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 has been featured in her new blog, Off The Beaten Path for the Shepherd Express online (http://shepherdexpress.com/blogs-1-1-1-61.html), and the Wisconsin Life radio show for WPR. She recently adopted a little grey and white cat named Tessa, after beloved 22-year-old Bootise passed on.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Party of One: Ganesha

Sometimes I like to go to visit Gods and Goddesses from neighboring friendly pantheons. After attending my first Kirtan chant three years ago, I was introduced to the Hindu God Ganesh, the elephant-headed remover of obstacles. I was instantly drawn to him and "Gan Gan Ganapati" quickly became by personal favorite chant. It resonated on a deeper level of my subconscious. After some research, I discovered that Ganesh has his very own ten day festival every year in India, Ganesh Chaturthi. According to About.com Guide, Sharell Cook, it culminates with a huge celebration on the last day called, Anata Chaturdasi day. Cook notes that the festivities are dependant "on the cycle of the moon." The dates fall a little differently annually, but for 2013 "Ganesh Fest" runs September 9 - September 19. The website, http://goindia.about.com/od/festivalsevents/p/ganeshfestival.htm had some inspiring suggestions for setting up an altar and honoring Ganesh in your own home.

According to Subhamoy Das, also from the goindia site, Ganesh likes offerings of "coconuts, flowers, and camphor." You could also decorate your altar with figures of Ganesh and the color red.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Harvest Some Fun For Lammas

Lammas, or Lughnassadh can easily be a forgotten Wiccan/Pagan holiday. It is not as showy as Samhain, or as lusty and festive as Beltane. But it remains one of the major sabbats, and should be recognized as such. The harvest is a time to gather: thoughts and blessings. It is about taking stock. We are getting ready for the next big seasonal shift. It is actually quite a powerful time, if you stop to ponder it. What better way to celebrate than to host an intimate gathering, simply to bake and break bread together; to just be? 

I would keep this one at four to five guests, tops. You know the old saying about too many cooks in the kitchen! Assign one person on each bread recipe– I have three that you could try. Have a fourth person on oven-tending and clean-up duty. If you have a fifth, let them set up serving plates and make sure everyone's glass stays filled with one of the following: sparkling apple juice, a hearty locally made craft ale, or a nice fruity barley wine. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Oh What A Beautiful Solstice

"Oh What a Beautiful Solstice, Oh What a Beautiful Day…"

These are the strains I remember waking to coming from an enthusiastic fellow Pagan Spirit Gathering camper some years back, on the day of the summer solstice. It stuck with me, and I have very fond memories of the experience. The gathering has gotten quite large and sadly, I have not been able to return– but the spirit of PSG stays with me. Drawing on some of that energy and a few of my own Litha gatherings since, here is my idea of the perfect Midsummer camping trip, on a much smaller scale.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    We have our reservations at a state park, and I had some rough idea of how we should celebrate, but you've helped to crystallize t
  • Colleen DuVall
    Colleen DuVall says #
    Glad to hear it!
May Day, May Day: No Parking On The Dance Floor

Whether you refer to it as May Day or Beltane, it is often held as one of the most passionately beloved of all Pagan and Wiccan days. Here are some of the ways that I have enjoyed celebrating 

May 1: Early in the day, clean up your altar. Give it a good dust and polish and make it extra pretty. Then go out and pick some fresh wild or garden flowers or purchase some. Present them to your favorite lust Gods and Goddesses in a water-filled vase on the altar and tie some red and white ribbons at the base. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day, all! I have always had a special place in my heart for this celebration. For one thing, it shares the same birth year as me, 1970. For another, the idea originated with a Wisconsin U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson. (This courtesy of the Earth Day Network™, http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement) Finally, if you love nature– what better way to revere our Mother Earth than with a hike and a picnic?

As to locations, look into your city, county, or state parks and see who has the best trails. If you are lucky enough to live in a rural or woodsy area and own your abode, blaze a trail of your own. When you return for some hearty fare, stoke a fire pit in the backyard if it has cooled off.

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It's a Spring Fling Thing

Spring should be a time of flights of fancy. Keep with the vibe of the season and hold a light and high-spirited dinner party for six to eight of your closest. Invite people to wear "welcome spring" accessories– whatever that may mean to them. This could range from a flower demurely tucked behind one's ear to a full on toga. Nudge people not to be bashful with this. If you want to keep things carefree, why not create less work for yourself playing host or hostess? Nothing says less work like a potluck, fey folk. I for one start to crave healthier eating at this time of year like nobody's business. Make it a salad dish to pass theme. Assign some greens, some pastas, and fruits for dessert so that you don't wind up with too much of the same kind. You can provide this naughty and nice low-cal deviled eggs recipe for an appetizer:

DEVILED EGGS WITH PICKLED ONIONS (Fry, 2013)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mate Like A Wolf, Already!

February 14 is drawing nigh and you have a hot date planned. You would like to turn up the heat on the the after-party. Whatever is a romantic Wiccan who wishes to skip the commercialism but honor the day to do you ask? Have no fear, because I have some notions of my own.

First, whether you are going out or strictly staying in for the eve, wear something that makes you feel sexy. Not just what you think your hot date will drool over, but something you can feel both confident and move comfortably in. Nothing kills the mood like self-consciousness. Scent is important. I am a big fan of essential oils because they aren't over-powering and add just the right hint of seduction. Mix your own come-hither blend ahead of time, or if you appreciate musky tones, you cannot beat a pure blend of amber and myrrh. Kuumba Made® is a good natural option.

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