Monday, January 30, 2012


"Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.” Erica Jong

As my son has gotten older and is trying newer and scarier things, I have been having nightmares. Nightmares that I bet are not uncommon amongst parents- nightmares of not being able to "save" my son from danger. Nightmares that horrible people are doing mean or cruel things to him. Or he runs out into the street and I am not able to catch him before he is hit by a car. Or a nightmare that has him fall out a window, just out of reach.

I know from experience that these dreams are not prophetic. I have enough gift dreams to know what they feel like as they are happening. No- these are anxiety dreams. My son is growing up and I am realizing that I won't be able to protect him from everything all the time. He will experience pain, heartache, and sorrow. And there is nothing I can do about that fact. And it is painful to me.

Other parents- how do you handle it?

Saturday, January 28, 2012


My partner and I have been thinking about offering certain Witchcraft goods and services for a while now, but have been hesitant. We are not the "we make big bucks off of the Craft" kind of people. We don't associate with those folks nor do we want to become those folks. We value our gifts, our relationships with the gods and ancestors, and consider this kind of work a blessing and duty. We are often turned off by the opportunists making money off of the Craft and paganism in general.

In the past, we were content to do quiet work for friends (and friends of friends). But we still had the incessant nagging feeling to reach out to more people. Now that we are in a new place with very few traditional Witches in our area, we felt perhaps that time has come to offer our gifts to our new community. The nagging has only gotten stronger since returning to my partner's place of origin- Appalachia. The land spirits are poking him to follow the Wyrd. I too have been dreaming, almost every night, of a life that involves tangible work with my hands and heart that serves others.

Witch bottle from 17th century.
While we are making some of these offerings available on Etsy to the global village, we are offering far more to our local geographic community. (Witchery is more of a village affair, after all.) And while Etsy can only do basic cash exchange type commerce, here at home in our new community we value and encourage barter, the gift economy, and fair trade.

My partner is incredibly gifted at divination- both tarot and runes. I am a creative and powerful spellstress- I can make charms, talismans, witch bottles, candle spells, and more that pack quite a wallop (if I do say so myself).

I am so excited to grow my own magical and medicinal herbs and create my own remedies and toiletries. Excited to become more tied to a piece of land (and its cycles) and how it can give to me (and I to it). I am going to be making tinctures, balms, oils, lotions, sachets, poppets, wreaths, and much more with all kinds of plants, curios, and such. Making blessing soaps, floor washes, wards for folks' homes, candle spells, and the like sounds like a fabulous way to spend some time each week. Growing Reishi and other medicinal mushrooms, mugwort, and henbane.

I will also be using the Etsy store (and this blog) to share my homeschool curriculum. I start writing units this semester and will be selling .pdfs of units as they happen.

While the Boline Etsy store won't be fully operational until after our move next month we are offering a limited number of services until we are up and running at full speed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Cora Anderson!

Today's post is an updated reprint from last year. Happy Birthday Cora. What is remembered, lives.

Victor and Cora
Today would have been Grandmaster Cora Anderson's 97th birthday, had she not passed on Beltaine four years ago.

She was an amazing, gracious woman who taught me quite a bit as I got to know her in her last year of life. I was beginning my training in the Faery Tradition when I heard the call that she needed frequent visitors. I went almost once a week for the last year of her life and got to know her. She generously shared stories with me about the Craft, her late husband Victor, other initiates in the tradition, and lore. She answered my many, many student questions with humor and folksy wisdom.

Her hospitality was legendary. While her husband could be somewhat of a hothead, she always insisted that anyone in their home (jerk or not) was shown hospitality and generosity. That did not stop her from having very pointed opinions about people however- and the Cora I knew loved to gossip about it later!

I also learned about grace under pressure from Cora. Her entire life she had been a strong, practical woman, supporting her family with hard labor and caring for her husband and son. After a series of strokes that left her mostly bedridden, she made due with life in her mind and on the astral. She would often talk about dreams visiting Victor and how she was sad to wake into the same hospital bed (at home). While her body had stopped working the way she wanted, she lived a full life in her final years- the way a powerful Witch should.

The Cora I knew- I took this photo.
She still had very particular ways she wanted things, and as a caregiver and visitor, I strived to do things the way she wanted- giving her the ability to arrange her world as she desired it, even if her body could not make her Will manifest anymore.

Cora's favorite food was pie. In the end, when she was unable to eat lots of foods, chocolate cream pie was still a favorite and I would bring her some from time to time.

Cora hosted Thanksgiving in her home for the Tradition, even after being bedridden. There were always several varieties of pie. At her funeral service, people brought dozens of varieties and people ate pie in her honor. The year after she died, my former Craft home in the Bay Area (Casa Vesperus) hosted a "Cora Pie Day" on her birthday.

Another pic of Cora and Victor.
I miss her very much. When I first started to visit her, I thought that I was doing her a favor. Our visits were awkward at first, since we did not know one another before her strokes. By the end, when I was visiting her in the hospital (the last time I saw her was April 30, 2008- the day before she died), we were friends and I knew I was going to miss her terribly. I do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This Is Your Brain on TV

What TV does to brain chemistry:

This is why I am so looking forward to having our own TV free space very soon. Rowan is being exposed to too much TV, in my opinion. He knows character names, asks for them, and when I tell him he's had enough "crack" for the day, he says, "More? More crack?"

Sometimes I come home when his grandparents have been watching him and they have been watching a violent movie or TV show. Rowan doesn't pay as much attention to those shows as he does to children;s programming, but who is to say he hasn't seen someone get shot? I am glad that he will not have that opportunity after we move for a long time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Bathroom Rug and Fiber Basket: Craft Success!

Cutting up tees.
I completed the rug and fiber basket that I was making for my new bathroom (when we get our new place in Columbus). It matches our new fabric shower curtain and ceramic toothbrush holder I got from Etsy.

This was the most tedious part.
If you remember, I was creating these things really frugally, as my main material were old tee shirts no one wanted anymore (and were therefore free). These were stained, bleached, holey, and ill fitting and were in bad enough shape that I would not feel comfortable giving them to a thrift store to sell. What to do? Repurpose!

The backing, trimmed in purple
duck tape, with pattern
drawn on it.
I ended up spending about $15, which in the end will get me about three rugs (one latch hook, two crocheted) and a fiber basket. All I had to buy was a latch hook tool, a large plastic crochet hook, and the latch rug backing. Hooray for recycling!

A close up.
I'm not gonna lie, the two crochet rugs are more rough looking (because they are made using small scraps of tee that are pieced together, rather than longer pieces of tee) to make into a continuous "yarn". I had scrap that I pieced together after I was done making the latch hook rug and figured, "Why not make throw rugs out of this?" They will be be perfect situated under my birds' cage to catch debris. I will take pics of those when I am done and show you those, too. But bird cage rugs don't have to be gorgeous- they have to be there to catch parrot poop. So I am pleased.

The basket.
The latch hook rug is gorgeous and awesome and ready for display (if only we had moved already!). It feels luxurious underfoot and will make an awesome bath mat. Rowan likes it too. It is being put away today, but everytime he saw me working on it he would say "Mommy rug- for NEW bathroom!". 

Yesterday, I went to the craft store and got a few more items that I am going to need for projects I have planned. I got some good fabric scissors to take with me (I have been borrowing the ones you see here!), as well as some waste canvas- for folks that do not do needlework, this allows you to embroider a patch onto clothing of anything that you want- making your clothes colorful and unique as well as mended in one fell swoop!
Another view of the basket.
I got some silver sequin trim and the letter "K" (the sequin trim is going to deck out the K - our family's last name initial) and will then be put into a baroque style frame (updated by spray painting with contemporary colors). This will be a part of a wall display of pictures and other memories of our family, which will be above a beloved dead altar and house altar for the main living space.

(I prefer beloved dead altars in dining areas- so that food and water offerings to ancestors are a natural extension of what you are already doing- feeding the living.) We may also place the piano in the dining room (We have a piano!) and place pictures of our living and dead there as well. If you remember, my beloved dead altar is pretty large and intense.

What are you working on?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New 2012 Schedule for Witch Mom

With a new life in Columbus comes a new rhythm for everything- including blogging! I have decided to make regular features on days of the week. This does not mean that there will be a blog post every day, but rather, if a blog post appears, it will have a certain theme because of the day.

Mondays are Natural Living Mondays! 
A post on Monday will include sustainability, eco-conscious frugal living, natural parenting, DIY and reclamation, homesteading and putting things by, and much more!

Mondays will be part of a blog hop hosted by the Natural Parenting Group, of which I am a member (on the forum and among the writers of articles). So a Monday post would be part of this blog hop.

Wednesdays are Witchy Wednesdays!
This day will be dedicated to articles about Witchcraft theology, Craft work (divination, spellwork, oracular work, herbalism and green Witchery), gods and goddesses, devotional work, ancestor work, sabbats and esbats- and all things Witchy.

Fridays are Homeschooling Fridays! This is where I not only talk about Rowan and I learning together but also the multi-religious, multi-cultural, social justice focused curriculum that I am developing for my master's degree.

The other days of the week will have random and occasional posts including guest posts and interviews (including my upcoming series on pagans/polytheists/pantheists of color), blog carnival submissions including the Carnival of Natural Parenting, links to things I deem important, politics, events, and timely issues as they occur. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ask Me Anything: Holiday Storytelling

In this semi-regular feature on Witch Mom, I answer select questions from readers. There is always a box to the right of my blog posts if you would also like to ask a question, or click here. It could be about The Craft, parenting, pop culture, multi-religious education, homeschooling, or whatever! I cannot promise to answer each one, but I will read them!

A reader asks: "Do you have any Yule or Holiday stories that you like to tell your son?" 

Old Befana
My son loves books and grasps some stories pretty well, complicated concepts not so much yet. So far, in terms of educating my son on religion or ethics (or really anything other than colors, numbers, not hitting people, and the alphabet), we haven't gotten that far. Soon though- it will be very soon!

But are there stories that I plan on tell him? You bet! This time of year there are many holidays, and I want my son to learn about all of them. I am always looking for great children's books and stories to tell- and if you know of one for any of these holidays, please make a note in the comments.

For Chalikah, (this is a UU holiday that happens in early December) we will discuss the seven principles and how they apply to his life. what strikes me is how the seven UU principles are so parallel (in my mind) to the principles of Kwanzaa. He is going to be going to a UU church as a child and youth, and likely taking their OWL classes, too.

For Yule itself, we will talk about the rebirth of the sun as we stay up all night to watch it rise and give thanks. We will create stories that talk about equal parts day and night and how now the days will get a little longer each day. Since we will be homesteading and Rowan will be helping with that project and much of his schooling will start there, an agricultural calendar and story will take center stage.  Here is a nice story we may adapt.

The Chalikah my Sunday School class made.
For Christmas (which most of his relatives celebrate, either religiously or secularly), we will be telling him about Jesus and how this is his birthday celebration. (The conversation about Yule appropriation, how Jesus was likely born in September, and Mithras will wait until he is older).

For Hannukah, I will tell the story of the Jews' miracle of the lamp oil lasting and how it corresponds to the number of candles. His best friend is Jewish and we celebrate Hannukah with them.

For Kwanzaa, we will celebrate this holiday in our home. I love the principles of Kwanzaa and want to instill them in my child. We will be getting a kinara and the correct colored candles. 

For Twelfth Night Eve (what Christians re-appropriated and have renamed Epiphany Eve, January 5/January 6 morning), there is the legend of Old Befana. In Italy, it is she who delivers gifts to good girls and boys, flying through keyholes on her broom. Read more here about Befana and how she has been "Christianized".

What stories and themes do you tell your children over the winter holidays? Do you celebrate more than one holiday?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Blackout

This post used to have code that blacked out my blog and urged readers to contact their Senators and Representatives to stop SOPA and PIPA. You can still do that here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Saying Yes

Ro at Bay Area Discovery Museum
As Rowan becomes more of an individuated person and less of a baby, I struggle with the line between keeping him safe and saying yes. Often as an adult with my own agenda and chores, it is easier to say no to my son for my own convenience as a default- and I do not want that to be the case. I need to stop and think before I respond to Rowan and ask myself, "Is this a no because it would be bad for him to do such a thing, or is this a no because it is inconvenient for me in the moment?"

Ro at the Cal Academy of Sciences.

While having my own time and space is important, when I decided to have a child, I also decided to put some of my own stuff aside to make space for another person and their needs. Sometimes, his needs trump mine and sometimes vice versa. But I have decided that if his needs are merely coming an inconvenient time, that is not necessarily enough of a reason to say no.

For example, if I am hungry and my adult agenda is to fix dinner in an efficient manner, and Rowan's kid agenda is to "help" me cook, instead of saying no, I will grab a cheese stick to allay my immediate hunger and instead say yes. I am working hard to become a "yes mama" and creating a culture of yes and can-do in my home. I want Rowan to grow into a self-sufficient, confident person and that only comes with experience. My job, I have decided, is to say yes whenever possible.

In the Pagan Playdate Suite, PantheaCon 2011
This concept is applying more and more as he grows. He is almost two (just two short weeks- how is that possible?) and is already working on "preschool" concepts like colors, shapes, the alphabet, and numbers and counting. I am trying to create a culture of yes while teaching him- and that means leaning towards an "unschooling" method. Yes, I have manipulatives and curricula, but I try and introduce it organically and make it a game. As soon as he tires of the game, we move onto something else. Learning should be fun and something he wants to do. And so far, he is leaps and bounds ahead of his same-age peers. It seems to be working!

My approach is affecting how I am designing my homeschool curricula (that I hope to publish in a year or so). While I am writing for families other than my own, I am trying to provide a framework loose enough for experimentation and activities diverse enough to entice many kinds of kids. My son is a great teacher!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Body Positive Images

Fat phobia is rampant in society. While I hardly consider a size 12 (the model below is a 12) "fat"- this model is doing her part to promote size acceptance.

A size 6 is considered a "plus size model". Shame.

For more great writing on fat positivity and size acceptance, please read:

The Fat Trap, where scientists talk about the difference in sizes as a genetic variation within our species.

The Year of Living Fatly, whose sass makes me snort and laugh.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Projects for the New Home

I am getting really excited, folks- because in a month or so my family is finally moving into our own space! This means our homesteading dreams are about to come true. Once we are settled, we will be looking for used beekeeping equipment, building a chicken coop and raised beds and much much more! We are looking at some homes on Friday and one in particular sounds like everything we want!

In my excitement, I have started many projects to embellish our new home. (Many of these I have pinned on Pinterest.)

What sort of projects am I doing?

Isn't this awesome?
Right now, I am doing a latch hook rug for our new bathroom- made from old tee shirts. Ecological and chic! I am having it match our new shower curtain and really cute toothbrush holder (that I got from Etsy).

I have to say, while the project is cheap (Half the tees were free (stained, bleached spots, ripped, holey), the other half were irregulars for a quarter a piece. The latch hook tool (I didn't have one) was $3 as was the latch hook backing. I am using the tees to latch as well as the parts that could not be made into latch strips to make a few other crocheted rugs as well. So for less than $10, I get many several handmade rugs. The main expense is time. The crochet rugs won't take as long, but that latch hook is taking hours!!!

This is what the non-latch tee shirt rugs
will be like.
I am doing some embroidery and cross stitch. I am embroidering tea towels for the kitchen- all kinds of designs and sayings! Like a true kitchen Witch, I have one that will say, "This is where the magic happens." Another will have chickens on it and say, "I dream of a better world when chickens can cross the road and not have their motives questioned." Still another will say, "The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They make the best of everything that they have." And of course, lots of doodle-y drawings of vegetables and such will be on my towels!

And Rowan will eventually get an amazing cross stitch in his room of Where The Wild Things Are. Remember that gorgeously illustrated book- on the page where Max declares "Let the wild rumpus start!"? That is the illustration I am cross stitching. It is mind-bendingly complicated, let me tell you- all that shading!

I am also making some wall art. I bought a small square canvas and am painting it a bright color, and having Rowan put his hand print on it in a contrasting color, kind of like Warhol-esque pop art. It will be displayed amongst pictures of the Boop on a wall. We have lots of Boop pics to frame!

And we inherited some hand-me-down furniture and things from Rowan's great-grandma- among them are two ugly plastic pictures of nobility in faux-rococo plastic frames. I am telling you- the pieces are bad enough- but they are 100% plastic! I am re-purposing them by taking them and spray painting them with a special spray paint made for plastic. One of these will frame our family initial, K.

Kind of like this.
The other will house a cross stitch that has already been completed. It has the Donnie Darko rabbit skull thingie and says, "Sometimes I Doubt Your Commitment to Sparkle Motion." Silly and fun!

We will have new (to us) furniture (we didn't take any furniture with us from California) and Rowan will finally get his own room! He has a new big boy bed to start experimenting with as well as a separate space for all his toys. (which mama is thrilled about- no more stepping on legos!)

We hope to find a great place with a fenced in back yard- and then Rowan can use his new tricycle back there. We also plan on building a sand box and water table for him when we get warmer weather.

Wish us luck for Friday!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Merry Twelfth Night, everyone!

Here I am, being "Five Gold Rings"
Twelfth Night is a recently Christianized holiday that Christians call Epiphany. But its roots go back far longer than the birth of Christ. Saturnalia was the main influence for this fun holiday, where the world turns topsy-turvy: masters become servants, children boss adults around, and people cross-dress and have a grand old time.

In teaching Sunday school about this day at my local UU church, it was appropriate that the youth and kids performed the 12 Days of Christmas (another co-opted tradition- it was a pub drinking game played on Twelfth Night) and many of the teens cross dressed.

Getting that lipstick just right.
This holiday was co-opted by Christians seeking to get rid of those (super fun, in my opinion) insidious persistent and well-loved pagan celebrations- like Yule (lights, feasts, gift exchanges, and the Yule log) becoming Christmas, Samhain (the dead and other "spooky" subjects) becoming Halloween and Ostara (fertile rabbits and eggs) becoming Easter. Unlike the other holidays, many of the pagan traditions have not carried over to Twelfth Night, and I think that's a shame.

In a time honored pagan tradition, our
"maid a milking" feels up our
"lady dancing"!
I cannot remember what book it was, but I remember reading a Witchcraft book about a decade ago in which the author proposed that we include Twelfth Night as a ninth sabbat in the Wheel of the Year. After all, nine is a much more magical number than eight, and this holiday gets at the issue of difference, class, and society in a way that none of the others do. I have to say I agree with that author (can anyone here help me out so I can give credit where credit is due? Anyone remember the book or author?)

So, what's a Witch to do on this day? Invite folks over for a raucous party, of course! Bake a cake with a bean or token in it (I have a tiny Dionysos ceramic figure from Italy that is meant to be baked into cakes- I find it perfect!) and that person rules over the party and makes rules for everyone else! The Lord of Misrule is an English spin on this age-old Saturnalian tradition- a person is chosen at random and rules over the entire community for a day. The crazier the social order that they created, the better job that they did!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Like many others, I tend to create goals for myself and work on them throughout the year. I often group these in 4 areas: school/career/life ambitions, personal goals, relationships, and logistics.

School/Career/Life Ambitions
This semester in school I start working on my actual graduate project, rather than just taking classes. My project is to write a homeschool curriculum for multiple age groups on social justice and people's history that teaches about the religions and cultures of the world. I intend on writing as much as I can (my goal is writing six-eight  complete units this spring, complete with activities, reading lists, and field trip suggestions) as well as researching what homeschool formats tend to work for folks the best.

I will be finally moving to Columbus this semester and looking at two different UU churches to see if there is a place for me in the Religious education departments. I so enjoy teaching Sunday School!

My family is looking for a starter place and we hope to homestead, even though we will be renting. I will investigating locations, statutes (regarding gardens, chickens, and bees), and conditions of each place we look into. Since I will be staying home with Rowan and writing/taking classes- it will be up to me to create a homestead.

I will be writing and earning units from past semesters where I did not write up related work in churches, as well as writing more throughout the summer for credit, so that I can graduate sooner.

Personal Goals
Everyone says it, but my goal is to get in shape. Chasing a toddler is only getting harder! I thought that being out here in Ohio would allow me more time to exercise, but Rowan's toddlerhood has been far more demanding than I ever expected, keeping me from schoolwork and exercise and other personal goals when he is awake! I need to work to find co-op childcare or some other solution when I get up to Columbus to allow for these things to happen.

My partner and I are still working out what it means to be a family, and what it means to be parents as well as partners (living and magical partners). My goal is to do this with compassion and grace, because lately it has been a struggle. This is the first time my partner has been employed for years and the first time I have ever been, essentially, a stay-at-home-mom. The roles are awkward and we have no script.

I get to stay at home with my son and watch him grow and develop. I am so blessed! We are working on all kinds of life skills and educational goals: learning names of his emotions, counting and numbers, the alphabet, full sentences rather than just nouns and verbs, and how to do certain life skills: this year we will start potty learning, more things around the house like chores and pet care, getting to bed on his own (in his own bed!), and getting dressed himself. He is such a little boy now, and not a baby anymore. It's amazing.

I am looking forward to cultivating all kinds of connections with new friends in Columbus- artsy, Crafty, spiritual, activist, and other parents. I look forward to laying down the foundations of tribe, cultivating a community for myself, and getting to know all the amazing people that I know live there. I plan on getting involved in the poetry slam again, as well as doing visual art and crafts. In addition to the UU church, I intend on checking out the Shambhala Center further, meeting other traditional Witches and other pagan folk, and doing interfaith activism in the Occupy movement.

So much to plan for and do! Look for a place in a neighborhood that is central to transit, safe, has a play space for Rowan, allows us to get to a library and a park easily and has space for two adults, a child, two parrots, a temple, and is still affordable!

Look into homesteading rules, as well as laws about herbalism and manufacturing herbal remedies. I plan on resuming making tinctures, balms, and salves when I get settled in, and starting with medicinal mushrooms, since I can cultivate them anywhere, anytime.

Create a home. While that one looks the shortest, I will probably spend the most time doing this, as it give life to all other goals.

What are you planning for 2012?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gender Agenda

Piggy tails and a bright yellow shirt- complete with fairy and
butterflies. He's a pretty boy.
I've written a bit about gender and how we are raising Rowan before, but as he gets older and watches movies and meets other kids who are not necessarily raised the way he is, he is being exposed to the way that our overculture wants boys and girls (and men and women) to desire and behave.

Purple funfur vest, glittery leg warmers. Rowan calls it his
"spah-kul spah-kul". Oh yeah- and a basketball.
My son loves bright colors (including pink and purple), things that sparkle, and dolls. He also loves trucks, his firefighter and hard hat costumes, balls of all sorts, and legos. In short, he is a well-rounded small human being. I am not going to limit his toys, clothes, or friends to fit some societally-proscribed gender agenda.
There are many reasons why I don't approve of this ever-pervasive influence in Rowan's life: it polarizes gender into two distinct "opposite" camps when in reality, gender is not dualistic, nor are there "opposites". It creates expectations that are rigid and possibly harmful for both boys and girls (boys cannot cry or express emotions, girls need to become objectified to have value). It is not natural or normal, and I point to the constant media and corporate enculturation (who are constantly enforcing these expectations and ideas on us) as proof. If these things had a universal truth, they would not need lobbying efforts and constant reinforcement.

One of the unfortunate side-effects of this gender campaign is bullying. Kids pick up the rigid barriers that we adults have created and enforce it through verbal, physical, and emotional violence with each other. That link is one of the reasons why I hesitate to send Rowan to public school. I applaud the efforts of that courageous public school teacher. Hard work, that. I want my son's education to broaden his horizons, but often school does the exact opposite. I'd rather have him socialize with kids whose parents have an awareness of diversity of all sorts and will be cultivating relationships and connections that will help with socialization.

Recently, my sister sent me a link that delighted me- a child bucking the system! Gotta love it.

For those of you who think it might be easier to raise a boy than a girl in this culture (I used to believe that, too) I encourage you to watch this video.

What he mostly prefers to wear: nothing.
Raising a white (seemingly cissexual and heterosexual) male in this culture, one that wants him to dominate and minimize others is hard. Helping him retain his full humanity in the face of people calling him a "crybaby" for expressing his fears is maddening.

I look forward to possibly raising an amazing girl one day, but right now, raising a fully human boy is hard enough. My son will be free to express his gender, sexuality, and ideas in any way he chooses, and to have loving parents supporting his exploration and conscious choices all the way.

We, his parents, are encouraging all things that he expresses an interest in: right now that's music and dance, playing with balls, being outside, playing in water, coloring, tractors and trucks, and cooking. Wanna bet that little boys and little girls the world over his age share those interests?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy Secular* New Year! My friends and peers have told me of so many New Years customs they celebrate- I had to share! Stay tuned for my New Year's resolutions later this week!

"I celebrate Hogmanay, the Scots New Year, so every year at this time I clean my house from top to bottom and chase out all the bad luck and negativity of the past year with my broom and herbs. You can't uncross yourself if you don't clean house first! Then I'll prepare a spiritual cleansing bath for myself after which I'll perform a purification ritual along with an uncrossing to open myself up to what the New Year has to offer (and get rid of any intentional or unintentional evil eye action). Then on New Year's Eve I'll fast and prepare a feast to eat after midnight. I will leave things on my altar I want to attract in the coming year - coins for prosperity, cards and gifts from my friends and family, food and drink for plenty, and so on. On the stroke of midnight I run around the house and open every window and door to welcome in the New Year." -Ms. Graveyard Dirt

"On New Year's Eve, we have a low key dinner party. Each person brings a tarot deck and selects a card to do a group reading for the coming year."- a Witch friend from the Bay Area who wishes to remain anonymous

"I eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day, to usher in prosperity for the year. Here's my recipe:

1lb black-eyes peas (some times called cowpeas or china peas)
one small onion
salt—a teaspoon or so
cayenne pepper (sometimes called red cocaine)—use lots!

(I have also seen recipes that call for ginger root or ginger root powder. Sounds delicious, I will try this next time.)

Wash peas thoroughly and let soak for one hour to overnight. When peas are plump, crush them with your hands to release the skins. Rinse the skins out; they will rise to the top. (This step will require repeating until most of the skins are rinsed away: patience may need to be evoked.)
Blend cleaned and hand-crushed peas with chopped onion, salt, and cayenne in a blender or Cuisinart to puree.
Place pureed mixture into a clean ceramic or glass bowl to ferment twenty-four hours.
Carefully drop the batter into hot peanut oil with a tablespoon. Turn once when the sides turn a little brown. Sprinkle with a little salt while still hot.

Enjoy this ancient ancestral food of the African people, the predecessor to the modern hush puppy. Let these cakes nourish you and your soul as well as the hearts and spirits of those with whom you share."- Mother Sister Daddy Queen

While I am fully aware of our current calendar is the Gregorian calendar, which is a Christian invention to get folks aware from the older, lunar (read: pagan) calendar- it is now the secular calendar we are all forced to use regardless of religious orientation.