Monday, June 27, 2011

I am serious as a heart attack!

Here in the Deep South, people love many different delicacies.  We have a whole culture that has evolved around eating these different foods and relatives will tell you when and how southerners started eating this or that which usually relates to the Civil War or the depression era. But I have never had anyone tell me how we southerners started to drink buttermilk, and why it is that we tend to combine it with green onions and white cornbread (I have to make this distinction ya’ll because yellow cornbread is a completely different thing down here).

  It’s disappointing though when you figure out how to make it, well at least it was for me.  You see I was the child that thought chocolate milk came from brown cows, so when I realized that buttermilk came from normal “sweet milk” rather than a sour cow or one that ate bitter weeds I was disheartened.  I remember the first time my grandmother grabbed a warm pitcher of milk and tossed lemon juice in it and shook it up and then told me to leave it alone.  Of course a few days later we drank that rich concoction with her white cornbread and slathered it with real butter and til this day I associate it with her and my Daddy, and along with them think it is an excellent meal/midnight snack.

Now that I am older, I think of the metaphor behind making buttermilk.  How easy it is to make good sweet milk “sour”.  How something as complex as milk can be transformed to another thing all together with just a small adding of ingredients.  You see one view of this procedure can be positive, while the other one can be misconstrued as negative. I am almost positive that buttermilk was “accidentally discovered” by some of our ancestors when they stored milk without refrigeration and had to drink it “sour” and still lived the next day. (This is sheer conjecture on the part of the author and has nothing to do with scientific or historic accuracy) As a Pagan or witch, or even a spirit walker of any path…the spiritual lesson is taking one thing, transforming it into another, and enjoying the process of the change, in fact letting that change nourish you, filling your palate with that new bitter thing and finding that to your surprise it delights you in ways you had never conceived of before.

As a human I have made buttermilk accidentally out of friendships, a marriage, a few relationships, old jobs, careers, bands, book projects, websites and other things.  It happens; even the most “perfect Miss Manners” is capable of “Spilling milk” or “Making a mess”.  Of course we all know that when you do this there supposedly is no sense in crying “over it” or about it, you are supposed to just accept it and move on; but sometimes accepting your responsibility in it “and drinking that bitter glass down” might just be the better option.

Take a glass of milk, after “sticking your foot in your mouth”, “dropping your basket”,or  “actin’ a fool”, and add one of the following ingredients into your cup of milk, stir with your finger and say exactly what it is you did or you are feeling…”Goddess, yep it’s me again,  and some really tough things have happened again in my life.  I could be the instigator, or I could not be responsible at all but right now I have just lost another person I cared about"(this is my example not yours use your own nosy!) BUT do feel the pain, the hurt, the sorrow, the regret, and stir that mixture with your index finger. Then,  Walk off, leave it be, let it set in the fridge, go on and make your favorite meal and celebrate the prosperity and abundance of your life.

Later on that night cut a slice of cold cornbread, and thank your deity for that bread (set some out for them) break it up in bite size pieces (think consciously about how deity constantly feeds you while you do this) pour in the buttermilk in your big mason jar or green glass (pour a tad bit out for your deity of choice), then eat with a silver spoon (aluminum is easier to come by now days but I prefer silver for the symbolic properties)  and ruminate on the following principals…. No matter what you do, or where you are; you judge you worse than deity does or ever will; deity feeds you and takes care of you, and loves you through it all; no matter what.  Feel the love warm up your heart, and your belly fill with food then go to bed knowing that everything is all right the worse thing has happened, and you drank it...and it wasn't that bad, in fact it was only buttermilk.

So when you feel like you might have ruined some of the sweet things in life, like friendships, lovers, or possibly gotten so fed up that you “flew the coop” ,“dropped your basket”, or “fell off the wagon” just remember this Southern Fried Pagan’s epiphany. Even the sweetest thing in the world like milk, when supposedly “soured” is still good for you and nutritious; and no matter how many mistakes you think you have made in life…somewhere out there in the universe there was a “recipe, rhyme and a reason for it” or at least a southerner who would deem it as one of the greatest foods ever.

How to make Buttermilk

1 cup milk (whole milk works best) plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice this is the method for DIY buttermilk. Wait 30 seconds for the milk to sour. Add a little more time, with light agitation. You can substitute some sour cream, yogurt, whey, or cream of tarter for the buttermilk, its easy-peasy. What your are trying to do is “clabber” the milk, you cannot substitute skim, or lowfat milk, or even evaporated milk it has to be whole milk.

  • Add acidic ingredient to the milk and stir.
  • Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • The milk will curdle.
  • Stir well before using.
  • Store in the refrigerator, freeze leftovers and make buttermilk dressings or use in homemade breads, pies or cakes.

I pray this touches home for you, and makes life sweeter.  Thank you for the gift of your time!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm going to learn you a lesson....

There is a major hurdle that Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, have to “jump” unlike other faiths at some point in their existence; that of sharing what they believe with friends and family.  I would venture to say that sharing it with your friends or acquaintances is so much easier than with your family…but I am not walking in your “moccasins “ so how can I say?  I can however, tell you how it was and is for me; and that is the real meat of a blog…the person writing it is sharing their life with people they know, people they do not know, people they will see face to face, and people they will never meet face to face.  It is the beauty of the Internet.

A lot of Pagans will never “come out of the broom closet” completely for fear of losing their job, for fear of their family knowing, sometimes even the partners they share their lives with do not know (I recently just saw a you tube video where a woman claimed her partner did not know this about her and they had been together over ten years; wonder what will happen when they see the you tube video?) However, when you decide to found an open to the public, legal Wiccan Church you have to know that people are going to find out what you believe; and if you are Clergy it is inevitable. 

You might ask yourself, if you are not of our faith…why is this such a big deal?  Well, even for people who become Clergy I have seen them stumped over how to explain this to their family, or co-workers.  They seem to want to “ease” people into it, or hint at it (yes they wear pagan jewelry but nothing too obvious) or they express openly their “liberal viewpoints” but no matter how old you are, or who you are; “coming out” is an issue we all have to decided upon at one time or another.

My parents are Southern Baptist.  My brothers are Christians of different denominations; at some point all of them figured out I believed differently than them and that I was a Pagan but for some reason they thought it was a “phase” or “something I would outgrow”.  My beliefs were treated like they did not exist, never talked about or discussed…once a year I was told I was being prayed for or that they worried for my soul.  So, when it came to opening the church; I consciously decided not to tell them.  Yes, I told myself I was “protecting” my family and myself from the debris that would fly from this…but the reality is I did not want to have to “explain or defend” myself; and I realized that the full implications of me opening this church could mean that they would “banish” me from the family, and write me out of the will.  So, I did not say a word it was my secret.  When you keep secrets people tend to think there is something about you that is worse than it really is…..

Eventually, due to other people sharing it with my parents and my very “vocal” blog and social networking skills( ha ha) my parents did find out.  Yes, they were upset…they cried, they yelled, they ranted, they raved, and now it is still not discussed.  I know my parents and brothers will not come to my home because this is where the “pagans” gather and I have an altar in my backyard.  I know they would die if all of their relatives knew the truth about me, and yet I still chose this path anyway.  Depending on what type of person you are…you might be asking, WHAT if anything was I thinking?  Why would I choose a spiritual path that would cause discord in my family, and possibly threaten my livelihood and life here in the south?

I was thinking, I had to do it…I felt called, I was following my bliss…and when I looked up, twenty years had flown by.  Yeah, twenty years (the age of my oldest child) and when you have spent at least that many years diligently practicing and walking a path you are not going to all of the sudden abandon it…you are going to stay true to it.  I was thinking that maybe if “I came out” that it would make it easier for others to do the same.  I was thinking that if I stopped having secrets that my whole life could sing a beautiful song that was about TRUTH, because I am doing nothing wrong…and I do not have to defend my spiritual beliefs.

This weekend when I was with my parents and brothers and sister in laws and cousins at my family reunion I heard them all openly intermingle and sprinkle their “Christian” beliefs with their sentences and conversations all the time.  I found myself envious that they are allowed to do this, and that if I did the same in their presence it would be as if the world stopped and a record was scratched. 

A few weeks ago there was a “Mothers of Faith” blog contest on a popular site called Circle of Moms out of the top 15 sites chosen more than half were Pagan, and the number one site chosen was Pagan…my old blog (the Teflon Cauldron) snagged eleven!  Did you know I had no one in my family I could call and share my giddiness with?  Yes, I was excited in less than one year, a blog I had helped create and wrote on placed 11 in the nation for faith blogs…and I was openly PAGAN!  Some of the Christian mom bloggers who lost or placed second or below got angry and let everyone know how the “witches and wiccans and pagans” obviously rigged the thing, or spelled it so they could win…they never took the time to think about how much gumption it took for those Pagan mothers to post that blog in the first place; or one step further…to enter that contest.

Being Pagan in the South and in America, takes guts…not rebellion, but if you walk that path and it is your religion (which is what a religion is walking your ethics) it takes courage.  You better be a warrior, because people seem to think we have “no feelings, no rights, and are not human”.  I am raising my children to know that whatever it is they believe, it is “okay” and I am encouraging them to share it with me and my husband…in my home we are breaking the cycle of secrecy, lying, deceit, and shame.  There will be no “fear” to keep them in line used, no hovering of “I will write you out of the will or keep your siblings away from you”. 

I encourage you, if you are Pagan to pat yourself on the back today.  You are brave; in a world that says it encourages diversity…you have really chosen a separate path.  If you are “open and out” Pagan then I applaud you, and you should right now applaud yourself…there at the office, in your car, in the mirror, wherever  you are APPLAUD yourself!   For in the words of Lucius Seneca “Sometimes even to LIVE is an act of courage”

Thank you for the gift of your time…………