It’s hot, and the heat wave may be around a while. Drink plenty of fluids, and use care around the Mother – a great deal of the vegetation is very dry.
Since Dragonfest is next month, and I seem to be fairly involved in the process this year, there will be no newsletter in August.
In clean, unencumbered ritual style, Southwynde focused on the theme of Light. Just as physical light, for example from a flashlight, allows us to seek what we are looking for, so does our Inner Light, brightened by knowledge, illuminate our search for truth, understanding and divinity. Thank you, Southwynde. May each of us find that which we seek...and may we be enlightened to seek that which is for our highest and best good.
Thanks to Marian O'Brien-Clark whose June OFM offering was a delightful take-off on Dr. Suess' Green Eggs and Ham. Marian, in a red and white Suess tophat, read us her rhyming couplets while the story was acted out by Randi ("Ham-I-Am") and Stephen. When it was all over and I finally stopped chuckling, I figured out that the message of this ritual was that all our ritual casting and invoking makes no sense to a person ("I do not like it, Ham-I-Am!") until you feel the presence and embrace of the Lady and Lord.
Oh, are we blessed to worship in a religion that honors both mirth and reverence!
The July Open Full Moon will be on Friday, July 14, 1999, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO. The doors of the church open at 7:00. We like to begin at 7:30.
Damien and Sierra, two of the younger members of our Pagan community, will present this month's ritual. These two have been raised Pagan, and have crafted this ritual to reflect their upbringing. Come and see the promise of our next generation.
The August Open Full Moon will be on Friday, August 18, 1999, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO. The doors of the church open at 7:00. We like to begin at 7:30.
We do not have an officiant yet for the month of August. Unless we get a volunteer, I will officiate – probably using the “draft and punt” method of ritual crafting.
We have determined that our break-even point is about $3 per person.
We aren’t going to start collecting at the door, and no one will be turned away for not having a donation. However, we would like to suggest a donation of 3 to 5 dollars per person. (The extra is to cover the pagans that can’t swing $3.) If you can’t afford it, you are still welcome – if you can afford more, we’d be delighted to accept it.
As you spend more time outdoors, please stay conscious of the fire danger, even when you are not in the mountains. There are plenty of areas in town that are very susceptible to wildfire, and fire in some of those areas could easily spread to adjacent residential areas. I went hiking up on Lookout Mountain and in Reynolds Open Space Park this past weekend. Things are very dry right now, and getting drier by the minute. Please be careful.
Pagans often speak of "words of power", but when you stop to think about it, all words have power. Think of the word Nature, and you are likely to conjure a mental image of some pristine wilderness somewhere. That's because our culture tends to see humans as separate from nature. Such enculturated definitions shape the way we see our worlds, limiting our thinking, and consequently our range of actions. It isn't easy to change our mental definitions, but it is worthwhile. Example: if we think of ourselves as part of Nature, then we are much less likely to see Nature as something to be dominated. And sooner or later we will begin to come up with better solutions to the environmental problems we are causing.
Bumper Sticker Wisdom (a couple of these bear thinking about):
Remember to be looking into political candidates' views on campaign reform. Let's start reclaiming our government. It's important.
Now that I can watch the Food Network again (YAY!) I've gotten hooked on a couple of shows. One of them is "Iron Chef," which is at best a guilty indulgence and at worst inane. Another is called "Best of" and it features two correspondents who report on the best of a particular topic, such as diners, food in Las Vegas, or father-son chef teams. This week their subject has been soul food.
There is a restaurant in southeast Portland that serves "southern" food. When I ate there, I asked the waiter how to tell southern food from soul food. He couldn't answer the question. While it is true that the stereotype of soul food in this country is food eaten by poor blacks in the south, the exact same food can be used to illustrate all southern food. (Let's leave Cajun out of this, shall we?)
And then there are phrases like "Jewish soul food," "Japanese soul food," and "the soul food of my youth." (The latter refers to whatever kind of food the speaker grew up with.) This train of thought led me to the eternal (soon-to-be) question: What is Pagan soul food?
There are a lot of possibilities. The first thing that came to my mind was mooncakes, those lovely sugary cookies shaped like a crescent moon that many of us *strive* to serve with cakes and wine in our rituals. In my mind's ear I can hear the rousing chorus from all of you who insist that *chocolate* is true Pagan soul food. Brewers will insist it is mead, or at least their favorite homebrewed wine or ale. SCAdians might feel that only medieval styled fare deserves to be called Pagan soul food.
But none of these really fits the definition I heard this evening for soul food, at least not for all of us. The definition I heard came from an elderly black woman in Harlem, NY who explained that soul food is "food that takes you back into your soul." To me this means it's food that takes you back to when you and your soul were newly awakened. So to me, this refers to the early days of your Pagan practice.
Whatever you served in your rituals and Sabbat feasts (if you served anything at them) is your own personal soul food. The foods at the soul of the community must be common to many of us. And there is one kind of food that almost all of us have experienced, at one time or another, in a ritual setting. This food, served with proper intent, should evoke in each of us a kind of return to the soul. I refer to fresh fruits.
Many is the ritual where we've arrived at cakes and wine and seen a big plate of apple slices and orange segments making its way around the circle. I've even seen oranges segments used in place of the beverage. In the very early days of the Open Full Moon, it was considered de rigeur to serve simple fruits and a goblet of water. This was not only inexpensive for the officiant who had to pay for who-knows-how-many people, but it served to connect us just a little to the Earth whence comes the fruit. (And many officiants talked about this.) While some officiants will now make a point to serve something more elaborate, it's plates of fruit pieces that take us back to our souls.
So in the spirit of Pagan soul food, I offer the following recipe for a fruit plate lightly dressed so as to make finger feeding possible, and which is intended to take us back into our souls.
PAGAN SOUL SALAD
Serves 1 medium sized ritual
Heat fluids and add spice bag. Bring to a simmer and let simmer until reduced by half, half to three-quarters of an hour. Remove spice bag and discard spices. Chill dressing.
Arrange fruit in an attractive pattern on a plate (if this is for ritual and the pentacle is easily damaged by liquids, consider a glass plate, using the pentacle as a charger instead of as a plate itself.) It is possible to achieve some great designs if you are so inclined, including spirals of alternating apples and pears, or orange/strawberry faces.
Sprinkle dressing sparingly over fruit prior to serving. If this is being served in a ritual setting, have napkins available somewhere around or under the altar. (Not just because of the dressing, but because of the basic liquid nature of fruit.)
This would go nicely with a very sweet wine or mixed fruit juice. Come to think of it, apple juice, grape juice, and apple cider are also Pagan soul foods. How gratifying to realize that our soul food is sweet and juicy!
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