Newsletter for September, 1997 ce

GREETINGS

September means different things to different people. For some, it's time to gear up for another school year. For others it's just time to start worrying about clearing out the sprinkler system in preparation for the coming winter. And for many of us, it's time to look at the changing leaves and their hint that the seasons are still coming and going, that Mother Earth is still and forever turning. We look forward to the coming of the harvest each in our own way. May your hunger be sated, may your wishes be fulfilled, and may your harvest be as bountiful as you desire.

THANKS AND A TIP OF THE HAT

Okay, I admit it; I can't remember which name I was supposed to credit! But, whoever you are, that was an excellent ritual. Aside from being well conceived and well performed, it was proof positive that ritual-on-a-shoestring is not only possible but desirable. Many thanks for making last August an Open Full Moon to remember.

SEPTEMBER OFM

Drawing Down the Moon by Judith Brownlee

I will be Drawing Down the Moon this Friday night. "Drawing Down the Moon" means that I will be in a trance state and will mentally step aside for the Lady to use my body. In another tradition this has been referred to as becoming "The Garment of Isis." I have always thought that was a wonderful and accurate way to describe it. During that time, anyone in the circle may come forward to ask specific questions or just hear what She has to tell them. In a recent local Pagan publication this was spoken of as somehow putting a priest or priestess in between the worshiper and the Deity. My reaction when I read that was, "Somebody hasn't been doing it right." Most peoples' experience at a true Drawing Down is that they have spoken directly to the Diety. I do not try to explain this; I say, "Come and see, and if brave enough, experience it. That will tell you all you need to know."

I CAST MY SPELLS ON SOLSTICE DAY

Based on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sung by Ms. Calendar to the tune of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
[Ed note: Even if you don't follow Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, it's still funny.)

I cast my spells on Solstice Day
That new familiar techno way
My gif files dance to ascii chants
For peace online, so modem be

My A.I. cat familiar plays
With mouse cards slotted in the bays
He'd best be through, we've rites to do
For peace online, so modem be

A two-horned fiend, a wigged-out monk
Just standard wired wiccan junk
Our power spreads in Java threads
For peace online, so modem be

The Goddess speaks in Quicktime clips
Did She just say 'apocalypse'?
Before we squirm, hit "Please Confirm"
For peace online, so modem be

When Rupert needs a Moloch nix
I am a cyber-dominatrix
His Luddite views do me amuse
For peace online, so modem be

Sweet Willow helps with software heists
To firewall web poltergeists
We're nerdly-wise and their demise
For peace online, so modem be

Cordelia doesn't like the Net
If school jocks don't flirt on it yet
She'll come around, when Hell goes down
For peace online, so modem be

Dear Xander "helps" the girls and me
Providing running comment'ry
Though sweet's his smile, it won't compile'
For peace online, so modem be

The slayer seems a little small
Online that matters not at all
I'll scan her in, let s*** begin
For peace online, so modem be

As cost cuts from employment rob
I feel secure still in my job
Computers grew, thus demons too
For peace online, they'll all need me.

Copyright 1997, by Lisa Rose. May be reprinted and forwarded with permission of author
(Rosita@peacenet.org)

THE KITCHEN WITCH

by gypsy

The morning after I got back from Dragonfest I did what all good Kitchen Witches do after an experience like that: I started to cook. We have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year (yes, yes, I know, you're all my bestest, bestest friend and yes you have mentioned you love tomatoes...) and in fact we even have some left over from the batch we hauled up to the festival with us. We also have a virtual field of basil and parsley. So I'm making spaghetti sauce.

As I stirred the gloop in the saucepan (deosil, of course, with my trusty wooden spoon) I got to thinking about how large a part food plays for many of us in an experience like Dragonfest. For those who have never experienced a Pagan festival, I will explain briefly that it is a multi-day camping (usually) trip during which you meet countless others of similar religious persuasion (I firmly believe that no two Pagans are sufficiently similar in belief as to be called alike.) There are workshops, rituals large and small, drum frenzies, and countless other community events. These other events, at Dragonfest, include a potluck dinner each night, culminating in a community soup making effort called Stone Soup. Those not participating in the potlucks and/or Stone Soup frequently form short term food co-ops with coveners or friends and have potlucks of their own. Some people simply bring up a lot of cans and heat up Hormel chili every night. No matter what the form chosen, everyone at a Pagan festival centers some part of the days' activities around food.

This was the second year I held the Kitchen Witches' Gab Fest at Dragonfest. This year I started out with the assumption we would discuss Cakes and Wine. That lasted all of about ten minutes. I'd forgotten how devoted cooks like to chatter. We ended up discussing (among other things) kitchens, cookbooks, shamanism, and our ethnic backgrounds. I had brought a libation along in order for us to create and experience our own version of Cakes and Wine. Since the topic had been abandoned, we just passed the stuff around. And I realized, as we continued to chat around mouthfuls of Irish gingerbread and elderberry-lemon drink, that we hadn't really abandoned the idea of food in or as ritual. We had simply transformed it into something uniquely our own.

The Irish gingerbread recipe comes from a little, tiny cookbook I recently realized I own. It is FROM CELTIC HEARTHS by Deborah Krasner (Viking Penguin, 1991.) I hadn't known what I was going to make for the workshop until the morning before I left for the festival, when I sat down in front of my (admittedly impressive) cookbook collection and waited for inspiration to hit. I found this book hiding, along with its little friend CHOCOLATE DRINKS, between two books that could be used as weapons in time of war. I knew the chocolate book wasn't going to provide anything I could bake, so I opened the baking book instead. There were so many recipes to choose from! I'd known the Celts were great bakers, but I hadn't known they were this prolific. From the Welsh Teisennau Ffair Llanddarog (Fair Cakes) to Scottish Brunnies to Irish Pratie Oaten and to the poetically named Singing Hinnies (no point of origin is specified), the little book is just filled with baked goodies of Celtic descent. I'm planning to make a whole lot more of them in the coming year. I mean, the Craft is alleged to be of Celtic ancestry, so it stands to reason that any Kitchen Witch, even a Jewitch like myself, ought to have at least a rudimentary grasp of Celtic baking.

By popular demand, I am forwarding this recipe to all of you Kitchen Witches out there who can appreciate the wonder I felt upon opening that book. I hope I see all of you at next year's Gab Fest (where I promise to dispense with the topic altogether and go with the flow...) (Those who want to recreate the elderberry-lemon drink will have to wing it, since that's what I did. I remember it involved dried elderberries, several lemons including zest, water, tons of sugar, and a strainer.)

IRISH BLACK GINGER CAKE

1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1 C blackstrap molasses
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger (I also used 1/2 tsp. freshly grated gingerroot)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 C hot strong freshly brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8-inch square of 9-inch round cake pan and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. In a large bowl, beat the egg into the molasses, then add to the butter mixture.

Sift together the flour, spices, and salt, then fold into the butter mixture.

Dissolve the baking soda in the hot coffee, then add it to the batter. Beat vigorously until well blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Yield: 1 single layer cake.

The author, as well as one attendee at the workshop, recommends serving this warm with lemon curd. I think I'll give it a try...as soon as I finish making spaghetti sauce and find the rest of the pots that are still packed in the van somewhere...

At the end of Dragonfest '96, a small group of us gathered around the fire near Morningstar's campsite and had a great time recanting stories and telling tales of imagination and wonder (well, for us they were pretty wonderous). One of the circular jokes that made the rounds asked the question that plagues us all - Are You a Technopagan? For those of you who just must know the answer to that all encompassing query, here they all are.
-- Stormrider

Are you a technopagan?

If your athame has a SCSI interface...
If your OBE's begin with a netsplit...
If your priest robes conceal a pocket protector...
If you calculate the phases of the moon with Windows '95...
If your altar has a keyboard...
If your Yule ritual involves defragmentation...
If your coven is spread over a 12,000 sq. mi. area...
If your Book of Shadows has a 6-digit version number...
If you refer to deities using 3-letter acronyms (ODN, LKI, THR)...
If you do cord magick with ethernet...
If you ritually down your server for Samhain...
If your altar cloth is a mouse pad...
If, when your quarter candles burn out, the UPS backup system kicks in...
If erecting the temple entails formatting more than 4 disks...
If casting the circle changes an (int) to a (float)...
If your Star Trek screen-saver signals when your meditation period is over ...
If your Beltane ritual includes more than one newsgroup...
If passing the cakes and ale entails using a /me command...
If your search for truth involves regular expressions...
If your familiar is a mouse...
If you draw down the moon using a light-pen...
If your cone of power has a surge suppressor...
If your tarot cards multi-task...
If your daemons collect news for you...
If your crystal ball has a horizontal-hold control...
If you refer to solitary practice as a "stand alone"...
If you tap into the collective unconscious using Netscape...
If your favorite deity has a homepage...
If the address of your covenstead begins with http://...
and finally...
If your circle is a token ring...

well, you just might be!
Forgive us?
Luuna, Bear and Alex

QUEER CRAFT

by John

The queer community like the pagan community has its own deities. While the pagan community has taken theirs from pantheons of various nations and consists of male and female deities, the queer community has taken theirs from music and film and are almost exclusively female. The latest of these is pop superstar Madonna.

In the christian religion the name Madonna refers to the virgin Mary. But its literal translation (my lady)refers to the goddesses of the old religions. In her book "I dream of Madonna: women's dreams of the goddess of pop" Kay Turner writes: "The fact that her name happens to be Madonna is an even more intriguing emblem of the move from the dominance of the gods to a revived reign of the goddesses."

Madonna Ciccone was born in Michigan on August 16th 1957. after studying briefly at the University of Michigan she left for New York City to pursue her career. Few artists if any have had the control over their artistic vision she has. Unwilling to turn over any aspect of her career to any one she is one of the few from n to have amassed a vast fortune without inheriting it. In 1987 the Wall Street Journal named her one of the best business women in America. When Time magazine did an article on The bell curve she was listed as one of the celebrities with the highest I.Q.

While her intelligence, strength and control of her destiny would in and of themselves make Madonna a role modal for any group seeking to reclaim power , the two aspects of her career that have made her particularly appealing to the queer community are her use of sexuality and gender-blending or as Turner put it "she is Aphrodite she is Dionysus." Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, Dionysus the Greek god of wine and theatre. Both were deities of ecstatic sexuality and both had aspects that were transgendered.
Sexuality has always been an important theme in Madonna's work. From the beginning of her career she has been determined to show us that all the form that sexual expression are worthy of respect. From the bisexuality and sadomasochism in "Justify my love" to the joyous masturbation number in her blond ambition tour version of "like a virgin" she has embodied the phrase (taken from a hymn to Aphrodite) "all acts of love and pleasure are my mysteries.

Madonna has spoken of a "gender free" form of sexuality, being able to make love to some one without the limitations of gender stereotyping or presumptions. She has said that at times she has thought of herself as a gay man in a woman's body. People seeing her jog in central park have often mistaken her for a boy.
Although gander-blending in the music world has been an area primarily explored by men it has been another important theme in Madonna's work. When designer Jean Paul Gaultier accidentally sent her too many torpedo draped bras for her blond ambition tour her immediate response was "put 'em on the guys." For her "girlie show" tour she insisted that all her dancers male and female get crew cuts and did a tribute a another great "drag king" Marlene Dietrich by wearing a top hat and tails to sing "like a virgin".

The lesson that the queer community has learned and that everyone can learn from Madonna is that if you believe in your self and refuse to allow yourself to be limited by the artificial barriers set by others anything is possible.

WISE WOMAN WAYS


by Deb Hoffman

Ever have one of those nights when you just can't get to sleep? Whether it be stress, being overtired, or a persistent case of "internal chatter", the Mother provides many relaxants and sleep inducers. I'd like to share my four favorites.

First on the list is catnip (Nepeta cataria). This fragrant member of the mint family, whilst driving cats to frenzy, is a mild sedative to humans. This may be due to one of the volatile oils in the plant that is similar to the substance found in valerian (which we will talk about shortly). Catnip is easily grown in the home garden and once it takes root it's yours forever. (A great quote from one of my herb books "An ancient remedy, this plant went wherever Europeans tried to settle. Though colonies of people did not always take root, the catnip usually did!"). Young leaves and buds can be added to salads or made into pesto and are high in trace minerals and vitamins. For tea, harvest your catnip when it's in bloom so that you get both leaves and flowers. Catnip tea is a subtle, gently relaxing sedative and tastes good too! Try a cup before bed to ease yourself into a natural, relaxing sleep. Catnip is excellent to use with cranky, overtired and over stimulated children!

Next we have hops (Humulus lupulus). Hops have long been known as a sedative herb and there are many reports that workers in hop fields tire easily. It has been shown that hops depress the central nervous system in some animals, birds and frogs. The dried female flower, called a strobile, are the part used. Hop tea would be rather nasty and bitter, so the best way to get the benefit from hops is to make a little pillow stuffed with hops. Put this next to your head (or lay on it if the rattling noise doesn't bother you) and inhale its earthy scent and sleep will soon follow. Hops can also be taken orally in tincture form.

Still can't sleep? Ahhhh, enter skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata), another friendly member of the mint family. Skullcap is used primarily in acute or chronic cases of nervous tension or anxiety, and the calming effects are mild, but reliable. I find it useful on nights when I'm tired but tense, that little band of muscle around the base of my neck won't relax, and the internal chatter just won't quit. You can try this herb as a tea, but I find the tincture is easier and being more concentrated, works more quickly. Take 15 drops in some warm water, and you may repeat several times until effective.

Last, but certainly not least, is valerian (Valeriana species). This herb is probably the best-known sedative in the world and has been used for hundreds of years as a safe and effective remedy for stress-induced anxiety, muscle tension and insomnia. (Like catnip, valerian is very attractive to cats and rats, and legend has it that the Pied Piper of Hamlin had his pockets filled with valerian to lure the rats from the village.) There has been loads of research on this herb and its active ingredient valepotriate and the herb is widely used in Europe. It has been proven that the valepotriates do act as tranquilizers and produce fewer side effects than the diazepams (Valium). One study showed that valerian preparations could halve the time it took subjects to fall asleep. Is it habit forming? I have heard yes and no on this ... studies have shown that continued use may lead to depression and large doses may cause vomiting and stupor. My feeling is that if you find yourself needing valerian every night, or even several times a week, you need to look a little deeper and try to remove the cause of your sleeplessness, not continue to cover it up. Valerian is widely available as a tea, dried in capsules, or as a tincture. Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. (A good rule of thumb for tea is a teaspoon of dried herb to 8 oz of water).

Life can be stressful ... it's nice to know that we can turn to the Mother for comfort and relaxation and a good nights sleep.

THE CHILDISH EDDA

-Poul Anderson
-Ron Ellik
(Tune: "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp")

Yggdrasil, where Nine Worlds clash,
is a noble piece of ash
That shelters Norns and Gods and all that crew
There, a Dragon gnaws the base
of an Eagle's resting place,
And four Harts, a Goat and Squirrel are there too!

Frigga took a year or so,
and, except for mistletoe
Got from everything an Oath for Balder's good
Evil Loki wished him harm,
so he hired Hodr's arm,
And the staff the Blind God threw was kissing-wood!

Tyr vowed Fenris-Wolf his hand
if he couldn't break the Band
That All-Father's wisdom made both light and hefty...
Lupine muscles strained away,
but the magic held its' sway -
And from then on, till The Time, they called Tyr "Lefty!"

When Thor went out to fish,
he quickly got his wish,
and he hauled a Jormangandr from the Bay.
But Hymr cut the cable,
and Thor was only able
To brag about the "one that got away..."

When Thor called upon the Giants,
they didn't show defiance,
But they soon got rid of him, and of his Hammer!
For the sea he could not swallow,
and old Grandmaw beat him hollow,
And the House-Pet caused an awful katzenjammer!

Asa-Thor became a "her"
for to repossess Mjollnir,
And unto a frosty brute his troth did plight;
But the vittles that he ate
would an army more than sate,
And the chefs at Utgard always rued that night!

Each God's Apple every day,
kept the doctor far away
'Til a Giant captured Ydun from their Halls...
Loki fetched home Bragi's Bride,
with Her health-food store beside,
Plus a char-broiled eagle underneath the Walls!

Odin said to Mim: "I think
I would sort of like a drink."
Answered Mim: "That will cost you your left eye!
For you've come up very late
to the Well at Wisdom's Gate
And the set-up prices, after hours, are high!"

Oh, the Giants brought their War
up to Bifrost's very Door
And the battling wrecked Asgards perfect clime-
Jormungandr, Hel and Fenris
dealt out Death in doses generous
And, in fighting, did the Aesir pass The Time!


A Request for Articles and Columns

Do you like to write? Do you have a favorite subject that you have studied and/or experienced? Do people come to you on advice and expertise on some bit of Pagan lore?

We are looking for folks who would like an opportunity to present their ideas to the Pagan community that reads the Hearthstone Community Church newsletter. We are especially interested in those who would consider writing monthly columns or continuing articles, although single articles are quite welcome, too. We want to make this newsletter more entertaining and informative for everyone, and you might be able to help.

Writing for a newsletter takes a degree of effort, and to be successful, should be a labor of love about a subject that is near and dear to your heart and Path. Unless it is a short-run column or subject, please realize that this will be a year-long effort (at least) and require around 13 submissions per year.

The average page in the HCC newsletter is about 700 words, give or take nifty formatting tricks. Ideally, most columns will fit evenly on one or two pages. Anything less than one or two pages can be easily filled, but over-long articles can be a bit of a problem with keeping printing and copying costs down (this is a free newsletter, after all). Once a column has been created, the length should be consistent, however, since we will allocate space to it after it's created.

If you would like more information, please ask us for our writer's guidelines.

(Please note, however, we do reserve the right to reject material that is not in keeping with the spirit of this newsletter. What we are about is building community, not providing a soapbox, and certainly not a forum to express one's personal affronts or general unhappiness.)


Randomness Found On the Net

How many pagans does it take to sacrifice a chicken??

Three;

One to light the candles and incense,
One to ready the athame and call the directions,
and
One to defrost the chicken (and to make dinner).

OPEN FULL MOON DATES

September 12
October 3
November 17
December 12

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.


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