Monday, October 31, 2011

Laying out the dishes is great...but where is the cherry pie?

Sing the following to the tune of Merry Xmas the War is Over, by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

"So it's a another Samhain,
and what have you done?
 another year is over...
and a New one has just begun...."

When I was a little girl, I used to hear this song in the Kmart, Sears, and the mall playing while my mom was pushing me around in a cart to buy consumer products such as clothing, toys, decorations, etc.  For Pagans, Samhain is about as close as we get to the excitement of the "muggly world" of Christ mas.  Yes, I understand we have Yule, but let us be honest...we all try to out-do the previous year in decorations, rituals, parties, costumes, and just witchy greatness!

Many of us do ancestor rituals on Samhain, some of us do divination, some of us just hoot and holler around a bonfire, but all of us do something for Samhain.  What I worry about is that in all the hustle and bustle of Samhain (and I am one of the biggest celebrators I know of it) we forget about one of the true meanings of the Holy Day.  It is the end of one year, and the beginning of another.  Laying out food for your ancestors is wonderful, lighting a candle for them fabulous...but if we do not take the time to think about the previous year what we have learned and what we have gained, what we have lost, and what we need to change or carry over to the previous year...then we are doing nothing more than laying out food for dead people.

Now, let us think about this you not think our ancestors would want us to stop and take note of our accomplishments of the previous year?  Do you not think they would want us to plan for the coming year?  Part of honoring your ancestors is the idea of "thanking them for all they taught you, and for the sheer luck of your genetics, sometimes it is thanking people for teaching  you as in honoring leaders in your communities, or just people you really appreciated from afar that have crossed the veil; but I bet if you were to ask them flat spokenly what they would like you to know about the coming year...they would give you common sense advice.  That is what is beautiful about the gift of Magick that it is about as practical as it gets. 

We worship the Crone mother, and the God of the Underworld during Samhain, both Gods that will help us get through the coming winter by helping us provide and plan for our families and our communities.  Yes, you should thank them...but what about sharing your plan for the coming year with them?  What about asking them to look down the road of life and help you find the easiest and smoothest way to get to your destination?  You can do that you know, there are no Magick 101 laws you are breaking to ask for assistance or wisdom.  In fact, that is what the Gods are here for.

So with you, I am going to share the following:  I am very proud that our Temple has grown, prospered, flourished, and accomplished new things!  I have learned so many new things spiritually, mentally, and emotionally that in one more year I have grown more than I did in five before the Church.  However, let it be noted I have made "hasty judgements" done things "because they were easier" and "have tried to please everyone failing miserably" and all of these things I have honestly had to take accounting for.

I thank my Mamaw Minnie for raising me to see life as very practical and magick as common sense.  I thank my spiritual teachers for "cheering me on"  and giving me signs of encouragement when I needed it.  I thank my Goddess Isis for all I have, my children, my husband, my community and my friends.  I, however, have two goals I want to inch closer two by next year for me personally...first I want to return to school for hopefully the last time to secure a job and income I think I can retire with.  Secondly, I want to inch closer to that book I "keep on talking about" but have not "the confidence or willpower" to finish.

Now, that was not that hard was it?  Tonight after I take my new little boy Cayden out trick or treating with my fellow Pagan parents and visit his grandparents I will set a dish of food out.  I will light a candle, I will remember my ancestors though I must be honest I do every day...but I think the best way I will do this is by living my life in a way they will be proud, courageously, honestly, and upfront.

"May you have a Merry Samhain!

and a Happy New Year

Let's hope it's a good one.

Without any fear!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

She is feeling so poorly she is barking like a seal...

It happens, no matter how good you eat or bundle up or how many vitamins you take every now and then you are going to get a cold and a cough.  If you were raised like I was, your parents could not “afford” to take you to the doctor every time you got a “cough”.  So, it became essential here in the south that remedies were discovered, and tried out that were cheaper than a doctor’s visit and you knew would do the trick. This is where the tradition of tinctures, potions, and syrups truthfully came from.  Even the Europeans that brought them here were bringing over recipes that were "proven cures" for illnesses.  Unfortunately, depending on the region you lived in here in the States what you knew in Ireland, Scotland, or England to work did not work here in the red clay soil areas.  The same herbs were not prevalent. 

So our ancestors who were transplants and fresh of the boats, had to hurry and a scurry and make "new remedies" and tinctures, and syrups that worked to get rid of a cough.  Traditionally we all know licorice root will work, slippery elm, cherry bark, marshmallow root, cinnamon bark, and fennel root. I do not know about you I am not going out to the woods with a basket and a knife and looking for these herbs and digging them up. I could find them I am sure, and I know what they are used for but I do not have the time in my modern urban life to go digging and rooting in the soil.  I live in the biggest city in the state of Tennessee going to the woods would mean my local park or driving to the country; and I really do not have the time for either with a infant and a church to run. 

So how do I still make our own homemade witch remedies today living in the 21st century?  How could we (yes all of us witchlings) take the general idea and make them more relevant and up to date? You make a new recipe, you find a new cure.  You use the same principles that your old mamaw cooked up and add a new dash of this, and a splash of that, and dig your ingredients out of the bins of your local grocery store!

If we, as Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches do not progress with the times and continue our art then it will be lost.  Not because the old recipes are not as prevalent as they once were but because they have become irrelevant in our modern techno savvy age.  This is why it is so important that once one of us discovers or brews up a new concoction that we share it and tell each other how easy it really truly is.  I like potions that you can use on all the members of your family and would not be ashamed to share with co-workers and strangers.  Because, though people do not come to my back door in the middle of the night because they are scared the neighbors or preacher might see them I do still get emails, text messages, and various phone calls from people who want to know.  Heck, the other day someone posted openly on my facebook wall for a tea during the flu season! 

Now, I know you were all probablly expecting me to write about Samhain today; but today I am wrestling with a cold.  So I am writing what is on my mind, and what I am doing in my daily a cure, to bottle and put up for the winter! 

You can use this on a small infant that is six months old or older.  I would not try it on one younger because of digestion reasons.  But for adults it is a wonder!  I have changed the ingredient of molasses or honey or sugar to Jaggery because it is organic and exotic and I like the name!  Seriously though, most people down here would make it up without the sweetner and I need a little bit of sugar to get the bitter down if you do not…then you are a much bigger witch than I need that spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down    :)

First, I want to explain what Jaggery is (nope we Southerners did not make this word up), then I will share my recipe, then a few sources you can buy it at!  Good luck, share it’s success with others, but most importantly get rid of that cough!

Jaggery (also transliterated as jaggeree) is a traditional unrefined sugar used throughout South and South East Asia.


Though "jaggery" is used for the products of both sugarcane and the date palm tree, technically, the word refers solely to sugarcane sugar. The sugar made from the sap of the date palm is both more prized and less available outside of the districts where it is made. Hence, outside of these areas, sugarcane jaggery is sometimes called "gur" to increase its market value. The sago palm and coconut palm are also now tapped for producing jaggery in southern India. In Mexico and South America, similar sugarcane products are known as "panela" or "piloncillo".

Jaggery is considered by some to be a particularly wholesome sugar and, unlike refined sugar, it retains more mineral salts. Moreover, the process does not involve chemical agents. Indian Ayurvedic medicine considers jaggery to be beneficial in treating throat and lung infections; Sahu and Saxena found that in rats jaggery can prevent lung damage from particulate matter such as coal and silica dust.

Jaggery is used as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes across India and Sri Lanka. For example, a pinch of jaggery is sometimes added to sambar, rasam and other gravies which are staples in India. Jaggery is also added to lentil soups (dal) to add sweetness to balance the spicy, salty and sour components, particularly in Gujarati cooking. Jaggery is also molded into novelty shapes as a type of candy. Other uses include jaggery toffees and jaggery cake made with pumpkin preserve, cashew nuts and spices. Jaggery may also be used in the creation of alcoholic beverages.

Jaggery is also considered auspicious in many parts of India, and is eaten raw before commencement of good work or any important new venture.

Muzaffarnagar District in Uttar Pradesh has the largest jaggery market in India, followed by Anakapalli of Visakhapatnam District in Andhra Pradesh. These are the biggest and second biggest in the entire world.
In Myanmar, jaggery, known as htanyet, is harvested from toddy palm syrup. In central Myanmar and around Bagan (Pagan), toddy syrup is collected solely for the purpose of making jaggery. The translucent white syrup is boiled until it becomes golden brown, and then made into bite-sized pieces. Htanyet, which means "toddy lick", is considered a sweet, and is eaten by children and adults alike, usually in the afternoon along with a pot of green tea. It has been referred to locally as Burmese chocolate. Toddy palm jaggery is also sometimes mixed with coconut shreddings, plum puree or sesame, depending on the area. This type of jaggery is also used in Burmese cooking, usually to add color and enrich the food.
It is a rich source of iron due to the process involved, using iron utensils.
Besides its uses as a food, jaggery may also be used to season the inside of tandoor ovens.

OTHER Names for jaggery:

(in alphabetical order of the name)
  • Bella in Kannada
  • Bellam in Telugu
  • chakkara in Malayalam [made from palm wine]
  • Gaur in Gujarati
  • Gud in Hindi and Punjabi
  • Gul in Marathi
  • Gula Melaka in Malaysia
  • Gur in Bengali and Assamese language
  • Hakuru in Sinhalese
  • Htanyet in Burmese
  • Panela and piloncillo in Latin America
  • Panocha or Panutsa in the Philippines
  • Rapadou in Haiti
  • Sharkara in Malayalam [made from sugarcane]
  • Valle Bella in Tulu
  • Vellam in Tamil

If the Cough is related to a seasonal fever , then prepare a ginger tea with following ingredients .

5 dried Peppers (you know those small kind you saved from your garden? you can buy them at the store and broil them on a shallow pan in the oven then grind them, or you can buy them in the organic section already dried in a bag no joke!)
1 pinch Dried ginger or 2 spoon ginger powder
3 cloves 
1 pinch cumin seed 
1 cube Palm jaggery.
Boil the jaggery in one cup of water which will melt it. Then just grind the above ingredients and boil it with jaggery water. Give this syrup like any cough syrup,  1 tsp for your little witchlings, and 1 Tsp for your big Pagans, 3 times a day.

Where can you buy Jaggery?  Why at any local Indian food store of course!  However, if you live in a small town and have no merchant store of that type, try these online sources:

Friday, October 21, 2011

"I intend to live forever, or die trying"---Groucho Marx

It’s that time again, my birthday.  This Saturday I will be crossing another threshold, turning another corner and along the way I (in the usual Sonya style) have found myself taking inventory.  In this past year I have been grown!  There were some times when I thought I would just “give up” or “could not take it anymore” but thank the Goddess she sent me friends who said…”You can do it!  Sonya, you are wonderful.  We love you!”  I realized this year, for a young woman who had a baby to early in life thus socially stubbing herself in the toe.  I had outgrown my awkwardness, I am not a stumbling colt anymore I have friends.  True friends, and plenty of them.

Terry Riley says “True friends walk in the door when troubles hit you; the other kind walk out.”  How right he is.  Rev. Terry Riley, Rev. Amanda Riley, Gary and Anita, Rev. Tim and Rev. Edwina Rickman, Anne Pelloth and Tom Evans, Pat Tobias and Brian Cris all stepped in the door of my life when times were really tough this year and fed me, soothed me, told me like it was, and helped me get my groove back.  I pray that when I as an elder, see someone else going through the same disappointment in life I remember this time and “reach out and extend” and open the door to their life and offer them the same.

I have acquired some new best friends.  Allison Hancock (yes a fellow Highpriestess and Clergy also) has through time and trials proven to be my best friend.  She can be a fiery woman when crossed, a strong shoulder to cry on or lean on, and the person who when you are weary helps you carry your load.  John Hancock has surprised me in ways I could not comprehend.  He handles life with a sarcastic dry humor but understands that when the “crap falls” it takes a team of people to “have your back” and he gracefully uses the power of air and his “unique peaceful” take on life to help you see things in perspective.  I need that perspective.  I crave that perspective.  Sometimes, I am just pushing and shoving and striving and running so fast that I have no idea what is really going on and when I find myself tired or weary the Hancock family is where I find myself going for “manna”.  

Pretty new in my life, but not less special nor less loyal are Cindy Mcmullin, Angela Crossen, and Michele Acred.  Cindy is relatively new to my circle and life; but I knew when I met her she was a “friend for life” it just clicked and we fit.  Now granted our personalities are equally bombastic and just as fiery but if you get two women the live in the fire quadrant together you do not get troubles you get women who love strong women.  You find that Goddesses like Cindy become not “more scarce” but more prevalent and when I needed it most she has halved my job load and elegantly increased hers J Her laugh is a “classic witch” cackle, her friends many, and her heart is as big as whale.  I am so blessed to have a woman such as this choose to share my path and her path in my lifetime.  

Angela and Michele are a couple in our Temple.  Not new to the Pagan community, but relatively new to my life.  They are hardworking, upbeat, positive, funny, inquisitive, open, and very smart.  One has the brain of a scientific engineer and the other of a creative genius.  Their marriage is one that makes people smile with happiness and understanding.  Their example of how to deal with troubles amazing; and when I see them show up (no matter what) my tension eases, a smile spreads on my face, and my eyes start to dance once again.  More people need people like this in their lives, more people should be like this…and I pray that for hanging out with them and living with them I will become more like them because they are just “great people to aspire to be like”. 

* It should be stated here that Angela Crossen freely and NOT drugged chose to be my maiden through one of the busiest and toughest times I personally have ever gone through and the Temple as a whole went through.  She hustled, she bouyed me up, she laughed, distracted me, got me back on track, and in the process of her questions I found myself loving what I do and remembering why I do it again.  I could not have ASKED for a better maiden and friend so I KNOW Isis had something to do with it.

Lastly, but not less importantly are the three quite men in my life.  Daniel Meyers, Brian Miller (my hubby), and Clifton Stallsmith (my oldest son) they are not truly quite just compared to me they seem timid!  (LMAO)  They listen, they take in details, they calmly take in every situation, and just when you think you might throw up your emotional hands and walk away because you cannot figure something out they calmly state it exactly like it is.  They are like the book of directions you forgot to read while assembling and Ikea bookshelf.  If you would have asked them first, and then taken the time to listen after they had thoroughly processed your question in their zen like state you might just learn something; but if you are like me you are too busy trying to pain the world some intense color to take the time to listen to the guru while he is thinking!  After all there is grocery shopping, and cooking, and cleaning, and classes, and rituals to plan, and decorations to assemble, and things to write.  In the meantime, they sat there took it all in and finished the project by the time you got around to it.  Yes, still waters run deep.  How great-full I am to have such men in my circle of life.

Now that I have written this list I find that what amazes me the most is that I have such wonderful, talented, smart, creative, inspirational, amazing people IN my life.  Not observing my life, or reading about my life, but participating in my life (though I do like it when they read about my life also). No, better than that CONSCIOUSLY choosing to participate in my life, and with me!  There I said it, I cannot truly comprehend how people such as this have chosen to honor me with not only the gift of their time, but with their friendship and love but they have.  Then I have no idea what Isis sees in me either or Osiris but hey I run with it; I would be a fool not to celebrate the Gods and the great people who choose to love me. So thank you all of you for the specialness you lend to me and my life I would not be who I am without make life vibrant, rich, and berry berry abundant!

So this year, when I turn twenty five (wink wink, nod, nod, you get the picture) I am going to celebrate the wonderful gift of people that the Gods have brought into my life.  I have always admired people that had lots of wonderful people as friends.  I have surrounded myself all my life with pictures and quotes from people who inspired me but those were magazine pictures and handwritten quotes that I jotted down from books. I look up, I see the truth.  I need no magazine cutouts.  I need no handwritten copies from books.  My friends are the real thing.  They are the kind of people I want to be, inspire me to be better, and show me that anything at all can happen.  Now if that isn’t a magical birthday gift I have no idea what is!

So Happy Birthday Sonya Miller!  You lost ONE best friend many years ago on your birthday but you gained MANY more and there is no greater rich person than he or she that has surrounded themselves with TRUE friends.

Thank you all for reading me ANOTHER year and for participating in my life also...for I do not write for myself alone...I write to commune and communicate with others!   Next year, I am aiming for a book!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pagans and Pride go together like Bees and Honey

Midsouth Pride 2011

Me, and some of my closest witchling friends speak of life as not “spiraling out of control” but “spiraling back around”.  This phrase to us is like when you find yourself in a moment in life and you realize that everything you have ever worked for and believed has led you to that spot.  It’s your witchy “aha!” moment.  It makes you get all goosebumpy, and choked up you feel glorious and thank-full.  You experience many times like this in a lifetime, but strangely enough they outweigh the normal every day “aha” moments you get while fixing the plumbing under the sink! This Saturday was one of those glorious “I felt it” “I knew it” and felt “exhilarated” moments. 

When you are younger, you might have it in your mind that you have reached the pinnacle of ethics for your life when what you “say you believe” you “walk”.  That was a decision I made for myself and my family when I was in my twenties.  Sometimes, I have missed the mark.  Sometimes I have not liked the “physical requirements” or “long reaching results” of played out ethics but as you grow older you choose how to invest your time more wisely.  As a Pagan it is really hard to “choose” to come out to your friends and family.  I have done both, some with great results others not really smashing but either way I made that choice and found liberation in it.  

I am a Libra.  I am telling you this for a reason, while I claim it has little to do with my day to day life it has a lot to do with how I see and approach the world.  I was a student of the humanities (Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology) that got fed up when I realized I was being trained to espouse and promulgate theories for other people to act upon.  Something about that rubbed me the wrong way, until the day I turned in my resignation from graduate school.  I told them I wanted to live out my theories on the best way to live my life.  Pagan, Wiccan, Witch was one of them the other was acting and doing something about the world we lived in.

I believe helping co-found the Temple with Amos Kelley, Brian Miller, and Allison Hancock was just that acting on my Pagan principles and offering to others a “umbrella” of protection so that they could worship in a safe environment without worries or fears.  It developed into being a home for people that fit no where else in the communities.  It developed into a Temple full of people that have political and social ideas that feel strongly about them that wanted to do something in the real world.  

One year ago my members participated in Midsouth Pride 2010 and had a blast.  I stayed at home with a new born; and the rest of the Temple went to Festival of Souls in the woods.  When my members came back they were determined that the next year we would fully as a Temple participate and put our actions where our words were.  We would march, we would have a float, we would have a booth and I agreed to the idea.  For two years now we have happily supported the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community center sending them food for the pantries and clothing for those in need.  The Temple and the MLGCC has slowly but surely formed a bond that has grown stronger every month.  I am proud of this accomplishment but I wanted more.

I have no idea how to build a float.  I am not really gifted in crafty areas, but several of the people in my Temple are.  I do hair, I build wigs, I paint canvases on people, I have a way with color, and I am a great decorator---but I have not built a float.  Quickly my members brought me stacks of forms to fill out, I did.  Quickly they went to meetings and listened and paid for our spaces.  Quickly they volunteered and went to float building classes.  Lists were made, Ideas were drawn out, materials were acquired and we went to work.  Two weeks, every night after they were out of work and some after their night shifts people came over.

First we painted a canvas in swirling colors.  Next we painted and traced Temples from various civilizations on the back, the Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Greek Parthenon.  Then we paper- mached the Goddess.  It took two layers, we had to wait for her to dry.  Then we painted her with a kilz coat, it dried and the next morning I repainted her with help from Michelle.  Then, Allison and Katie painted her with vines and flowers.  Angela and I and everyone made letters with aluminum foil cardboard, tissue paper….TEMPLE OF THE SACRED GIFT, and TSG for the back of the float.  We cut out cardboard for the sides, front, back, to cover the wheels.  We constructed a way to hang the tarp out of pipes (thank you Dwayne) he also devised a way to bolt her into the trailer!  We covered the boxes with table clothes, we pasted the letters on one by one.  We took a trellis and cut it to size and then wound fabric and vines on it.  We made an altar, and glued candles incense holders and vines around it.  I made a head out of a wig model, painted it, gave her a beautiful wig and headpiece with feathers and we glued it onto her head.  We made arms out of chicken wire and paper mache.  We cut and painted pentagrams to go in each hand.  We made a rainbow out of construction paper and painted it. …and each night as tired as we were.  No one bitched, no one snapped, everyone was happy and worked.  One night Katie says, this is cool because you know tonight we are all connected to everyone else doing this tonight for a general purpose; and I knew we were.

I have never worked so hard on something that I knew had no monetary return!  Yep, that is right…never.  Allison designed and made beautiful bright orange handbills with our Temple website on it and a large pentagram, we made brochures, printed more tee shirts.  In the end we were ready to go.  8-am we set up our booth, and filled it with incenses and crystals, and necklaces, and athames and candles with our Temple flag hanging up proudly right next to the Human rights Campaign booth.  10-am we were putting together the float in the parking lot.  12-30 we were eating quickly.  1-pm we were lining up with baskets of candy and handbills.  The parade began to start, and we marched!  

I have never had such a moment where I knew I was doing the right thing!  I have never had such a moment where I was so proud!  I have never marched in a parade, I have never had so many hug me and tell me “how proud they were of us!”.  I have never had so many people say “I had no idea that you had a legal organization out there for us!”  As we marched, we all smiled and laughed and hugged people we knew on Beale Street.  We all looked so proud, we were in our element.  We were coming out as the rest of the people were coming out!  We were marching for equal rights for everyone understanding that this is something dear to the Pagan’s heart.  Many people say they are open to “sexual orientation” but few will get out there and show their face and say I AM FOR THIS. I did that, and I am amazed at myself and comrades for doing it together...we grew into our heroes!

The single most important thing I feel I have ever done with the Temple is work my butt off for a float.  I do not care that it cost more than it will ever make in money.  I care that we in that moment came together and showed our city that we feel this way about this issue.  That we not only talked the talk but walked the walk; I pray that you too have moments in your life when you realize that sometimes being public and taking a stand is what is needed for this world.  Adopting dogs is great, organic gardening is fantastic, giving food and clothing to charities is applaud able, but sometimes we need to do more.  For the Temple, we did more and for this reason I am proud to say I have helped co-found the most instrumental thing in my life that has helped me grow and dismiss boundaries in my life.  Thank you Isis for sending me here!  Thank you Isis for everyone you sent to my life!  Thank you Midsouth Pride for treating us so wonderful!

Next year…we are going to win a float trophy!  Just you wait and see!  What have you done, that you are proud of that gave you that AHA moment and made you realize you were WALKING YOUR TALK?

Friday, October 14, 2011

" I would like a mummy dog, dipped in blood, with an eye of newt on the side please!"

Some Witchy Recipes:

Many of us answer to the name “witch”.  We take pride in it, bandy it about, cackle like one, have a collection of witch hats, pointy boots, black capes, carpet bags, bottles with labels, cats galore, and use this name in reference to our spiritual path.  I have never taken “offense” to the name witch when attached to me; in fact I like it.  I feel like it makes me “special” in a world that is encouraged to stamp out “unique” individuals.

I was told when I was a little witchling that every “real witch” (this term real witch could be an excellent blog) starts either in the kitchen or in the garden learning her trade and polishing her skills. I have found this particularly true in the South if you ask enough people they concentrate usually in one area or another.  Me, I chose the kitchen and later delved into a bit of gardening.  Honestly though I enjoy “brewing up teas and concoctions”, making special cakes and pies and delightful treats.  I find my heart singing, and my lips peeled back in a smile I cannot contain.  

I rune my pies, I whisper over my cookies, I talk to my cake batter, I sprinkle herbs, spices, flavorings, like a witch from a painting taking time to do everything with a flourish and grand gesture because why not enjoy what you are doing?  But the real important ingredient in Kitchen witchery is not only having good ingredients, a good recipe, great stove, good pots and pans and a love for the craft of it in you heart it is one thing--- LUCK.  Yep, you need luck if you are going to not “over cook” something or if you are really going to go on your instinct “and throw in a dash of oregano” in a chocolate pie.  

How does one guarantee luck?  Well that takes surrounding yourself with lucky objects does it not, or possibly asking your Gods or Guides to assist you in the kitchen?  Witches know how to attract luck, that is why many wear lodestones.  Of course growing shamrocks in in your kitchen does not hurt.  Hanging a kitchen witch and charging her in the kitchen definitely turns the tide in your favor.  What about a few gnomes or house elves?  Just like ingredients make up a recipe, so do “kitchen helpers” in a witch’s life. AND kitchen witches truly in the heart believe that there is no limit to when you can cook “fun” what others would call “haloweeny” dishes and desserts.  Because, to a witch every day is Halloween!

Keeping this in mind, I am going to share a couple of recipes I cooked this last week for a ghost hunting workshop that was done at my home.  Of course, I know it was not Halloween but it sure was fun making Mummy Dogs and Eye of Newt Deviled Eggs and Ghost cookies!  I do not feel that these recipes should be limited to Halloween they should be made any time of night or day when you just need to smile or take life less seriously!

EYES OF NEWT: Yields2 dozen newt eyes

  • 12 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 pinch celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 drops green food coloring, or as needed
  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained


  1. Place all of the eggs into a large pot so they can rest on the bottom in a single layer. Fill with just enough cold water to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water or add some ice to the water and let the eggs cool completely. Peel and slice in half lengthwise.
Remove the yolks from the eggs and place them in a bowl. Mix in the relish, mayonnaise, celery salt, mustard, and food coloring. Spoon this filling into the egg whites and place them on a serving tray. Round the top of the filling using the spoon. Place a whole olive inside each yolk to create the center of the eye. Dab a tiny bit of mustard in the center of the olive as a finishing touch. Sprinkle liberally with paprika! 

MUMMY DOGS:  Yields 2 dozen


  • 2 (11-oz.) cans refrigerated breadstick dough
  • 24 bun-length hot dogs (choose turkey or chicken or vegan)
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Whole Cloves
  • 2 Cups mustard, 1 Tbsp chili powder, and 1 Tbsp or real honey for Dipping Sauce


  • 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Unroll breadstick dough, and separate into 12 strips at perforations. Gently stretch each strip to a length of 8 inches.
  • 2. Wrap 1 dough strip lengthwise around each hot dog. Secure with wooden picks, if necessary. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • 3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes.
MAKE your Dipping Sauce and make sure you put it next to them in a FUN bowl (I use a cauldron)
I hope these recipes give you a taste of what it is like to eat at my table, and to dance in my kitchen!  I enjoy the little things as they call it because I know the little things not only add up and make big things but that the Goddess is always in the details!  So relish your kitchen witchery, put on that big hat whilst cooking, but always take the time to invoke LUCK while baking up a brew!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We are all Fair to middling today, fair to middling.

Southern Pagan Etiquette:

I don’t have a clue as to what the etiquette in your areas are; but I do know what are some of the rules of etiquette around these parts.  So I thought I would share them with you all, mostly because the Pagan community is growing very rapidly.  With more and more new and eager fresh hearts and faces coming in it cannot be expected that they just “know” how things are done. The irony here is that most of these rules were passed down verbally and in small covens that branched out, hived, joined, combed and then became the present community we live in here today. 

When I say I am only telling you how it is in the Midsouth what I literally mean is Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas now I understand that in the Eastern parts of Tennessee there is a whole ‘nother set of Cumberland region rules I am not query to.  I do keep in mind a lot of us here came from people (myself included) who moved to these areas from those red crusty mountainous regions.  They carried with them their poultices, remedies, songs, spells, quilts, and traditions.    I am not trying to preach to anyone; or get a point across to a particular person I am just being the “Miss Manners” of these here parts and sharing with you all some general “ways of being” so that you understand how we do things; and what is expected here. 

    1. Never go to another person’s circle and touch their altar.  You can look at it, but do not touch it.  It is considered rude.  In fact, many witches or groups do not want you to step in their circle BEFORE the ritual because they just cleansed it.  So no matter how curious you are; wait until after the ritual and then ask the facilitator of the ritual if you can look or touch.

    1. Never go to another Pagan/Witch/Wiccan’s house and see their personal altar and touch their things.  It is okay to ask the owner about the altar, but unless you ask for permission and are given it…do not touch.  Only observe.

    1. If you go to an event and are introduced to an Elder or Highpriest or Highpriestess be respectful.  This means in actions, words, and deeds, for this is the way of acknowledging their time and effort given to the community you are just starting to sniff around. You do not have to fill their coffee cups every time it is empty, but it is nice!  When greeting them bow your head slightly, and if they are sitting and you are standing either crouch down to their level or bend your knees so that you are lower than them.  Why?  This is body language respect and they are the matriarch or patriarch of that group you think you might want to be part of.

    1. Never ever go to an Elder or Highpriest or High priestesses house for counseling or PERSONAL lessons and not bring them a gift.  If it is something special like you find out they like such as boysenberry pie then you score extra points!  If they are a shaman it is highly likely tobacco is considered a standard gift.  It is disrespectful of the spirit and the person for you to expect they give and give and give to you, and you do not acknowledge their gifts. The job of an Elder or Highpriest/ess is not to SERVE you; it is for a reciprocal relationship with spirit they open doors and hand you keys.  They aren’t a Gas Station folks!

    1. It is considered bad form to go to a circle at another person’s circle or home and for you to immediately ask that they move their circle to your home.  You just met them!  You have not taken in what they do, you have not thanked them for the gift of their time, the energy they gave you for the ritual, or even the food they laid out and fed you.  ALWAYS thank your host, but do not start out asking them for what they can do for you and telling them how they should move their circle and all their work to your convenient location.  It is their circle, they built it up from ground zero RESPECT that.

    1. Do not judge people you just met!  First impressions are hardly enough ground for you to tell enough about a group, its members, or its Clergy/Highpriestess/Highpriest for you to know what they are about.  You should take the time to go to the rituals at least three times before getting a “feel for them”.  DO though ask their experience if you are thinking of joining you really don’t want to join a group that has a leader who just “DUBBED” themselves leader do you?  See if they have roots, and people in the community that is respected that would recommend them.  Checking recommendations is not a bad thing. 

    1. You see those people standing next to you in circle? They are a lot like you!  They too are scared, and shy, and awkward feeling.  They have just made a BIG step!  They decided to take a risk and gamble and try to practice their faith with other people.  Respect that, be nice, be friendly, make friends…but do not try to use those people to “stir up the cauldron” or to “start your own group”.  We all drink from the same well of the Goddess.  If you want to start your own group, that’s cool do it!  However, going into other people’s circles with the intent of farming for a group of your own only starts “bad feelings” in a community. Try to remember that everything is done with a “group” in mind not just for “you” the individual and yet for “you” the individual. There is a community bigger than you out there; please be gentle with it.

    1. That circle you are connected too is part of a larger community!  That Highpriest and Highpriestess they know all the other Highpriest’s and Highpriestesses in the area and most if not all the Elders.  Keep in mind, that once you burn bridges in one circle…it will follow you.  It is inevitable.

    1. If you feel that the circle you are in is doing something “unethical” well I can understand why you would leave.  However, do not post it on Facebook or Twitter go to the people involved and sit down and talk to them about it.  You might come to understand that your viewpoint on the situation was skewed; or maybe you will see that your ethics and theirs do not congeal but it is never ever okay to be cruel, slander, or try to tear apart a person.  It is totally against the ethics of our path. Leave gently, and find the right group for you! b

    1. Never ever go to a circle drunk, or stoned or even on prescription medicine that alters your state of consciousness.  Do not go to circles bringing alcohol or firearms.  Most of these people running public circles are doing all they can to keep it open, and that means they have to keep the law.  Would you go to a church of another denomination and bring beer or guns or dope?  No, so why would you expect your church (and that is what a circle is) to let you do that and turn their head? Remember that, a circle is a church …your church so act that way. 

    1.  A lot of groups offer training programs, and have Highpriestesses or Elders or Clergy that teach.  These classes cost money out of the facilitator’s pocket.  These classes take time, out of the teacher’s world.  These people felt CALLED to teach you.  They have years and years of experience (usually ten or more) and they have learned things they want to share with you to make your path easier.  However, they are not going to spoon feed you.  They are not “at your beck and call” they have lives also.  Did you know that they all work jobs, and have families, and relationships, and children or grandchildren of their own?  It is okay to ask them questions regarding your class homework (and please if you take a class do the homework) and the day to day lessons else you are wasting your time.  It is okay to go to them for counseling if you have personal issues. 
It is not okay for you to expect them to just wave a wand, and you be where they are at (it is more insulting to them personally and your spiritual path than anything).  In fact, it is impossible!  YOU have to put in the years and years of training (and I do not mean two) and constant practice.  YOU should listen to them because while they do not know everything they do have your best interest at heart and you might be surprised to see how much they worry for you and pray for you, and think about you while putting together that lesson plan and trying to find a way to connect and reach you so that they can make your path easier.  Teaching is a calling and not all can do it.  So be nice, give them a break, and be realistic.  You are not going to be a Highpriestess tomorrow (unless you cheat and give yourself the title) but remember this is a path that is steeped with traditions, you are taught them, you pick the ones that work with you, and you hand them down.  That is why they call it a PATH and why there is one. Someone, allot of someone's, walked it before you got there.
“To those who went before me and taught me…I thank you.  To those who come behind me, and I share my energy with, I pray I make your path’s easier.”
Now I am sure you all can think of other rules of etiquette that if you are outsider coming in to your area that people ought to know.  I have not written up clergy or Highpriest and Highpriestess “codes of conduct” yet; but trust me I am going to share a few because I think they are important and I like to know rules and “ways of doing things” in other parts.  These are not “social pagan festival rules” I know you all understand that festivals are a whole different kind of hunting dog.  

I also want you all to know I have been new to a few areas.  I have stepped on toes unintentionally and have learned from mistakes and years of experience some of these things I am sharing with you.  In fact, I have to go into other people's circles and areas all the time; and I try to mentally remind myself to observe respectfully.  To be quite and see their way of doing things and if you know me that is HARD for me to do.  Etiquette is different for every circle, every grove, every coven, every church but GENERAL rules they don't change and what does it hurt to be more respectful than necessary?  It might just help you make a new friend or get an ally or two.!

PLEASE post below and share some rules you can think of you see people breaking in their eagerness to join and please state it gently, let us be nice, for what good does it do to harm another?

 Lastly, but most importantly, thank you for the gift of your time!