Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Color Oracle at Astrodienst

Your General Disposition

At the present time your behavior is characterized by your need for prosperity. Having enough money means security for you, but also the freedom to be able to afford something that brings you joy and to be better able to live in accordance with your own ideas. Your attitude towards money is ambivalent: you generally think very economically and you save money where you can in order to hold onto it. At times, however, you unexpectedly spend a great deal because you also want to get something out of it.
Interpretation of the Colors You Find Most Pleasing
Of great importance to you now is... ...crisis-proof existential survival.
You need the comforting certainty of having a solid base in your life. Stable living conditions, adequate income and sensual pleasure and a certain measure of comfort are among your life goals. You want to be secure against the whims of fate and to be able to devote yourself without distraction to the things that give you satisfaction. For this reason you resolutely apply yourself to the task of creating a crisis-proof existence, despite any obstacles which might appear. The thing you consider very important for your sense of wellbeing is... 

...alert self-protection.
You carefully scrutinize everything that crosses your path and you don’t say yes to it until it has passed your acid test. You decidedly and resolutely fend off everything that could hinder your personal development and you keep your distance from unpleasant people who try to manipulate, define or influence you. The thing you have consciously planned is... 

...vigorous effort.
You need a task that inspires you and allows you to give your all. If serious demands are made on your abilities or your strengths you mobilize all your creativity and really stay on the ball in order to prove to yourself and others what you are capable of. If your efforts are acknowledged you are prepared to do your best. Should someone approach you with unfair demands or even worse with outright injustice, however, you resolutely fend them off. At present you are working particularly hard for...

  ...objective assessment of the situation.
Whatever you perceive –people, things or information – you analyze it, both critically and with a certain amount of skepticism, because you want to be certain whether it is beneficial to you or not. You are not easily misled and in line with the motto “once bitten, twice shy” you keep your distance from everything that could do to damage your wallet, your reputation, your wellbeing or your peace of mind. One thing is utterly clear to you: Your present situation requires...

 ...optimistic self-encouragement.
Again and again you consciously adopt a positive inner attitude. This helps you to better stand up under the hardships of the present. You create goals, projects or ideals for yourself that give you a boost and the hope that your life will be better and happier. You search for ways and means which allow you to enjoy life without care and to spend more time devoting yourself to the things that bring you joy. In order to forge ahead in good spirits you now need...

 ...nurturing useful relationships.
Due to the fact that you are stuck in a genuinely unpleasant situation you seek contact with helpful people you hope will show you understanding and provide you with moral support. It could be that you receive the necessary encouragement but in the end you have to solve your personal problems yourself. Your common sense will help you in this.

You can ask yourself:

Doesn’t my determination not to allow others to influence me stem from an inner sense of insecurity that I don’t want to see and absolutely don’t want to admit? Has my stubborn, egocentric behavior ever won me anyone’s sympathy?

Does my striving to cope despite difficulties not carry a risk of my concentrating too strongly on what I have planned, thus limiting my field of vision for other possibilities?
Interpretation of the Colors You Find Most Unpleasant
At the moment you feel most anxious due to your...  

...inhibiting limitations.
Difficult circumstances limit your opportunities for experience and your freedom of action. You feel deprived because you have to do without some of the things that would make life pleasant. You expect far too much understanding for your needs from other people and as a result you often feel disappointed. You might ask yourself how much understanding and empathy you show for others. You would like to be free of your...  

...aggressive irritability.
You often feel hindered by someone, either because your lovely plans get crossed or because someone puts bothersome obstacles in your path, criticizes you, offends you or otherwise annoys you. For this reason you have accumulated a great deal of resentment inside which can discharge in the form of unexpected aggressive reactions. As long as you have not yet forgiven someone who has angered or injured you, you will not get rid of your explosive irritability. You are happy to give someone close to you the blame for your...

  ...dangerous tendency towards depression.
Sad events or a hard stroke of fate have triggered dispiriting feelings in you such as depressiveness, pessimism, fear or insecurity. You turn to pleasurable things to try to distract yourself from this experience and to forget it. However, the repressed emotions could make themselves known in the form of unwelcome physical complaints. You could also end up in a depressive mood due to your...

  ...unpleasant contentiousness.
The behavior of certain other people is a thorn in your side. You don’t feel like putting up with just anything without objection, and because of this you can give no guarantee you won’t end up in an argument with the person in question. Your stubborn attitude could easily provoke confrontations. At the moment your mood is somewhat gloomy due to your...

  ...frightening lack of power.
You constantly see yourself confronted with a mountain of difficulties and problems. At the same time you don’t want to let yourself be dragged down by feelings of despair and resignation. For this reason you concentrate on achieving what is most important to you right now. The resources you employ in doing so range from winning affability to skillful manipulation all the way to authoritarian pressure because you want to get everything under control. Your fear of being powerless arouses exactly the opposite in you: a thirst for power. You also feel powerless in the face of your...  

...fear of rejection.
You often feel isolated from other people by an invisible wall and sometimes you get the creeping feeling that even the people you like don’t really love you and possibly even reject you. On the other hand you enjoy standing out from the crowd with your willfulness, unusual views and egocentric behavior. Your “distinctiveness trip“ does win you attention, but not the warm-hearted affection you require.

Your unconscious advices you:

When you are plagued by feelings of want or anger, don’t seek your consolation in faith in a better future. Instead of investing in something uncertain, take a sober look at the unpleasant facts without blaming anyone for them. Then consider how you could improve your situation, and do it now! Life is always happening NOW.

When something bothers, unsettles or frightens you, don’t try desperately to play calm and to act as if you weren’t bothered by it. You can't get rid of negative feelings that way, but if you get into the habit of observing them without passing judgment you will be able to see that if you don’t give in to them they dissipate like smoke.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I have been playing with scrapbooking today.
I can't get it to work. Hrmph.

On brown paper strips of scrapbooking paper or wrapping paper or what ever paper you want with right colors. You could paint your own paper... I happen to like those sort of vintage-y prints, that are really difficult to copy oneself. :-D
On the first, the photo (grey area) is clued on a tag that has been cut (or papered with) scrapbooking paper, on the second the journal area is on the tag. First one has ribbon, second string... I like the string, but it's not working... I perhaps need to use more of it. A lot more. All over the place.
On the second the scrapbooking paper has been torn to add some interest - doesn't give enough interest. I suppose I need to rip the lower piece of paper too. Or the white (whitish) paper...
Then there's some wrinkled red tissue paper added.
I suppose the proportions are all wrong. The picture needs to be bigger... like 150 % bigger.
And I want more buttons. Different buttons.
And maybe the "Merry Yule! stamp on the other one too, to cut a bit of the red sea.


A work in process.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I also wonder if they understand what "tribune" means.

I hate this.
Goddess is not a woman. Goddess is Goddess.
What's wrong with being a woman? Calling women "goddesses" is diminishing both the Goddess and the woman. It's saying the divine Goddess doesn't exist, because every woman is a goddess. It's saying being a woman is not enough. Why would anyone want to be called a goddess and get the expectation of being perfect, superhuman and somehow better than all the other women on this planet.

I am no goddess. I am a woman. I am a woman, JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER WOMAN ON THIS PLANET. Not better, not worse, created by the True Goddess, the One and Only, beloved by the True Goddess, the One and Only.

I don't have unlimited capacity to make my life anything I want it to be.
My capacity is limited by me being a human being, it's limited by me needing to share it with other human beings who have their own ideas and preferences. I can choose the people I want to share my life with, but every person in my life more than me, comes with limitations. I cannot, I shouldn't try to control my environment and the people in my life.
Right now I'm thinking about my fibromyalgia, which makes it practically impossible for me to do certain things I'd like to do.
I'm thinking about the fact that I am childless, even when I don't want to be. I trust Goddess to know best what is best for me, and I hope one day I will have wisdom enough to truly accept Her decision.
I'm thinking about the fact that I fell in love with a man who doesn't want me - because he already has a woman... and I ALREADY HAVE A MAN - whom I adore! I mean... I would be causing a lot of harm to FOUR PEOPLE if I went by what *I* WANT. I want him. I want him so bad it hurts. I want my life to be with him, I want... No. NO! My life is with my husband, who is absolutely perfect for me. My Goddess given husband.

No. This is offensive, not empowering. It's enslaving by praise and flattery. It's putting impossible, unfair and unreasonable expectations on people.

And the thing is that even though I love Selina Fenech, because they use this image to illustrate this stupidity, I find all kinds of faults in this image. My biggest problem is "why the heck do they always have to be so f-ing skinny!"
Perfection, perfection, perfection... nothing else is good enough... and no woman is ever perfect, which makes us never good enough.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Religion of Atheism

I have read God Delusion. It's a really stupid book. I can hear Richard Dawkins bursting by the joy of his own "wittiness", and all I do is to shake my head and feel sorry for him. He hasn't really understood why people believe in God at all, so all his arguments are flawed before he even expresses them. He's mostly arguing against an imaginary enemy, who is really very stupid. I know, I know, there are people like that, but it's rather irritating to be a theist and excitedly read a book that is said to make you question your beliefs, so sharp, so smart, so intelligent, so to the point - by other Atheists - and then read this... pitifully stupid scripture... tut, tut, tut.
No, I don't understand why the book is so appreciated. I suppose none of the people who praise it, understand the mind of a theist.

Today I read a typical rant of an islamophob. "they say all these things, but are lying bla bla bla." Really stupid, that too. And it was posted in a Facebook group called "The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (Official)" [I love that (official) :-D]

"Oh, "The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (Official)"... I wonder how it is?"

Oh, my... Exactly as I expected it to be, I'm sad to say. People worshiping their guru, who's basking in the limelight and people expressing their fundamentalist Atheist opinions more or less eloquently.

Here's one post: 
Be proud your an athiest it means you understand that people who have faith in something like a god also have to asked who created him and who created the one who creatwd god and the list goes on and on into a number you cannot imagine which means such people are so deluded and fooled by mystical claims they have nothing to offer mankinds progress in mind science. indeed they are a danger to slow down progress if they get to the future generations of childrens minds which they are attempting now.
The mind can be got at by certain practises certain ways so the quest of all athiests is to point out to all got at individuals who are ignorant the facts of past present and every increasing observations and experiments that give answers to the mysterys of life, Also to support efforts to rid our governments of religions and not involve them in politics thats all we can do the rest will come in time and we will have a world maybe not in our time but in the future that is free from religion and its wars and continuing progression and dam right right exciting however we can at least watch our numbers grow and grow.
No change is impossable in the democratic countrys with the right numbers supporting it so I guess certain things must not be allowed in schools only facts and relivent infoirmation to a childs growing mind. Its a big ask but time has a way of changing nonesense into education born of common sense and reasoning, If this is to happen we need athiests in government in schools and in the community and proud and sure of themselves and what they pass on so are you a proud athiest ?
 Now, the person writing this is aware of that his spelling and writing is not very good, and that's ok. People should be able to express themselves even when they do it like this. One can have little education, or be operating under brain fog, or for any other reason, but it is very irritating. And easy to start mocking him for his spelling errors...

People who believe in God, have no problems in accepting God as The Source, uncreated. That God has always been and will always be. I find it interesting that you don't understand this.

"which means such people are so deluded and fooled by mystical claims they have nothing to offer mankinds progress in mind science"

Frankly, I don't know what you are trying to say, but I assume you are saying theists have nothing to offer in the world of science.
If that's so, I'm a bit puzzled... because most of the scientists before 20th century were theists. Like Newton or Darwin or von Linné. To say they didn't add anything to the world's scientific evolution simply because they believed there is a divine reason for why things happen, is stupid. Simply stupid.

You are making the mistake of believing that one's spiritual beliefs are in any way connected to one's scientific beliefs, and thus making the same mistake as all the fundamentalists, like fundamentalist Christians. To you "theist=bad", to them "atheist=bad". You are both equally wrong, both equally narrow-minded, both equally stupid, ignorant, prejudiced and fundamentalist.

I don't think any person who could be of any use to science can be brainwashed in such a manner, even when objected to that as a child. And it doesn't matter if the person is brainwashed by theist fundies or atheist fundies. Stupid, narrow-minded, ignorant, prejudiced fundamentalists seldom have ANYTHING worthy to add to anything. What have you added to world? Or what has Richard Dawkins added to the world? Memes and "God Delusion"? Neither his own idea.

The fundamentalist atheism IS a religion. Any fundamentalist ideology is a religion. Most wars have nothing to do with God.

" I guess certain things must not be allowed in schools only facts and relivent infoirmation"
Yeah... let's remove such nasty things like art and crafts, sports, domestic "science" and other such things that are not "facts and relivent infoirmation". Why bother teaching children to read and write, they'd only be reading fiction and that's bad! And teaching them literature, especially the ancient literature... myths and legends... dang, that's the source of everything bad in the world! Or teaching them about religions! No! We cannot tell the sensitive kids that there are people in the world who BELIEVE IN GOD(s)!!! They might get ideas!

Oh, dear. I'm glad I'm not a "proud athiest", but a foolish theist and an artist. I suppose it's good I don't have children, because I'd teach them such horrible things as watching the nature and seeing beauty and not numbers and facts. I'd teach them to cook without telling them about the optimal temperature for proteins to coagulate, and I'd teach them that there's more in the world than what can be measured...

Then there was this:
I love philosoraptor. She's witty and funny with his innocent inquiries, that aren't really innocent at all. But this is just stupid. It's assuming the atheists make the most convincing arguments. They don't. Especially not if they are anything like those Richard Dawkins uses.
It's also assuming this is a novel idea. The fundamental Christians these fundamental Atheists fight with, already  have an answer to that. "God didn't make Atheists, Atheists are people who believe Satan's lies and deception. Atheists are brainwashed, poor creatures. They don't know how wrong they are, but one day, God willing, they will see the light and realize how deceived they were, and fall on their knees and thank God for being saved and beg for forgiveness for all the Satanic lies and filth they were spreading when "under influence"... "
So - this is just stupid, and offensive, because I want my philosoraptor to be witty, and this is below her intelligence.

""so the muslim riots that are going on have been caused because of a film that portrays mohammud as a barbaric pedophille. last time i read the koran he was a warlord that spread the faith of islam by the sword and had multiple underage wives"

1) Let us assume the Quran says much about Mohammed being "a warlord that spread the faith of Islam by the sword and had multiple underage wives". So you believe Quran is crap, but THAT you believe?
2) Define pedofile. Define pedofile in Arab world 1400 years ago. Define "underage" - also in Arab world 1400 years ago. Define "barbaric". In Arab world 1400 years ago.
3) Tell me, why do you care about Mohammed at all? Why do you even bother reading the Quran? You think it's crap. Life is too short to read bad books.
You KNOW it's prejudiced crap, you KNOW the people responsible for it are islamophobic idiots, and you take their side! You hate religions more than you love human and civil rights and freedoms! You are just another religious fundamentalist. They use physical violence to express their feelings and opinions, you use sarcasm and other forms of verbal violence, and believe to be better, more civilized person.

Darling, a world where people may not believe ANYTHING they want to, how ever stupid, mislead or false it ever seems to be to someone else, is called Theocracy, and NO; WE DO NOT WANT IT. Even when YOU are convinced of that YOUR religion is the best and enough for the rest of the world, and based on reasoning and sound thinking and what ever you happen to believe is The Truth, and even though the majority of the world holds the same belief... because, don't fool yourself and think your belief is "better" or "more valid" than another, just because you believe in science.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two weeks to Mabon

I wish you can use this weekend to clean the home properly and decorate it, at least a little.

Take a long walk in the nature and pick things, like acorns, horse chestnuts, pinecones, twigs and leaves.

I would like every Pagan Sabbath celebrated as if it was Yule. It is especially difficult to do when it comes to the Autumn holidays, because we in the Western world just don't have the traditions. Sure, there's Harvest feast, Michael's Mass and Thanksgiving, but... In the modern, urbanized world, people barely know where they food comes from, not to mention celebrate the harvest. The USonian thanksgiving is big, but it's celebrated very late in the Autumn and it is very strongly associated with the Christian history of USA. But the truth is that most of the family traditions are just a couple of generations old, if even that. Our parents are responsible of creating the traditions we experience to be The True Holiday, and when we get old and start celebrating the holidays with friends and spouses, we realize that their True Holiday is quite different from ours... It really takes only a couple of years for you to create traditions for your own family (even if it includes just you), so start creating!

Now, there has been people telling me that they don't celebrate this or that - "Mabon" is a Wiccan name for a Norse tradition, so most other forms of Paganity don't celebrate Mabon. To me it's Autumn Equinox, and to me the Sun Days have always been significant... to me there's something magical with the idea of day and night being exactly the same length twice a year, then the one or the other getting longer, until one day it's the day when the night is the longest or the day is the longest... These are to me Goddess ordained holidays. They are put in the movements of the Earth. This is Divine Calender. So I cannot understand people who claim to be Pagan but don't celebrate Autumn Equinox. It doesn't make any sense to me.
(That doesn't mean that I would say you're not a Pagan because you don't celebrate Mabon (or what ever name you wish to use of it), because you form your own observations of your faith the way that suits you, and you define your faith yourself. I have nothing to do with that. I'm just saying I don't understand it :-D)

After the long prologue, I wanted to speak about a couple of things. One needs to focus on a couple of things when creating traditions.

1) Honor the Holiday.

Make it different, elevated, from all the other days of the year. That means, you really NEED to clean.
(And that reveals that I am a sloppy housewife. I don't like cleaning, I'm more of a hoarder, and I'd rather do creative stuff or reading, than clean. So my home is not very clean and tidy normally. I'm just talking to you as if you were me :-D Now, if you are one of those miraculous people who actually manages to keep their homes immaculate 24/7, I'm not talking to you, when I say "you have to clean". YOU will have to find other ways to differ this day from all the other days of the year.)
Decorate the home for the party, HAVE a party, watch season appropriate movies, read season appropriate books, enjoy season appropriate music... think about your favorite feast/holiday and try to remember what makes it so, and season adjust that for Mabon. Take your favorite foods created with the season vegetables and dedicate this specific day for that food. It makes both the day and the dish that much more special :-D

2) Create traditions that suit you, your life, your style, your preferences.

Don't take on too much. Don't take on traditions that just don't feel right to you.
One thing I have noticed is that there's tons of "material" in Yule. There are more "traditions" I'd like to have at Yule than I can fit in Yule. So - take those traditions you like but have no room for at Yule and divide them throughout the year for the other Sabbaths.
For example, we in Scandinavia have a tradition of "Glögg party". A week or two before Yule, people gather around a kettle of mulled wine, and have a small fore-party. This would be perfect for Mabon. Maybe the weather isn't too suitable for mulled wine, as September can be - and is - warm in many places on this planet, but perhaps wine tasting party?

3) Appeal to all senses

What most people remember of different holidays best is the smell... the specific, different, good smell that lingered in the house all through the holidays. You know exactly what I'm talking about, because you can almost smell it right now. :-D

As there are no general, traditional scent for Mabon, try
- wine, mulled wine
- fruits, especially apples, pear, plum
- woody scents, like sandalwood, patchouli, rosewood, cedar and camphor.
- chrysanthemums, asters, marigolds
- nuts and seeds, like sesame seed and hazelnut (the scent of nutella... ;-))
- the smell of woods when you walk there in the autumn... everything is wet, and smells extra strong, the mushrooms, the leaves, the soil, the trees... You can recreate this by having a bowl of leaves, mushroom and wood chips kept moist.

Odour of Chrysanthemums by D.H.Lawrence

The other senses are, of course, hearing, sight, touch, and taste. Taste you appeal to by all the good, special food and candy; sight is pleased with all the colors and shapes and decorations - these two are no problem. What is more problematic is the sounds and feelings...

Sounds of Mabon... the rustle of dry leaves under feet when you walk in the forest... wind and rain. To me autumn is all about wind and rain and storms :-) And I love it :-DThere's plenty of autumn songs:
songs for fall
15 brilliant songs about autumn
a long list of songs about autumn/fall

And feelings?
Pulling on the rubber boots. First time you pull on the sweater after summer. Raindrops on your skin. The feeling of raincoat, oilcloth, the rustling plastic... The feeling of soil through the rubber boots, the slightly springy feeling of layers of moss, needles and moisture... and then you come back home and cuddle in front of the open fireplace, a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate... The feeling of dry leaves. The feeling of fir-cones, nuts, acorns, chestnuts...

Now, don't use wax cloth to decorate your home, because it's a really ordinary, homely, common material, which doesn't honor the holiday, but try using materials like corduroy, tweed, wool, felt and fleece, and leather.

One idea would be to try to recreate a sort of a hunting lodge feeling, with wood with bark on, rough stone, woodland animals and Mid-European folklore :-D (Tyroler look, dirndl, Austria, Germany, Bavaria, October fest and so on.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thougths, tips and ranting :-D

I am in deep debt of gratitude to Edain McCoy for Sabbats.  When I bought my version, it was like a whole new world was opened to me. It was some 15 years ago. Now I know more. A lot more. And the more I know, the more I get irritated by some things she says.

* Harvest Home didn't fall on a specific date. It was celebrated when the harvest was brought home. Not earlier, not later. In a rural society the dates were not that important. Sure, there were Dates, but Harvest Home was not one of them.

* Christian hymns are NOT appropriate for Pagans, of one simple reason. They are Christian. They are infused with the Christian mindset and Christian world view and Christian values, and those are not Pagan. Sure, thanksgiving is thanksgiving, and I, a theist, have no problems in singing God's praise for the goods She bestows upon us. But - *I* object VEHEMENTLY to singing Christian hymns.
Yes, I know most of them are based on folk music, but it really isn't rocket science to write a simple folk melody and lyrics oneself. And it's with music as with everything else, the more you do, the better you become. Write your own music.
First you will be copying, stealing, borrowing, adopting bits and pieces from existing music, later you will be doing it so skillfully people won't even notice that you do that. That's the way music has been written for centuries, by even the best. There are no new ideas under the sun, everything has already been sang, written, painted... you are just to do it again, in your way... ;-)

* "Lavender Blue, Lavender Green" doesn't fit Mabon so well...
"Call up your men, set them to work,
Some to the plow, some to the fork,
Some to make hay, some to cut corn..."

I would put it in Lammas. And, sure, lavender scent would fit nicely there.

* "Those... may choose to meet for a special feast of Thanksgiving separate from their regular gatherings..."
What!? You MIGHT want to celebrate Mabon, but you can also ignore it, brush it aside as a sidenote and join the Christian mainstream society... No wonder Pagans suck at celebrating Sabbats!

* I don't think there's a focus on death on Mabon. Being old is not dying. Old age has its own blessings and teachings and if one thinks "those old people are just waiting to die" - one foot in the grave - one misses those blessings and teachings... The modern society is too focused on youth, strength and such, exploring, adventures, pioneering. Faster, stronger, higher...
To me the OLD shaman is better than a young one. Old wives' tales are interesting, fascinating... we have entered the Winter King's world, where we are to sit quietly and learn, listen to the teachings of the Old Ones, learn their wisdom, learn from their experiences, learn to never repeat their mistakes, at least not the worst ones. "We should never forget" we say, but as we ignore those who were there, those who knew by their own experience what it was we should never forget, we will forget... or remember just some insignificant, petty details... The Wise One, the Sage, the Crone... these are old people. The Elders' Council...
In my mind it is wrong of the Wiccans to choose the "most beautiful, young woman" to represent the Goddess... Of course she too has a place and time, she should be chosen at Beltane, but not the year around. At Mabon they should choose a Crone.

* "The Norse spent the day and night before Autumn Equinox fasting and praying"
Did they? Interesting. Reminds me of Yom Kippur. Which also happens around this time of the year.

* Heather wine

* Horn of plenty a phallic symbol?
"a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form"... er... doesn't sound phallic to me. Sounds more like the female part to me...
According to one story, it comes from the time when Zeus was a baby. He accidentally broke one of his nurse's horns (she was a goat), and this horn then started spilling food, fruits, wine and what not.
"The cornucopia became the attribute of several Greek and Roman deities, particularly those associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance, such as personifications of Earth (Gaia or Terra); the nymph Maia; and Fortuna. Roman deities who fostered peace and prosperity were also depicted with a cornucopia, including Abundantia, and Annona, Rome's specific grain Goddess. Pluto was also depicted with Cornucopia to symbolise his status as the giver of agricultural, mineral and spiritual wealth."
- Wikipedia


What irks me most are the appendixes... lists of correspondences. Especially the "mythological creatures"... People just keep copying these lists, and no-one ever seems to waste one minute of time thinking WHY these things are associated with the sabbats. Except me, of course :-D

Gulon? It's a f-ing wolverine! It's not mythological!
Andamans? What? What is that? I just learned a couple of weeks ago, that andamans are the dog-headed people. Eh. How are they connected to August Equinox?
Cyclopes, minotaurs, gnomes, sphinx...
WHY? What's the connection? There is never given any. I don't know why and how she assigned the mythological creatures to the different sabbats, and she ain't telling. No-one is.

So - I asked my amazing husband.

The wolverine is a scavenger, a bit like a Nordic hyena, and my husband thought of Loki. Mischievous and industrious.
I was thinking about the gluttony, and that Mabon is the feast of moderation...

Dog headed people... Anubis?

I suppose these are here because Edain associated wolves and dogs to Mabon too. Why? I have no idea.
Well... dogs, perhaps - or more precisely hounds. Mabon is associated with hunting, and thus hunting dogs, birds and - cats... leopards were trained and used as hunting cats long time ago. Nevertheless, I associate wolves with Imbolc, Lupercalia.

Cyclops. One eye... Odin? The focus on learning, teaching and wisdom of September, and old age. Here's a list of one-eyed mythological people and creatures

Minotaurs... bull... strength - Thor? Hammer? Cow... Hathor?
I was thinking about the labyrinth. And solving mysteries underground... like the Eleusian mysteries.

Gnomes - Leprachauns, fool's gold, greedy gets pockets full of autumn leaves... Now, that's a Mabon story :-D
I was thinking about "earthlings", "maahinen" as gnomes are in Finnish. The faefolks who lived in fairy mounds. 

Sphinx - the Gate Keeper. You needed to answer the question, show that you were worthy, to be let in, in to the winter, Winter King's Kingdom. She lets those who are old and worthy and weary in.
I was thinking about High Priestess and Justice.


Q: What is the best way to plan for a large party without breaking the bank?
A: Shop early and shop often. Use sales. Not only will you get the best prices, but the cost of the meal won't hit your pocketbook all at the same time.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Apparently I'm a "comment shit-starter"

You see, I comment. I comment when I read something that makes me want to respond, say something, share my opinion... I comment when I want to correct an erroneous fact. I comment when I want to offer my advice, whether it is needed or not. I comment when I believe my words could help someone think differently of the things I see as a problem of theirs. I comment quite a lot.

I like comments. I don't care whether the comments are positive or negative. I like them, because they show that someone has read my blog post and I write blog posts because I want someone to read them. (Come on, everyone, who writes public blogs, does.) Besides, the "negative" comments are great conversation starters. If the person commenting just cares to stay for a conversation, we usually move on both the wiser. We have learned something from it.

Now, I don't like the hit-and-runners, nor do I like the whiny bitches who delete the comments that don't suit them. Cowards, both of them.

Now - there are these people who really don't want anyone to comment with anything they don't like to hear. You may not say that, of course, because it's a nasty quality in a person. They understand that much, but don't quite understand how it connects to them... :-D

There was a blog project, and I was being a "good girl" - according to my standards - so I visited all the other blogs and if someone had said something I wanted to comment, I did.
Now, some of the people whose posts I commented went to the project organizer to whine about what a horrible person I am. The project organizer called me "comment shit-starter".

Now, I didn't know what a shit-starter was, so I looked it up. It's pretty self-explanatory.
A person who causes trouble...


Oh POOR YOU, the NASTY BITCH came to your blog and COMMENTED!!! 

I know, I know. I don't use enough exclamation marks. Nor do I write it with big enough letters. I'm such a mean person. Stinking Badger and proud of it :-D
And, no, I don't have any compassion towards these people. I mean... girl, if a comment in your public blog is enough to get you running and telling "mommy", you shouldn't have a public blog. I'm really not even that bad, because I actually speak my mind from my heart and if I speak to you, I think high enough of you to believe you can take it. I'm not a sock puppet, a troll, an attention seeker or a drama queen. So if you can't take MY comments, how the heck could you take comments from REAL "shit-starters"? Sweet little baby-girl, you are too fragile to be in the kitchen!

But, next time, if you don't appreciate my comment, have the courage to tell me. I have no problems apologizing if I realize I hurt you by something I said, and I might actually be able to explain myself better, so that you understand you misunderstood my comment, and it really wasn't hurtful. I am usually kind and I know I sometimes express myself in a manner that is hard to understand. English is not my first language, you know.

But I will respond in kind. If you act like a hurt little princess bitch, I will kill you.

Nah. You're not worth it. :-D

You see, I really am a stinking badger. I'm a middle-aged witch and I have never been a fluffbunny. Not even when I first learned there's this thing called Wicca. I'm a stinking badger and I eat fluffy bunnies for breakfast. If there's nothing better to eat. ;-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Now a couple of words about the countdown calendar. Every year I plan making one, and every year, Sabbaths pass by, one by one, without any countdowns done.

I love countdowns. There are several suggestions all over the internet, in magazines and books. As far as I know, there are no countdown calendars for Mabon, so if you want one, you have to make yourself one.

First you need to decide how many days you want to count down, so that you know when to start.
You can start the countdown on September 1st and count down 22 days to Autumn Equinox.
You can also choose the 24, two dozens, 4x6, to keep the format of most Yule countdown calendars. That means the first day to "open a door" is 30th of August, in a week.
You could count down weeks. Mabon this year is on Saturday, so you could start next Saturday and count down four weeks. This is most comfortable if you choose the North European manner of burning a candle every week.

Next you need to decide what kind of calendar you want.

There are the candle calendars.

The Christian way is to light a candle every sunday, four weeks before Christmas. First week it's one candle, second sunday two candles, and so on. There are all kinds of cute little beliefs associated with this tradition, for example that the first candle is for peace, the second for love and so on. (Or something like that.) You could choose this version. Get four candlesticks or a "table crown", a candle holder designed to stand on the table with the four candles in a circle or in a row. These are very popular here in Northern Europe. Decorate this season appropriately, choose candles of a Mabon color (autumn leaves and grapes), and you're good to go :-)

Then there is one big candle you burn a little every day. Choose a quite heavy white (or light colored) candle and paint the amount of lines on it you want to count down days. Set this candle in a special place, and light it every day the same time, and sit by it watching how it burns to the next line. I love these things. I could watch the flame for a long time, and every now and then one was lost in thoughts and forgot to blow out the flame in time - so a couple of days worth of candle was burned :-D

Then there are the picture calendars. It's usually a large picture printed or painted on thin cardboard, with small doors one needs to pry open, to reveal a tiny picture behind it. One can make these at home. I especially loved one from a Swedish children's comic book, where the picture inside was the same as the picture outside, but with a difference... like a candle was shown lit in the inside picture, when there was an unlit candle outside, or someone was carrying a lot of parcels, or there was a bird sitting in a tree or so. When all the doors were opened, you had a pretty picture to hang on the wall and use as decoration :-)

My favorite calender of this kind was the activity calendar... it was large, with 4x4 inches (10x10 cm) doors... You could use them as a puzzle when they were all "opened". On the other side of these doors or cards were puzzles, craft ideas, activities etc. like mazes, or coloring pictures or so. Under the cards another pretty picture was revealed, and behind this was a game board, so one could play a game on Christmas eve, when waiting for the adults to get ready with all the preparations. I loved that one!

I also loved Jostein Gaarders' "Julemysteriet" (Christmas Mystery). It is a book with 24 chapters. A boy has an advent calendar with a story behind each door, about a girl who on the first day of advent starts following a toy lamb that comes alive, and travels through time and Europe from Norway to Israel, meeting different people that are essential in understanding the history of Christianity and the Christmas Story. At Christmas she is back in the beginning of current reckoning, in the stable at Bethlehem...

One variation of these picture calendars is the chocolate calendar. This is about the same, except that between the two layers of pictures is a tray with chocolates. The chocolates are the same shape as the picture behind the door, and the tray can be reused to make chocolates...

The best sort of advent calendars are the ones where you get presents, and different present every day. I still remember being so envious, almost 40 years ago, because our neighbor's kids had a calender with small plastic figurines in. SO envious...

I have tried to save matchboxes to build myself a calendar, but - matchboxes are in heavy use in this family, so they are a bit too scruffy when they are empty. I just recently realized, that matchboxes don't really cost that much, so I could buy myself brand new matchboxes, all 24 at a time, emtpy the matches in a box and make my calender :-D

Now, there are dozens of variations of the present calendar; you can make boxes, bags, drawers, jars... only your imagination sets limits here. :-D

One idea I had was a backbag, decorated accordingly, where one could put in a hand and lift up an item... so one didn't need to wrap them, and they could be of any size.

But the main problem is - WHAT TO USE TO FILL THE BOXES?
Matchboxes are REALLY SMALL. It has to be something really, really small! What is that small? I don't want to fill the boxes with candy - which would be easy...
And what to do with all the stuff after the holidays!

Some really good suggestions are, in my mind:
- holiday decoration, ornaments
- miniatures for the dolls' house or miniature railroad.
- Start building a proper "presepe Napoletano", and give new stuff to it as surprises in the calender. I have always loved these complicated, huge miniature 3D illustrations...

But if you are not interested in that, here's some suggestions:
- look at "jar of whimsies" and create one with the person for whom the calender is intended to in mind. I mean, this is supposed to be fun and goofy and whimsical. It doesn't need to be anything serious and nice and perfect and useful.

specifically for Mabon:
* anything to do with wine, for adults
* Autumn Equinox is about time, waging, measuring - so measuring instruments, watches, hourglass, scales...
* the symbols of Mabon are fruits, especially apples and grapes; trees and autumn leaves, forest life, like squirrels and owls; hunting animals, especially leopards, hawks and hunting dogs; big cats, especially spotted and striped ones, and anything leopard spotted; nuts, acorns, pinecones and such; brooms, thyrsus and caduceus; cups, chalices, glasses and rattles, maracas and other such noise making instruments.
* package of raisins, winegum candy, small plastic leopard, fingerless gloves, autumn scarf, burgundy or purple bouncy ball, pen knife, chapstick...

It would be so much easier for Yule, Samhain and Ostara!

But - look at those things, and replace bunnyrabbits, Yule pigs and black cats with leopards; eggs, hearts, stars and pumpkins with apples (there's quite a lot of apple stuff around...) and all the mythological folks (gnomes, skeletons, spooks) with fauns and maenads... and so on, accordingly.

See my Pinterest board for Countdown Calender ideas

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mabon Traditions

Autumn Equinox is not very celebrated feast around the world. We have to practically form our own traditions. The good thing about this is that we get to celebrate the Autumn Equinox exactly as we'd like to. The bad thing is that - we don't have the slightest idea of how. :-D

Some years ago I wrote about how to plan a Midsummer celebration. I told people to plan it by simple rules: do what you like, don't do what you don't like. Even if it is a tradition, if you don't like it, don't do it. In Sweden it is a tradition to eat pickled herring for Midsummer. I don't eat seafood of any kind. It doesn't matter how much people say it doesn't taste like fish or any other thing they assume is the reason to why I don't eat seafood, I won't eat it.

(The reason to why I don't eat seafood is that it doesn't taste good to me. Even the best things I have been offered haven't tasted especially good. They haven't necessarily been bad, but it's on the list of things I would eat if I had to, but if I have a choice - which I consider I always have - I choose something else. I'd rather eat liver than seafood. So, just a simple question of taste. Some people like purple, I don't. Some people love seafood, I don't. For some reason it's ok to not like purple, daisies, cats or smell of rotten fish, but when it comes to food, you MAY NOT not like something, or you are considered childish, immature, whiny, trying to be special, trying to get attention or something else like that, and you can BET there's someone trying to trick you to eat the very thing you said you don't like... and when you are polite and eat and thank for the food given to you, they laugh at you because you somehow have been "exposed"... No, darling, I still don't like it. I'm just well brought up. Unlike you.)

Back to pickled herring. If you don't like it, don't serve it. Even if you have a "secret" family recipe, don't make it. Give the recipe to someone who appreciates it. You don't.

See all the feast traditions the same way. Yes, it's a tradition to eat turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. But if you don't like turkey, don't eat it. Don't serve it, don't make it. Tell your guests in good time beforehand that they won't get any turkey in your house. Your house is a turkey free zone. If they want turkey at Thanksgiving, they cannot celebrate it with you. You HOPE that your company is more appreciated to them than turkey, but if they now just have to have turkey for Thanksgiving, and not day before or day after or at a restaurant, then they cannot celebrate Thanksgiving with you. There are people like that, and having your dream holiday is not to be your guests' worst nightmare.

Anyway - pick the traditions you love, the ones you like and the ones you don't mind, and discard the rest. Adopt traditions from other people. People do that all the time.
I know I yap about the Christians "stealing" Yule and now they are "stealing" Chanukkah (which is kind of worse, because they are not just taking the traditions, date and other such stuff and renaming it, they are taking the whole megillah and giving it new meaning... *rolling eyes* Christian Chanukkah? I mean... Chanukkah is celebrated to commemorate the victory over the Greeks, and Christianity is practically synonymous to Greeks. Makes me sick.)
Anyway, in my mind adopting and adapting traditions is quite ok. Even for Christians. I start having problems when they adopt traditions and then start claiming they were theirs in the first place. Like "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". Nope. Winter Solstice is the "reason for the season". Winter Solstice happens every year, to every person living on this planet, totally in spite of what people believe in. Believe all you want that Jesus is the reason to why Earth's axis tilts, but don't start arguing about the matter, be so kind.
Bah. I keep sliding from the issue... I think I need to mark with different color the thing I'm trying to say here, so you can ignore the chattering in between ;-)

Pick the traditions you like from ANY culture, civilization (it's actually offensive to speak about culture and civilization, because not all people live in cities or farm, and they are not less "civilised" or "cultured" than those who do. In many cases it's the other way around.) and adjust it to yours.
I am creating my Mabon celebration based on
- the Jewish Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkoth AND Simcha Torah celerbations;
- the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival (Moon festival);
- St Michael's celebration;
- Oschophoria and other Dionysos' feasts and vintage celebrations.
- Thanksgiving and Harvest feasts all over the world, through the ages and
-  Octoberfest. (It actually starts around September Equinox and lasts for 2-3 weeks... like "old time Christmas", 12 days...)

Interesting here is that the National Grandparents' day is in September and The International Day for the Elderly is October 1st - and one of the themes of Mabon is "Old Age".

My husband and I are actually wondering if I might have ADD... ROTFLMAO! I was writing this blog entry and then looked up something and three hours later... "Oh... I was writing a blog entry!"

Bah. I'll never get there!

Some time ago I wrote a little something about how to plan the best Midsummer fest ever.
Look back at your experiences and ask yourself:
1) What was the best and the worst of the previous Midsummer celebrations
2) What was the best and the worst of OTHER PEOPLE's Midsummer celebrations
3) What is the best and the worst of the celebrations of OTHER FEASTS at this time of the year
4) What is the best and the worst of the OTHER SABBATH celebrations

Take what you want, adjust it to your needs and run with it :-) That's the way traditions are created. Most of the modern holiday traditions are just 1-2 generations old. Grandparents didn't celebrate the holidays the same way their grandchildren do...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to make a great Autumn gift basket

I love gift baskets. I love gifts that are actually a lot of gifts in one big package :-)

But the thing is that that is usually a lot of deceit... more than half of the basket is fillings, foam, paper, plastic bags...

so that what you SEE IS what you get... there are no hidden surprises there.

1) Gather the items you wish to give. For this basket, find items that say "Autumn" to you. Red, orange, yellow and brown items, with a little purple and burgundy, and forest animals, nuts and acorns and such.
Get one large and more expensive item, 2-3 "bigger medium" size, 3-5 "smaller medium" and 5-7 small items. It's easier to arrange the items in the basket, if you have an odd number of items. Add volume with things like candles and candy.

Examples of Autumn gifts:

* beauty products; as the air is getting colder, the skin, nails and hair are getting dry, so give exfoliating scrubs, moisturizers and moisturising masks for skin and hair, chapsticks, hand creams, nail cream etc. There are tons of recipes for home-made versions for all of this, and it's nice to pack it in a pretty jar and give as a gift.

* spices - pumpkin spice, apple spice, mulled wine spice, chili spice, hot chocolate mix...
* candy apples and homemade candy
* dried apples and other fruits, fruit leather, dried vegetables and mushrooms and berries
* homemade jams, jellies, sauces and conserves

* flower bulbs (like chrysanthemum) that are to be planted in the Autumn
* flower seed that can be sprinkled in the garden to bloom next summer
* seed bombs

* scarf and wrist warmers or gloves

* scented pinecones, pinecone fire starters and other things made with pinecones. or acorns or horse chestnut etc.
* nuts and apples, and things associated and connected to them, like nut crackers or apple knife.

* forest animals, squirrels, owls, foxes etc. are associated with Autumn, so you can add small items decorated with these animals in your basket

2) Get the basket. A shallow basket is better than a deep basket, because you want your gift items to be visible, so you'd need to fill the deep basket with filling. A natural colored basket is better than a painted one, because the basket is not the focus here, but what is in the basket, and most people just toss the basket away, so it's unnecessary to use any time to decorate the basket.
But remember to add a couple of surprises in the basket as well ;-)

3) The idea is that all your gifts are shown, so that it looks very rich and nice, so you need to start with some filling. Use cheap things, like foam, styrofoam, plastic bags, newspaper, tissue, straw, shredded paper, hay, or any such. This too should be of neutral color, the items are to add the color and interest to the basket.

4) Start by putting in the biggest, highest items. If your basket has a handle, tie the highest item to the handle, with wire or tape. If not, push one large item in deep in the basket to be used as an anchor, that you can tape the other items to. Collect items in a pyramid shape, the largest and highest in the middle, and the other in size order around it. Use the smallest to decorate the "pile" of gifts.

5) Add silk flowers, ornaments, tinsel (sparkle shred, angel hair etc.) and such, to make the basket look even more festive. For this Autumn basket, you can use silk leaves (or real Autumn leaves you have prepared), chrysanthemums or asters.

6) Use cellophane to keep the things together. Just wrap the basket in the plastic and heat it carefully with hairdryer so that it shrinks. You can also tape it neatly in place. Use A LOT of this. You could also use organza, chiffon or tulle, or any other sheer material, like tissue paper. It is better to use something clear, because the items are the main thing with gift baskets and the purpose is to show them, not to wrap them.

7) Decorate with ribbons, bows, silk flowers, ornaments, plush toys etc. and add a card. Use bigger cards for big baskets and gift tags for small baskets.

Edited September 2016: I found this; 30 things to put in a fall gift basket GREAT ideas!

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Autumn...

"It's beginning to look a lot like..." Autumn? Not really... it's only August. I know it's the first month of Autumn, but... it doesn't feel like Autumn. It's still warm. Too warm in some places. But... the mushroom are out, the leaves are turning yellow... the nights are getting slightly colder... I live in Sweden, so I'm quite high up North, nevertheless...
About a month to Mabon. Mabon, Autumn Equinox, is the Middle of Autumn. There's only about 6 weeks to Samhain from that, and Samhain IS Winter. To me.
So - even when it doesn't FEEL like Autumn, according to me it is. Early Autumn, Harvest time.
There are still blueberries in the forest, because around here no-one picks them but me, and I hurt my foot in June and am forbidden (by my caring and loving husband, who knows me and knows that if he doesn't forbid me, I'm stupid enough to risk the future health of my foot and go anyway...) to go to the forest. *sigh*
I go anyway... just for short trips. And bring him chaunterelles as peace offering. ;-)
So I know the lingonberries are getting red.
I should go and gather the raspberry leaves and ferment them for emergency tea. When one treats the raspberry leaves properly, they do produce a rather good tea. Not as good as good black tea, but better than bad black tea.

I have been reading my notes, about Sabbaths and Mabon. The first "advent Sunday" - if one wishes to burn candles four weeks before the Sabbath - is now, 26th of August. So - make your advent chandelier, get autumn colored candles and prepare.
Or if you plan on having an advent calendar, the 1st of September is less than two weeks away. You might need to decide what kind of calender to make and what you are going to put in as gifts.
One idea is to make largish autumn leaves of paper and sew two together with a surprise inside...

Also, it would be good if you prepared for the "December Daily" album - for Mabon. For example "September Daily" or "30 days of Mabon" - you can choose 30 days ending with Mabon (starting 24.8.) or if you want to end it with "12 days of Mabon", you need to start 4th of September. But - plan it, prepare it, get all the stuff you'd like to have in it.
Then I need to make the cards.

And you really need to plan feast. What will you eat, do you need to make something in advance, flowers, entertainment, what will happen day to day, is there a need to prepare for anything, like a trip to a farm to pick your own veggies or something? A visit to an orchard?

Are you going to dress up? If so, what do you plan to wear? Do you need to make it? Less than 5 weeks to Mabon. I want to be dressed as a maenad.

 Not with a tiger pelt, a panther pelt. Fake, of course.

I wonder what my husband would want... I wonder if he'd agree to wear skin colored tights and a panther pelt over it, like the Victorian Strong Men :-D I'd love to see him like that :-D

What about music? What is autumn music to you?

Do you plan on watching movies? I do - Harvest Home and Wicker Man :-D Every year ;-)

Sights, scents, sounds, sensations, tastes...

What do you plan to eat? It is tradition to eat vegetarian on Harvest Feasts, because the animals are not to be killed before Samhain. I am surprised by the many meaty recipes among Harvest recipes - I am a meateater and even though I can give up meat - every now and then - I can't imagine a life without it. Many other Pagans, especially Wiccans, who are the ones mainly celebrating these Sabbaths, are vegetarians, even vegans... yet there are so many meat recipes. Very confounding. Alas, in our family the harvest trio will be celebrated with meatless menus.

Do you need to brew something? Make wine? I don't know how long it takes... I need to find out.

And how do you plan setting the table? Do you need some napkins or other things for the setting?

Or the rest of the home, mantelpieces, windows, doors... what about kitchen cloths, like tea towels and potholders? Need something new? Plan it in, these weeks pass fast!

Do you plan on giving gifts? If so, what kind? To whom? How much do you plan on using, do you plan on making things yourself? Or what? In my mind one SHOULD give gifts on EVERY Sabbath. After all, that's one big reason to why people love Yule. And birthdays. And Samhain. And Ostara. ;-)
You could take these plastic eggs and decorate them to look like pinecones or acorns.
You could go gathering pinecones, dip them in wax and give thee firestarters as gifts.
A basket of nuts with a nice nutcracker? Any of these thousand and one apple gifts for teachers? A piece of jewelry made around a pendant depicting one of Mabon symbols? What are YOUR Mabon symbols?

nutcracker dog 
from the book "The Country Store" by Stephanie Donaldson, 
photo by Michelle Garret

My Pinterest collection of Mabon ideas
My Pinterest collection of countdown calendar ideas
My December Daily album inspiration at Pinterest
My Pinterest collection of Rosh Hashanah ideas (It's a couple of days before Mabon, and my husband is Jewish, so that's why I have it, but you can use the ideas for your Mabon.)
My Pinterest collection of Autumn pictures and ideas, to get you in the mood :-)

Five weeks to go, prepare yourself! :-D

Sunday, April 29, 2012

May Day Picnic

Another Beltane tradition from Sweden is "May Guild In The Green" - a picnic. People would take a picnic basket and a blanket with them, eat, drink, sing and merry.

Picnics are a wonderful way of spending time with the family. Choose a weekend for your picnic.

(You could also surprise someone you know who works with a picnic basket to work - go and fetch your friend at lunch time with the basket and take him/her to a close-by park to enjoy the picnic with.)

Now, I am not used to send invitations for picnics, but it might be a good idea...

I love these picnic invitation tags, and it's a free printable
Thank you, Amy!

Remember to put on the invitation:
  • what
  • when (date and time and extend)
  • where
  • what to bring (picnic basket? sunglasses? sunblock? hat?)
  • how to contact you before and during the picnic (telephone/mobile number)

One thing I have learned is that you should have a big picnic cloth with a waterproof backside, because the chosen spot is always wet :-D Pillows are also a nice thing to have at picnic... for more than one reason ;-)

Another thing; picnic basket.

“Oh stop, stop,” cried the Mole in ecstasies: “this is too much!”

Fill it with food that can be eaten by hands and that is supposed to eat at the "room temperature", lukewarm :-D It is not easy to keep food warm or cold, and that creates always more problems, unnecessary complications. A picnic is supposed to be carefree and fun, and having to worry about melting ice cream or food getting cold is not beneficial for the right mood :-D

Have some savory options and some sweets.

There's plenty of wonderful recipes, ideas and menus for picnic, but here's some ideas of mine:
Have fruits peeled and cut in edible pieces; vegetables and a jar of dip; sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper; cheese and biscuits; pastries, handpies and other such foods; cake, pie and cookies (cut the pie and cakes already at home, so that one can just take what ever they want).
How to make a nice veggie dip sauce:

Grate some onion into a bowl, if you like onions. If not, don't. :-D
Add 1 part of full-fat mayonnaise (don't use the "light" anything. That will only fool you to think you can eat more, and the taste is nowhere near the original, full-fat version. Use full-fat and eat less, and enjoy every bite.)
and 1-3 parts of sour cream, natural yoghurt (Greek, Turkish, what ever, just as long as it's thick and unflavored), Crema, Creme Fraiche, Smetana, Quark, any such fermented dairy product - again, full-fat and thick, creamy stuff. Not some "light" crap. OK?
You can also add some cream cheese (also unflavored and full-fat.)

Mix well.

Taste with salt and ground celery seeds. (Or "seasoning salt": 1 part celery salt, 1 part onion powder (or leek powder)
- Celery salt: 2 parts celery seeds, 3 parts sea salt - grind together into fine powder

You can add grated carrots, bell peppers diced into really small cubes, finely chopped chives, scallions, leek; grated onion, garlic, any herbs you like, dried or fresh... practically anything. Dill is good, if you like that. Again, if you don't - like me - don't.

You can also experiment with different flavored cream cheeses and other dairy products, but see they are savory, not sweet.

Whisk it all together and put in a nice jar with wide mouth and a lid. Storage in the fridge until it's time to pack the basket for picnic :-)  It's better if the dip can "marinate" at least for 2 hours.

What vegetables to dip? Celeriac stalks; carrot sticks; cucumber sticks; sugar peas; cherry tomatoes (put them in toothpicks); cauliflower or broccoli florettes; bell pepper slices; radishes...
You can also make bread sticks for dipping.
Don't forget the drinks.
In Sweden there's always some coffee in a thermos flask, and some milk in a small bottle and some sugar in a small box :-D
I want some cordial to my picnics. Preferably raspberry cordial, because... well... I'm Finnish :-D We use a lot of raspberries :-)
I also like having homemade "brew", like sima (pronounced "se-muh") or gingerbeer in nice bottles with special made label :-D (Go to my "Ginger beer or Gay post" for recipes)

Drinks taste better from glass or china cup, so if you don't dare to use the ordinary fine dishes in your picnic basket, get some cheap things. 

Remember to have ice packs in your picnic basket, because sandwiches and fruits/veggies feel better in cool environment :-) You can freeze water in bottles to be used as ice packs - when the water melts, it becomes lovely ice-cold beverage :-D

 This is a Burundian hay cooker basket, and I love it! 
I can just see it lined with red-and-white gingham for picnics...
A hay cooker doesn't only keep food warm, it keeps food cold too... 
so this is your home-made cooler... 

Remember to take with you a couple of plastic bags in a roll, so that all the garbage can be bagged on the spot, so you won't leave a mess behind you.

Take a lot of paper towels and wet wipes. (Or washcloths and cloth napkins, if you prefer that, like I do :-D and a laundry bag for used ones... Here's how to make cloth wet wipes at home. If you use cloth wet wipes, see your laundry bag is waterproof.)

Now, what would those Swedes have done on their May Outing In The Green?

They would dance (different renaissance chain danses, in line or ring are wonderful for Beltane)

They would have a pillow fight. (Yes, it's absolutely wonderful thing to do outside in the wild, because the birds will clean up the mess afterwards and use the feathers to line their nests.)

They would have eating contests of small Swedish pancakes with berry jam :-)

They would have different games like sack runs, egg runs, "who can thread a needle walking" runs, and the modern versions which I like very much, like playing twister or parcheese with a game board painted on the ground or sewn on a large cloth, and using people as game pieces.

See more at my Pinterest Picnic board

Monday, April 16, 2012

May Caroling

Preparing for a family celebration begins already a month beforehand. Some people start preparations already half a year before, but as we are having 8 Big Ones in a year, not just one or two, like those people, we won't be preparing a half a year in beforehand, just a month :-)

I like my Sabbaths divided somewhat evenly over the year. I my home there will not be a hoop of feasts and then a couple of months of empty waiting for the next one. When one feast is over, preparations for the next one begin, and that's how I like it and want it.

One of the things I like about Holidays are the songs... I believe everyone can sing. Perhaps not perfect, perhaps not even well, but well enough.

I love the caroling traditions, where people dress up for the role and create an event of something so simple as singing together. I have belonged to a couple of choirs in my life and I appreciate the togetherness very much.
Also, singing keeps your soul healthy...

May Day celebration in Härmälä, Finland in the 60's

And learn to play a guitar. They are not very expensive and it is not hard to play. It is not easy to play well, but it is easy to play well enough, and adding an accompany with a guitar is very nice.

You could also learn to play a simple flute, like a recorder. No, that's not an easy instrument to learn to play well either, none of them is, but it's easy to learn to play it well enough.

Just remember, well enough IS well enough. Done is better than perfect, and you are not supposed to be the world's best flute or guitar player, but be able to accompany singing.

Another thing you can consider getting and learning to use (and the same goes with that - well and well enough are two different things) is a hand drum. 

In Sweden they have a tradition called "May Song Guild" (Majsångargille). Guild is a Germanic word (Gilde) which means a gathering, association, society... These song guilds were formed of young men who would go from house to house and sing and expect to be rewarded with a little something, like wassailing or caroling tradition. One could see it as May Day Caroling.

Wassailing is aking to the trick-or-treat tradition, and if you enjoy caroling during Yuletide and Trick-or-treating at Samhain, do incorporate May Song Guild tradition to your Beltane as well.

Dress in all white or green and carry boughs with new-sprung leaves and have wreaths of flowering trees, especially hawthorn on your head, as you wander and sing Spring greetings.

"Now Is The Month Of Maying" should belong to your repertoir...

"O Lusty May" is a record with renaissance spring songs good for Maying. :-)

Here's also some nice suggestions: CanTeach; songs and poems; Spring