Category Archives: Druidic

The Sitting Spot – Day 0

There’s a little spot on our property, which is shades by a big Maple tree, sitting precariously atop a crumbling stone retaining wall.   Below this is a flat cement area, where a barn used to be decades ago, and the perfect semi-secluded spot for small fires or other quiet time.   The cleaning ‘gutters’ from the barn are full of mint, lemon balm, and lots of wild weeds (mostly yellow dock and grass, with woody nightshade if I don’t keep it yanked out).

The rock wall has been buried by dumploads of composted pony-poo and mulch and other filler, to eventually be a steep, safer, slope of garden/grass, but this process will take a few years due to compaction of the soil and the sheer volume of wheelbarrow loads we’ll need.  Still, the vision in my mind is pretty nice.

I’ve decided to clean up this spot over the course of the summer, and make a (hopefully) semi-daily meditation while sitting in the area, after doing a few chores to clean it up and such.  I’ll eventually be setting up a little outdoor altar, somewhat inspired by the Bored Gods “Shrine of the Mists” in spirit, but with a bit different ‘look’ physically.

I’ll post pictures soon, but think that starting with the Superfull moon this coming weekend, and Beltane just past us, this is the perfect time to start a Big Project, that can be done it tiny little steps over a long season.

Wish me luck.  🙂

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Filed under Druidic, Faerie, Moon Muse, Outdoors

Geeky Rites of Passage

I write this as a proud father of an 8yr old boy, who finds himself crossing the Threshold of Proper Fantasy Geek.

Before that though, I’m also happy to report another win FOR SCIENCE.

(warning: bugs and bits below.  You have been warned.)

This weekend, after a good day of playing around at a nearby farm, and being locked into the chicken coop by playful cousins, we discovered a spider mite or louse in the kid’s hair.  Now of course mom has a bit of an overactive “eww bug!” reaction, but after a recent purchase of a microscope at a yard sale, I figured “why not check it out”.

Of course, the kid was completely boggled by the fact that we “had a REAL microscope like the science labs?!”, but I assured him that it was a recent purchase and may be a bit blurry or entirely non-functional, but it was worth the attempt, for this particular Teachable Moment.

So, we grabbed a blank slide, wiped the copious dust from the lenses, and smacked a cover slip on top of the bug (it was a louse) and peeked through the eyepiece.  The little teeny hard-to-see spec was flailing it’s little legs around, and when the kid peeked through, his shriek of Joy was contagious.   OMG, MOM MOM, LOOK! IT’S MOVING! LOOOOOK! YOUCANSEETHEEYESANLEGS, and EVERYHING!

The afternoon then filled up with further micro-curiosity.  I plucked a hair by the roots.  The kid hesitantly yet stolidly plucked his own to compare (FOR SCIENCE!), and we brushed the dog to get a third hair sample.  A bit of lettuce leaf, an onion skin, the wing of a dead fly.  Sugar.  Salt.  Gourmet Salt flakes (not cubes). Water from the pond. Dust from under the sofa.  … all this flickered across the single “blank” slide that was included with the microscope kit. (a LEGO brick did not work, sadly, which I expected, and was a good lesson in optics and transparency necessary for Micro-viewing)

I’m sure we would have continued with flour, skin samples, and such but dinner time came and there were other chores to do.   Still, I’ve added microscope slide kits to my Amazon WishList, because my son already plans on trying more stuff to look at this week.  It’s pretty awesome.

As for the geeky Rites, I am also happy to report that we have just finished watching the Fellowship of the Ring, and  The Two Towers,with plans to complete Peter Jackson’s amazing trilogy at the end of this week.  We were a bit unsure if he was ready for it, but after being assured (by the kid of course) “I am eight, and Oh Yeah, I love epic battles.“,  we tried the first movie with a finger on the pause button just in case.

We shouldn’t have worried.

So far, Legolas is his favorite character, mostly for the action scenes with rapid-fire arrows.  He thinks Gimli is silly, especially during the battle for Helm’s Deep.  Aragorn is a good king, but dreams about his elf-love too much, but overall, the Ents attacking Isengard were the high point in both movies.

As he said loudly last night… “See, now THAT is why you don’t mess with Nature, right?!”     🙂

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Filed under Dreams, Druidic, Faerie, sprogling

Bye Mister Moo

Mr Moo (aka Spot)

Spot. (aka: Mr Moo)
Now resting in the clearing at the end of the path (aka, our freezer)

This time, our son was old enough to realize that ‘The Moo’ we had been feeding and tending to for the last year and a half was going away, not because he was sick or dangerous, but because he was loved and healthy, and will feed us this winter.   He cried.

Later in the day, especially after seeing the guy walk willingly into the truck and be driven away with “his family” (some other steers on their way to slaughter from the nearby farm), and a gentle reminder that beef=cow, he seems to ave realized what I consider the “rightness” of the situation.

I understand those who follow a vegetarian lifestyle, and respect that.  For us, an important thing for our son to know is where food comes from.  Be it the garden or the pasture, or the coop.   We raised Spot (and a brother who passed away last winter unexpectedly) with the intention to become “meat”.  He was loved, he had fresh grass and a building all to himself (seen in the background of this image), and a pond to drink from whenever he was thirsty.  Daily buckets of grain or cracked corn were an expected treat each evening after school.

I much prefer the beef we’ll receive from his life, to one of commercial farmed produce.  We put ourenergy and love into the spirit inhabiting this cow’s bo, and will receive it back again to nourish us.

R.I.P.  mister Moo.  You were part of our ‘family’, and will be part of us forever.

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Filed under Druidic, Foodage

Crafty crafts – mirrors and ink

Welcome to my newest visitors, who have indirectly pestered me to post more here.    *waves*

I’ve had two private messages asking about some crafty things I made recently, so I figure here’s a great place to post about them.   Sadly, I do not have any pictures of such in-progress, so you’ll have to be content with words.  First is a scrying mirror, second is poke-berry  which makes a wonderful kid-friendly project and can be used for all sorts of magical inscriptions, or simply  painting in a colouring book!  🙂

First, a scrying mirror I made for a lovely friend of mine, which can be seen on her altar here:  http://bringingupsalamanders.blogspot.com/2010/11/new-moon-thoughts.html

First, I took a simple wooden picture frame and decorated it with blue wood-stain and black paint.  It’s hard to see, but the bottom is ‘celtic’ knots across the bottom, which was really time-consuming.  I had planned to do all the designs that way, being pressed into the wood with an ink-less ball-point pen, but it hurt my hand so I stuck to paint and ink for the other designs.

The left side is inked with vine-like designs, the top is speckled like a field of stars, or chaotic dots, your choice, and the right side contains a symmetrical series of geometric sacred shapes.

The corners of the frame are decorated with a star-like design based off a custom pendant I wear, a triskele triple-spiral, a pentacle, and (I think I recall) an acorn on the bottom left.

To colour the glass darkly, I had a small ritual fire from apple and elder branches that had fallen in our yard, and burned during a New Moon.  I  smudged the frame and glass with mugwort and cedar (also from our yard), and charged the whole thing with love, and somewhat open-ended intent to be a sacred tool (since it was not for my use, I did not want to get too specific with ‘charging it’).

After the little bonfire died out, I took the black coals, powdered them in my stone mortar & pestle, and mixed some more dried mugwort leaves in with a bit of salt-water to form a pasty goop.  This got smeared on the back of the glass  allowed to dry, before affixing the back of the picture frame “stand”.   (So instead of being painted glass, you look into the soot sandwiched between the glass and the backing).

I am quite willing to make a mirror for anyone else, with this, or other methods.  Simply comment with a request and I’ll coordinate things via email or facebook.     Enjoy!  🙂

*   *   *

The second craft is a quick and easy ink, for those of you with access to Poke-berries. Any other dark berry will work, but I prefer poke, because it’s an abundant ‘weed’ in my area, and things like raspberries get eaten too fast to be saved for inks.    One interesting bit of trivia is that the Unites States Constitution was apparently written using fermented pokeberry ink, as it was the “common ink” of the time.  Fermenting it seems to help preserve it, but for myself and the kid, the quick and easy method works just fine as a family project.

Collect a bundle of ripe berries, maybe a cup or three, depending on how much juice you want. Remember, a little ink goes a long way! You will also need a tiny splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt.

I tend to collect berries after the first killing frost, because the plant is dying off, and most songbirds who eat these have migrated away, leaving the leftover berries to rot.    I’ve also used elderberry for this recipe, when I have an abundance of those.

Simmer the berries in a small pan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, with a splash of vinegar (any type will do).  Vinegar helps set the colour a bit more, and seems to draw out some more ‘oomph’ from the berries in terms of alkaloids and energies, I think.    Your mileage may vary.

Basically add enough liquid to prevent the bottom from burning, but not enough to overly dilute the juice from the berries.  While you could squeeze out the juice, I find that heat helps extract more, and is less messy on the hands.  Plus, while I have no scientific proof, I think that heating the berries helps set the colour better, and thickens the juice into a better ink-like consistency.  Feel free to improvise and experiment.

I tend to keep stirring the pot for a good 20 minutes every so often, until the water looks nice and richly coloured. Not too much that it turns pasty with berry-skins!

Turn off the heat and let the pot cool off a bit, then simply strain out the ink into a container.  I used a coffee filter and a funnel to strain the ink into an old sea-salt bottle I had lying around.   Small pickle or baby-food jars work just as well.

Grab a quill, or a fountain pen, or, as we do, a small craft paintbrush (size 1 or 0o, or whatever your preference!) and have fun scribbling, painting, and drawing.

This ink will wash off of things fairly easily, so it is not recommended for clothes and such.  However, it is great to use on paper, and staining wood a vibrant magenta!

With age, the bright purple-pink colour of this ink will fade to a rusty brown after a few years, so keep that in mind.  This fact, however, makes it even cooler to use in magical journal writing, as it seems to look “archaic” as it ages.

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Filed under Druidic