Wicca 101 at 9:30 (or so). Practical Craft at 2pm.
I got to the shop in plenty of time, yesterday, and worked on the classroom, so that I’d have plenty of space for the workshops. I had two people in for Herbs and we worked on learning how sachets work and made some mixes. In Crystals we sorted the stones in the tumblers and everyone got a chance to learn a little about grits and sunstones and agates. By that point, Tempus was there and he and Marius and David worked on the inkle looms. Sewing workshop there were a number of people, but only a couple of us sewing sachets. I went on to sewing up a few more needlebooks.
The bean pottage that I had made turned out to be just about as perfect as you can get! 5 of us ended up eating all but one serving’s worth of a whole crockpot! So, now I need to figure out what the measurements were…. <sigh>
I;m really tired, since I didn’t sleep well, last night. …and running late…
Today’s plant is the Columbine, genus Aquilegia. Found in garden and native species in Oregon, these plants stick their flowers up into the air where they can be admired. They’re related to aconite and share those qualities of a deadly poisonous plant. The flowers aren’t the problem. It’s the seeds and root. Columbina means “dove” and Aquila is “eagle” supposedly from the resemblance of the flower either to clustered doves or the spur at the back of the flower to an eagle’s claw. There is such a thing as too much imagination…. – Feminine, Venus, Water – Crush between the hands or wear in a pouch that can be squashed to induce courage and daring. Carry a posy of the flowers to attract love and the seeds can be used as a love perfume when crushed, however the seeds are *very* poisonous, so don’t ingest any! More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquilegia
Festival of Martini, ancient Latvia – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia: In ancient Latvia, Martini (Mārtiņi) was the name of a festival, celebrated on November 10, marking the end of the Autumn and the beginning of Winter. The festival marks the transfer from Usins to Martins, two deities of horses. Usins is invoked during the summer, while Martins (see St Martin) is a Winter god. The festival marked the end of the preparations for Winter, such as salting meat and fish, storing the harvest and making preserves. Martini also marked the beginning of masquerading and sledding, among other wintry activities. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C4%81rti%C5%86i and here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Martin%27s_Day
The shop opens at 11am today! Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light or call the shop.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is at Waxing Gibbous. Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends at the Tide Change to Full on 11/16 at 7:16am. Waxing Gibbous Moon – From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. For spells that need concentrated work over a ¼ moon cycle this is the best time for constructive workings. Aim to do the last working on the day of the Full moon, before the turn. Keywords for the Gibbous phase are: analyze, prepare, trust. It is the time in a cycle to process the results of the actions taken during the First Quarter. During this phase you are gathering information. Give up making judgments; it will only lead to worry. Your knowledge is incomplete. Laugh. Analyze and filter. LOOK WITHIN. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, but in the uncommitted phase, the Warriors Associated God/desses: Dion, Dionysius, Venus, Thor. Phase ends on 11/15 at 10:16pm.
But ISON is being outdone! Comet 2013 R1 (Lovejoy) “is a humdinger — almost as bright now as Comet ISON was forecast to be,” writesS&T‘s Tony Flanders. “And it’s very high in the sky… big, bright, and beautiful in 10×30 binoculars.”
The other two comets, Encke and C/2012 X1 (LINEAR), are fainter. See Tony’s article The Other Great Morning Comet, http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/The-Other-Great-Morning-Comet-231157211.html with finder charts for Lovejoy and ISON. Further details and charts for all four are atcomets.skyhound.com. http://comets.skyhound.com/
And don’t delay. Encke is getting very low, and moonlight returns to the just-before-dawn sky after about November 15th.
Cassiopeia shines high in the northeast in early evening, with its five-star W pattern standing on end. Look far below it for Capella rising. Far right of Capella is the little Pleiades cluster, with Aldebaran down below it.
Mercury, rapidly brightening from magnitude +1.0 to –0.5 this week, has leaped up from the sunrise glare to shine low in the east-southeast in early dawn. By November 13th it’s having its best morning apparition of 2013. Don’t confuse it with Spica, 10° or 12° to Mercury’s upper right all week, or brighter Arcturus, 30° to Mercury’s upper left.
Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27
Celtic Tree month of Ngetal/Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24
Runic half-month of Hagalaz/Hagal – October 29-Novmber 12 – The Runic half-month of Hagal commences today, represented by the hailstone of transformation. It is a harbinger of the need to undergo the necessary preparations before the harsh northern Winter. Runic half month of Naudhiz/ Nyd /Nauthiz – November 13- 27 – Time to prepare for winter.
©2013 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Ngetal Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24 – nGéadal – (NYEH-dl), reed – The term “reed” is used with great imprecision in North America, but it is clear that the reed of the ogham is the common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steudel). This is a giant grass, with stems as high as 4 m (13 feet). It grows in marshy areas, where it often forms dense stands. Like most other grasses, the vertical stems live only a single year, dying in the autumn and being replaced with new green shoots in the spring. The dead stems rattle and whisper in late autumn winds. Common reed has spread as a weed throughout the world; in North America it is widespread in cooler climates. Common reed is in the Grass family (Poaceae, or Gramineae).
“The Reed Month, is said by some to be most favorable for communication with ancestral spirits and the strengthening of all family ties, with magickal associations with fertility, love, protection, and family concerns. ‘Thin and slender is the Reed. He stands in clumps at the edge of the river and between his feet hides the swift pike awaiting an unsuspecting minnow to come his way. In his thinness the reed resembles arrows that fly, silver-tipped, up into the unknown air to land at the very source that one had searched for all these years. Firing arrows off into the unknown is an expression of the desire to search out basic truths. If you loose off without direction, the place of landing will be random. If the firing off is carried out with the correct conviction, determination and sense of purpose, then the act becomes secondary to the event that comes both before and after the moment.’” Source: Earth, Moon and Sky
Ngetal – Reed Ogam letter correspondences
Color: Grass Green
Meaning: Upsets or surprises
to study this month Mor – the Sea Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: AE, X, XI, M
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Take lots of naps.
~ For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’. – John Greenleaf Whittier
~ Too low they build who build below the skies – Edward Young
~ Human nature is characterized by conflict, the state of being torn between opposing desires. This leads to disharmony of the mind. Therefore one has to be unceasingly aware at all times.- Yuehzou
~ Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks. – Lin Yutang (1895-1976) Chinese writer
I thank the energy, the gods and the
theater of history that brought
us here to this very moment with
this book in our hands, calling
like the future down a green and
starry hall. – Richard Brautigan; ‘Carrot’
Magick – Dukati & other special cookies
Cookies are part of Christmas traditions all over the world and several are special to my family.
Snickerdoodles are what my Czech grandmother called a cookie that she invented to keep me out of her hair in the kitchen when I was a hyper 3-year-old, fascinated with the magic that she created out of such simple ingredients. Babicka heard the name somewhere and just used it. I would say that the best cook in the world (yes, I DO believe that!) can borrow a name, don’t you? And yes, for those of you out there who grew up making real snickerdoodles, you’ll see that these are NOT the usual recipe!
Oil drop cookies sound awful, but that’s how the name translates! They are probably a depression era recipe, since they take no butter and only 1 egg for 5 dozen cookies, but they’re so good, that you never notice. Preschoolers love to roll up the balls of dough and squash them. Also, if you have a child with a wheat or gluten allergy they can be made with other flours. I especially like rye flour with a pinch of allspice substituted for the regular flour and a small piece of crystallized ginger pressed into the top. Baba called these Saski, (pronounced SOSH- key) which means “imps”. One of my Czech aunts used to roll these in Old Bay seasoning and the elderly Czech uncles ate them with beer!
Press cookies are an easy cookie for elementary school-age children to help with. I usually make up the dough on a Friday evening and then make a mess of the kitchen on Saturday, so I have help the rest of the weekend to clean up! Having one area to get the cookies ready to bake and another to get them off the pans and to decorate them helps enormously.
Cookie-type dukati have been around for a long while, at least 700 years! There are lots of variations all over central Europe on how people make these, the recipes they use and names they call them, but they are all traditional for December 6.
In Czech tradition, these were originally balls of dough, brushed with egg white, gold leaf carefully laid over top and pressed with a mold that made a picture like the real gold coins that were in circulation at the time. Gold leaf is expensive, so cookies that were press-molded with colored sugars took the place of the older-style dukati and now, the cookies are baked and then colored pictures are attached with a dot of icing. All 3 types can still be found in the Christmas Market in Old Town Square in Prague! I have a special wooden pin, a cylinder with one flat end plain and the other carved. These can be found on the web or in specialty shops, but you’ll have to hunt. The wooden “pastry press” pins that can be found in specialty shops, can be carved, if you’re artistic, or used plain if you’re going to make these with the pictures, or you can use the flat bottom of a drinking glass. I’ve even seen people use deeply carved rubber stamps to press in designs!
This cookie dough is sometimes rolled out flat and cut with cookie cutters, the same as we do with sugar cookies and then similar-shaped pictures are attached to the top. The most traditional of these shapes are Mikulas, Andel (angel), Sasak (imp) and hearts. You can blow up clipart pictures and cut shapes out of the dough with a sharp knife, if you want to try these.
There are special rolling pins, with pictures carved in them that emboss cookie dough that are sometimes used. The Germans make a special anise cookie, called springerle that lead to these pins being found under the name of “springerle pins” at specialty cooking shops. They make square cookies. The basic process is to roll the dough out with a regular pin, sprinkle it with colored sugar, and then roll with the carved pin and cut the squares apart.
Sometimes you find this same dough pressed into large wooden or ceramic molds. The cookies are then turned right side up, sprinkled with colored sugar and baked.
All of these cookies can be hung on the Christmas trees, which start being set up just after Mikulas Day. Cookies for this purpose need to be pierced with a skewer or toothpick (I use the metal one that came with my meat thermometer) both before going into the oven, and immediately when they come out. When they are cool, they must be dipped in the sugar syrup to preserve them, unless they’ll be eaten in a day or two. Then they can be strung on pieces of 1/8” ribbon, threaded through with a large-eye tapestry needle and tied into a loop to hang. Don’t use yarn. The fibers get stuck in the sugar glaze and you get bits in your mouth. (Ick!) I have used hemp cord, though, and cotton string.
The lebkuchen dough that I use is my Babicka’s recipe. It takes well to any of the variations listed above. I often use up the scraps from rolling out cookie house parts for the basic cookie dukati.
Mama’s Snickerdoodles – (kid do-able, VERY!)
Peanut butter (chunky is best, but creamy works)
Chocolate Chips (or pourable chocolate syrup, Hershey’s Special Dark® is delicious!)
Fancy Christmas sprinkles or raw sugar crystals (optional)
Tools – Tray or big plate, Spoon
Break the crackers along the lines and line up on the tray.
Pick up the crackers one at a time and smear each with peanut butter from end to end.
When you put them down push them as close together as possible.
Sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips.
Sprinkle evenly with sprinkles or sugar
Once kids have done these a couple of times with parents’ help, even three-year-olds can make these, once the ingredients are set out. Of course, half the ingredients end up OUTSIDE of the kids when you do this and most of the rest on the inside, rather than on the tray, but that’s most of the fun!
By the way, we’ve varied these by holiday by using orange and brown M&M’s on Thanksgiving, conversation hearts on Valentine’s Day, candy corn on Halloween, and on one memorable St. Patrick’s Day, with little sugar shamrocks!
Oil Drop Cookies & Saski (pre-schoolers love to roll and squash these!)
Basic Oil Drop directions
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp water
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 cup of sugar
2 ½ cups flour
Rolling ingredients (chopped nuts, poppyseeds, coarsely grated spices, crushed dried mint leaves, colored sugar, raw sugar, candy sprinkles, crushed candy canes or peppermints, mini chocolate chips or M&M’s, or whatever you please!)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Have ready: two lightly greased cookie sheets, small bowls of whatever you wish to roll the cookies in and a shaker of flour.
2. Combine all ingredients except sugar, flour and rolling ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure that the spices don’t stick.
3. Add the sugar and mix well.
4. Add the flour about ½ cup at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition, scraping bottom and sides of bowl.
5. Using lightly floured hands, make balls about the size of a large marble and then roll in the stuff in the bowls. Don’t worry if stuff doesn’t stick well.
6. Place on cookie sheets about 1 inch apart and squash.
7. Bake about 10-12 minutes.
8. Allow to cool and store tightly covered.
Saski – (These are not as sweet, the recipe is to adult taste, so for kids roll them in raw sugar!)
Follow the directions above, except:
a) add ¼ tsp allspice
b) use 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ cups of rye flour instead of regular. The amount needed varies by the dryness and grind of the flour.
c) Roll in poppyseeds, or if you’re adventurous, in Old Bay Seasoning (most kids hate this!)
d) Press a small piece of crystallized ginger or candied orange peel into the top.
Mama’s press cookies – (elementary school-age kids love to run these through the press and decorate.)
1 cup butter
¾ cup white granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp almond extract
½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour (if you want to use whole eggs, add another ¼ cup of flour)
colored sugars and candy sprinkles
1. Heat butter in microwave in glass or ceramic mixing bowl for 30 seconds, or in smaller microwave safe container for 30 seconds on medium.
2. Beat together well: first, butter & sugar, then add almond extract and eggs, mix, then add baking powder and salt and mix thoroughly.
3. Sift the flour into the mix, or add it in small amounts and mix thoroughly.
4. Stick the bowl in the fridge for about an hour.
5. On waxed paper or foil, form the dough into several rolls that are just slightly smaller than the diameter of your cookie press, and roll in colored sugar. This keeps the dough from sticking as much to the press and colors the dough. If you want plain, use white sugar.
6. Place the rolls in the fridge for another hour or two.
7. Preheat oven to 350. Have at least two ungreased cookie sheets ready, along with your cookie press, colored sugar, a narrow spatula (for cleaning the press) and a flat metal spatula (for picking up the cookies).
8. Taking one roll at a time out of the fridge, feed the dough through the press onto the cookie sheet, no less than 1/2 “ apart.
9. Sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles.
10. Bake each sheet separately for about 10 minutes per, until lightly browned. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack or paper plates after about 2 minutes of cooling.
Stained Glass Window Cookies
These are really just any kind of cookie dough cut in 3-inch circles, (use a glass) with clear hard candies placed into them to make the window. You can also set the cookies with a hole cut in the center (we had a tiny liqueur glass for this, and one year we used a shot glass) on a piece of baking parchment and use smashed up candies (use a hammer on a Ziploc® bag with the candies still wrapped) to make pretty designs. The parchment usually sticks to the candies, and pulling it off can break them, so I usually just cut around it with scissors when the cookies are cool. Of course, the broken pieces are great!
This same technique described below, can be used with the lebkuchen panels to make translucent windows for a cookie house. That’s why it’s included here.
You can use the lebkuchen dough, sugar cookie dough or just regular butter cookie dough. Here is the recipe that I use.
½ cup butter (1 stick)
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups regular flour
Hard candies – clear, round, unwrap before putting in the cookie, unless you’re smashing them!
Colored sugar or candy sprinkles
1. Heat butter in microwave in glass or ceramic mixing bowl for 30 seconds, or in smaller microwave safe container for 30 seconds on medium.
2. Beat together well: butter & sugar, then add vanilla and eggs, then add baking powder and salt and mix thoroughly.
3. Sift the flour into the mix, or add it in small amounts and mix thoroughly.
4. Stick the bowl in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 375. Have two (better yet, 3) greased cookie sheets and a small bowl ready. Use a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover if you have them. Use as little flour as possible.
6. Roll dough to between ¼ & ½ inch.
7. Cut cookies in about 3” circles. Use the floured rim of a drinking glass if you don’t have a 3” circle cutter.
8. Lift each cookie carefully with a flat metal spatula or icing spreader onto the first cookie sheet, placing them about 1” apart.
9. Cut a 1” circle out of the center of each cookie. Use the floured rim of a shot glass if you don’t have a 1” circle cutter.
10. Lift the 1” circles onto the second cookie sheet, placing them about 3/4” apart. (you’ll probably get two pans of 3” cookies to 1 pan of 1”)
11. Place 1 hard candy in the center of each 3” cookie. (or use smashed candies poured into center).
12. Sprinkle the 1” cookies with colored sugar or candy sprinkles.
13. Dump the scraps in the bowl and repeat, until you run out of cookie sheet, then bake each sheet separately, about 7 minutes for the 1” cookies and 10-12 for the 3” cookies.
14. Remove the 3” cookies IMMEDIATELY from the cookie sheets, and place on cooling rack or paper plates. 1” cookies can usually be just dropped into a bowl after a couple minutes of cooling..
15. You can re-roll the scraps ONCE. After that, these make great “worm cookies”. (see * below) The dough breaks with too much flour!
* Let the kids roll them under their hands like play-dough worms, place on a greased cookie sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg, bake and eat. If you’re trying to save the regular cookies for later, this will pacify most kids!
Gingerbread for Cookie Houses and dukati
This is not a cheap cookie recipe. It takes honey and molasses, which can be expensive, and lots of spices. The good side is that this is nearly a perfect dough for cookie houses, can use up spices that might otherwise go stale, the dough is easily cut into fancy shapes for cookies and stores well (up to 4 weeks, airtight, in the fridge) and the cookies will keep for six months if kept airtight!
You can double this recipe, but have an extra pair of hands to help with the stirring if you do. It gets very stiff at the last. It’s better to make the batches this size, and just keep it up until you have “enough”. I usually make a couple of batches a night until I fill my box and then do the baking.
I have an airtight plastic storage box that holds a little over 36 cups of dough. I usually fill it once for our dukati, cookies and big cookie house, which leaves enough over to give some away or have plenty for a party and a then fill it a second time to have enough to have “munchables” until Easter, usually.
Any dough that isn’t going into projects, I roll out, sprinkle with colored sugar and use a pizza cutter to make it into diamond shapes and bake it up. My option if it’s gone past midnight and I’m wiped out, is to make the dough into logs about 2” in diameter, roll them in colored sugar, tightly wrap in foil or cling-wrap and store in the fridge for a week or so until I have more time or energy, then slice about ½ inch thick and bake.
Ingredients – Cookies Ingredients – Icing
1 cup honey 1 cup of sugar
1 cup molasses 1/3 cup water
1 ½ cups brown sugar 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon rind
5 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground clove
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp nutmeg
1. Mix honey, molasses, lemon juice and egg together
2. Stir in one at a time: soda, spices, lemon rind and brown sugar and mix thoroughly
3. Mix in flour ½ cup at a time. You will probably have to knead in that last cup or so
4. Chill overnight.
5. Roll small amount at a time, keeping rest chilled
6. Roll out 1/4 – 3/8 inch thick and cut into shapes.
7. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet.
8. Bake until, when touched lightly, no imprint remains.
While cookies bake, make icing below. Brush it over cookies the minute they are out of the oven. Then quickly remove from baking sheet, cool and store to mellow. Bake in 400 degree oven 10-12 minutes.
Icing – Boil together 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup water to 230 degrees in a candy thermometer. remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup confectioners sugar and brush hot icing thickly over . When icing gets sugary, reheat slightly, adding a little water until clear again.
Directions for basic cookie-style dukati
- Make thermofax, regular copy-shop or laser-print color copies of pictures that you want to use, not ink-jet, because they’ll run. If you can, use card or cover stock to print them on.
2. Make a batch of lebkuchen dough and chill thoroughly.
3. Make a recipe of the icing, and have waiting. Keep warm, but stir often. If the edges start to crystallize, brush the insides of the pot down with warm water on a pastry brush and then stir well. If the icing itself crystallizes, add about 2 tsp of warm water and stir well, until it clears.
4. Preheat oven to 350 and grease at least two cookie sheets. Have ready: the cookie sheets, a flat metal spatula, for lifting the cookies from the cookie sheet to the cooling rack, your pin, press or a flat-bottomed glass and a shaker of flour, your syrup and waxed paper or foil to dry on and if you plan to hang these, your skewer.
5. Roll the dough between lightly floured hands into balls between the size of a walnut and a small egg. Place about 12 on a small cookie sheet, 20 on a large one. Lightly flour the end of your pin, glass or whatever and squash each ball to about ½” thick. If you’re using a carved pin, first press them with the plain end of the pin, sprinkle with colored sugar and press with the carved end. If you want to be able to hang the cookie, push the skewer in about ½ from the edge.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until, when touched lightly, no imprint remains or until they’re just about to burn. Watch carefully! These vary so widely in how long they take to bake, most everyone burns the first batch, at least on the edges, but after that you’ll know how long to keep them in. While they’re still hot, re-skewer the hanging holes.
7. Dip in sugar syrup (or brush on) and allow to dry.
8. Using a small dot of the syrup, attach the picture. Thread ribbon.
(Excerpt from Mama’s Awful Christmas ©1988, 2001 M. Bartlett)