Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Honey Badger as Your Emergency Totem: A Kiss With a Fist is Better Than None

So, my friend DonCoyote suggested that all of his circle of friends take up the Honey Badger as their new totems (he's sort of shamany by way of White Wolf). My first thought was, a badger? WTF is a badger going to do? Chew on things? In my head, badgers were in the same vague category as a beaver. Oh no no no no, bear as a small child I once knew would say. Watch the video. For real. I'll wait.


Naturally, I entertained the idea of soliciting the honey badger into my coterie o' spirits after learning this . . .for like a second. And then I thought about what a person who follows honey badger would act like. More cunning than Lady MacBeth, braver than Beatrice and crazier than Ophelia. In other words, Georgina Sparks (played by the awesome Michelle Trachtenberg) from GossipGirl who makes Blair Waldorf look like an innocent babe in the woods. Now, don't get me wrong. I loves me some Georgie. . .on the telly. I would never want to emulate her because while her crazy is awesome, it's also terrifying and hella chaotic.

Now. Our friend Jason Miller has managed to permeate the permanent fog in my brain usually taken up by reality television and gossip to drill into it the mantra for every magic user worth her salt, "Emergency magic is bad magic." This has managed to stick with me along with other important mantras such as, Guests of guests do not bring guests! and Time is not money, time is your life!

And he's right. When you're desperate, you're not thinking clearly, you're not planning properly and your casting is likely going to be somewhat chaotic. If you are often in need of money, you need to be constantly working on your income streams and doing magic to ensure everything keeps working right. If you're often love lorn, make sure you're trying different methods of dating, grooming and keeping up a steady stream of magic.

But. I also know that sometimes we all have the problem outlined in a song from Repo: The Genetic Opera, and none of us are free from this horror/ for many years ago, we all fell in debt . . .where our backs are up against a wall and either we hadn't been doing everything we could be possibly doing to prevent it or whatever we were doing simply wasn't enough. And we're in trouble.

This is where I would suggest using the Honey Badger as a *very* desperate *very* last ditch attempt to get your shit together. With the *very* strong caveat that he may change up your internal landscape permanently, he may change your life permanently and there's a chance you may pick up some mental illness along the way. Of course, there's also the chance that he may help you to become faster, braver, stronger and more cunning and bring abundance (honey badgers don't generally starve, even on the Savannah). Those are some hardcore dice to be rolling however, my friend so think *very* carefully before rolling them. If you do though - blog or it never happened!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Retro Recipe Monday: Moar Cooking with Company

The next morning, I'm late as usual
Karen's there fresh as a daisy
She says with a smile, "You look like hell
And where you last night?"

The holidaze has been full of visiting with all of my family and a near constant food/champagne food coma. So much so, that Jow and I decided to start our own experiment on changing our life habits. So far, it's a pain in the ass. It's not magical per se, though whenever exerting one's will over the universe/inertia is really, so I will be more tumblr'ing and tweeting about that and other things like my terrible tv habits and learning to use my spinning wheel.

BTW, in case you were wondering, the cats like our new popcorn popper about as much as they like the vacuum. But . . .they're also super high on holiday catnip, so . . .paranoid trade off.

Onto the recipe!

Rosy Ham Ring
Letters from women, praising this pretty loaf, prompt us to reprint the recipe from our Freezing & Canning Cookbook.

3 lbs. ground smoked ham
1 lb. ground pork
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
Tomato Basting Sauce

* Combine all ingredients except sauce; mix well. In a 16x11" baking pan, shape with hands to make a ring (or loaf) about 10' across. Pour over half of sauce.

* Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) minutes; pour remaining sauce and bake 45 minutes longer, basting several times with sauce. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

Tomato Basting Sauce: Combine 1 can condensed tomato soup, 1/2 c. vinegar, 1/2 c. brown sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard.

Note: You can mix this loaf a few days early and freeze it. Allow a little longer cooking time. At serving time fill the center of the ring with buttered peas, corn or succotash.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Model UN and Solstice

Me: Filthy Reclaimist accustomed to improv and compromise in a rit, more of a group practitioner than private practitioner, roots in less book oriented spirituality such as Dianic Wicca, Shamanism, Hoodoo and Kitchen Witchery.

Jow: Ceremonial Magician, accustomed to working alone in a structured setting, roots in things that require a lot of reading like Hermeticism and other ceremonial traditions, raised as an only child (his older sisters were grown).

Now do a ritual together!

The planning always ends with me simultaneously wanting to strangle Jow and bang my own head against a desk until I stop moving. The *easy* and *obvious* answer is to stop working together but that seems like a cop out to me, since we live together and both do magic. And while yes, as per the blogosphere, the Solstice/Full Moon/Eclipse has many convoluted meanings and ramifications to it, I was excited to do magic on a day where these things haven't happened simultaneously in over four hundred years. Also, I am currently unemployed and can stay up til 3:30a so I wanted to take that while I could get it.

Picture it! We're in our living room, we've just devoured tasty tacos and are feeling pretty good. We cleaned ALL THINGS (at least all closets, pantries and fridge) and things are looking good.

Then we start talking litergy.

Me: I'd like to raise energy together to focus together on our work.

Him: Okay.

Me: Keen! Okay, maybe a song or a chant?

Him: Sounds good.

Me: (Suggests like NINTY BILLION songs and chants coming from various pagan traditions as well as modern songs and potentially playing music and just rocking out)

Him: (Rejects everything)

Me: (Asks him to suggest something)

Him: (suggests something unpronounceable)

Me: (Explains the point of raising energy as I was taught was to get focused, in an egregor, etc which means everyone needs to pronounce it and the meaning of the words are important but . . .pronunciation is more important)

Him: (Rejects further ideas)

Me: (Gets aggravated)

Him: (FINALLY suggests to use the chant from the movie The Craft)


Him: Yes.

Me: But you said -- Rrrrrrrrrrrgh.

Him: You like the chant though.

Me (sulkily): Yes.

Him: So let's use it.

Me: Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

Forget even getting into the conversation about purification. Eventually, he said, I just need things to be explained as to why you would want to use them. I said, um, telling me that would have been muy helpful. Him: Oh . . .right.

We then discussed if working together magically was going to be possible. Mind you, neither of us were used to being up super late anymore so we were both feeling cranky. After a cup of tea, we had decided to try to do work in Cornish witchcraft we were both enamoured of from a video.

Why this will (probably) work:

1. We already bought stuff for a Wiccan altar and would like to use it.

2. Jow expressed interest in learning trad witchcraft.

3. I expressed interest in learning more formalized witchcraft.

4. We like the British lady from the video, she uses a neat . . . like boomarang on a string to draw her space.

5. I would like to learn more formalized practice and have more of a personal at home practice with rituals.

6. Jow wants to learn more about "Gen Ed" paganism and how to work in a group with others.

7. We would only need to buy a couple books.

But, this is for the future. Despite crankiness and difficulty, we managed to put together a lovely, simple ritual that resonated with both of us. We started by ringing a bell and then smudging with sage. Jow invoked to Ganesha as gatekeeper, I invoked the moon. We did our chant (which did work wonderfully for us, sulkiness aside, he hit the nail right on the head there) and had two of our fanciest glasses and a bottle of St. Germaine (which is currently the fanciest and most coveted booze we own right now) and we each took turns invoking our personal god/desses and making our petitions. It flowed really well and naturally and it had a quiet kind of power to it. We had two candles lit and our little rosemary christmas tree in the center of our table with our grapevine star. We both were v. eloquent if I do say so myself and poured libations. We then went outside to admire the eclipse and the moon (so crystal clear and gorgeous) and to offer our libations.

We weren't going to do a divination as to how our spellwork went and that turned out to be a correct instinct. Because at ADF GoG when we do so, it's "So gods! How'd you like the party?" And they're either like, it was awesome! Good things are coming!/Let me warn you about some things . . .Or occasionally, outcome unclear. (Generally when the invited guests were unsure as to how to behave at the party. Like, being invited into a cultural party where you don't have any idea of what's going on and you're like, the food was weird but okay? I couldn't understand the people? But it was nice of them to invite me?) Once in a v. great while, something that borders on, Boooo! Did not like!

Our cards both came out v. "Good things could happen from this! Or bad! I don't know!" Which I think was more of the result of us asking for a whole lot of things and not yet having done any real work towards it. It was asking a lot to get a solid yay or nay this early in, it felt v. much like the wheel was still spinning.

But all in all, the rit was v. solid and felt like it went well. I'm glad we did it!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Retro Recipe Monday: Pineapple-Cheese Salad

Oh you scamp, Cooking for Company. For you, Charmers, I have marked so many recipes in here. While I was doing so (sober!), I kept saying to J^1 and J^2, "these things that I know, I cannot unknow!" More and more frantically and then eventually just despondently as the evening went on.

Pain shared is pain multiplied!

Pineapple-Cheese Salad

A church supper special that's also a winner in "at home" guest meals

2 pkgs. lemon flavor gelatin
2 c. boiling water
2 c. cold water
6 bananas, peeled and sliced
2 c. miniature or cut up marshmallows
1/2 c. sugar
3 tblsp. cornstarch
2 (8 1/2 oz.) cans crushed pineapple, undrained
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

* Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; add cold water and chill until syrupy. Stir in sliced bananas and marshmallows. Pour into 13 x 9 x 2" pan. Chill until set.

* Mix sugar and cornstarch; add to undrained pineapple. Cook over medium heat, stirring consistently, until thickened. Cool.

* Whip heavy cream and fold into cooled pineapple mixture along with half of the shredded cheese. Spread mixture on congealed lemon gelatin.

* Sprinkle remainder of shredded cheese over top. Chill overnight. Cut into squares. Makes 12 to 15 servings.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Festival Celebrations Notes, Pictures and Recipes

Gordon made an excellent post about having one's own festival of festivals and I decided, why not!

Agonalia – December 11
My sacrifice came in the form of continuing to work to reorganize our condo so that I will have an easier time crafting and working on putting together our office in Spare Oom. I put together a new centerpiece on our living room table - green/gold taffeta (cha-ching!), gold yarn balls in a trifle dish, green crystals and small bits of metal with words like "love" and "inspiration" on them. I also spoke extensively to my crafting partner about starting to go to shows, etc.

The Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe - December 12
The Lady of Guadalupe has been v. kind to myself and my family and I wanted to show my appreciation to her for all the kindness she's shown me. So I got her a bouquet of flowers in whites and blue-purples with a blue cloth wrapped around them. I also gave her a small chocolate cake and lit her candle and said a Hail Mary and read her psalm and gave thanks.

Longest Night - December 13
When I think longest night, I will confess, I think of Kushiel's which means I think of alternate history France, Terre d'Ange where they would have sexy naughty parties to celebrate, while toasting to the Longest Night with tiny cups of joie. Which sounds exactly how I want to celebrate! It's also Jow's birthday. Since money has been a bit tight this year for everyone, my friend who was going to have a Longest Night Masque had to cancel. We made a menu of French inspired food that also has bright sunny flavors and lit a lot of tealights in the living room. We also decided to watch an old movie that took place in France. Jow and I decided celebrate anyway. The author has gone on record saying that St. Germain is the closest equivalent to joie. I had never had St. Germain before, but I got to try it in a cocktail recently. We started with a straight shot of it to toast the Longest Night and it was like drinking delicious flowers. Our bottle happened to be unreasonably difficult to open, but we eventually managed it.

Appetizer: Lemon-Thyme Ricotta Appetizer

1 cup part skim ricotta
8 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tablespoon honey
bag of bruscetta toast
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together except the toasts. Microwave for 1 minute. Put on toasts.

Cocktail: French Greyhound

2 pink grapefruits, juiced
12 counts vodka
6 counts St. Germaine

Mix together in a pitcher. Serve chilled, in martini glasses. Makes . . .8 cocktails? That part is admittedly a little blurry.

Dinner: Ribbon Pasta in a Pistou Sauce with Sausage

1 package egg ribbon pasta
2 bunches basil
2 vine ripe tomatoes, deseeded
4 cloves garlic
1/4 pound good gouda (I recommend 5 year)
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 capfuls of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 pack Chicken Andouille Sausage

Put the basil, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, gouda, lemon and salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse until it's at a pesto consistency. Grill the sausage on a Foreman grill and cut into pieces. Make the ribbon noodles according to the package. Drain. Mix the pistou together with the pasta and sausage. Serve.

By now, if you're doing things correctly, you are likely v. drunk.

Dessert: Sugar Cookies with Lemon Curd

1 package of soft baked sugar cookies
3 tablespoons of lemon curd

Put the lemon curd in a ramekin. Dip the cookies which came made in the package into the lemon curd. Nom!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Recipe Monday: Postponed Until Tuesday

I'm postponing until Tuesday as we will be celebrating Longest Night tonight and I want to test run the recipes tonight and post them tomorrow.

The menu to keep you interested:
Lemon-Thyme Bruschetta Appetizer
Ribbon Pasta with Pista and Grilled Sausage
Madelines or Lemon bars (from the bakery though I know how to make Madelines)
French Greyhound Cocktails

Thursday, December 9, 2010

L. and the Surprise Tree

L.: sorry got distracted when getting coffee
on the other hand suprise tree is watered

me: . . . .?

L.: we got back from thanksgiving and found a tree planted out front

me: by a mysterious force?
or do we know by whom?

L.: fairmount park commision
we had applied last year to get a tree planted, heard nothing. spring came and went and no tree, so we figured our letter got lost in the mail

me: lol

L.: tree was a surprise as well, i can't think of anyone who would plant a tree after there had been snow in the air

me: that's pretty awesome

L.: i just hope it doesn't die

me: to make sure it doesn't die, you should wassail it.

L.: i think my singing at the tree might encourage its suicide

me: there's also something about bread and wool too i think
i did it once

L.: i think the tree spirits would be more inclined to listen to you than to me. also its not an apple tree

me: bah!
they still want attention
you could try hugs?

L.: are just trying to make my neighbors think i'm all sorts of "special" aren't you?

me: when your tree dies i'll do the i told you so dance ;p

L.: when my tree dies it will because it was planted in the wrong damn season

Later . . .

L.: woot! i think i finally perfected the way i have to do things
/me is now happy and should make progress quickly?

me: . . .yes.
the tree said so.
it will be a quick way to determine if your new tree is a liar or not.

L.: you have a telepathic bond with my tree?

me: not yet.
but it im'ed me.
Tree: Tell Lisa progress will go well.
Me: How do I know if I can believe you, Tree?
Tree: Would a tree lie?
Me: . . . no?
Now it has an away message up about how it just leveled up in his game.
I didn't think to ask which one.

L.: ...its like a combination between the kite eating tree and hobbes

The End!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Songs as Spells: I ain't got much book learnin'/ but I've got charms to win the race . . .

So, here's where my Hollow Ones methods really come to light. True confession time, Charmers (that's what I'm calling you from now on readers, hope it's cool!), my biggest stumbling point with Hoodoo is the use of Psalms. It . . .just does not do it for me generally speaking and really doesn't do it for me with the Psalms typically used. They just don't resonate with me and if it doesn't resonate then . . .how do I complete the spell?

Sure, as a writer I can occasionally come up with clever rhymes of my own but . . .it's limited to a certain extent. It can be hard for me to really raise energy that way sometimes to put into the spell and to focus since I don't have much of a meditation background. Well, you know what helps? Songs. Preferably modern songs. Think about things like Bards and how powerful their words can be. A really good song writer/singer/musical arrangement can be uberpowerful and really add a punch to your spellwork. It also really helps me focus because the song (I usually either "play" it in my head, actually play it or sing it, depending on the work) keeps my monkey brain busy enough to really focus on the work at hand. And as the words really crescendo, so does the spell. My suggestions are going to be v. based on what I'm into, you can substitute whatever you like and whatever works for you.

If you give this a try, drop me an email or a comment and let me know how it goes!

Florence + The Machine: Cosmic Love
Relevant Lyrics: The stars/ the moon/ have all been blown out/ you left me in the dark/ no dawn/ no day/ I'm always in the twilight in the shadow of your heart/ but in the dark/ I can hear your heart beat/ I tried to find the sun/ but then/ I was in the darkness/ so darkness I became/ The stars!/ The moon!

Florence + The Machine: Raise It Up (Rabbit Heart)
Relevant Lyrics: The looking glass, so shiny and new/ How quickly the glamour fades/ I start spinning, slipping out of time/ Was it the wrong pill to take/ Raise up it!/ We raise it up, this offering/ We raise it up/ This is a gift/ it comes with a price/ Who is the lamb and who is the knife?


Hole: Doll Parts
Relevant Lyrics: Yeah, they really want you, they really want you, they really do/ Yeah they really want you, they really want you, but I do too/ I want to be the girl with the most cake

The Tiny: Everything is Free Now
Relevant Lyrics: I could get a straight job/ I've done it before/I never minded working hard/ It is who I'm working for/ Or I could get a tip job/ gas up a car/ or try to make a little change/ down at the bar/ Every day I wake up/ Am humming this song/ and I don't need to run around/ I can just stay at home/ and sing this little love song/ for the love in myself/ if there's something that you wanna hear/ you can sing it yourself/ Cause everything is free now/ That's what I say

Love/Lust Related Spells

Florence + the Machine: Drumming Song
Relevant Lyrics: Louder than sirens/ Louder than bells/ Sweeter than heaven/ And hotter than hell/ As I move my feet towards your body/ I can hear this beat/ and it gets louder and louder/ I run to the river/ I pray that the water will drown out the din/ But as the water fills my mouth/ It couldn't wash the echoes out/ But as the water fills my mouth/ It couldn't wash the echoes out/ I swallow the sound and it swallows me whole/ Till there's nothing left inside my soul/ As empty as that beating drum/ But the sound has just begun. . . .

Fiona Apple: First Taste
Relevant Lyrics: I do not struggle in your web/ for it was my aim to get caught/ but daddy longlegs I fear/ That I'm finally getting weary/ of waiting to be consumed by you/ Give me the first taste/ heaven cannot wait forever/ Darling just start the chase/ but you must make the endeavor . . .

Rasputina: If Your Kisses Can't Hold the Man You Love
Relevant Lyrics: Every time that I hear a woman cry 'cos her man has left her flat
I just feel like saying, "don't be such a fool, you fool."/ Better dry your eyes, can't you realize/ You gain nothing by that/ Well, that's no way to keep his heart warm, baby,/ When his love grows cool/ Don't cry for him or chase him/ Just go out and replace him/ With some good looking Tom, Dick or Jack/ 'Cos if your kisses won't hold the man you love / Then your tears won't bring him back


The Pierces: Ruin
Relevant Lyrics: I do not want for you to be happy/ I do not want for you to be happy/ All that I want/ is for you to come to ruin/ all that I want/ is for you to come to ruin/ I want you to come to ruin/ I want you to come to ruin. . .

April March: Chick Habit
Relevant Lyrics: hang up the chick habit / hang it up, daddy, / a girl's not a tonic or a pill / hang up the chick habit /hang it up, daddy, /you're just jonesing for a spill / oh, how your bubble's gonna burst / when you meet another nurse
she'll be driving in a hearse / you're gonna need a heap of glue / when they all catch up with you and they cut you up in two / now your ears are ringing / the birds have stopped their singing /everything is turning grey . . .

Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
Relevant Lyrics: He left no time to regret / Kept his dick wet / With his same old safe bet /Me and my head high / And my tears dry / Get on without my guy / You went back to what you knew / So far removed from all that we went through / And I tread a troubled track / My odds are stacked / I'll go back to black / We only said good-bye with words / I died a hundred times / You go back to her / And I go back to black

Dresden Dolls: Backstabber
Relevant Lyrics: you always struck me as the type to take it lightly /but now you’re gonna have to shut your mouth or fight me/ backstabber, backstabber/ show us what you’re good for / stick it to the noise board / come on join the bloodsport/ backstabber, backstabber, backstabber . . .

Spell Sealing

The Pierces: Sticks and Stones
Relevant Lyrics: Seven times I pierce my heart/ and now you feel the magic start/ bind thy heart and soul to me/ As I do will/ so let it be. . .

Evanesance: Bring Me to Life
Relevant Lyrics: Wake me up inside/ wake me up inside/ call my name and save me from the dark/ bid my blood to run/ Before I come undone/ Breathe into me and make me real/ Bring me to life/ wake me up/ Wake me up inside. . .

Thoughts? Additions?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Recipe Monday: Back to Cooking with Company

Another retro recipe as last night Jow and I decided to make these drinks I had at an awesome speak easy in NYC last night so we're still waking up. As a bonus, I will include that as well! Next week, I will even write up one of my own (probably).

A random note, my job's final financial arrangements are still in progress (and it's a confirmed fact, my mom's accounting company does accounting for my company so there's nothing shady going on) but final tea was had. I find this arrangement frustrating, so to rebel for the first time ever I dyed purple streaks in my hair. I have worked for The Man since I was fourteen so I was never able to. Now that I will be a freelancer (and thanks for the vids, Gordon! That was happy making this morning), I can do what I want. Next on my list: a v. small nose stud piercing in my right nostril.

As usual, if you make this (ideally with pics), you get a guest blog spot for a Recipe Monday to describe your pain.

Chicken-Nut Casserole

A well-seasoned company casserole. Nuts and celery add crunchiness.

1 stewing chicken (3 1/2 lbs. or more), simmered, covered in water until tender
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. walnuts, pecans or almonds, chopped
2 tblsp. minced onion
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 c. mayonnaise
2 tblsp. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Fine buttered bread crumbs or crushed potato chips

* Remove chicken meat from bones and chop. Mix with remaining ingredients, except bread crumbs and paprika.

* Turn chicken mixture into buttered 2-qt. casserole. Top with buttered bread crumbs and sprinkle with paprika.

* Bake, uncovered, in a moderate oven (350 degrees) until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: This casserole may be wrapped and frozen before or after baking.

Nouveau Vodka Cranberry (based on a recipe from Madam Geneva)

6 counts vodka
1 teaspoon cranberry preserves

Pour the vodka. Mix the preserves into the vodka until dissolved. Top with seltzer. Enjoy with your chicken-nut casserole!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanks for all the fish!

Being thankful is something I'm often thinking about. It started in college actually, when my friend Dylan and I were mopey gothity kids and the world was of course too much to bear as it often is when you're twenty. Somehow, in our correspondence, we decided we would list three things we were glad about in each email. At first there was much flailing and posturing, but we started to mean it. When I told my friend April (who was also a proper gothity child of the late 90's) she sarcastically said, What are you? Playing the Glad Game? And I said, yes.

Somehow, we went from Dylan and I playing the Glad Game to our whole circle of friends playing through email. Sometimes we'd play a lot and sometimes we'd add notes about bad things going on. When something bad was going on, people would reach out to each other, even if they were a friend of a friend of a friend. We were tied together by the Glad Game. There would be dormant periods of course, sometimes for a long time, even a year or two. But we started playing again on Facebook, though we were in a dormant phase again until like a minute ago when I restarted it. Usually I find when we are most stressed and least glad, we need it most. So I send inspiring little messages to my Pollyannas like, "Hey Pollyannas, give us a shout out! Something must be making your miserable asses happy!"

Jason's post about thankfulness of course made me think too. Before my divorce, in a lot of ways I was a very different person. I thought more, more, more would make me happy - I thought more shoes, more expensive purses, more jewelry, more thin, more achievements, more living space would all make me happy. And . . .it didn't. It just got me more debt. I wasn't happy, I was stressed and exhausted and miserable with trying to keep up the facade of being the girl with the most cake. When my divorce happened and my financial situation dramatically changed, I learned to be thankful for much simpler things. And here's the thing, I was genuinely thankful for those things. Really and truly. And I became so much happier and more appreciative for what I had.

When I feel stressed, I give thanks to my gods for all that I have, all my first world things. My list includes:
* Being a homeowner and for my Goldilocks space that's just right, more over a roof over my head
* Heat
* A car that works
* Enough writing opportunities for a career
* All my clothes
* Enough food in my mouth
* My phone and my laptop and tv (and dvr honestly) and internet access
* My couch, dining room table and bed
* My loved ones

Sometimes, it's hard to be grateful for getting what you asked for. I asked for money, ideally in the form of a severance (it's still up in the air, long story) and I got called back to my day job for a couple days. While I'm sick and it's a major headfuck and making me a complete and utter neurotic mess because I'm trying to adjust to my new life, it's money. And I need to be thankful for it. So I am.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Hearth Goddess: Parvati

Mrs. B just posted about working with Hestia on her blog, so I thought I'd discuss my relationship with my Hearth Goddess, Parvati.

I didn't instantly know I wanted to work with her, it was more like a long parade of failed dates with other hearth goddesses. A lot of my grove is totes into Bridget and I like her okay and all, but . . .we just never connected well. Sure we'd make polite conversation but that was about it. Frigga? Me and Norse do not gel well together and at the risk of offending readers, many of the people I know have not been treated kindly by the Norse pantheon and . . .I am not really a maschochist, I don't need you to hurt me to prove that you love me. Hestia? Well, closer, I'm more on the Greek (and later Hindu) side of the Indo-European pantheons but . . . she's v. no frills and not in a romantic relationship. Lakshmi? Closer as well due to pantheon, in a relationship but has Miss Martha standards I could not ever hope to fulfill.

My relationship with Parvati really started when Jow and I were invoking them for a Beltane a few years ago and the more I read about her the more I liked her and the more I started working with her, the more I liked her. Also, where Jow and I were in our relationship was similiar to how theirs seemed to work which really made it resonate.

From an old journal entry of mine on the matter:
Funnily, yesterday I got hit over the head with the Parvati stick. It started out as I was doing some research about her in her relationship with Shiva and it was just really resonating with me. I had long since longed to have a kitchen witch patron, none of the hearth goddesses I knew about (Hestia, Frigga, Bridget, etc.) ever really resonated with me which was a complete bummer since so much of what I do is housewifery, so you can imagine how excited I was to learn that there is a Divine Housewife!

I spent a lot of yesterday mangling processing things through my tiny human brain. Like her story about eating only wet leaves until Shiva noticed her. My initial kneejerk reaction was a dismayed, Really Parvati? All that? Over a boy god? But then I started thinking about how hardcore it was that she was so determined to get what she wanted she wasn't going to let anybody stop her. And well I tend to be similarly bent when I get determined about something and for a woman to be determined to make her own fate, that's pretty awesome to me.

The next hurdle I had to consider was that even after she went through all that, he still tested her some more. And I was like, that's crap! And then I thought, well . . .when Mr. Gray did it to Leigh in Secretary (. . .look, I told you that this would be a mangled process), I totally cosigned on that! Even when I was watching it with other kinked people who were all, that's a bit much. I thought to myself, not really . . .So if I think about it like that, it makes sense to me.

And then I started think about their marriage and how much I dig it. I have always been a proponent of having one's own life, and there's nothing like having eons without someone to make sure you're taking care of your own shit. And when you get back together . . .:: swoony sigh:: For this aspect, I thought a lot about my relationship with J. And Parvati sometimes gets aggravated with Shiva so again, click.


Reasons to Like Parvati:

1. She has realistic expectations of how neat one's house can be when you are living with a cremation grounds spouse who brings home his cremation ground friends and you have kids.

2. She is super super determined. If she wants something to happen, it's going to happen. What? You don't love me? That's cool. I'ma sit here UNTIL I MAKE YOU WITH MY SHEER FORCE OF WILL.

3. She is v. kind and v. nice about whatever efforts you make to do nice things for her.

4. She has her own life and her own shit to do.

5. She is not a surrendered housewife. She is not afraid to start shit with Shiva or yell back.

6. She enjoys sex! And a happy marriage! And motherhood!

7. Shiva's main thing is "being", her main thing is "doing". She is definitely inspiring to get your ass in gear to do.


If you would like to start honoring Parvati in your life, puja is the best way to do that.

A v. basic puja requires:

* a v. small clay bowl
* A picture of Parvati
* Kumkum powder
* Ghee
* A bell
* Sweets
* Cotton wicks
* Incense

1. Starting facing the picture of Parvati, turn in a circle clockwise, clapping your hands eight times for the eight directions.

2. Ring bell.

3. Thank Ganesha for being awesome (he always comes first).

4. Soak your wick in some ghee in the clay bowl. When lighting it, thank Agni for being fire and acting as the gate keeper.

5. Tell Parvati about the sweets and incense you got her. Tell her how awesome she is. Tell her why you want to work with her. Ask for her help, etc. Make sure to light the incense.

6. Put some kumkum powder on the picture (on her head and feet) and then take a little off the picture and put it in your hair.

7. Thank Ganesha for his presence. Thank Agni for his presence. Thank Parvati for her presence.

7. Ring the bell.

8. Clap your hands in a circle clockwise in all eight directions.

9. SUPER IMPORTANT!!! You *MUST* eat some of the food you gave them or they will think you gave them crappy food. If you give flowers, some flowers must be given to others, etc.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recipe Monday: There are only two great foes to successful meal planning - Monotony and Fear.

So, my sister just had her baby boy (Logan Robert), Thanksgiving was had, job was mostly finished though I will be working a shift this week and hopefully having holiday lunch this week. Of course, that means that I'm exhausted, fibromyalgia flared up and have a cold.

So that means, Retro Recipe Monday! The line from the title comes from the book to give you a peek into what we're getting ourselves into. The book is called The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook (published: 1959) and has exciting subchapters like "When you have a maid. (with a silent understood) Bitch.", "Pamela's dieting again.", Saved by a salad! (subtitled: Is your husband clutching his chest a lot?) and "Good grief, we'll never get the yearbook out!"

Pros: They address possibly living alone (though there's the silent understood that you better be an old maid or a widow and not a slutty divorcee, Missy!) and that you may be a working gal (with the silent understood that you better get your ass into the kitchen because that dinner isn't making itself and it's not your husband's fault you can't be satisfied with the spending money he gives you), the fifties is actually when global cuisine started being brought into middle class homes so there's recipes for curry, lasagna (we were still ethnic then boys and girls!), sukiyaki, etc. which is cool and the best part imo is that there's a can do spirit about it. I know that's a complaint of the time but I *like* that they're like hokay, you need to make a wedding dinner including a wedding cake? You can do this, Sheila. Let's get organized. For all the unintentional irony and pre-second wave lack of choice, there's a very no nonsense let's get this done vibe and covers like every possible culinary emergency you can think of. Having just picked this book up for the first time in a while, I realize my Kitchen Witch outline unconsciously follows this outline with an updated modern spirit.

Cons: Oh lordess, where to start? Okay. The drawings of "ethnic" people are pretty bad (for the Southern cooking there's a "Mamee" style drawing to give you a taste), when shit goes wrong and/or your family is being mulish about trying new food, guess whose fault that is? The pictures, oh god the color photos of some of these horrors. And of course that the "ethnic" food is whatever is the most Americanized version of what that ethnicity has to offer.

Onto the recipe! If you get brave and make it yourself, you get a guest blog spot here. Pics or it never happened!

Glazed Pate

1 cup chicken liver pate
1 1/3 cups condensed beef consomme
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 package (3 oz) Jell-O Lemon Gelatin Dessert
2 tablespoons sauterne wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
Stuffed olives, thinly sliced (optional)

Pack the chicken liver pate in a buttered mold and chill. Combine consomme, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Then remove bay leaf and dissolve the gelatin in hot liquid. Add sauterne, lemon juice and vinegar. Chill mixture until syrupy.

Then unmold pate, garnish with olive slices if desired and pour on a thin layer of the gelatin mixture (if gelatin mixture becomes too firm to pour, let stand over hot water for a few minutes to soften). Chill until almost firm. Pour a second layer over pate. Chill again until almost firm. Add a third layer; chill until set. Makes 1 cup. (Double recipe to serve 10.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Some More Self Promotion

As some of you may know, today is my last day at work. So Etsy sales would be awesome! If you need yarn or know a knitter or crocheter, it makes an excellent holiday gift!

Between now and Cyber Monday use the code: THANKSGIVING for 20% off!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Reader Help Requested: Mad Fat Sacks of Loot

So, as many of you know, Wednesday is my last day here at work. My company is going under and I've been here for five years. I do have a plan, my freelance writing can generate as much income as I was making here at my day job and I plan on working on book outlines (including a kitchen witchery book) and short stories and crafting/Crafting.

I don't know yet if I will be receiving severance. I would very much like to (and it is possible for a variety of reasons) as it would greatly help my transition. I've been doing my own magical work to get this, but I figure the more the merrier. I'm looking for a severance of about $3K. If you would be so kind as to say a tiny prayer to the universe/god/esses, light a candle, whatever, I would greatly appreciate it!

Recipe Monday: Retro Recipe

Already sick of my whining and complaining by week two, Jow has "suggested" I do my my recipe in advance so he doesn't have to hear it on Monday (the second part was more implied than said). It turns out he's right, I'm far more lucid to write this on a Saturday afternoon and it's easier for me to use a retro recipe this way.

You have to be a certain kind of person to get why I love retro recipes. As it was essentially stated in So I Married an Axe Murderer (though about Scottish food), old recipes seem like they were made on a dare. And I kind of love that. Like my mom and sis are totally not into food and it's sort of an inherent disconnect between us. How can you not love food? How can you not be interested in trying everything possible? My stance on trying food started in college when things were rarely labeled in the dining hall. People would ask what I was eating and my response was always, "I have no idea, I'm eating it anyway."

Today's Retro Recipe comes from the illustrious Cooking for Company Edited by Nell B. Nichols in 1968. Get excited if you buy this book because it comes with 16 color recipes! That is seriously a selling point on the book jacket.

If anyone makes this, I want a review and pictures. It goes with my weeknight dinner theme, get pumped to make a:

Potato-Wiener Supper
Potatoes and hot dogs in a new dish sure to please the young guests

2 (12 oz.) pkgs. frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 (3 1/2 oz) can fried onion rings
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 can condense cream of celery soup
1 (1 lb) pkg. all meat wieners

* Combine potatoes, crumbled onion rings, reserving a few rings for topping, butter, salt and pepper into a casserole. Mix celery soup with 1 can water. Pour about three fourths of the soup over potato mixture and mix thoroughly.
* Cut wieners in halves and arrange on top of casserole. Top with a few onion rings and pour on remaining soup.
* Bake in a moderate over (375 degrees) 25 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Article on WitchVox

Probably not as exciting to my regular readers, but regular readers, what you see here is a raw version of whatever I'm writing about, when I send it over to WitchVox it gets edited and I add points to the article, etc. Here's the article (Hi WitchDoctorJoe! We're sharing a page!).

I have my Recipe Monday article pre-queued, so expect to see that bright and early tomorrow.

For my new readers, a glimpse into what you're getting yourself into. Right now I'm working on title editing and listening to Repo: The Genetic Opera, which I somehow never get sick of. I'm not a huge movie fan, but when I like something, I like it forever. My like it forever movies include:

* The Craft (your judgement tastes delicious)

* Dream for an Insomniac

* Jennifer' Body (which I've watched with my bff approximately nine billion times. When we're down we fb message each other, Where's it at, Monostat?)

* Empire Records

* Clueless

* Legally Blond

* Ginger Snaps

* St. Trinian's

* Secretary

As a Crowgirl, if someone's putting on a show, I'm going to watch it. It's why I watch an omg amount of reality tv and teen drama along with criminal procedures on TV.

Dubious Kitchen Witch Street Cred: Ummm, I have a tendency to vomit out personal issues and magical solutions typically done in a TopChef/Project Runway (look, I wasn't kidding) What-Do-You-Have-In-The-House-Great-Make-It-Work sort of manner. I have roots in shamanism, Hinduism in a Pagan context, Dianic Wicca, ADF Druidry, Yoruba and hoodoo, so I'm a complete dilettante and v. unapologetic about it. I don't have a Miss Martha neat house, I have two cats that vomit and shed a lot and my cooking is generally not gourmet. I live with Jow who actually reads magical books* and has a respectable practice, so we like to butt heads about the details. But I can put together spells on the fly, let people cry/vomit into my apron, throw a bridal shower, baby shower, a funeral repast, Thanksgiving and a Samhain feast for 50 and I can generally use my common sense to help people figure out how to conduct themselves and/or when they're being an ass.

* So much that apparently ADF figured out how to get money out of him for the rest of his life, they sent him books with his membership. Back in the day when I first joined, I got a tiny card and a slap on the ass. *Humph!*

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Etiquette Lesson: Maintaining One's Boundaries

In this modern first world life, boundaries are a constant hot button issue – the friend who calls at 3a on the regular crying about her messy love life, the mother in law who wants to be a little too involved in your life, your sister constantly claiming she just wants to do one thing like go to the doctor’s with the lure of hearing the baby’s heart beat and then ropes you into going on two or three errands after.

Okay, the last one is totally my problem. But, boundaries are a big issue because it requires a lot of balance, some quid quo pro and not getting bogged down by feelings.

Because humans aren’t exactly known in general for our awesome Vulcan like tendencies as a whole, you likely go one of two ways: You are *so* conscious of your boundaries and policing them that you likely push people away or you are a people pleaser and find yourself getting steamrolled on the regular.

Are you a policer?

· Do people say they have a hard time getting close to you?
· If someone says something that doesn’t jive with your boundaries, do you need to correct that person immediately, even if it makes the conversation awkward or becomes an argument?
· Would you rather have your boundaries intact, even at the cost of making a new friend?

Are you a people pleaser?

· Do you feel like people don’t respect your time and/or space?
· Do you find yourself doing things that go against the boundaries you would prefer to have with loved ones regularly?
· Do you find that you have too many loved ones and it’s difficult to keep up with their demands?

It’s okay to be either a Policer or a People Pleaser, you're going to have a tendency towards one or the other. But if you want to maintain boundaries while still being open enough to allow loved ones in, striking a balance is key. You are going to often fail at this miserably because, again, you’re a human and not a Vulcan. The trick, as the lifehackers are fond of saying lately, is to fail better regularly and to be conscious of how you tend to be and to be conscious about trying to strike a balance.

People Pleaser Points to Ponder

If you know you’re a people pleaser, it is vital for you to do some hacking and slashing in your life. Are you part of any organizations that you’re only lukewarm about, but they take up a lot of your time and energy? They’ve got to go. Do you have any loved ones who are terrible about the 80/20 rule? Sometimes. . . .it’s not as easy to just cut them out of your life for a whole mess of reasons.

But, with people like casual acquaintances, if you can, start gently removing yourself from their lives. For me, I got rid of a lot of Facebook friends who are not actively a part of my life and who I’ve fallen out of touch with and who never bring anything to my life. I don’t have all day. There’s been a couple acquaintances who I didn’t not like but didn’t really enjoy their company either on the occasions I saw them. Generally, on the occasion I would see these acquaintances, I couldn’t do the things I enjoyed; they were preventing me from seeing people that day whose company I genuinely enjoy or from doing things at home I genuinely enjoy. I stopped returning calls, unfriended them on Facebook, etc. Doing this really helped me regain control of my life and helped me focus on what was important to me; working on writing, spending time with my loved ones, crafting/Crafting, etc., etc. At the end of the day, remember, you’re steering your boat and you get to decide how your time is spent.


However, just because you’re steering the boat doesn’t mean you’re not going to get stuck doing things you don’t want to do. I wanted to go to a whole cavalcade of weddings this summer/fall about as much as I wanted to eat my own eyeballs. I wanted even less to be a bridesmaid several times over. Being in charge of your life doesn’t mean that maaaaaaaaagically everyone will be doing everything in a convenient manner.

But ask yourself these questions: While the person(s) are currently being a colossal pain in your ass for whatever reason (personal problems, wedding, moving, etc.), are they generally? Do you love them? Do they do right by you most of the time? If your answer is yes, sorry Charlie, sometimes we all have to suck it up and do shit we don’t want to do so be a good pony and put a smile on your face and put on that damn coral dress because they’d do it for you. Quid quo pro, Clarice, it’s called being an adult. And remember! You’re not a joy all the time either. I highly doubt my complete divorce related break down was convenient or fun for anyone, but they were all there for me, so I am there for them.

You can’t always get rid of people, even when you’d like to. Mother in laws, friends of friends, significant other’s friends, whatever. There are people who we are obligated to whether we like it or not. I find a few things help in this kind of situation.

1. Gently, but firmly assert your boundaries. Be a broken record. If you said you could only be there until 6p, leave at 6p. If s/he is complaining that you don’t spend enough time, aren’t a good cook, whatever, say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry I don’t have more time/aren’t a better cook/hate cats/whatever, but I have a deadline on this project/it isn’t a priority for me/ have allergies.” Then change the subject. Lather, rinse, maim as much as necessary on repeating that phrase gently but firmly.

2. If you can’t handle dealing with them at that moment, don’t pick up the phone, don’t return the text, don’t return the email.

3. When you are obligated to do something you don’t want to do or spend time with someone you don’t want to spend time with and there’s no escape, the best thing to do is to just throw yourself into the experience as much as possible. Have as much fun as possible, make the other person have as much fun as possible. Just open your heart and open yourself up to the possibility of it potentially being a good time. Don’t let petty bullshit get you down, use step 1. and just rock out. Worst case, you’ll be home in a couple hours/days/weeks and you can go back to business as usual.

4. If it’s an awful situation you can’t make better but are forced to endure, I suggest keeping a bottle of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Scare Crow on you in your pocket or purse at all times. You may not care for the smell, but that’s sort of the point. Scare Crows are meant to keep things out, it’s formulated to act as a magical repellent. I’ve used it as such before. Dab it on when you want to keep people away from you.

As I am not personally a Policer and this post has gotten far longer than I had intended, Policers! What do you suggest for other fellow Policers to do to help let people in while still maintaining boundaries? What tips and tricks do you have to strike a balance?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Recipe Mondays: Roasted Chicken Dinner/ Goddess Devotional

Never let it be said that I don't love my readers like whoa, because I do. It's why I'm doing this gods forsaken weekly recipe. It's good for me, it keeps me honest, it keeps me blogging, but I'm not going to lie. I'm haaaaaaaaaaating this. I picked Monday on purpose, kick start my week and all but lordess, my head is hurting like whoa. This change in barometric pressure is for the birds.

Which brings me to what we'll be cooking, a full chicken. Now, that sounds contrary to what I've said, that this stuff I'm posting is not a pain in the ass to make and is a week day dinner, right? But I do roast a whole chicken on a week night. Darlings, roasting is your friend. It's even lazier than crockpotting in my opinion. I got a whole five pound organic chicken for like $6 at my grocery store, which is a huge steal. It was dinner for Jow and I one night, lunch for Jow for the week and then I used the bones and such for stock. Cooking a whole chicken is super easy and super frugal. It can be used as a devotion to the Goddess too. You can pick a particular goddess if you like, but my lazy Reclaimist roots are showing here, you can do the heavy lifting on your own, sport. The way this ritual is set up is so that as you are infusing your chicken, when you eat it, you will be likewise infused. Usually I don't taste it when poultry is stuffed with something, but I definitely do with this recipe.

Roasted Chicken Dinner For Goddesses and Mortals Alike

1 Whole 3-5 pound chicken completely defrosted, ideally room temperature
1/2 bunch of tyme
1/2 lemon
1 head of garlic, cut in half (NOT peeled or anything)
1 container of fresh brussel sprouts (or some other roastable vegetable, I won't tell the kitchen police on you)
1 packet of powder chicken gravy
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Roasting pan
1 white candle

Take three deep breaths to focus. As you are lighting the candle say, "Great Goddess please bless me with your presence here in my hearth." Or whatever you like, again, I'm not the kitchen/Goddess police.

Preheat your oven to 425. Take your chicken out of the package and remove any plastic that's on your chicken (holding the legs together or whatever). Now, this is where you're going to get reeeeally close to your chicken. The cavity is located between its legs. You're going to take off whatever jewelry you have on your hand and wrist and reach into that cavity and pull out whatever treats they've stuffed in there for you (probably the neck and the gizzards) and pull them out. You can do whatever you like with them, I usually toss them.

Feeling close to your chicken? Good. Now you are going to loosen the skin by the cavity so that the skin is not attached to the meat on the top of the breast and bottom of the chicken. You're going to carefully stuff about half a teaspoon of butter in between the skin and the meat on each side without ripping the skin. I'm lazy and can never find my pastry brush, so I rub butter with my fingers all over the chicken. Use as little or as much as you want. Go crazy.

Wash your hands with soap and concentrate on making it a little hand washing purification to the Goddess. You can put a little table salt in your hands while you're washing them to make that so.

Take your thyme and run it over the candle. Touch the thyme to your heart and say, "Great Goddess, beautifully crowned, keep my home safe and sound. Make me strong, keep me from doing what's wrong."

Put it inside the cavity.

Take your garlic halves and run them over the candle. Touch the garlic halves to your heart and say, "Great Goddess, shining bright, help me fight the good fight."

Put it inside the cavity.

Take your lemon half and run them over the candle. Touch the lemon half to your heart and say, "Great Goddess above, infuse me with your love."

Put it inside the cavity.

Say, "By the power of three times three, so I will it so mote it be."

Put the chicken into your roasting pan. Try to tuck the wings under as best as you can. Trim your brussel sprouts and surround the chicken with them. Cook for one hour, but make sure the juices run clear. Fish out brussel sprouts. Carve in the roasting pan if possible, so you have the juices. Remove chicken pieces and carcass (with the stuffed ingredients) from the pan. Add the chicken gravy powder and about half a cup of water. Stir until not lumpy. Pour into a gravy boat. Microwave for one minute.

Put the carcass and items inside the carcass into your crock pot. Add whatever odds and ends you have in your fridge - limp parsley, old carrots that haven't gone off yet, celery that's lying around not doing anything, etc. No chopping is needed. Fill the crockpot with water. Cook on low until morning. Strain. Then put the stock into very small tupperware containers so that it's easily accessible and defrostable. Freeze.

After you're done cooking, either let the candle burn out by itself or extinguish with a candle snuffer saying, "Great Goddess, I thank you for your presence."

Dinner is served. I made stove top stuffing to go with it because it's super easy, you can do whatever you want.

Magical property information came from A Compendium of Herbal Magick.

Etiquette Lesson

I would like to do another Etiquette lesson here. Is there anything in particular you would like to learn about in terms of my opinion on deportment in a particular area?

Monday, November 8, 2010

On Samhain, Drawing Down and The Morrigan, Namely Nemain

Maybe it's just gone out of fashion, but no one seems to talk about Drawing Down anymore. Is it too touchy-feely? Too difficult to validate? Not a srs magikal practice? I think it's actually a strange middle place - it's something that requires a lot of time and energy and attention and will kick your ass, which makes it difficult for your average kitchen witch to do, as s/he has enough to deal with in working, keeping house and keeping the children from getting too Lord of the Flies-ish. I think there's a certain sheen of Reclaimist that makes a lot of srs practitioners turn their noses up and/or they've got better things to do like meditate towards enlightenment instead of basically wandering around god-drunk, which is frowned up.

Luckily for you, (I have no problem looking completely batshit crazy to you, darling readers AND I'm in some weird holding pattern between frantic kitchen witch (I have no children and don't work for a big corporation or anything) and srs practitioner (we all know how I feel about meditation).

An ADF druidic ritual is celebatory, at least the way GoG does it. There's a basic frame work that all ADF rituals need to follow, but there's a lot of room to turn it on its head. My grove is one of the largest in the country and our rituals tend to be . . .different than most ADF rits. We're sort of the backwater snake handlers of the group. We're called Grove of the Other Gods for a reason, after all.

So we've now laid the ground work: this is a celebratory ritual where we are honoring our kindred and a guest of honor (in this case, The Morrigan) and no targeted magic is done. I like a good beer buzz early in the morning as Sheryl would say and have enough time and energy to prepare for a drawing down while also having no shame or filter to keep me from sharing my experiences with you. It's the perfect storm really.

I demurred about the likeliness of drawing down to Jow, but I think in the back of my head I knew that as soon as I got close to the other two chicks (which was strange for GoG, we don't gender police by any stretch, but that's who was interested in the other two aspects) at the rit, it was going to be on.

Jow wrote up his experience with GoG Samhain as a congregant.

Before getting there, I was more . . .lightly shadowed. Usually I'd be a completely anxious mess beforehand for a variety of reasons, but when I would start to get nervous, she had a calm answer (Oh! My pumpkin is v. roasted! It may fall apart! *fret* She: You're worried that your food looks like food?). She understood the need to look just so and was fine with things like makeup (woade correspondence), bra (armour correspondence), etc. but everything needed to be useful, everything needed to have a purpose. And I was at first confused about her OCD like need for cleanliness (clothes constantly lint brushed, washing my hands as much as Lady MacBeth, etc.) because I was like, ummm warrior Goddess? Blood, gore, etc? And then I remembered Her main job - washing the blood out of the clothes of people who were about to die in battle. Right then.

The cats were really confusing and slightly disgusting to Her as they seemed to serve no purpose- they don't catch mice, they live inside and all they seemed to do was shed and vomit. She was somewhat mollified when She was told that they were both gifts at one point and while she was confused that someone would be given something that was a lot of work and served no purpose to show appreciation, a gift was a gift after all.

Once we got there, K., who was invoking Macha came shortly after. I had intentionally put the aspects of The Morrigan as v. separate entities in my head, and the slidy thing that some deities that aren't quite separate from each other was a v. intellectual vague concept in my head. Until we slowly and unconsciously sliding energy between each other. K. and I are friendly, but not close friends, so it was a v. strange experience. Stranger still that I felt literally sick without P. who would be invoking Badb. I like P., she's cool people too, but I am no where anywhere *near* being close enough to her to feel sick without her. But I was. In my head was a constant fret of, When will P. get here, when will P. get here?

I knew K. and I were getting really slidy when I tried to walk through the door with her at the same time and nearly busted ass in the process. She did my makeup in the picture above while we waited for P. I've always wanted really hardcore gothity eyes but whenever I would try to do it myself for a club night, I would fuck it up. Luckily, K. is an artist so she had a v. good hand.

Finally P. got there and K. and I slowly started to synch up with her too. We were literally laughing and braiding each other's hair which seemed to creep everyone else out. In fact, most people gave us a wide berth and would not make eye contact with us.

All our SOs made grumbling noises about what pains in the ass we were that day, and commiserated together which they seemed to enjoy.

We sat down for the ritual, and poor K. got stuck on the other side of the room (after rit, she beelined for P. and I because she was getting nauseous without us). P. sat next to me and had her iPod in her ear, full of awesome Celtic music. Like school girls, we listened together through the other ritual invocations, one headphone in each of our ears, as we swayed in time to the music as we watched the ritual.

Jow said when I invoked, it was somehow less scary then when I was sitting quietly. When I was sitting quietly, apparently I had a v. feral air about me, my eyes were constantly darting all over, taking in the room. When I was invoking, I read what I had written and focused on that.

I had never been to a GoG Samhain like that. Even on the not sad years, it seems impossible to not slide into the river of sadness, at least for a moment. It's the first Samhain where . . .we didn't slide. Not for a moment. After the ritual, when we read the Book of (our) Dead, there were tears which was natural. Our senior druid was what we call "DiC'ing" (Druid in Charging) which means she acts as the priestess of the rit and keeps it going and steers it. She said when there were points where it could have gone to sad, we all collectively would say, No! That happened, goddamnit! Which has become my unofficial motto, btw. All of the invocations came from a place of power and it was amazing and beautiful and gorgeous and there was not one dud among them. When we could have gotten sad, we reached down and pulled up our power and drew from that. It was punk rock and amazing.

As for, P., K. and me, our invocations slide together just so and it was perfect, in my v. biased opinion.

In our rituals, we try to keep the pathway of communication two way. We speak by giving the ritual and then we ask for the gods to speak back by giving us an omen. Did They like it? Is there anything they need to tell us for the upcoming future? We used The Celtic Book of the Dead: A Guide for Your Voyage to the Celtic Otherworld deck and apparently, there are some really really nasty cards in there. We got one of the most positive possible readings from it. Judging by the cards, it meant one (or more of the following)

a) Hey! Good job! We dug it!
b) Hey little boys and girls, don't be afraid of us, we can give you nice things. Come inside, we have cookies . . .
c) Liked this rit? Perhaps you would like to join grove in honoring another one of our fam, Mananon next week!

Even though we aren't really super close, after rit, P., K. and I started speaking in unison and laughing at things that were only funny to us. We went outside and opened the bottle of Warrior's Port with a Bean Sidhe cry between the three of us and started slugging straight from the bottle, laughing and doing that thing that only a group of three sisters/best friends can do - when you're teasing the hell out of each other, two ganging up on one and then flipping the table and ganging up on the other. Mostly bawdy stuff, mostly sister teasing. A little friendly sisterly pushing and shoving. Again, no one wanted to get close to us and one gentleman who we're all friendly with, flinched when we noticed him and called him to stand by us. He would not make eye contact. Jow tried to feed me. My reaction: Ew! Food! Gross! P&K: Ew! A boy! Gross! He scurried back inside as quickly as possible.

P's gf, T. was the only one who wanted to put up with us and found much of what we said hilarious (K: More yelling! Me/Nemain: No! Norma, the woman who lives here will be v. cross with us! It's already been thirteen years since we've been invited back! T. (amused): Norma, who lives here? Me/Nemain: It's true, she does.)

Norma lured us back to the group in the backyard by showing the lamb she got for The Morrigan which was put in the fire as a burnt offering.

Usually, Norma is trying to lure me out for the midnight pumpkin parade (we . . .do what we do, it's a college town) but this year, P. and I were not allowed out, K. was only going to be allowed out without us. K. didn't want to be too far from us, so she stayed. We made sure to tell that loudly and indigently to anyone who would listen that we were not allowed out to play because they kept thinking we'd start *fights*. A few people stayed behind to mind us and we had a super fun time throwing cream puffs into cleavage.

After that, it was sorrowfully decided that we needed to eat. Food tasted awful, I really wanted a bloody piece of meat but there wasn't any to be had at grove, but pork was good enough. We complained that there was only one bottle of wine to be had between the three of us for SOME reason.

And we all slowly slid back, K. whispering in my ear you're on your own now as she squeezed my arm.

I felt bereft after, like I was missing 2/3 of myself, edgy and unhappy. It was difficult, making the transition, losing not just Nemain, but Macha and Badb too. I took some pictures and washed the make up off my face and got into comfy clothes. I went to sleep.

The next day I felt more myself again, we went to Skylark for brunch and I thanked Nemain by cleaning my house thoroughly. I was myself again, though perhaps missing two (small) pieces of me I haven't seen.

God drunk is awesome, the hangover is awful, but still, once in a while, it's empowering to remember what it's like to fly so close to the sun.

Recipe Mondays: 30 Minute Puja Dinner

Predictably, Monday has rolled around and my exact thought is: Monday . . .fuuuuuuuuuuck . . .recipes . . .fuuuuuuuuuuck. My brain is barely working from Samhain, I'm tired, it's cold. So guess what you're eating? What I'm eating tonight. The first thing to note is that if you want to make Indian food using stuff you can easily get at a grocery store and quickly without much recipe research, you're basically making Olive Garden for the gods. If your gods love you, this will not be a problem. It's double not a problem if you work with Shiva (who generally hangs out in grave yards so He's a little more chillaxed about this stuff) and Parvati (who, if you have a relationship with Her, will be too kind and polite to say anything about your shitty cooking. She has two sons, She knows how to put on Her Mom face and say, awww! You sure did try!). I've noticed that They prefer my shitty Indian cooking over my good Italian cooking because I think at least it's more familiar to them.

Work on making this recipe together with your significant other and then offer it to Shiva and Parvati. Jow is an excellent sous chef and is v. good about taking my lead in the kitchen. I'm a v. shitty sous chef, I don't chop well and I don't take instruction in the kitchen well, but I'm good at coming up with recipes and leading the cooking. As a result, we work v. well together there and our food is ready quickly.

If you want to do a super quick puja (again, I recommend this only if you're doing other stuff with Them too as this is really ghettotastic):

* Tell Ganesha he is a benevolent elephant and he's awesome
* Light a tealight and thank Agni for the fire
* Ring a bell
* Put a tiny ramekin sized bit of food for Them on your altar
* Talk up the food like a waitress (I've said for a while that that's what I want my magical title to be, Divine Waitress)
* Tell Them how awesome both of Them are
* Ask for Them to help you have a good relationship with your significant other (and again, that's only if you work with Them and trust Them in this compacity. I do, They've been good to Jow and I)
* Ring bell again
* Eat dinner

Chicken Lentil Curry: Lazy American Style


1 can or box of lentil soup
2 chicken thighs, cut into pieces. Leave the skin on or take it off, it's your business
2 small onions, chopped
2 teaspoons ghee or butter
2 tablespoons curry (or to taste)
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 pouch instant rice (take it out of the pouch to put into the soup)

Put butter into the pot and melt it on medium heat. Put the onions and chicken in and brown. Add in the the rest of the ingredients. Let cook for approximately 20 minutes.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion

But first, a shameful confession. After much vitriol towards Timothy Ferris, I have realized that I use Etsy Alchemy as my first world sweat shop for stuff I probably could make myself, but am too lazy to. The trick to utilizing this properly (and to max the sliminess) is to set a price you can reasonably pay for something but not crazy below market value. Then you weed through the bids to find the people who are really good seamstresses (judging by their shops), jewelers, etc. but have not yet made many if any sales yet. They are willing to work for a lower price for you so they can start to make their name. The goal is to catch people who are *just* about to make it but haven't yet. I outsourced a capelet for a song made by a Jersey woman who specializes in jersey (fo' real!) and am currently in process outsourcing a set of cocktail party invitations for the party Miss Spice and I are having for our coterie at Arisia and having the designer in question not only make the invitations, but address them and mail them for about $20.

Here is the justification for those of you who need it like me: These people bid of their own free will and it's supporting small businesses/cottage industry and helping people make a name for themselves. So it's good, really!

Some of you may not know this, but handspinning yarn is currently my drug of choice. I'm hoping to graduate to an actual wheel in the next few months. Let's stretch things and say, yarn is magical. It's not really a stretch, actually. The Fates spun and did some bad ass magic with it. Spinning is meditative, one could definitely put intention into yarn. Yarn is often used in "low" magic for binding and making small dolls and tying off mojo bags.

Should you not need a whole skein of yarn but are interested in using yarn in your magic, I will hand dye one ounce of yarn in your color of choice, use 100% wool and can spin it with a general intention (to be approved by me of course) for your use for $8 USD. The transaction will go through Etsy using Paypal. If you're interested, drop me a comment. If you want a private discussion about it, email me at corvaxgirl [at] gmail [dottie] com with the subject line, "Charmed, I'm Sure: Yarn".

For those of you who perhaps crochet or knit or are just curious about my work, here it is:

You like me, you really do!

So I now have 100 blogger readers in addition to the google readers, lj readers, etc.

Hi everyone! I'm happy you're all here. A little puzzled and nervous, but happy nonetheless.

So, overwhelmingly, many of you wanted to see recipes here. Something to do with this is a kitchen witch blog I suppose.

My recipes will likely fall into the following categories:

* Aspic is Your Friend: I have a total vintage cookbook fetish and no one in my real life will humor me with allowing me to throw an actual Mad Men cocktail party with as much aspic as possible. You all will be subjected to this in their stead.

* Magical Weekday Recipes: Recipes you can make in under an hour (closer to 30 minutes ideally), on a budget, using regular ingredients that have a magical kick to them. This will be a lot of work, so probably seen less.

* Wheel of the Year Turn, Turn, Turn: Sabbat, full moon and other ritual recipes and tips that are appropriate to the season.

I will start posting this weekly on Mondays. We'll call it the completely creative Recipe Mondays.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Most kitchen witch blogs have some kind of weekly feature, Wishing Wednesdays, networking days, giveaways . . .

I feel like I should have something, as I want to fit in (albeit I'm generally more surly than my better dispositioned kitchen brethren).

What would you like to see as a weekly feature for my blog?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bean Nighe

This Samhain is particularly significant to my grove as it will be the last one our Senior Druid is heading. She's headed the last 13 and is ready for a break from that part of Senior Druid'ing at least. She started with The Morrigan her first Samhain that she led and is ending with The Morrigan. In addition to bringing my usual stuffed pumpkin, I have been asked to invoke Nemain, the bean nighe warrior maiden aspect of The Morrigan.

The Morrigan has been explained to me as being similiar to Cernunnos in so far as it's not that The Morrigan is one deity/person or even a triple aspected deity/person, it's a job title. So it's more like a bunch of women who work for MorriganCo. which is a little difficult for me to wrap my head around but makes sense.

There's been a poem/invocation in my head for the last few weeks for the Nemain. Going with the idea of MorriganCo, all of the things "she said" were said to me by different "shes", and the last three paragraphs are what my Nemain faction has said to me. I will be doing a small altar for her as well, she's requested the picture I like of her and warrior port which is simple enough.


She appeared to me in a dream
She said
Her face a canvas of wode
She handed me a feather
and told me to give it to you
She said you'd know what it meant

Whenever there is a battlefield
She is there
She said
When you are able to put your hands
into the river of black oozing sorrow
and not fall in
Instead grow a pair of wings
like hers
that will hold you up
when you can't stand
and make your spine a thing
of steel
that's when you've won

I know you said this is the
worst day of your life
since daddy died
She said
It got better

Each day a little at a time
She said
Moment by moment
Breath by breath
She said

I'm proud of you
She said

It's impressive
How much you've
Became you
But better
She said

Stand your ground
Dig your heels into
the mud slick with blood
and battle
Whispered words do more than
swords most days

Never give up your power
Steal it back
Eat it whole

But don't mistake your power
as freedom from the river
Your wailing and tears
Crimson soaked cloth in hand
Some things can't be forgotten.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Checked off my list . . .

Things done today, post breakfast sandwich:

* Lisa finished the graphic, Dossy is tinkering as I speak. Lisa made me a bad ass mix of stuff that went into the "Charmed, I'm Sure" jar and made sure she had actual Master of the Wood for the jar. I intentionally chose each herb for this blog.

* Opened all the windows in the house to get the energy circulating again because I've noticed that Jow gets grumpy/cranky when the house energy is off.

* I've noticed in Hoodoo everything is in Jesus' name. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not for me. If I'm not doing work for a specific deity, what do I say? I do believe all the little-g gods are connected, like in the same way I believe all humans are connected in a vague quasi-Buddhist way, so after some conversation with Jow, I figured out that I feel okay with doing work in God Herself's name (a la T. Thorn Coyle). So now now I can do work that way.

* Put some Florida water on my magic broom as per Mama Starr's podcast suggestion, swept the house. Also put two lemon halves with salt on them on either side of the door, started a new money drawing spell with water, sugar and quarters and did a cleansing for Jow and vice versa using a Florida water blessed fan and sage, also per Mama Starr.

* Purged my closet, my purse, the bathroom and then had Jow purge his closet as well.

* Changed the salt in our Jhor bowl, cleaned the little skull in it.

* Watered our desert roses

* Lit up our altar and made water offerings.

* Saged the house

It feels much better in here now and I feel much better. My hands have been itching to purge the house for some time so now hopefully I can concentrate on writing! Just started watching Red and J. brought cider donuts, nom!

Stuff and Things and Junk

Back from Rhode Island safe and sound! Did not get taken by an Elder god. The weather was v. Bronte esque which really had me thinking that New England is (duh) the England of the U.S. in terms of brooding moors and whatnot. I am currently marinading on a short romantica story to submit for an anthology that is looking for broody gothity romance. A lot of red wine was drank on the trip. The oysters there are seriously the best I've ever had in my life, I'm currently in withdrawal from them. We got a plate of 12 oysters from 4 local oyster farms, 6 clams and a whole lobster tail for under $40. I felt incredibly posh about it.

Soaking yarn as we speak, getting ready to launch my non-magical based Etsy store. Am going to ask for a spinning wheel for the holidays I think. I really need my wrist/hands/elbows for my work and excessive drop spindling and typing on a laptop has not helped per se. My family is both nonplussed and intrigued by this request. I have my eye on this wheel. When I start working from home, we are going to turn our Spare Oom into an office and we have our eyes on an old school style secretary desk.

Last night, Jow and I bought new coats. For me this is particularly significant as it means I will be donating my sad little matchgirl coat that I bought on a super sale two years ago when my Wasband first left and drained our joint. I had just donated my coat at the time and didn't known I was getting left, so it was a scary and real possibility that I might not have a coat immediately for winter. My new coat is super cute and a little Mad Men like.

In further cutting my fetters, I did a huge hack and slash on my old domain (which was described as "badass" by Dossy because he's cool like that and doing all the heavy lifting on this). I took down the SalonCon site as the con is defunct anyway and it's time (for the curious, info can be found on it on my general website), changed hosts to DreamHost, am moving my general site to be its own domain, streamlining my old Goddess Dollies site into a one page site and am giving my blog here a facelift with the help of Lisa and Dossy.

Last Hallowe'en, we were moving into our condo, it's hard to believe it's only been a year ago. We were too exhausted to do anything as we were moving on the day of. This year I'm sitting on the couch, happily munching on a breakfast sandwich made by Jow, blogging and drinking pumpkin tea. We'll go visit my mom for a little while and hopefully have J. over to watch SyFi's version of little red riding hood (Red! The werewolf hunter!) and Glee's version of Rocky Horror.

This Samhain season finds me wanting to continue to cut old fetters and make room for the new. I want to purge my closet again, clean out my hall closets, give the house a really good cleaning, set up some more small magics, start my Etsy store up, I had been wearing the Ugg slippers I got Wasband a few xmases ago (because they are warm and soft and hardly worn), hopefully I'll get a pair of my own in pink for xmas
and I can toss them. I definately want to start going to the gym and doing yoga again. Samhain is feeling like a Witch's New Year to me this year, for sure. I have the urge to clean like a coked up squirrel who has watched too many episodes of Hoarders.

On our way to and from Rhode Island, Jow and I listened to Mama Starr's Traditional Conjure podcast which is . . .beyond awesome. I love it.

My article that was based on my blog post In Your Hands, Ophelia is now up on WitchVox.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rabbit Hearts and Revelation

So, I've watched Florence + The Machine's Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) about um five billion times this week.


* Why am I never invited to parties like this? RO, could we combine our Big Blogosphere Meetup Jamboree for this to be the day portion? Formal fae attire will be required, dancing and human sacrifice optional.

* I have wanted a chemise a la reine for quite some time because I have a secret Marie Antoinette fetish (really, that shouldn't be surprising), so I'm going to have one made for me on Etsy because I'm going to two fairy events this year I can wear it to and I hold out hope for our Jamboree.

* I don't want to call this video, like, a guaranteed ecstatic trance experience or anything mostly because I don't want to be bothered by whiners, but for me, five times in a row in and . . .I'm out like a trout.

* Despite this promising information, Jow is totally trance resistant, even though I came to this revelation at work under the influence of no drugs, alcohol or even a fun environment.

* I think it says a lot about us that I'm mediation resistant (Oh man! Rules! I have to fucking schedule this in! I'm supposed to just, like empty my brain even though I've taken a lot of time and energy to fill it with important information about who's banging who and who's mad at who both in real life and on telly, uck! I don't even think I want to be enlightened. Boring. I've banged my head against this for like a full year in the ADF dedicants program to find that hey! You know how you have a generalized anxiety disorder and you take meds for it? Remember all those terrible things that you've been through that you went to therapy for an extended time to work through to continue to function on a daily basis so you can go to work and be a working member of society? Remember how you don't really care about being enlightened or Getting to the Next Level? Hey, maybe you should leave that shit alone and not stir it all up again for a v. nebulous to you purpose as you can do magic just fine without an extended meditation practice) but pro-trance/ecstatic experience and Jow is exactly the opposite (what! I have to depend solely on my own experience? There's no empirical data to give me an exact blue print? It just happens? I have to do any number of things like dance, drink, drum, sweat lodge, use kava, go to a festival or listen to Florence + the Machine until I want to bang my head against the keyboard repeatedly? I said good day, Sir!).

* I do trance experiences before bed most nights before going to bed to go to my internal hearth. When I am super sick and cannot clean my actual house, I clean my internal hearth. When I don't have much money (which is always), I can make elaborate offerings to my gods on my beach and hang with them.

* I like trance because . . .sometimes I get performance anxiety pressure about random things, like I can't feel feelings on command, which was an issue about my wedding which was to be THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE OR ELSE!!!11!!! If I am dying for a trance experience and want one on command, I can do one of two things:
a) Attend a sweat lodge because for me, it's going to happen there as . . .that's what it's designed to do.
b) Go to a goth club, drink three shots of tequila or goldschlagger and start dancing. I will feel the booze burning in my blood and if I dance until I get to the woozy is this a good idea or bad idea, who cares keep dancing, it will happen.

* Otherwise, it happens for me when it happens for me. I don't have to plan for it, it's usually when I push myself as far as I can go and then push myself just a little further. This tends to happen for me when: massively housefraus'ing, dancing, parties at my house, drinking just slightly past my comfort zone, cons, and festivals. I enjoy the happy surprise aspect of it.

* Look. I know I'm supposed to be, like, above the buzz but while while I do agree with Jason that if your goal is target driven, the less buzz, the better. However, if it's just celebratory, game on, in my opinion. My practice is distinctly Hollow One, my life tends more towards Cultist of X/mermaid/nymph. So, This was really difficult as I was leaving my maidenhood which was more conducive to such practices. As a mother (not literal), I figured out:
a) It's a party when I say it's a party, bitch. Meaning, anything can be with the right attitude
b) I channeled some of the energy into creating a hearth, fashion, cooking, a magical practice, writing and crafting
c) I throw a lot of parties
d) The booze at my house is always top shelf which is a big plus
e) I need to get my buzzy ya-yas out at least quarterly or I start to get antsy and then I start looking for trouble. This is easy enough to head off. Arisia con gets my kitchen witch yayas out *and* the after parties get my CoX bits out. The Fairy Festival is all about soaking in the glamour during the day and making poor drinking (and sometimes otherwise) decisions with friends in a field in a farm in the middle of nowhere with a big bonfire.

* When I am tranced out, I can generally see into the squishy insides of people and because I'm tranced out and my filter is zero, I NEED to make these observations OUT LOUD to the person. It's a dice roll as to how that's received. It's also why I'm not tranced out for like 90% of my life.

* But generally I try to keep my trance revelations introspective so as to not alienate everyone around me (well, for that reason at least). Rabbit Heart, both the lyrics and the video describe exactly how I feel inside right now.

This is a gift, it comes with a price
Who is the lamb and who is the knife?
Midas is king and he holds me so tight
And turns me to gold in the sunlight

I must become a lion hearted girl
Ready for a fight
Before I make the final sacrifice

We raise it up, this offering
We raise it up

I'm getting exactly what I wanted in my life and I'm becoming the person I've worked really hard to be my whole adult life, but it doesn't come for free all of these things. In the video, she's the guest of honor at this wild fairy party but, like so many of our myths, she's the one who's sacrificed at the end (v. prettily of course, which is what I too would demand, if you're going to out, go out like homegirl Ophelia) which I've sort of interpreted for my own life that yeah, I've got all the things I've wanted - home ownership, a hearth, good relationships, lots of loved ones, a blooming writing and crafting career, a blooming kitchen witch practice, love for my body, forgiveness for my past, comfort in my own skin. But it won't always be easy, I'll be plagued as I always am with self doubt, I'll have to work really hard, I'll have to make sure I can *keep* these things and I will have to fight like hell to be the person I want to be and have the life I want to life, I need to not get too bogged down by material things and be fierce with all my heart.

Before I too am floated out to sea.