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Amazon.com : Pampa Long Grain Rice 32oz Bag (Brown) : Grocery & Gourmet Food

My boyfriend that summer was also named Steve, so naturally we became “the Steves” to everyone that knew us.

Ah, the things straight people never have to put up with.

That was a Rocky Horror summer. At his favorite consignment shop, Steve had found a wedding gown and veil that he couldn't wait to wear in public, so I rented a tux and we got ready to run down the aisle during the Midnight Showing. We even handed out rice in the lobby before the doors opened.

It so happened that a local news outlet was there that night, doing a local-interest piece on the Rocky Horror phenomenon. Of course they wanted to film the happy couple running hand-in-hand down the aisle amid cascades of rice. For that they needed our permission.

“Are you out to your parents?” Steve asked me, sidelong. Having your family find out that you're gay via the local news is probably not the best way to go about it.

“Not yet,” I said, grimacing. “Are you?”

He shook his head.

Our eyes met.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

January is a series of farewells.

Yule: the year's greatest feasting. Through the dark nights of December, we progressively prepare for and welcome its coming. Throughout the Thirteen Nights, we feast our beloved guest. Through the dark days of January, we bid our repeated farewells.

(In this we are like the Old Pagans, the Kalasha of Pakistan, who alone of all the peoples of the Indo-Euorpean diaspora have held to their traditional religion continuously since antiquity.)

We bid a first farewell at Thirteenth Night, thirteen days after the Solstice, as the Merry Monarch of Misrule presides over the feast's last feast.

We bid another farewell on King Day, when the Yule greens come down.

(This is a local household tradition that started years ago because my then-housemate had the day off work and I myself off school. Taking Yule down is just as much work as putting it up. Interestingly, though, it's not a mere marriage of convenience: the realia of MLK's life, death, and legacy interlaces surprisingly well with end-of-Yule lore as well.)

We bid yet another farewell on Twenty-Sixth Night, 2 x 13.

We bid a final farewell to Yule on Thirty-Ninth Night, 3 x 13. Technically, this year that would be Thursday, January 29, but in practice (in this house at least), we observe it on the last Tuesday in January, in sororal solidarity with Europe's greatest fire festival, Shetland's Up Helly Aa (lit. “Up Holiday All”: i.e. “the holiday's completely over”).

 

Old Yuletide is past:

Thirteenth Night is the last.

 

So begins the last verse of the most famous of the many carols for Yulesend. Why “Old Yule,” you ask?

Not hard: Yule, the solar New Year, is the microcosm of the solar year. Its Thirteen Days constitute a Year-in-Little, one day for each moon. Like the Sun, like the Year, Yule comes in as a Babe and goes out an Old Man.

Some years back, though, I overheard a friend singing a variant:

 

Bold Yuletide is past:

Thirteenth Night is the last.

 

“Bold Yuletide.” I like that. It echoes, of course, the name of Bold Slasher, one of the characters of the traditional death-and-rebirth Yuletide Mummer's Play.

It's more than that, though. There's something audacious, something in-your-face about Yule: its affirmation of light in a time of dark, its affirmation of plenty in a time of dearth.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Mabh, bring us together;

Mabh, bring us through.

 

Here at Temple of the Moon, we offer twice daily the old tribal prayers for the welfare of the People: that we may have well-being, that we may prosper, that our numbers may increase.

The first and last prayers of each offering are addressed, of course, to Earth: for us, the beginning and end of all things.

In this time of brokenness, when so much that we know and love is overturned, as we walk a long, Dark Way, I find myself adding to the customary prayers, two more:

 

Mabh, bring us together;

Mabh, bring us through.

 

Naturally, they address Earth, our beloved Earth. Who better to call on than the Mother, out of our deepest need?

They call to her by her sacred love name, her name of power, voiced as MAHV: a name of Birth, close-open-close, and the Breath of Life within. This name I had from my teacher, Tony Kelly, many years ago. Call her by this name, and give her your kiss of love—Love to you, my Mabh—and she will take you into her secrets.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Has anybody else noticed that there's nary a vegetable bouillon cube to be found at the stores?

I know, I know. Vegetable bouillon cubes are outré, taboo to serious cooks. Well, la-dee-da.

Me, I like them. They're quick, they're easy and, when you cook vegetarian, tossing one in can add that extra layer of base flavor that makes the difference between good and really good.

But—dammit—there aren't any to be had.

I ran out just before Thanksgiving. Since then, I've looked for more every single time that I've been at the store.

Ix-nay.

Then I discovered the reason why.

You know all those baby-eating cannibals that the Q-Anon election-deniers are so worried about?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Never trust a man with horns on his hat.”

(Granny Weatherwax)

 

Yes, it's true: I did meet Old Hornie in the woods at the age of 16.

And no, I'm not going to tell you about it.

I'm not going to tell you about my most intimate sexual experiences, either.

No: those stories, and that story, is, and are, mine to me, not for other ears. This much I will tell you, though: what happened then changed me forever.

You can always tell a newbie by her eagerness to recount—usually at length—her Expeeeeriences. After you've been around for a while, you learn that everybody has had their own. You also learn that you can distinguish the real ones because they're the ones that people don't talk about.

Now there's a fine paradox for you.

Here's the irony: you don't talk because you don't have to. You've been there, you know it was real, and those In the Know can see the changes that it wrought. The eyes will tell you the truth of it. The changes are the story.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Beauty of Black Cats

Tap Into Your Own Feline Energy Through Black Cat Art

Have you ever marveled at how cats are able to stare at you, unblinking, for extended periods of time? At times they seem to stare at nothing at all yet stay extremely focused in doing so! Other times, they just appear totally Zen in the moment. They are not asleep– but their eyes are closed, a slight smile playing on their furry lips, totally at peace. They sleep, eat, and certainly play when they need to. They are natural born hunters, in touch with their wild sides. The most wild of all domesticated animals, and the most worshipped and revered pets since the times of ancient Egyptians, cats seem to have it all going for them. They know how to communicate to get what they want (sometimes in the form of naughty early morning meowing for their food). They also know how to show affection. Who doesn’t love a friendly head butt combined with loud purring? Let’s face it– cats are cool. Who wouldn’t want to be one?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Aside from a pact with the Horned One, the secret to good health, long life, and eternal youth is to eat lots and lots of fresh vegetables: hence my decades-long Evil Plot to Get the Pagan Community Eating More Fresh Vegetables.

Not that it's been hard, you understand. Everybody likes good vegetables. In modern paganism's Potluck Culture, the bowl is always empty by the time I bring it home.

I first discovered Purple Pickle years ago while living in the Middle East. Every pickle-seller down at the souk would always have huge, eye-grabbing jars of pickled cabbage and cauliflower that glowed a radioactive neon-purple color.

Gods, I'd think. I don't know what they put in there to make it that color, but I don't think that it's something I want to eat.

More the fool, me. The dye, of course, is all perfectly natural.

Oh, and as for that pact with the Horned: let me recommend it.

Vegetables aside, it sure has worked for me.

 

Old Warlock's Purple Pickle

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