Well, it’s time for the Equinox. Time to plan, and plant, and cultivate. I’m looking forward to a rich and fruitful year ahead, and I hope that you are too.
The First Unitarian Church has raised their rates for our group; as a result, we have changed the suggested donation amounts. The rates are still lower than renting anyplace else would be. If at all possible, please increase your donation so we can continue to meet in the Community Room of this lovely building.
The March Open Full Moon will be on Friday, March 22, 2002, 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.
Alia and friends will be presenting a ritual about Ostara, with stories and bunnies. The ritual will be geared toward children; please bring your kids if you think they will enjoy it.
This month, the CUUPs drumming circle has been postponed to Saturday, and includes a Sabbat ritual. Here is the announcement for their ritual:
The First Unitarian Society of Denver CUUPS Planning Committee is hosting a Spring Equinox Ritual for Saturday, March 23rd, from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM. All are invited to participate in an evening filled with song, dance, drumming and meditation, in celebration of the awakening of Spring and the renewal of life. The ritual will be friendly to families and their children, though infant care will not be provided. This event will take place in the chapel here at First Unitarian Church of Denver (14th and Lafayette, Denver). Please join us in ringing in the Spring. Refreshments will be served. (call Joan at 303-295-0515 if you have any questions.)
Thanks and a Tip of the Hat to the Coven of Thistledown Keep for a lovely personal growth ritual. Each of us was asked to decide what we wished to cultivate in our lives this year, and to meditate on those things and on nurturing them so they, and we, could grow strong and healthy through the summer. We contemplated our goals and what we need to do in order to achieve them.
Many thanks, Kestrel, Green Oak, and friends, for providing us with such compelling seed for thought.
We have determined that our break-even point is about $4 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 4 to 7 dollars per person. (The extra is to cover the pagans that are unable to donate.) 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.
Spring is in the Air!
Colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, new clothes, and helium balloons. Just where does it all fit into a pagan’s life? And when did helium-filled balloons become a pagan symbol?
Ostara, the Spring Equinox, is the celebration of the return of Spring. The days are obviously longer and a little bit warmer. The first shoots of green are appearing and bulbs are being plopped into the ground. It won’t be long until the air is filled with the fragrance of blossoming trees and plants. The forests are already filled with critters seeking a mate. The God and Goddess are young again and we all feel the effect. Spring is a time when life bursts forth from the cold, dark winter and invigorates us all.
Colored eggs are an old tradition, as are bunnies. Both are symbols of fertility and indeed this is a time when fertility is abundant! It’s an old superstition that it is bad luck to wear anything new before the official beginning of Spring. So where does that leave helium balloons? They are a new tradition of my own.
Ostara is a wonderful time to work magick for prosperity, the birth of ideas, and new beginnings. Using helium balloons for this type of magick is fun for everyone, kids included! Buy pre-filled balloons and attach the messages with colored string around the neck of the balloon. If you are going to be holding ritual for a large group of people, a small tank rented from a party store is inexpensive and best. Have everyone choose one or two things or ideas they wish to be “birthed” at Spring. Write them out on small pieces of paper and insert them in unfilled balloons while chanting:
“On paper we write the words we feel,
In this vessel, our message we seal”.
One person can be designated to fill the balloons up with helium or everyone can fill their own while chanting:
“This vessel that holds the message we send,
We fill with the breath that sails the wind.”
You can then inscribe symbols of protection and guidance on the filled balloons and chant:
“These symbols we mark to protect and guide,
This sacred vessel and its message inside.”
When everyone is done, stand close together, look far up in the sky and release the balloons:
“Father above, Mother below,
Cast these thoughts on the winds that blow”
It’s an amazing sight to see all those balloons slowly make their way into the sky and quite a magickal moment.
—© Lady Flame 2002
[Note: Some areas do not allow latex balloons to be released because of the hazard to animals. It is possible to find balloons made from cellulose, which present less of a hazard to the wildlife. –Alia]
Remember that old cliche, “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche?” I never did believe it although most of the men I knew at the time it came into vogue took it to heart. This lead to an alarming decline in quiche although it was mysteriously coupled with a rise in crepes so I guess there’s some sort of cosmic justice underlying the overall food ethic of the nineteen sixties and seventies.
I work with a man who seems the embodiment of what real men who don’t eat quiche were supposed to be like. He lives on a houseboat and fishes from his living room. He works part time at both the dog and the horse track just because he likes the atmosphere. He can quote football, baseball and (most importantly here in a town with only one professional sports team) basketball statistics off the top of his head. He takes off work one Monday a month to go to the coast and hunt for crabs or to fish for sturgeon. He tells me he used to hunt until he realized he was getting old enough to have arthritic twinges and now he is afraid he’ll shoot at the wrong thing. He and his brother and their adult sons go off every once in a while to a cabin somewhere off Puget Sound for poker weekends. Basically, he’s a man’s man.
At our most recent department potluck, he brought smoked smelts, which he had prepared in the smoker he keeps on the deck of his houseboat. When one of the other people there asked if that was the biggest fish he could catch, he flashed a grin and said, "Nah, that was leftover sturgeon bait. I’m not ready to share the sturgeon yet."
So imagine my surprise when he looked across a conference table that was so laden with food it was amazing it wasn’t groaning, zeroed in on my quiche, and said, "Who brought that? That’s my very favorite thing." (The shame is, due to a reorganization he’s not my boss anymore because he looked so pleased I was sure it could have resulted in a raise if I’d been able to play that hand!)
So here is the recipe for the quiche that this "man’s man" was so happy about. I don’t make my own piecrusts so it uses a purchased crust. If you make good crusts, go for it. (I’d made two quiches. I’m including both recipes, but the one he liked was the ham and cheddar version.)
QUICHE FOR A MAN’S MAN
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pie crust according to package instructions for a pie to be baked filled. Combine eggs with milk and blend thoroughly. Mix in onion, meat, and cheese. Season to taste with parsley, thyme (if using), salt and pepper. Pour into pie crust, then mix again to assure an even distribution of ingredients. Place pie dish on a cookie sheet (particularly if it’s extremely full as this will rise) and bake 25 minutes or until just starting to turn golden. Allow quiche to cool thoroughly before covering and chilling. Just before serving, cut orange into thin slices and use to garnish top of quiche.
By the way, at the potluck there was a drawing for a pair of tickets to see the Portland Trailblazers. As you might imagine, this fellow won them. He’s taking his girlfriend, who loves sports. I think he’s going to ask her to make quiche for dinner before hand.
Night blind elder Wiccan living in SW Denver needs a dependable ride for the OFMs. Will contribute toward gas money. Lives near Hampden and Sheridan. Contact Virginia.
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. We can usually make room for more voices.
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June 21 (summer Solstice)
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