Newsletter for March, 1998 ce

GREETINGS

I'm trying something new and radical - today is February 7, and I'm already working on the March newsletter. This might actually reduce the case of "deadline fever" I suffered with the last newsletter.

--Alia

THANKS AND A TIP OF THE HAT

Thanks to Southwynde for his lovely ritual. The theme of "hope and help" was a timely one for me, and appeared to strike a chord with many of other participants.

--Alia

MARCH OPEN FULL MOON

The March Open Full Moon will be on Friday, March 6, 1998, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO.

Salamander Moon: a Night with the Amphibians
presented by George, Rhiannon and Diana.

Come into the moonlit swamp with us and sing with the frogs and toads, dance with the newts and salamanders. Sacred to Hecate, amphibians have flourished for 500 million years, making their species some of the oldest on Earth. And yet, during the last few decades, they have been disappearing in alarming numbers. Journey with us into their realms and find out why--and what each of us can do to save them. While we're there, we will celebrate our kinship with these wondrous creatures, and perhaps even witness one of their most sacred rites.

Chants:

Fur and feather and scale and skin
Different without but the same within,
Many of body, but one of soul
Through all creatures are the gods made whole.

Newt and salamander, frog and toad
We're all headed down the same dark road
Save our brothers and we save our souls
Through Hecate's creatures are we all made whole.

We (Alia and Southwynde) would like to continue our tradition of beginning on time, with announcements at 7:30. Please help us out!

HEARTHSTONE DISCUSSION GROUP

The Hearthstone discussion group is held at Herbs and Arts, 2015 E. Colfax (Colfax and Race), on the FIRST Sunday of each month. The meetings begin at 1 PM to and generally run until 4 PM. The regular moderators are John and Joanna Mayer. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and a lot can be learned as well as shared by all participants.

NEW OFFICERS

A redoubled plea: we need some help. If you are interested, please let us know. Otherwise, we may go recruiting, and wind up on your doorstep anyway!

With gypsy's journey to the Silicon Forest, we've had to rearrange the officers of the church. Southwynde, gypsy, and I will remain as the members of the board, but gypsy has surrendered her offices. We therefore need two officers for the church: secretary and treasurer.

The secretary will take notes at our highly infrequent officer and board meetings and publish them to the officers and board. The secretary may also be requested to do additional correspondence (not very likely, actually.) The treasurer will be responsible for church funds, accounting for and depositing donations to the church. Disbursements will be made with the knowledge of the treasurer, but not necessarily by the treasurer. (We really need help on this one, folks - I've been trying to do this part lately, and it isn't exactly my cup of tea.) The treasurer should have either transportation or easy access to me so deposits can be made in a timely fashion. (The bank is a small one on Arapahoe road in Englewood.) Both officers will be welcome to work on the newsletter. We will consider individuals interested in one of the open offices or in both offices. Please express your interest in writing, preferably via e-mail. If you do not have access to e-mail, please contact me at 680-1741 so I can give you my home address. That will get your application before the board more quickly. In your letter, please let us know what office you are interested in, and why. Give us any relevant experience, but we sure don't need a resume. We have not set a firm cutoff date; however, when we have a good candidate, we'll stop looking, so please don't delay applying if you are interested.

HELP WANTED

We are always interested in contributions to the newsletter. We're interested in art and columns, either regular or occasional. We do have a sort of "Guest editorial" column - if something's on your mind, you are welcome to write about it. If you'd rather write about something else, we'd be happy to have that too. If you'd like to discuss your tradition, or muse about something that has you wondering, that would be great! Keep in mind that we wish to foster community, and tailor your writings toward that end.

--Alia

THE KITCHEN WITCH

gypsy is still working on bringing her computer back up to snuff. I'm not quite as creative in the kitchen as she is, but I can babble on about soups. I've made a couple of soups recently that were hits, and incredibly simple as well.

The first soup I have in mind is potato-leek soup. Wash 8 leeks and slice the white and some of the light green parts into quarter inch slices. Also cut up about 2 pounds of peeled potatoes, quartering them and slicing them a quarter to a half inch thick. (Be sure to wash the leeks really well. There's dirt in those veggies where you wouldn't think dirt could go, even in a root vegetable! I wound up rinsing a few of my leek slices as I went.)

Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a soup pot, and add the leeks. Sauté the leeks gently, cooking until soft but not browned. Toss in the potatoes and 5 cups of chicken stock (use veggie stock or water if that suits you better.) Bring the pot to a boil, reduce it to simmer, and cook until the potatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream, evaporated milk, or milk, if desired.

If before the salt, you puree the entire soup, then add the seasonings and dairy product, you've created Vichyssoise - but I think it tastes better while still in identifiable chunks!

Alyria is at the right age to be fascinated with letters. She recognizes A, and O, and not much else, but she delights in them anyway. So I picked up some whole-wheat alphabet noodles at Wild Oats the other day, and I decided to indulge her by making alphabet chicken soup.

This is a super simple recipe. Take a whole chicken (a cleaned one, please! Or, as the first turkey recipe my sister sent to me started: One unstuffed turkey (dead).), toss it in a pot, cover it with water, and bring it to a boil. Skim the pot and turn it down to a simmer. Skim again from time to time if the soup needs it. After about an hour, quarter and slice some onions (I used four with a five pound chicken) and peel some garlic (I used a head, and it wasn't garlicky at all) and toss them in the pot with the chicken. The idea is to cook the waddin's out of everything in the pot so far.

Cover the pot and continue to simmer. After about another hour, pull the chicken out of the pot. If a limb or two falls off, then it's done just about right. Set the chicken aside to cool, and cover the broth back up, leaving it at a gentle simmer.

Once the bird is cool enough, peel the skin off and remove the meat. Shred it into a bowl, cleaning off the entire chicken. Return the chicken to the broth.

About 15 to 20 minutes before you wish to serve dinner, add the noodles of your choice. Season to taste and serve. The majority of your time in the kitchen was to chop the veggies and tear apart the meat. And this amount of soup will feed a small battalion, or your average hungry group of pagans.

I found a cute little cookbook through my cookbook club the other day. It's called The Little Irish Baking Book, by Ruth Isabel Ross. The club was probably featuring it for St. Patrick's day. It's green and contains 77 recipes. She includes translations of some of the terms used in the recipes, and conversions between Imperial, US, and metric measurements. (A teaspoon is not the same all over…) I decided to try one of the quick bread recipes to go with the chicken soup I made above. It came out great, although a bit exotic for Alyria. This bread is called Irish Treacle Bread. The US name for Treacle is molasses, and I discovered that there are at least three kinds of molasses at the store. I used Barbados molasses and it worked great; I imagine any other molasses would work just as well. I'm including all of her measurements to give the feel of the book.

Irish Treacle Bread

A rich-tasting bread that keeps well and needs fresh butter. Treacle bread can be made more interesting with a tablespoon of grated orange peel or some ginger added to the mixture.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Melt the butter with the treacle/molasses and add it to the flour mixture. Mix these well with a wooden spoon. Mix in enough buttermilk to make a firm dough.

Knead this a little. Roll the dough to 5 cm/2" thick. Make 4 'farls' or quarters by cutting a cross in the top. Bake in centre of oven at 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6 for about 40 minutes. Tap the loaf for a hollow sound. When it is done, put it on a wire rack and cover with a clean cloth.

WISE WOMAN WAYS

by Deb Hoffman

I surveyed my garden and yard this weekend; watering the tree thirsty from this dry winter, making sure the emerging bulbs still had a protective layer of mulch in case of a March snowstorm, testing the garden plot to see if it has thawed enough to rototill (it hasn't!)……when lo and behold I discovered evidence of the first harbinger of spring, tiny little violet leaves emerging from the still cold soil!!

Sweet Violet (Viola odorata), or "Aunt Violet" as Susun Weed likes to call her, is another one of the Mothers' multi-talented children. She has many uses: nutritive, dissolvent, mucilaginous, and anodyne, as well as being a delight to the eyes and nose!

All parts of the violet are edible and nutritious. The roots provide valuable minerals (use moderation, large amounts can cause stomach upset and nervousness). Violet leaves are excellent sources of vitamins C and A. Violets wonderful nourishment supports the digestive and urinary systems and supports those systems during aggressive cancer treatment.

Violet leaves have been considered a cancer-dissolving aide since ancient times, primarily for skin, reproductive system and breast cancers.

Drinking a quart of infusion daily could be a valuable addition to conventional cancer treatment….I would refer you to the book Healing Wise by Susun Weed for details (and please, as a courtesy, always inform your physician of any adjunct therapies you add to your cancer treatment, and NEVER stop current treatment without consulting your physician!).

Violet infusion helps thin mucous and sooth inflamed sore throats and is helpful for coughs, colds, tonsillitis, hoarseness, etc. Violet leaves are antiseptic, cooling and healing, and a poultice of fresh leaves can help heal abscesses, sores, old wounds, pimples, burns….gargling the infusion sooths inflammations and sores in the mouth, and to sooth and heal conjunctivitis in the eye.

Violet flowers are wonderful to put in salads and decorate cakes. Enjoy the beautiful blossoms and pick all you want, for they are "fake" flowers that don't set seed…..botanists say the plant produces them out of "sheer exuberance." The real flowers that make seed come in the fall; tiny green ones hidden in the foliage. One of my favorite "goodies" is to collect the flowers and mix them in honey for a little added delight to tea and hot cereal. Violet flower syrup is a cough , cold, and tummy soother.

Violets have a colorful history. Zeus is said to have created violets as food for Io after he turned her into a calf (which he did to prevent Hera from harming her after they were caught "cheating"). Violets are also said to be the flower of Aphrodite, and have the magical powers of peace, protection, and healing.

So on the next crisp, sunny afternoon, take a walk around your yard. Look for the tiny heart -shaped leaves that are beginning to emerge and welcome your Aunt Violet and thank her for blessing you with her presence and healing powers.

TWO WITCHES:
A MODERN CRAFT FAIRY TALE

by Mike Nichols

Once upon a time, there were two Witches. One was a Feminist Witch and the other was a Traditionalist Witch. And, although both of them were deeply religious, they had rather different ideas about what their religion meant. The Feminist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion especially suited to women because the image of the Goddess was empowering and a strong weapon against patriarchal tyranny. And there was distrust in the heart of the Feminist Witch for the Traditionalist Witch because, from the Feminist perspective, the Traditionalist Witch seemed subversive and a threat to "the Cause".

The Traditionalist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion for both men and women because anything less would be divisive. And although the Goddess was worshipped, care was taken to give equal stress to the God-force in nature, the Horned One. And there was distrust in the heart of the Traditionalist Witch for the Feminist Witch because, from the Traditionalist viewpoint, the Feminist Witch seemed like a late-comer and a threat to "Tradition". These two Witches lived in the same community but each belonged to a different Coven, so they did not often run into one another. Strange to say, the few times they did meet, they felt an odd sort of mutual attraction, at least on the physical level. But both recognized the folly of this attraction, for their ideologies were worlds apart, and nothing, it seemed, could ever bridge them.

Then one year the community decided to hold a Grand Coven, and all the Covens in the area were invited to attend. After the rituals, the singing, the magicks, the feasting, the poetry, and dancing were concluded, all retired to their tents and sleeping bags. All but these two. For they were troubled by their differences and couldn't sleep. They alone remained sitting by the campfire while all others around them dreamed. And before long, they began to talk about their differing views of the Goddess. And, since they were both relatively inexperienced Witches, they soon began to argue about what was the "true" image of the Goddess.

"Describe your image of the Goddess to me," challenged the Feminist Witch. The Traditionalist Witch smiled, sighed, and said in a rapt voice, "She is the embodiment of all loveliness. The quintessence of feminine beauty. I picture her with silver-blond hair like moonlight, rich and thick, falling down around her soft shoulders. She has the voluptuous young body of a maiden in her prime, and her clothes are the most seductive, gossamer thin and clinging to her willowy frame. I see her dancing like a young elfin nymph in a moonlit glade, the dance of a temple priestess. And she calls to her lover, the Horned One, in a voice that is gentle and soft and sweet, and as musical as a silver bell frosted with ice. She is Aphrodite, goddess of sensual love. And her lover comes in answer to her call, for she is destined to become the Great Mother. That is how I see the Goddess."

The Feminist Witch hooted with laughter and said, "Your Goddess is a Cosmic Barbie Doll! The Jungian archetype of a cheer-leader! She is all glitter and no substance. Where is her strength? Her power? I see the Goddess very differently. To me, she is the embodiment of strength and courage and wisdom. A living symbol of the collective power of women everywhere. I picture her with hair as black as a moonless night, cropped short for ease of care on the field of battle. She has the muscular body of a woman at the peak of health and fitness. And her clothes are the most practical and sensible, not slinky cocktail dresses. She does not paint her face or perfume her hair or shave her legs to please men's vanities. Nor does she do pornographic dances to attract a man to her. For when she calls to a male, in a voice that is strong and defiant, it will be to do battle with the repressive masculine ego. She is Artemis the huntress, and it is fatal for any man to cast a leering glance in her direction. For, although she may be the many-breasted Mother, she is also the dark Crone of wisdom, who destroys the old order. That is how I see the Goddess."

Now the Traditionalist Witch hooted with laughter and said, "Your Goddess is the antithesis of all that is feminine! She is Yahweh hiding behind a feminine mask! Don't forget that it was his followers who burned Witches at the stake for the "sin" of having "painted faces". After all, Witches with their knowledge of herbs were the ones who developed the art of cosmetics. So what of beauty? What of love and desire?"

And so the argument raged, until the sound of their voices awakened a Coven Elder who was sleeping nearby. The Elder looked from the Feminist Witch to the Traditionalist Witch and back again, saying nothing for a long moment. Then the Elder suggested that both Witches go into the woods apart from one another and there, by magick and meditation, that each seek a "true" vision of the Goddess. This they both agreed to do.

After a time of invocations, there was a moment of perfect stillness. Then a glimmer of light could be seen in the forest, a light shaded deepest green by the dense foliage. Both Witches ran toward the source of the radiance. To their wonder and amazement, they discovered the Goddess had appeared in a clearing directly between them, so that neither Witch could see the other. And the Traditionalist Witch yelled "What did I tell you!" at the same instant the Feminist Witch yelled "You see, I was right!" and so neither Witch heard the other.

To the Feminist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be a shining matrix of power and strength, with courage and energy flowing outward. The Goddess seemed to be holding out her arms to embrace the Feminist Witch, as a comrade in arms. To the Traditionalist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be the zenith of feminine beauty, lightly playing a harp and singing a siren song of seduction. Energy seemed to flow towards her. And she seemed to hold out her arms to the Traditionalist Witch, invitingly.

From opposite sides of the clearing, the Witches ran toward the figure of the Goddess they both loved so well, desiring to be held in the ecstasy of that divine embrace. But just before they reached her, the apparition vanished. And the two Witches were startled to find themselves embracing each other.

And then they both heard the voice of the Goddess. And, oddly enough, it sounded exactly the same to both of them. It sounded like laughter.

Document Copyright © 1988, 1997 by Mike Nichols.
This and all related documents can be re-published only as long as no information is changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others.
Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Mike Nichols.

1998 OPEN FULL MOON DATES

* Following our usual schedule, December 25 would be the next OFM. However, we know from experience that a great many pagans still have late-December obligations of one sort or another, so we've elected to skip the Open Full Moon for December.

Standard Disclaimer:
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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