The sun is actually trying to peek through! I saw the flashing of a hummingbird on that feeder, but then I notice that sunlight seemed to be flashing from the feeder itself. We’ve only a 30% chance of rain, today, unlike the 100% that we’ve been looking at. the rain gauge is up to 3 1/2 inches and it’s 52F with almost no breeze, at all.
There’re are all kinds of birds out there this morning. At the moment, it’s a whole batch of sparrows. The chickadees and juncos were just here. When I first went into the bathroom this morning a jay was on the shelves outside the window, squawking and flapping about something.
Yesterday just seemed to fly by and I was horribly busy all day, not even taking time to play Solitaire unless I was waiting for something to load. I did computer work early on, setting up files for the week, then sorted mail for what seemed like hours. I’ve started the “what do you want to do/see at OCPPG 2013 stuff on the group on Facebook, too.
As the afternoon wore on I was less and less on the computer, since every time I got up for tea I would sort another batch of books. I have a whole box of discards that are mostly going on the buck-a-book shelves. I also sorted a couple of boxes of grumple, mostly jewelry in need to mending or little bits of craft supplies that have wandered, along with thises-&-thats of various kinds… you know what I’m talking about! A bunch of photo albums got moved to the living room shelves, although we’ll finish that today. Some of ’em are too heavy for me…. I think the unsorted photos are almost all in one place now, too.
Then I started cooking. I made a ham & veg “sauce” that we had over rice last night and maybe over potatoes tonight, and then started on lebkuchen. I got a batch of dough made (with a lot of help on stirring from Tempus) and experimented with putting it into a molded cookie pan. They came out too thick, but very tasty. I have enough to make rolled cookies today, but I had to chill the dough, first. I also made a batch of shortbread dough and used 1/2 of it to make poppyseed cookies, although I ran out of poppyseeds since the codling moths had been at one of the bottles of seed! I finished ’em up with colored nonpareils. I have the other 1/2 of that dough to work with, too, but we’re out of flour. How often does *that* happen around here! Tempus is going to Newport to do some shopping either tomorrow or Friday and we’ll get flour and poppyseeds and almonds, etc. at that point.
Today we have a lot more of the same, although Tempus is going to run errands this morning after he finishes the awesome brunch that I’m smelling. He chased me out of the kitchen, but it involves scrambled eggs and bacon and cheese toast, at the very least! We slept in, since Tempus was still moving boxes after 2am. I want to get a little farther on my biscornu, since I’ve started assembling it and I’m thinking about currant scones since I have mix for that. Well, we’ll see.
Today’s featured products are some miscellaneous things, just to give you a break from the ornaments! This first picture are the seasonal Bayberry Beeswax jar candles. These smell wonderful when you lift the lid and even more so when they’re burned and after you’ve burned then down and cleaned them you have a lovely little candy jar! I made these with bayberry essential oil, so you don’t have to worry about strange contaminants. $12
This next picture is of the candles display so you know where to find the beeswax sheets that we’re carrying and can see the variety that we have in stock… and this is only one end of the table and not counting the spell candles display or the cauldron candles or…. 🙂
Mikulas Eve (MEE-coo-lahsh) is held the night before the Feast of St. Nicholas. In the Czech Republic, this is the equivalent of Halloween in the US. The Christmas Markets are up in every square, huge trees in front of hotels and municipal buildings and the shopping areas light up at night as bright as day. There are cookies and candies and candles in every shop window and greenery everywhere that it can be placed. On the night of December 5th, though, you will see small groups of children, about the same age as our trick-or-treat-ers, dressed up and going from door to door. Often “professionally” costumed groups show up in the hotels and markets for the tourists, but everywhere else, it’s whichever children decide to. One child is in a bishop’s robe, with a crook and miter and long white beard, usually of cotton wool. Another child is dressed all in white (called Andelicka, “Little Angel), sometimes with wings, but usually with a red sash and a wreath on her head, sometimes with lighted candles who has a basket of dukati. A third child is dressed all in black or brown (the Sasak (SAH- shahk, the imp), is liberally smudged with soot and carries a sack, chains and either a whip or a bundle of switches. There are some other characters that occasionally show up, such as Death, the Turk, the Lost Knight, the Old Soldier, a violinist, the Miser, the Dancer, the Smart Little Maid (all characters from Czech folklore) but usually just the first three. They give goodies to small children, if “they’ve been good” and if the parents report that they have not been good, the Sasak will growl at them and threaten to pop them in his sack loaded with chains to drag them off to the “cold places”. One thing that struck me was that they collect money and goodies, not for themselves, (although they are often invited in for hot chocolate or cider and kolachki (pastries) ) but to pass on to other children, or to the food bank instead of the personal greed that our celebration gets into. More on other celebrations of this day here: http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/book/dec5.html and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas#Belgium.2C_the_Netherlands_and_the_Lower_Rhineland_.28Germany.29 plus the articles that follow on “German speaking countries” and “Central Europe”.
Love & Light,
NASA Science News for Dec. 4, 2012 – Eleven billion miles from Earth, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a “magnetic highway” that connects our solar system to interstellar space. This could be one of Voyager 1’s last steps on its long journey to the stars. FULL STORY: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/03dec_voyager1/
From The Fellowship of the Spiral Path Newsletter, Autumn 2012. (spiralpath.org) (photo attached):
There will be a memorial Sunday, December 30, 5 PM for Herb’s Magical Community at The Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists: 1924 Cedar Street @ Bonita.
A 2nd memorial for Herb’s extended friends and family will held in January at the Kensington UU Church.
We of Shapeshifter Coven will always miss our Beloved Friend and HP.
Herbert John DeGrasse
September 22nd 1941 – November 9th 2012
The Fellowship of the Spiral Path is saddened by the loss of Herb DeGrasse, who with his wife, Ren Monson, coordinated the Gateway presentations. Herb served as Spiral’s treasurer for many years. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Surgery was unsuccessful, and he passed away from complications of the disease at 6:15 on November 9th. He is
survived by his beloved wife, Ren Monson (Lycorea), his son, Benjamin Frederick Masterson DeGrasse (Benjie), and his in-laws, Ray and Rey Monson. Our love and prayers go out to the family.
Herb was born in the Bronx, New York, to Rocco Ferdinando De Grassi and Nora Charlotte Applebaum. He graduated from Bayside High School, and went on to the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a B.A. and an M.A. in Mathematics. He worked for many years as a computer programmer, then as a teacher, and every year as Santa Claus. Herb had a generous heart, and loved to help others. He was active in the Diabetic and Cancer Support Groups and also volunteered at the Grit Souper Center, which feeds the hungry.
Herb was a spiritual eclectic, active in paganism, esotericism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Judaism. When he came to California, Herb became active in the emerging Pagan Community. He was a member of the O.T.O., a Druid, a founder of Shapeshifter coven, and a long-time member of the Fellowship of the Spiral Path. He was an experienced Tarot reader who read at many festivals. With his wife Ren he founded and coordinated Mystery Circle and the Gateway series. He also was a three-time graduate of Arbor Vitae. Spiral is grateful for his many years of service. In addition to his pagan activities, Herb also participated in the Napa Unitarian Fellowship. He loved books and films, the outdoors, the Goddess and the gods. He will be missed.
Unfortunately, Herb’s insurance did not cover all of the bills. A benefit concert to help Ren pay them off was held at the Garden Gate Creativity Center on the evening of November 29th (see below). The memorial service will take place during the December Liturgy slot, December 30th at 5 pm at BFUU.
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is Waning Gibbous. Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Tide change is on 12/13 at 12:42am. Waning Gibbous Moon – Best time for draining the energy behind illness, habits or addictions. Magicks of this sort, started now, should be ended before the phase change to the New Moon. Phase ends at the Quarter on 12/6 at 7:31am.
Ganymede, the largest satellite of Jupiter, crosses Jupiter’s face tonight from 9:25 to 11:17 p.m. EST, closely followed by its black shadow from 9:37 to 11:44 p.m. EST. In amateur telescopes, Ganymede’s shadow will be much more obvious against Jupiter’s bright surface than Ganymede itself is.
Jupiter (magnitude –2.8, in Taurus) is at opposition this week (opposite the Sun as seen from Earth). It rises around sunset, climbs the eastern sky in the evening, shines highest in the south around midnight, and sets in the west around sunrise. Orange Aldebaran is 5° to its lower right during evening. Above them are the Pleiades. In a telescope, Jupiter is big 48 arcseconds wide, essentially as large as ever appears.
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Celtic Tree Month of Ruis Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22
Runic half-month of Is November 28-12 Literally, ‘ice’: a static period. The time of waiting before birth. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, 1992
Moon in Leo enters Virgo at 3:51am
Mercury Stationary through 12/14
Ceres, Vesta, Uranus, Jupiter Retrograde
©2012 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Ruis Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22 – Ruis – (RWEESH), elder – Celtic tree month of Ruis (Elder) commences (Nov 25 – Dec 22) – Like other Iron Age Europeans, the Celts were a polytheistic people prior to their conversion to (Celtic) Christianity. The Celts divided the year into 13 lunar cycles (months or moons). These were linked to specific sacred trees which gave each moon its name. Today commences the Celtic tree month of Elder.
Elder or Elderberry (Sambucus) is a genus of fast-growing shrubs or small trees in the family Caprifoliaceae. They bear bunches of small white or cream coloured flowers in the Spring, that are followed by bunches of small red, bluish or black berries. The berries are a very valuable food resource for many birds.
Common North American species include American Elder, Sambucus canadensis, in the east, and Blueberry Elder, Sambucus glauca, in the west; both have blue-black berries.
The common European species is the Common or Black Elder, Sambucus nigra, with black berries. This is a shrub growing to 10 m (33 feet) in damp clearings, along the edge of woods, and especially near habitations. Elders are grown for their blackish berries, which are used for preserves and wine. The leaf scars have the shape of a crescent moon. Elder branches have a broad spongy pith in their centers, much like the marrow of long bones, and an elder branch stripped of its bark is very bone-like. The red elder (S. racemosa L.) is a similar plant at higher elevations; it grows to 5 m (15 feet). Red elder extends its native range to northern North America, and it is cultivated along with other native species, but common elders are seldom seen in cultivation. Elders are in the Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae).
Ruis – Elder Ogam letter correspondences
Month: Makeup days of the thirteenth Moon
Meaning: End of a cycle or problem.
to study this month Straif – Blackthorn Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: SS, Z, ST
Meaning: Resentment; Confusion; Refusing to see the truth
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
W 5 High 5:07 AM 6.9 7:37 AM Set 11:53 AM 68
~ 5 Low 11:02 AM 3.3 4:37 PM Rise 11:45 PM
~ 5 High 4:23 PM 6.2
~ 5 Low 11:03 PM 1.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool who said, “Quit while you’re ahead?”
~ The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love
~ The will to do, the soul to dare. – Sir Walter Scott
~ There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. – Nelson Mandela
~ Things work out for the best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out. – John R. Wooden
We remember the time when there was only love,
The time when all breathing was one.
We remember the seed of your being
Planted in the belly of the vast black night… – from The Ancient Ones by Patricia Reis
Magick – Yule Recipes
1 cup milk
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400*. Generously grease 6 6-ounce custard cups. Beat all ingredients until smooth and pour into cups. Place filled cups on a jelly-roll pan and baked for 40-50 minutes or until brown and center is moist but not gummy.
2 cups unbleached flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup beer
1.Preheat oven to 450*.
2.Sift dry ingredients together.
3.Cut in shortening until it has a cornmeal consistency.
4.Stir in beer, knead lightly and roll out to ½” thickness and cut biscuits out.
5.Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown (watch carefully).
Makes 12-15 biscuits.
Leftover Rice Muffins
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup skim milk
¼ cup oil
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cooked brown rice
1.Stir the first three ingredients together.
2.Beat remaining ingredients, stirring rice in last.
3.Combine the two mixtures until just moistened.
4.Spoon into 12 muffin cups.
Bake at 400* for 20 minutes.
Yogurt Rye Bread
1 ½ cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup 9-gran cereal
1 cup bran flakes
1 ½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup rye flour
2 ½ cups white flour
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water
In a large mixing bowl, stir the warm water and yeast together and let stand for a minute or so to dissolve. Stir in the yogurt, cereals, salt, butter, rye flour and 1 ½ cups of the white flour. Beat vigorously until well blended. Add enough all purpose flour to make a manageable dough, then turn out on a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few minutes and then let rest for 10 minutes. Resume kneed for a good ten minutes until the dough is elastic, sprinkling a little more white flour as necessary to keep it from being too sticky.
Knead in the fennel seeds and place in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or clean, damp cloth and let rise until double in bulk. Punch down the dough and divide in 3 equal parts.
Roll each piece into a long round strand about ¾” thick, making them all the same length, braid and pinch the end strands together at each end and then turn the ends under a little, giving the loaf a finished look.
Transfer to a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, cover loosely and let rise again until double in bulk. Brush with the egg yolk mixture and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 45 minutes. Remove from sheet and cool on a rack.
Silliness – GCF: Senior Safety
I failed a Health and Safety course at the Senior Center today.
One of the questions was: “In the event of a fire, what steps would you take?”
Apparently, “Big Ones” was the wrong answer.
Lighted House Count – Total on 12/3 was 49, added 0 last night.
Ok, this is a “silly” that we started when my kids were small…. just count how many houses have lights or lighted displays as you go about! Businesses don’t count, but doorways that are decorated and have a porch light on, do! …and certainly lighted trees in a window. <grin>