Monthly Archives: April 2020
For those of you wondering how our lawn transformation (lol) is going, I wanted to give you all an update. We’re making good progress, so much so that if we get even a third of the produce we’re planting (and I manage to effectively can all of it) we will be set for the winter. Another cool thing that we’re noticing is that almost all of the houses on our street, at least in our block, have started their own gardens, either larger vegetable gardens like ours, or smaller but thoroughly respectable little plots, or just porch boxes. It’s really cool to watch and to be part of this progress. Self-sufficiency comes in many forms, after all.
While we still have a lot more to do, including making the Acerbot to Erda, making offerings to Nerthus and Frey, and carrying phalloi for Dionysos around the perimeter to banish evil, we’re making steady progress, and already having the joy of seeing our vegetables and herbs grow. This is our primary in-ground bed so far:
We’ve got lettuce and dill and three rows of strawberries (eventually it’ll be three rows. Right now, there’s a little room to expand but strawberries are seriously hardy little plants. I was stunned to see how well they’ve handled the shitty weather). They’re for Freya and Hermes and Sigyn will have Her offerings too (Especially from some of the flowers we’ve planted). I was worried about the lettuce and dill at first. When I initially planted it, it was looking a bit peaked but now, I’m happy to report they’re both doing better and over the weekend we’re going to get our brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower in, following with other veggies later in the week as weather permits.
We have a nice herb garden here (and of course there are a bunch more in boxes on the porch, and in a smaller back-yard garden not pictured here):
We planted a ton of nettle by the porch (While I cannot take nettle internally due to certain health issues, it is an excellent herb medicinally and I like its warrior energy, hence, it’s placement by the front door):
I have two standing porch boxes. One for tomatoes and peppers:
One for onions and spinach (though I’ll be planting more spinach elsewhere):
And just for the beauty, we planted some flowers (marigolds, poppies, lobelia, vervain, pinks, with room for more – I plan to drop by the garden center and get more this weekend plus we have several rose bushes on their way), though lobelia makes a good tincture, especially when combined with a bit of cayenne for chest issues, and marigolds are edible. We also planted foxglove and hollyhock for the fae:
My favorite flowers are poppies, roses, and sunflowers. We are planting two of the three and my next-door neighbor grows the hugest sunflowers I have ever seen, and we share. Our next steps will involve planting the large bed fully and then we’re waiting on two 4×8 foot above ground beds to arrive. They’ll be going on the other side of the house. Plus, we have a beautiful elderberry tree to plant. We’ll also be honoring the Minoan Poppy Goddess when the flowers begin to bloom, since the poppies specifically are Hers. We pour offerings to Sunna, our Sun Goddess when the sunflowers bloom, and we’ll be putting in night-blooming jasmine and other flowers for Mani. Elderberry and rose themselves are elders amongst plant spirits so they too will have their offerings. I’ve also planted two Jupiter’s Beard plants, in honor of Him, by our front door. They’re next to the nettle.
While we’re waiting for our veggies to grow, our household has joined a local CSA. Starting at the end of May, we’ll be receiving weekly buckets of produce. I’m excited about that. It lets us support a local farm, we get the benefit of locally grown vegetables, and my ancestors have been pushing us to make friends with local farmers, start developing a network, etc. and so, this is a good place to begin. That’s where we’re at.
Most importantly, this has opened the door to a devotional relationship with Ceres, Who became very, very present during our preparations. We intend to set up a shrine to Her at the head of the garden bed, where we will be making regular offerings.
Working and Living with Chronic Pain
In one of the chronic pain support groups to which I belong, someone asked the question today, “How do you find meaning in a life wrecked by chronic pain?”
This was my answer:
“For me, I serve my Gods. That’s not something that stops bc I have chronic pain. Also, I think it keeps me humble—irritable but humble. My chronic pain started as a result of a ballet career and significant body damage, injury, etc. that came from that (the fibromyalgia came later) so it’s like warrior marks. This is the path I travelled and that path wound for years through something that I loved (dancing) more than life itself. I tell people that for 13 years I could fly. Remembering that it came from something I loved, something to which I had dedicated my life, for me, psychologically makes it better. But oh there are days, days where I just want to curl up and die, but I remind myself of the blessings that I have been given in my life and the work I still have to do for the Gods I love.”
And that’s really it. Service to my Gods isn’t conditional on how I’m feeling, and no matter how bad it gets, that devotional connection is a light in the darkness. So for those of you reading this who also have chronic pain, don’t give up. Take it one day at a time and do what you can do, even if that’s just a whispered prayer or lighting a candle. Your value to your Gods is not dependent on having a perfect body.
Holy Crap — A Long Forgotten Recipe
Forgotten by me at least. lol. I haven’t cooked this in about ten years! Last night, with an eye to lunch today, I made a corn casserole. I’m allergic to cheese so I am always on the lookout for casseroles that do NOT involve this dread substance. I found this (and I have no idea from where I got the recipe) maybe 20+ years ago. When I was running regular Kindred meetings, I would get asked always to make this dish. It’s easy and filling and good. I pass it on:
Baked Corn Casserole
1 can whole kernal corn (15 oz)
1 can cream style corn (15 oz)
1/2 c sour cream
2 sticks melted butter (1 cup)
2 eggs beaten (they’ve been bad 😉 )
1 package corn muffin mix (12 oz). [i do NOT use corn muffin mix. Instead, I make my own: 2/3 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 c yellow cornmeal, 1/3 c sugar, 1 TBL baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt all thoroughly mixed].
Generous pinch of nutmeg (optional).
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Combine all ingredients and mix well. you can use a hand mixer but I just go at it with a wooden spoon.
- Pour into a 9×13 baking dish.
- Bake at 350 F for 50-60 mins or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean and top is golden brown.
Enjoy. I liked this so much (and my household ate nearly all of it lol) that I just had to share.
Gardening Adventures – It Begins lol
So, this is a picture of what my driveway looks like right now. This is about a third of the soil that we will eventually need to have delivered to us in order to cultivate the side of the lawn pictured here. This is because we are three inches away from bedrock, maybe less. This was a huge shock when we were planting roses a couple of years ago. I knew we were close to the bedrock, but had no idea at all that it was at most, three inches down. We live in the shadow of the mountain, in its water-basin, and the mountain guards us, but oh it does make gardening a challenge!
A local gardener suggested that we have proper soil delivered and so we have done. It’s beautiful soil too, rich and lush and black. We decided to do three separate deliveries to make it all easier and less intimidating to shovel and rake out. After two days of working on that, I decided to hire someone because with my back injury, I just can’t do it. Fortunately, a local farmer, a young woman contacted us almost immediately after I put the add out and all this should be sorted by the weekend. I’m grateful for the help and she is happy with the work. It’s a win-win. A friend said, “that’s a lot of money you’re paying” (I had set a rate I was comfortable with and thought fair when I posted my ad) and I promptly responded, “After doing this myself for the last two days, it’s worth every penny and more.” It’s labor. (Normally Sannion would help whip it right out but he’s had some pain issues lately, esp. with the cold weather, and I’m not willing to risk it).
This weekend, we’ll be making offerings to Erda, using a version of the Acerbot charm and setting out eggs, bread, milk, honey, and beer at the four corners of our home, the four corners of the yard that will be our garden.
In the meantime, since I know that we are unlikely to have the best harvest in our first year, the household has joined a local CSA. We buy shares in a local farm’s vegetable crop. I drive past the farm we chose almost weekly as it’s not far from my friend Mary Ann’s house. Starting the end of May, we’ll have weekly vegetables and the opportunity to pick herbs and flowers if we so choose. If we have too much, I’ll share with the neighbors or can them for later use. This way, I can be supporting local farmers too. We are still considering our meat and egg options but I suspect that once Covid restrictions are over, the local farmer’s market will handle that.
That’s one of the things our ancestors have pushed us to do: develop a network of farms, farmers, farmer’s markets, etc. because no one needs to do every single thing, but we can support and sustain each other.
More to come, I am sure, though right now I feel as though I shall never move from this sofa again lol.
Learning to Work the Land
My household is currently focused on turning our lawn into a working vegetable garden. We’re planting vegetable, fruits, and also medicinal herbs. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for years but it’s been a little overwhelming. Now, being at home due to Covid, it’s provided a perfect opportunity to really focus on learning how to work — and work with — the land.
Actually, while Tatyana had a thriving herb garden since last year (she’s our housemate) this was really my first go-round with any type of gardening (though I did grow a few herbs years and years ago when I lived in Queens) and it was prompted by news reports that Michigan was banning the sale of seeds in local stores as “non-essential.” That triggered something with my Lithuanian ancestors and they started hammering me hard to plant. Something about government stepping in and preventing local stores from selling seeds well, it was like it flipped a switch for them and they started hammering me so intensely to create my own garden, to get it up and running right away, that I had no choice but to comply.
Now, I have severe spinal damage (remnants of a career as a ballet dancer and one of the main reasons I retired in my early twenties) so bending and working the soil is not something I can easily do – one of the things that was very intimidating to me about all of this. I solved that problem by starting with porch boxes, pots, and standing boxes (these latter haven’t yet arrived). We discovered our local gardening supply shop is open and that they deliver so Tatyana and I went to town. While she’s busy setting up our in-ground vegetable garden, I decided to start with about a dozen porch boxes. I planted marigold (keeps pests away and leaves are edible), lettuce, onions, peppers, brussel sprouts, strawberries, cauliflower (I accidentally planted Tatyana’s cauliflower and it’ll have to be replanted when it really starts to grow), basil, thyme, oregano, woodruff, parsley (I have seeds for marjoram and sage on their way). For medicinal purposes I have feverfew, calendula, chamomile, lavender, lobelia. For beauty, I have a rose bush, poppies, and already had lilacs and forsythia. My ancestors don’t care about flowers unless they are medicinal or edible but these were available and I like them. I also ordered a lemon tree –potted so it can live inside during the winter.
Tatyana is planting carrots, zucchini, peppers, squash, peas, potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, parsnips, lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, cucumbers, a passel of medicinal herbs including yarrow and elderberry, and a ton more that I can’t recall at the moment. I think this is something anyone can do, but it’s important not to get intimidated. Starting with a single herb in a pot is well begun. It helps us connect to the cycles of nature, to the spirits of herbs and trees, plants and the land, and as we work hard to build communities, well, there’s no functioning community without food. We’re a long way away from being self-sustaining but it begins with willingness and putting those first seeds into the dirt.
I’ll be blogging about this as we go and you can join us on this journey.
(our porch garden. there are more boxes to the left not pictured here).
In the meantime, here are a few sites that have been both inspiring and beneficial:
Here an here are two posts on Victory Gardens – why did we ever stop doing this!
Then there’s Townsends, which focuses on 18thcentury cooking, crafts, and gardening. It’s a great site and it’s way too easy to go down the rabbit hole emerging hours later with a desire to build a log cabin, cook weird dishes over an open hearth, and make one’s own clothing. LOL.
Finally, there’s this channel Homesteading Family. They know how to do things and their channel is a treasure trove of info (even if I find the ever-growing passel of children off-putting lol).
A healthy reminder…
As someone reminded me today “This is a pandemic, not a sabbatical.” Give yourselves a rest. I pass it on…
Prayers to Asklepios
Hail to You, Asklepios,
Son of Apollo,
Best of Physicians.
Hail to You,
Father of Heroes,
Father of many Healing Powers.
With Your daughter Hygeia,
You grant relief to many.
Hail to You,
Most beloved Savior.
You bring restoration:
Of mind, body, and spirit.
You bring the grace
Of health and wholeness.
Father of Medicine,
Ever do You hear our prayers.
I thank You for Your blessings.
Hail to You, Asklepios.
Mighty Healer, I give praises to You,
Ever and always,
Great blessing of Olympus.
I ask that You hear my prayer now.
Aglaopais, giver of beautiful children
Splendid, shining, and bright,
I hail You.
Agnitas, giver of sanctuary,
Sanctuary of the mind,
Sanctuary of the spirit,
I hail You.
Arkhayaetas, Founder of the art of Healing,
Father of physicians, and all the medical arts,
I hail You.
You to Whom temples were given.
I hail You.
By Your name
as You were known amongst the Etruscans.
I hail You.
Gortynios, ever youthful and strong.
I hail You
Perhaps Your most holy name,
I hail You.
Ipios, ever gentle and kind.
I hail You.
Son of Korona,
I hail You.
Kotyleos, healer of Herakles
I hail You.
Who triumphs over illness,
I hail You.
Philolaos, friend of all people,
I hail You.
Phoebigena, son of Apollon,
Pride of Your Father,
I hail You.
bearer of the sacred fire,
once struck by Zeus’s thunder,
I hail You.
Health bringing God,
Asklepios, gentle and kind.
I hail You.
Bearer of Good things,
Thank You for Your aid.
Thank You for Your help.
Let this prayer stand
In praise of You,
(by G. Krasskova)
Odin of the West
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the interaction of our Gods with the land. Regional cultus is a thing, and the way that a particular Deity manifests Him or Herself in a small village in Norway maybe completely different from how that same Deity manifests in an Appalachian hollow and different again from the open, eerie spaces of the old American West. I never really thought about this with Odin until today when my husband put on the Gambler, by Kenny Rogers (may he rest in peace). I listened to the song and commented that there was something very Odinic about it, which prompted a whole discussion about Odin’s affinity for the old West. I think it’s a unique path of the Old Man, one that is clever, lucky, and brutal.
This of course got us musing on Country and Western and Bluegrass music. The heroes of each, the harmonics, the tonal cadences are completely different. You’d never find a character like the Gambler being lauded in a Bluegrass piece, for instance. That music is connected to land and kin in a way that the Western part of country and Western simply is not. I think the luck working, the wanderlust, and all that the West represented to the people that settled it, many from German and English heritage, with His presence embedded in their songs and folktales, a shadow, a haint, a haunt, a glory, opened the door for this God to come through in an unique way. It’s one with which I’m just starting to connect.
To help, Sannion made me a play list of music and I share that with y’all now. Click here to listen.
(image by W. McMillan)
Etsy Shop Updates
I have several quick updates related to my etsy shop. Firstly, the small, pocket sized Heathen prayer book is now available. It’s exactly the size of a prayer card ( 2 1/2 x 4 inches) and fits readily into pocket or purse. The print is small (the next printing, once these sell out, will have a larger font on the title page) but readable. This is by request and contains prayers to many of our Deities including Odin, Frigga, Freya, Frey, Gerda, Thor, Loki, Sigyn, Mani, Ostara, Jord, and Others. It’s available here.
Secondly, a prayer card for Tyche is now available, by artist C. Sanders.
There is also a new Nott prayer card
and Selene prayer card, both by Italian Gay Mermaid:
Finally, as I’ve previously mentioned, i’m running a sale in my shop through May 31. Happy Walpurgis, folks.
Also, I’m having an interesting discussion about Walpurgis with a friend of mine. I have had no direct theophany with this Goddess and we’re discussing whether She is a separate Deity or a particular manifestation of a Deity like Holda. What are everyone’s thoughts? Has any one of my readers worked with Her extensively in a devotional capacity? I invite y’all to share your insights if so here in the comments. Be well, folks. Stay safe.