Monday Make A – Solstice Dream Pillow

May 24, 2010 at 9:12 am (Crafts, Decoration, Dreams, Herbs, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Psychic, Witch)

Solstice Dream Pillow
from
The Magick Wand (the link is dead)

Materials needed:

  • 1 to 4 oz (30 to 120 gms) each of the following five herbs:
  • dried chamomile
  • Mugwort
  • Catnip
  • Hops
  • Lavender
  • Whole oranges & lemons
  • cinnamon sticks
  • allspice berries (optional)
  • myrrh or frankincense resin lumps
  • Scraps of lightweight cloth (4 – 7 inches / 100 -175 mm, two for each bag)
  • optional: bits of ribbon, embroidery floss, scraps of lace or a few small beads

Take the first five dried herbs and mix them in whatever proportions you desire/have on hand. More Mugwort will lead some folks to more psychic dreaming, more hops will lead to a sounder sleep for some others, more catnip may encourage feline pillow sharing. As the night passes, eat the oranges, and use the lemons (minus their peels) in teas/punches/hot drinks.

As you use them try to remove the peels in large chunks or in easy to work with sections. Using a spoon, carefully scrape out as much of the white inner rind as you can without damaging the zesty outer peel. Scatter the remaining outer peels on a cookie sheet and dry them on low heat in the oven (200 ° F. or less). Watch them to make sure they are drying but not scorching. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool. If you have a fire or incense burner, burn some of the incense resins, saving most to use in the pillows. Crumble the dried peels up into smaller bits, break up the cinnamon sticks up into smaller pieces, and add the spices, resins and peels to the herb mixture. Mix well. Gather up the scraps of material, and sew up small bags: 3 – 6 inches / 75 – 150 mm should be fine. Leave one side open: small openings will make it more difficult to fill the bags later. If you want to use the ribbons and floss to embroider protective or other magical symbols or representative designs, it will be easier to do before you stitch the sides together. Work on this to keep you awake, thinking of the season and what it means to you as you do it. If these are intended as gifts, think kindly and lovingly of the folks you will be giving these to. Fill each of the bags with the herb/spice mixture, but not so full that it is hard: people will want to smell them, but they need to be soft enough to sleep on. Fold the last side inward, and stitch closed. If you want, a small loop of ribbon may be added at this point at the top. After the sun rises, and you have finished your celebrations, set these aside, and finish them when you have/make time during the day if they aren’t done. When you go to bed, slip one or more of these into you pillow case, and inhale deeply as you relax before sleeping. Watch for special dreams as you sleep. For those who are sitting up all night on the Solstice, this is a special dream pillow you can make for prophetic dreams when you go to sleep the next night or throughout the year. (If you are not sitting up a vigil, go ahead and make them anyway – I get some interesting quirks to the dreams when I use the spices in the dream pillows.)

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Gel Air Freshener

May 17, 2010 at 9:29 am (Crafts, Decoration, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, Monday, Oils, pagan, Witch)

Make Your Own Gel Air Freshener
by JadeHawk

You can make your own gel air fresheners, using liquid potpourri, or from scratch.

For one version, you will need:

  • 2 cups of distilled water
  • Essential oil / fragrance of your choice.
  • 4 packages of Knox gelatin
  • Food coloring (optional)

Heat 1 cup of water almost to a boil. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat add another cup of distilled water, 10-20 drops of oil/fragrance, and food coloring if desired. You can place the jars in the refrigerator if you need them to set more quickly, but be aware that the smell will permeate the fridge. To use, place the jar on the stovetop (not directly on the burner!) while cooking, heat in a potpourri burner, or simply set out on a table and enjoy the aroma.

For the next version, you will need:

  • 1 c. concentrated liquid potpourri
  • 2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
  • Empty jar

I have made my own gel fresheners by using the concentrated liquid potpourri (1 cup) instead of water and essential oils. I buy this at my at the local "dollar" store so the investment is small – and I don’t have any problems with mold growing. Heat potpourri until almost to a boil. Remove from heat and add 2 envelopes of gelatin. Stir to dissolve gelatin and pour into clean decorative jar. Place piece of plastic wrap over jar and secure with rubber band. Either place in refrigerator for quick set or leave out overnight on counter. Cover with piece of starched "lace" and wrap with ribbon to decorate. Before using, remove plastic wrap and recover jar with lace cover.

Tips: Having a problem with mold? Adding 2 tablespoons of salt to the mixture to inhibit the growth of mold. Or add a splash of vodka.
Note: This
is not the same as Gel candles!!

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Pressed Flowers Crafts

April 26, 2010 at 9:28 am (Beltane, Children, Crafts, Decoration, Flowers, Kids, Magic, Monday, pagan, Witch)

Pressed Flowers Crafts
From
Hearth & Home Witchery

With dried pressed flowers you can make placemats, note cards, bookmarks and more! To press flowers, be sure they are rid of any excess water. Lay between the pages of old phone books and cover with heavier books (or if you have big heavy books use two sheets of paper on each side of the flowers to prevent any damage to the book’s pages.) Make sure the book is covered with a few more books for added weight. Let sit untouched for two weeks, if flowers are not completely dry then let sit another week.

Needed:

  • various spring blooms and greenery, dry and pressed*
  • heavy card stock,poster board
  • contact paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • markers
  • glitter, paint, other doodads for decorating

For the placemat: Cut posterboard to average placemat size (about 12"X 16"), glue flowers to poster board if you want (helps to keep them in place for later), let dry. Decorate as desired. Cut 2 equal lengths of contact paper that are slightly larger than the posterboard (so it overlaps about an inch on each side). Carefully unpeel a section of contact paper and with the help of a friend or parent, carefully center over the top and press onto decorated posterboard. Press out all air bubbles. then apply the second sheet to the back. Press out all air bubbles and seal the edges. Trim if needed.

For bookmark, follow the directions for placemat only cut your card stock or poster board bookmark sized (about 2"x 5").

For Notecards

Needed:

  • Tweezers
  • Flowers and Leaves (You can also use herbs)
  • White absorbent paper
  • Note Cards
  • Construction paper (Optional)
  • White Glue
  • Toothpick

Choose flowers that are a good size for your work. The best ones are simple flowers with few petals such as pansies, buttercups, Queen Anne’s lace. (This is especially true for beginners, until you get more confidence to try more elaborate blossoms and greenery.) Pick your flowers after the dew has dried, usually late morning. After you have selected your flowers and greenery and picked them, its time to press them. Remove all the stems from the flowers. Spread the blossoms and leaves in a single layer on a sheet of white absorbent paper. Place a second sheet of paper on top and place heavy objects such as books on top. Leave for about 2 weeks.

Now that your blooms and greenery are dried its time to get creative! Its a good idea to arrange your flowers and greens on paper before you glue. Be gentle though as some flowers or leaves can be brittle. Next, take a pair of tweezers and pick up a leaf that you want for the background. Using a toothpick dipped in white glue apply a small amount to the back of the leaf. Place on white note paper. Continue this process until you have placed all the leaves you want onto your card. Next, glue on all the major focal flowers. Glued the same way as the greenery. Once this is done, add all of the accent flowers.

Now that your pressed flower arrangement is completed you can write you quotes, poetry etc under the flowers, or you just leave blank for a simple but beautiful look. To protect your cards cover them with clear self-adhesive contact paper. Press contact paper down firmly to make sure it sticks to the flowers, greenery and card. For extra color glue finished card onto construction paper.

Editor’s Note:

 

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Green Man Wall Hanging

March 22, 2010 at 9:02 am (altar, Children, Crafts, Decoration, Fun, Greenman, Kids, Magic, Monday, pagan, Witch, Witchlets)

Green Man Wall Hanging
Found at PaganMoonbeams

The Green Man comes by many names and purposes. He has a place in most Pagan based religions and has for a very long time. He has become a well respected symbol in the Pagan populous. He is an example of nature and how people should live with it as well as individual or special religious symbolism. Having the Green Man nearby is a constant reminder of how we are to connect with as well as take care of nature. Make a Green Man wall hanging to go above your altar or in a place to constantly remind you of the things it stands for.

Take a walk to gather items needed for this project.

  • Tree Bark
  • Acorns or nuts
  • Anything unique thing you find on your walk!
  • Shells
  • Branches
  • Pine Needles
  • Small Rocks

No-Bake Clay

  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt together
  • 1/2 cup very warm tap water

Mix flour & salt well, then add the water. Knead for 5 minutes. It is now ready for use. Unused portions can be put in airtight containers for up to a week.

Supplies Needed:

  • Cardboard box (size you want the wall hanging)
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Various items from the woods that nature is not using
  • Clay or no-bake clay using recipe (may want to double, need enough to comfortably fit in the bottom of the box and be at least 1 1/2 in thick.
  • to hang your work with

Make your Wall Hanging

Put your clay into the bottom of your box, it is best to cover 1 1/2” to 2” of the box with your clay. Try and level out the top as much as possible and be sure that the sides aren’t bulging (this will make the hanging sideways). Use your items from your walk to make the whole square box into a Green Man imprint. Anything that you stick into the clay will be sticking out of your wall hanging. If sticking things in the clay make sure you pull them out with care so you don’t mess up your picture. Be careful not to stick things in so deep that you can’t get them out. When done double check to assure you didn’t leave anything in the clay and that the imprint looks like you want it to. Mix the Plaster of Paris following the directions on the package. Pour the Plaster of Paris over your clay work, you will need to have it evenly cover your imprint and have at least 1 1/2” to 2” over it. Tap all sides of the box one at a time. You will see small bubbles come to the top, these are air bubbles. Continue to tap the box until all the air bubbles are out in order for your wall hanging to be smooth and not have holes in it. Carefully sit your box in a well ventilated area so it can dry. It will need to dry as long as it says on the package. Please remember that when half that time is up you will need to carefully place the ends of a piece of wire (desired length) in the back pushed in at least a half inch. When totally dry pull off the box from both the Plaster of Paris and the clay. Next carefully (not to break off anything) remove the clay from the Plaster of Paris (if lots of small areas use an old toothbrush to remove the clay). You may want to paint your wall hanging before hanging it up.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

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Wednesday What Herb Is This (kinda…) – Planting Magical Gardens

January 13, 2010 at 11:06 am (Associations, Decoration, Dragon, Dragons, Garden, Herb, Herbs, Magic, pagan, Plants, Wednesday, Witch)

Planting Magical Gardens
From
Magical Gardens : Myth, Mulch & Marigolds
By Patricia Monaghan

Tender shoots, sleeping seeds,
Gentle Devas,
Watch over this garden,
Make it fertile, make it green,
Make it bloom.

All gardens are magical-and all gardeners are magicians. With the wizardry of earth and seed, the gardener transforms the world into a place of beauty, power, and healing. This year, acknowledge the connection between gardening and magic deliberately by creating a sacred space dedicated to your craft. Perhaps it will be a small space filled with significant plants and symbols-one to admire from your window-or it might be a larger space, big enough for meditations, invocations, and general witching work. Your garden might be dedicated to a deva or divinity; it might recall an ancient ritual or myth in its selection and placement of plants. Your dreams and traditions will tell you how to build your own Witches’ garden. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.

A Witches’ Pentacle Garden

The pentacle, the witch’s symbol, makes a simple shape for a garden of mixed perennial and annual flowers. To construct such a garden, find a sunny spot of any size and dig out a circular bed. Within it, "draw" a pentacle by stringing twine among five posts, set equally distant around the circle. This will create a central pentagon. Fill it with plants whose names express your craft: "Diana"; the "daylillies" named "Merry Witch" and "Wicked Witch", "Witch’s Thimble" and "Moon Witch"; and "Magic Lilies", whose flowers bolt surprisingly directly from the ground, to bloom with extravagant fragrance.

Plant the arms of your starry pentacle with light-green chamomile around a filling of darker-green mint; then place round clumps of Dianthus "Essex Witch" at each point of the star. Surround this whole design with a circle of green parsley, and densely plant dainty sweet alyssum as the pentacle’s background. Your pentacle is now ready to shine back at the night’s stars-and at you.

A Two-Headed Flower Dragon

Dragons in the garden? Why not? As symbols of the element of water, dragons should be welcome among your flowers. Try constructing a garden in the shape of a two-headed dragon, called an amphisbaena. Use a hose to outline a circle. Making a opening in the circle, create an inner circle offset from the first, forming snaky "dragon heads" at the entry. Then build a scaly back at the thickest part of the circle, with two trellises planted with "Magic Dragon" roses and separated by several feet. Opposite, make eyes with dwarf Japanese holly called "Green Dragon"; surround them with the ground-covering liriope called "Silver Dragon", which will form a soft hair to offset the dragon’s eyes.

A band of perennial creeper "Dragon’s Blood" sedum forms the belly of your dragon. Behind it and before the trellises, establish drifts of "False Dragonhead". Finally, on the outer edges of the garden, plant the scaly surge called "Jade Dragon". Between the trellises, place a bench, then add porcelain pots with dragon designs at its sides. Your garden will never thirst with such a protector guarding it.

Central Africa was terrorized by the mokelembembe, Ethiopia by the dragon of Silene, Italy by the tatzelworm, France by the peluda and tarasque. In Scandinavia, Fafnir struck fear into hearts while England was terrorized by the Mordiford wyvern and the Lambton worm. Dragons and dragon deities are found in the mythology of every continent, from Australia (where the bunyip reigns) to subarctic Canada (where we find tales of dragon-whales). Sea lizard, dragonet, basilisk, amphipter, pyrali, sirrush – these are some of the names given to this fierce and often fearsome figure. Its form is almost as variable as its name, for it appears winged and wingless, serpentine and footed, with a huge tail or none at all. Whatever its form, however, the dragon is acknowledged the world over. The culture to which the dragon has been most symbolically important is that of China, where ancient emperors reserved to themselves the right to display the image of the riveted dragon, while their attendants could claim only the forted.

Ancient China saw the dragon as a complex creature with the head of a camel, eyes of a demon, horns of a stag, a cow’s ears, a snake’s neck and a clam’s belly. Its feet were those of tigers, its claws those of eagles, and its 117 scales are those of a fish – 81 of them beneficial, 36 malignant. A creature of earth, water, sky, the dragon’s special role was as intermediary between and among these parts of the cosmos. A Chinese dragon lived an incredibly long time. Perhaps 3,000 years passed from the time one hatched from its multicolored egg to its impressive maturity. The dragon passed through many stages, living as a water snake when young, then growing a carp’s head and becoming a fish for almost a thousand years. It took another 500 years to grow the stag’s horns on its head. Lastly, its branching wings thrust out – taking more than a thousand years to do so. Once Mature, a dragon could take on one of many possible tasks. The ti-lung protected streams and rivers. The fu-ts’ang lung guarded treasure. The yu lung helped mortals pass examinations. A few were given especially important tasks, such as that of the Yellow Dragon of the River Lo, which unveiled the trigrams of the I Ching to humankind.

In Europe, the dragon appears as a powerful creature with whom combat is the ultimate test for a hero. While some claim the dragon is a symbol of evil, less dualistic thinkers have interpreted the dragon’s mythic role as that of ‘guardian at the gates’, protecting spiritual secrets from those not strong enough, or not yet ready, to understand them. Thus St. George, slaying the dragon, becomes an image of a hero conquering his own weaknesses and fears in order to enter a greater spiritual initiation, rather than an emblem of right’s might.

Why a dragon garden? Why invite this fierce being to your doorstep? There are two reasons to consider adding dragon energy to your garden. Firstly is the dragon’s connection with the forces of underground power, especially underground water. Secondly is the dragon nature of gardening itself, for in encountering the willful ways of our gardens, we encounter the lessons our spirit needs to learn. Every gardener is, to some extent, St. George slaying the demons of pride and grandiosity, of carelessness and excessive control. A dragon garden thus makes visible the soul’s struggle with itself that is the essence of conscious gardening. In welcoming the dragon into our gardens, we honor the generations of gardeners who have struggled with the energies of the earth and learned from that struggle.

A Spiral of Trees

It is especially appropriate to center a dragon garden on trees, for these long-lived woody plants have symbolic meanings similar to the dragon itself; the tree, like the dragon, is a being of many levels. Its hidden roots are deep underground and its trunk points upward into the sky. Like the dragon, the tree partakes of the three levels; below, middle earth and above. Spiraling in to its central tree, a stunning dragon’s eye pine, this garden grove should be placed in a sunny, open part of your property. As the shrubs and trees mature, they will provide substantial shade as well as a secret meditation spot where you can encounter your own dragon energy.

You will need a space that is between forty and fifty feet in diameter to make both trees and gardener happy. Place this garden where you wish to eliminate an unattractive view, where you wish to provide more privacy, or where you want a deeply shaded retreat for oppressively hot days. Note that this, unlike most of the gardens in this book, requires a warm climate, most of the trees are not hardy beyond zone six. The tree that forms the center of this spiral-pathed garden grows to a significant height, perhaps sixty feet within twenty years. The trees and shrubs that spiral out from it diminish in height to small shrubs at the garden path’s entry. Thus, as you follow the short path into the garden, you have a sense of entering a forest of increasing depth and mystery. At the spiral’s center, place a bench or several rustic chairs to encourage meditation and conversation. Although this garden will take a decade for its unique character to emerge, it will become a favorite haunt for residents and visitors as it grows into its full majesty.

The garden is shaped in a spiral, a reference both to the spiraling kundalini energy of the dragon and to the shape these mythic creatures often assume in Asian art, their tails stretching out from their circled bodies. The garden’s central tree is the unusual dragon’s-eye pine, named for its long needles banded with red and green rings. Next to it are two tall, bluish columns of Chinese Dragon spruce with unusual purplish gray bark. Spiraling beyond are three pyramidal Black Dragon Japanese cedars, whose bright green growing tips dot the dark older foliage. Next, comes three evergreen Japanese holly of the variety called Black Dragon; these mounding shrubs bear dark green clustered leaves on intricately twisting branches. Three Dragon azaleas will grow to five feet tall, bearing masses of brilliant red flowers in mid spring; their dense evergreen foliage provides privacy at the opening to the garden. Finally, two tiny Green Dragon Japanese holly form the dragon’s tail.

Around this tree spiral, plan drifts of three plants: Dragon Claw and Marbled Dragon ivy, the first with waxy deep cut leaves, the second with white veined multi-toned leaves; and Silver Dragon liriope, a magnificent variegated lily-turf groundcover whose spikes of lavender flowers will brighten the path in late summer. Draw the groundcovers out at least two feet beyond the last holly bush, bringing the dragon’s tail to as sharp a point as possible. Once the plantings are in, pave the path with cedar chips or other natural material. A stone or paved path is inappropriate to the feeling of a forest glade that you are striving to create. As the pines and spruce mature, they will add their litter to the pathways, creating a more natural ambiance.

The Artemisia Glade

The common garden plant artemisia is said to have so delighted the wildwood goddess Artemis that she named it after herself. In her honor, establish a little glade of her favorite flower. Find a narrow area with good Sun, then fill it with drifts of the silver-leafed plants. Given Artemis’ penchant for wilderness, be sure to avoid regimented rows! Begin by establishing focal points with tall "Artemisia lactiflora" (white mugwort). Then add sculptural accents with fragrant "Artemisia California montara" (California sagebrush), a gracefully cascading mounding shrub that will grow to two feet tall. Opposite, place "Artemis fiffolia", a small native shrub with airy, feathery foliage. Finally, fill in the remaining sections near the pathways with Artemisias "Silver Mound" and "Canescens", both smallish perennials which, once established, create attractive mounds of silvery gray, feathery foliage.

Artemisias, once established, thrive and expand. You may find gardener friends with older Artemisia beds which they are willing to divide. You might substitute some of the above suggestions with gift plants of similar heights and shapes. You can’t really mismatch Artemisias; the family demands similar culture and location, and the varieties of related foliage will be invariably pleasing.

Other Ideas

There are endless ideas for gardens based in myth and magic. Try a red garden for Mars, or a white one for the Moon. Build a zodiac garden with herbs for each planet. Divide the yard according to the wheel of the year, and create plantings for each festival. Place sculptures and symbols among the plants. Your garden is a magical place already. Let yourself make it even more so!

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Thursday This Is Your Spell – Magical Yule Wreath

December 24, 2009 at 10:40 am (Christmas, Crafts, Decoration, Magic, pagan, Spell, Thursday, Witch, Yule)

Magical Yule Wreath
Unknown Source (I had a link, it’s dead…)

Yule is the ancient European festival that occurred at the time of the Winter Solstice (when the sun enters the sign of Capricorn). The Celtic shamans, known also as druids, were particularly fascinated by the magical herb mistletoe. This parasitic plant appeared to thrive in the harshness of mid-winter’s freeze. Mistletoe became a symbol for the survival of life even in the midst of death, which is an archetypal spiritual theme found across the globe. The Yule wreath you will make is one that uses mistletoe and all of its mystic symbolism. Go to an arts and crafts store to purchase a circular wire frame. Attach peat-moss with florist’s wire (all found in the crafts store). Attach the moss in a clockwise pattern, going completely around the wreath. As you attach the moss, repeat this chant, imagining the first rays of the winter sun flooding the room with light:

"Winter born, mystic ring,
Bring us power by the Solar King!"

Once you’ve attached the moss, anoint this base-wreath with fresh pine essential oil, which attracts luck and wisdom. Next, using the same florist’s wire, attach springs of mistletoe in a clockwise fashion. When you are finished, hang the magical wreath near the front door or above the hearth to bring you eternal-life, and a sense of renewal, which are the powers of the Solstice sun.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Tuesday Try A New Taste – Yule Log Cake

December 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm (Cake, Christmas, Cooking, Decoration, Magic, pagan, Recipe, Tuesday, Witch, Yule)

Yule Log Cake
Source Unknown

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, or 1/4 cup unsweetened
  • cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • solid vegetable shortening (room temp.) like Crisco® for greasing the pan and paper.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Lightly grease a jellyroll pan (a cookie sheet with higher sides) and line with parchment (or waxed) paper. Lightly grease this also. Sift flour with baking powder and salt into a large bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high for several minutes until they are very pale and fluffy. Gradually add in the sugar, (and cocoa powder if using it in place of the chocolate pieces, and skip the melted chocolate step.), beating 1 to 2 minutes more or until very thick. Gently, but thoroughly, fold in the flour mixture until well combined. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of water with the remaining 2 tbsp. sugar and the baking soda, then gradually stir into the melted chocolate until smooth. Quickly, but thoroughly, fold chocolate mixture into batter. Pour a 1/4 inch thick layer of batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top to level it. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out slightly sticky. If it is overcooked it will easily crumble and be hard to work with. Lightly sift an even layer of confectioners sugar over a clean smooth dish towel and flip the cake out of the pan onto the prepared towel as soon as it comes from the oven. *Carefully* peel away parchment, or waxed, paper.Trim away any crusty edges and dust the cake with confectioners sugar.Starting with one of the short sides of the cake, immediately roll the cake up in the cloth, jellyroll style, and cool seam side down on a rack.**If you want to get really fancy you can roll the cake from the long side and after adding the filling cut off a 4 inch piece which is then cut in half at a diagonal and placed on the frosted cake as cut branch stubs. Of course, these are frosted too. Toothpicks can be used to hold them in place, just be sure to remove them from the slices before serving.

Filling
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. flavored liqueur (such as Grand Marnier), or extract (such as maple, cherry, orange, raspberry, rum etc.)

Directions:

Combine ingredients and beat until very stiff. Set aside in refrigerator until needed.

Frosting
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 ounces (8 squares) semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

Directions:

In a small saucepan, bring cream, melted chocolate, and butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring vigorously until blended. Remove from heat. Let stand until set.

Assembly

Unroll the cake and remove the cloth. Spread whipped cream over cake to within 1 inch of edges. Carefully re-roll the cake* and place seam-side down on a serving plate or tray. The plate or tray should be decorated as you want it to be, i.e…foil, paper doily, etc, as once in place the cake will not be movable.Spread with the set frosting, covering the whole cake- ends and all. Make a bark pattern in the frosting with a fork or spatula and a swirl pattern on the ends to look like tree rings. *Don’t roll too tightly and be prepared for a bit of a mess.

Decoration

This is where you can let your imagination and creativity run free. You can make edible decorations like holly leaves out of marzipan (almond paste) dyed with food coloring with cinnamon candies for holly berries. Some of the log can be sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar to resemble snow or green sugar crystals to resemble moss. 2 or 3 vanilla wafers can be pushed into the side for mushrooms, or you can use meringue ones. This site has an excellent recipe for meringue mushrooms. Also, it can be decorated with free-hand designs using colored frostings, or with plastic items that you find in stores like holly,snowmen, anything seasonal. As I mentioned, the limit is your imagination and creativity.

Note: If time or cost is an issue, the cake can be made with 1 box of dark chocolate cake mix, canned frosting, and whipped topping (just mix the flavoring and cocoa in before applying). If using the canned frosting, I recommend mixing 2 tablespoons of softened vegetable shortening to the contents of each can. This will make it creamier tasting and also easier to spread.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Bottled Snowflakes

December 21, 2009 at 10:49 am (Children, Christmas, Crafts, Decoration, Kids, Magic, Monday, pagan, Snow, Winter, Witch, Witchlets, Yule)

Bottled Snowflakes
by Dorothy Morrison; from Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth

You will need:

  • 1 white pipe cleaner
  • length of twine
  • scissors
  • 1 quart jar with a wide mouth
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 6 tablespoons borax
  • 1 pencil

Cut a white pipe cleaner into 3 equal lengths, twist them together in the center, then arrange the six legs so that they are equidistant from each other. Tie one end of the twine to a leg, and the other end to the middle of a pencil. (For a more ornate flake, tie the twine around the end of each leg in a continuous motion to make a center wheel). Set aside. Pour boiling water into the jar, then add the borax one tablespoon at a time, stirring to dissolve. (if a little borax settles to the bottom, there’s no need to worry, just go on to the next step.) Submerge the pipe cleaner form in the solution and let the pencil rest on top of the jar. Leave the snowflake in the solution overnight. The next morning, you’ll find it covered with tiny, sparkling crystals. Remove it from the jar, and hang it from the window to catch the sun.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Monday Make A – Cinnamon / Applesauce Ornaments

December 14, 2009 at 10:52 am (Children, Christmas, Crafts, Decoration, Family, Kids, Magic, Monday, pagan, Winter, Witch, Witchlets, Yule)

Cinnamon / Applesauce Ornaments
from Angel

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
  • Knife
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • Straw
  • 1/3 cup white school glue
  • cooling rack
  • rolling pin ribbon
  • various cookie cutters
  • puffy paints (optional)

In bowl mix together applesauce, cinnamon and white glue. Remove mixture from bowl and knead until it turns into a firm clay. Let sit 30 mins. at room temperature. Flour your hands & rolling paper, or use wax paper as a working surface. With rolling pin, roll out till about 1/8 inch thick. Use cutters to cut out desired shapes. Use the straw to cut a hole out near the top of your shape. Place shapes on a non stick cooling rack to dry, remembering to turn them so they dry evenly and flat. Dry for aprox. 5 days. When dry, tie a ribbon through the hole for hanging. You may now decorate with your paints.

***As always, take advantage of this opportunity to infuse your creations magically! Focus your intent as you mix, cut & decorate your creations. While stirring, chant to yourself

Love, health, happiness, prosperity, harmony, contentment, protection

Picture these qualities becoming part of what you’re making, and as a result, being transferred to the folks who use (or eat, in the case of food) the things you make!

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Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect

December 9, 2009 at 11:38 am (Acceptance, Christmas, Decoration, Folklore, Magic, pagan, Sacred Woods, Story, Wednesday, Witch, Yule)

Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect
by Richard H. Schneider (with minor changes made by me…)
Found at Follow Your Dreams

They say that if you creep into an evergreen forest late at night you can hear the trees talking. If you listen very carefully to the whisper of the wind, you can hear the older pines telling the younger ones why they will never be perfect. They will always have a bent branch here, a gap there.

But long, long ago all evergreen trees were perfect. Each one took special pride in branches that sloped smoothly down from pointed top to evenly shaped skirt. This was especially true in a small kingdom far beyond the Carpathian Mountains in Europe. Here the evergreen trees were the most beautiful of all. For here the sun shone just right, not too hot, not too dim. Here the rain fell just enough to keep the ground moist and soft so no tree went thirsty. And here the snow fell gently day after day to keep every branch fresh and green. Each year as Christmas approached, the Queen’s woodsmen would search the royal evergreen forest for the most perfect, most beautiful tree. The one fortunate enough to be chosen would be cut on the first Saturday of Advent. It would then be carefully carried to the castle and set up in the center of the great hall. There it reigned in honor for all the Christmas celebrations.

Out in the hushed forest every evergreen hoped for this honor. Each tree tried to grow its branches and needles to perfection. All of them strained to have the best form and appearance. One tree, Small Pine, grew near the edge of the forest and promised to be the most beautiful of all. As a seedling it had listened carefully to the older trees who knew what was best for young saplings. And it had tried so very hard to grow just right. As a result, everything about Small Pine, from its deep sea-green color to the curling tip of its evenly spaced branches, was perfect. It had, in fact, already overheard jealous whispers from the other trees. But is paid them no mind. Small Pine knew that if one did one’s very best, what anyone else said didn’t matter.

One cold night, when a bright full moon glittered on the crusty snow, a little gray rabbit came hopping as fast as he could into the grove of evergreens. The rabbit’s furry sides heaved in panic. From beyond the hill came the howling of wild dogs in the thrill of the hunt. The bunny, his eyes wide with fright, frantically searched for cover. But the dark, cold trees lifted their branches artfully from the snow and frowned. They did not like this interruption of their quiet evening when growing was at its best. Faster and faster the rabbit circled as the excited howling of the dogs sounded louder and louder. And then Small Pine’s heart shuddered. When the terrified rabbit ran near, Small Pine dipped its lower branches down, down, down to the snow. And in that instant before the wild dogs broke into the grove, the rabbit slipped under Small Pine’s evergreen screen. He huddled safely among the comforting branches while the dogs galloped by and disappeared into the forest. In the morning the rabbit went home to his burrow, and Small Pine tried to lift it’s lower branches back up to their proper height. It strained and struggled, long through the night. Oh well, Small Pine thought, no matter. Perhaps the woodsmen wouldn’t notice a few uneven branches near the ground in a tree so beautiful.

Several days later a terrible blizzard lashed the land. No one remembered ever having so much wind and snow. Villagers slammed their shutters tight while birds and animals huddled in their nests and dens. A brown mother wren had become lost in the storm. With feathers so wet she could barely fly, she went from one large evergreen to another looking for a shelter. But each tree she approached feared the wren would ruin its perfect shape and clenched its branches tight, like a fist. Finally, the exhausted wren fluttered toward Small Pine. Once more Small Pine’s heart opened and so did its branches. The mother wren nestled on a branch near the top, secure at last. But when the storm ended and the bird had flown away, Small Pine could not move its top branches back into their perfect shape. In them would be a gap evermore.

Days passed and winter deepened. The packed snow had frozen so hard that the deer in the forest could not reach the tender ground moss, which they ate to survive. Only the older, stronger deer could dig through the icy snow with their hooves. One little fawn had wandered away from his mother. Now he was starving. He inched into the pine grove and noticed the soft, tender evergreen tips. He tried to nibble on them, but every tree quickly withdrew it’s needles so the tiny deer teeth couldn’t chew them. Thin and week, he staggered against Small Pine. Pity filled the tree’s heart and it stretched out its soft needles for the starving fawn to eat. But alas, when the deer was strong enough to scamper away, Small Pine’s branches looked very ragged.

Small Pine wilted in sorrow. It could hear what the larger, still perfect trees were saying about how bad it looked. A tear of pine gum oozed from the tip of a branch. Small Pine knew it could never hope for the honor of being the Queen’s Christmas tree. Lost in despair, Small Pine did not see the good Queen come with the woodsmen into the forest. It was the first Saturday of Advent, and she had come to choose the finest tree herself because this was a special celebration year in the history of her kingdom.

As the royal sleigh, drawn by two white horses, slowly passed through the forest, her careful eye scanned the evergreens. Each one was hoping to be the royal choice. When the Queen saw Small Pine, a flush of anger filled her. How could such an ugly tree with so many drooping branches and gaps be allowed in the royal forest? She decided to have a woodsman cut it to throw away and nodded for the sleigh to drive on. But then she raised her hand for the sleigh to stop and glanced back at the forlorn little pine. She noticed the tracks of small animals under it’s uneven needles. She saw a wren’s feather caught in it’s branches. And, as she studied the gaping hole in its side and its ragged shape,
understanding filled her heart.

"This is the one," she said, and pointed to Small Pine.

The woodsmen gasped, but they did as the Queen directed. To the astonishment of all the evergreens in the forest, Small Pine was carried away to the great hall in the castle. There it was decorated with shimmering, silver stars and golden angels, which sparkled and flashed in the light of thousands of glowing candles.

On Christmas Day a huge Yule log blazed in the fireplace at the end of the great hall. While orange flames chuckled and crackled, the Queen’s family and all the villagers danced and sang together around Small Pine. And everyone who danced and sang around it said that Small Pine was the finest Christmas tree yet. For in looking at it’s dropping, nibbled branches, they saw the protecting arm of their father or the comforting lap of a mother. And some, like the wise Queen, saw the love of the Goddess expressed on earth.

So if you walk among evergreens today, you will find, along with rabbits, birds, and other happy living things, many trees like Small Pine. You will see a dropping limb, which gives cover, a gap offering a warm resting place, or branches ragged from feeding hungry animals. For, as have many of us, the trees have learned that living for the sake of others makes us most beautiful in the eyes of the Goddess.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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