Monthly Archives: October 2022

Happy Samhain! Happy Winternights!

We stand on the shoulders of our dead. May all our ancestors be hailed. Tonight and always.

Grave reminders 

Sannion over at House of Vines is working on a new book…

The House of Vines

Tonight I’m going to begin working on the book inspired by my experiences; material for this will also be part of the fund-raiser. For $25 (PayPalled to sannion@gmail.com) you can choose 4 words or themes which I’ll fit into a poem for you. For another $10 I’ll include your name as an acrostic.

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Reader Question about Mythology and the Gods

I received a really good question about devotion and the Gods a few days ago but this is the first opportunity that I’ve had to respond. This is a really good, basic theological question about why and how we view our Gods and I thought it deserved its own post so here y’all go. 

P. asks: I’m wondering how, as a devotional Heathen, you envision/understand the gods especially because all we have of the Northern deities is the myths and like the Greek and Roman myths, they’re not very flattering sometimes. I was listening to a podcast you did like 3 years ago and you mention this as well, that the Greeks for example, have other material like the Neo-Platonists, or the Romans the Stoics, where the gods are discussed philosophically. Of course deities are not bound by human confines and I know what is meant by, say, siblings mating/marrying (that They are equals, etc) and a nature goddess being promiscuous but, perhaps I never had a new-age, free love mindset EVER, the lack of morality sometimes gets to me whilst reading the material. This is true for most myths of course, not just the Northern tradition. But AFAIK, those are the only material we have. And, on a similar note, the gods are usually so…mean, it’s difficult to like them (not all, obviously!) I’m not being frivolous, and I hope you don’t get this the wrong way, gods are gods and not besties obviously but to have a devotional relationship I feel like there needs to be some sort of affection?”

There are actually several good questions here so let me try to take them one by one and I’ll do my best. 

Firstly, here is an earlier article I wrote on, amongst other things, reading theologically. I would suggest reading that piece first. Here’s another piece on lectio divina

I don’t believe the myths were ever meant to be taken either literally or as exempla of how to behave as human beings. I also detest the new age, free love crap fwiw. I find it morally and spiritually repugnant on every possible level, and there were Deities that I really struggled to honor for precisely that reason. Either the devotees that I had met were gross or Their stories presented a morality with which I simply could not accord. It took me many, many years of devotion and study to realize that the Deity is not confined nor even particularly well represented necessarily in His or Her stories (or by Their devotees!).  The myths are not revealed scripture and they do not function as the unerring Word of God ™. 

How we approach the myths and center them in our minds matters. It matters because it sets the framework for engagement both devotionally and liturgically. These stories contain windows to the sacred but they aren’t sacred in and of themselves in the same way that a Christian might hold the New Testament sacred or a Muslim the Qu’ran (and we are primed in our culture to not only give precedence to the written word over other forms of tradition transmission but also to expect all sacred stories to function like such “scripture.”). The myths that we have are more pliable and I think they may point to different facets of our Gods’ personalities, or certain immutable lessons (like the danger of putting oneself above the Gods) but often storytellers wanted to tell a good story about human events that were shaped in part by their understanding of the power of the Gods to impact our lives (I’m thinking of the Iliad here). The same story can serve many different purposes. That doesn’t mean they aren’t doorways to the sacred, but they aren’t holy in and of themselves. Many story tellers including the poet or poets otherwise known as Homer, were soundly criticized by later philosophers for the way in which they presented the Gods in their writing. It was considered impious. I tend to think that in such cases it was more a nod to the ways in which the Gods are able to inspire us and act in the world. Also, Norse culture particularly was an oral culture. What we have written down, what we consider “lore,” i.e. the Eddas, Sagas, etc. is but a bare fraction of what actually existed. There are some serious lacunae. One can get glimpses in art and material culture of stories that we simply no longer have. In oral cultures like these, sacred things were not the types of things that would’ve been transmitted via the written word because to write it down traps and closes the circle of the narrative. It removes the possibility for future revelation.

When I read a myth about one of my Gods that rubs me the wrong way, I sit with it and look for the greater cosmological lesson (1). What does this say about the nature of my God? What does it say about how that God is able to act in the world, but most importantly, how does it reflect creation and the impetus and actions of our Gods therein. Quite often, there is something in these stories and their presentation of the Gods that hearkens back to the creation narrative. I’ve written about that here

Are there any patterns that recur in the story? Where do things start to go awry? All of these are important textual markers for places that may serve as windows for something holy or for a mystery belonging to the Deity in question. Stories are never just stories if we’re reading theologically (2). 

I think the highest form of interpretation is through the lens of devotion (not philosophy and certainly not recitation of lore) but one text that might be helpful is Sallustius’s “On the Gods and the World.” Sallustius was a friend of Emperor Julian, and this was written, if I’m not mistaken as sort of a primer of how to read poly-theologically. It’s not a bad place to begin. As he notes, the myths never happened and are always happening. That is the essence of Mystery. 

I love the Gods. I believe that They are eternal creators of all the worlds, that They are good, essentially, ontologically *good*.  I was thinking of this when my assistant Tove played this song for me and we had a long discussion about how *no one* is unloved by the Gods. That is the profundity of Their nature. They imagined us, willed us, crafted us into being. We are Theirs in ways we can barely imagine. 

Tove, when I asked her, because we are sitting here discussing this, added, “Our Gods are ineffable and limitless, and the scariest thing is that They see the fullness of our potentiality and the closer we come to Them, the more we see that potentiality juxtaposed against the reality of who we are now. They love us in our whole form, including who we CAN Be and there’s a challenge there: how far can we stretch, how far can we grow. I believe They want, like all good parents, want us very much to grow. This is probably why people say it is a scary thing to be loved by a God. It forces one to be bigger, to be more.” 

I have rarely if ever experienced a Deity being “mean.” At least, I’ve never experienced it as being mean just to be mean. Sometimes I have had a God or Goddess push me in some way beyond my limits, push me to the point of challenge and then one step farther. That is a good thing. It is only by pushing against our limits that we grow stronger. I have seen very wounded human souls incapable of experiencing the power of the Holy Ones save through the lens of their own terrible abuse. That is not something that the Gods did. That was a damaged soul unable to see divine love as anything other than terrible…and still something to be longed for jealously. Of course, I belong to Odin, the personification of ecstatic frenzy. His love is the tip of a spear penetrating the heart and it is glorious. 

In devotion, the relationships we develop with our Holy Ones may start out in fumbling awkwardness but they grow. Like any relationship they grow in intimacy, in trust. That’s what is really key: trust. We learn to trust our Gods, to let Them in a little more, to go a few more faltering steps forward in devotion. “Affection” is too small, too weak a word for what the Gods are capable of evoking in our hearts. Their love is like the blood beating in our veins. It is like breath forcing itself into and out of our lungs again and again. It is all that sustains us, and all that challenges us to be more. 

Notes:

  1. While one may argue that some myths like Homer were ancient fanfiction, I think the difference between then and now lies in the fact that the culture of Homeric Greece (to give one example of “mythology”) was infused with veneration of the Gods at every level. The tradition was deep and intergenerationally embedded. That is not the case now, quite the opposite. So much in our world is hostile to devotion of any sort, esp. media which often makes a mockery of it or puts humans above the Gods. 
  2. For pre-Christian polytheists, religion was about devotion and engaging in some way with the Gods. Soteriological concerns were handled via mystery cultus, and building character, virtue, learning how to be a decent human being both by community nomoi but also in some cases philosophy. The myths aren’t examples of virtuous living for mortals because that’s not the correct place upon which to put that weight. That’s not the purpose of religion. Religion is about engaging properly with the Gods. Now, they can teach virtue by dint of teaching what is proper behavior, but it’s through custom, upbringing, and philosophy that one really developed those things…otherwise, the purpose of religion is subtly shifted in unhelpful ways. It goes from being about the Gods to being about us, humanity. It becomes vanity.

Reaction Sickness – Practical Info for Spirit-Workers

When I was learning how to be a spirit-worker and also (for years before that) learning how to function as a fairly competent magus, I was warned early on about reaction headaches and/or reaction sickness. This, I was told, is what happens when you seriously overwork your psi-gifts, work for too long handling energy or using those gifts – which are like muscles that can be strengthened or not—or get hit by too much energy to ground effectively, etc. etc. I kind of filed the information and thought, “yeah, that won’t happen to me.” Now mind you, I was in my early twenties and like most people in their early twenties, an idiot. Lol. How we all live past twenty-five, I’ll never understand. Over time, of course, I did experience the occasional reaction headache and even sickness a time or two and learned techniques for effectively dealing with it. It’s been a very long time since I got hit with full out reaction sickness. Then there was this past Saturday.

On Saturday, I went with my friend Tove to a wine and painting event. All the proceeds were going to support the Ukraine so I was happy to attend. There were a number of Ukrainians present who had just come to the US within the last two months and who didn’t have much English. I have only a smattering of Russian and Ukrainian. Usually in cases like this, I un-shield a bit and slip into the outer edges of one’s mind, so I can catch the images and intent behind their words. Then I can understand without having to rely on a translator though my ability to respond is limited (the woman I spent the most time chatting with was lovely and understood English but didn’t speak it – much like me with Russian). It’s a fairly intensive use of one of my psi-gifts, but I’ve done it before and it really, really helps with on-the-spot translation.  Great. I did this for five hours. (Every so often, Tove would translate for me, but she saw that I was getting via my technique and basic knowledge of the languages in question, about 80% of the conversation around me. She was so tired by the end of it, she tried to translate English for me once, which had us both laughing when I looked at her and said, “I think I got the English down.” It was fun). 

I haven’t used this technique in ten years maybe longer. I don’t think I’ve ever used it for five straight hours. I’m just coming off being quite ill (I got the thing that I won’t name and while I recovered quickly, I find that it’s left me rather tired, more so than usual, for longer than expected) and I had had a rather bad headache midafternoon. All of this is something that I should have evaluated and either not gone to the event, or simply let Tove constantly translate for me—which I didn’t do, because it she needed to network and do her own thing. By the time we left, I was already getting a bad reaction headache. I woke up the next morning with such bad reaction sickness I thought I was going to die (sorry haters. It takes more than that). I knew immediately what it was and turned the whole thing into a lesson for my assistant who has yet to experience the joy of full reaction sickness. 

I took my migraine medication (which is awesome—I didn’t have that when I first started studying), a special tea that I use for such times (feverfew, oatstraw, skullcap), drank rehydration salts and also caffeine, because it helps with headaches. Given some of the symptoms of massive nausea I also drank half a bottle of Pepto-Bismol (for non-Americans, this is a nasty, pink over-the-counter medicine that helps with nausea and stomach issues). Normally, I’d have gone back to bed and slept it off, which is really the only true cure for this sort of thing. I couldn’t do that though because I had family visiting later that day – and I am thankfully experienced enough that I had myself together by the time they arrived. There’s something to be said for being old and well-trained. LOL. 

While ideally one doesn’t put oneself in this situation, it is inevitable with active practice that at some point, a spirit worker or a magus is going to experience at the very least reaction headaches. Knowing what to do is as important as knowing how to prevent them. The latter one does by knowing one’s skill level and being aware of one’s physical state before, during, and after the Work. This, of course means taking care to get enough sleep, eat well, exercise which none of us do! We should though, especially before major workings. Care of the self is essential to competent work and especially to longevity. 

If you’re in a situation and it’s too late for all this and you have gotten a reaction headache, take aspirin (I like Excedrin extra strength or Excedrin migraine), make sure you’re hydrated and go back to bed. The only thing you can do is sleep it off. Treat it like you would a regular migraine. Eat lightly when you wake, if you can keep food down – you may feel rather fragile for a day after—and don’t do any Work. It’s going to feel like the hangover from hell.

If you’ve really screwed yourself and it’s full reaction sickness, the same suggestions apply. Your best bet is to stay hydrated and sleep. The rest will help and, in a day, or so you should be back on your feet. I actually use rehydration salts, sometimes gatorade to rebalance electrolytes, and the three-herb tea I mention above. It helps before major workings to protein load, and often I’ll make it a point to eat sushi after serious workings—one of my colleagues was taught that the closer protein is to raw, the more energy one can take from it. My assistant says (as I read this to her) that after working she craves rare red meat. My husband is muttering about “the blood is the life.” LOL. 

The important point here is that spirit-work and magic is WORK. It’s going to have physical consequences because you are using the body’s energy just like if you were doing manual labor. Take your vitamins and treat it all accordingly. We want to aim for longevity of practice and that means knowing how hard to push ourselves, for how long, when it’s necessary to go beyond those limits, and what to do after. 

Crowley cat asking how, how did I let the reaction headache get so bad?

Two Prayers, Written by Request

To Apollo, in Thanks for Your Care and Healing

In 433 B.C.E., the Romans raised their first shrine to You. 
They hailed You as God of the sun and of light,
but they called that temple, first of many, 
the temple of Apollo Medicus, 
and above all else, they honored You 
as the best of physicians. 
That is how I honor You too. 
You drive out pollution.
You drive our miasma.
The brightness of Your presence purifies.
You restore the body to harmony and health. 
You restore the mind. 
I hail You, now and always, as Iatros, 
Apollo, the doctor. 

I have to admit, I never thought I’d be writing a paean to the Roman God Sterculinus. He’s the God, no joke, of doing useful things with poop. Lol. Initially, He was largely venerated by farmers, because manure was used to fertilize the fields. We do the same thing today, but our fertilizer has been prepared for us by this company or that. 

Prayer to Sterculinus

Hail to You, Friend of Pomona. 
Hail to You, Friend of Flora. 
Hail to You, Friend of Ceres. 
Hail to You, Friend of farmers always and everywhere. 
Your gifts and teaching are beyond price. 
You taught our ancestors how to make their fields fertile. 
You taught them how to use refuse, recycling it 
through the alchemy of the earth, enriching the soil,
and in so doing, filling their larders and pantries with abundance. 
You, Great God – for all Gods are great—teach us to respect
even the lowliest part of creation, 
because creation too is filled with wonder. 
You are a healing God also, though little do we think on it,
until we need Your blessings. 
You keep us healthy, helping the ecology of our bodies
to remain in harmony. You bring surcease of pain. 
You even rid the body of pollution.
For this and so many other reasons, 
for myself and for every one of my farmer ancestors 
who once praised You by name, or recognized 
Your gifts and glory, I hail You, now and forever.
Hail Sterculinus, called Stercutus, called Sterculius,
May Your praises ever be sung. 

Hail Óðinn!

Omg. This is amazing. Hail Odin!

The House of Vines

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The Mother of All Virtues and the First Brick in Community Building

I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis again and Lewis, in his novel The Screwtape Letters wrote that “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. ” Contextually, he was specifically discussing what we might call more specifically moral courage. I’ve always thought that courage was crucial to becoming a proper and worthy adult but over the past few years, I’ve come to agree 110% with Lewis. I think it is beyond fundamental. I would go so far as to call it the mater virtutium, the mother of all virtues. It’s in sadly short supply today. Maybe it always was. 

Virtue (1) doesn’t just happen. We’re not born knowing what it is or how to live virtuously. We have to take the time to cultivate that which we wish to become. This takes work and may involve failure as we learn how to make correct choices, as we learn to do that which makes us better people, and most importantly, makes us better polytheists. Everything we do, everything we choose in our world, most especially our behavior, should make us better servants of our Gods. That is, after all, why we are here. Yet, where do we learn virtue? 

Ideally, we would be learning these things from our mothers’ laps, our fathers’ tutelage. The values and virtues of a functional community, of people of worth and honor, would be reinforced in our educational system, and we would be able to seek out philosophical schools as adults to help us continue learning how to best live. None of that exists today, or rather the first may exist in small pockets, the second is completely lacking, and the third is as non-existent in our communities as to warrant little to no mention. Instead of these things we are given social media and media in general that is hostile to anything approximating good, devout living, and largely absent of virtue — unless mutilating children is now suddenly virtuous. The proof, as the old saying goes, is in the pudding and look at our communities. So, what do we do? 

More than anything else, I think this is one of the major issues infecting our communities, and keeping us from building communities that will last. You cannot work with someone lacking in virtue, specifically the virtue of moral courage. It does not matter if someone claims to be an ally or a friend. If he or she is unwilling to stand with you in public, to speak in your defense, to eschew collaboration with those who public attack not only you but healthy devotion and polytheism in general, and to stand fast in the face of the opprobrium of others, then that person is a coward. You cannot reform, train, or transform a coward. They will destroy everything they touch. 

That is what lack of virtue does: it destroys goodness. It pulls it down to the lowest common denominator. It spits on devotion and instead inserts the shallowest of platitudes where true courage ought to stand. We have a generation of people who have been taught by public discourse that emotion equals rational discourse, that political partisanship equals devotion, that prayer is useless, that when someone calls you a bad word you should allow that to overwhelm your true identity and slink away in shame, and that words are dangerous. Well, maybe on that last point they’re right: words are dangerous. They allow one to recognize cowardice and lack of virtue and call it what it is without euphemism. 

We won’t have functional communities until people learn to stand with each other, support each other, and prioritize the Gods and Their respective cultus first and foremost. We won’t have functional communities until loyalty and faith are recognized as important things to cultivate; until courage is the watchword of the day, hand in hand with piety and devotion. It’s easy to feign courage when there’s nothing to lose. I want to see what one does when one’s reputation is on the line, when one has the potential to suffer real world loss. That is when you know the measure of a man. 

Moral courage isn’t the only virtue worth cultivating. While their origin may be problematic, for Heathens, the Nine Noble Virtues aren’t a bad place to start, though I’d add a few. Most importantly, I’d ask: what kind of human being do my Gods want me to be? What are the cardinal virtues, the unchanging moral guideposts by which I can become that person? Then slowly start making the hard choices – and it may involve loss of friends, loss of things that one enjoys, change of seemingly innocuous habits –and stand by them. There’s no easy way to do this. One cannot wave a magic wand *poof* and suddenly become a man or woman of virtue. It’s hard work; and it’s work that never ends. 

Failure is going to happen and it’s not the end either. We pick ourselves up. We examine our faults. We make amends. We do better in the future. There’s an old Heathen saying: “We are our deeds.” It’s the deeds I watch. Not the words coming out of someone’s mouth, or inbox. I have a lot of people in my world who say they stand behind my work, who say they support, as I, do the founding of functional polytheistic communities, who even are my friends. Yet I watch as publicly they cultivate those who have dedicated in some cases decades to attacking my work, slandering my name, and attempting to create a community that has no place for devotion and the Gods. Or I watch as some of these people stay silent when I am publicly attacked. You’re not friends. You’re cowards. I see you. I see your true nature. All the rhetoric, philosophy, and pretty words in the world won’t change it. You cannot trust a coward to stand, and you cannot trust them to have any loyalty whatsoever. These are people who would sell their own Gods while pretending to be devout. But you know, if they’re on the right political side of the equation who cares, right? (Yes, I’m being sarcastic). 

I think it’s time for our communities to grow up a little bit, to remember that we are first and foremost religious communities and with our religions – if we want them to last, if we want them to matter – come values and virtues that also must be cultivated and sustained. If that latter process doesn’t start with courage it won’t happen at all. 

Notes:

  1. What is virtue? The term comes from the Latin word for “courage” or “valor” (virtus) and Merriam-Webster defines it now as “a particular moral excellence,” a definition with which I agree. These are the qualities that lead to excellence of character, conduct, and personhood.

Affiliate Advertising Disclosure (because of my link to C.S. Lewis’ book). 

Fantastic Interview with Sylvie Guillem

I remember how astonishingly brilliant she was at her height as a dancer. She just blew us away (I was a student still when I first saw her).

Also, She’s right: if you don’t *need* do to it, if it’s not you everything, then don’t do it.

Happy Saturday – Finally Here in NY: A Little Autumnal Weather

As I write this, I’m sitting in an art gallery in Pawling, where I currently have work in a show. Today is my turn to gallery sit. Of course, today was also one of those crazy days where I just couldn’t seem to get out of the house on time (and I loathe being late). All my frustration melted away though on the drive here. I live about an hour from Pawling, NY and the drive was refreshing: the trees are starting to turn so there was a panoply of color, perhaps not as vibrant as some years, but still beautiful, and it’s finally, FINALLY getting chilly. I just hope it stays so. I’m happiest when it’s 65 and overcast. Lol. 

I haven’t had much of a chance to post updates here the past week or so. Of course, we’re preparing for Winternights, and the slew of ancestor holy days that round off October and guide us into the time of the Hunt. Normally, readers who subscribe to my newsletter would have gotten a fuller update, but I’ve had some problems with mailchimp and I’m in the process of moving to a different distributor. October’s newsletter is going to be a little late but it will happen. 

Meanwhile, since it’s harvest time and a nice time to put root vegetables to work, here is my household’s recipe for borscht. This is an incredibly nutritious soup. When I was cooking it last week, I actually said to a friend that it’s probably the healthiest thing I’ve ever cooked! Every Ukrainian household has its own iteration of borscht, so if you have a recipe that looks different from this, that’s ok. There are as many borscht recipes as there are people to cook it. 

UNESCO has recently declared Ukrainian borscht an endangered cultural tradition.  It’s the perfect food for chilly weather and if you’re sick, as my Ukrainian house mate told me, it’ll cure what ails you. Lol. She was quite adamant too, about how it should be prepared.  My kin on my dad’s side are Lithuanian, so borscht was never really a thing for us. I have opinions on vertinas (dumplings) though every bit as fierce as any Ukrainian cook on the subject of borscht. So, if this isn’t the way your family makes it, that’s ok. There are as many variations as there are cooks to make them.   

Also, this is a soup that will keep. There’s a Ukrainian saying: the best borscht is yesterday’s borscht. It keeps well and is best served with a dollop of sour cream (I don’t like sour cream so to my house-mate’s horror, I omit this in my own portion), a garnish of parsley, dill, and some good, hearty bread. Enjoy. 

Traditional Ukrainian Borsch  

Ingredients 

4-5 medium beets (diced)
3 cups cabbage (shredded)
2-3 medium carrots (diced)
4 medium potatoes (cut into 1-inch pieces) 

2-3 pounds of beef shank (bone in if possible. You can remove the bone after the stock is made. It’ll be tastier with the bone.)

1 onion (diced) 

2 Tbsp tomato paste 

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (I add more to taste usually, and sometimes even a bit of red wine)

Olive oil and butter

 2 garlic cloves (minced)
 salt (to taste)
Freshly ground pepper (to taste) 

For the broth (which can be made the night before)

10 cups water
2-3 lbs beef shank with bone
3 bay leaves
10 whole peppercorns (I just pour out a handful and toss them in)
2 carrots (peeled and cut in half)
1 onion (peeled and cut in half) 

For garnish 

sour cream (optional)
fresh dill, parsley, and scallions (finely chopped) 

Instructions 

  1. Place the meat (leave the bone in), water, carrot, onion, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large pot and bring to boil. Turn the heat down to very low and simmer for about 3 hours. 
  2. Take the meat out, let cool and cut into pieces. According to my house-mate, one should aim to get two to three bites out of every piece of the meat so when cutting it up, size that accordingly.
  3. Filter the broth through cheesecloth and put back on the stove.
  4. Start bringing the broth back to boil over medium heat. 
  5. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet (use the largest you have). Place beets in the skillet and cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add about half a stick of butter, maybe another dollop of olive oil followed by onions and carrots. Add salt to taste. 
  6. Continue cooking for 10 minutes then add tomato paste, vinegar, sugar and 1 cup of hot broth. Turn the heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add red wine (optional—a good dollop), adjust vinegar as desired. 
  7. Add the meat and potatoes to the boiling broth and cook for 15 minutes. Add more salt and pepper as desired. 
  8. Now, add the beets, carrots and onions and wait until borscht comes back to boil. 
  9. Add the shredded cabbage with chopped garlic and cook for 15 minutes –until the cabbage isn’t hard.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste just before the borsch is done, but taste it first to make sure you’re not over-salting. I personally have a rather heavy hand with the salt. All the salt in our home is blessed to drive out evil, which has only made me have a heaver hand with it in cooking! I really have to watch myself. IF you end up oversalting, boil up a couple of potatoes and add them to the borscht. They’ll absorb some of the salt and help balance out the taste. This works for any stew or soup. Of course, peel the potatoes and cut them into one inch chunks before setting them to cook.
  11. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for a half hour. 
  12. Sprinkle the dill, parsley, and/or scallions in the bowl just before serving—I do this to each individual bowl rather than on the whole pot. Likewise, I add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl, not the entire pot.

The recipe is a guide…if you want to add more carrots, more beets, more potatoes or meat, go for it. I tend to have a rather heavy hand with salt so keep that in mind. Also, balsamic vinegar and/or red wine will make the stew tastier, but this can translate as saltier to the palate so taste as you go and adjust accordingly. Serve with a good hearty bread. 

A messy bowl of my borscht. 🙂

That’s all from me for today. I’ve got to get back to work. Since we are in the time of all our ancestral holy days, and since food ways are an intrinsic and powerful part of remembrance and honoring our dead, feel free to talk about your family’s foodways, special ancestral dishes, and such in the comments. ^_^

Nonsense About Punk Rock

An excellent post — reminded me of my days dancing, and of how that prepared me for devotion, and also spirit work.

Patron Saint of Hard Times

This weekend I got to go to a concert for the first time in bout 10 years. We got nosebleed seats at a stadium show but once upon a time the band in question was a little dirty punk band (about 20 years ago when I first encountered them) and they somehow are working back toward that vibe and attitude. This post isn’t strictly about that one show, though — I want to talk about music and the power of performing.

[The stadium, still only about half full. Even with the hurricanes canceling flights the venue still managed to fill every. Single. Seat.]

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