A Ritual Grimoire!

Hey guys –

You know how I’ve posted a lot of different rituals on here?  Well, if you like my rituals (a la Western Winds tradition), perhaps you’ll enjoy the full set of 8 sabbat rituals that I’ve released as “Western Winds Wicca Volume 2: Ritual Grimoire.”  Yes, that’s right, I finally got another book out!  The best part?  It’s just $0.99.

Western Winds Wicca Volume 2Now, remember, when you choose to buy my books, you’re choosing to offset the $100 I spend every year to host this site.  I get about $0.35 from each copy sold, so it’s not much, but if you share with your friends, who knows?  Maybe I’ll break even on this blog 🙂

Oh, by the way: it is a GREAT companion to “Using Wicca to Achieve Your Goals,” because each holiday has a focus on goal setting and review.

Meditations on the Dragon Fly

Meditations on the Dragon Fly

Dragonflies are amazing creatures. As predators in both their juvenile and adult stages, dragonflies teach us that we must always act, and not sit idly by. Developmentally, dragonflies are unique in that they spend their young stages underwater, and their adult stages in the air. They are top predators in both air and sea, at least as far as the insect world goes. You’ll be hard pressed to find other insects that can snatch ants, bees, and wasps from the air and enjoy a leisurely meal on a fence post. This picture shows the other unique part of dragonflies: their mating. The male “controls” the female by gripping the area behind her head with his rear end. The male’s sperm is actually stored closer to his head, and the female will curl her abdomen around into a “wheel” shape to get it. The male generally holds onto the female until she deposits eggs with his sperm underwater, as you can see this female doing. I’m not sure what life lesson there is in this mating acts, other than to see something through to the end and hold on for all that you’re worth. Happy Monday!

Pagans Eating Well (Part 2)

If you haven’t read part 1, why not do that real quick?

Part 1 focused on our overconsumption, using meat as an example.  To summarize, meat is often expensive for your body, your wallet, and your environment.  This second part is going to focus on something that you can do to improve your nutrition in a much cheaper way.  This is a newly discovered thing for me, and it’s called the “green smoothie.”

The idea is simple.  We don’t eat enough leafy greens.  Gods know that I don’t.  We cover salads, when we eat them, in chemical-laden salad dressings or tons of extras: breadcrumbs, cranberries, cheese.

Green smoothies are a way to get your vegetables in with the ease of drinking them.  I know, I know.  It sounds gross at first, to drink vegetables.  But the miracle is, by blending fruits and vegetables together, you get all the “plusses” of leafy green vegetables with the delicious tastes of your added fruits.

Eight years ago, the only vegetables that I ate were potato chips and french fries.  I went through a phase in college where I began to eat salads, and I slid down the slippery slope into craving broccoli and stir fry.  I mostly like my vegetables cooked, but I’m still exploring and developing my tastes.

My parents got me a new blender for Christmas, a Ninja 1500 system.  This thing is a powerhouse! Now, you don’t need a super blender like my Ninja to make your first green smoothie, but it’ll blend a little smoother if you have one.

I was so scared when I tried it. I barely put in any greens at all, and my greens were just a bit of romaine lettuce.  I felt relieved when I took my first sip and all that I could taste was apple.  My first green smoothie recipe was as follows: 1 chopped up apple, 1 chopped up kiwi (skinned), and a handful of lettuce, with a bit of water and some ice.  My mouth is watering now thinking about it — I may have one of these for dinner!  It tastes just like apple juice, it’s “low-calorie” (if you care about those things), and the fiber from the apple, kiwi, and lettuce keep your stomach occupied for a while so that you can focus on other things.

My most robust smoothie so far has been a strawberry-celery-spinach-dill smoothie that tastes like… sweet celery.  Not overly fruity, but it doesn’t taste like spinach, either.  I’ve made four or five different types of smoothies, and only one of them has been less than stellar (one with blueberries that I made too thick).  I’ve begun taking a quart Mason jar with me to work with my green smoothie in the morning.  My coworkers look at me weird, but that coupled with a good breakfast sees me through to lunch.

I can’t stress how affordable, delicious, and nutritious these are.  It’s such an easy way to eat my vegetables for the day, and it really steers me away from soda, chips, and other things that just “tide me over” until I get home from work and chow down on everything that I can find.

Regardless of whether you take the smoothie plunge, think on this.  Eat well: eat whole foods, not too much, and enjoy life.  There’s no better honor to the gods than that.

Brightest blessings.

Pagans Eating Well (Part 1)

There are dietary restrictions in almost every major religion on this earth.  For old-testament literalists, things like pigs and shellfish are out.  For Hindus, cows are considered sacred.  Yet, there is no dietary restriction, per say, for pagans, Wiccans, and the like.

Do we need one?  I don’t think so, no, but I do think that some of us fail to honor our bodies in quite the way we should. And certainly, some of us consume a lot of high-energy food products that may damage both our bodies and the world around us.

Let’s consider this for a moment, with a little self reflection.  I used to eat a lot of meat.  As you may know, meat is considered a “high-energy” product because to raise a cow in the US, you need acres of wheat and corn to fatten it up, and then you send it miles away to a butchering facility, then it goes miles away to a grocery store and gets packaged and sold to you.

Compare that beef to say, a stalk of corn in Ohio.  Now, granted, most of the corn grown in Ohio is not “human” corn — its corn intended for energy, subsidized by the government, or for cows.  But, let’s say a local farmer just sticks a bunch of corn into the ground and helps it grow.  Beyond the water and maybe some organic fertilizer, there’s not much else that goes into the growth.  And, when its ready, machines or hands harvest it, and hopefully, bring it to your local farmer’s market where you buy it and bring it home.  The mileage traveled, the energy spent, is far less for the 100 calories of corn than it is for 100 calories of cow.

In a world where energy consumption is a concern, both for monetary reasons and for environmental reasons, it’s important that we consider what we’re consuming and how.  All moral arguments aside, although I have many vegetarian pagan friends, surely you could find ways to eat less meat.  Not NO meat, just less.

For me, I found my way to “less meat” through money.  When I moved, I was shocked at just how expensive meat products were in my new location.  At 2-4 dollars a pound instead of 1-3 dollars a pound, I quickly found ways to stretch my meat usage or choose non-meat based meals.  And I can’t imagine buying the amount of meat that I used to eat if I was buying free-range or organic meats.

But meat’s not the only area where I think that I could reduce my consumption — and have, over the last few months.  The other big area is fluff products: prepared frozen products or shelf products loaded with preservatives.

A DiGiorno pizza at my local grocery store (Kroger or Meijer) costs $6-7  and comes with this ingredients list:

INGREDIENTS: ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, SHREDDED LOW-MOISTURE PART-SKIM MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), TOMATO PASTE, PEPPERONI MADE WITH PORK, CHICKEN AND BEEF (PORK, MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, BEEF, SALT, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF PORK STOCK, SPICES, DEXTROSE, LACTIC ACID STARTER CULTURE, PAPRIKA, NATURAL SMOKE FLAVOR, OLEORESIN PAPRIKA, SODIUM ASCORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE, FLAVORING, BHA, BHT, CITRIC ACID), SUGAR, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF WHEAT GLUTEN, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN OIL AND/OR CORN OIL), WHITE CORN MEAL, SALT, YELLOW CORN MEAL, BAKING POWDER (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE), YEAST, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, DATEM, FLAVOR, SPICE, DRIED GARLIC, ASCORBIC ACID.

A pizza that I make, myself, with ABin5 dough (look it up, it’ll change your life) has the following ingredients:

Flour, salt, yeast, water, tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni (optional).

Now, I know some of those have other ingredients in them, like the flour and the cheese, but I’d be hard pressed to find baking powder in a product that I’ve already added yeast to.  On top of that, I don’t add sugar, extra wheat gluten, or oils to my pizza.  Some of the more chemical sounding names are preservatives and salts added during the manufacturing process.  I’m not saying they’re bad, but I’m saying: why consume them if you don’t have to?

My pizza costs me approximately $2.50 to make, with the highest cost going to the cheese and pepperoni.  So, for half the price, I get a pizza that I’ve made on my own, that’s way more delicious, and often, the ingredients I buy (block of cheese for $6, pepperoni for $3, flour for $2, tomato paste for $1) make multiple pizzas, flatbreads, naan, or even fried dough.

I guess my point is that by making things at home, and choosing fresher products like vegetables over meat, you can reduce your grocery bill, reduce your environmental impact, and perhaps honor your temple (body) a little more than what you were before.

Part 2 will focus on this trend called, “green smoothies.”

No man (A song fragment)

I just want somebody to
Catch me if I fall
Don’t need you to be holdin’ my hand
Unless I’m hanging off a wall

Cuz I’m a different kind of girl
I need a strong and patient man
I don’t need a man to own me
I need someone to understand

I’ve been through some fire
And I’ve licked those salty flames
And now I’m gone, gone, gone
From there.

I don’t need a savior
Preaching from on high
I just need a lover
To see me eye to eye

Cuz I’m a different kind of girl
I need a strong and patient man
I don’t need a man to own me
I need someone to understand

I’ve been through some fire
And I’ve licked those salty flames
And now I’m gone, gone, gone
From there.

Down the rabbit hole (A poem)

I found salvation in your blistered, broken hands
In the warmth of your breath on my neck
As you drew the demons out

I found my freedom in your harsh and steady beat
You whirled me ’til my head stopped spinning
Gently dragged me back from hell

Wormed your way deep inside my aching, hardened heart
Made me love you til I came again
Bursting back inside that crowded room
Changed, but whole.