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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
So, a Druid Walks into a Bar...

In the days of Queen Boudicca, there was a young woman who aspired to become a Druid.

“For the first three years of your training, you will keep the Great Silence,” the Chief Druidess tells her. “From one Samhain to the next, you will speak not so much as a single word. Then at Samhain you and I will meet to review your progress, at which time you may speak as many as two words, if you wish.”

The first year of the woman's training goes by. At Samhain she is summoned to the Chief Druidess.

“Well,” says the Druidess, “You have completed your first year of the Great Silence. You may now say as many as two words, if you wish. What would you like to say?”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Love it!
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Good one! Thanks for the giggles, and a belated Blessed All Hallows. Tasha

So last year I got to play the 14 foot “Das Madchen”–the harbinger of doom who appears in the darkest days of the year--at Parade of Spirits, Liberty Lands in Philadelphia. Formerly known as Krampuslauf, the parade has taken place every December since 2011. A teeny bit about Krampus: This furry, red-tongued, chain and/or switch-wielding character has been St. Nicholas’ companion in Alpine regions for millennia, and may even pre-date the jolly old elf. On December 5–Krampusnacht–Krampus brought Karma to the naughty before St. Nick made his appearance on his own day, the 6th.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Pop Culture Kitchen Witchery

I cook and I know things.  I love being in the kitchen as much as I love watching my favorite movies, reading my favorite books, and making magick.  However, as a busy person what I love best is finding clever ways to combine those things into a single action in order to save time and energy.  Oh yes, I do pop culture kitchen witchery.  Let me share with you how I make fun and nourishing treats infused with pop culture magick.

There are nearly limitless ways to infuse magick into cookery.  One can choose foods with inherently magickal ingredients; many common herbs and spices have powerful magickal correspondences.  Think of the basil, garlic, and fennel in many traditional pasta sauces and their inherently protective qualities.  Once can also compose a meal based on the color correspondences of the ingredients; perhaps an all green meal for prosperity.  Add baking to your repertoire and you have the option of shaping cookies and breads into magickal symbols that are charge when baking and released when eaten.  Of course one can, and should, always add their intent as they create their food; better still if it’s something like bread where intent can be literally kneaded into the dough.  These are just a few of the wondrous ways to add magick in the kitchen and there are plenty of resources out there for diving into the rabbit hole that is kitchen witchery.  Of course, being the inveterate nerd that I am I take things a step further.

I like to get as much bang for my magickal buck as possible and much of my stand-alone magickal workings involve pop culture magick, so I decided to bring my kitchen witchery and pop culture magick together to supercharge them.  One of the easiest ways to add pop culture magick to kitchen witchery is to make foods that appear in your favorite pop culture media, such as lembas bread from the Lord of the Rings, butterbeer from Harry Potter, or fish fingers and custard from Doctor Who.  Lembas bread is a great example; it’s already a magickal food, giving the consumer hours of energy from a single bite.  By baking a high-energy bread or energy bar and infusing it with the magickal energy of lembas bread you can create an amazing spell for stamina energy that you can take along on a hike, a long drive, or any day where you know you’ll need a boost.  Pop culture is filled with enchanted provisions and iconic foodstuffs from Alice’s tea cakes to wizarding chocolate.  Take a moment to think about the iconic foods in your favorite pop culture media and the many ways they could potentially be used in magick.  Kind of amazing isn’t it?

You can also create an infinite variety of foods themed for and inspired by pop culture media.  Kitchen Overlord has a wonderful recipe for a pasta dish where the end product looks like Tony Stark’s arc reactor that would be a fantastic base for a prosperity spell.  As you stir your pasta add your intent, let the golden color of the wheat pasta symbolize prosperity, and link to the dish to the energy of Tony Stark’s wealth; take it further by adding a few herbs that both taste great and correspond appropriately like thyme and basil.  In doing so you’re using the color and magickal correspondences of your ingredients, adding intent directly through the cooking process, and taking advantage of the prosperity energy associated with the character - that’s a triple charged spell and dinner in one!  Similarly, you could make Super Mario Brothers stuffed 1-UP mushrooms infused with energy to ace a test or job interview.  Get a few crimini mushrooms, stuff them with ingredients that align with your goals (Google stuffed mushrooms, there are hundreds of recipes for inspiration), charge them as they cook, and consume to seal the spell.  The possibilities for this type of magick are limited only by your imagination and what ingredients are available.

Beyond crafting edible spells, you can also create foods as offerings to pop culture entities.  Like any other metaphysical entity, pop culture entities often require an offering in exchange for their magickal assistance and what better offering than a food they're known to enjoy?  If you were doing a working with Dean from Supernatural it would be a no-brainer to bake him a pie.  If, for whatever reason, you wanted to do a working with Deadpool what better offering than chimichangas?  Taking the time and effort to make a food offering from scratch adds a tremendous amount of personal energy that many other offerings lack and it allows you to add specific energies into that offering.  You can add even more energy by mindfully sourcing your ingredients: making extra effort to get the highest quality ingredients, buying from merchants the character would support, etc.  If you have a special working that requires a little more “oomph” for your offering, or you just enjoy cooking, try making something appropriate from scratch. 

If you want to try your hand at some pop culture kitchen witchery I suggest starting with simple rolled sugar cookies.  If you like to cook you can make the dough from scratch; if you don’t like to cook you can buy pre-made dough at any grocery store.  You can find some amazing pop culture themed cookie cutters online or you can cut custom shapes freehand.  Try D20 shaped cookies for luck, tardis shaped cookies for adventurous travel, or R2-D2 shaped cookies for computer skills, etc. As you roll out and shape your dough allow your intent to flow into the dough itself.  Bake the cookies per your recipe and then continue to infuse magick into the cookies as you decorate.  Add icing, sprinkles, or crystal sugars in the colors and designs that correspond to your intent.  If you’re more of an advanced baker try making emoji macarons.  Infuse your macarons with positive emotions to create an edible energetic boost.  In general, cookies are easy, quick, and versatile, making them a fabulous starting point for pop culture kitchen witchery.

Whether you’re making Game of Thrones kidney pie or Welcome to Night Vale’s not-so-invisible corn, pop culture kitchen witchery can enhance your magick and put dinner on the plate to boot.  Combining pop culture magick with more traditional kitchen witchery you get all the benefits of traditional practice while layering more intent and meaning into your working, giving it extra power with very little extra time and energy.  Make the results of that magick dinner and you’ve made the most efficient possible use your your limited time and energy.  If you enjoy cooking or baking and love pop culture then give pop culture kitchen witchery a try. 

There are many websites and cookbooks dedicated to recipes from and inspired by pop culture.  Here are a few resources:

http://www.geekychef.com/
https://theniftynerd.com/category/recipes/
http://www.geekyhostess.com/
http://rosannapansino.com/
http://watch.geniuskitchen.com/show/GKPCB/Pop-Culture-Baking-Class/

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Posted by on in Signs & Portents
Days of the Dead

Today is Samhain, the first day of winter in Celtic reckoning and the ancient predecessor to Halloween. It also corresponds with the Mexican Day of the Dead, the Catholic All Saints’ Day, and so-called “Mischief Night.” In virtually all of these case, October 31 and November 1 are recognized as days for honoring the dead and considering mortality.As we are wont to do we’ve gathered a large amount of content, both from our own website and others to keep you entertained this most holy of days. We hope you enjoy!

--Aryós Héngwis

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I had other plans... meaning, that I had other plans for the start of this blog, or should I say, the re-start of this blog. As I'm sliding into the end of Saturn in my sun sign (gather round, fellow Sagittarians!), I've been obsessed with streamlining, simplifying, being more efficient, not wasting time (hahaha), but, here I am. In short: Broomstix is still available as an archive on Blogger.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Tasha's Astro Planner for November

Tasha's Astro Planner for November 2017

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Samhain 2017

Whatever Samhain’s personal impact has been on our lives this year, rarely has its power and symbolism been greater for us as a people. Samhain honors the power and meaning of death, and death comes as inevitably to political orders and societies as it does to people and to the rest of life. As our Wheel of the Year reminds us, death is followed by a new beginning.  However, today new beginnings are but faint hints extending in different directions, some better than others. What seems clear to me is that the political and cultural order long taken for granted by Americans, is passing.

At the most visible level, we see cultural divisions and political conflicts destroying our constitutional order.  While there are many causes, one central one is the Republican Party. The Trump presidency is ‘simply’ another step along a path it has followed for decades.

Regardless of who wins in 2018, the Republican Party’s slide into right wing authoritarianism with a Mussolini wannabe at its head marks the end of our traditional constitutional order. Its survival depended on enough shared agreement among the major players for compromises to serve the general well-being. There is no compromise possible when some people seek to destroy what they cannot rule.

There are many possible outcomes to this destruction. Trump and his strongest supporters would like a dictatorship. However, in his effort to subvert the constitutional and legal order, he has broken laws and violated traditions necessary for its survival, but still having legal weight. Two days before Samhain the first charges and confessions of guilt by his apparatchiks have been made. The struggle between an American fascism and a freer society has crossed a crucial line. I am heartened by the symbolism.

If dictatorship is avoided, the old order will not re-emerge. It is dead.  We might see emergence of a multi-party system if electoral rules are changed to allow ranked choice voting. This would end a two-party monopoly controlled by corporations and vulnerable to capture by authoritarian movements.  This relatively gentle change might make a huge difference.

We might see the weakening of national power if states as different as California and Alabama increasingly go their own way.  We might end up governed more like the Articles of Confederation  than our more centralized constitutional system.  This decoupling might lead to what I call “divorce over irreconcilable differences.”

Or the worst possibility of civil conflict might take place, as the ‘altright’ obviously wishes to happen. Whatever emerges from this conflict, it will not be a return to the old order. Its days are done.

Unless…

Unless the even more deeply rooted culture of patriarchy, social and corporate domination, and ‘Biblical’ religion comes to a well-deserved end. And it might. These people now control all branches of government.  Try as they will, they cannot blame their failures on anyone else but themselves.  And, so far, we have seen little but failures, as we might expect from a group that rejects science, rejects any regard for truth, rejects collaboration with opponents, cannot look ahead, and seeks only power and domination over all unlike themselves.  They represent a culture long past its time to die, a gangrenous culture poisoning healthy societies all around them. Perhaps their obvious failure will trigger a deep rejection, to be replaced by something better.

But there is still more bringing the old order to an end.

Most obviously, the old order will pass because its impact on our planet has become destructive. What emerges might be far worse, if the direst predictions of scientists studying global warming, (excuse me, ‘climate change,’) come to pass. On the other hand, to prevent that outcome, new technologies and attitudes will have to arise, and today we see them arising all around us, as with the amazing decline in the cost of solar energy. The alternative to global environmental catastrophe is a civilization relying on sustainable energy, and a changed cultural attitude that accepts this as obviously true and good. The seeds for this change are very much with us, but either way, the old order is finished.

The other challenge is the breakdown of capitalism as we know it. Inequality is rapidly growing, wages are sluggish for most, and social mobility is slowing. In the near future, we will see even more mainline jobs taken over by AI and robots   Yet capitalism depends on consumer spending.  When most have little, they cannot spend.

Equally significantly, unlike the captains of industry of the past, most of today’s ultra-rich have contributed nothing to society to remotely justify their wealth. For every Bill Gates or Elon Musk, there are innumerable bankers, hedge fund managers, and those who gain wealth from political deals. Had these latter individuals never existed little would be different. We would arguably be better off. We are witnessing the rise of a dominant parasite class that feeds off a culture it cannot sustain because, in their lust for wealth, they are undermining what supports them.

As with the ecological challenge, these economic challenges have attractive alternatives. One is the possibility of the nation emulating Alaska’s “Permanent Fund”  and requiring all who use our natural resources to bid for their use, with the proceeds returned to every person equally. Income from capital increasingly would go to all citizens rather than a few parasites.  Alaska’s many decades long successful experience proves this works.

There is no reason to despair. The old order generated changes it cannot handle, and it will die.  The jury is very much out as to how much damage it will do in its death throws. But in any Winter, however harsh, there are seeds that will come forth in the Spring. We can help that Spring to be a beautiful one if we not despair into a passivity that guarantees the worst will prevail.

There are signs of hope that this might happen. I think women and the feminine are at the heart of the most important. I am impressed how rapidly once inconceivable changes transformed marriage. Today the political and business world is in the midst of endless reports of sexual abuse by powerful men. This issue is now spreading to other countries as developed and free as the U.S. Some of the worst are paying a high price for their behavior. These events are part of a bigger picture. Women, women’s issues, and feminine values have dominated the opposition to Republican tyranny, from marches by millions when Trump took office, to ongoing struggles over abortion, birth control, and Planned Parenthood to radically different approaches to health. They are largely in harmony with ecological issues, which along with women, constitute the main domestic target of the Republican right and strongest reservoir of committed resistance to them.

We NeoPagans, most of us, represent these values perhaps better than any other spiritual force today. We and those who share these feminine and ecological values represent the growing tip of a culture that, if it establishes itself, can create a future we will be happy to leave to our descendants.

We are in a position to nourish the best seeds of the future during this dark time, and perhaps help keep the darkness to a minimum.

A blessed Samhain to you all.

 


 

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