Newsletter for November, 1997 ce
Darcie Ann Fineout passed from this plane on October 20th at 9:52am after a brief illness. She was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 2nd, 1949. Darcie Ann was a hub of an incredible wheel of hope and love, a true free spirit and a real explorer. She is survived by her pals and a community who loved her.
Hannah Grace Durfee daughter to Val and Chuck Durfee, was born October 29th at 6:23am. Hannah was born a little eary and can use your prayers, energy and good wishes.
There is a lot of talk about “herbal hormones” and quite frequently I hear people talk about using Wild Yam (Dioscorrea villosa) as a “natural progesterone.” To set the record straight, Wild Yam does not contain progesterone, but rather contains a steroid like substance, dioscin, which Provides essential building blocks needed in the production of progesterone and cortisone. Until recently, wild yam was the sole source of the diosgenin (a product made in the breakdown of dioscin) used the production of contraceptive pills. It provides the base of many different steroidal drugs manufactured today — 50 percent of the raw material needed for steroid synthesis is still provided by wild yam and it is considered the most widely used herb in the world today. Wild yam is native to North and Central America, but has now been naturalized around the world. It was traditionally taken in Central America to relieve menstrual, ovarian and labor pains.
The herb is also valuable for digestive problems, arthritis, and muscle cramps. WILD YAM IS NOT A CONTRACEPTIVE!! It is, however, widely regarded for normalizing hormone production and is used effectively for menstrual distress, miscarriage, infertility, menopause, and endometriosis. Unlike the hormones and steroids synthesized from the plant, wild yam in its natural state has no known side effects and is non-toxic.
In 1936 Japanese scientists discovered that dioscin can be broken down into a substance called diosgenin, which paved the way for the synthesis of the female sex hormone progesterone and of corticosteroids such as cortisone. The synthesis of progesterone led to the development of the birth control Pill.
Dioscin in an anti-inflammatory, and both the Mayan and Aztec peoples used wild yam to treat pain. North American settlers also called the herb colic root and rheumatism root, indicating its use in treating both conditions.
Currently wild yam is useful in treatment of arthritis and rheumatism as it reduces inflammation and pain, and relaxes stiff muscles in the affected area. It does help to relieve cramps, menstrual and ovarian pain, muscle cramps and tension.
The herb can be an effective treatment for digestive problems, including gallbladder inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. As a primary liver tonic, wild yam activates and stimulates liver activity. It also provides the liver with the building blocks required to synthesize sex hormones. Whenever both the liver and the reproductive system are implicated as the cause of hormone imbalance, wild yam is an herb of Choice. I find that a combination of wild yam and ginger root is an excellent remedy for nausea. Wild yam has no side effects and can be used over an extended period of time with no harmful effects. One book I read said it should not be used during pregnancy, but Rosemary Gladstar suggests it is useful to prevent miscarriage. As with any medicinal substance, check with your physician or an experienced and well-trained herbalist before using during pregnancy.
Wild yam can be taken as a decoction of either dried or fresh root, or as a Tincture.
The Mother provides such bounty, even though we sometimes have to search in the earth herself to find it!
I was born in the part of the United States commonly known as “back east.” Mind you, when you look at a map you see that there is a lot of eastern United States. The portion known as “back east” is generally considered to be anything from Ohio east and then north of the Mason-Dixon line, except sometimes portions of Florida are included. Georgia, Virginia, and Mississippi while clearly located in the eastern part of the country, are NOT part of “back east.” The southern states, no matter how close they might be to the Atlantic Ocean, are lumped in with Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, etc., as “southern” states.
I don’t understand cultural demographics that well, I suppose. Why are Colorado and New Mexico considered part of the southwest, while Wyoming is part of the “wild” west, Kansas is part of that generic and undefined area known as the “midwest,” and Utah is kind of left to fend for itself as a cultural entity? Is Idaho part of the Pacific northwest? Why is Michigan considered part of “back east?” What is Indiana, anyway?
I can keep this up for days, but I’m not Andy Rooney. (I’m cuter!) What has all this got to do with food and kitchen witchery?
We recently had a really awful blizzard. It reminded me of my childhood, and I called my sister, who lives in Harrisburg, PA. She and I reminisced about a particular car trip we once took, in which we were forced off the road by the highway patrol somewhere in Pennsylvania. As we slid and skated our way to the local high school where a shelter had been set up, we passed a number of barns with hex signs painted on them. She says she knew, when she saw new hexes painted on some of the barns, that we would be all right. The shelter was warm, the people welcoming, and the food was plentiful. It was a magickal night for my sister and me.
My sister has embraced a feminist form of Judaism, but in so doing she does not reject her appreciation of magick. To this day, when it snows heavily, she needs something to remind her that the Pennsylvania Dutch are out there, solid and helpful, making food that adds bulk and warmth.
The following might not appeal to everyone, but it gets extremely cold in parts of “back east,” and the Pennsylvania Dutch know how to make food that’ll stick to your ribs and keep you warm. This is usually served as a side dish. Vegetarians can omit the ham hock but will probably need to add salt and the dish will be completely different.
Schnitz und Knepp (Apples and Dumplings)
2 cups sweet schnitz (dried apples)
&Water to cover
˝ C brown sugar
1 hock end of ham
and Water to cover
1 recipe Knepp dough (see below)
Soak the schnitz in water overnight. Next day, simmer the ham in water until soft, add schnitz, the water it soaked in and the brown sugar. Cook until tender. Boil together for about one hour. Drop knepp dough by the spoonful into the boiling stew. Cover tightly and steam for 15 min. Serve immediately.
2 tablespoons butter
˝ cup milk
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
˝ teaspoon salt
Beat the eggs, butter, and milk. Sift dry ingredients and add to the first mixture. There should be just enough milk to make a fairly stiff batter.
Insofar as the craft of the wise is the most ancient and honorable creed of humankind, it behooves all who are witches to act in ways that give respect to the old gods and goddesses, to their sisters and brothers of the craft, and to themselves. Therefore be it noted that:
1. Chivalry is a high code of honour which is of most ancient pagan origin, and must be lived by all who follow the old ways.
2. It must be keened that thoughts and intent put forth on this middle earth will wax strong in other worlds beyond, and return...bringing into creation, on this world, that which had been sent forth. Thus one should exercise discipline, for “as ye do plant, so shall ye harvest.”
3. It is by only preparing our minds to be as gods and goddesses that we can ultimately attain godhead.
4. “This above all...to thine own self be true.”
5. A witches word must have the validity of a signed and witnessed oath. Thus give thy word sparingly, but adhere to it like iron.
6. Refrain from speaking ill of others, for not all truths of the matter may be known.
7. Pass not unverified words about another, for hearsay is, in large part, a thing of falsehoods.
8. Be thou honest with others, and have them known that honesty is likewise expected from them.
9. The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth, to keep ones head is a virtue.
10. Contemplate always the consequences of thine acts upon others.
11. Diverse covens may have diverse views on love between members and others. When a coven clan or grove is visited or joined, one should discern quietly their practises, and abide thereby.
12. Dignity, a gracious manner and a good humor are much to be admired.
13. As a witch, thou hast power, and thy powers wax strongly as wisdom increases. Therefore exercise discretion thereof.
14. Courage and honour endure forever. Their echoes remain when the mountains have fallen and crumbled to dust.
15. Pledge friendship and fealty to those who so warrant. Strengthen those of the brethren and they shall strengthen thee.
16. Thou shalt not reveal the secrets of another witch or coven. Others have laboured long and hard and cherish them as treasures.
17. Though there may be differences between those of the old ways, those who are once born must see nothing, and must hear nothing.
18. Those who follow the mysteries should be above reproach in the eyes of the world.
19. Have pride in thy self and seek perfection in body and in mind. For the lady has said, “How cans’t thou honour another, lest they honour thy self first?”
20. Those who seek the mysteries should consider themselves select of the gods and goddesses, for it is they who lead the race of humankind to the highest of thrones and beyond the very stars.
We of the Wicca perform our rituals in a specially sanctified area referred to as the “Circle” or “Magick Circle.” This area is cleansed and created in a variety of ways, but always the result is an area which must be respected. The Circle is our portable, on-call temple, and as such, it calls for a certain set of behaviors.
Foremost among these is the need for participants to respect the authority of the officiants, at the very least for the duration of the ritual. This doesn’t mean they have authority over the entire community, of course. It does mean that it's their ritual, their gift to the community at large. Therefore, even if you would do something differently, don’t snicker or look down your nose at the ritual. To express disdain in such a fashion only serves to make you look foolish, not to mention arrogant. Rolling your eyes or sighing audibly is not only disrespectful, it’s nothing short of childish.
Do as the officiants instruct. If they do not invite you to be seated, don’t. If you have specific needs for a chair, speak to the officiants before the beginning of the rite. I’ve yet to see anyone denied a chair when it’s actually needed. If the officiants encourage drumming and dancing, get into it — that’s part of the spiritual expression you come to find. If chanting is called for, let yourself relax into it. This is a ritual, not an audition. If you find yourself emotionally moved by the ritual, that’s okay too. And if the ritual is a dud for you, oh well. Maybe the next one won’t be.
When is it okay to leave the Circle? When the ritual is completed. Until that time, it is only permissable to leave in case of emergency. What qualifies as an emergency? Illness qualifies — your own or that of someone in your care. That about covers it. If you must leave due to such an emergency, proceed deosil (sunwise/clock-wise) around the Circle to the designated gatekeeper, who will let you out. If you must leave, remember: you will not be allowed back in. Very few things qualify as emergencies. If you think you are going to have to leave the Circle before the completion of the ritual, it is better to not enter it in the first place. Leaving a Circle causes serious disruption to the ritual. It also makes you the center of attention, embarassing though it may be. I should add that it would be best if you leave the Circle if it is a quiet ritual and you happen to have a noisy child with you. Children are wonderful, and most can be quiet for a time. However, during ritual, especially rituals designed to take us deeply into ourselves, children can be very distracting. (A note: I have been the proud parent of a child for many years. Before anyone accuses me of being anti-child, please realize I’ve left a number of rituals with a noisy, fussy child in tow. It’s annoying, but necessary for the kid’s sake, and for the other participants.)
It is especially important that those who are highly visible members of the community behave in a way that is consistent with good Circle etiquette. A prominent person acting disgusted during a rituals and then leaving prior to Cakes and Wine is a seriously disturbing event. It sets a terrible example and shows newcomers that we do not respect our own.
Not only that, it also could well serve to intimidate those newer to the Craft. How on earth could they possibly do an OFM if someone might snicker and then leave before it’s even finished? We really need to be a little nicer to one another, even if we disagree on specifics. After all, we are still a very small religion, and for some, the OFMs are the only place where ritual is practiced in a group setting. Let’s try to keep it a joyful event by showing some common courtesy to those brave enough to officiate the rituals.
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.)
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.
Please not that information and opinions contained in the articles in this newsletter are the responsibility of the authors only. No endorsement by Hearthstone Community Church, Inc., Is implied.
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