Well, less for me to babble about this month – I didn’t leave the area. My baby will turn seven this May, though. I don’t know where the time goes!
We found officiants for June, and you’ll see what is happening this month a bit farther down in the newsletter. We do still need more officiants for 2001! We still have openings for September, November, and December. Please let Southwynde or me know if you are interested.
And now, on with the show!
Thanks and a Tip of the Hat to Mary and the Planets (hmm, sounds like a good name for a rock band), who provided a moving and informative astrological ritual. The ritual spoke deeply to many of the participants, and I heard absolute raves about the ritual as people left the OFM..
The May Open Full Moon will be on Friday, May 4, 2001, 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.
This month, I’m sure no one will be surprised to hear that we will be celebrating Beltane. This Beltane will be presented by Arwen and I. We will be presenting a “G-rated” Beltane, and children are welcome. Because of the energies involved, it can be hard to find a “family-friendly” Beltane, so that’s what we are aiming for. Come join us for celebration, ritual, and silliness.
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.
NOTE: Hearthstone is a church and your donations to Hearthstone are tax deductible. If you would like to write a check so you can keep track of your donations, we can certainly handle that as well.
If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, (generally for grammar – I have the soul of an English teacher) please feel free to submit your writing. Content will not be edited, although it may be refused. We need more voices for the newsletter!
Your column could be here!
Summer is fast approaching and soon school will be out. My daughter is excited about it this year. She is going to take art lessons, learn to ride a horse, learn to dive, and work in the herb garden with me. I’m taking this time to teach her respect for Mother Earth and the plants we grow in Her. We’ve chosen to grow a "salad garden" this year along with several types of bulbs and a few herbs. I planted flowers and herbs that have significant magickal meanings to start her on herbal lore. We’ve discussed the importance of asking permission from the plants and flowers before picking. When harvest time comes, then we’ll talk about the magick of the various plants.
The new home has a large yard and a nice little forest behind us. To add to the garden this year, we’re going to construct Elf Lights. This comes from "The Family Wicca Book" by Ashleen O’Gaea. It is a simple project that kids love and anyone can make magickal fairy lamps for the lawn, grove, or garden. All you need is a few rocks and a candle!
To make an elf light, collect a pile of large, angular rocks. Almost any shape will do as long as the stones are flat enough to stack. Bricks or blocks can also be used, but natural stones will produce prettier results. Whatever you select must be large enough to stack "log cabin" style by overlapping the ends, leaving gaps for the light to shine through. You’ll also need a couple of flat stones for the base and top. Flagstone is excellent for these uses.
Once you have gathered the raw material, begin by placing one flat stone in the center upon which you will later set your candle, then begin building a loose stone circle around it. When the first layer is complete, continue upwards, stacking the next layer so the stones overlap the ends of the previous layer. Generally, you’ll want to try to use the larger stones on the bottom and graduate to smaller ones at the top to build in stability, but there’s no real rules here as long as the finished project is stable enough to keep from falling down when you’re changing the candle, or if it is accidentally brushed by a pants leg or skirt.
Finish your elf light by placing a candle inside, preferably in a votive holder or other container that will contain the melted wax and offer some protection from breezes, then cap off your elf light with a flagstone and enjoy the soft, warm glow they cast through the gaps left in the sides.
These lights make beautiful garden or border decorations, and can be constructed in minutes to mark trails or circle quarters. Because they are made from natural materials on-site, they can be constructed almost anywhere, then kicked apart and scattered again when you’re done with them. If you want them to be a permanent addition to your landscape, the stones can also be fastened together using masonry cement.
(You get your mind out of the gutter!)
Every weekday morning I walk five and a half blocks from the bus stop to my office. One reason I do this, rather than take a second bus, is the block under the cherry orchard.
When I first arrived in Portland, three years ago, it was winter. I thought the drizzle would never stop, and I almost forgot what the color blue was all about. Then one morning in April I noticed that one of the trees in the backyard had gone from bare limbed to pink almost overnight. That weekend, while strolling around in the downtown area, I saw that I was walking on a pink carpet. (My spouse joked that the reason he was happy here was that “they rolled out the pink carpet for us, as is our due.”) The pink (and in some cases white) that seems to blanket the area comes from cherry blossoms.
Every place I have lived in the northwest has been blessed with some sort of cherry tree. And now I have a block to walk every day that, although downtown, is virtually a cherry orchard. For a few moments every workday I can breathe the lightly scented blossoms and walk on the pink carpet.
Of course, we invariably lose all the cherries in our trees to the local bird population. We could probably hang Mylar strips from the branches to scare the birds away, but we enjoy watching them too much. So we settle for nabbing just a couple of cherries in passing, and we buy them at the local produce markets while they are in season. And, in the off-season, we use them dried.
The following recipe is adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook (Jerry Traunfeld, pub. by Scribner, © 2000.) It is intended for use with a roasted duck, but I frequently throw it over plain chicken to make it into a party dish. (I also generally use a half of a yellow onion in place of the shallot, but don’t tell the folks at The Herbfarm, okay?)
Cherry Sage Sauce from The Herbfarm
Strain the stock, discard the bones, and return the stock to the pot. Add the wine, shallot, and cherries. Boil the sauce until it is thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, 45 to 60 minutes. (The sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
We are complex beings, which means there are many kinds of nourishment we require for good health in our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Physically, we all need clean air, clean water, wholesome food, and a reasonable amount of sunshine. The type of foods we eat should be varied, of course, with whole grain dishes providing the bulk of the diet. Legumes and/or flesh foods (red meat, poultry, fish) are good sources of protein, though most Americans actually consume more of it than is optimal. We also need to ingest vegetables to ensure we get enough vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. In addition, many dark green or brightly colored vegetables are excellent sources of anti-oxidants. Of course, a diet high in whole grains and vegetables will tend to be lower in fat and higher in fiber, both of which have been shown to be healthy for humans.
Mentally, we do better on that hard-to-achieve Balanced Diet. Our brains consume up to 20% of the blood sugar, glucose, used by our entire bodies! Sometimes, brain function can be enhanced by the use of certain supplements. (For specifics, see your herbalist or other nutritionally-aware health care provider.) Our minds also work better when treated to mild physical and mental exercise. A brisk walk of 30 minutes or so, several times a week, has been shown to be A Good Thing. It’s even better when done early enough or late enough in the day to avoid too much sun. That way, we get the sunshine we need to make vitamin D, yet avoid the pain of sunburn. Thinking games, such as chess or crossword puzzles, can help one retain or regain mental acuity.
One type of activity feeds mind and spirit: creativity. Whether it is writing a poem, composing a melody, painting a portrait, devising a ritual, crafting a toy, playing a tune, or another endeavor, the act of creating feeds our minds and our souls.
Positive prayer is, of course, food for the soul.
So is something else I know I've not practiced enough: appreciation. We, as humans, have an Awareness of ourselves, each other, and life in general that no other creatures seem to share. All too often, we focus this wonderful talent on the negative aspects of our lives. This helps drag us down.
On the other hand, focusing on the positive can be uplifting. As Oscar Wilde is reputed to have said, "All of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
Methinks I'll take a walk, find a tree, and give it a hug of appreciation. Then I'll go hug some human friends.
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 expressed or implied.
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