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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September Angel Prayer.

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

Thank you, Angel Hamaliel, for guiding us through the past month.

Now we greet you, Archangel Uriel, guardian of September.

Please help us to accept and cope with the natural cycles at work in our lives, to help us let go of those things whose time has come to a natural end, and to take better care of this beautiful planet.

Thank you, Archangel Uriel.

A Prayer for Thor and Family.

Husband wrote this beautiful prayer to thank Þórr and His family for being a part of his life and adopting him into Their family (during a thunderstorm, naturally! It was an intense experience, even for me). I’m *so* proud of him for writing this, because Husband is dyslexic and reading and writing are very difficult for him. It’s much more meaningful than any prayer I could write, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you all 🙂

 

A year has passed and I want to thank You, Thor, Sif, Thrud, Jarnsaxa, Magni, Modi and Lady Jord.

Thank You for all You have taught me Lady Jord about nature and being at one, thank You for the life You have given and continue to give.

Thank You Sif for watching out for my husband and myself.

Thank You Thrud, Jarnsaxa, Magni and Modi for teaching me patience and showing me how to be kinder to those around me and for helping us to keep calm when needed.

Thank You Thor for adopting me as one of Your children and helping me to grow as a person and in my personal life. You truly are the God of thunder and kindness. Thank You for watching over my husband and myself. May You be honoured and praised on this day.

Gudrun, Brynhildr and Thokk.

I’ve just read an article by Thomas D.Hill called Guðrún’s Healing Tears, discussing the idea that expressing grief leads to healing and that unexpressed grief can lead to death. It argues that everyone tried to get Guðrún to openly lament Sigurð’s death because they were afraid that she would die of grief if she did not – and it seems to have worked, since at the start of Guðrúnarkviða in Fyrsta she was set on death, but by the end she leaves for Denmark to grieve and Brynhildr, who does not weep or lament, dies instead.

I have read other explanations for encouraging Guðrún to express her feelings – were they empowering her to survive her grief, or disempowering her by encouraging her to behave ‘as a woman should’, and therefore lose her agency for vengeance? It’s interesting, but as her own sister was the one who eventually got her to cry, and since Brynhildr was massively pissed off about this, I’d argue for the former. I think Brynhildr would have liked it just fine if Guðrún had died of grief – as, indeed, Guðrún initially intended to do – and cursed Gullrönd because she had saved her sister’s life by forcing her to express her grief.

Near the end of his article, Hill mentions the way Þökk thwarts all attempts to retrieve Baldr from Helheim by refusing to cry. I’ve never really understood this part of Gylfaginning, but looking at tears as a route to healing and inability/refusal to express grief as a road to death gives me a possible insight on it. I’m not a scholar, so my idea may be full of holes as far as I know. But I’d be really interested to read your thoughts and criticism on it.

Loki killing Baldr has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Eventually I concluded it was all to do with death being really important – so important that even a God shouldn’t be immune from it. Loki is Hel’s Dad, after all, and it’s my belief that Loki Himself has chthonic aspects to His nature (though, apart from His obvious link to both Hel and Sleipnir, this is my own UPG. I mean, I think that if you look at His children then you can make an argument for it anyway, but that’s not the point of this post). But that doesn’t mean He has to be happy about Baldr’s death.

My own understanding is that being immune from death puts you outside the natural cycles of…well, everything. I believe in the immortality of souls, but also that souls must all die and be reborn in different ways (so maybe I believe in recycling more than actual death lol). There’s nothing anywhere that doesn’t grow, ‘die’, renew and transform over some time scale or other. What happens to someone – or Someone – who exits this cycle? I know many people would see this as leaving the cycle of suffering and all, but I’m not seeing it that way. To remain still is to stagnate – and that’s fine, if it’s part of a process of decay and eventual renewal, but what if absolute immortality cuts off the important next step? Rebirth and renewal comes *after* death, after all.  Maybe Loki was saving Baldr from becoming a Norse Tithonus (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Tithonus-Greek-mythology).

Another theory is that Óðinn Himself wanted Baldr safely in Helheim as a kind of insurance policy against Ragnarök, and that He and Loki worked together to achieve this. Either way, we all know what effect Loki’s refusal to weep had on Baldr and the rest of the Æsir. What I hadn’t really thought about before is the effect it might have had on Loki. 

Initially, Everyone is so shocked and grieved that They are unable to speak or weep – like Guðrún. Eventually, however, They all mourn (except Loki?), and then of course Hermóðr comes back with the news that *everything* must weep before Hel will ‘free’ Baldr. Whatever the reason was that Baldr had to die, Loki is now the only one standing in the way of it all going wrong. He is like Brynhildr – the cause of the death Everyone else is mourning, but (outwardly, at least) completely unrepentant and definitely not about to shed any tears…And therefore, possibly, fully conscious that He’s walking down a road that leads to death and pain. Almost like grief is a toxin that will kill you if you don’t get it out. Brynhildr kills herself, and Loki doesn’t exactly live happily ever after. I don’t recall Hel putting a time limit on the ‘weeping Baldr out of Hel’ thing, leaving the depressing possibility that Loki can never mourn for Him, and therefore never heal (not until after Ragnarök, anyways).

Hit me with your thoughts 🙂

Marmalade Muffins.

  • 320g wholewheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 100g sugar (I used coconut)
  • 200g coconut oil/vegan butter spread
  • 60g chia seeds
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons flax meal mixed with 6 tablespoons water and left to sit for 10 minutes or so)
  • 200ml plant milk (I used soya)
  • 100g (ish) marmalade (fine cut would probably be best, but I only had thick cut and it turned out fine)

It’s all pretty simple – mix the baking powder and sugar into the flour so it’s all evenly distributed, then mash the flour mix into the coconut oil. You’ll end up with a very dry, sandy mix. Tip in all the other ingredients bar the marmalade and mix it all up into a dough. Scoop your dough into muffin cases – I ended up with 12 – and bake at Gas Mark 4/180C/350F for 20-25 minutes.

As they cool, warm up the marmalade (it doesn’t need to get crazy hot and boiling or anything like that, just warm so it’s more liquid and runny than usual) and brush it generously over the top of the muffins. Enjoy 🙂

Bless This Breadmaker.

Recently, after many years of faithful service, the breadmaker my family gave us as an engagement present died. We were saving for a new one, but then my family surprised us again by getting us one as an anniversary present! (My family are awesome.)

I kept getting the feeling that I should ask for some kind of blessing on the new breadmaker – in a way that makes me think it wasn’t my own idea, but something I was being encouraged to do. I guess I do use it once or twice every week, to create an important dietary staple. There’s all that symbolism attached to bread too, so although at first it seemed weird, asking for my breadmaker to be blessed makes sense.

I wasn’t really sure what to do, but in the end I washed the breadmaker, then loaded it up with ingredients ready to bake – nothing fancy, just a standard ‘wholesome food for the family’ type recipe. Before switching the breadmaker on, I put my hand onto the lid of the machine and said a small prayer I’d written (although the whole ‘ritual’, if you can call it that, was very informal, I’m so bad at making stuff up on the spot that I decided to write something down). Having asked for blessings, I turned the breadmaker on and waited for the loaf to bake. Once the loaf was ready, I gave some to everyone I’d asked for blessings from, to thank Them. I also ate some myself, and the rest is sliced up ready to take to Husband in hospital. It feels important to share it.

Here’s the prayer I said. It made sense to me to pray to Sigyn and Sif, but if you wanted to use the prayer then it would be easy to just swap Their names for W/whoever is appropriate for you. Later on, it also occurred to me that it would have been good to include our Ancestors in this prayer – maybe next time?

 

Lady Sigyn, Lady Sif, spirits of this home, I call on You and ask You to please put Your blessings on this breadmaker.

With this machine I create food for my family.

Please give Your blessings to it, and to the bread it makes, so that my family and I are provided with good health and nourishment.

Thank You all.

Fat Cookies.

I’m happy to report that the ward Husband’s staying on provides vegan meals! But not vegan desserts. Man cannot live on chickpea curry alone…my duty is clear.

  • 300g wholewheat flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 130g coconut oil (vegan spread would likely also work)
  • 90g sugar (I use coconut. Where would we be without the coconut?)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbs flax meal mixed with 3 tbs water and left to set for 10 minutes or so)
  • 75ml plant milk (I prefer oat, but I’m using soya lately because it’s affordable)
  • 150g mixed dried fruit
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • Cinnamon to taste

Mix the baking powder into the flour so it’s evenly distributed, and then mash the flour mix into the coconut oil. It should end up kinda like sand or breadcrumbs. Then add the sugar, flax egg and plant milk and mix into a thick batter. Stir through the dried fruit, almonds, zest and cinnamon, then roll into balls and squish into fat cookies. I ended up with twelve. Bake at Gas 6/200C/400F for about 20 minutes, or until they look done. Enjoy 🙂

The Holy Tides – Hlæfmæsse /Freyfaxi [Redux]

I’m sooooo happy I found this blog 😊

Wyrd Designs

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When it comes to religious, pagan celebrations most people are familiar with the eight holy days or sabbats that comprise the Wheel of the Year, such as Lugnasadh. In the Northern Tradition, we do not call these celebrations sabbats. Instead, based on words (like the Old Norsehátíðir) used to describe the most holy of these celebrations (like Yule) as high tides, we tend to call the various religious celebrations we recognize today as holy tides (since not all of the holy tides are considered high tides).

Since we practitioners of the Northern Tradition are dealing with a general umbrella culture that existed in vast plurality we look to ancient Germanic, Scandinavian (Norse, Icelandic, Sweden) and Anglo-Saxon sources. It is important to understand that these ancient cultures reckoned time in different ways in comparison to one another or to the modern world. They existed in different latitudes, lived amongst…

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