By Midsummer's, the garden is really starting to kick in and feed us. There on the traditional Scandinavian Midsummer's Eve table, along with the caraway cheese, the deviled eggs, the new potatoes and dill, the cucumbers in sour cream, the roasted baby beets, and the strawberry-rhubarb pie, is this absolutely stunning puree of asparagus and fresh garden peas: the very essence of green life.
If ever you've wondered what Midsummer's tastes like, this is it.
Bealtaine's coming up, and with it the annual problem: how do we decide who to sacrifice this year?
Well, I don't know how they go about it where you live, but one tried-and-true method is the Bealtaine Bannock.
You cook a barley-cake over an open fire and break it up into pieces. One piece you mark black with charcoal from the fire. Then everyone draws a piece and eats it. Whoever gets the black piece wins. Or loses. Whatever.
It's a old method of Choosing. The stomachs of several bog bodies have been found to contain remnants of charred bannock. Hey, if it was good enough for Lindow Man, it's good enough for me.
May the sunset cloak of shorter days enfold you May you dance with the patterns of crimson and gold leaves May you sing with owl and coyote in crisp moonlight May you savor the orangeness of pumpkin and yam and feel the sweetness of honey on your tongue. May you listen to the dreams of seed corn May elderberry strengthen you with stored sunshine May persimmon grant you a fleeting hello May the poignant flare of an October rose kiss you with hope. May your rooms be wreathed with smiles. And, may you remember the grace and wisdom found in both gathering and releasing.
Limoncello is a glass of liquid sunshine. As the light grows and we approach Ostara, the Spring Equinox where the light overtakes the darkness, there is no better drink to celebrate the season. Sweet, tart, strong, and delicious, a little glass of limoncello is like drinking in the growing sun.
Some pagans make mead, others brew beer, others steep all sorts of fruits in any strong drink they can find. I make limoncello. I first learned of limoncello while traveling in Italy. We were staying in Sorrento, a seaside town with much the same climate as my native southern California. The local drink was this delicious concoction of local lemons, sugar, water, and booze. I had to try it. After I did, I had to find the recipe.
They call it "Jewish Christmas": Chinese food and a movie.
I suppose, then, that Witches' Christmas would be Indian food and a movie.
I don't know what it is about witches and Indian, but there sure does seem to be something. No doubt there are individual Jews who don't do Chinese (overexposure as children, probably), and doubtless there are witches out there who don't relish alu gobi.
But bring some palak panir to your next coven potluck and then tell me I'm wrong.