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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
With Harm to None

Cooped up at home, feeling nostalgic? Jump in my vegetarian time machine and take it back. Way back. I wrote and delivered this sermon for a contest held by the Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry. I had to pare it down for delivery time, but enough of the history section includes "Pagan" vegetarian forebears that I think it deserves a spot here. Also included are modern reasons for a plant-based diet, such as personal health and environmentalism. For more info on the Unitarian Universalist Society (which also includes a covenant for UU Pagans), check out https://www.uua.org/.

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Something from the Oven

There was an advertising phrase that went, "Nothing says loving like something from the oven…" however, I think the advertising agency had it backward. It's the love in the preparation that does this. The oven only helps, as do the ingredients, preferably as clean and fresh as possible. Love helps us to choose them, as well as to guide the utensils used in the preparation. Furthermore, the focus of the mind is an important ingredient as well. If I am angry or upset when I am preparing food, it could affect the way it tastes as well as the way it is digested. Though I can't prove it, it's my belief that thoughts and feelings can be powerful in their effect on food.

A study of this potential would make an interesting experiment for a science project, though it could be difficult to set up. I do really enjoy cooking. Though I've never had any courses or training for it and am completely self-taught, I get great praise from those who taste my cooking. I remember one person saying, "This must be Tasha's kitchen because it smells so good." Another time, I had prepared a tropical entrée made with bananas with other ingredients, baked inside their skins. When I stopped one guest from cutting into his, he said, "Oh, I thought if you had cooked it, I could eat it." I laughed and thanked him.

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My Favorite Incense Books: The Complete Incense Book by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi

There are a lot of useful, and entertaining, books about incense.  One of my favorites is The Complete Incense Book.  Published in 1998, this was one of the first additions to my personal incense library.  It is organized geographically and takes the reader on a tour of incense from around the world.  As the author moves through each region, she discusses the history of incense, as well as the ingredients that originate from that area.  She offers an assortment of incense recipes for each region as well.  While the recipes are all for “loose” incense, they are varied and quite interesting.

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A Brief History of Witchcraft: Part Two

When the Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951, people started to come out of the broom closet. Gerald Gardner was one of the first, who was mentioned earlier. Gardner was the one who came up with the word, Wica, to denote his spiritual path.

Naturism was a big fashion in the 1920s and 30s, and Gerald was a naturist (hence the skyclad part of his particular tradition of witchcraft). There was even a naturist camp that opened up near his home. He became involved in the Rosicrucian Theatre, and later came across Masonic (Fellowship of Crotona) practices and the work of Margaret Murray, which he incorporated into his ideas for this spiritual path. With the help of Alistair Crowley, he came up with beautiful poetry for his tradition, which was also a contentious point for one of Gardener’s High Priestesses, the aforementioned Doreen Valiente. Gardener created the witch tradition that he was seeking, and Valiente wrote it down eloquently and made sense of it all.[1]

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Lemons are Lucious when Sweetened

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Liquid Glow: A Brief History and Myths Surrounding Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a staple beverage throughout Europe during the winter season. I remember Christmas shopping in Wϋrzburg as a kid and passing by vendors selling the beverage, the blend of cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, and other spices wafting through the crisp, cold air.

Mulled wine has a long history, dating back to at least as far as the 2nd or 3rd century BCE, when the Greeks and Romans would boil wine, then add honey and spices to the concentrated beverage. They called it by a variety of names, including mulsum, rapa, carenum, and defrutum (Fosbroke).

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Charms A-Plenty

There's a wonderful new book out that I have just barely had time to crack open, but if you're interested in the history of magic you will doubtless want to look into it as well:

Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing
By Claude Lecouteux. 2016. Rochester: Inner Traditions. 328 pages.
ISBN: 978-1-62055-621-4 

There's a comprehensive review over at the Journal of Folklore Research, which is why I picked it up at once. Yelena Francis points out the strengths of Lecouteax's background and the accessibility of the format. There are also some great additional and often rare resources in the appendices. And because it's from Inner Traditions rather than a big academic press, it's actually an affordable volume (though you should be able to get it via interlibrary loan as well). 

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