Newsletter for December, 1997 ce

GREETINGS

Yule, the Wheel that is the Year, will turn shortly and the days will start to get just slightly longer with each turn of the Earth around the Sun. Please join us as we welcome this joyful season filled with the promise of life and rebirth.

THANKS AND A TIP OF THE HAT

Many thanks to Dancing Goddess Coven who, once again, wowed us with a well-thought-out ritual. There was a little of everything, and in telling the stories of the gods and goddesses of many cultures we saw how close and intimate our world REALLY is.

December OFM

The December Open Full Moon will be held on Friday, December 12, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, in Denver. Vanaheim Hof will be presenting a ritual in the Germanic Heathen tradition. Please come prepared to participate and learn.



The Eve of Midwinter

Aurora Borealis Medicine Turkey
(found on the Internet)

'Twas the Eve of Midwinter, and all through the Coven
The witches were cooking strange things in the oven.

There were mugwort frittatas and Dragon's Blood stew
And Mescaline eggnog and Mandrake fondue.

There were hot mountain oysters and road-kill pate'
And Spotted-Owl kidneys, and wombat flambe'.

The Circle was cast and the herbs had been smoked
In hopes that the Goddess would soon be invoked.

When out by the hot-tub arose such a clatter
I jumped on my broom to see what was the matter.

And what should I see in the Blackberry thorns
But a soaking wet Goddess and eight Unicorns!

"I was just sitting down with my vibrating phallus
and a good book," she said. "Christ you bitches are callous.

I came when you called, over all my objections
and got lost in the woods -- you give LOUSY directions.

You turkeys invoked me, now look at my dress
My periods late and I've got PMS."

She cursed and she muttered, she looked like a wreck
the Unicorns whimpered and shat on the deck.

We gave her some weed and we got her some grub
We brought her clean towels and she soaked in the tub.

Then she rose, hot and dripping, and gave us her blessing
And jumped in her chariot without even dressing!

"On Isis! On Eris! Oya and Astarte!
On Ishtar! Inanna! Kali! and Hecate!"

We heard her exclaim as she climbed through the air
"Thank Goddess there's only eight Sabbats a year!"

WISE WOMAN WAYS

by Deb Hoffman

Many people believe that memory loss and poor circulation to the brain, heart disease, impotence, stroke, deafness and poor vision are a natural part of aging...but isn't it just like the Mother that she endows the oldest tree on the planet with the ability to treat conditions associated with aging! The Ginkgo tree (Gingko biloba) has been around for 190 million years and is one of the oldest species of tree on earth. It has long been used as medicine in China, but only recently has it been extensively researched. Ginkgo is native to China, but is also grown on large plantations in France and South Carolina. The leaves and fruit are both medicinal and are harvested in the fall. Ginkgo leaves are important in improving poor cerebral circulation and aid memory and concentration, and is helpful in cases of dementia. Ginkgo promotes the action of certain neurotransmitters, chemical compounds responsible for relaying nerve impulses in the brain. In addition to increasing cerebral blood flow, several studies show it reduces the risk of heart attack and improves pain from blood clots (phlebitis) in the legs. Some studies have also shown that in a large percentage of men, ginkgo helps impotence caused by the narrowing of arteries that supply blood to the penis. Increasing blood flow to the eyes and the nerves involved in hearing improves macular degeneration (a deterioration of vision caused by narrowing of the blood vessels to the eye) and cochlear deafness. Ginkgo inhibits platelet-activating factor (PAF), a substance released by blood cells. PAF causes the blood to become stickier and more likely to cause blood clots that result in heart attacks and strokes. PAF is also involved in organ transplant graft rejection, asthma attacks and a variety of inflammatory and allergenic changes. Ginkgo is a very potent antioxidant with ant-inflammatory effects. It is believed that part of the aging process is due to the oxidation of cell membranes by free radicals, and ginkgo counters destruction of cells due to these free radicals. It is the leaves that are used for circulatory effects, however in China the seeds are used to relieve wheezing and to lessen the thick secretions in the lungs. They are also used to treat vaginal discharge, a weak bladder, and incontinence. If you have a blood clotting disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications, take care in using Ginkgo, for it may cause excessive bleeding. Extremely large doses may cause irritablility, restlessness, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Ginkgo is the best selling herb in France and Germany where millions of people take it as a daily tonic to maintain and improve cerebral circulation and reduce the possibility of stroke. You can find Ginkgo everywhere nowadays...I even saw it at the Seven-Eleven! The usual dose is 2-6 capsules a day or up to 1 tsp. (4 droppers full) of tincture a day. Tinctures and capsules should be made from leaves collected after they have turned color in the fall, for this is when the most active ingredients are concentrated in the leaves. The Great Mother, in her infinite wisdom and grace, provides for all our needs.

THE KITCHEN WITCH

by gypsy

Around this time of year, our national eating habits, not exactly stellar to begin with, descend to abhorrent. The last holiday potluck I attended boasted seven desserts, three gelatin salads (lime gelatin in some kind of festive holiday shape, filled with marshmallows and a few walnuts or almonds), a pot of chili (made from fatty beef and pork), four kinds of chips, and a plate of celery stuffed with processed cheese product.

There is nothing wrong with indulging in sweets and some fatty foods once in a while, and this time of year it is especially appealing. The days are getting progressively shorter and depression sets in for many people. Sweet and fatty foods can temporarily lift the spirits of people who have been deprived of sunlight by their work schedules. But it is possible to have something sweet and decadent which remains at least nominally healthy.

Aplets and Cotlets are popular year-round. They come in a variety of decorative packages for holiday gift-giving. I'm sure they are mostly healthy as candy goes. But I'd prefer to know for absolute certain what goes into at least some of the food I'm eating and offering for others to eat. This recipe does not exactly mimic the commercial product, but it's quite good and tasty, not as hard as it looks, and the results will be appreciated.

"Aplets and Cotlets"

Makes about 64 small cubes

Instructions:
Soften the gelatin in 1/2 cup of the juice. Boil remaining juice with the sugar for 15 minutes to concentrate it. Mix the lemon and lime juice, and add all but 1/4 cup cornstarch to dissolve it in the mixture. Add both gelatin mixture and cornstarch mixture to the boiled juice and boil again rapidly for 10 minutes until very thin, stirring constantly. Taste for sweet and sour and add more lemon juice if desired.

Mix in the walnuts and pour mixture into a 9-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan that has been dipped in cold water. Let paste harden 12 hours or overnight, then cut with a sharp knife into squares. (Wet the knife if necessary to prevent sticking.) Mix together the reserved 1/4 cup cornstarch and powdered sugar. Remove squares with a spatula and roll each in the powdered sugar mixture (the cornstarch helps keep the sugar dry).

And, here's a Yule gift to my loyal readers who have made it this far. After many years of trying, I think I have finally perfected my muffin recipe. Here it is in its basic form, with comments as to when to add optional ingredients. (I'm writing this as a narrative style recipe, so measurements are within the text. It's not as hard to follow as it looks at first glance.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream 1/2 pound butter with 2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you want it to be. If you want chocolate muffins, you can cut out a half tablespoon butter and add a single square melted chocolate. (I prefer bittersweet.) I've also been known to add up to three tablespoons jam as a flavoring agent at this point...if doing so, decrease the sugar to the lower amount. Add two eggs, one at a time, and beat them in really well. Combine 2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder as well as any spices you might wish to include (you can also add 3 or 4 tablespoons cocoa if you want more intense chocolate flavor when making the chocolate muffins), and add it gradually to the beaten butter and eggs. Alternate flour additions with the addition of 1/2 cup milk combined with liquid flavor extracts if desired. If making a savory muffin with cheese, add about 2/3 grated cheese along with the flour and milk. Contrary to what you may have learned about muffin making up till now, this recipe CAN be mixed really well, rather than just stirred until the dry ingredients are moistened. The dough should be moderately stiff, but not overly difficult to work with. Once this is done, if you are adding any lumpy ingredients like raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, chopped chilis, corn, etc. you may fold them in now. (General rule is to add 1/2 c. lumpy ingredients.) Line 12 muffin cups with paper cups. (I prefer this to greasing them, because while it is less environmentally friendly it does guarantee that the muffins will exit the muffin tin without disaster.) Fill the cups at least 3/4 full; if there is enough batter it's okay to fill them right to (but not over) the top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. If you are making naturally dark muffins, like chocolate, this is going to be difficult to determine, but if they are quite firm, they are probably done.

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.)


1998 OPEN FULL MOON DATES

We will try to publish the '98 OFM dates in the January issue of this newsletter.

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 note 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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