Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegan Hot Wings!

The 2 tastes I miss most since going veg are BBQ & Hot Wings.  I don't miss the meat, but miss the flavor & experience of the sloppy finger foods.

BBQ has long since been fixed in our house with this recipe Vegan Barbecue Ribs from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

But until today I hadn't managed to reproduce Hot Wings with decent results.
Today's version was right on the money!!  I was so excited, that I forgot to take pics.

Vegan Hot Wings

8 oz tempeh
¾ cup unsweetened milk substitute (I use Silk Organic Soy Milk)
½  cup flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 Tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1-2 Tbsp hot sauce
1/3 cup  ketchup
2 Tbsp agave nectar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (use “speed bake” or convection if you have it)

Cut the tempeh into about ½ inch x 2 inch pieces.  Boil the tempeh in enough water to just cover in a covered skillet for 10-15 minutes or until it is softened. Drain.  

Use spray oil to prepare a baking sheet.

Mix the flour & seasonings in a medium bowl or plate.

Put your soymilk another bowl.

Put the panko bread crumbs in a third bowl.

Coat the tempeh pieces in flour, dip each nugget into the milk & then toss with panko to coat.  Arrange all pieces on the baking sheet.

Spray the tops with cooking spray, and bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes.
Turn the nuggets over after 10 minutes & spray again with oil. Bake for an additional 6-8 minutes.

While the nuggets are baking, Mix all sauce ingredients in the skillet & heat over medium heat until warm (don’t allow it to boil).  Keep the sauce warm.

As soon as the nuggets are done baking, toss them into the skillet & turn to coat each one in the sauce. Serve with vegan ranch dip or, if you can find it, vegan blue “cheese” dip.

 We had these in wraps with some fresh tomatoes, sliced onions & Okinawan spinach.  YUMMMY!
Wild & Bright Blessings!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Crafting the Holidays

For those who may, like me, have started late in the year & wish to craft a few items for holiday presents, here are a few sites & tips. There isn't time for much, but these can get you going.  Next year we'll start in July, right? 

Make an herbal tea basket for your tea loving friends.  Mine include:
  • Goddess teacup
  • 3 home designed artisan teas
  • vanilla sugar
  • lavender honey (just put 1/4 c lavender into 1 cup honey & stir daily for 2 weeks, then strain)
  • lemon balm honey (same as above, but I only used 2 Tbsp fresh lemon balm)
  • 3 flowering teas
  • tea strainer
Make a portable altar for your witchy friend (I made mine from an old tea tin):
  • Decorated box
  • Feather (air)
  • Lava bead or rock (fire)
  • Pentacle or stone (earth) or vial of dirt/sand
  • Shell or vial of spring water (water)
  • Mini battery-operated candles - black, white or both depending on friend's practices
  • Lighter & small sage bundle or smudging spray
  • Small terminated crystal (can be used as a wand)
  • Mini goddess statue or other deity
  • Handkerchief (altar cloth)
You get the idea...just get crafting, and don't forget to tuck a bit of magick into each present.

Now, check out the Pooka Pages for a few free Yule gift tags!

Wild & Bright Blessings!


Monday, November 22, 2010

I don't wanna cook!

There are evenings where I just don't feel like cooking.  Mostly, this means my darling sous chef isn't around to do the chopping, because he's at work.  In the past, I would order pizza or Chinese food & veg out in front of the television.  Now, after years of my own yummy food, I just can't bring myself to pay $30+ for lousy take-out for 2 people.

So, I've had to come up with a few strategies for the "I don't wanna cook!" nights.

  • Pizza - with a few veggies & a pre-made crust, we can have yummy, vegan pizza in 30 minutes or less (LOL).  Here are a few of my pizza combos
    • Vegan sausage, mushrooms, tomato sauce
    • Mushrooms, onions, basil, some pre-made vegan cheese (either homemade if I have it or store-bought)
    • Broccoli, vegan feta (homemade), kalamata olives & spinach
    • "beef" flavored TVP, jalapenos, refried beans & vegan cheddar (store-bought)
  • Risotto - we always have some veggies & arborio rice around, & that's all it really takes to make a risotto.  I pretty much just pick a broth, add wine, sauteed onions, some vegan margarine & vegan parmesan & a veggie or 2 & an herb
    • Mushroom & Spinach
    • Asparagus 
    • Broccoli
    • Winter squash
    • Peas (add lemon juice)
    • you get the point...experiment
  • Quinoa  Bowl - I stole this from a local restaurant, Dandelion Communitea Cafe.  
    • 2 servings Quinoa
    • 1 can any beans, drained, rinsed & warmed
    • 2 raw veggies, chopped or sliced
    • Any salad dressing
    • Cook the quiona (directions here).  While it's cooking, chop the veggies & cook the beans.  Spoon the quiona into a bowl, add the beans & veggies, top with dressing...mix &  eat!

  • Freezer foods - just make a big batch instead of enough for your meal.  When dinner is over, take a few moments to portion out & freeze the leftovers.  Just be careful with gravies, they tend to separate when frozen & thawed.
    • Soups
    • Chili
    • Enchiladas
    • Lasagne
    • Spaghetti & other pasta sauces
So, there it is...this vegan witch has more important things to do tonight than make an elaborate dinner.  I'm headed into the kitchen to tear mushrooms & spinach into a skillet of risotto that I shall stir deosil as my mind wanders.

Wild & Bright Blessings!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Real Story Behind a Blue Moon

This is the coolest article!!

I always thought a Blue Moon was the 2nd Full Moon in a month...not so much!  Here's the real story:

Wild & Bright Blessings!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Elderberry Echinacea Syrup

It's cold & flu season.  Are you prepared?

In getting prepared for winter, one of my projects was to make Elderberry & Echinacea syrup.  Here's how:

1/2 cup dried Elderberries
3 Tbsp Echinacea
5 cups distilled water
2 1/2 cups local honey

Bring elderberries & water to a boil.  Cover & simmer for 1 hour.  Add Echinacea.  Steep for another 30 minutes.  Strain through cheesecloth & SQUEEZE to get all the goodness out.

Add honey.

Allow to cool & bottle.

Could anything be easier???

I added a 1/4 cup of brandy to the brew as a preservative.  It will keep for a few months in the refrigerator, and longer in the freezer.  This recipe made 3 bottles, so 2 now live in the freezer. 
The very moment my instincts tell me that I have a risk of catching a cold or the flu, I take 2-3 tsp syrup at least 3 times a day.  If the cold actually catches me, I increase the dose to every 2-3 hours for a couple of days.  In addition to this lovely syrup, I drink garlic, ginger & cayenne tea when at risk of a cold.  


Remember my witchy friends:   *****YOU are responsible for your own health!  If you're taking prescription medications or have chronic illnesses, you MUST consult your doctor, pharmacist or trained herbalist before using herbal remedies!  The herbal info in this blog is about how I & my family use these health-promoting plant allies & is not a substitute for medical care.*****

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rules of a Kitchen Witch

Actually, these should probably be Tips & Rules of a Vegan Kitchen Witch Who Studies Buddhism & Views Her Home as a Sanctuary, but that title seemed a bit silly & pretentious.  Basically, these are just some thoughts rattling around in this witch's noggin as she cleans & cooks on a typical day.  Just to keep it light, there's a great Saturday Night Live video at the end.  A kitchen witch can't afford to be too serious after all.

  • Only love may enter - this one has sub-rules
    • Be very selective about who you allow into your home!  It is yours & you have the right to choose the energy that comes in. 
    • Ground & center prior to entering your house after being in the outside world
    • Never prepare food when you're angry or upset, it ruins the magic(k) & even the taste
    • Make sure everyone knows to check judgments & prejudices at the front door
    • We believe that everyone has the right to believe in what they believe
    • Curiosity & love can overcome hate & anger
  • She who cooks does not clean - this is about the dishes.  We violate this one all the time, but it's been a house rule for years, so I'm posting it.
  • Pick up your own stuff - we do not employ a housekeeper
  • Cleanse the space once a week - harmful energy can build up & needs to be sent away.  I open the house & smudge weekly & have found this to be an amazing practice for keeping my husband & I in harmony with each other.
  • Honor the home spirit - give offerings to the spirit of your home regularly, make peace & see what happens. 
  • Create something, anything- this really gets your witchy courage going!  Create a recipe, create a candle, sew a pillow, paint, anything from your own hands & imagination.
  • If you don't like it get rid of it - this definitely applies to those crazy & useless gifts given to you by family & friends at the holidays, but also applies to that incredibly expensive gadget you bought thinking it would make your life better...if it sucks, it gets tossed! (our stuff goes to Goodwill) 
  • If it tastes bad, LOL & order out! - every witch has created a dish that tastes a bit like dog poo.  Never fear...that's what take-out was created for. Giggle, celebrate your ability to take a risk & pick up the phone.
  • Acquire, care for & cherish the Kitchen Witch's tools - find that perfect wooden spoon, the vacuum that glides in your hands, the scrub brush that fits right into the little spaces, even a kitchen cauldron (pot) & then care for them, love them, treat them as you would your athame or other ritual tools.
  • Meditate in your space - pick a room & meditate regularly in it, see what people begin to say about that room...now move to another room...change the energy throughout your space
  • Create an altar (or 2 or 3!) - your altar need not be formal & witchy, maybe it's just a celebration of the current season, a gathering of icons of the Elements or symbols, maybe a god or goddess, maybe even a cooking ancestor like Julia Childs (watch the video below!!), who knows...be creative!
  • Be green & clean with magic(k) - use traditional & green ingredients in your cleaning products
  • Embrace natural scent - whether it's incense, candles, herbal sprays or essential oils, bring natural scents into your home to harmonize the energy
  • Grow something, anything - even apartment dwellers can grow a small houseplant, bring the energy of plant spirits into your world.
  • Harm None (Nothing with a face or a mother is cooked here) - this one is hard for my visitors.  While I love them & have no problem with another's choice, I feel really strongly about keeping our space free from the energy of tortured & murdered sentient beings.  I do, however, allow a meat entree when the whole family gathers so there is no animosity (it is not cooked in my kitchen, however).
  • Be flexible!  The more rules we create, the more rule-breakers we create.  Learn to be flexible within your own guidelines without giving in to the pressure of others.  Know when to say "No." when to say "Yes." & when to say "Lets discuss this one."
  • Sing & Dance! Especially when you're cooking & cleaning.  Singing & dancing brings the sacred into your work.  Sing! Dance! Flit around the house like you're 10 years old.
  • Nurture humor! - here, just watch this & giggle.

The French Chef
Uploaded by y10566. - Sitcom, sketch, and standup comedy videos.

Here's a poem I found on the internet, I'm currently reciting this prior to cooking & cleaning sessions to help set the tone.  (I don't know who authored it, if you do please let me know!)
The Kitchen Witch’s Creed
In this pot I stir the sun,
an’ follow the rule of harming none.
Banishment of bane when goin’ windershins;
an’ with water and salt negativity is cleansed.
Household duties are more than chores,
Magick abounds when mopping the floors.
With this broom, I do sweep,
To clean my house and safety keep.
Marigold, Basil, Thyme, and Yarrow,
My spell is cast for a better tomorrow.
Lemons for joy and apples for health,
The pow’r within brings great wealth.
And in this kitchen I do pray,
To truly walk the Witch’s Way.

Wild & Bright Blessings!


    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Winter Harvest Polenta

    If you've ever tasted real polenta as opposed to that icky store-bought version, you know why I have to make my own.  For a long while, I was intimidated by this dish & thought there was no way I could create a vegan version.  Just like risotto, though, polenta is easier than you think & even easier to veganize!

    Today I wanted something different to use up the leftover butternut squash sitting in the refrigerator, so I played around with a recipe & came up with this:

    Winter Harvest Polenta

    1 cup cooked & mashed winter squash (butternut, acorn, sweet dumpling, pumpkin...any winter squash will do)
    3 cups vegetable stock or water
    1 cup coarse cornmeal
    1/4 cup minced onion (about 1/4 small onion)
    pinch dried, crushed rosemary
    pinch dried, crushed (not powdered) sage
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 Tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
    2 Tbsp vegan Parmesan (I make my own, but you can use any number of store-bought brands)
    2 Tbsp unsweetened milk substitute (I use unsweetened almond milk)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    To cook squash, just peel & cube, then boil for about 20 minutes in salted water.  Puree with a potato masher or in your food processor/blender.  Set aside.

    Bring water to a boil.  Slowly stir in cornmeal.  Stir constantly & reduce heat to medium-high (still boiling, but slowly).  Continue to cook & stir constantly until the mixture is thick & consistent.  It may even begin to form lumps.  Remove from heat & add the rest of the ingredients (if you want to saute the onions first, go ahead, I didn't) & stir to fully combine.

    Spray an 8 inch x 8 inch pan with non-stick spray or paint lightly with olive oil.  Spread mixture into pan & bake for 30-40 minutes.  Remove & allow to cool slightly before serving.

    This can also be grilled!  To grill the polenta, omit the baking step (or bake it, eat some & chill the rest for grilling), chill the mixture, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or until cool & firm.  Slice to about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick & grill over medium heat on an oiled grill.

    The next conundrum was what to do with my new yummy polenta.  After digging through a few books, I decided to combine 3 recipes in my cauldron, add a touch of Faery dust & out came:

    Winter Harvest Polenta Stacks with Sun-Dried Tomato Cashew Cheese

    I sliced the polenta & grilled it, added a layer of "cheese", & a layer of roasted veggies, topped with tomato & roasted veggie puree & zapped it in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes.

    I basically just threw the "cheese" together using cashews, pine nuts, a touch of white miso, some fresh pesto I made earlier this week,  & sun-dried tomatoes.  The veggies were mushrooms, zucchini, onion, & carrots.  After they roasted, I pureed them in my blender with 3 whole tomatoes, 2 Tbsp tomato paste, a splash of apple cider vinegar, about a Tbsp of maple syrup & some garlic, then simmered for an hour.

    Hubby & I got so excited about eating dinner, that I forgot to take a picture, but you get the idea.

    Nutritious & Yummmy!!!

    Wild & Bright Blessings!


    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Nut Cheese (quit giggling!)

    When I told a friend I ate nut cheese, she giggled & giggled until she almost peed her pants.  But seriously people, cheese made from nuts (the kind from trees, not men!), is a wonderfully flavorful addition to a vegan diet.

    In addition to nut cheeses, there are a variety of vegan cheese substitutes that can help jazz up your favorite recipe.  Vegan cheeses are easy to make, but most require a bit of planning because you need time to soak the nuts. (Ok, now I'm giggling with an image of soaking nuts!!)

    One of the great things about nut cheeses is that you get amazing nutrition from nuts instead of the artery-clogging animal fat from dairy cheeses.

    Besides their nutrition & taste, they are another way to incorporate your herbal magic(k) into your kitchen witch practice.  Experiment with some basic recipes & soon you'll be making love cheese (basil), cleansing cheese (sage), & a variety of other herbal cheeses!

    Oh, & by the way nut cheeses taste amazing!

    Here are a few of the recipes I use, feel free to muck around with them as you learn to make cheese yourself:

    Nut Ricotta

    I use this in Italian recipes as a ricotta substitute & also as a spread on crackers & sandwiches.  This recipe is a modification of a bunch of different ones I found in cookbooks & on the internet.  They're all about the same with a few changes.  Many thanks to Isa Moskowitz of Veganomicon & Jannequin Bennet of The Complete Vegan Kitchen for their inspiration!!

    1 cup cashews
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp salt
    dash pepper
    1 package firm tofu (may omit, see note below)
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    1 Tbsp fresh basil
    2 tsp fresh parsley
    2 tsp fresh oregano

    Soak cashews in water for 2 hours (can be skipped if you're in a hurry, but the texture will be different). Drain & rinse.  Place cashews, garlic, salt & pepper in the food processor with S blade & process until a paste is created.  Add in the rest of the ingredients & process until mixed well & a good texture has formed.

    You can also make this without the tofu, just add water while you're processing to get the right texture.  Try adding sun-dried tomatoes or increasing or changing the herbs.

    Almond Feta Cheese with Herb Oil - this recipe comes from Vegetarian Times & is tried & true.  It takes a lot of work, so I don't make it very often.

    Pepper Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese - another great recipe from Vegetarian Times! This is super yummy.  I don't tend to crust it if I'm using it on pizza, though (& it's wonderful on pizza!).

    Vegan Parmesan
    This is a recipe in process.  Each time I make it, there are adjustments.
    The base recipe comes from here: Vegan Parmesan Recipe.  None of the versions taste exactly like Parmesan, but they add a great flavor to any dish that calls for Parmesan's kick.

    1 cup nutritional yeast
    1/2 cup almonds
    1/4 cup sunflower seeds
    1/2 tsp salt
    dash onion powder
    1 tsp dried parsley

    Toast the almond & sunflower seeds lightly.  Allow to cool completely.  Grind the nuts & seeds in a food processor or coffee grinder (small batches for coffee grinder) until they are powdery.  Be careful not to grind them into a paste!  Mix in nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder & parsley.  Store in refrigerator. 

    Ethos Kitchen's Basic Cheese Sauce (using commercial vegan cheese substitute)

    This recipe belongs to Kelly from Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Orlando, FL.  Kelly was kind enough to hold a few vegan cooking workshops & really kick-started my vegan cooking skills. If you ever find yourself in Orlando, visit Ethos for some homey vegan fare!  You can use any vegan margarine & cheese substitute to make this recipe, I've just found these brands are the ones my hubby & I like the best & the ones Kelly recommends.

    2 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan margarine
    2 cups Follow Your Heart Monterrey Jack or Cheddar
    Salt to taste
    1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened milk substitute (I use Silk Almond Milk, Kelly uses Eden Soy Milk)

    Melt margarine over medium heat in a skillet or small saucepan.  Add cheese & salt, stir constantly until melted.  Add milk to desired thickness/thinness.  Serve over pasta or veggies or whatever.  You can add any number of herbs to this recipe & it is fabulous.  My favorite way to serve it is:

    Vegan Nachos
    1 recipe of Basic Cheese Sauce (above)
    1/2 package of vegan "beef" crumbles or "beef" TVP soaked
    1 Tbsp cumin
    1 tsp ground oregano
    1 tsp chili powder
    dash cayenne
    Salt & Pepper
    1 can black beans or pinto beans
    Avocado or vegan guacamole
    Corn chips

    Once cheese sauce is done, add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir & continue to cook over medium heat until hot & combined (don't worry if your cheese sauce separates momentarily, it will all come back together).  Sprinkle with cilantro.  Serve with corn chips & avocado or guacamole.  YUMMMY!

    Now that I've given you all the recipes, remember...YOU'RE THE COOK!  Modify, adjust, tinker.  Let me know how your versions turned out.

    Tomorrow, I''m going to try a new Sun-dried Tomato Cashew Cheese over my Polenta...stay tuned.

    Wild & Bright Blessings!


    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    An Anti-Bullying Message From the NOH8 Campaign

    Sting Me...Inflame Me...Heal Me...Our Ally Nettle

    I am blessed to be taking Christopher Penczak's Inner Temple of Witchcraft class with a local high priest & priestess.  This month, one of our assignments is to drink 3 cups of Nettle (tisane) tea* daily for 9 days as we work on lighting our inner flame of power.  How wonderful, because i just adore my herbs!

    Because I'm one of the "why" people, I always want to know the reason I'm asked to do something.  So, assuming there are others out there who might like to know about our friend Nettle.


    Surely you've met our friend at some point (haha!! I made a funny).  But you might not have thought him a friend.  Maybe you were gardening, or hiking.  Suddenly, as you brushed against a plant, you found your arm or leg burning & stinging!  "Bad Weed!" you may have thought (or something more colorful may even have been uttered).
    Actually, Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica, is one of the best wild plants out there!  The whole plant is useful, from the leaves to the stem, to the roots & even seeds.  Nettle is one of the allies to cherish...with gloves on.

    Here are just a few of the properties of our new friend:

    Magic(k)al (Scott Cunningham)

    Nettle is a masculine plant, ruled by Mars & associated with the Element of Fire & the god Thor (sounds about perfect for our use, huh?).  He has the powers of exorcism, protection, healing & lust.  Nettle has been long used in magic to remove curses, keep out evil, avert danger, allay fear & harmful energy, as a healing herb, & to induce lust (oh la la!). Nettle's magical properties, as those of many of our herbs allies, are closely related to his energetic & medicinal properties.

    Energetic (Susun Weed)

    "Nettle's sharp energy cuts loose old patterns & reweaves connections...Nettle leaves & stalks are an energetic changer, [working on] the entire energetic system (nerves, neurons, chakras, & subtle bodies."  (again...perfect for our use this month!)

    Medicinal (Susun Weed & Rosemary Gladstar)

    Nutritive & tonic (meaning restorative & safe to consume daily), he strengthens & tones the entire system.  Good as a diuretic, mild laxative, cleansing (antiseptic & astringent), anti-diabetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-asthmatic, expectorant.  Rich in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc & chromium & more vitamins.  Great for PMS & menopause, liver problems, allergies, hay fever & a host of other symptoms.  Basically, Nettle cleanses & nourishes, allowing the body to restore itself to health. 

    These are just a few of the wonderful properties of our hot & fiery plant ally, Nettle, when used as a tea.  He has many other uses too: as a hair tonic, for eczema & acne, etc. You can cook with fresh Nettle leaves, make fabric & cords with the stalks, make wine or even beer...oh the possibilities are endless!

    If you have some time to get to know this wonderful friend, do so.  Just use gloves if you're communing with the fresh version, he stings!

    *update: Some people have told me that Nettle tea is a bit to astringent for their tastes.  Try brewing 3 cups in the following manner:  

    3 cups Water
    3 Tbsp dried Nettle
    1 Cinnamon stick
    a dash of freshly ground Nutmeg
    a few slices of orange
    a splash of Agave nectar

    Allow to steep for 20 minutes, then remove the Nettle.  You can leave the cinnamon stick.  This tisane will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

    Much yummier!

    Wild & Bright Blessings!


    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Unintended Consequences

    Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will...so goes this witch's ethical code. 

    How, do we know whether our magic(k)al workings will harm none?  Even with the best intentions, by manipulating energy, we are causing changes. Changes have consequences - some we intend, others we may not.

    Take, for example, a recent binding/banishing I performed.  Now, don't freak out on me...it wasn't some evil magic spell performed to hurt an enemy.  This spell was performed with love.  Love for those I desired to protect, love for myself, and even a focused love for those being bound/banished.

    I specifically designed a spell with wording to bind 2 women from harming me and someone I love, either by their actions or their words.  The spell was prompted by some very aggressive & intrusive behavior on their part.  As I performed the spell, I focused my thoughts upon good will towards the women, thinking of their good qualities & what may have prompted their words/actions, rather than my feelings about it.  I spent a full day on this spell after 2 days of designing it - I was and am very, very serious about this working.

    So far so good.  I've heard nothing from the women, which is unusual.  I put the spell out of my mind the moment it was complete and began working on protection magic(k).  I could have simply done protection workings alone, but this was serious enough to prompt direct action. 

    That was 12 days ago. 

    Today, I received a call from my friend, the 1st woman's wife.  Their lives have been engulfed in family drama for 10 days solid.  Neither woman has been on the receiving end of any harm or misfortune, but they are fully wrapped up in the dramas of those around them.  Of course, being involved in these dramatic events is a great distraction from the temptation to meddle in my life. The 2 women have evidently forgotten me.

    Am I upset about this?  Actually, no.  I was very serious about keeping this woman & her friend from hurting me or my loved one.  They posed a great threat.  I am happy one is too busy to think of me.  I am happy she is too busy to get together with her other friend & plot. 

    But...there is a bit of guilt.

    Did my workings cause the events? - No.  Not possible.  These events had begun long before I performed my spell.  But, did my working cause my friend & her meddling wife to become entrenched in the dramas?  Possibly.  They are not overly dramatic women, and would normally stand on the periphery.

    Will I undo the binding/banishing?  Uhm.....NO!!! I stand firm that my magic(k) was done with the intent of protection & in reaction to an open, malicious attack.  I reserve the right to be a witch 100% of the time, not only when someone wants to be helped or healed.  One who has the power to heal also has the power to curse.  No black & white for me, it's all gray.  Sometimes our workings have unintended consequences.

    So, once again, I am thinking of how my behavior, words, thoughts, energy effects others.  One of the wonderful things about being a witch is that we think of these things.  Everyone's actions effect the lives of others; witches are simply more conscious of the possibility to harm & receive the energy back.  With that consciousness comes more deliberate action.  Even when we think it out carefully & guard our intents, sometimes things go in ways we didn't expect.

    Such is life.  Such is the dilemma of a witch.  Always, though, I set out To Harm None; even when I'm pissed, I understand the rules & believe them.  But, know...this witch will protect herself and those she loves.
    Enough rambling...work safely my witchy friends!

    Wild & Bright Blessings,


    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Notes from Pagen Festival

    I'm just now recovering from my 1st Pagan festival, Florida Pagan Gathering.  Whew!!

    Here's the good, the bad, the ugly & the magickal:

    1. The Good - FPG was filled with wonderful people!  We had opportunities for amazing workshops.  My favorites were Rhythm Circle 201 with Sean Richards, aka Congasean, Southern Folk Magic with Sara Amis, and Simple Circle Dances for all Pagans with Rayna Ardren Owens.
    2. The Bad - I did not listen to my intuition & traded some wonderful workshops for some mediocre ones.  I missed An Elemental Journey Toward Wisdom with Grandmother Elspeth of Haven, Poetry: Magical Words with Akantha, and Rising Up: The Iron Pentacle with T.Thorn Coyle. Grrrr!!! (Note to self: ignore peer pressure!!!)
    3. The Ugly - Oh my goddess!!! I camped in a tent in the cold & wet with 25 knot winds.  Need I say more??? AND, I lost my favorite camera.  
    4. The Magickal - Drum Circle!!!  We had circle every night, but Saturday night was amazing!  Imagine a 25 ft high, 12 ft wide fire surrounded by witches & pagans drumming & dancing.  I danced!!! I've never danced in circle before, so this was a big step.  It was WONDERFUL!!!  

    Here are a few tips from a 1st timer:

    • Dress for the weather (duh, I know, but do it)
    • If given a choice between cloth & walls, choose walls (there were cabins...I was envious)
    • Don't take your camera, you won't use it & it might disappear
    • Bring a notebook
    • Bring a portable altar
    • Find time to ground & center & meditate among the mayhem
    • Schedule 1-2 days off post festival to recover
    • Talk to everyone!
    • Make up your own "business" cards, even if you don't have a business...it's easier to exchange info that way
    • Decide on your ethics PRIOR to festival!!  Things can get out of hand & you don't want to go home with regrets (this was soooooooooooo important & I'm really glad I did so!!!)
    • Take some risks
    • Choose your workshops before you discuss festival with your friends & then stick by your choices (obviously I did not do this)
    • Try to help at least 1 person during festival so you are giving as well as taking
    • Remember, people are there for spiritual reasons as well as to have a good time...just because it's Pagan doesn't mean it's a giant beer/pot/sex party! (uhm...speaking to the "I'm a Pagan because it's non-conformist" crowd here)
    Now that everything is cleaned up & put away, it's time to get back to work.  Today's project was an alcohol-based herbal burn for the upcoming Full Moon.  Then I've GOT TO WORK ON holiday gifts!

    Wild & Bright Blessings,


    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    My Hedge

    A witch's hedge is her boundary, her privacy, a source of herbs for spells & a home for her friends in nature.  I adore my front hedge, but the back needs some work.  I just decided to create an elder hedge, but have had trouble finding the plant stock.  As with most things in my life, once I decide on the intent, it is time for me to let go & allow the Universe to work.  Here is the story of our new hedge:

    When we bought this home, I felt like it was too open to the neighbors.  My darling husband listened to my complaints, & for our 1st Christmas he gave me a shirt box with our property done in origami out of $20 bills.  We were seriously broke then!  He had saved for 6 months to have enough for my hedge, but didn't know what plants I wanted.

    I was BLOWN AWAY!! What a wonderful man!!!  We created a front hedge out of viburnum that is now about 20 feet tall & incredibly thick.  The birds & bees love our hedge. 

    The back "hedge" kind of grew on it's own.  Our yard is flanked by about 30 camphor trees.  Now, camphor has some nice uses, but it's an invasive here in Florida, so we've been thinking about how we can replace these trees & still maintain our privacy.  Since most of my magick is done out in the backyard (aka Faeryland) & some of it is done skyclad...privacy is sort of important!  Elder was suggested to me by a fellow herbalist & magical practitioner.  We've been looking for some, but couldn't find it locally.  I could go & dig some in the wild, but also couldn't find any in an allowable spot for digging up plants.  So, I had resigned myself to waiting until my local nursery could order some in & then spend the $10/plant she was going to charge.

    Yesterday, we went to visit our organic farmer for some salad & I mentioned I wanted to find some elder trees.  She gave me 10 elder tree starts & said I can have as many as I want for free!!!  (oh, did I tell you she's a Brazilian wise woman?)

    Our new babies have been planted & soon the camphor trees will come down.  I'm sure there will be a season or two when I have to be a bit more conservative in my outdoor practices, but how exciting!!

    I chose elder for a variety of reasons.  Elder's powers are used in exorcism, protection, healing, prosperity & sleep.  It is sacred to many Goddesses because of its white flowers.

    Elder wards off attack of every kind, can break hexes, can protect against evil & negativity.  Elder is used in blessings as well.  It is known to bring prosperity to the household when grown near the home & protects against robbers.  Elder is even reported to protect from the temptation towards adultery.  Elder branches can be used to make flutes for calling spirits.  And, its a great one for making magick wands.  (referenced: Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs)

    Whew!  With all elder's magical uses, I'm not sure I'll ever need its medicinal properties.

    Wild & Bright Blessings!