There’s sunshine this morning, but it’s thin and strained through cloud. When I came out to the study the eaves were dripping heavily, but I’m not sure whether it was a fairy rain or just frost melting off. Someone’s big orange cat is on the railing, hungrily eyeing the small birds in the clematis and flying around the yard. He keeps twitching when the birds move.
I got up way late yesterday morning and headed down to the shop just in time for the OCPPG2014 meeting. We’ve got some of the jobs divided up, but the format is going to be just about the same as last year. Leslie is going to do advertising, David the teacher information, Marius the site info and I’m doing the coordinating and putting the handbook together. We’ve got staff meetings scheduled for mostly the last weekend of each month.
Today, I have sewing to do. I’m going to have to start, though, by cleaning up the workroom and then doing the rock tumblers, but I’ll be there all day. Maybe I’ll get a chance to get at some of the photos for the Mab’s Creations website.
I have a deal for those who are reading the newsletter. If you come in before the ornaments are counted and put away and mention the “newsletter special” I’ll give you an Anja-made ornament and 10% off of your purchase! This is *only* good until we’re finished putting away!
Lupa is the therio-shaman that has written a number of books that we carry. We also have her tails and other dance/shaman pieces of hers. The newest endeavor is a show in Portland called, “Curious Gallery” which is happening in February. Her websites are: http://www.thegreenwolf.com * http://therioshamanism.com * http://paganbookreviews.net * http://thegreenwolf.etsy.com * http://nature.pagannewswirecollective.com and she has also handed us a couple of fliers for the event.
Today’s Plant is Nodding Onion, Allium cernuum. This is sometimes called Lady’s Leek. It’s an edible plant in the Allium family, but not particularly choice. (Yeah, personal experience…) It’s called “Nodding” because the inflorescences, the “flower”, tend to droop, unlike a lot of the alliums that end up with a ball on a stick. Most of the plants in this family are edible, but be careful! There are a few that are either disgusting or at least mildly poisonous and there are bulbs that *are* poisonous that are easy to mistake. Onions have been very important as a food/nutrition source for a long while and have even been worshiped at times. These are grown as ornamentals, mostly, but are found wild here on the coast. – Masculine, Mars, Fire, Isis – Cut and dry the flowers and add to a grapevine or rosemary wreath for a house protection spell. These are great for house blessings. Grown in pots indoors or in the garden they protect against evil and particularly against poisonous snakes. When you harvest in the fall, make a decorative braid of onions and hang over bedroom doors to prevent infections. Nodding onions are great for this purpose because, not being particularly great as food, you won’t mind replanting them in the spring as they start to sprout! Purify swords and athames after particularly heavy magicks, by rubbing the blade with a cut bulb, then wash with clear water and oil with rosemary-infused almond oil. Place the dried flowers in a vase at the head of the bed, or pack into a pillow sachet to help clarify prophetic dreams. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_cernuum and on Alliums here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium
Today’s feast is the day of Thomas a Becket. He was Archbishop of Canterbury when he was assassinated in the cathedral. It was a deed that shocked even the violent medieval world. There is some of the history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Becket Senista heather, Erica genistopha, is the plant associated with this Saint.
The shop opens at 11am! 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.
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is in Hecate’s Brooch. 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. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 1/1/ at 3:14am. Hecate’s Brooch – 3-5 days before New Moon – Best time for Releasing Rituals. It’s the last few days before the new moon, the time of Hecate’s Brooch. This is the time that if you’re going to throw something out, or sweep the floors, or take stuff to Good Will, do it! Rid yourself of negativity and work on the letting go process. Release the old, removing unwanted negative energies, addictions, or illness. Do physical and psychic cleansings. Good for wisdom & psychic ability. Goddess Aspect: Crone Associated God/desses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal, Thoth. Phase ends on 12/30 at 3:14pm.
Orion’s Sword is the dimmer straight line of stars at an angle to Orion’s Belt. It’s currently to the belt’s lower right, as Orion climbs the southeastern evening sky. Often you read that the Great Orion Nebula, partway down the sword, looks to the naked eye like a slightly fuzzy star. Well, maybe. To start with you need sharp (or fully corrected) distance vision. You also need a good sky — and light pollution doesn’t seem to be the whole story here. On some nights in the suburbs I can see the nebula around the 5th-magnitude stars Theta-1 and Theta-2 Orionis fairly positively. On other nights with the same light pollution, not so much. How about you?
Over the next five mornings, just before dawn, the moon will pass by two planets and a bright star. It will be just west of Saturn on Dec. 28. Notice how the moon’s crescent shrinks over the five mornings, and how the stars and planets rise 4 minutes earlier each morning.
Venus (about –4.5) is dropping lower in evening twilight every day. Look southwest. Optical aid shows it becoming an ever thinner crescent: from 7% sunlit on December 27th to just 2% lit on January 4th. But it’s big! – about 59 arcminutes in diameter. Good binoculars will show its crescent shape in twilight. The best time to observe Venus in a telescope is well before sunset. Hide the Sun behind a building so you can’t accidentally sweep it into your view. Read our article, See Venus’s Thin Crescent. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/See-Venuss-Thin-Crescent-236245001.html Venus is heading to inferior conjunction with the Sun on January 11th.
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree month of Beth/Birch Dec 24 – Jan 20, Beith – (BEH), birch
Runic half-month of Eihwaz/Eoh 12/28-1/11 Represents the dead, and the yew tree, sacred to Winter shamanism. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books
©2013 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Beth/Birch Dec 24 – Jan 20 Beith – (BEH), birch – The silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is the most common tree birch in much of Europe. It grows up to 30 m (100 feet) high, but is more often found in spreading clumps on sandy soils. It is one of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is cut; this is probably a large part of its symbolic connection with new beginnings. It is cultivated in North America, often under the name of weeping birch. The common birch (B. pubescens Ehrh.) is almost as widespread as the silver birch, but grows primarily on acid or peaty soils. It can reach 20 m (65 feet) in height. Birches are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae). Curtis Clark
Beth – Birch – Ogam letter correspondences
Meaning: New Beginnings; Changes; Purification.
Phagos – Beech Ogam letter correspondences to study this month
Letter: PH, IO
Meaning: New experiences and information coming
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Some folks wear their halos much too tight…
~ A Republic without parties is a complete anomaly. The histories of all popular governments show absurd is the idea of their attempting to exist without parties. – Franklin Pierce (1804- 1869) 14th US president
~ The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life. – Plato, Greek philosopher, in “The Republic”
~ A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. – Plato
~ Although… the Chief Magistrate must almost of necessity be chosen by a party and stand pledged to its principles and measures, yet in his official action he should not be the President of a party only, but of the whole people of the United States. – James K. Polk (1795-1849) US President (11)
Not unnaturally, many elevators imbued with intelligence and precognition became terribly frustrated with the mindless business of going up and down, up and down, experimented briefly with the notion of going sideways, as a sort of existential protest, demanded participation in the decision-making process and finally took to squatting in basements sulking. – Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
New Year Recipes
Peace and Harmony in the New Year – This one is a tradition in our family for New Year’s Day. Yes, it’s a pun. It’s also quite tasty and a simple dish for the sleepy. If you’ve never tried hominy this is a good start. Essentially, it’s just another starch, but it’s gotten a bad rap because of “grits” which are a whole different thing!
1 can hominy
1 8oz pkg frozen green peas
½ stick of butter
Drain liquid from hominy. In a glass bowl or pyrex cup mix hominy and peas. Top with butter. Zap in microwave for 3 minutes and stir well. Zap again, one minute at a time until butter is completely melted and peas are warm. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.
Knabrus – Another traditional Central European dish for the New Year or Little Christmas
salt and pepper to taste
1 head of cabbage, finely cut
2 tablespoons butter
Butter a large cooking kettle well and fill with alternate layers of cabbage and sliced onions. Cover kettle and place over low flame and steam until veggies are tender. Season with salt, pepper and butter.
Meat of the Gods (Seika Goullash). Hungarian Segedinsky Guld
New Year’s Pork & Sauerkraut brings good luck for the coming year when present in the house on New Year’s Day. This dish is also known or removing negative energy that has built up in a household over the last year.
1 Green Pepper (Cleaned & Quartered)
1 Large Onion (Chopped)
2 Pounds Pork (Cubed)
16 Ounces Sour Cream
3 Pounds Sauerkraut
2 Tablespoons Oil
1/4 Cup Paprika
Sauté onions in oil until transparent in a large pan over medium heat.
Add paprika (if needed add more paprika to desired flavoring).
Add pork and sauté until meat is white.
Add water to fill pan halfway and bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to low.
Simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours.
Add sauerkraut and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and add sour cream.
Note – Serve with bread and dill pickle slices.