kitchen witch Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! http://witchesandpagans.com/latest.html Mon, 22 May 2017 12:23:26 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Pollyanna of the Apocalypse Makes Soup http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/sacred-cells/pollyanna-of-the-apocalypse-makes-soup.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/sacred-cells/pollyanna-of-the-apocalypse-makes-soup.html

On Thanksgiving I began a spell to nourish family and friends, witches, pagans, and christians, neighbors and strangers through the shortest days and longest nights of a stunningly painful year careening to its end.  On Thanksgiving I began to make soup.

 

Usually I take a very long view of history (at least for a human).  I tend to see the crumbling of current systems and institutions worldwide as the inevitable “arc of the moral universe bending toward justice” (although in a much more circuitous spiral than I had believed as a young activist), which is why a colleague dubbed me Pollyanna of the Apocalypse.

 

As Pollyanna of the Apocalypse I am very clear that as a queer person living in a cisgender woman’s body I am far better off than I would have been 500 years ago, or 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago.  I am very clear that although institutional racism, transphobia, religious intolerance, xenophobia, and environmental destruction in the service of profit still stand, that on the whole life is better for our children than it was for our great-grandparents.  I am very clear that as a species humans have statistically far fewer violent personal interactions or even national conflicts than at any other time in human recorded history (even though it seems like there are more because we now have the technology to know about them immediately and from all parts of the world).

 

But despite all the things I am very clear are better, this year seemed particularly trying even for Pollyanna of the Apocalypse.  A myriad of personal tragedies befell friends and family.  Plants, animals (including human animals), and whole ecosystems experienced devastating weather events around our planet because of the escalation of climate change.  War and political unrest caused thousands to flee their homes.  In my country, the USA, we experienced the most painfully angry, intentionally dishonest, and glaringly revealing election cycle that I have ever lived through.  Even friends and family whose candidate “won” were in a sorry state of fear and anxiety, and those of us whose candidates “lost” took to the streets or huddled in our homes for fear of what was to become of our queer communities, hispanic communities, black communities, muslim communities, women’s health and choice, and the health of the Earth Herself.

 

So, on Thanksgiving, I began my spell of nourishment in the face of fear and tragedy, devastation and unrest, pain and loss.  This particular spell began with my cousin Daymon, my brother Andy, and me in my kitchen cooking much of the Thanksgiving feast for our large and wild family of blood and choice.  Later that night I set the turkey carcass with all its cooking juices, as well as the cooking juice from our ham, and some left over venison mince meat slurry, riotously boiling on my stove.  I gave thanks to the animals whose life force gave strength and nourishment to my broth and prayed that those of us who drank it would honor them by living in healthy and sustainable ways with the Earth.  I added whole heads of garlic to my broth to shore up depleted immune systems.  I added salt for cleansing, pepper for protection, and other spices to restore vigor and inspire visions, dreams, and hope.  From my local farmers’ market I added greens and vegetables full of nutrients for physical healing and repair. I gave thanks for the people who planted and tended and harvested these ingredients.  I gave thanks to the Elementals that helped each ingredient grow: Earth, Air, Water, Fire and the Mystery at the Center connecting all things.

 

My spell, my broth, bubbled and simmered for three days while my family of blood and family of choice came through the kitchen eating left over mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, mince meat pies, and making turkey and ham sandwiches.  The smell was intoxicating, invoking all the things that happen when family of blood and family of choice gather together:  tense moments, wild silliness, conspiratorial whispers, generational teasing, political debates, sweet revelations, old relational wounds healed imperfectly (but often still itchy), and, in my family of blood and choice, deep love in spite of and because of it all.

 

Over the next four weeks I made two hearty batches of spell infused soup to nourish my communities. As a christian witch living in the Northern Hemisphere, the long sacred dark nights of Advent with the Winter Solstice in its midst are a time of waiting in the blessed dark, a time of feeding and nurturing what is to be born, a time of nestling in and protecting the incarnation and embodiment of all that is holy and divine filling our bodies and stirring in the womb of the world.

 

When my Reclaiming Witch community (witches of all genders and generations) gathered for the Winter Solstice I took a batch of spell infused soup to feed those who were priestessing the ritual (in our tradition we use the word “priestess” as a verb).  Standing eating soup, a friend and I traded stories of family strife because of the election.  I spoke about uncomfortable interactions I’d had with one of my step-brothers around the truth of something he’d posted in response to a question I’d asked on social media.  Yet, face to face my step-brother and I ultimately found common ground in our care of family, and the venison in my soup was a bit of an unexpected peace offering from him when I’d visited before Thanksgiving.  Then, right before our Solstice ritual began one of our elders, who had just arrived back from the prayer and activism and ceremonies being done by the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, stood and ate a cup of soup.  It was a joy to feed her, to nourish her with this spell of soup before she and others led us in a powerful trance and spiral dance invoking the council fires of our ancestors and raising a cone of energetic power to nourish our souls, our activism, our communities, our world.

 

I made the last batch of spell infused soup for a spontaneous gathering of witches, christians, neighbors, and family at my home on a night between the Solstice and Christmas.  The invitation read: “Please drop in for a hug, a conversation of hope and blessing, some homemade soup, a cup of cider or wine (or a shot of whiskey), eat a cookie and light a candle on my home altar with a hope or blessing for the space among and between all of us as friends, as family, as a community, a nation, a world. If you have children or grandchildren bring them by so they can light a candle for their world and their faces can gladden my heart.”  A steady stream of people came and went sparking unexpected conversations among folk who were old friends, or had just met.  The soup nourished them all, the candlelight shone into the world with hope and blessings.

 

Blessings and hope to you - may you have the nourishment you need as this new year unfolds.


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lizannbassham@sonic.net (Lizann Bassham) SageWoman Blogs Wed, 28 Dec 2016 22:19:54 -0800
Quick Pick: How (Not) to Kiss a Toad http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/bookmusings/quick-pick-how-not-to-kiss-a-toad.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/bookmusings/quick-pick-how-not-to-kiss-a-toad.html b2ap3_thumbnail_toad.jpg

Title: How (Not) to Kiss a Toad (Cindy Eller Book One)

Author: Elizabeth A. Reeves

Pages: 315 pp

Price: free to $2.99

The Hook: Cindy Eller has a problem. Every man she has every kissed, starting with her high school prom date, has turned into a toad. Eventually they return to normal, but this has obviously put a damper on her love life. The only place she feels like a success, like her magic is of any use at all, is in the kitchen. She is a genius with cakes and cupcakes and tarts and other goodies, her magic providing just a little bit extra oomph to the recipe. Unfortunately, the Council has caught wind of her out of control magic. If she can't learn to properly harness her powers within thirty days, they will take her magic away. Forever.

The Analysis: The first book in the Cindy Eller series is a light, fun, breezy read. Cindy is a wonderfully likable heroine: I could totally sympathize with her desire for normalcy, her frustrated relationship with her mother, her quest for a satisfying career; and I admired her deep friendship with her two roommates, and her cautious optimism that she would recognize The One because he would not turn into a toad.

My only complaint centers around the world-building. When we first meet Cindy, she is openly discussing her magic with the reader (as it were) and then performs a spell in front of one of her roommates. As such, I assumed that this was an openly-magical society. Actually, it is not. Supernatural creatures (witches, werewolves, et cetera) hide right out in the open, but operate under a strict set of rules which keep "ordinaries" ignorant of their existence. Once I figured that out and reoriented myself, I settled back down again to enjoy the story.

The Verdict: A quick, fun read, filled with the yummiest cupcakes ever. I need to track down some recipes, or try my hand at crafting my own based on the descriptions. Really, I got hungry reading this book.


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lyradora@yahoo.com (Rebecca Buchanan) Culture Blogs Mon, 03 Oct 2016 15:27:17 -0700
The Witch’s Broom http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/the-magick-kitchen/the-witch-s-broom.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/the-magick-kitchen/the-witch-s-broom.html

The Witches’ Broom, or Besom is an important and largely misunderstood tool of the Witch.

Gaining its notoriety from the witch hunters’ manuals of mediaeval Europe, it is a tool of a far more ancient origin. As we know, the writings of those who “documented” the traditions, rituals and practices of early witches did not do so in an inimical fashion. This largely explains the negative associations related to many customs, tools and traditions of ancient Witches.

It is believed that the practice and use of the Besom can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt. While typical or traditional Besoms are made of a specific plant called Broom (from which the broom gains its name); it would also appear that many traditions and cultures have their own version of a Besom.

Some are made of feathers, while most are made of twigs, long stiff grasses, and other pliable materials that are easily bent and tied through the method of soaking or forming them into shape during their pre-dried our young state. In more modern times the Besom has taken on a very decorative and beautiful look as they are personalized for the Witch. Some are made with specific colors, herbs, and might have sacred symbols or stones attached.

 In this new form, The Witch’s Broom begins to take on additional magical qualities related to purification and cleansing. The main use of the Besom is to cleanse an area of negative or undesirable energies. These energies are traditionally swept out of a Witch's dwelling, often through every door in the house.

Many traditions speak of the Witch opening every door to his/her home, and beginning in the corners of each room, negative or undesirable energy is sweep to the center of each room. This energy is then escorted out each door leaving the home free of said energies.  In some rituals and traditions related to spirit activity, salt (often black) would be sprinkled on the floor and the Magickal Besom would sweep the spirit from the house as the Witch performs an exorcism of the home.

It is important to remember that the Besom is a Magickal tool use to cleanse energy from home and self. It is not intended to do your everyday cleaning in the home. The Besom should be kept free from hair, dust and other common debris. Often a besom will be mounted on the wall or above the doorway of a Witches home for the purpose of keeping it clean as well as serving other specific Magickal tasks.

Some hand held Besoms are used by mystical healers to excise negative energies and spirits from the body and mind. These smaller brooms are usually made of softer bristles. (A tutorial on how to make your own is at the end of this post.) This smaller Besom can also be made with other herbs and Magickal or sacred symbols that are significant to the Witch using the broom.

In other folklore and legends the idea that Witches rode their brooms is still an element we see to this day. As we near Samhain, the vision of Witches with their pointy hats perched on their Besom, flying a crossed the moon is a typical image. Besom is a symbol of the element of Air.  This embodiment of air and spirit is believed to allow the rider to travel between the thin veils to other planes of existence. It is believed the purpose of this was to gather information and connect with spirits in their various forms.

I have to ask myself when I think of this fantastical imagery, “How did this come to be? How could this kind of flight be made possible?” We very well know that one cannot simple soar through the skies by mounting a handmade broom of any sort.

It is said that the use of the Besom could only be achieved by a highly trained practitioner of Magick. In some Witchcraft traditions the besom itself is only used by the High Priestess or Priest; those who have mastered certain areas of Magickal practice... Specifically the practice of Astral Travel.  This discipline requires the practitioner to master the ability to leave one’s body for an extended period of time, while maintaining complete control.

This control allows the practitioner to travel to desired locations outside of the physical realm and return safely; without the risk of spirit possession or unwanted spirits in tow. There is also the risk of losing one’s self in other realms, so the practitioner must remain focused and in complete control at all times. This level of focus and control requires a high level of mastery depending on the task and length of the visit. It is obviously not a practice for the faint of heart or anyone with a wavering or weak Magickal mindset.

Many versions and mentions of this kind of Astral travel speak of a special “flying ointment or oil” that would act as a mild hallucinogen for the practitioner. Recipes for Flying Ointment included ingredients like Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade), Mugwort, and Poppy.

To achieve flight a Witch would lie in a relaxed position with his or her besom at their side. Various pulse points on the body were anointed with this special flight ointment. The anointing was often done by an experienced member of the coven. One who knows how much to apply and exactly where to apply the ointment or salve.

If a “sensitive person” were to look up into the sky during this is “flight”, it is said that he/she could see an apparition of the Witch flying a crossed the moon on a broom. This would explain the so called “sighting” of witches on their broomsticks throughout history, giving way to the images we often see leading up to Samhain. It is also thought that these sighting most often occurred after peasants consumed fermented foods like fruit and grains. So perhaps Witches were not the only ones using hallucinogens.

Below is a quick tutorial and the written instructions on how to make your own Besom or Witch’s Broom!

DIY Witch’s Broom Tutorial

Supplies

·         Flexible natural bristle type materials i.e. Twigs, Broom, Grass

·         A stick

·         Strong twine

·         Scissors

Steps:

1.       Soak your dry bristle materials, until they are pliable

2.       Blot off some of the extra water with a dry towel

3.       Gather up the desired amount of bristles for your broom base

4.       Position your stick in the center of your bristles near one end of your bunch

5.       Take a piece of twine and tightly tie the bristles around your stick (near the end), ensuring that the stick is centered within the bristles.

6.       Begin folding down your bristles to reveal your stick

7.       Continue to make sure your stick is centered and that the bristles are even as they fold down.

8.       Using more of your twine begin securing the bristles in their downward position. Be sure to tie your twine tightly.

9.       Finally, you can choose to trim the bristles if you like a more manicured look.

DIY Besom Tutorial Video

There you have it! An easy & FAST way to make your own Witch’s Broom!

Thank you for enjoying this post!

Please give me your feedback! I love to know what my readers are up to, and how you put my thoughts and experience to use in your world.

If you have any suggestions on subjects for future posts, give me the scoop! I’m listening.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list so you don’t miss future posts!

Bright Blessing!

Leandra Witchwood

Author of Magick in the Kitchen, A real-world spiritual guide for manifesting the Kitchen Witch within.

 

© 2015, The Magick Kitchen


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leandrawitchwood@gmail.com (Leandra Witchwood) Culture Blogs Fri, 16 Oct 2015 05:44:02 -0700
13 Magickal Ingredients for the Aspiring Kitchen Witch http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/the-magick-kitchen/13-magickal-ingredients-for-the-aspiring-kitchen-witch.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/the-magick-kitchen/13-magickal-ingredients-for-the-aspiring-kitchen-witch.html

Here are 13 easy to find ingredients A Kitchen Witch should always have on hand for everyday use, general use, and of course Magickal use.  

 

Sometimes knowing where to start is the hardest part. Discovering the most effective ingredients to always have on hand, can be tricky. After all, there are thousands of ingredients available. 

You will find that many ingredients are useful in variable ways; as they hold more than one Magickal Aspect. Here, we will take a look at some of my favorites that really stand the test of time and offer versatility to the aspiring Kitchen Witch. Not to forget they are very easy to find. Most will be available in your local grocery store. Many are also easy to grow in your yard or in pots. 

Basil – Protection

While Basil is known to serve many purposes I love to use basil for protection. Place it sauces, use as a garnish or in homemade salad dressing. You can even place a bunch on your altar or in a flower arrangement.

Tea – Courage

We all need a little courage now and then. As Witches, we are often looked down upon as we are miss-represented and feared by those who are ill-educated. This is only one example of why you could need a little extra courage on any given day. Sip some tea on mornings when you feel you need a little boost to get you through the day.

Orange – Divination

Eat an orange as you perform Divinations to help speed the clues and answers you seek. Often the practice of using Orange in divination exercises requires a yes or no question to be asked. Once you are finished eating your orange count the seeds. An odd number of seeds gives you a yes answer, an even number means no.

Rosemary – Purification

A tasty protector! Place rosemary in baths, teas, mix it in with Peach, smolder it as an incense… Rosemary is a very versatile ingredient you can use in recipes all the way up to making your own simmer scents to fragrance your home.

Lemon – Friendship

Lemon is great for forging new and maintaining established friendships. At your next meal or dinner party rub a little lemon essential oil on each chair where your family or guests will sit. Also, place lemon in you center piece to help strengthen established relationships and develop new ones.

Lavender – Peace

We all need a little more peace in our lives and Lavender is the herb for the job. Wear lavender essential oil on your clothing, place bunches in your home (dried or fresh), and smolder as an incense to maintain peace in the home.

Catnip – Happiness

What is life without a little extra happiness? I mean have you seen what it does for cats? Hang Catnip in your home, at your desk, or in your car to attract good spirits. Use catnip in spell work focused on creating happiness in your life.

Garlic – Healing

It was once believed that wearing Garlic would protect against the plague. Science has shown us the factual benefits our ancestors instinctively knew about garlic. Garlic is a great healer. Garlic is best when consumed in Magickal recipes. After you press or mince your garlic allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before adding it to heat.

Peach – Longevity

It is believed that eating peaches will increase longevity. This may be another area of Magick where science has once again, proves the instincts of our ancestors correct. Eating more fruit is well known to improve and maintain good health. Use peaches in fresh dishes, can them, bake them and more.

Apple – Love

Add apple blossoms to love sachets to attract love to the wearer. Slice an apple to expose the star within its center, next share this apple with your lover to ensure you will be happy together.

Cabbage – Luck

To increase luck in your life put cabbage in salad and stir fry dishes where it is kept uncooked or lightly sautéed. To ensure a couple has luck after they are married plant cabbage the day after they have said their vows.

Celery – Mental Powers

It is said that Witches once ate celery seeds before they would take flight on their brooms. As we know there are shreds of truth in every farfetched legend. Celery is well revered for its ability to increase psychic and mental powers. Use celery in Magickal recipes when you need a boost in concentration or in areas when divination seems obscure.

Banana – Prosperity

Who couldn’t use a little more prosperity? Not only is banana associate with fertility and potency, it is also widely used for increasing one’s prosperity in a variety of subjects. Use banana leaves to wrap and steam food when you are looking to increase the flow of money into your life. As you eat a banana in prosperity spell work, never cut it. Only break the banana as you envision money flowing more easily and abundantly into your life. 

These are only a few ingredients to get you started. This is only a glimpse at their usefulness and versatility. Many ingredients have a variety of uses and Magickal aspects associated with them.

I invite your feedback! 

I love to know what my readers are up to, and how you put my thoughts and experience to use in your world.

If you have any suggestions on subjects for future posts, give me the scoop! I’m listening. Don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list so you don’t miss future posts!

Bright Blessing!

Leandra

 

© 2015, The Magick Kitchen


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leandrawitchwood@gmail.com (Leandra Witchwood) Culture Blogs Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:25:21 -0700
Cooking Dinner Does Not Make You a Kitchen Witch (Subtitled: Making Friends Everywhere I Go) http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/practical-magic/cooking-dinner-does-not-make-you-a-kitchen-witch-subtitled-making-friends-everywhere-i-go.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/practical-magic/cooking-dinner-does-not-make-you-a-kitchen-witch-subtitled-making-friends-everywhere-i-go.html

I sort of spent my twenties fighting against who I really was in oh so many ways. I didn’t want to be a kitchen Witch. I thought that was the least impressive, most Holly Hobby branch of magic there is.

Jow and I were talking about why I fought this yesterday, he said it doesn’t make me lesser. But I said, it does. I’ve just grown not to care and to honor who I am. It makes me LESS formally educated, LESS full of hermetic/goetic/golden dawn occulty goodness, LESS theory based magic, LESS plugged in to having 24/7 chitchats with my gods, LESS inclined to have some kind of formal magic fancy dance, etc., etc.

Now, I’ve never felt in this fabulous blogosphere that any of *you* have ever made me feel this way, but you have to picture me from ten years ago: I’m constantly listening to NIN! I wear boots with sparkly laces to my corporate gig! I’m thrashing around on top of tables pumped full of piss and goldschlagger! I’m trying to break glass ceilings! I’m smoking cigars with the boys! I’m demanding my place at the occult table at occult events! I’m getting tats! I’m going through Shamanic trials! I’m fucking punk rock and . . . you want me to bake a cake? Really? Really?

So I fought against it for while which is why I wasn’t terribly successful in my own personal magic for quite some time. Somewhere around 27? 28? I started really embracing it. Once I bought my own home, my own hearth, I *really* started embracing it. I had the tools all along, it turns out, I just needed to know how to use them.

When I first joined the blogosphere, I wanted to bff a variety of people in the magical world. But let me be honest, most of all I wanted to befriend fellow kitchen Witches. Sisters/brothers unite! Let’s get some spit, blood, hair, dirt, and basil and get this party started!

But I didn’t find too many. 

I googled. I tried tracking down people. I tried a lot of different key words. And honestly, I found a lot of people who claimed to be kitchen witches, but in scanning their blogs all I generally found were recipes and chatter about their kids. Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. But that doesn’t make it a magic based blog because you need, like, magic in your blog at least some of the time to qualify.

What Doesn’t Make You a Kitchen Witch Per Se

A recipe isn’t magical in and of itself. Just dumping a bunch of recipes on your blog doesn’t make you a kitchen witch anymore than it makes Wolfgang Puck a kitchen Witch. If you said I use honey in my Chocolate Lavender Mousse to sweeten my mother-in-law towards me because she’s a complete bitch on wheels to me by that point in the meal or I put menstrual blood in my spaghetti sauce so my husband still thinks I’m dropping it like it’s hot even when I’m tired and in sweats, rock! Those are magical acts. Bring on the recipes!

Having children. While yes, it is a v. specific way to mark your transition into motherhood (sometimes), kids don’t really make you a practicing magic type person any more than it makes SuperNanny Mary Poppins. It’s okay to talk about other things in your magic based blog besides just a never ending compendium of your magical practice, but if you’re not talking magic at all then . . . it’s not really a magic blog then, is it? Things that would: Using magic to help soothe a baby/get a baby to sleep (I will only slightly guiltily confess to having done this before), protection magic, detailing tiny rituals you do with your kids.

Being a Homemaker. I do very much think that unpaid labor in the home needs to be appreciated and ideally compensated (please see here for more clearly articulated thoughts on the matter, it’s applicable for both mono/poly people), but it’s a job. And just like going to work in an office is not a magical act in and of itself, neither is taking care of your home. If you were talking about cleaning/organizing in a magical blog and discussing how to be more green (because we need to take care of Mother Earth of course and she’s a Goddess in and of herself), discussing what oils you use to scent your house and why, what you do to keep the house spiritually/magically clean, rock on.

What Qualifies You as a Kitchen Witch/Hearth Witch

If the Personal is Political, then the Every Day is Magical. Look, you don’t have to cast +5 magic every time you make hotdogs for dinner on a Tuesday night. But what can you be doing in your every day life in your hearth to make it more magical? Smudging with sage every few days to clear out the energies? Spray bottling your bed with a water based mist you made that has Come to Me oil in it? Choosing your cooking herbs based on magical purposes? Go crazy.

Deb’s Example Rit for Making the Every Day Magical
I had been hemming and hawing about starting my current novel because (a) I’ve never finished writing one and (b) it’s a little silly in a genre that’s already a little silly. But it came to me in a dream and it feels right. So I started by not just slapdashing it together, I took my time. I did research on names, other books in the genre, brainstormed and I made a mood board for it. When I knew it was time to start writing, I wanted it started right. I wanted my surroundings perfect, like giving birth (which is what I do with writing).

We’ve been getting pretty awesome about keeping the house tidy. We made sure everything was clean, went to brunch (appropriate for the kind of novel it is) and then I put on mood music and wrote, drink in hand. When I finished the beginning, I sealed it with eating a really posh chocolate (salted dark chocolate with balsamic and caramel) from the best chocolatier in NJ which was also appropriate for my novel’s genre.

It wasn’t about me putting together a mojo bag in this case, it was about choosing my actions carefully and doing everything with intent. There would have been nothing wrong with making a mojo bag, but it was more important to write in a magically charged environment for me to get this show on the road.

Get a Base Education in the Lower Arts. Yeah, yeah, you like to put on your robes and call on all the archangels and whatever. Cool. But sometimes for whatever reason, you’ll need to know how to do things quick and dirty, so learn how. Learn what salt and kitchen herbs can do for you, learn about mojo hands and honey pots and spirit bottles. Test yourself if you’re super structured magically, pretend a friend needs a fertility charm tonight and you need to get to her just using stuff around your house. What do you do?

Get a Base Education in House Wifery. Some men back in the day got married because they had no clue how to take care of themselves. While that’s not so common in this day and age, you still need a base education in house wifery to be a successful Hearth Witch. Thanks to most of the first world being a convenience culture, you may have been getting by on relying on take out, a dry cleaner, and a cleaning service. That’s all well and good, but you’re missing pieces you need to be a successful Hearth Witch.

If you are missing any of these things, that’s okay, don’t feel bad about it. But a lot of people cry, "Oh I’m no good at it!"  Or, "I don’t know how!" Ignorantia juris non excusat. Ignorance of the law excuses no one, so get to work. It won’t be perfect from the gate, but nothing is. Ask someone better versed for help, if you know someone. Worst case you burn a few casseroles and shred a few shirts, it’s no big deal. Even if you won’t use it for a while or you think ever need it (though you’d be surprised), these are all good life skills to have that will translate over into your magical life. Think of them as Hearth Meditations.

Can you:
* Do your own laundry?
* Have your house clean enough to have your mother or mother-in-law or Miss Martha over without them making a face?
* Cook a dinner for yourself and others?
* Meal plan?
* Budget and financially plan?
* Be able to make a casserole quickly for an emergency?
* Host/ess a party?
* Know how to bake something from scratch?
* Know how to do your own grocery shopping that’s more than just “box food”?
* Know how to do basic clothing repair?
* Know what to bring as a hostess gift?
* Know how to conduct yourself socially at various social obligations?
* Know how to give yourself self care?
* Know basic first aid?
* Know how to care for small children for a day?

Hearth Witch’s Tool Kit 
* First aid kit
* Disposable tupperwares
* A bottle of wine in a festive bag, ready for a party
* Generic gifts such as candles, just in case
* Funeral clothes, hung up, pressed, ready to go
* Small bits of flannel for mojo bags
* Empty, clean, and lidded bottles and jars for spirit bottles, honey pots, etc.
* Cooking herbs including: bay leaves, cinnamon, basil, dill, allspice, sage, lavender, etc.
* White candles (can be used for anything)
* Pins for inscribing candles
* Olive or Grapeseed Oil (for making dressing oils)
* Fragrance warmer (for making dressing oils)
* Sewing kit
* Sterile disposable lancets for any blood offerings needed
* Tealights for deity offerings on the fly
* Grave yard dirt
* Hand Sterilizer (for the obvious but also for inscribing invisible sigils)


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corvaxgirl@gmail.com (Deborah Castellano) Culture Blogs Tue, 30 Dec 2014 07:24:28 -0800
Recipes From My Year of Pickling, Jamming and Boozing All The Things http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/practical-magic/recipes-from-my-year-of-pickling-jamming-and-boozing-all-the-things.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/practical-magic/recipes-from-my-year-of-pickling-jamming-and-boozing-all-the-things.html Cordial Recipes

 

Many "traditional" cordial recipes don't use simple syrup. I don't like super sweet things, but I have found that if you don't have the simple syrup in your cordials, it's too bitter. I like to be able to drink my cordials with or without a mixer. Champagne or seltzer are good mixers in general for cordials.
Simple Syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Boil on medium until it is a syrup. Makes approximately 1/4 cup syrup

Raspberry-Vanilla Cordial

1 pint raspberries
1/4 cup simple syrup
1/4 cup vanilla vodka
Vodka to fill the rest of the mason jar (I recommend Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods - good enough to drink on its own, cheap enough for cordial making, it costs approximately $13 for a gallon)
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
French Press (I use the Upphetta from Ikea, it costs $13)
Ball Dissolvable Labels (it costs about $5 but it is money well spent)

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put the raspberries in a small pot with the simple syrup. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Pour the vanilla vodka in. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the regular vodka. Put on your kitchen counter where you will see it regularly. Seeing it regularly will remind you to shake it. Shake it as near to daily as you can remember. After two or three weeks, pour it into your french press to strain out the fruit and get the most out of the fruit for flavor. Wash the mason jar. Pour back into the mason jar. Label. Labeling is important because if you have a couple cordials it can be hard to tell what's what. Put in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Pear-Cardamon Cordial

2 nice looking small ripe pears or 1 large
1/4 cup simple syrup
6 cardamom pods, crushed with seeds
Vodka to fill the rest of the mason jar (I recommend Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods - good enough to drink on its own, cheap enough for cordial making, it costs approximately $13 for a gallon)
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
French Press (I use the Upphetta from Ikea, it costs $13)
Ball Dissolvable Labels (it costs about $5 but it is money well spent)

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put the whole pear(s), cardamom and simple syrup in the pot. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the regular vodka. Put on your kitchen counter where you will see it regularly. Seeing it regularly will remind you to shake it. Shake it as near to daily as you can remember. After at least a month (you're trying to infuse the whole pear(s) so it will take longer), take out the pear. Pour the rest of it into your french press to strain out the fruit and spices. Wash the mason jar. Pour back into the mason jar with the pear. Label. Labeling is important because if you have a couple cordials it can be hard to tell what's what. Put in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Blackberry Brandy Cordial

1 pint blackberries
1/4 cup simple syrup
Brandy to fill the rest of the jar
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
French Press (I use the Upphetta from Ikea, it costs $13)
Ball Dissolvable Labels (it costs about $5 but it is money well spent)

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put the blackberries in a small pot with the simple syrup. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the brandy. Put on your kitchen counter where you will see it regularly. Seeing it regularly will remind you to shake it. Shake it as near to daily as you can remember. After two or three weeks, pour it into your french press to strain out the fruit and get the most out of the fruit for flavor. Wash the mason jar. Pour back into the mason jar. Label. Labeling is important because if you have a couple cordials it can be hard to tell what's what. Put in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Lavender-Thyme Lemoncello
3 lemons, juiced and zested
A handful of fresh thyme (still on the stalk)
3 tablespoons culinary Lavender
1/4 cup simple syrup
Vodka to fill the rest of the mason jar (I recommend Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods - good enough to drink on its own, cheap enough for cordial making, it costs approximately $13 for a gallon)
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
French Press (I use the Upphetta from Ikea, it costs $13)
Ball Dissolvable Labels (it costs about $5 but it is money well spent)

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put the lemon zest, thyme and lavender in a small pot with the simple syrup. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the vodka. Put on your kitchen counter where you will see it regularly. Seeing it regularly will remind you to shake it. Shake it as near to daily as you can remember. After two or three weeks, pour it into your french press to strain out the fruit and herbs to get the most out it for flavor. Wash the mason jar. Pour back into the mason jar. Label. Labeling is important because if you have a couple cordials it can be hard to tell what's what. Put in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Strawberry Wooddruff Cordial (A traditional May Day Cordial)

1 pint Strawberries, hulled and halved
3 tablespoons wooddruff
1/4 cup simple syrup
Vodka to fill the rest of the mason jar (I recommend Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods - good enough to drink on its own, cheap enough for cordial making, it costs approximately $13 for a gallon)
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
French Press (I use the Upphetta from Ikea, it costs $13)
Ball Dissolvable Labels (it costs about $5 but it is money well spent)

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put the strawberries and wooddruff in a small pot with the simple syrup. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the vodka. Put on your kitchen counter where you will see it regularly. Seeing it regularly will remind you to shake it. Shake it as near to daily as you can remember. After two or three weeks, pour it into your french press to strain out the fruit and herbs to get the most out it for flavor. Wash the mason jar. Pour back into the mason jar. Label. Labeling is important because if you have a couple cordials it can be hard to tell what's what. Put in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Sour Cherry-Cardamon Cordial

1 pint sour cherries (or regular cherries if you can't get sour), pitted and de-stemmed
6 pods cardamon, crushed
1/4 cup simple syrup
Vodka to fill the rest of the mason jar (I recommend Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods - good enough to drink on its own, cheap enough for cordial making, it costs approximately $13 for a gallon)
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
French Press (I use the Upphetta from Ikea, it costs $13)
Ball Dissolvable Labels (it costs about $5 but it is money well spent)

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put the cardamom and cherries in a small pot with the simple syrup. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the vodka. Put on your kitchen counter where you will see it regularly. Seeing it regularly will remind you to shake it. Shake it as near to daily as you can remember. After two or three weeks, pour it into your french press to strain out the fruit and herbs to get the most out it for flavor. Wash the mason jar. Pour back into the mason jar. Label. Labeling is important because if you have a couple cordials it can be hard to tell what's what. Put in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Peach Cordial

3 ripe peaches, sliced and pitted
2 tablespoons good cinnamon (*not* sticks. Sticks look pretty but make it taste harsh as will cheap cinnamon)
1 tablespoon allspice
3 cloves
1/4 tablespoon nutmeg
1/4 cup simple syrup
Vodka to fill the rest of the mason jar (I recommend Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods - good enough to drink on its own, cheap enough for cordial making, it costs approximately $13 for a gallon)
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
French Press (I use the Upphetta from Ikea, it costs $13)
Ball Dissolvable Labels (it costs about $5 but it is money well spent)

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and peaches in a small pot with the simple syrup. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the vodka. Put on your kitchen counter where you will see it regularly. Seeing it regularly will remind you to shake it. Shake it as near to daily as you can remember. After two or three weeks, pour it into your french press to strain out the fruit and herbs to get the most out it for flavor. Wash the mason jar. Pour back into the mason jar. Label. Labeling is important because if you have a couple cordials it can be hard to tell what's what. Put in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Ginger Asian Pear Cordial

1 Asian pear, sliced with the seeds and stem removed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup simple syrup
Vodka to fill the rest of the mason jar (I recommend Trader Joe's Vodka of the Gods - good enough to drink on its own, cheap enough for cordial making, it costs approximately $13 for a gallon)
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
French Press (I use the Upphetta from Ikea, it costs $13)
Ball Dissolvable Labels (it costs about $5 but it is money well spent)

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put the ginger and Asian pear in a small pot with the simple syrup. Simmer on low for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the jar the rest of the way with the vodka. Put on your kitchen counter where you will see it regularly. Seeing it regularly will remind you to shake it. Shake it as near to daily as you can remember. After two or three weeks, pour it into your french press to strain out the fruit and herbs to get the most out it for flavor. Wash the mason jar. Pour back into the mason jar. Label. Labeling is important because if you have a couple cordials it can be hard to tell what's what. Put in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Boozy Maraschino Cherries

1 jar maraschino cherries (no corn syrup preferred, in the organic section) with 1/3 of the juice poured out
Southern Comfort

Pour Southern Comfort into the jar. Shake. Put back into the refrigerator.

 

Pickles

Please note that my pickles are "refrigerator" style which means they're good for a week or two. I am sharing what I have learned that I personally like, you may find you like different spices, different ways of cutting your vegetables, different levels of crispness in your vegetables, etc. These are the recipes I have come to like myself after tweaking traditional recipes.

Dill Cucumber Pickles

3 small Kirby Pickles, cut into spears
2 tablespoons ground Dill Seeds (I like Savory's spices in general - they're really fresh and very inexpensive and you can buy a little at a time)
3 tablespoons Citrus & Savory Brining Spices (from Savory) (you can use traditional pickling spices but if you're like me and have eaten commercial pickles for most of your life, I can assure you that you won't be prepared for cinnamon in your pickles. I say this as someone with a wide garbage dumpster-like palate)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
Apple Cider Vinegar (1/3 of the mason jar)
Water
Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put everything but the water into a medium sized pot and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the mason jar the rest of the way with water. Put in the refrigerator. Let brine for at least three days. Enjoy!

Pickled Asparagus

1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed
2 tablespoons ground Dill Seeds (I like Savory's spices in general - they're really fresh and very inexpensive and you can buy a little at a time)
3 tablespoons Citrus & Savory Brining Spices (from Savory) (you can use traditional pickling spices but if you're like me and have eaten commerical pickles for most of your life, I can assure you that you won't be prepared for cinnamon in your pickles. I say this as someone with a wide garbage dumpster-like palate)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
Apple Cider Vinegar (1/3 of the mason jar)
Water

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put everything but the water into a medium sized pot and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the mason jar the rest of the way with water. Put in the refrigerator. Let brine for at least three days. Enjoy!

Mixed Pickle

6 small whole radishes
1 small carrot, sliced
6 mushrooms, sliced in halves

2 tablespoons ground Dill Seeds (I like Savory's spices in general - they're really fresh and very inexpensive and you can buy a little at a time)
3 tablespoons Citrus & Savory Brining Spices (from Savory) (you can use traditional pickling spices but if you're like me and have eaten commerical pickles for most of your life, I can assure you that you won't be prepared for cinnamon in your pickles. I say this as someone with a wide garbage dumpster-like palate)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
Apple Cider Vinegar (1/3 of the mason jar)
Water
Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put everything but the water into a medium sized pot and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the mason jar the rest of the way with water. Put in the refrigerator. Let brine for at least three days. Enjoy!

Dilly Beans

1 handful string beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons ground Dill Seeds (I like Savory's spices in general - they're really fresh and very inexpensive and you can buy a little at a time)
3 tablespoons Citrus & Savory Brining Spices (from Savory) (you can use traditional pickling spices but if you're like me and have eaten commerical pickles for most of your life, I can assure you that you won't be prepared for cinnamon in your pickles. I say this as someone with a wide garbage dumpster-like palate)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
Pint and a half wide mouth mason jars (I use Ball, the ones with the asparagus in the jar on the box, it costs approximately $10 for 12)
Apple Cider Vinegar (1/3 of the mason jar)
Water

Make sure your mason jar has been through the dishwasher or boiled. Put everything but the water into a medium sized pot and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the mason jar. Fill the mason jar the rest of the way with water. Put in the refrigerator. Let brine for at least three days. Enjoy!

 

Jams

I know most people would consider using pectin and a bread machine cheater-cheater-pumpkin eater but I don't have much patience to be completely honest.

Ginger-Peach Jam

2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons low-sugar light fruit pectin
4 cups thawed frozen sliced peaches
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

Make sure your paddle is working correctly in your machine. Place ingredients into the bread pan in the following order: sugar, pectin, peaches, cloves, ginger nutmeg, and lemon juice. Close the lid and select jam. When it's done, unplug your machine and wait a half hour before opening. Open with oven mits, it's v. hot. Put in the refrigerator or can. If refrigerating, it's good for about two or three weeks.

Cranberry Preserves

Perfect for a new spin on a vodka cranberry. Put two room temperature spoonfuls of the preserves in a rocks glass. Pour 6 counts of vodka in the glass. Stir until mixed well. Add ice.

1 bag of fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons low-sugar light fruit pectin
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup water

Make sure your paddle is working correctly in your machine. Place ingredients into the bread pan in the following order: sugar, pectin, cranberries, water and lemon juice. Close the lid and select jam. When it's done, unplug your machine and wait a half hour before opening. Open with oven mits, it's v. hot. Put in the refrigerator or can. If refrigerating, it's good for about two or three weeks.

Cardamom-Fig Jam

1 package dried figs, sliced
1.5 cups sugar
1 tablespoons low-sugar light fruit pectin
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup water
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon rosewater

Make sure your paddle is working correctly in your machine. Place ingredients into the bread pan in the following order: sugar, pectin, figs, cardamom, rosewater, water and lemon juice. Close the lid and select jam. When it's done, unplug your machine and wait a half hour before opening. Open with oven mits, it's v. hot. Put in the refrigerator or can. If refrigerating, it's good for about two or three weeks.


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corvaxgirl@gmail.com (Deborah Castellano) Paths Blogs Sat, 04 Jan 2014 09:38:11 -0800
Dirt-Sense, Animal-Speak and Origin http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/dirt-sense-animal-speak-and-origin.html http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/dirt-sense-animal-speak-and-origin.html b2ap3_thumbnail_barn.JPG

 

“The only magic we have is what we make in ourselves, the muscles we build up on the inside, the sense of belief we create from nothing.”
― Dorothy Allison
 
“Note to self: remember
What Emerson said
Of Thoreau-
That he loved the low
In nature:
          Muskrats
And crickets, suckers
And frogs.   
          Not stars.
 
Songs of the carnal,
Songs of what we are.”
― Greg Orr, River Inside the River

 

I grew up surrounded by magic. As a little girl, I spent hours outside under big oaks, pretending the soft green moss was a bed for my dolls. I caught frogs in mud puddles and marveled at the filmy texture of their skin, the orbital shape and position of their eyes. I never held them long… only long enough to witness them witnessing me, this equally foreign creature. In the fields behind our farmhouse, there was a dilapidated corn crib where I’d make corn dollies and watch swallows build their nests.  I’d spend hours conversing with trees, an old mare, feral cats, birds, spiders and the moon that took me in like a lullaby, like a poem I could believe. It never occurred to me that there was something strange about wishing over weeds, speaking to the setting sun. As a child of field and wildflower, I loved the freedom of communicating in ways that stretched the impulse and ideal of communication, of the human alphabet. I believed in possibility and transcendence. I still do.

 

My people are a mix of displaced miners and farmers, originating from the fertile Alsace-Lorraine region of France and throughout Wales and Ireland. Many of these early arrivers immigrated to the States in the mid- to late-1800’s, with the Welsh/Scottish farmers arriving in Arkansas and the French and Irish in the coal mines of West Virginia, Kentucky and Southern Indiana. They were outlaws, poor and often on the verge of society. They were also story-tellers, music makers and revivalists. I look at their photos, those dirty faces and scarred clans of wanderers. I hold their seeking spirit close to my own. It matters little what their lives looked like on the surface, what matters is the smolder of adventure that burned between lineage and geography.

 

Being from such a motley array of characters has its charms. I remember reunions in the hills of Southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky where story and music enveloped us, holding our attention as tales were spun, some true, some peppered with fiction for effect. Everyone played an instrument or two. We sang Carter Family. We wrote our own songs. Weather and politics were predicted with string, crows and tea leaves. You could always tell if a baby would be born breach, cow or human. To this day, I remember hymns sung to a giant man in the sky, on hard benches, in old clapboard buildings - and the songs we would sing in secret about love and land, what we truly believed when the doors of the church closed and the lights were turned off. My people loved and lived in desperation. Maybe that’s why I consider everything with such seriousness. Love could and did kill us.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_woman.JPG

The dramas of the poor are different from those of the rich or middle class. Family members lose limbs, eyes. Men are locked up for public displays of drunkenness or simply out of the brash bravado of being vocal and in town. Women are “deflowered” under unusual and suspect circumstances. Ponds hold leaches. Homes sigh under the weight of too many children. Everything is baked or fried in flour and sugar, lard and butter. Clothes hold stains from sweat. And fingernails, to be sure, are never clean.

 

I used to think being poor, not having the right clothes or home, or to be mired on the same red dirt where I was born, was a death sentence. In some cases it was… I won’t glorify or romanticize rural poverty. There is nothing righteous or cool about not seeing the dentist when you have a toothache or going to bed hungry. Fortunately, living on a farm afforded us vegetables and other supplemental food items. But growing up poor does make one thick-skinned. I consider my family to be full of some of the damned funniest people I know. Hearing a rat chew on your homework, carefully tucked under your bed, well, now that makes for some humor.

 

My great-grandma Josie named me. Josie lived in a 1 bedroom farmhouse where she raised her 12 children. She never had an indoor bathroom – even at 100+ years of age and in the 1980’s. I stayed with her on weekends when I was quite young – perhaps a toddler. She would read stories to me at night, in her rocking chair. It was there I earned the scars I still wear on my forehead after attempting to hold a barn cat. Josie was a tough woman – not only because she raised 12 kids with very little, and during the Depression, but also because she mostly did it without any assistance. The women of my family have a knack for marrying the “wrong men”, the men that would cause sympathetic aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, to shake their heads and walk away. My great-grandfather Mel was a kind man, to be sure, but he was a drunk and a bookworm, and never quite suited for the farm life. He was a smart, literary man trapped in a pauper’s life. When I look at images of him now, I see this handsome brilliance gleaming in his eyes. He wanted something more, yet the gravity of reality caught him… he loved a farm woman, a woman of earth and meadow. He loved her to his grave, but I can say he never truly understood her, nor she him.

 

My great-grandmother was a tornado, a kitchen witch, a healer. When my maternal grab2ap3_thumbnail_ADA-BROCHIN-1942.jpgndmother suffered depression, Josie was often the one to provide some wisdom that made her open and soften to her experience. Josie was known to be an animal-speaker. She could coax a feral cat into her arms. I owe my own gift for taming wild animals to her. Both of my brothers work with horses. And all of her great-grandchildren hold both interest and gift in the healing arts. My great-grandmother, as it was told to me, could simply tell a hog that it was his time to go and he would calmly walk to the slaughter. When I made my own mistake of picking up the feral cat too soon, and amid my mother’s panic over my bloody face, Josie simply shook her head. I knew it then as I know it intuitively now: you can’t force intimacy before its time.

 

As I get older, I know magic existed precisely because of my childhood circumstances and my eclectic and eccentric family of misfits and deranged hill people. I knew my place in the world was distinctly connected to the living world. I benefited from the magic of place, even when the outside world of violence at the hands of strangers and loved ones, the gruesome displays of pornography hidden in sewer pipes and hushed cries, and pressures of money and lack thereof kept us captive – took us away from what we could have been. I still knew my place on earth. This is a gift I believe was afforded to me by the dirt-simple world that didn’t indulge but prompted questions about life and community.

 

There is much fascination with the rural poor. My own family would delight Steinbeck. I could tell you stories of fat preachers whose sweaty hands held bibles – who spit out propaganda about girls who didn’t keep their legs closed. I could tell you about a pedophile bus driver who – when the town found out about his many victims – simply disappeared one day. I can tell you of my young grandfather – a mere 7 years old – watching his father kill a man while working as a night watchman. I wouldn’t even know where to start with the women… women always endure so much and yet never seem to speak of it. Always, there is violence, yet this isn’t what I want to say.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Crooked.jpgYou see; poverty doesn’t produce violence. Lack of story produces violence. Lack of connection. It’s easy to kill when you don’t care, when you have no story of your own to carry you. You’re dead weighted to the world with no wings, no eyes to see gentleness and peace. We are ruled by a social order that is rife with nullified ideology, stumped on their quest for something else, and confused by this quest. They still think it can be taken from something, someone or some place. I feel sorry for those who believe this. They are truly the ones who stand outside, looking in.

 

As a poet, I could bring you metaphor and symbolism. I could wax rhapsodic about the myriad ways my people illuminated the best of home, experience and place, but sometimes the story is most precious when it leaves gaps and questions. The simple song is the one that sings.


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aleahsato@hotmail.com (Aleah Sato) SageWoman Blogs Sat, 07 Sep 2013 17:27:29 -0700