Paganism – the largest of the Neopagan religions. Pagan/Wiccans have great reverence for the Earth and for their Goddess and her consort, the horned God. Their main rule of behavior is the Wiccan Rede which forbids them from harming people, including themselves, except in some cases of self-defense. It’s a very gentle religion (belief system) and it’s always a self chosen one. It’s important that we educate ourselves about what it is, and what it isn’t…
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Spiced Apple Pie Moonshine, Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Merlot Infused Sea Salt, One Shot Vanilla
Yule – Winter Solstice (dec 21) – The longest night of the year. How will you celebrate the return of the sun? Long time traditions have people gathering around fires, candles – it’s a time to rest and reflect. Everything lies dormant in the silent night, a sacred time of rest before the awakening, and the slow build toward longer days.
The yule log is a remnant of the bonfires that the European pagans would set ablaze at the time of winter solstice. These bonfires symbolized the return of the Sun.
The Yule Log – The oak log should be very dry so that it will blaze well. On the night of Yule, carve a symbol of your hopes for the coming year into the log. Burn the log to release it’s power. In the fireplace or bonfire area, dried kindling should be set to facilitate the burning of the log. The Yule log can be made of any wood (Oak is traditional). Each releases its own kind of magick.
Ash – Brings protection, prosperity & health
Aspen – Invokes understanding of the universe
Birch – Signifies new beginnings
Holly – Inspires visions & reveals past lives
Oak – Brings healing, strength & wisdom
Pine – Signifies prosperity & growth
Willow – Invokes the Goddess to achieve desires
What will you choose as your Yule log this year?
Winter Solstice Brunch – Egg Nog French Toast
Still a raving favorite in this household through the holidays. Use a few days old thick sliced cinnamon toast, dunked in a mixture of store bought EggNog – 1 & 1/2 cups of eggnog + 1 egg + 1 tsp vanilla – beaten together makes dip for 6 slices of EggNog French Toast.
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Good idea to have this on hand through the Winter months.
This is wonderful for a sore throat, congestion, cough and even symptoms of nausea. Honey is antibacterial, anti-viral and immune building, plus it soothes a sore throat quite nicely. The ginger calms a nauseated belly and it is extremely anti-inflammatory. The lemon aids digestion, promotes detoxification of the liver and is a wonderful source of immune boosting vitamin C.
- Omit the seeds and squeeze 5 whole lemons into a mason jar
- Add 4 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
- Add 3 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fill the space left in the mason jar with honey, preferably unpasteurized* to get the healing benefits of the honey
- Good Whiskey 2 tbsp (for adult versions) to be added to your cup of hot water.
How to enjoy: For a sore throat or cough, take a tsp of this syrup as you would a cough medicine. For a bedtime cup of tea to help you sleep – Place 2 tsp of elixir (aka magical potion) into 1 cup of hot water. Let cool slightly before drinking. Keeps for several weeks in the fridge. Tastes like heaven!
There’s all the typical pickling and freezing you can do at this time of year. But one of the staples for my kitchen is homemade Sundried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic.
With Garlic, I lay a tinfoil tray on the BBQ (just purely because of the strong odor your house will endure for days). Set your BBQ on low, cut the tips off your bulb of garlic line the tray with as many as you can fit, then lightly spray or coat them with olive oil. Loosely set a piece of tinfoil over the top so they won’t dry out too fast. It takes about an hour – but keep an eye on them. When the outer layer of each bulb starts to turn light brown they are done. Set them aside until they cool and then pop each clove out into a sealable jar, and top it with good olive oil. I add a 1/2 tsp of sea salt to each jar to stop the olive oil from hardening in the fridge.
Slice Roma tomatoes (fresh from your local veggie stand) in four (once down the middle starting from the top) then slice each half from the top. Lay on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and dried basil, then spray or coat in olive oil. Put it in a 300 degree oven for 1.5 to 2 hours – until they become darker and gooey. Let stand until cool. For thinner slices pack in olive oil. For thicker slices – bag and freeze for gourmet winter sauces.
These are both key ingredients when I cook in my kitchen – there’s nothing like having these on hand when you make homemade hummus or salads.
Collecting neat bottles is where I start, either from yard sales or thrift stores. It helps me get inspiration to want to put that delicious gold herbal oil into them! It really is a simple process for such a huge reward…play with different combinations of herbs. My personal favorite is roasted garlic with rosemary! (I add a head of roasted garlic to the jar with the fresh rosemary.)
Here it is step by step….Place herbs in a clean mason jar. If using fresh herbs, then wilt them first for 12 hours to remove most of the moisture (too much moisture will cause your oil to go rancid), cut into small pieces, and crush with a mortar and pestle before adding to jar. You can skip these extra steps if your herbs are dried.
Pour oil into the jar, making sure to cover herbs by at least 1” of oil and leaving at least 1/2” of space at the top of the jar so that the herbs will have room to expand. If your herbs soak up all of the oil, then pour more on top to ensure that the herbs are well covered. Stir well, and cap the jar tightly.
Place the jar in a sunny and warm windowsill, and shake once or more per day.
After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs out of the oil using cheesecloth. Make sure and squeeze every precious drop of oil out!
Pour into those decorative glass bottles, and store in a cool dark place. The oil should keep for at least a year.