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

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Some housewife acts all upset because someone dared to say the truth - she hasn't worked one day in her life.
“What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying: ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.' Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.”
- Hilary Rosen

"To suggest that any mother has 'never worked a day in her life' is an affront to mothers everywhere," The Republican National Committee said.

"That's laughable. Moms absolutely have value. They work -- and work a lot."
- Aaron Gouevia, a content manager at

Yes, I stand by that opinion. If you have been a stay-at-home mom your whole life, you haven't worked one day in your life.
Of course no-one is saying you just sit on the couch eating candy and watching television. You do things. Sure, if you would hire someone to do the job, you would need to pay quite a lot, but that isn't really the definition of "actually working". You do what you choose to do in the time frame you choose, how, when, where, with whom... everything you do you do for you.
You take care of YOUR home, YOUR children, YOUR husband, YOUR garden, YOUR food, YOUR hobbies, YOUR interests, YOUR, YOUR, YOUR... Just as you please. made a stupid calculation for Mother's Day...

An average SAHM says she works 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

SAHMs claim to spend:

- 3 hours a week to work as the Chief Executive Officer.
Well... don't we all. Every person on this planet is planning and directing all aspects of an organization's (read: themselves) policies, objectives and initiatives, so we are all CEOs of our own lives and families.

- 4 hours a week to operate the laundry machine.

- 6 hours a week as a psychologist
I have to say that to work as a real psychologist you need a good education, and without that you are not worth the salary of a real psychologist.
But - these quacks assume dealing with the people you live with called "psychological warfare" (!?) is what psychologists do... Sure. I am really, really glad these SAHMs are not MY psychologists.

- 8 hours as janitors
an hour every day, cleaning... Girl, if you spend that much time cleaning, you're doing it wrong, which means that you obviously are not professional, and shouldn't be paid what professionals are paid.

- SAHMs say they spend 8 hours as drivers... Why? Not for anything important.
They are driving kids to school - though there are school buses... and those are awful... so let's not change the situation in the buses for the best of everyone, no, let's take the kid off the bus and drive the car. Also, a lot of SAHMs choose to homeschool their children...
Sports? That's hobbies. No-one is forced to do sports. Besides, get your kid a bicycle and let him/her get fit. Isn't that what the sports are supposed to do?

- 9 hours as computer operator.
Bull! More likely they are spending the time on Pinterest and Facebooks and blogs and chattering about.

- 11 hours as facilities manager. I really wonder how many SAHMs don't leave this to their husbands... But that's "managing their respective “staffs” and delegating authority in the form of chores for the kids and “Honey Do” lists for their partners". >:->

- 14 hours as daycare center teacher. Those people have an education too, at least here in Sweden. I have worked as a daycare center teacher and a nanny, and janitoring/cooking/managing facilities etc. was part of the job. I was alone responsible for the wellbeing of 8-12 children of 1-6 years of age, and I did that at the same time I cleaned, cooked etc. I had never any problems with riots or temper tantrums.

- An average SAHM says she spends 14 hours a week - 2 hours a day cooking... TWO HOURS!?!

- Not only does these SAHMS spend 1 hour a day as janitors and 1 1/2 hours managing facilities, they also spend 2 hours a day "housekeeping"... So, these lying bitches claim they spend 4 and half hours every day cleaning. Plus half an hour daily doing the laundry. FIVE HOURS A DAY!!! Sure. I believe that. NOT!

I'm sick and tired of these women whining about how "no-one appreciates the hard work they do", when in fact they are VERY PRIVILEGED to be able to choose this kind of lifestyle, and having practically done the job I know it's dang easy. I had plenty of free time to do things I wanted to do, and this is what the life seems to be like for these SAHMs. Just look at the blogs of the "prime samples" of this lot. They manage to create cards, organize parties, go hunting second hand treasures and renovate furnitures, they organize swaps and do all kinds of things. And whine about how horrible and hard it is to be a SAHM and NO-ONE appreciates and waah-waah-waah.

Every mother does the same job, working mothers do it more efficiently, because they cannot afford to spend hours and hours pottering with OCD mindset and scrub tiles with toothbrush.

Friday, April 13, 2012


This is an article I wrote to Spiritual Journeys Magazine online a couple of years ago.

Hekate is one of my favorite goddesses. The way she has been seen during the times has changed much - from the golden handmaiden of Aphrodite to the dark crone representing everything foul and disgusting - Her story is the story of the witches.

Hekate is the guardian of the thresholds, crossings and portals. I just received a very interesting article about these today - Beyond The Fields We Know - On Thresholds and Liminal Places - and after reading, began to think. There are these "liminal spaces" everywhere... the space between the grass and the street - or the pavement and the street... it isn't the grass, it isn't the pavement, it isn't the street... what is it?
I saw the world and thought about how we pass through liminal spaces thousands of times every day - every time we go through a doorway, we pass through Hekate's queendom. Every time we open a window... or when we enter the bath or shower... from air to water, from water to air...
I think this thought is very exiting, yet a little scary as well.

Then, we have a little threshold between each and every pavement stone.
I remembered the movie, As Good As It Gets - where Jack Nicholson plays a man with obsessive compulsive disorder. He couldn't step on the cracks in the street.
I wondered how many of the people with obsessive compulsive disorder have it because of Hekate. Are they being so sensitive, and don't want to disturb Her, or is She giving them hard time?

There is also a Finnish belief that to step on the threshold gives one very bad luck. Hekate, again?

Hekate is an elusive Goddess. She is often depicted having three faces, seeing everything, and no-one sees the same face when looking at Her. She is young and old at the same time, beautiful and ugly, dark and light, good and evil, kind and terrifying. The same quality is shared with liminal spaces. It is believed that one can get everywhere through these portals, like through the silent forest in C.S.Lewis' Magician's Nephew. If you dare, you can get to the Elphame and Fairyland through any door. It doesn't need to be an old wardrobe made of magical apple tree...

Hekate is a Goddess of the witches. Hekate helped Medea, Circe and Dido in their work.
Magic is using these small places where everything is possible to wiggle the reality, just a little bit. Magic and witches exist and have power and because of this people are afraid of it. Fairy tales and beliefs have been diminished into childish babble; witches and Hekate have been painted black and covered with ashes and dirt; lies and slander, to diminish their power.

Hekate is the Goddess of death in her role as the Guardian of thresholds, even the one between life and death. She is the Patroness of all who work with life and death. Midwives and healers, morticians and even priests who bless the dead into the grave. They are all under Hekate's protection. In the beginning of civilisation, all this was done by the shamans and witches. People remember, in the deep with born sense, all this, and react to witches with the same feeling they react to death.

As all portals, even the gateway between life and death can work both ways. It is possible for the dead to come back, it is possible to reach inside the world of the dead and talk with people there, if Hekate allows it. This is one reason to why Hekate is the Lady of Hidden Knowledge.
Another is that Hekate is the Mistress of the threshold between sleep and wake. She rules the dimension of lucid dreams and astral travel, meditation and trance.
Hekate gave the Sibyllas their power.

Hekate is also the Goddess of madness - madness being when people can no longer separate the real from the surreal; dreams, fantasies and illusions from the reality. Those who are "mad" live in Hekate's world all the time.
I don't know if "mad"people are mad, or if they only see the world differently. I suppose some people see me as crazy.

Hekate plays a big role in the legend of Demeter and Persephone. She was the only one who knew what had happened. She lead Demeter to Persephone, and every year she leads Persephone out from the Underworld and back there again in Autumn.

Hekate was the daughter of Night - Her mother was Nyx and father Perses Astraios (Destroyer the Starry One). She is depicted carrying two torches, which she used in the war against Titans very successfully. She is also called "Golden" and in the Orphic Hymns she is said to wear saffron clothes. I believe that this refers to Her position as the Goddess of thresholds - again - because the dusk and dawn are thresholds as well. The dusk is not yet night, but not the evening either; the dawn is no longer night but not yet morning.

All this gives Hekate enromous significance. There is no area of life where She doesn't exist, because the liminal spaces are averywhere. She is the thirteenth of Olympian Gods, but not really one of them. Zeus himself acknowledges Hekate being the most powerful of them all, and the other Gods ask Her for help and advice whenever needed. She has the ultimate power over heavens, earth and seas.

Hekate is ofter seen with a black dog, or Kerberos. There are several stories about the origin of Her dog, and several stories where especially evil women or the devl are transformed into black dogs.
Another animals sacred to Hekate are the weasel family; polecats, martens and weasels.

(My husband asked me to add the polar bears. They have black skin and in spite the fact that their fur is actually colorless, it looks white. Polar bears (and tigers) are the only creatures who are not afraid of humans, and they are seen as great teachers by the people who share their living space. If a polar bear, the greatest of all predators moving on earth, wants to be invisible, he gets invisible.)

Some interesting links:

A whole site filled with information on Hekate; myths, images, rituals and other such information. There is also a good reference libray and background information on basic witchcraft.

Here also is very much information of Hekate, dedication and chants, magic, spells and other information.

Very good page with quotes from Greek and Roman literature

About the Egyptian Goddess Heqet

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Calan Mai - First Day of May in Wales

From Wikipedia

Calan Mai

In Wales, May 1 is a holiday known as Calan Mai or Calan Haf, which means the first day of summer. Celebrations start on the evening before, known as May Eve, with bonfires; as with Calan Gaeaf, the night before (Nos Galan Mai) is an Ysbrydnos, or "spirit night," when spirits are out and about and divination is possible. The tradition of lighting bonfires celebrating this occasion happened annually in south Wales until the middle of the 19th century. It is the Welsh equivalent of the Goidelic Beltane and one of a number of similar May Day traditions in Europe.


On Nos Galan Mai or May Eve, villagers gather hawthorn (draenen wen, literally whitethorn) branches and flowers which they would then use to decorate the outside of their houses, celebrating new growth and fertility.

In Anglesey and Caernarvonshire it would be common on May Eve to have gware gwr gwyllt (playing straw man) or crogi gwr gwellt (hanging a straw man). A man who had lost his sweetheart to another man would make a man out of straw and put it somewhere in the vicinity of where the girl lived. The straw man represented her new sweetheart and had a note pinned to it. Often the situation led to a fight between the two men at the May Fair.

Being the time between Summer and Winter, Calan Mai would be the time to stage a mock fight between the two seasons. The man representing Winter carried a stick of blackthorn (draenen ddu) and a shield that had pieces of wool stuck on it to represent snow. The man representing Summer was decorated with garlands of flowers and ribbons and carried a willow-wand which had spring flowers tied on it with ribbons. A mock battle took place in which the forces of Winter threw straw and dry underbrush at the forces of Summer who retaliated with birch branches, willow (helygen) rods, and young ferns (rhedyn). Eventually the forces of Summer would win and a May King and Queen were chosen and crowned, after which there was feasting, dancing, games and drinking until the next morning.

May Day was the time that the twmpath chwarae was officially opened. The Welsh equivalent of the Irish ceili is a twmpath. Through the summer months in some Welsh villages, the people would gather on the twmpath chwarae, (literally, tump for playing), the village green, in the evenings to dance and play various sports. The green was usually situated on the top of a hill and a mound was made where the fiddler or harpist sat. Sometimes branches of oak decorated the mound and the people would dance in a circle around it.

Dawnsio haf, summer dancing, was a feature of the May Day celebration, as was carolau Mai, May carols, also known as carolau haf, summer carols or canu dan y pared, singing under the wall (songs being often of a bawdy or sexual nature). The singers would visit families on May morning accompanied by a harpist or fiddler, to wish them the greetings of the season and give thanks to "the bountiful giver of all good gifts." If their singing was thought worthy, they would be rewarded with food, drink, and possibly money.

Common drinks during Calan Mai festivities were metheglin or mead. Sometimes it was made of herbs, including woodruff, a sweet-smelling herb which was often put in wine in times past to make a man merry and act as a tonic for the heart and liver. Elderberry and rhubarb wines were popular and the men also liked various beers.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ginger beer or Gay...

"Ginger beer is (I believe) Cockney rhyming slang for queer, so in the 40s/50s gay men were often referred to as Ginger Beers."
Talk about Enid Blyton forum
Interesting discussion...

As far as I know people are born with their sexual orientation.

As far as I know most people are more or less bisexual. Very little of sexuality has to do with gender, actually... There's not much difference in skin, lips or hands, caresses and kisses feel as good whether it is a boy or a girl kissing or caressing.

As far as I know children get interested in sex quite early, even without having been sexually abused or raped. I know it was being discussed in school when I was 10-11. Children as old as the Famous Five are old enough to know which gender they "fall in love with", and imagine being adult and having a sexual relationship with someone. Nevertheless, sex is not part of Enid Blyton's books.

But - homosexuality is not sex. Whether George is lesbian or not is not an issue. Anyone can imagine her any which way they like. Imagine a love story between George and Anne if that rocks your boat. Imagine them having an adulthood together, where everyone believes they are "just best friends", when they actually are each other's common-law wives... (I'd like to write that book :-D) I mean - people do that all the time! [This is why we have the awful sequels and prequels and what-nots, like Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley (yuk!) and loads of fan-fiction.]
Saying George is lesbian is not an insult. Dozens of lesbians have read the books with a crush on her. This doesn't take anything away from anyone else's reading experience. Dozens of straight girls have read the books with a crush on Julian or Dick - or both. Girls do that. I really see nothing wrong with it. (And, I'm sure dozens of boys have read the books too with crushes on Anne, George, Julian and/or Dick.)

"In one Five novel, I'm sure Georgina says she will 'never marry a scientist' implying she was thinking of marriage to somebody.""Yes, that's right George does say it in one of the stories. "Scientists" proves to me that George was NOT gay, scientists are usually male, aren't they? I may be wrong - I'm not interested in Science - but I seem to recall reading somewhere that scientists are usually male."
"Georgina was referring to her Dad of course as the Scientist-type she wouldn't marry."

Georgina was referring to her dad, of course, but how is not wanting to marry someone like her dad is a proof of her not being lesbian?  When the books were written, most people were supposed to marry, and you married someone of the opposite sex. Maybe George was thinking about that - the social obligation - and not sex when she said it... >:->

But - back to ginger beer. Ginger beer and ginger ale are not alcoholic - usually. But - when you make these things at home, the yeast can produce quite a lot of alcohol... What you do is you take sugar, ginger, lemons and a lot of boiling water, and when the mixture has cooled down a little, you add a little yeast and let it ferment a couple of days, then bottle and put in the fridge. Quite easy, actually. :-)

Homemade ginger beer and Dark'n'Stormy drink
Homemade ginger beer with ginger beer plant (sort of sourdough for ginger beer)
Homemade ginger ale
Finnish Sima

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kite day

How to make a kite

"Please, Aunt Jo, would you and the girls come out to a surprise party we have made for you? Do it's a very nice one."

"Thank you, we will come with pleasure; only, I must take Teddy with me," replied Mrs. Bhaer, with a smile that cheered Demi like sunshine after rain.

"We'd like to have him. The little wagon is all ready for the girls; you won't mind walking just up to Pennyroyal Hill, will you Aunty?"

"I should like it exceedingly; but are you quite sure I shall not be in the way?"

"Oh, no, indeed! we want you very much; and the party will be spoilt if you don't come," cried Demi, with great earnestness.

"Thank you kindly, sir;" and Aunt Jo made him a grand curtsey, for she liked frolics as well as any of them.

"Now, young ladies, we must not keep them waiting; on with the hats, and let us be off at once. I'm all impatience to know what the surprise is."

As Mrs. Bhaer spoke every one bustled about, and in five minutes the three little girls and Teddy were packed into the "clothes-basket," as they called the wicker wagon which Toby drew. Demi walked at the head of the procession, and Mrs. Jo brought up the rear, escorted by Kit. It was a most imposing party, I assure you, for Toby had a red feather-duster in his head, two remarkable flags waved over the carriage, Kit had a blue bow on his neck, which nearly drove him wild, Demi wore a nosegay of dandelions in his buttonhole, and Mrs. Jo carried the queer Japanese umbrella in honor of the occasion.

The girls had little flutters of excitement all the way; and Teddy was so charmed with the drive that he kept dropping his hat overboard, and when it was taken from him he prepared to tumble out himself, evidently feeling that it behooved him to do something for the amusement of the party.

When they came to the hill "nothing was to be seen but the grass blowing in the wind," as the fairy books say, and the children looked disappointed. But Demi said, in his most impressive manner,

"Now, you all get out and stand still, and the surprise party with come in;" with which remark he retired behind a rock, over which heads had been bobbing at intervals for the last half-hour.

A short pause of intense suspense, and then Nat, Demi, and Tommy marched forth, each bearing a new kite, which they presented to the three young ladies. Shrieks of delight arose, but were silenced by the boys, who said, with faces brimful of merriment, "That isn't all the surprise;" and, running behind the rock, again emerged bearing a fourth kite of superb size, on which was printed, in bright yellow letters, "For Mother Bhaer."

"We thought you'd like one, too, because you were angry with us, and took the girls' part," cried all three, shaking with laughter, for this part of the affair evidently was a surprise to Mrs. Jo.

She clapped her hands, and joined in the laugh, looking thoroughly tickled at the joke.

"Now, boys, that is regularly splendid! Who did think of it?" she asked, receiving the monster kite with as much pleasure as the little girls did theirs.

"Uncle Fritz proposed it when we planned to make the others; he said you'd like it, so we made a bouncer," answered Demi, beaming with satisfaction at the success of the plot.

"Uncle Fritz knows what I like. Yes, these are magnificent kites, and we were wishing we had some the other day when you were flying yours, weren't we, girls?"

"That's why we made them for you," cried Tommy, standing on his head as the most appropriate way of expressing his emotions.

"Let us fly them," said energetic Nan.

"I don't know how," began Daisy.

"We'll show you, we want to!" cried all the boys in a burst of devotion, as Demi took Daisy's, Tommy Nan's, and Nat, with difficulty, persuaded Bess to let go her little blue one.

"Aunty, if you will wait a minute, we'll pitch yours for you," said Demi, feeling that Mrs. Bhaer's favor must not be lost again by any neglect of theirs.

"Bless your buttons, dear, I know all about it; and here is a boy who will toss up for me," added Mrs. Jo, as the professor peeped over the rock with a face full of fun.

He came out at once, tossed up the big kite, and Mrs. Jo ran off with it in fine style, while the children stood and enjoyed the spectacle. One by one all the kites went up, and floated far overhead like gay birds, balancing themselves on the fresh breeze that blew steadily over the hill. Such a merry time as they had! running and shouting, sending up the kites or pulling them down, watching their antics in the air, and feeling them tug at the string like live creatures trying to escape. Nan was quite wild with the fun, Daisy thought the new play nearly as interesting as dolls, and little Bess was so fond of her "boo tite," that she would only let it go on very short flights, preferring to hold it in her lap and look at the remarkable pictures painted on it by Tommy's dashing brush. Mrs. Jo enjoyed hers immensely, and it acted as if it knew who owned it, for it came tumbling down head first when least expected, caught on trees, nearly pitched into the river, and finally darted away to such a height that it looked a mere speck among the clouds.

By and by every one got tired, and fastening the kite-strings to trees and fences, all sat down to rest, except Mr. Bhaer, who went off to look at the cows, with Teddy on his shoulder.

"Did you ever have such a good time as this before?" asked Nat, as they lay about on the grass, nibbling pennyroyal like a flock of sheep.

"Not since I last flew a kite, years ago, when I was a girl," answered Mrs. Jo.

- Little Men: Life at Plumfield With Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott, Chapter IX; Daisy's Ball

Friday, April 6, 2012

#13 Fun and Frugal Family Tradition for Spring Equinox

I really love scavenger hunts, egg hunts and treasure hunts.

I have a memory of an Easter hunt when I was 5, but no-one else seems to remember so it might have been a dream... anyway, the memory is about searching the home for my "easter egg", which was a page of tiny paperdolls.

One thing I liked about Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code was the coded treasure hunt...
"Richard G. brown, Dan's father, put together many types of treasure hunts for the kids when they were young that were challenging, yet fun. His dad would map out this treasure hunt carefully, and the kids had to unlock codes to find their Christmas gifts for example."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

#12 Fun and Frugal Family Tradition for Spring Equinox

Pick one of the silly, odd, unusual holidays celebrated during the time of the countdown and make it a tradition.

For example, March 1st is National Pig Day.

15th of March is "Everything-You-Think-Is-Wrong Day", "Ides of March", "Incredible Kid Day" and "Dumbstruck Day", followed by "Everything You Do Is Right" and "Freedom of Information" day.

You could also look at the Catholic Saint Calendar, and remember that most of those said to have lived around 300 c.e. are actually Pagan Deities and not people.

Then there's the Pagan calendar. March 11th, for example, is Creation Day, celebrated in honor of the Creation of the world by Odin, Vili and Ve.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

#11 Fun and Frugal Family Tradition for Spring Equinox

Record the 30 days + 12 days of Sabbath with "Ostara daily" scrapbook.

It doesn't need to be elaborate, just take a photo every day and write about something that's in your mind that specific day.

You can make this a family thing by letting every member of the family write or draw something.

You could also write a family newspaper or magazine of the Ostaratide :-)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

#10 Fun and Frugal Family Tradition for Spring Equinox

You could pot an orange tree or lemon tree and use that as your spring- and summertime holiday tree.

Hang up the decoration in the tree already a month before the holiday with fairylights, and have a family gathering under the tree each night before the Holiday.

You can have a sleep-over under the tree.

You can have movie nights under the tree.

You can wrap season appropriate books under the tree and open one every night and read it out loud. (If you can't find a book to fit your purposes, write and illustrate one, with the whole family.)

You can have a "camp fire" and sing-a-long under the tree.

You could also tell stories about your own childhood and the family traditions there. (And if you are unfortunate enough not to have any good memories to share, share someone else's memories and stories you have read, stories that inspired you to create new memories for your own family. Do this even when you have good memories :-D)

Monday, April 2, 2012

#9 Fun and Frugal Family Tradition for Spring Equinox

Play holiday themed games. 

If you can't find any, make them yourself. Most board games have a really simple construction. My favorite game was "Star of Africa" - a Finnish classic board game, where the players traveled through Africa trying to find a diamond, the Star of Africa... There are dozens of versions of Monopoly and Ludo (Parcheesi/Pachisi) is pretty straight forward game to copy, then there's the Candyland, and snakes and ladders and the ever so lovely Mystery Date :-D

So - make a game of Demeter's search for Persephone, for example. Simple Snakes and Ladders format would fit this nicely. Those helping her would be "ladders", those mocking her "snakes".

Sunday, April 1, 2012

#8 Fun and Frugal Family Tradition for Spring Equinox

I love singing together... how the family gathers around the piano and sings familiar songs...

There are so few spring songs around, and that's a pity. You could take your favorite carols and write new lyrics to them. After all, that's what has happened during the last 1000 years in Europe, people took the familiar tunes and wrote a new, meaningful text to them and then sang them so often people got used to them, and started singing them too.

You could go caroling with your family. In Sweden there is a tradition around May Day, that the university students gather around to sing spring songs as a choir. Nothing stops you from doing that already at Ostara. It is spring and it is a lovely thing.

Countdown to Beltane, Day 1

Today is April Fools' Day.

It's 30 days to Beltane, the feast of feasts and song and dance and merrymaking and lovemaking...

Last year I posted "countdown to Ostara" with heavy posts every day, starting 30 days before Ostara. I did it to give the Pagan community something to think about, to see Spring Equinox as any other Holiday, give us ideas and information, links to tutorials and recipes etc.

I was very disappointed by the lack of interest - as it seemed to me, because I really cannot know if anyone reads or appreciated my work, unless you leave a comment... It was very dishearthening, and as I then tried to continue with Countdown to Beltane, I didn't have the spirit to do that. I hope I'll do better this year. This is a really important thing to me, you see, and I would like to add more to the Pagan resource box called Internet...

It would be enough to just say ":-)" or "thanks for posting this", if you find it hard to express your thoughts, or just that you read what I have written. "XXX was here" is enough.
Of course, it would be nice, if you added that you like it, hate it, disagree, agree, found something worth reading it in it or anything. Just let me know I'm not alone. It feels like that so very often, and I do get sad, even though I try to tell myself that people do read.

If you give me a link to your blog, I will post it.

If you leave links to an interesting page, I'll link to that, and credit you.

If you have a shop selling things that might work for Beltane, I'll link to that too, and happily, as I think it's great that people can support themselves with the work of their hands and creativity, and I'm overjoyed by the idea of being able to promote my fellow Pagan artisans' endeavors and enterprises. :-)


In France April Fools is called Poisson d'avril, the April Fish. The March-April issue of Marie Claire Idées is usually full of fishes made in different art and craft methods, and in France they give chocolate fishes to each other on this day.

Sounds like a much better tradition than the practical jokes version.

But if you love the prankster tradition, try to do it with kindness and consideration. I just read about some idiot parents, who thought it was a great prank to play on their children (7 and 12) to trick them into cleaning the household by promising $100 to the one who did better job. The $100 was fake... Then the mother said that they gave both kids $30 as reward anyway, but it doesn't change the fact that the one who won the challenge got a piece of paper and the whole family laughed at him... Yeah... be a good boy and you end up being the laughing stock of everyone. Nice.

No - things like painting the soap with clear nail polish, or... harmless fun. Nothing that causes people anguish, pain or shame because they are nice, kind and gentle people, trying to help.

Taping the toilet seat ring to the cover so that one has to sit on the cold china is an ok prank.

Putting some good flavor in the toothbrush is a good prank, but not putting in something that tastes bad or makes your mouth burn or itch or numb. That's not a good prank.

But - I have Asperger's. I depend on things being what they look like.
To me the prank of covering onions with toffee and making fake candy apples would be cruel, because I would never eat another candied apple in my life.
To me making fake chocolate eclairs, filling them with chili, salt, cinnamon paste, garlic, mint toothpaste or plastic flies would be cruel.
To me having someone impersonate a police man and telling me I have done something illegal and will be punished, would be horrible.
Promising me something if I do something and then it turns out that something was not what was promised, would not be funny. It would be a promise broken, and I would not trust you again. (Like promising someone iPod, but giving him an eyepad in iPod box... No.)

Colombina by Mark Satchwill

I have to say that I would rather have people play jokes on their own cost.

Have a Fool day.

Do everything the exact opposite.

And not only do the exact opposite of what you were asked to do, or eating the desserts first, or making the dinner where savory dishes look like desserts and vice versa. Not only wearing your clothes insideout, or pants as a jacket and a shirt like pants.

When you are afraid of doing something, you should do just that.
When your inner voice tells you you are worthless, tell it it's wrong, you are very valuable and worthy, as there is not one other being on the whole universe like you.
When you notice you are looking down, look up.
If you "always" go right, go left this time.

You are The Fool. You have the right to look the people in their eyes and see them, really SEE them.
You have the right to do foolish and silly things, dare and try, experience and live the life like a child, as if you were seeing everything the first time.
If the stars were visible only once in every 100 years, everyone would gather out to watch the amazing show. Act as if they were visible for only tonight. If it's cloudy, you can repeat the experiment tomorrow, or day after that. It doesn't matter, because they ARE up there, every night.
But YOU might not be around, so don't push until tomorrow what you can do today.

Except if it's boring. If you are not around tomorrow, no-one will care whether your dishes are done and your shoes in perfect order.

(It might be a good idea to wear something that informs people of that you are celebrating the April Fools, and you are The Fool today, so they won't get confused.)

Some influence for this post:
Origins of April's Fools' Day
Female Tricksters 
Trickster Women
The Trickster: A God's Evolution