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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

How to Make Great Dirt | St Anthony Village, MN

 

Here in the Minneapolis, there actually used to be an ordinance against composting. The law-makers, reportedly, were worried about drawing vermin. Tell it to the neighborhood cats that regularly patrol my yard.

That, of course, didn't stop me. Starting the compost heap was one of the first things that I did after we moved in.

I'm a pagan: Earth is my religion. I don't throw away food. Telling me that I can't compost is an abridgment of my free exercise of religion.

A few years later, I started a second heap. You always want to have two compost heaps going at any given time: one to ripen, one to feed.

Digging up the ripened compost is invariably a wonder. You put in apple cores, tea leaves, and carrot peelings. A few years later, voilà, the scraps are all gone and instead you take out the richest, darkest, soil you ever saw: so chocolatey-rich, it looks like you could just take a bite out of it, as is.

Really, there's the whole pagan story, right there.

When we first moved in, the soil of what's now the garden—at the time it was lawn—was flush with the garden walk. Now, some 35 years later, the surface of the garden is all of two inches higher than the pavement. That's what happens when you feed the soil.

Every few days, I take the compost bucket out and empty it. I don't generate enough food waste to keep the heap active through the kinds of winters that we get here in southern Minnesota, so over the winter—barring what the squirrels get—the compost just heaps up into a frozen mound.

But one day not long from now, I'll go out with my bucket to find that the ice barrow is no more. Around here, there's no surer sign of Spring than compost collapse.

Eventually the folks down at City Hall wised up and rescinded the ban, and instead began to actively promote backyard composting. Finally, some years back, they instituted a city-wide composting program.

So now every few weeks I take out the kind of compostables that a small operation like mine won't sustain—the egg cartons, the used paper towels, the pizza boxes—and put them into the bin in the alley.

No way they're getting any of my food scraps, though.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Waning Moon Money Magic

To attract money, fill a big pot with fresh water and place it on your altar during the waxing moon. Pour a cup of milk with a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of ground clove into the pot as an offering. Toss handfuls of dried chamomile and mint into the cauldron. Say aloud:

I call upon you, gods and goddesses of old, to fill my purse with gold. I offer you mother’s milk and honey sweet.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Oedipus Complex

I snap to attention as I approach the customs booth at the border. As I roll down the window and proffer my passport, the officer asks if I’ve “ever been inside.” It’s a nerve-wracking moment. “Inside?” as in jail? Finally I realize I’m being asked to pull over for a search. I’m so freaked out that I run up over the curb and strip a tire.

 

Basically, I turn into a puddle of worry when faced with any kind of official authority. I have this vague but powerful feeling that I am about to be found out and apprehended for some unknown, unintentional or overlooked shortcoming. And I don’t think I’m alone. Perhaps that’s why the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus is still so powerful.

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White Light of Love: A Waning Moon

To light the flower of love in your heart, time this charm for the waning of a New Moon. Place a green candle beside a white lily, rose or freesia. Make sure it is a posy of personal preference. White flowers have the greatest perfume and either of these beauties will impart your home with a pleasing aura. I like to float a gardenia in a clear bowl of fresh water, truly the essence of the divine. Light the candle and hold the flower close to your heart. Pray,

Steer me to the highest light;

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
When Less Is More

 

Many of us believe we need to lose weight. Even people who are in relatively good shape will believe they need to lose that last five pounds—and lose and regain it in an endless loop. Articles on weight loss dominate the newsstands, especially in January but pretty much all year long. Eating disorders can arise from the belief that one needs to be thin to be attractive. Fashion models are a terrible example of what is healthy for the average person. Fortunately, there are growing numbers of healthier-looking models of all sizes and shapes these days.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Let me tell you something wonderful and strange.

When I'm in a place of many pagans—in the midst of a ritual, or at a summer festival, say—I not infrequently smell the smell of sweetgrass, even when none is burning.

This is what sacred smells like.

And not just when I'm among pagans, of course. I can be walking down the street, or by the River, or in the woods, and suddenly, there it will be: that unmistakable, woodruff-y fragrance, even where no sweetgrass burns, where no sweetgrass grows.

What atomized nano-particles are these, wafting on the air, that my mind somehow reads as sweetgrass where no sweetgrass is? Whoever may know, ye wise, O let you tell me.

But well I remember the old saying concerning Mabh, our beloved Earth: Her hair smells of sweetgrass.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Winter Fairy’s Fire

Because the brilliant, fire-colored flowers of the flowering quince stand in stark contrast to the winter landscape, stories indicated that some type of faery magic must have been involved. Appearing in late winter, the blazing flowers reputedly melted away the snow into drops of crystals and drove away clouds in the sky. At night the blossoms put out a call to every type of elf and faery to come dance and hasten the end of winter.

Although the flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica) is grown for its beauty the fruit is edible, but not straight off the tree. Since ancient times, the quince was a fertility symbol and often given to new brides. The Romans dedicated the tree to Venus. The fruit became an integral part of marriage ceremonies with the bride and groom partaking of honeyed quince. Eating the fruit was symbolic of consummating the marriage.As part of a hand-fasting ceremony, exchange gifts of quince to symbolize love and harmony in the marriage.

Quince is also a tree of protection. Carry several dried seeds in a pouch for protective energy as well as to attract luck. To remove any form of negativity from your life, burn a small twig or several dried leaves. As for faeries, cut a branch in late winter when the buds appear and put it in water to bloom indoors to attract them to your home.

 

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