September 1, 2011


Cultural History Through The Ages With Secrets Hidden In Your Food.

No, I am not a conspiracy theorist.

Yes, this is going to completely mind-rape you again. 

My dad makes this totally bitchin’ foccacia— the best you can get this side of Italy and the Cinque Terra. So the other day while he was baking, I popped over to his recipe book to take a peek. It all seemed very Betty Crocker-ish to me as I read through, all the way down until the point when it said, “Fold the dough from the side of the bowl into the center a total of 8 times,” which means that you turn the bowl a total of 6 times. It’s really annoying. It’s really boring. It’s really overdone. Why, I wondered, would anyone go through all this oddly specific trouble to make sure you do it this exact way?

And then I remembered something from my high school math class that changed my life, and made me a terrible liar for all the years I said that I never needed to know what I learned in those classes for anything else in the rest of my life.

"Hmm, 6 times," I thought, remembering that in numerology and folk belief, 6 is a number that represents production, completion, creation, and perfection. 6 was a perfect number— it can be divided by 3, 2, and 1 evenly,  and 1+2+3=6. Early religions (Christians included, because don’t forget, God supposedly created the Universe in 6 days and rested on the 7th,) were fascinated by this fact, making six a "lucky" number.

And wait! We were TURNING the bowl as we were creating this number effect. Was there a prefferance for the direction of turn as well? The certainly had to be! In life, we tend to turn things away from ourselves rather than in toward ourselves, which means we always turn things to the right, not to the left. Not surprising, either, is that there’s meaning in even this superstitious yet natural bodily response:

Doing anything to the left is still considered unlucky. “Widdershins” was the Pagan or early-Wiccan word for it, which I dredged up in my memory from the beginning of my practicing Wiccan, and, ultimately— Pagan— period of my life. It was opposite to the turning direction of the Sun, meaning it was considered unnatural, threatening, or negative.

Your ancestors who perfected this recipe— and you— probably don’t like the Forces of Evil gathering around your kitchen hearth, so they probably turned it deasil, and away from them in the motion that felt best.

Turning “deasil” means to turn to the right with the Sun, which means that turning to the right is the venerating direction, the one that represents moving with Nature and the flow of things and Time— just like the seasons that are ruled over by the Sun. The majority of Italians and Europeans being crop farmers who grew things like the wheat this bread was being made from, dependent on weather and the steady change of time, turning the bowl to the right it surely was.

Now, after all of this hocus pocus and baking, what did we add for a little bit of flavor?

Rosemary.

Otherwise known as the herb that symbolizes remembrance and good memory, longevity, and love. In ancient European culture, a young man would give a sprig of rosemary to the woman he loved so that she could wear it in her hair and think of him with love every time she smelled it. Hey, if cooks down South can still claim their “soul food” tastes better because it’s made with love, wouldn’t it make sense to add a great-smelling and -tasting herb to your recipe that also symbolized some really freakin’ great qualities?

So. We have a bread being folded for maximum perfection of the outcome, turned in a way that respects the Nature it came from, and seasoned with love and warm and fuzzy thoughts. Just things that, you know, just happen to be in a written, published recipe for the shits-n’-giggles. Or not. It is so fascinating to me to the realize the things we do every day that hold significance to what our fore-bearers believed in, even if we don’t even know it. 

Hi. I’m a recovering scholar who digs the occult.

XOXO

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September 18, 2011


In my family, we have a tradition of sending our animals out at the end of their life with a warm and inviting fire in the fireplace the night before. It warms the cold chill in the air, and turns the hearth of our home into the heart as we all gather in the living room to be around our oldest furry friend. It started with my dog; in his last months, he loved nothing more than a fire to curl up in front of and warm him to his bones. He’d dream in front of the fireplace, so it seemed fitting that the morning that the vet came to make his house call, we lit a fire for Jacob to get comfortable in front of for the last time. Next was shy, gentle Chessie, a quiet calico cat whose personality really flowered in her last years as she came out of her shell, and could often be found keeping my father company at the foot of his chair, or alongside him. She, too, got her own fire to contemplate the night before.
Now, it’s Corky’s turn. My beloved fat Christmas cat, she’s lasted from kindergarten through my college graduation. She’s had a good run, and she’s seen Jacob and Chess pass from our family’s lives. Tonight, we lit her her own fire, and from her throne on the ottoman directly in front of the fire, we said our quiet goodbyes to her.
Some people may be shocked at the carefully calculated last rites that we perform for our pets. This sort of ritual may seem to some coldly enacted; to others, it might be lots of pomp and circumstance for a cat. But I like it. In my faith, fire is a source of rebirth and regeneration. Generations of wiser men and woman than me have stared into a fire’s flickering flames to seek the answers to life and death, and in mythology, the phoenix rises from its’ own fire’s ashes again. Fire is very nearly alive, itself, and as long as it burns, it keeps my pets a warm and friendly companion through their last night. It is as warm as our love for them, though much older, and much wiser. I hope it is as much a comfort to them as it is for me.
As much love as they’ve shared through the years, I hope comes back to them three-fold as they journey on without us. Blessed be.
XOXO

In my family, we have a tradition of sending our animals out at the end of their life with a warm and inviting fire in the fireplace the night before. It warms the cold chill in the air, and turns the hearth of our home into the heart as we all gather in the living room to be around our oldest furry friend. It started with my dog; in his last months, he loved nothing more than a fire to curl up in front of and warm him to his bones. He’d dream in front of the fireplace, so it seemed fitting that the morning that the vet came to make his house call, we lit a fire for Jacob to get comfortable in front of for the last time. Next was shy, gentle Chessie, a quiet calico cat whose personality really flowered in her last years as she came out of her shell, and could often be found keeping my father company at the foot of his chair, or alongside him. She, too, got her own fire to contemplate the night before.

Now, it’s Corky’s turn. My beloved fat Christmas cat, she’s lasted from kindergarten through my college graduation. She’s had a good run, and she’s seen Jacob and Chess pass from our family’s lives. Tonight, we lit her her own fire, and from her throne on the ottoman directly in front of the fire, we said our quiet goodbyes to her.

Some people may be shocked at the carefully calculated last rites that we perform for our pets. This sort of ritual may seem to some coldly enacted; to others, it might be lots of pomp and circumstance for a cat. But I like it. In my faith, fire is a source of rebirth and regeneration. Generations of wiser men and woman than me have stared into a fire’s flickering flames to seek the answers to life and death, and in mythology, the phoenix rises from its’ own fire’s ashes again. Fire is very nearly alive, itself, and as long as it burns, it keeps my pets a warm and friendly companion through their last night. It is as warm as our love for them, though much older, and much wiser. I hope it is as much a comfort to them as it is for me.

As much love as they’ve shared through the years, I hope comes back to them three-fold as they journey on without us. Blessed be.

XOXO

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September 28, 2011


October 22, 2011


And This Is Why I Love Being Lore-Conscious.

The other day, I was trying to open a beer bottle (rather stupidly) with the end of my lighter, rather than the appropriate bottle opener. I was being lazy, and couldn’t be arsed to get up and walk across the room to get one. So, instead, my hand slipped, and my knuckles dragged across the sharp, jagged underside of the bottle cap, and I got some rather large chunks of flesh and skin ripped off from the back of two of my knuckles. Enter lots of bleeding, plenty of staring at said chunks of flesh.

I washed them off, wrapped them up in Band-Aids, and went on my way. But today, when I pulled the plastic strips off, a distinct “damp dead skin” smell rose from my mangled fingers. And, of course, this is the time where I cannot for the life of me find any Neosporine or other wound disinfectant in the house; not even rubbing alcohol, not even witch hazel.

So, this is where my belief system and lore-of-old featured interests come in.

Beat, but knowing my knuckles needed something if they weren’t to, like, turn black and fall off, I found the book I picked up at a town library book sale the other week called “Herbal Rituals” by Judith Berger, and looked up “wound healing” in the index. Then, I went to the kitchen windowsill, found two green, fresh, fat leaves from the best of the violet plants, and crushed them up in a bowl with a wooden spoon. The mucilage produced by this treatment results in a natural healing, cooling, relieving gel that can be applied to surface wounds like my punctures to kill off bad bacteria and promote cell-reconstruction.

I love the fact that in a WebMD and vaccine-happy world, what I’ve chosen to study and live my life in accordance with helps me help myself without being dependent on the modern, manic, medicated world.

XOXO

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October 31, 2011


Woke up this morning, and the first thing that greeted my gaze was a spider slowly dropping down about 2 feet from my face like I was Miss freakin’ Muffet. Goes to reason my Halloween started with that; they’re always just plain weird. (A few years ago, I apparently got out of bed, opened my bedroom windows, and took my hair down in the middle of the night, without ever breaking consciousness. Here’s to show all the rabid Twi-fans that it’s not always a glittery vampire creepin’ on you at night…sometimes, it’s just yourself being the thing that goes “bump” in the night.)

I thought I’d join the rest of Vermont for the annual Halloween parade downtown tonight, maybe get back in my pin-up get-up and try to wrangle a few free drinks out of some ghouls and dudes at the bars, but after work, I just want a quiet, contemplative night at home. For a pagan, Halloween’s gotten so ludicrously commercialized that standing behind someone’s spoiled brat screaming for more candy for 2 hours in the cold watching the teenage Pumpkin Princess who will end up knocked up and shopping for an engagement ring (in that order) from the store this time next year ain’t so appealing anymore.

Instead, I’m staying in, taking a nice, long, candle-lit soak in the Jacuzzi, catching up on my annual Fall traditional Harry Potter series reading, watching Hocus Pocus (classic), and lighting candles on the graves of the family pets. (Stephan King himself would be proud of our animal graveyard.) I want tonight to be about my beliefs, getting back in tune with the crackling energy of fall and life and death mixing that permeates this day, and relaxing. It’s my favorite day of the year. It should mean something to me.

Happy Halloween/Samhain! Remember your dead; celebrate your life.

XOXO

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November 7, 2011


I have become ADDICTED to Game of Thrones. ADDICTED, I tell you!
The sword fights, the dire wolves, the illicit sex scenes, the Jason Momoa/Khal Drogo hot-sex-on-two-legsfest, the John Snow/Kit Harrington emo boy I just want to hug, the Tyr…is it weird that I find the dwarf absolutely charming and hilarious? There’s a small man I’d like to keep in my pocket for the constant droll commentary.
I’ll just go…catch up to the rest of the series, now, thanks.
XOXO

I have become ADDICTED to Game of Thrones. ADDICTED, I tell you!

The sword fights, the dire wolves, the illicit sex scenes, the Jason Momoa/Khal Drogo hot-sex-on-two-legsfest, the John Snow/Kit Harrington emo boy I just want to hug, the Tyr…is it weird that I find the dwarf absolutely charming and hilarious? There’s a small man I’d like to keep in my pocket for the constant droll commentary.

I’ll just go…catch up to the rest of the series, now, thanks.

XOXO

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September 18, 2012


Stoned, lying in front of a roaring wood fire, drinking my favorite Malbec and reading “A Discovery of Witches.”

Life does not suck.

…Though with every page the main heroine gets more Bella-like, and there are less historical/occult references, the more I cringe and have to take little breaks to compose myself to mentally handle the next few pages.

What is with bossy, moody, wealthy, obsessive, possessive men being the new “hot” thing in women’s literature these days? Give me a laid-back, practical, blue-collar, mature, relaxed dude ANY DAY over some smoldering vampire boy. I like ‘em live and understanding. Thank you.

XOXO

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November 5, 2012


Mitt Romney: YOUR religious beliefs have no place in MY uterus.

Let’s put it this way— I’m a pagan. But if I ran for President, I wouldn’t build parts of my platform around the fact that I would then mandate everyone in the U.S celebrate Samhain and pray to the Goddess before they fell a tree or animal. Why? Because I realize that one religion does not fit all, and that is STUPID.

I thought we were supposed to be a country built on the separation of Church and State.

XOXO

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January 31, 2013