Strega Nona Entertaining: Conjuring Creative Fun

From recipes to rituals, I will kindly divine the perfect celebration for you!

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Colleen DuVall

Colleen DuVall

Colleen DuVall has written articles, plays, short films, and a novel. Most recently, her work was featured in Crone Magazine and the Marquette Journal online. She resides with a black cat named Bootsie, who always wants to keep her company at her computer.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Birthday Party for Mother Earth

Our planet needs all the love it can get. Treat her well and she will return the favor. I propose not just doing this, but throwing her a party as well. Round up a group of your closest pals not afraid to use the term "climate change," and volunteer to clean up a park or river in your neighborhood. Bring along the following to store in cars until you are finished with your day project: a loaf of fresh-baked bread, a large bottle of distilled water (plus extra for all of you), a pretty collected stone, a sage stick with matches or a lighter, a birthday cake (also preferably homemade with organic ingredients), a cutting utensil, recycled napkins, and 15 birthday candles. Have everyone attending bring one of the items listed so this is a united group effort.

Most parks should have a grill facility that you could use to set the smudge stick, if not, bring a small plate or dish to let it rest on and ensure that it goes out safely. When you and your amigos have staked out a picnic bench and brought out all of your packed supplies, light the sage stick and smudge each member of your gathering, clearing them of any residual negative energy. Cast a sacred circle around the group in the tradition that you use. Pass around the bread and have everyone break off a small piece. Leave pieces on different areas of the ground within your circle as an offering to earth's fellow creatures. Then pass around the designated water bottle and have each person sprinkle a little on the ground to nourish the grass and soil. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Melinda Judy/Lyndie Diamond
    Melinda Judy/Lyndie Diamond says #
    Great post. I agree we should appreciate mother earth. Nothing could live without her. I'm new to paganism and just wrote this blo
  • Colleen DuVall
    Colleen DuVall says #
    Hi Melinda, Glad you liked it! The person you'd want to contact is Anne Newkirk Niven. Her email is editor2@bbimedia.com. Thank

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
SPRING BREAK EQUINOX PARTY

I just finished my spring break last week. That doesn't mean I am not still in a spring break frame of mind. You don't have to travel to sunnier locales to get there. Nor do you have to be going back to school, like myself. You can pitch a SPRING BREAK EQUINOX PARTY! Why not revisit your crazy college days and let loose? We will be experiencing the triple whammy of a solar eclipse, (new) Supermoon, and the equinox tomorrow. So we may as well go all out.

First, invite everyone you know. Heck, even invite some people you'd like to know. Let them be aware that no one gets in without donning some beach wear. Bermuda shorts, bathing suits, floppy hats, flip-flops, sunglasses, the works. Next, stock up on your surf music. If you want to keep the tunes flowing all night, mix in some ska, which always has a cheery upbeat party vibe. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
My Funny Valentine

I realize that many folks feel jaded about Valentine's Day. They see only the commercialized over-production number of it, and forget all about Lupercalia and the mating season for wolves. Perhaps simply because of those latter two facts, I do appreciate the day. It wasn't literally invented by Hallmark in the 20th Century, like Sweetest Day, for Goddess' sake. It can in fact be old-fashioned and sweet – if you enjoy it on your own terms. Please don't let anyone pressure you into dragging your honey to "Fifty Shades of Vanilla," or to blow hundreds at a 10-course meal at the trendiest restaurant, simply because it's the thing to do. In fact, why not do something totally unconventional:

Why not host an old-fashioned Valentine's Day party? You could send out the cute invites to people you'd like to join you – like the ones you exchanged in elementary school. Build some anticipation and surprise about the event. Don't create a page on Facebook. Do it old-school. Don't let anyone know who else will be there ahead of time.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Walk the Winter Solstice

Here’s a cool yule idea for you: get outside! Winter Solstice hikes are all the rage, and there are many to choose from; sponsored by area state parks, conservatories, and small businesses. Have your troop meet you at your destination site for the scheduled walk. Revel in the crisp winter air, and observe the magical changes Mother Nature has woven around you. I cannot stress this enough – layers, layers, layers. You can never have too many, and you can always wrap something around your waist, shoulders, or neck if you need to make a temperature adjustment. Don’t worry about hat hair. This really isn’t a time of year for the overly fashion-conscious. By partaking in this healthy ritual, you are embracing the colder season, not fighting it. Chances are good that you will also work up a deserved thirst and appetite.

If your band of merry travelers wish to continue celebrating with an after-party, invite them over to your place for hot cocoa, cider, and mulled wine. Keep it easy and informal. Have a cookie exchange, where people can bring over some of their excess baked treats to share. (There are always an excess of goodies in folks’ homes this time of year!) Be sure to supply plenty of candles on hand, so that everyone has one to light. 

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Boo Bash

Ah, Halloween. The enchanted time when all the witches, ghosties, and creatures of the night are encouraged to come out and play. It has always been a magical time of year for me personally, ever since I was a tot. I can readily tell you what I dressed up for on this beloved holiday, since I was four. (4 years: Mickey Mouse.) Halloween has enjoyed quite the resurrection, and it is the perfect occasion to throw a theme party. Since I am the original theme party gal, I can happily throw some suggestions your way to make yours unique, and anything but run of the mill. 

 

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  • Colleen DuVall
    Colleen DuVall says #
    Sure thing! Hope they have a Happy Halloween Birthday.
  • "Kitty" Billie Simpson
    "Kitty" Billie Simpson says #
    I have a seven yr old having a birthday friday..thanks for the dry ice idea

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Got Wine?

It is the season of the grape, and a wine gathering is in order. Not that you should need an excuse to enjoy this heavenly beverage with your pals. It's just that everything simply seems more potent and poignant during harvest time.

Here are some new spins on the traditional wine tasting shindig: Use blindfolds during a taste test and see how good peoples' palates truly are. Allow the winner of the most guesses to take home an extra bottle.

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Time for a Corn Harvest Festival

Lughnasadh is all about the corn, and I am not referring to the effectively creepy Stephen King short story. You simply cannot celebrate without featuring this sweet juicy veggie in some way, shape, or form. Instead of reserving it as an afterthought or side dish, place it front and center and celebrate it! There are many local and small-town corn festivals that you can attend. That way everything is ready-made and ready-to-go. One of the oldest in Wisconsin makes its home in Sun Prairie. According to their Chamber of Commerce website, its humble origins date all the way back to 1953. I do have fond memories of munching the delectable cobs as a youngster there. You could douse them to your heart's content from salt shakers hanging from the tops of tents. The Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival has now extended to four days and serves some 100,000 corn enthusiasts. There is a craft fair, parade, tractor pull, music, contests, and all the corn your can eat. Make a road trip of it with your favorite corny companions, and spend the day in farm country. Even if you don't plan to attend them all, it's fun to peruse the different websites. You can view pictures of people dressed as scarecrows and enjoying the harvest activities offered in each locale. 

The Corn/Grain Moon will be making an appearance on Sunday the 10th, and this is indeed an ancient food honored by Aztec and American Indians. To get you in the mood, I have a healthy recipe to sample, since it is a Lammas classic combo of bread and corn:

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