It’s pouring. We’re going into one of the storm cycles (I’m tempted to say, “lather, rinse, repeat”….) that are much more normal for this time of year than what we’ve been getting, *just* in time for a possible Northern Lights! There was a huge sun-flare yesterday and they were saying possibly as far south as Illinois…..
We worked hard yesterday, even if we started late. Tempus made pancakes for breakfast. After that we settled in to cleaning. Lupa and Steve stopped by late in the afternoon to drop off some posters. Eventually I went from cleaning to cooking/baking. Before bedtime I made 4 seed cakes, 3 spice cakes, 4 olive/caper bread loaves, a beef/barley stew, a veg soup and I drew a jumble page in between all the rest! …and then when I went to bed, I kept coughing and having to sit up, as tired as I was, so I’m running late this morning. Tempus has already taken off for the shop. I’m going to follow as soon as I’ve gotten this out, gotten a shower and put away the soup broth that’s going on the stove.
Today is Sash’s birthday, so Tempus is going to go pick him up in Newport later and then we’re going to spend the day together.
Today’s Plant is Cascade Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquifolium, or Dull Oregon Grape Mahonia nervosa, occasionally called Holly Grape. It’s a lovely, spiky-leaved large shrub or small tree with amazing clusters of bright, yellow flowers in the early spring. Dull Oregon Grape is a shorter plant with duller leaves with a nerve-like pattern of veins, but they both have the same magickal properties. The locals used it to help with rheumatism and it has been tested to replace Goldenseal in the pharmacopeia with some good results. The fruits can be made into jam or wine, although they’re too sour to eat. Feminine, Earth, carry to draw money and prosperity, or popularity. More on aquifolium here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_grape and on nervosa here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahonia_nervosa
Czech novelist, short-story writer, playwright, essayist; born in Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now in the Czech Republic). He wroteR.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), in which the word ‘robot’ first appeared and the play Ze života hmyzu (Life Among the Insects) which Grandma and I saw when in Prague. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karel_Capek
I have a personal “funny” associated with that play. It’s a satire, as is much of Capek’s work, comparing different types of societies to different insects. I was having no trouble with the vocabulary, but Grandma was missing some of the more adult colloquialisms that she never learned, having been working hard at learning English as her second language at the same age that I learned Czech as mine…and I learned it from lurking under the dining table while the teti were chatting. They usually forgot I was there….. So we got to the part of the play where a butterfly throws herself on her back with her legs in the air and yells, “Oh, somebody f*** me!” There was a titter from the audience and then Grandma said loudly, in English and the too-loud tones of the hearing-impaired, “WHAT did she say?” The audience roared….. It took me 3 tries to explain what had happened, later, but Grandma howled with laughter once she realized what she had said.
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
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 Full on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 8:52 p.m. PST. 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 at the Full pm 1/14 at 5:52am.
Look left of the Moon at nightfall for the Pleiades. The Pleiades are straight above the Moon by about 8 or 9.
Bright Capella high overhead and bright Rigel in Orion’s foot, both magnitude 0, have almost the same right ascension — so they cross your sky’s north-south meridian at almost the same time. Capella passes closest to straight overhead around 10 p.m., depending on how far east or west you live in your time zone. (It goes exactly through the zenith if you’re at latitude 46° north: Portland, Oregon; Montreal; central France.) So, when Capella is passing closest to the zenith, Rigel always marks true south over your landscape.
Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Pisces) is still high in the south-southwest and Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) is getting low in the southwest after dark. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/Uranus-and-Neptune-in-2013-190064991.html
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
©2014 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 – By attending to my heart’s needs, I live a fulfilled life
~ Beauty is but the sensible image of the Infinite. Like truth and justice it lives within us; like virtue and the moral law it is a companion of the soul. – George Bancroft (1800-1891) US historian, statesman
~ If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful! – Charles Barkley
~ The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers. – Dave Barry
~ You can’t fly a kite unless you go against the wind and have a weight to keep it from turning somersaults. The same with man. No man will succeed unless he is ready to face and overcome difficulties and is prepared to assume responsibilities. – William J. H. Boetcker
In the Middle
of a life that’s as complicated as everyone else’s,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather’s
has stopped at 9:20; we haven’t had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don’t ring. One day you look out the window,
green summer, the next, and the leaves have already fallen,
and a grey sky lowers the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happened so fast. Each day, we must learn
again how to love, between morning’s quick coffee
and evening’s slow return. Steam from a pot of soup rises,
mixing with the yeasty smell of baking bread. Our bodies
twine, and the big black dog pushes his great head between;
his tail is a metronome, 3/4 time. We’ll never get there,
Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging
us on faster, faster, but sometimes we take off our watches,
sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh
of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up
in love, running out of time. – Barbara Crooker (Yarrow)
¾ cup cooked squash
2 cup milk
2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
Strain the squash and add the milk and water together with it in a pot. Bring the mixture to the boiling point, add the flour and butter. Cook until the liquid becomes thick, stirring constantly. Add your salt and pepper to taste.
Antioxidant Loaded Winter Veggie Soup From: herbalmuse Inspired by Soup Makes the Meal, by Ken Haedrich (Harvard Common Press, 2001).
The author of this wonderful cookbook says he’s been making this light restorative soup for his kids when they’re sick for years–but that it’s so delicious, you don’t have to be sick to enjoy it! Either way, its luscious fragrance helps to clear the sinuses, with potatoes that are soothing to the digestive tract and a delightful broth filled with spinach, parsley, leeks, and garlic for minerals, vitamins, and healing antioxidants plus some winter root vegetables for sweetness.
A steaming bowlful on a cold winter day is so wonderfully soothing and comforting–and it is very quick to make.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, well-washed, white parts only, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large potato, diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Large handful fresh spinach leaves (around 4 ounces), rinsed and coarsely chopped
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the leeks, carrot, potato, parsnip, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat about 5 minutes. Add stock and salt to taste, then bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer soup, partially covered, for about 5 minutes, then stir in parsley and spinach. Simmer, partially covered, about 5 more minutes. Add pepper to taste and serve piping hot.
Serves 4 to 5.
Wisconsin Cheese Soup
5 tablespoons butter
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ green pepper, seeded and finely chopped
5 mushrooms, chopped
½ cup cooked ham, finely chopped
½ cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 quart of chicken broth
1 quart of milk
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
In a large heavy kettle, melt butter; add carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, mushrooms and ham. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are crisp tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown. Add flour and cornstarch, cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
Add broth to pot and cooking, stirring until slightly thickened. Add milk, paprika, cayenne and mustard. Stir in cheese gradually, stirring until cheese is melted. To avoid curdling, do not allow soup to boil after cheese is added. Season to taste with salt and pepper.