“Good Witch” – “ Bad Witch”

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I recently came upon an article discussing the “crazies” in Pagan communities. Here, you should read it too:

http://badwitch.es/pagans-know-total-douchebags/

But I’ll give you some highlights…

 

A lot of pagans? Douchebags. Complete tools. So, so fucked up.

 

The thing with paganisim, witchcraft, wicca and all that jazz is that it is a religion of individuality, and the shadow side of that is that it can really easily turn into a religion of ego.

 

I couldn’t take it. I was done with the events where one douchebag would talk over the main speaker, just to prove how much he knew.

I was done hanging out with people who wanted to be witchy because they wanted to be edgy and cool.

I was done with the shallowness of it all, with the constant ego battles, with the drama and the showing off

 

 

Yes, yes, I know every community has them. But don’t you feel like ours attracts just a few more?

I have personally hit this wall more than once and proclaimed that, “I AM DONE” or, “THAT’S IT, I AM GOING SOLITARY.  But here’s the thing: each time I do, I somehow come back… With the support of the wonderful people I have met though my Grove, I continuously end up attending and even hosting “Meet & Greets”.

I can relate to Demi’s desire to draw back from what I call “holier than thou” pagans or the ones who believe the world is owed to them, but if I truly gave up I would never have met some of the wonderful people I now call my Grove.

So, keep trying. Pulling back can sometime give you much needed time to heal, but, when you are ready, be sure to reach out again and tag in someone new.

Communing With Nature

We all strive to do this a little more –to get out and experience nature; to take a walk and meditate on the growth and the decay; to appreciate it all. With the sunny weather we have been having lately, I set out to get my son started early. He is at an age where touching everything is terribly exciting, so we wandered around the yard to see what we could find.

I thought it could be fun, for just a moment, to consider and see the world though his eyes. Everything is new. Everything is exciting. Each and every leaf is a new texture. And every colour is brilliant and thrilling.

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Meditation is part of the Druid way, and it can be challenging, but there are many forms of mediation. For me, one of the best ways is to walk in nature and focus only on my breath and embracing the environment around me. It is a single focus that calms the mind and body, and I hope to pass it on to my little one.

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I hope we can all take some time, with summer at its peek, to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us all.

A Solitary Solstice

Today I rose before the dawn.

I went outside to greet the sun, on this, the longest day of  the year.

Sunrise on June 20th, 2016
Sunrise on June 20th, 2016

It was supposed to be a simple act of catharsis, though an important one – for a druid whose last full ritual was Beltaine, and who hasn’t prayed or meditated in what felt like months.

“Life got in the way”
“things are just too hectic from the move”
“I’ll start my daily devotionals again tomorrow”

As I sat there in quiet reflection, waiting for the sun to emerge from the rosy glow in the sky, a voice in the back of my mind kept whispering to me, “You’re missing something.”  Eventually, the feeling got so strong I got up and brought my whole tote of ritual & altar gear outside onto the deck with me and set up a full impromptu ritual.  This is what I love about ADF’s Core Order of Ritual – it was like riding a bike… by continued practice, the mundane-seeming physical actions of our rituals become second nature, and in those moments when our hands are busy and our minds are free, we can focus on the sacred significance that flows through, around, and between.

After the praises had been sung, and the offerings given, I was blessed with very good omens:
My omen of Acceptance of the Offerings Given was Muin (Vine) – a sign to, “Trust in what you have done and unwind”
My omen of Blessing (what the Gods grant in return) was Beith (Birch) – the tree of beginnings – which I took to be a glad sign of the gods’ invitation to a fresh start to my daily practice.

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The ritual (and my morning) was comfortable and relaxed. I got up to greet the sun, and I felt like the light of the solstice soothed me in return. So when life gets busy, and you feel like you have no time for a regular spiritual practice, remember that making those few minutes of quiet reflection a priority can bring perspective and help you to better deal with the hectic flow of everyday life.  Though not a pagan, I think Sukhraj S. Dhillon said it best:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

Today I rose before the dawn, to greet the sun

and it was glorious.

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Father’s Day

As of the past few months, all of our Grove men have officially become fathers. They are loving, patient (most of the time), kind, and devoted, and we are so so proud of them.

A very Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers out there today!

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marc-connall    brian-atticus

(Photos all taken from Facebook)

Family Times: Mead Making (part II)

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Back in October, members of the Grove got together to kick-start some family mead making. While the initial phases were completed that weekend, there was a long wait between that first step and the next (or possibly the third, as I believe Dan may have actually done some extra things on his own to somehow advance the process… I don’t understand how this stuff works haha).

(See pictures from mead making get-together numero uno here.)

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The phase completed last week was the final one. It involved filtering the aged mead from one carboy into another and then into bottles, which are then corked and will eventually be labeled (maybe). The whole process is sterile. Small glasses are passed around for tasting.

These three batches passed the test.

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The rest of the time is spent catching up, consuming excessive amounts of coffee, and cooing over the babies. We genuinely enjoy each others’ company, so this is actually pretty swell. And adorable. Because babies. (Little Atticus –below– actually tried his first taste of solid food. He did not appear disappointed.)

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As always, another lovely time in the company of lovely lovely people.

-xo

For an opportunity to actually partake in one of these batches of home-brewed mead, join us at AEGIS, where the Grove plans to share, laugh, and be merry.

 

 

 

 

School is ALMOST out for summer….

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Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means—NO SCHOOL!

 

This means all the kiddies are going to be in need of more attention and fun activities. Here are a few Druid inspired ideas you can do as a family or that you can help your younglings do.

 

  1. Meditate: Start small and just breathe. Meditation is important throughout our lives and instilling these skills and values early can help with a great many of life’s little challenges. Sit with your kid(s) and try it together. Perhaps make it part of a bedtime routine before stories to quiet the mind, body, and spirit.
  2. Build or Redecorate your alter: If they don’t already have a sacred space, let them explore and make one that feels good to them. If they already have one, why not encourage some seasonal decoration? They can dry flowers or leaves, paint rocks, or braid their own herbs and grasses.
  3. Singing and Chanting: Who doesn’t love to sing? You can sing with them and teach them lessons though song. You can sing together as you tidy. Check out the ADF Ritual Songs section for sheet music as well as videos and sound clips for new tunes. https://www.adf.org/rituals/chants/index.html
  4. Hiking and Nature Walks: This is one of my favourites. Communing with nature is a fantastic way to spend time with your family. Turn off the tablets and cell phones and head out to enjoy a park or walking path. You can make it even more fun by keeping nature clippings or a journal. Look for early signs of spring. What is the first flower to make its way through the thawing soil? What kinds of birds and other wildlife do you see? If your child is artistically inclined, invite them to draw the plants and animals they see on your walks.
  5. Crafts: There are so many! Drying your own herbs, making your own oils, making leaf and flower prints, making your own ogham/runes out of sticks, or painting rocks. Check your local craft supplier for beeswax sheets and have the children make their own ritual candles (to be used only with adult supervision). Check out https://tressabelle.wordpress.com/ for tons of other crafting ideas!
  6. Make a Family Tree: Respect for the elders and knowing your history and heritage is important. Why not have the kids draw out or find pictures of their family and arrange them into a family tree?
  7. Gardening: This can be helpful and a great learning experience. Arrange for the kids to either have specific tasks or maybe a small plot of their own. Gardening and horticulture skills are valuable and practical.

 

There are many things you can do as a family and showing an interest in your children’s projects will help them develop and build confidence and a diverse range of skills.

 

Good luck, Druid Mommas and Papas!

 

Illustration Credit: 

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Getting more out of your produce

 

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With the failing dollar, I am sure you are all noticing your grocery bills going up steeply. I know I have. So, in an effort to reduce waste and get a little more out of my food budget, I started doing some research and came up with a few simple tips to best use produce:

  1. Pay attention to your fridge’s crisper drawers, which often feature clear humidity settings for fruits and vegetables. Be sure to separate and store your produce properly, as certain fruits and vegetables can cause others to spoil faster.
  2. It may sound a little gross, but avoid washing your produce right away. The added moisture can encourage rot.
  3. Buy Local! This may not be feasible for everyone, whether related to product affordability or location, but when possible locally grown produce is often better quality and generally has reduced transport time, so your food will last longer.
  4. Buy “young” food. If you don’t need to use it all right away, buying young produce and letting it mature a little will give you some extra time. Additionally, some younger foods hold more nutrition than their older counterparts, e.g. baby spinach.
  5. Don’t over prep. Pre-cut fruits and veggies, when exposed to oxygen for a day, lose 10-25% of their antioxidants, like vitamin c. It may be convenient to cut all your veg at once, but you are cheating yourself of nutrients and speeding up the degradation process.
  6. Fruits and vegetables are best eaten in their natural form. If you must cook, in order to get the best bang for your buck, do not over cook. Try methods such as steaming instead of boiling or nuking in the microwave.
  7. If you aren’t able to use all your produce fast enough, freeze it. I know it doesn’t always sound like the most appealing solution, but it is definitely better than letting good food go to waste. If done properly and while your produce is still fresh, the produce will also retain most of it’s nutrients.
  8. Juicing at home? Juice only what you need. I know it can be tempting to juice extra, but research shows you get the best bang for your buck when you drink it right away.

 

Those are just some general tips. If you are looking for more specific information, I am rounded up some great links to get you rolling (below). Remember: waste not – want not.

 

http://www.thekitchn.com/the-kitchns-guide-to-storing-fruits-and-vegetables-tip-roundup-176308

http://www.thekitchn.com/seize-the-season-freezing-fresh-vegetables-171376

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http://cleangreensimple.com/2011/05/storing-food-and-produce/

Family Times: Mead Making

One of the greatest aspects of this Grove is that we are, above all else, a family. We comprise a group of individuals who genuinely value each others’ thoughts, opinions, and feelings. We consult each other on all matters of importance, we share in stories, experiences, hardships, and sweet memories, and (!) we actually enjoy each others’ company outside of formally sanctioned, structure-based events (e.g. rituals).

This past weekend, most of us were able to get together for a morning of mead making. The process of making mead, like that of other alcoholic beverages (e.g. wine, beer), actually requires several steps, thus we were only able to complete the initial phase. (This basically involves measuring out and dissolving pounds and pounds of honey into large, sterilized buckets, and then mixing in a few key powdered ingredients. The full step-by-step instructions can be found at the link at the bottom of this post.)

The event proved to be a lovely kick-off to the Thanksgiving weekend, complete with love, laughter, baby-snuggles, coffee, and honey. (Mostly that last one.) The following are a few snapshots of the morning. Enjoy!

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“Look sexy, Dan! This is going on the blog.”

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A wonderful time spent among family!  -Karina xo

[Mead-making instructions will soon be posted here! Please check back later!]

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Spring Cleaning

“Spring Cleaning” started as a matter of practicality. In the winter, it is too cold, too wet, and the days are too short to get much of the housework done. You wouldn’t want to air your quilts or carpets in the snow, and you couldn’t re-thatch bedding or furniture, so it all stayed inside and everyone simply did their best to keep the mess at bay.

As soon as Spring comes, cleaning strikes like an uncontrollable urge. The days are longer and, suddenly, that extra bit of light helps you see the dust bunnies in that corner you never sweep or the cobwebs that have suddenly appeared. For a couple of days, there is intense planning and all our mayhem to get the house, and maybe even the yard, in shape.

With all that motivation and pent up cleaning energy in mind, here are a few things to think about…

“One man’s garbage…”: The old saying still holds true. Something may be worthless to you but priceless to someone else. Try putting items on a local trading/selling website, barring that you can also donate many gently used things to local charities. Make it easy for yourself. Create piles and give yourself time limits on selling your “junk”, so you can avoid the same situation next year. Less in the landfill is always the right answer.

“Clean house, clear head”: There is a deep sense of reward when the house is tidy, and it will make your daily routines much easier! Clean out the junk, reorganize a few spaces, and voila! You may find yourself letting go of the tension you didn’t even realize you had. Besides, cleaning up and having a fresh slate makes room for new and exciting projects.

“Style is an option, clean is not”: I’m not fear mongering. Well, I’m not trying to… But here it is… A dirty home can affect your health and the health of your family in many ways, so if for some reason you are resisting the urge to dust, vacuum, and de-clutter, STOP IT! Cleaning up is well worth the extra effort.

When you’ve finished your physical cleanse, it may be a nice idea to tie in something spiritual as well. Try sweeping from the back to the front of your house, straight out the door. Or more generally clean from the back to the front of the house. This way, you can push all your dust and dirt right out the door for a renewed living space. If you would like to try something more formal, click here for a basic “House Cleansing Ritual”.