Newsletter for February, 1997 ce

GREETINGS

Okay, let's see if we can recover from that mass of technical glitches from last month.

We have a new column this month; Kelvin and Moonwolf have agreed to continue the Pagan parenting column they did for HOLE IN THE STONE, and we are really pleased to welcome them to our publication. There are lots of Pagan parents out there (including Alia) and this kind of information sharing is becoming more and more important as our community grows.

Hearthstone would like to extend a really heartfelt thanks to an anonymous benefactor whose generous contribution will help us continue to function for a good while.

THANKS AND A TIP OF THE HAT

(Ed. Note: since most of us were involved with the January ritual, we didn't think it would be fair for us to review it. A very kind person offered to substitute for us in this. Thank you, Alicia!)

I would speak of last-minute, seat-of-the-pants rituals well done. Kudos to Hearthstone Church for the Open Full Moon Ritual for January! They pulled together an inspiring ritual of stories and chanting (and dancing.) I especially liked the story of Isis and Horus. The ritual was both entertaining and educational, with elements of many traditions and personnel from several covens. It was simple and without elaborate props or costumes, just good energy which, after all, is what it is all about. The high energy level carried throughout the evening. If you missed it -- you missed a good one!

Alicia Sarana

BIBLIOGRAPHY

We were asked several times after the January ritual for the various titles and authors of the books we used. This is an informal bibliography.

(*One disconcerting thing about EARTH PRAYERS is the lack of bibliography. There are acknowledgments in the back, alphabetized by publisher or whoever owns the rights. They even have an entry for the Bible! The rights, apparently, are owned by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1989. Perhaps that's just to the New Revised Standard Bible used by the editors, but it's still odd to see the Bible listed with a copyright date -- particularly one in the twentieth century!)

FEBRUARY OPEN FULL MOON

The February Open Full Moon will be held on Friday, February 21 beginning at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, in Denver.

Spring is just a few weeks away and most of us are busy making plans for our gardens, our vacations and our warmer month lives. In order for this to happen most effectively, we organize the various details, coordinate with friends and family and begin to bring in the things we need for all these dreams and aspirations to bear fruit. But, what about the things we don't need? The things we need to let go of in order to succeed. February's ritual will be a death moon. Come prepared to release unwanted emotions, out-moded ideas, pain, sorrow, loss, difficult change and anything else that you are ready to leave behind. Come prepared to be empowered to grow. The ritual will include dance, chant, meditation and cakes and wine. We hope you will join us. Merlin's Weyr and friends.

1997 OPEN FULL MOON DATES


February	21			August		15*
March		21			September	12
April		18			October		10
May		16			November	 7
June		13			December	12
July		18*

* Dates marked with an asterisk are available for anyone who might wish to officiate. Please contact gypsy at 680-5105 if you are interested.

Please be aware that we will no longer have access to the nursery. Due to a lack of adult volunteers, we have removed the child care area from our lease.

In the Laps of the God/dess

by Kelvin and MoonWolf

We had the opportunity to look at the patterns in our lives recently. Sort of like a regular checkup, except we were way overdue for this one. It' s amazing how very far one can stray from a desirable path when one starts focusing too much on oneself.

About 15 years ago in California we did a series of seminars by a company called Lifespring. It was definitely a life changing experience. It gave us the opportunity to look at how we were living our lives and to choose again what we wanted to keep and what we wanted to change. We have based our lives, our relationships, and much of our parenting on what we learned from that seminar.

Yet just as cars need a tune-up from time to time to keep them running well, we discovered that we did too. A friend introduced us to a seminar here called the Forum by a company called Landmark Education. Like the Lifespring seminars, the Forum is non-linear education, sort of a holistic approach to what you don't know you don't know. Talk about cleaning out the carburetor! We had picked up all sorts of crud just living day-to-day and it was time to blow out the pipes.

A word of warning though: Seminars like this aren't about "fixing" you. Nothing does that, that's the bad news. The good news? You don't need fixing anyway, because you aren't broken but there are always things that could use some adjustments. Very few of us can see clearly enough to make these adjustments on ourselves without some help. Sometimes finding the simple, non-judgmental help we need when we need it is not at all that easy.

What does any of this have to do with parenting? After we came home from the seminar we sat down with the kids and discussed what we had been doing. We had gotten stuck in a very bad place in our relationship and were trying to cover it up. Kids are smarter than we usually give them credit for. They knew we were in trouble and, once we got the courage to bring it up, were very straight in letting us know that they knew. It shocked us to realize just how perceptive they are.

Our culture tends to think of children as human becomings instead of human beings and childhood as a time of training, of preparation for when they become grown-ups. That ain't necessarily so, folks. (children may not have the language to express themselves or the experiences to back up their perceptions, yet that can often be said of adults as well.) As far as being grown-up goes, that is, knowing the answers and what to do, we're both in our forties and still don't know the answers. The only real differences we can see between adults and children is that adults get to drive cars and are more attached to our stories.

You and I as parents are being watched all the time by people who are more observant than any TV news camera with a memory as long as time. Based on their observations, these people model their views of humanity and reality on us and live their lives from this model. Our children think there is no one greater than Mom and Dad and we all, individually and as a culture, need to keep this in mind all the time. There is no greater responsibility nor privilege than that of being a parent and a leader and teacher of our young ones. The joys of our achievements fill our hearts and the pains of our failures break our hearts. Whether or not you have children of your own, keep this in mind the next time you interact with a child and please remember that you, too, are the Mother.

Our thanks to Hearthstone for picking up our column. We enjoy this opportunity to give back to the community that has enriched our lives so greatly. Until next month, Blessed Be.

KITCHEN WITCH PRETENDS TO BE IRISH

(and her eyes are smiling!)

I attended a U2 concert at McNichol's Arena some years ago. The concert was held on the night of March 17. Lead singer Bono shouted out to the crowd, "Good evening, Denver!" to which the crowd responded with a mighty roar. He then announced, "I understand it's St. Patrick's Day today!" The crowd replied with even more shouting and applauding. The band, after all, is from Ireland. But then Bono said something that amazed some people sitting around me. "They tell me this is a holiday in America."

St. Patrick's Day as celebrated in Ireland bears little or no resemblance to the green bagels and green beer and shamrocks painted on the sidewalks that we see in this country. However, it's been said there are more Irish living in the United States than there are in Ireland. And, face it, Ireland is similar in size to the state of Maine, so this should come as no surprise. The Irish immigrated here in large numbers near the turn of the last century and they have had an indelible impact on our culture. In Ireland itself, St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday, marked by attendance at church. In this country, it's a riotous holiday marked by parades and people wearing green (and getting annoyed - at best - with those who do not wear green or who - even worse - wear orange.) It is a celebration, not of Ireland, but of the Irish influence on American life. And it is worth celebrating.

The Irish brought to America horse races, good beer, and a wealth of folklore. They gave us music and dance, rebels and storytellers, poets and politicians both good and bad. And, importantly for pagans, they gave us many of their deities, some of them kept alive for centuries in the guise of saints. Okay, so the holiday is named for an animal-hating tool of the patriarchy. You just gotta love the Irish-Americans!

In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day, I did a small (very small, limited to cookbooks) amount of research to find something that was distinctly Irish-American. I found two interesting things. One is that corned beef and cabbage is not as prevalent in Irish cuisine as we've been lead to believe. TV food personality and author Jeff Smith ("The Frugal Gourmet") says that in all his time in Ireland, was never served this dish. He found a more common dish to be boiled cabbage with smoked pork butt. (This makes sense; pigs take less room to raise than do cattle and Ireland is, as previously mentioned, smaller than some of our individual states.) I also learned that, according to an article in COOK'S ILLUSTRATED, corned beef is so named for the size of the salt pellets used to cure the brisket, rather than for the corn fed to the cattle from whom the brisket is taken. (Whether or not either of these things is completely true is irrelevant. They're interesting to think about.)

It is commonly agreed that Colcannon, a tasty dish made with cabbage and potatoes, is Irish in inspiration. Smith, in OUR IMMIGRANT ANCESTORS, describes it as "ingenious" on the part of those who came to America from Ireland. It is an immigrant dish that has traveled back to its country of origin and is now commonly mistaken for truly native Irish cuisine. A relatively modern (turn of the century at the latest) Irish ballad (I can't find a source for this other than one verse quoted in Deborah Krasner's FROM CELTIC HEARTHS) celebrates food under the title "Colcannon."

Here is a recipe for Colcannon, a food that truly reflects what the Americans mean by St. Patrick's Day. It may not be something any of the ancient goddesses and gods of the Emerald Isle invented, but they are certainly celebrated in it. I can almost imagine Lugh saying, "Look, Balor, calm down. We don't have to fight. Let's go get some of that new-fangled Colcannon and talk about it." (Balor, however, would undoubtedly have gotten on with the fight. Such are the ways of the gods!)

COLCANNON
(serves 6)

1 1/2 lbs green cabbage					1 C milk
2 C water						pinch ground mace
1 Tb cooking oil					salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 lbs potatoes, peeled and quartered		1/2 C melted butter.
1 C cleaned and chopped leeks or mild onions

Simmer cabbage, covered, in 2 cups of water and the oil for 10 minutes. Drain and chop fine; set aside and keep warm. In a small pot, bring the potatoes and water to cover to a boil and simmer until tender. In another small pot, simmer leeks or onions, covered, in the milk for 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash well. Add to leeks and milk in a large pot. Add cabbage and beat well until fluffy. Add seasonings and serve in a mound on a plate topped with melted butter. Garnish with parsley for green, since the cabbage will become mysteriously white in the cooking process and we wouldn't want that, now, would we?

gypsy

WISE WOMAN WAYS

by Deb Hoffman

Sometimes there is just nothing better than a warm, relaxing bath: after a stressful day at work, on a frosty day when even turning up the heat won't shake a chill, prior to a ritual, or just for no reason at all as a treat for yourself. Adding herbs or oils to your bath heightens the experience and can make it even more enjoyable or therapeutic. Herbs can be added to your bath in several ways: In combination with bath salts, as a "tea", or as aromatic oils.

A basic bath salt recipe is : 3 parts Epsom salts, 2 parts baking soda, and 1 part borax or sea salt. Mix these thoroughly. I make a large batch and use it as a base for a variety of additives. 1/2 cup of salts is the usual amount to add to a tub of water. Customize the salts ....add color or essential oils. If the bath is for ritual use, visualize the energies within the colors or oils merging with the salts. Keep the magical goal in mind while you stir.

If you want to add herbs to the salts, grind or chop the herbs (fresh or dried), mix them with the salts, and place in a small mesh or muslin bag and put under the bath faucet. The salts will dissolve, the fragrance and energy of the herbs will disperse in the water, and you won't clog the drain with soggy plant material! An herbal "bath tea" can be made in 2 ways. You can simmer your chosen herbs in a pan on the stove for 10 to 20 minutes and add the liquid to the bath water, or you can place the herbs in a muslin bag and "steep" them in the bath water. I prefer this method because I can then rub the bag over my body and direct the energy to specific areas. Squeezing the bag also releases the aroma whenever you want a little extra boost as well.

For dry or itchy skin, put a pound of oatmeal in cheesecloth or a porous bag and add to the bath....rub your skin with the bag to smooth away the dryness and soothe irritations.

Mugwort can be used for the relief of muscle aches and pains and chamomile relieves tension. Also lavender, rosemary, bay, thyme and rose are good tension relievers. Add aromatic oils or herbs such as peppermint, eucalyptus or sage to relieve the congestion of a cold. Marigold and nettles will increase circulation.

I don't have the room here to list all the herbs, oils and colors and their uses, but would suggest "The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews" by Scott Cunningham, or any books on aroma therapy or herbs as most of them will give you the medicinal (and sometimes the magical) uses of herbs. And any shop that sells dried herbs and oils will be able to assist you with choosing what you need. Whatever the purpose for your bath, magical, ritual, or just plain ol' exaltation, visualize your goal as you soak in the warm, soothing water. Invite the energies of the herbs inside you, receive the positive energies, release the negative. Add to the experience by turning off the lights and bathe by candlelight, or perhaps burn some incense at the same time. Enjoy!


Back to Hearthstone's main page