October Angel Prayer.

October is here, and September is over for another year.

Thank you, Archangel Uriel, for guiding us through the past month.

Now we greet you, Angel Barbiel, guardian of October.

Please help us to see the progress we have made, to be grateful for the generosity of the natural world, and to enjoy what we have.

Thank you, Angel Barbiel.

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A Basket Full of Blessings.

Sister recently had to move away for work, and Husband and I wanted to give her a good housewarming gift to get her off to a good start.

When it comes to traditional housewarming gifts, there’s a lot of ideas out there on the internet…but most of them are pretty vague. What I really wanted were English traditions, but all I could find were vague mish-mashes of Italian, German or completely unattributed ‘traditions’. Not to be put off, we decided to just make something up.

Bread seemed to be an important factor in most online line-ups, so we started with that. The idea of including bread is so that the recipient will never go hungry. Likewise, we added a coin so that Sister will never be poor. Salt is supposed to bring flavour and spice to the recipient’s life, but I always think of purity with salt. Also, I doubt Sister would appreciate the gift of a broom…So we used salt for purity (http://oryxdesertsalt.co.za/) and a spice mill filled with harissa spices for flavour and spice (http://www.ukuva-iafrica.com/prMASTER.html). Honey is traditional for bringing sweetness to life, but Sister doesn’t like it so we used jam instead (http://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/c-37-organic-jam-and-fair-trade-spreads.aspx). We put in a candle (http://thejusticebrand.com/justice-candles/) for light in the darkness…and finally a key dish so she’ll never loose her keys (https://www.namaste-uk.com/product.php/9132/19058d94f4530eb7f1d7422b8db30557). That’s not massively traditional…I just happened to know she needed a key dish. Finally, we added an explanatory note (so it didn’t look like we’d just handed her a random pile of junk);

‘A loaf of bread so you will never go hungry, a coin so you will never be poor, a candle for light in dark times, salt to banish pollution and negativity, jam to bring sweetness to your life, spices to bring joy and excitement to your life…and a key dish so you’ll never lose your keys.’

Some other traditional gifts would be;

 

Finally, here’s the bread I made for Sister. It’s a simple recipe, but nice – especially for someone who doesn’t like ‘bits’.

MAPLE OAT LOAF

  • 275ml plant milk (I used soya)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil/vegan spread
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 450g strong white flour
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast

Simply put everything in the breadmaker in whatever order your model likes ingredients to be added, set it to whatever comes closest to a 750g white loaf, and press ‘start’.

Also on this blog I have chocolate, orange and marzipan swirls (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/chocolate-orange-and-marzipan-swirls/), black pepper and lemon bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/black-pepper-and-lemon-bread/), roasted vegetable tordu (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/roasted-vegetable-tordu/), Stromboli (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/stromboli/), Chelsea buns (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/05/05/chelsea-buns/), oat bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/oat-bread/), luxury hot cross buns (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/luxury-hot-cross-buns/), yogurt bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/yogurt-bread/), koloocheh (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/koloocheh/), apple and ginger spirals (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/apple-and-ginger-spirals/), pesto bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/pesto-bread/), ginger, date and chocolate bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/ginger-date-and-chocolate-bread/), semolina bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/semolina-bread/), cheap ‘n’ cheerful oat bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/cheap-n-cheerful-oat-bread/), orange iced buns (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/orange-iced-buns/), dark beer bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/dark-beer-bread/), Divine tear ‘n’ share chocolate chip bread (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/i-made-something-divine/) and lazy hot cross-less loaf (https://ravensblog2017.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/lazy-hot-cross-less-loaf/)

If you’ve done something similar, or know of more traditions, I’d be really interested to hear from you 🙂

The Holy Tides – Haligmonath / Winter Finding / Winterfylleth / Winter Nights / Vetrnætr / Haustblót / Völsi blót, & Autumn Weddings [Expanded]

A *lot* of ideas here!

Wyrd Designs

Autumn is upon us, my favorite time of the year.

Some practitioners of the Northern Tradition are celebrating Winter Nights (Vetrnætr, Haustblót ) around now, the time of the autumnal equinox so it is more in sync with mainstream pagan Mabon celebrations. Yet many more won’t be celebrating it until mid to late October, when it will be more in sync with the pagan celebration of Samhain. There are others who may not even celebrate it until November as that would be the approximate time when the harvest has concluded in their area.

The reason for the discrepancy is that as much as we sometimes treat the pre-Christian ancient German, Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon cultures as being part of a somewhat synonymous culture, the fact remains that we have regional differences as it applied to both methods of time-keeping, as well as it applied to when agriculturally related festivals were…

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Autumn Mini Scones.

I did the sensible thing and made my scones today! And, to make sure they are of sufficient quality to be shared with Deities, Spirits, Ancestors and workmates tomorrow, Husband and I have selflessly taste-tested them. Good news – they turned out nice 🙂

  • 500g wholewheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 100g coconut oil/vegan butter spread
  • 60g sugar (I normally use coconut, but this time I’ve had to use regular white sugar. I sulked about it for at least half an hour lol. Same goes for coconut oil – usually I would use that, but I’ve had to change to an inexpensive vegan spread. The important thing is we still have food!)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1 large cooking apple, chopped into small pieces
  • 300ml plant milk

Mix the baking powder and soda into the flour so it’s all evenly distributed. Then rub in the coconut oil/spread until it’s like sand – using your hands is easiest. Once that’s done, mix in the sugar, cinnamon, apple and plant milk until you have dough.

Roll the dough out until it’s about two centimeters thick (I did this in two batches). Then use a small cookie-cutter to cut out your scones – I ended up with a total of 24. Then bake them at Gas Mark 6/200C/400F for 15 minutes.

These are really nice with jam, but the apple makes them sweet enough to eat plain – especially if they’re still warm 🙂 I made these scones mini because I want to share them out, but I’m sure they would make perfectly good normal-sized scones too. I’m not sure how long they’d take to cook, though.

Autumn Equinox

So I *finally* have my head in gear enough to plan some holy day celebrations (we totally missed Midsummer even though I’d planned it, because…stuff…And then Lammas didn’t happen either – again, stuff).

Since it’s been a while, and since I have work tomorrow, I don’t wanna get too ambitious. I’m tired…and flat broke lol (we’ve ALREADY started Christmas shopping, so we can spread the cost as thin as possible and make it more manageable. It’s not even Hallowe’en yet *sobs pathetically*).

But in the morning my plan is to cleanse, put on some nice clothes (to kinda celebrate the prosperity I have, and remind myself to stop feeling so damn sorry for myself), and then decorate the altar and Ancestor shrine with copper beech leaves and dandelion flowers from the estate, as well as some apples and pears. Hopefully I can get some apple and cinnamon scones made before I go to work, so I can take them in to share.

Once I’m home from work I’ll put dinner on (stew made with seasonal vegetables), and whilst that cooks we can say our prayer. Hopefully I can also journey and research local wildlife and a charity called Action Homeless, but I have work on Saturday too so I’ll have to see how it goes. Some bits of my plan may happen a few days late lol.

I doubt I’ll actually be able to do this tomorrow, but I really want to be able to donate to a food bank for the Autumn Equinox. It will have to be a pretty modest donation, but even just a tin of baked beans and a carton of soya milk will be a help to somebody. I try to donate *something* for every holy day (not gonna lie – I don’t always remember), but sometimes I feel it’s especially important to make the effort, and the Autumn Equinox is one of those times.

Autumn Equinox Prayer.

We ask You to be with us, Gods, Goddesses, Spirits and Ancestors, so that together we can all celebrate the Autumn Equinox.

It is time to say goodbye to the Summer, the warm days and verdant growth. We thank You for Your gifts and will welcome You again in Your time.

Now it is time to welcome in the Autumn! We rejoice in the beauty and abundance of this time of year.

Thank You, kind Gods, Goddesses, Spirits and Ancestors, for the many gifts of Autumn.

Please bless the plants as they give up their seeds and begin to die back.

Please bless the animals as they prepare for the colder weather.

Please bless us here as we work to balance our needs with what we can give to others.

Please bless us all, so that we can learn to live with generous hearts.

Thank You all for hearing our prayer. May You in turn be blessed and joyful in Your lives (and accept these gifts of…)

 

We’re also including Jörð, Sif, Loki, Hel and the Angel Tariel in the prayer we’ll be saying.

Musical Medicine Blanket

This lady makes the most amazing things. If you need a dreaming blanket, definitely check out her blog!

stitch witchery by nan

I have finished the latest medicine blanket and sent it on to it’s new guardian (owner) This blanket was interesting to say the least. It needed sound, weight, bright colours, fire energy, feathers and Bee energy…Bee energy? Yes, that was very insistent.

Well how to incorporate all of this in the design, the colours were easy, reds, oranges, yellows and black to calm the fire. I added small bells and charms for some soft music and sewed them onto the corners (I really like the idea of a medicine blanket having sound I think I’ll use this again).

The feathers I made from fabric by cutting a shape from a double layer and stitching a line up the middle of the feather shape, then fraying the edges by pulling the threads out from the sides, this made very effective fabric feathers which were also sewn onto the corners of the…

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For Sigyn

I love this ❤ And it’s so true. I’m not sure I’d stay sane without Sigyn; She’s always there when things are really bad.

Northern Tamarisk

Sigyn is the Pole Star –
Shining light;
Axis mundi.

Lady of mercy,
Well of compassion,
Beloved Heart.

She is the hand
That holds ours
In times of sorrow,

The hand that
Leads in the dark
And gloom.

She is the Keeper
Of all we hold dear.
She keeps it safe

For us
When we cannot
Hold it for ourselves.

She is the rose
That blooms
With heavenly scent,

Lifting both
Heart and mind,
Tending the soul,

Covering it
In Her gentle
Velvet-soft embrace.

She is the light
In the dark,
The guide, the spark

Of Divine
That guides us home
To our Self.

She loves us,
Foibles, mistakes and all.
She always leads us home.

———
(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, Northern Tamarisk, 2017

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I Made Something Divine!

Divine Chocolate, a Fairtrade chocolate company owned by cocoa farmers, are running a competition – all you have to do is make something using Divine chocolate, take a photograph and stick it on social media with the hashtag #MakeSomethingDivine. You have until the 10th of September, and you can win a baking hamper. Here’s my contribution!

The theme is bringing people together, so I decided to make tear ‘n’ share bread – in a heart shape, of course, to represent the Divine logo. I also thought it would be cool to use the 85% Exquisitely Rich dark chocolate, since it recently won a Great Taste Award.

I made this bread twice; one last week for my Husband to share with everyone on his ward (but he’s home now! Yaaaay!) and one that I took into work today. It all seemed to go down pretty well 🙂

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil/vegan spread
  • 200ml plant milk (I used soya)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or maybe a pod full of real vanilla seeds, if you’re feeling fancy. I haven’t tried this myself, though).
  • 400g wholewheat bread flour
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 50g plant syrup (I used agave nectar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 150g (a bar and a half) of Divine 85% Exquisitely Rich dark chocolate

As y’all know, I cheat and use a breadmaker…but I’m sure this will work perfectly well the old-fashioned way, too. For my fellow cheats; load all ingredients except the chocolate into the bread pan in whatever order your breadmaker demands, and set it to make dough.

As the breadmaker does your work for you, eat the remaining half bar of chocolate. Blame it on mice/fairies/burglars/whatever you usually blame for ‘mysteriously’ disappearing food.

Once the dough is ready, you do have to do a *little* work – you need to chop up your chocolate and knead it into the dough by hand. You can also add the chocolate straight into the bread machine if you want, but it will melt and you’ll get chocolate bread rather than chocolate-chip bread. Also, your hands will get covered in melted chocolate (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing…)

I have a heart-shaped silicone cake mold (whaaat? It was on offer! And I’m gay, so I can do this. It’s fine), so I just kinda squidged my dough into that, threw a clean towel over it and left it to prove for about 20 minutes. If you don’t have such a thing, pummel your dough into a heart or just make a round loaf.

After it’s nicely risen, score deep lines in it (as in, right through to the bottom of the dough) so that it will be easy to tear apart when it’s baked. I just did a simple criss-cross diamond thing. Then bake it at Gas Mark 6/200C/400F for 20-25 minutes, and there you go! If you use a cake mold like me, just remember that this is bread not cake, and you need to get it out of the mold and onto a cooling tray asap.

My tip; try it with almond butter. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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