We ended up with 3/4 of an inch of rain overnight. It wasn’t heavy, just steady. The winds are variable around here. In town 2mph and the occasional gust, but there are spots where it’s running at closer to 20mph. Today and tomorrow it’s like to be mostly drier, with some rain overnight, but Thursday might get “interesting” in the way of wind and rain.
Yesterday seemed long. It was pretty quiet, although we did have some shoppers in, but we tried all day to get as far as doing the pickled cabbage and then didn’t manage it before class time. We were digging the bottles and jars out from under the compounding station and needed to clean up and put away stuff before I could start. I mostly was sorting out small stuff, so I don’t really feel like I accomplished anything. I did a little embroidery at one point and finished the back of a pouch that I’m working on, at least.
Class went very well last night. We had a lot of catching up to do, so more of it was talking about things going on, catching up on mutual news and research topics/questions than it was classtime, but that’s not a bad thing. Tempus had gone home and cleaned the fridge in the apartment. We’re going to store the pickles in the fridge that isn’t reliable as far as temp goes. We had tried keeping food in there….bad idea, but pickles only need to be cool, not at a constantly low temp.
Today it’s already past 1:30 and we haven’t had coffee , although Tempus is working on that, now. Since tonight is going to be shopping and a paper run, we’re talking it easy. Tempus has already done some chores and I’ve done a little sorting out of books. I’m working out where to put the current batch, rather than on the floor next to the bed.
Later, after we get some more chores done, we’ll head for the shop. I have some writing to do and then I’ll be starting on pickles and a trial run on haloupky that we’ll have to bake at home, tomorrow. Tempus will pick me up for the last of the run and it’s nice that the route goes right past the shop on the way home, because I can leave things in the fridge until then, without hurting anything.
Today’s Plant is Cascade Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquifolium, or Dull Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa. It’s a lovely, spiky-leaved large shrub or small tree with amazing clusters of bright, yellow flowers in the early spring. ull 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
Karel Capek, Czech novelist, short-story writer, playwright, essayist; born in Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now in the Czech Republic). He wrote R.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 is open 11-5pm Thursday through Monday, although we’re there a lot later most nights. 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
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 1/16 at 6:17pm. Waning Crescent Moon –Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 1/12 at 9:17am.
Mars and Jupiter have moved farther apart in the dawn by the time the Moon passes them . . .
After dinnertime now, the enormous <<<< Andromeda-Pegasus >>>> complex runs from near the zenith down toward the western horizon. Just west of the zenith, spot Andromeda’s foot: 2nd-magnitude Gamma Andromedae (Almach), slightly orange. About halfway from the zenith to the west horizon is the Great Square of Pegasus, balancing on one corner. Down from its bottom corner run the stars outlining Pegasus’s neck and head, ending at his nose: 2nd-magnitude Enif, due west and also slightly orange.
Both Venus and Pluto pass through conjunction with the Sun today, just 3 hours apart (although they’re 1.6° apart on the sky).
Mars and Jupiter(magnitudes +1.5, and –1.8, respectively) rise in the east-southeast around 3 a.m. and are high in the south-southeast by early dawn. Jupiter is the brightest point in the sky. Mars and Jupiter begin the week in a close conjunction, just 0.3° apart on the mornings of January 6th and 7th. Then Jupiter pulls away to the upper right, widening their separation to 3° by January 13th. Upper right of Jupiter is 3rd-magnitude Alpha (α) Librae, a very wide double star for binoculars.
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree Month of Beth/Birch, Dec 24 – Jan 20
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 Runic half-month of Perdhro/ Peorth, 1/12-1/27. – Feast of Brewing, Druidic, Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar.
©2017 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of 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 three trees in my front yard form root sprouts that would take over the bed where they are planted if I didn’t cut them back. 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
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Tu 9 High 6:28 AM 7.8 7:52 AM Rise 12:57 AM 51
~ 9 Low 1:12 PM 1.9 4:56 PM Set 12:31 PM
~ 9 High 6:56 PM 5.7
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – If you don’t love me by now, you never will. I am who I am.
~ The way we live our days, is the way we live our lives. – Annie Dillard
~ The world needs heroes, so why not you? – Kerr Cuhulain
~ There is only one cause of suffering: it is in you, it is about how you feel and design every event, every situation, every phenomenon. – Buddha
~ Those who can’t hear the music think the dancer is mad. – Anonymous
When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty and shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Imbolc Magick – Lore
Midwinter Feast of Light: Reviving the Magical Foods of Imbolc – JANUARY 20, 2016 / DANIELLE PROHOM OLSON – http://gathervictoria.com/2016/01/20/midwinter-feast-of-light-reviving-the-magical-foods-of-imbolc/
I love the ancient feast days of the pagan calendar. Celebrating the turn of the “great wheel of the year” through the solstices, equinoxes and cross quarter days, these “holy days” are the origin of most of our modern holidays. And no matter what ancestral culture you descend from, it’s a pretty safe bet that most of your beloved holiday foods were once “holy foods”, ritually prepared and consumed to bring fertility, good harvest and prosperity to the land.
Which is why Jennifer and I are once again busy in the kitchen. We’re preparing to celebrate one the oldest and most magical holy days of the ancient calendar- the upcoming Midwinter Festival of Light. Falling at the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox, it can be dated as far back as the Neolithic when megalithic chambers marked the light of the rising sun on this day.
Celebrated across Ireland, Britain and Scotland and Old Europe, it was known to the Celts as Imbolc, who welcomed the onset of spring in the form of their goddess Brigid (Brigit, Brighid, Bride, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd) who was known as the maiden of the sun. She revived the landscape from its winter slumber so that the agricultural year could begin. And in a time when winter cupboards began to run thin, the first appearance of her swelling buds and green shoots, were a promise of the return of the season of plenty.
I’m fascinated that Brigid is one of the few goddesses whose worship survived the onset of Christianity (although she was absorbed as St. Brigid and the religious festival of Candlemas). Many of her rites and food rituals are still observed today. This is likely due to the fact that the long arm of the invading Romans never managed to colonize Ireland.
All forms of light, heat and illumination were sacred to Brigid so it’s no wonder that Imbolc was marked with bonfires, blazing hearths, lit candles and a feast of sacred foods symbolizing the power of the sun. This was a high time for magic, for ritually burning off and releasing the old year and nourishing the new.
Today we might say these ancient people were practicing a kind of “sympathetic magic”, the belief that through intention, in harmony with the seasonal powers of nature, they could create an energy of blessing for themselves, their families and their community. And their ceremonial rituals of preparing and offering food were no exception.
This was a time when the ewes began to birth, lactating the “new milk” or “Oilmec” which was sacred to the Celts. During Imbolc it was customary to offer this milk to Brigid by pouring it onto the earth to assist the return of fertility to the land. And it was also made into special cheese and baked into breads, cakes, and pies, along with other magical ingredients associated with the sun (such as egg yolks and honey) for the Imbolc feast.
Another centrepiece of Imbolc food was butter because (according to thiswonderful compendium of Imbolc folklore and history) the churning of butter with a dash (a staff or plunger) was necessary for the fertilization of the brídeóg (a doll or effigy of Brigid) so central to Imbolc fertility customs. (See more on the Bridey Doll here)
Another important food ritual was the making of the Bonnach Bride or Bannock of Bride (an oatcake made with fruits and nuts). On the eve of St Brìde’s day it was customary for mothers to give out gifts of bannocks, along with cheese or butter to the girls who visited each house with the Brìde’s doll. The Bonnach Bride was also eaten in the fields so that a piece could be thrown over the shoulder to honour Brigid and nourish the land.
Pancakes were eaten because, round and golden, they resembled the sun. This promised an abundant harvest of wheat and saving the last pancake in the cupboard ensured there would be enough flour to last out the year. Wishes were made while flipping a pancake in the air and trinkets were also placed into pancake batter as a way to divine one’s future prospects for the forthcoming year.
Brigid was believed to be a teacher of ‘herbcraft” and so many plants and flowers sacred to her, such as sage, heather, violets, rosemary and blackberry were often featured in Imbolc foods. Each came with their own magical purpose, rosemary and sage for example, brought their powers of purification and cleansing, so ritually important at this time of new beginnings.
These are only a few of the foods and culinary traditions of Imbolc passed down to us through folklore – ones that we’ll be reviving once again at our own Midwinter celebration. As per tradition, we’ll craft Brigid crosses or sun wheels (which are hung on the door to invite Brigid’s blessings into our home) weave floral fertility crowns, and light an altar of burning candles in her honour.
Then we’ll be serving up some Imbolc magic in dishes like sheep cheese, braided breads, herb and honey butters, and creamy tarts and savoury pies. There might even be a pancake “cake”so that we can enjoy a little old fashioned divination!
We’ll also add a touch of the wild by featuring the new fresh greens and herbs that appear in early spring. Wild garlic has been used as an herb with fish and to flavour soups, stews, potato dishes and in salads since the days of the Celts. Similarly wild mustards and winter cress was consumed in the UK in spring pottages and stews. And of course dandelion greens (a plant sacred to Brigid) have been eaten since ancient times.
So please join us as we celebrate some old world food magic at the Midwinter Feast of Lights. We’ll raise a toast to the bride of new beginnings and partake in some of the magical foods of spring. Happy Imbolc!
Silliness – Too Much Television
Q: How do you know a kid who’s watches too much TV? A: You ask a five-year-old what sound a duck makes, and his answered “AFLAC!”