Sunday, November 17, 2013

Are Pagan's Thankful at Thanksgiving too?

It's the holiday season for most Christians. Personally even though I am a Pagan I find this time of year to be wonderful because everyone is nicer no matter what faith they are. Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrating our coming to this new land and finding our new freedoms. I, for one, have a lot of things to be thankful for. Most people do; and yes that includes Pagans.

 I love Thanksgiving it is one of my favorite holidays. I love to cook! Anyone who knows me can attest to this. Since I am a Kitchen Witch cooking is a big part of everything I do. It is a major way I show love to people. The saying that feeding someone is the best gift wasn't a lie. To spend time thinking of someone and preparing nourishment for them is a big deal. I wanted to share with everyone some of the recipes that I have that have been passed down to me from my Grandmother that I love to cook for this time of the year.

Oyster Dressing:
Two cans of Oysters chopped up
One stalk of celery chopped finely
Five cloves of Garlic chopped finely
Two sticks of butter melted
One loaf of bread cubed
One onion chopped finely

Saute the celery, onion, garlic until translucent pour over the cubed bread and oysters and mix well. Then transfer is into a turkey or bake in a dish and enjoy!!!

Jenn's Roast Turkey:
I use the biggest Turkey I can find because usually I am feeding a ton of people( seriously more than I can count)
Make sure your turkey is thawed out and then run your hand under the skin of the turkey to separate it from the meat.
Mix together 1tblspn each
celery salt
Cajun seasoning
black pepper
butter softened 1 stick

Take this mixture and rub under the skin of the turkey rub down the skin of the turkey. Slice up an orange and stick under the skin as well and in the cavity.Rub down the skin of the turkey with melted butter. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees. Every hour check the turkey and bast with the drippings from the pan.

Jenn's Gravy:
Take half a stick of butter melt in a sauce pan and add about a 1/4 cup of flour mix around and cok for a couple minutes. Then add to it the drippings from the turkey pan slowly as to make sure you do not make the gravy to watery you can always make it thinner but it is hard to thicken it back up without making it lumpy. I sugest adding the liquid about a cup at atime stirring with a whisk the entire time. add salt and pepper to taste.

Apple Pie
Everyone has a recipe for apple pie!

4 apples cored and sliced thinly
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag vanilla wafers crushed finely
1 stick melted butter

Mix wafers and butter and press into the pan and bake till golden at 350 degrees
mix sliced apples and sugars and vanilla extract pour into the crust and bake for about 45 minutes let cool for a little while to let the pectin set up in the pie then serve with vanilla ice cream
Garlic mashed potatoes

NOTE:  You will need 2 potatoes for every person you are cooking for peel and cubed and boiled till soft 8 cloves of roasted garlic smashed; mash the potatoes and garlic with 1 stick of butter and about 1/2 cup of milk add salt and black pepper to taste.

  I hope that you all enjoy these recipes with your loved ones and talk about all the things you are thankful for with your family. Enjoy, and HAPPY Pagan Thanksgiving! 

Jenn Kitchen Witch TSG-ATC 

Jenn Kahn is the "Queen Kitchen Witch" at the Temple of the Sacred Gift, Atc. A first degree student, maiden at the Temple, and understands that she is priestess and Goddess while walking an Egyptian Path.  She also is an accomplished seamstress, makes specialty cakes, a fabulous belly dancer, decorator, and plays viola.  While doing all of these other interesting accomplished things she still manages to have a career in the mundane world, and raise three healthy beautiful pagan children. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Being Thankful for What’s on the Inside

 November has arrived and with it the season of Thanksgiving. Cultures around the world recognize and celebrate the harvest reconnecting them to ancient ways. In the United States the connection of Thanksgiving to the harvest festivals of old is not taught as part of the history and meaning of the holiday celebration. This is not surprising in a culture dominated by a religious group that strives to disconnect itself from anything that existed prior to its inception outside the history recorded in its holy text. I was taught that as an American I was to give thanks on this day in honor of the pilgrims befriending the Native Americans at Plymouth Rock and receiving their aid in surviving the harsh winter. The only connection to celebrating the harvest was the poorly documented history of a feast celebration. I found the celebration left a bad taste in my mouth as I got older. I disliked celebrating this feast because of the resulting devastation of the Native Americans at the hands of the immigrating people from across the pond. It took me many years in my pagan path to realize that Thanksgiving was a twist of the harvest festivals I celebrated as Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain. So here we are in the throngs of yet another harvest festival yet this time we also find ourselves in the midst of windershin spiraling. We have celebrated the grain harvest. We have celebrated the fruit harvest. And we have celebrated the livestock and soul harvest. So what are we to celebrate now?
We are taught that this celebration calls for us to be thankful for all that we have. As a pagan, I have celebrated my thankfulness for all that I have in my life three times over now. I learned that in conjunction to celebrating the grains, fruits, and meats each of the harvest festivals is a time to list all the things I am thankful for in my life and honor the blessings bestowed upon me by the gods. So as I watch the thanksgiving parade of Facebook posts each day describing one thing each of my family and friends are thankful for I find myself thinking I’ve already shown the gods my thankfulness for these things; family, extended family, friends, job, pets, health, home, etc. My list got longer and longer with each harvest festival but now at Thanksgiving I seem to have run out of things to give thanks for. That is when I realized I was working against the spin of universal energy. I noticed many of the posts and nearly all of the things on my list were external and I needed to be internally focused.

During this time of year, many pagans turn to self-reflection and shadow work. My shadow work, like many others I have talked with, involved looking within for negative aspects so that we may work on them in order to learn and grow. But I conjecture that not all shadow work must flow in this frightening manner.  A positive, thankful spin can help in addressing our shadows and keep us in the holiday spirit. This is also a great way to begin one’s shadow work for the winter months and show our thankfulness to the gods for their teachings over the previous year.  

In recent years I have begun to review my personal journal and think back to all things that I didn’t record. Like many, I start the year out making daily entries but within a few months those entries get further and further spread out. I look for situations that I either recorded something about myself that I learned or situations that now looking back I realize I could have reacted differently. I make a list of all the lessons about myself I have learned over the past year. Some of the things this year include not reacting in anger to someone else’s anger, state my beliefs and opinions in conversation in a manner that is not argumentative as if trying to force others to believe as I do, and do not give ultimatums I am not willing to live up to. These are but a few. Some of the lessons have appeared on previous years’ lists. Some of them may show up on next year’s list. I take note of lessons that repeat and those that do not. This year I plan to incorporate a small personal ritual. I will cast a circle and call to the gods. Light a pink candle for self love and acceptance, and a black candle for banishing. In the cauldron I shall burn incense made of 3 parts Frankincense, 2 parts Myrrh, and 1 part each of Mugwort, Rosemary, and Bay. I will have on my altar several slips of paper, a new journal, and a writing instrument. I will begin by lighting the candles, which will be anointed with my personal power oil and charged for their purpose. Next, I will write each lesson I have learned on a slip of paper; something like, “I reacted with violence when emotionally threatened.” The next step is to thank the gods for helping me to recognize and learn from this lesson. I will then banish my old habit by lighting it in the flame of the black candle and announce, “I banish my fault of violent reaction.” And throw it in to the cauldron to burn away. I follow this by focusing on the pink candle and allowing myself to recognize that I have learned and grown from the experience. I will thank the gods for my growth. Next, I will write in my new journal what I have learned, “I am thankful I have learned to think before I act especially when threatened emotionally.” I will continue in this manner with each lesson on my list. When I am finished I will again thank the gods and ask them to help me remember these lessons I have learned and to not make the same mistakes again. Of course this means that the gods may give me opportunities to show what I have learned. And I hope I live up to the experiences. I will ask the gods to bless my new journal. And lastly, I will dismiss the gods and close the circle.

One lesson that always seems to make my list is the poor recording of my experiences. The gods have given me an opportunity to begin anew this year by inspiring me and gifting me with the pleasure and honor of being a part of this blog. I do hope that in the coming years this lesson will be learned.

I thank you for your time in reading my article and hope that at least some of you have found it informative and inspirational.

Blessed Be.

Kevin Red Patrick
Kevin Red Patrick is a seeker at Temple of the Sacred Gift – ATC. Raised in Memphis, TN, and educated at the University of Mississippi. His pagan path began at the age of thirteen after understanding that his views of life, spirituality, and sexuality did not align with his Christian upbringing. He has followed an eclectic Wiccan path with strong Celtic influences for twenty-two years. Divine direction led him to TSG-ATC in December of 2012, where he is now receiving formal training with aspirations of becoming clergy. He now lives in Southaven, MS with his partner of thirteen years and two dogs.