V is for Veil (and Victuals) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So I’m writing this a good half-hour into a “house warming party” to-which I’m fairly certain nobody corporeal is going to be coming.
We’ve had five seven trick-or-treaters (more chocolate for us, from my perspective) – one of-whom asked me why I’m so tall (I told her that I come by it naturally and that all my ancestors are tall – not 100% true, but close enough for an answer); and the gods – as they do – have taken their due. I’m nursing a burn on my right arm from the oven, where I burned it taking the beef braise out of the oven.
Braised beef + various veggies + a little blue cheese for garnish (and also because my Dad loves that stuff – he died almost 15 years ago, so I got it for the ancestor plate).
 
Ah, yes, the ancestor plate.
I spent two hours carving pumpkins – three faces, a half-pumpkin dish (one of the pumpkins was going pretty soft-rotten, unfortunately, so it was just cut and cleaned and used as a dish – holding a hurricane cup of Dragon’s Blood incense – instead of being carved), a fouth featured a carved candle for the beloved dead (with a heart on one side, and skull on the other), and the last carved with the message “Welcome Home”. I think they work.
I burned mhyrr on my altar and lit all the candles, as well (first time I lit all the candles in the house, so: Timely). And I made an ancestor plate.
It’s just a little saucer with some of tonight’s dinner on it, a (tiny) glass of the red wine beside it, and a tea-light as well. I’ll be adding chocolate to the plate later (Hallowe’en candly – pity it isn’t Neilson’s, but they own Cadbury at this point, so it works out a little bit), in part for dessert and in part for my Gram (who was a chocolate fiend) and in part for my Neilson ancestors because: clearly. :-)
 
While I was getting the dinner going, I could hear my Papa (life-long dairy farmer) talking about “keeping the soy bean men in business” by buying margarine as well as butter. My Dad slid into my dreams last night, just briefly, and he’s not been the only one. I know a few folks who’ve lost family/phamily/tribe in the past 24 hours. The veil, as they say, is thin.
 
I spent a good chunk of this morning finishing up business at the old apartment – and it is, indeed, Past Tense at this point. Finishing Business included the usual laundry and vacuuming and making sure we hadn’t left anything in a closet somewhere, but it also included walking through the place, burning a cone of “purification” incense (a blend of some sort – it does the trck), calling back all the good things that we’d filled our then-home with, and quietly chanting “Out with the old, In with the new” as I went.
It worked.
 
I would have liked to have filled our new house with chatty friends, laughter, and somewhat boisterous celebration tonight – got in about $200 worth of food & drink (mostly food, just to be clear) with that in mind, in fact – but I admit to being a little grateful for the peace, for the quiet and the chance to sit in the calm semi-darkness, altar blazing, seasonally-appropriate music playing (everything from SJ Tucker’s “Come to the Labyrinth”, Heather Dale’s “Call the Names”, and Tori Amos’s “Happy Phantom”; to The Tea Party’s “Requiem”, The Flirtations’ “The Ancestors’ Breath”, and Type O Negative’s “All Hallow’s Eve”; to Florence and the Machine’s “Only if for a Night”, Loreena McKennit’s “All Soul’s Night”, and Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire”), while I write this post and my lovely wife sews horse blankets in the other room.
 
Eventually, we’ll open a bottle of champagne and toast our new home formally, but for now I’m enjoying the quiet. Maybe I’ll get the Brie out next.
 
Here’s to my ancestors, and hers. Here’s to our gods – big and small, familiar and well-known and dear. Here’s to the kids on our doorstep – non-“rainbow-family” kids who got to see a cis girl and a trans girl married and being “normal” in their neighbourhood – and the pumpkins, too, which are part of the harvest and one of-which I carved to have eyes that smile like mine and my dad’s do.
Here’s to being fully moved into the House of Goat – Gods, Ancestors, and All.

Some Thoughts on Year Gates, Preserves, and the Rhythm of My Home

Under different circumstances, I would have done this work back in September. Instead – due to moving, for the most part – I’ve got a couple of litres of diced pears, plus about five pounds of whole tomatoes, sitting in my freezer, waiting to be processed into pear butter and roasted-garlic-balsamic tomato sauce (for which I need to get a LOT more garlic), respectively. I’ve also got four pumpkins – most, if not all, of which will first be carved into Jack-O-Lanterns before being rendered into pumpkin butter (and possibly pie…), and a pound or two of cranberries for making cranberry curd… Although those, at least, is a little closer to “normal” in terms of late-October/early-November canning. Our move is almost done, and – having unearthed my last flat of empty canning jars – I’m looking forward to spending November 1st finishing the 2014 canning extravaganza… a few months later than planned.
 
Having recently installed the Kitchen Shelf (a small bookcase that I’m using to hold soap-and-candle supplies, as well as frequently-used small appliances, large pots, AND all the preserves I’ve put up in one-cup and half-cup jars[1]), I have to say that I’m pleased with the ammount of canning I’ve done this year.
While, last year, I had an inordinate amount of apple butter (what, like… six litres of the stuff?), this year, it’s been tomato products that have been appearing most frequently. Tomato-peach salsa and regular old crushed tomatoes[2], but also a new bruschetta-in-a-jar recipe (like a chunky version of my tomato sauce, actually), and the impending sauce. I do them, primarily, in one-cup jars because cup of tomato product is plenty for a meal for 3-4 people (meaning: two or three for dinner, and then lunch for my wife the next day) when it’s combined with other fruits/veggies (collards/kale, blanched-and-frozen chard, apples, dried peaches or peppers, winter squash, mushrooms, parsnips, celeriac, you name it), some sausage or a braising cut of pork or beef, and some wild rice or pot barley with black lentils. I’m not the kind of gal who likes her pasta swimming in tomato… but would happily add tomatoes to a pumpkin cream curry over gnocchi, or toss some in with a little cheddar to brighten up a mellow-sweet pot full of romano beans and root veggies.
 
It’s intersting, big ol’ Pagan that I am, to look at the Year Gates and how they manifest in the day-to-day functioning of my (witchy) kitchen. Last April, I spent the month Eating Down the Larder (and whining about it on this blog) in order to prepare my freezer and pantry for the influx of new preserves that start coming in as early as late May (freezing Vietnamese Garlic pesto, for example, or lacto-fermenting grape leaves and garlic mustard for making dolmades later on). Now here I am, days away from Beltane’s mirror gate – Samhain – having realized that I don’t want to start using my 2014 preserves until November has begun[3]. Meaning that I set my preserving schedule by the same clock as the year gates swing. I only just realized that a couple of days ago, but it makes a lot of sense. Shoots-and-Fruits Time is for putting things up, praying for good harvests and plentiful seasons. Root time is for resting, enjoying the fruits of your labours – literally, in this case – and making sure your burrow isn’t completely overwhelmed with Too Much Stuff.
 
This move has involved a lot of paring down – an ongoing process to be sure, to-which our basement hoard can attest – and I see that continuing through the winter as I use up items in my pantry (chocolate sprinkles being added to the cookies I make for winter solstice; imported brown rice being used up and replaced with Saskatchewan-grown wild rice and pot barley) thoat won’t be restocked – and I look forward to using up my 2014 preserves (ideally in a timely fashion wherein there’s enough left in April to *do* the Eat Down the Larder Challenge again, but not so much that I’m drowing in, say, unexpected jam[4]) so that, by the time Beltane rolls around again, I’ll have the space to start building my pantry anew (this time with home-grown produce!).
 
Right now, I’m looking at the overcast (recently – it was quite clear earlier today) skies and thinking that I’ve got an hour – time enough to pack up another (the last?) wagon-load of stuff-to-move and bring it home before I have to start cooking dinner.
Time to get moving. (Ha! See what I did thar?)
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] The two-cup/pint jars were about a millimeter too tall to fit on my canning shelves, but I’ve got them in a cupboard with some of the dry-goods, so it’s okay.
 
[2] Which, three years ago, I would never have expected to bother putting up.
 
[3] Which is not actually going to happen, I’ve got a jar of tomatoes that looks like maybe it didn’t seal quite right and, while I’m fairly sure it’s fine (there’s no swelling, for example, it won’t have botulism, not with that much vinegar AND an air leak, but mould? We’ll see how it smells when I open it), it needs to be eaten up if it’s any good, so tonight’s dinner will probably involve (a) diced winter squash, (b) coconut milk and/or yoghurt, and (c) an early-opened pint of diced tomatoes. We shall see.
 
[4] I haven’t actually made much jam this year. Almost none. I’m trying to stick with a mix of savoury-friendly jellies (like crab apple and red currant) fruit curds, and fruit butters (pear and pumpkin, this year, but also a little bit of apricot – all of which I will happily use in weekend pancake recipes and “unexpected company” coffee cakes, as they make for a moist, rich sweetener that doesn’t overwhelm the palate) because I find they’re more versatile. But you get the idea.

V is for Values – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So I recently wrote about shifting towards buying local-ish (grown in Canada, rather than in a different hemisphere) dry goods. I also recently had a chat with my wife, wherein she expressed a desire to move towards having less (disposable) plastic in our home. Between these two things, I think that writing a post on Values for, er, last week’s PBP entry is probably pretty appropriate.
 
A long time ago, a couple of friends of mine wrote a book about Neo-Pagan ethics, the difference between ethics (what you do) and values (why you do it), and how people with the same ethics (“It is good to eat locally-grown food”) can being making those decisions based on very different value-sets (“Get to know your neighbours, become part of your multi-species community” vs “When TEOTWAWKI happens, we won’t be able to import bananas from Cuba”). Our household inclinations towards antiques, reusable/biodegradable items, and local foods, and those same inclinations away from non-recyclable plastics, planned obsolesence, and disposable everything, are ethical decisions, but they’re based on a few different sets of values.
 
We value things that last. We value things that are beautiful. We also value things that have stories built into them, and that – as anyone who’s read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making knows – have a spirits, names, and desires, and aren’t “just” inanimate objects. Case in point: Our youngest sewing machine, Janice, really. really wants to do some zig-zag stitches. I’ve promised her that we’ll do some sewing together, so I need to make sure I make that happen before the winter’s out. (I have plans for one dress for me plus a couple of skirts for my wife, so this should be eminantly achievable).
 
I read, ages ago, a blog post (the author of-which I can’t for the life of me remember, though it might have ben one of the Tashlins? Maybe?) about how being an animist effects your purchases and the degree of stuff that you’re willing to accumulate. The author likened it to wanting to cultivate relationships with a few really solid friends (tribe, phamily) rather than having zillions of “friends” with-whom you don’t really have much of a connection and on-whom you can’t really rely (or vice versa, for that matter).
So one of our sets of values is a valuing of stories, of history, of lineage, of things that have been cared for before we ever got to them, of things that were meant to become heirlooms.
 
Another is valuing our own self-sufficiency. My wife can fix just about anything, as long as its analogue. I’ve got food-foo like nobody’s business. But neither of us can make a microchip do what we want it to do, or tinker a car back into functioning if there’s an internal computer system in place. Old stuff is built to last – and stuff that’s built to last has the luxury of getting old – but it’s also built to sustain repairs and (in our case) frequently built before computers really existed, let alone were available for personal-use.
Tied into this is a valuing of frugality, of being able to thrive on a lower income so that we can enjoy more free time, follow career paths that make us happy rather than just keep the bills paid, that sort of thing. Buying second hand stuff that can be readily repaired (at home) and easily maintained works into that. But so does growing and preserving our own food, so does knowing how to cook from scratch.
BUT being able to keep old technology (like my walking wheel or her various sewing machines) working, knowing how to perform “old” skills – cobblery, soap-making, subsistance-farming (to some extent – I won’t be raising my own wheat any time soon), carpentry, water-bath canning, herbcraft, mechanics, saddlery, hand-spinning, tanning (that’s not even all of it, you guys) – and keeping them alive is also a way of keeping in touch with the ancestors.
You know that joke about how your parents/grandparents phone you to fix the computer because they don’t know how to open their web-browser? It’s like that. My great-nan most likely never saw a computer in her life. I have no idea what she thinks of it when I’m sitting here, typing away on my laptop, other than “My great-granddaughter went to UNIVERSITY! She type like the dickens, but heaven only knows why she can’t take shorthand…” or similar. But when I grow squash, my farming Nana and Papa know that their children’s children – one of them, at least – have not abandonned the land completely. When I spin and weave and knit and sew, my Gram, my Nana, my ancestors long before them, and my living mom and mother-in-law, all know that the home-skills they have are still valued and cherished by the next generation, and that those skills won’t disappear when (or now that) they’re gone. When I cook family recipes using seaonsally-available food that I grew myself, harvested from the neighbourhood, or even just bought from an Ottawa Area farmer, I am connecting with the land, with the ancestors, with the traditions and rhythms of time and place. I am become (ever more-so) “a part”, rather than “apart”. And that matters. That’s something that I value.

Every Day, It’s A-Getting Closer… (Shifting towards “local-ish” dry goods)

Today I stopped by the local Hippy Organic market to restock on some dry goods. I got brown basmati rice – which, as it turns out, I didn’t really need (woops) – from overseas, and about 2 litres of red quinoa (which works out to about $30…) from Bolivia, and everything else – the pot barley, the red lentils, and the black beluga lentils – came from Canada, most likely Saskatchewan. (They also have (cultivated) wild rice from Saskatchewan, if you’re looking to bring it in from somewhere closer than California, fyi).
 
While my rules (which are more like “guidelines” anyway…) about Local Food don’t tend to include dry goods – for a slew of reasons that mostly boil down to laziness and/or… “frugality” (yeah, let’s call it that) on my own part – I find that, while I’m not buying my whole wheat bread flour from the Oxford Mills mill just yet, I am leaning more and more towards buying dry-goods that are grown in Canada, even if they haven’t been grown in Ontario or Quebec.
 
I look forward to the day when Ottawa Valley edamame and whole wheat pastry flour plus Northwestern Ontario red, green, & black-beluga lentils, yellow split peas, quinoa, and amaranth are available at my local grocery store but, for the moment, while I can probably grow my own quinoa[1] if I’m really feeling the need, I’m probably going to keep shifting our “day to day diet” towards pearl and pot barley[3] and away from grains that have to cross one or more international borders to get to me.
 
Does this mean that I’m never buying rice again? Hmm… Maybe? I’m hesitant to say “That’s it, no more rice for us!” at this stage of the game. But if this barley business works out well, I can see rice taking a definite back seat to the grown-in-Canada grains quite quickly. Similarly, I’m more likely to grow butter beans – romano, in particular, but also fava, Christmas Lima, and maybe navy or great northern – that can double as dry-beans, and blanch and freeze them (or dry them on the vine, then finish them in my dehydrator, and store them on the shelf in jars) myself, rather than buying kidney beans or edamame that have been brought in from across half the globe. Between that, a lot of Ontario potatoes, and a home-grown crop of sun-chokes, we should be doing okay for starch. ;-)
 
You guys, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have garden space again! I was walking home today, and I picked a few fully-ripened-and-dried seed-pods from a purple-and-pink common mallow, just to scatter them in the front yard. I know I’ll have to wait until May to get my backyard raised beds going, but I’m going to have SUCH a time this winter, planning the lay-out and deciding what to plant where. I’m having visions (not Visions, just “visions”) of dragging in a gallon of snap beans every week for a month, of dozens of pumpkins and butternut squash lining my cold room shelves, jar after jar of tomato preserves, and a freezer full of carefully-blanched chard. I hope I’m not over-estimating what a few 2×8 beds can yield in a given year, but… my last garden (which, granted, was in the actual ground, not in extra-large containers) offered up that much produce fairly reliably, so… Maybe?
 
Here’s hoping that, by this time next year, I’ll be tallying up preserves that include 40lbs of home-grown tomatoes, a freezer full of home-grown greens and beans, and maybe a litre of dry-beans (cranberry/romano or great northern, most likely) just to see if I can do it.
 
Wish me luck!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad, the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Assuming we don’t go through more than a kilogram of it in a given year, since there’s a limit to what you can do on that front in a small, container-gardened space, and assuming I can winnow it well enough to not be full of chaff[2], AND assuming I can get my head back around to rinsing the stuff before I cook it…
 
[2] That basmati rice that I didn’t actually need? I thought I had 2-3 cups of long-grain brown rice still to be used up. It turns out I have about double that and, here’s the thing, the rice in question is… chaffy. I keep running up again bits of rice that haven’t cooked properly because they’re still wrapped in their protective, straw-like husk… The texture is awful, they don’t taste particularly good, and the tooth-cracking element is not fun, let me tell you.
 
[3] Pearl barley is like “white rice” – it’s had the hull removed and cooks in about 20 minutes. Whereas Pot barley is like “brown rice” (or red rice, for that matter), it’s “whole grain” rather than polished, and takes about 40 minutes to cook. Barley also has the added bonus of not turning to glue or losing its structural integrity when it’s been over-cooked. I’ve been known to stew both pearl barley and pot barley for around ten times the recommended cooking times, and they’ve both turned out just fine. Given my inclination to cook 2:1 grain:lentils, this would mean that I would cook red lentils with pearl barley (or quinoa of any colour, or white/polished rice) and beluga/black lentils with pot barley (brown rice).

Carpathian Onion Soup (Recipe)

So I came up with this soup a few weeks ago, and tonight I find myself turning to it again. It’s a variation on the theme of “French Onion Soup” but features a few twists that I’ve decided to call “Carpathian” purely because of the garlic factor. I’ll probably tweak it a bit tonight – bacon, instead of sausage, a little bit of nappa thrown in, and maybe some roasted garlic hummus on the toast (in lieu of the cheese) for our one non-dairy-eating guest. :-)

~*~

INGREDIENTS
For the sauté
3 red onions
1 medium-sized carrot
6-10 medium-sized cloves of garlic
¼ C lard (or sausage drippings, or bacon grease… you get the idea – though for a vegetarian version, using butter or sesame oil would work fine)
1 pre-cooked, mildly spicy sausage (leave out if you want this to be veg-friendly)
1 tsp each: tomato ketchup, grainy mustard

For the broth
½ C + 2-3 C water
1 tbsp each: soy sauce, granulated sugar, white wine vinegar (balsamic could also be lovely)
1 tbsp each: dried tarragon, dried (winter) savoury
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp dried rosemary

For the toasts
3 slices of bread (cook’s choice – I’ve made this with everything from home-made whole wheat to store-bought wonder-fluff, and it works with whatever)
Havarti cheese, sliced thinly or grated (you can use the cheap, grocery-store blocks for this if you like, they work just fine) enough to cover all the slices of bread

DIRECTIONS
1. In a cast iron frying pan, melt the fat over low heat
2. Grate ¾ of the carrot and slice the rest into paper-thin rounds
3. Peel the onions, cut them in half, then slice the halves into paper-thin rounds
4. Peel the garlic and mince in a garlic press
5. Slice the sausage in half length-wise, then slice into thin rounds
6. Combine the above in the frying pan and sauté, covered, on low heat until the onions are translucent and everything smells amazing
7. Add the ketchup and the mustard and stir in until well-combined
8. Allow to continue simmering on very low heat
9. In a sauce pan, combine the herbs, paprika, vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar with the half-cup of water and whisk together until a smooth “slurry” forms (you can use a fork)
10. Add the rest of the water and bring to a boil
11. Carefully add the onion mixture to the broth mixture and lower the heat
12. Allow to simmer while you make the toasts
13. For the toast, set your three pieces of bread on a wire rack, on a cookie sheet
14. Cover each slice of bread with cheese (not too thick, but don’t be stingy, either)
15. With your oven-rack on its LOWEST point (below the middle of the oven), place the cookie sheet in the oven and BROIL the bread and cheese for about two minutes (long enough for the oven to reach broiling temperature – you will need to keep an eye on things to make sure nothing burns)
16. Turn off the oven
17. Ladle the soup into three bowls
18. Take the toasts out of the oven and set one, cheese-side-up, on the surface of each serving of soup
19. Serve and enjoy

U is for Un-Covered and Up-Cycling – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Maybe this is a silly way to go about this, but here we go. I’m currently lacking an altar cloth. This isn’t typically a huge big deal because, for the past seven years, I’ve had multiple small altars all over the house and have put them on surfaces that I’m not worried about over-heating or getting wet.
This time around, though, I’m putting everybody in (more or less) the same place – in part so that, when I have the altars lit, I don’t have to keep running up the stairs to make sure the top floor hasn’t inadvertently caught fire.
But my new altar/shrine space is on top of my fancy marquetry cabinet, and I do not want to wreck that lovely surface.
Consequently, I’m kind of in the market for an altar cloth.
You want to know what I’m considering?
Our new fridge? Rather than putting in the two bottom drawers, we’re just going to slide a Rubbermaid bin into the bottom of the fridge[1]. So we’ve got a piece of glass shelving just… sitting around, available.
So I’m thinking I’ll grab one of my many, MANY shawls – probably the white one that was my grandmother’s (she may or may not have woven it herself, I’m not sure) – and use that as an altar cloth, which I’ll then cover with the glass shelf, so that the fabric and the wood are both covered with a fire-and-water-proof medium that I can put candles and incense on, and that I can wash easily when I need to.
This feels both brilliant-creative (‘cause it is) and a bit silly/opportunistic because… fridge parts? Really? But cooking and preserving are a huge part of my life and my religiosity, so having a piece of a refrigerator incorporated into my altar doesn’t seem entirely out of place, even as it does seem a little… I dunno… like I’m going to wind up in one of those lists of signs that you’re a “red neck”[2] pagan.
In any case, that’s what I’m planning.
On with the washing of the fridge parts!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] We’ll see how well that works… um… I’ll keep you posted.
 
[2] I know. And also, really… It still fits. Broke. Prone to fermenting my own ale in a large, plastic bucket and making my altar candles out of re-purposed bacon grease, I have totally used a chicken leg as a wand. Yes, actually, that’s me. On with the fridge!

U is for Unholy Harvest (Sacred Desire Ritual) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

Hey!
So I’m just back from nearly a week in Toronto, seeing my People and my extended leather family/phamily, and it’s been a wonderful thing. I mean, yes, I’ve got “Con Crud” with the sore throat, slight fever, and runny every-damn-thing that go with it, but it was still a wonderful thing.
Every year there’s a current of Woo that runs through Harvest. A lot of us aren’t Woo People – either because we’re atheist-skeptic types who want nothing to do with that stuff, or because we’re “Woo Adjacent” but understand it in psychological/physical terms rather than magical/mystical/spiritual/religious/energetic terms, or because their particular Faith does Woo differently from the pagan weird-ball types that crave this kind of ritual – but a tremendous number of us are Woo People, are witches and tantricas, TCM & Reiki practitioners, warlocks and Wiccans and Heathens, who make up this subsection of my People who need to put our roots down in this space/Space together.
And we did ritual this year: On purpose, and as a group.
Now, before I get into it, I want to just acknowledge that some of the venue rules (no open flames, essentially) were broken, and I’m not okay with that. I understand the importance of having Actual Fire in this kind of ritual, both because it’s a ritual about desire and because there’s nothing like candle light in this digital/electronic world to open the doors in people’s minds that say “we’re outside of the every-day now”. But in ritual space it really is the thought that counts, and I know that. A flickering LED “tea light” in a red glass cup, blessed and dressed appropriately will accomplish the same ends (I’ve had way too many moments of “Oh, yeah, you don’t need to blow this one out” to not know that they make really excellent stand-ins for wax candles) without putting us at risk of losing our ritual/play/learning space or our opportunity to keep doing rituals like this in this space.
So there was that.
BUT.
The ritual itself was pretty amazing.
Given what I’ve been studying over the past year or two, I was able to recognize a lot of the threads that went into it (or relate what went into it to stuff I’ve been studying… I won’t know which is which until I’ve had a chance to swap book lists with a couple of awesome femme witchy types, but still). I saw elements of Reclaiming, of Barbara Carellas style Tantra, of (Blue Star?) Feri, of Wild Wood ecstatic techniques, as well as touches of martial arts sparring that had been retooled into something more erotic and dance-like, and breathing techniques that I recognize from my own (rather rusty) singing practice. There was a lot of body work and some trust/touch stuff happening as well.
I cried through a lot of it, which is not surprising.
The over-arching work of the ritual was to create a sigil that called up/in your deepest desire. I won’t tell you what mine is (clearly), but I feel like I’ve taken another step towards putting myself all the way back together again, which is a good thing. What surprised me was how easy it was to come up with a sigil for this particular working. Usually I draw a total blank when it comes to stuff like that, so I’m taking the ease of that creativity as a good sign.
Beyond that, my partner for one of the body exercises told me she had a good time “meeting my horned beast” and her words shot through me because I know where my horned beast lives. Walk onto my shadow-bus and he’s in the front row, sometimes with a bull’s head, sometimes with a boar’s. It was kind of like having a puzzle piece slot into place, like… “Oh! That’s who you are, that’s where you fit. That’s what this face in the basement of my brain relates to in how I live and what I do.”
I mean, I have no clue what to do with that information, exactly, but… at least I have that information. Y’know?
The other thing that happened, that was big enough to be picked up on by other people (I think, going by the comments one of my friends made after the fact) was that, during the energetic washing portion of the ritual, I called in water to wash me over, and she came. Like, two BIG waves that bowled me over and rocked me in that rocking-in-the-spirit kind of way.
So it was big. And I got to sing. And I have a piece of the thread we used – symbolic of blood ties – to connect us all together, which I’ve since spun into the yarn that will go into making of the stripes on my fetish shawl (my spinning kit was in the room, pretty-much by accident, for the whole thing which, like… I feel like that was a necessary thing as well as a happy accident, y’know?) so things are… coming along and doing what they need to do to be what they need to be. Which sounds kind of weird, when I write it down, but there it is.
My wife was waiting for me when I came out, and I asked her “are you getting anything off of me right now?” and she told me I was glowing like a lighthouse and “Oh, god, the photons”. Which kind of matched how I was feeling, so it’s nice to know it wasn’t just me… y’know?
So that was the (deliberate) holy ground at Unholy Harvest. I hope we get the chance to do it again. <3
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.