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house cleansing

we have been in our new (rented) home for 6 months now and while this is really great, and life is grand, we have experienced sicknesses and had to contend with an infestation and there is a creepy born again christian upstairs. the move-in procedure was horrifying as a result of the owner not actually getting her stuff out when we were supposed to be moving in, and she left a lot of shit too. so it was very confusing and disorganised and we have managed but have yet to get the basement sorted...etc.

i know it's long overdue, but i need some cleansing, protection, good energy charging rituals to get things really "right" around here.

i'm looking at the moon and between now and april 20 is waxing, and between then and may 5 is waning. so i hope to focus on building white light and love and power for the next week or so, then focus on banishing "crud" for the following cycle(probably to include some sage smudging) till may 5 when i would like to have some freinds over for a drumming circle or something of the sort. (or would the drumming be more appropriate on the full moon?).

any

The touch of tea...

As the seasons hover between winter and spring, the morning chill still seeps in and makes my mornings seem a little sluggish at times. There is no more natural comfort, perhaps, than closing one's hands around a steaming mug of tea on a cold morning.

I grew up on lipton tea with lots of milk and sugar, dunking buttered toast crusts in it with my mother before school. As I grew, I fell back on my old bagged standby, never imagining there were other choices. Now, older and wiser, I have found the treasure in whole-leaf tea and frequently spread the word, liberating former bagged tea drinkers.

Black, green and white tea all come from the same plant (same with green, red, yellow and orange peppers!), and all have different optimum brewing times. I confess to being unsophisticated and only reaching for black or flavored tea when given a choice, but I understand whole leaf green and white are lovely as well.

I keep a variety of teas on hand, and I drink a cup when I sit down to do a ritual - the good old standby chamomile for peaceful workings, a jasmine rooibos for love meditations, plain black for a variety of causes that I need to be a bit more active mentally for. There are as many different teas as there are rituals, and you're sure to have a great time finding the ones that work best for you.

A great place to start is at Adagio Teas - they have little sample tins for only $2 or so each. Just pop the loose tea into an infuser (a straining teaspoon or tea ball) or drop a spoon into cup of hot water and drink around the leaves - then you can read the leaves afterwards!

Here's a free $5 certificate (no minimum order) for any curious to try - I can wholeheartedly recommend them! I have two shelves full of their wonderful teas that I love to share with guests. 

http://www.adagio.com/free_gift/index.html?sender=135698&color=assam

-Fox
 

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Gaining acceptance..

Just a little tale to tell; it happened yesterday and gave me faith in the kindness of humanity.

I was checking out at a store yesterday when the loud, brash older woman ringing up my items asked me pointedly what the symbol on my ring (a pentacle) meant. I took that mental deep breath almost all of us do when asked that question in an spanish inquisition-like tone, and told her I was a praticing pagan.

"PAYgan...whassat? Some kinda devil worship?"

Almost immediately, an elderly woman behind me who could barely speak English cleared her throat and put a hand on my shoulder.

"No, No...it..it is mean she good witch. Good. White witch."

And the (late 30s-early 40's) co-worker of the asking woman spoke up immediately after.

"Oh! Yeah, I've been to a wiccan wedding before. Cool people, really nice ceremony too."

My town isn't known for being overly progressive or terribly accepting of things that are outside the norm. I walked out, hugging my packages, and I swear the sun broke free of the clouds as I did.

One day, my children might not need defenders, but I am humbly greatful to have them now.

-Fox

A heart like a bud..

I don't know about everyone else, but even with the fairly snow-less winter we've had here on the East Coast, I don't think I've ever been so eager for spring to get here!

Even though humankind doesn't need to hibernate or huddle in caves any longer,  the turning of the seasons into something slightly more palatable and warmer is still cause for celebration, both in the community and in the heart. As the proverbial frost melts away, we begin to see the birds winging back from their stay abroad, the crocuses insistently breaking through the dirt, the wind blowing with slightly less nip in its breath.

My house is...well, in short it's a wreck. I have piles and piles of items I bought to resell on eBay and last interest or got busy somewhere along the way. I plan on doing a good old fashioned roll-up-the-sleeves  spring cleaning soon, but until then I've consoled myself with redesigning my website, www.FoxMackenzie.com. Even something as simple as swapping out my old uber-goth black "artsy" icons for some florals and bright pictures lifts my spirit out of the doldrums this winter has pulled it into. 

Because my heart longs for flowers and they're being a bit poky in getting here, I found a happy medium by making a rather unusual treat - Lavender Jelly! It's tasty and interesting :)

This is the recipe that I used (quite successfully!), courtesy of the fine folks at www.whatscookingamerica.net :

Lavender Jelly

3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dried lavender flowers*
Juice of 1 lemon  (approximately 1/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4-ounces) box powdered pectin or 1 pouch (3-ounces) liquid pectin
4 cups sugar

In a large saucepan over high heat bring water just to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in dried lavender flowers, and let steep for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, strain mixture into a deep kettle or pot, discarding the lavender flowers. Stir in lemon juice and pectin; continue stirring until the pectin is dissolved.

Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil; add sugar. When the jelly solution returns to a hard rolling boil, let it boil for 2 to 4 minutes (see below), stirring occasionally.

Boil Times:
2 minutes - soft gel
4 minutes - medium gel

Testing for "jell" (thickness - I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon.  If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jelly is ready.  If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1 teaspoon to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute

After boiling, transfer the jelly into hot sterilized jars. Fill them to within 1/4 inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.

Makes five 1/2 pints.

-Fox

okay..per mods request I'll throw something out there...have any of you picked up the book A kitchen Witchs cookbook by patricia telasco?

http://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Witchs-Cookbook-Patricia-Telesco/dp/1567187072/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-3955546-9522568?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190353831&sr=8-2

I THINK it's the one I have, the cover looks different (reprint?) The one I have has an amazing cross reference of charts in the back for cross coordinating foods to different elements, gods/goddesses, astrological signs, and everything else you can think of...it also has a wide variety of some pretty tasty sounding recipes from around the world too.

A rallying cry!

I have bajillions of you guys that wanted to be in on this, so I signed everyone up that asked :)

This is a formal request to save me the embarrasment of continually prattling on about my own experiences...please, guys, write something and share your wisdom, eh?

Thanks :)

-Fox

Nothing, to me, is more satisfying than creating food. Except, perhaps creating food from found sources. I harvested some wild grapes earlier this weekend and whipped up a few mason jars of jam.


The recipe is extrodinarily simple - get a bunch of concord grapes, simmer em' down from just grapes to juice, skins and seeds , toss the mush in a cheesecloth square (in my case, a scrap of tie-dye quilting fabric) hang it suspended over a bowl overnight. 

The next day, heat juice (in quantities that can be measured in cups) until boiling. Add 1.25 cups of sugar for each cup of juice, stir until dissolved. Pour into sterilized (read: swished around in boiling water a few minutes) mason jars, leave 1/8" headroom and screw shut. Voila - jam! I'm not sure if it's safe to pantry-store ...I'd imagine not, being it contains no preservatives. We refridgerate ours.

-Fox

We live and breathe!

Well, as sorrowfully neglectful as I've been with this poor lil' community, I am happy to report that more people than ever have been requesting to join! Look at our member list on the info page...we've like, tripled in the past handful of months. No posts have come of it, but hey, I'll take what I can get ;)

I found some wild grapes today while I was out working with the signifigant other, they've been plucked and readied for their trip to jamland, courtesy of my saucepot and a square of cheesecloth. (Pictures to be posted off the cameraphone once I make hearth at our apartment once more)

I have been cooking a STORM up lately...tons and tons of apple pies, of all things, stews, soups, muffins, cakes...just about everything. I'm going to hack out an article or two on the magical properties of apples, stews, etc tonight to share with you all.

Thanks for being so patient and not disbanding while I was away. :) Good things are in store!

-Fox

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Some Quotes

A WITCH'S KITCHEN BLESSING

Blessed be this Kitchen of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.
Be warmed by the sacred light of the Goddess and the Horned One.
May all that is created here by means both magical and mundane bring
nourishment, healing, and sustenance, and cause harm to none.
With love and peace, with joy and magic, be now and always filled.
So mote it be!
-Gerina Dunwich



KITCHEN WITCH ABC`s

Always stir in a clockwise motion
Before you chop veggies, offer thanks
Cut mindfully, gratefully
Do all preparations in a loving spirit
Energize food with good thoughts
Feast gratefully
Give & share what you can spare
Home & hearth are sacred
Invoke blessings of Goddess on all food
Join hands with friends often
Kindness shows in serving food
Love goes into every dish
Mindfully gather ingredients
No wasting - recycle, compost, feed animals
Open your senses, enjoy your surroundings
Play as well as work
Quench thirst, thinking of clear clean rivers
Resolve to be grateful & waste not
Salivate as you smell fragrance & anticipate flavors
Thank the Universe & Goddess for health
Use utensils carefully, then clean up
Value time spent with loved ones
When possible grow & harvest your food
Xtra food is for creative recombining
Yearly rituals & feasts build traditions
Zestful living in every area is our goal.
Source Unknown