if using fresh corn. Add corn and cut up chicken to pot and season with salt and pepper. Simmer soup for 10 minutes.

How to make the Rivils: (homemade dough balls)
In a separate bowl, make the rivils by mixing the flour, salt, egg. Separate mixture into tiny balls of dough and drop into soup also adding the hard boiled eggs. Simmer anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour, depending upon how long your rivals actually take to completely cook. Serve hot.

And, as my beloved Nana used to say, "Kumm esse" (come eat)!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Hot Air Balloon Ride and some beautiful Fall pics ...

Last weekend, my husband decided to take my 82-year old father-in-law for a hot air balloon ride . This had been his Father's Day present, but they couldn't get around to actually going until sometime in the fall. 

They had  perfect weather and everyone had a great time! Of course, my hubby made sure to take plenty of beautiful autumn scenery pics of Allentown, PA while they were up in the air...


Ahh, the gorgeous foliage, the cool, fresh air ~ this most certainly does remind me of why I love fall so much.