Pagan Music Giveaway Contest!

Our good friend Bruner (aka Sparky T. Rabbit) has just re-released his wonderful CD of Pagan music, Lunacy.  We are giving away a copy of Lunacy here on the blog.   All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below that answers this question: 

If a stranger walked into your house right now, what is the first thing they would see that would tip you off as a Pagan?  

 The winner will be drawn this Sunday!  Good luck!

Taco bell bean burritos are not healthy; iPads and Poptropica are not educational

  I know this blog might upset some of my readers, or make them think I am being judgemental. But I am not trying to be! This is meant only as self reflection, and as a springboard for discussion! Also, please try not to judge me!
 This weekend I am home alone with the children for a while while Christopher is off being famous at Paganicon. At the same time, I am caring for a friends’ child for a few days. She (let’s call her Wendy) is an intelligent and articulate 9 year old.
  Yesterday, three things happened that all got me thinking. It started in the morning. We had a very busy day ahead; homeschool art classes, a meeting with our lobbyist, shopping, and errands. As I was rushing around getting everyone clean and ready, Wendy asks for a computer turn. I open the laptop and set the timer for 30 minutes, letting her and the other middle school age children play Poptropica while I feed and clean the baby. When the timer goes off, I ask them to turn it off and get ready too. “Ahhh”, they say, ” But it’s Poptropica! It’s educational. I learn so much!” “No it’s not!” I fume. Anyway, time to go.
  As we are driving to art class I become lost. The drive lasts an unexpected hour. On the edge of town we drive past Taco Bell. ” Mom, pppllllleeeeaaassssse can we have bean burritos? Please?” I tell them no, we’ve just had lunch and you only think your hungry because you’re bored. “They’re healthy!” they exclaim. I don’t respond. We stop at Taco Bell maybe once a month for 69 cent bean burritos, usually when we are running errands in town and I have forgotten to pack lunches. And because they are vegetarian (?), cheap, and right by art class. There is a McDonald’s across from Taco Bell. Wendy chimes in that she likes snack wraps. And they are healthy. Now I argue, no way. What are they? Wheat tortilla, meat, lettuce. I ask how she knows it’s a “wheat” tortilla. Well, the tortilla has brown speckles. I am about to argue when my 10 year old compares it to the bean burritos tortilla. Hmmmm.
  We make it to class without snacks. It’s a great quilling class (more tomorrow…) that lasts 2 hours. (No one is hungry, by the way.)
  Then it is time to meet with our homeschool lobbyist. What a fantastic woman! We discuss the obnoxious changes our homeschool assistance program has suffered this year. Instead of field trips, curriculum and science classes, some students (meaning not mine) got to borrow NEW iPads! Fancy schmancy! But NOT educational I exclaim!
  WHOAAAA!!! the moms cry out. These iPads ARE super educational.

Are you fracking kidding me?

  These are women I respect. Don’t tell me they believe these are good for kids. One mom says “My daughter goes in her room and plays educational spelling games.” No she doesn’t. She logs onto her secret facebook account. Duh! Another mom tells me that computer skills are necessary for today’s modern world. I agree in principle, but you need to supervise all computer use in your home. And computers are NOT difficult to use. I recently attended a conference with Eugene Schwartz, who says using a computer is about as difficult as using a microwave. My 18 month old can turn on a computer and control a mouse. Macintosh works diligently to make it so!  All an iPad is is a fancy toy that your pre-teen plays with in her room and gives you a chance to clean the kitchen in a quiet atmosphere.

 You and I KNOW that iPads, Poptropica, and Taco Bell are NOT healthy for our children. We could say ” Well, I need a break, so I will let you play this computer game so I can take a shower. It’s not good for you, but it’s ok in moderation.” But we don’t. We say otherwise because telling them the truth would mean telling them that we let them do unhealthy things! Ouch! What a disservice we do our children! How will they learn to make healthy choices if we can’t be honest with them?

  We MUST teach our children what is healthy! Fresh air, water, vegetables, watercolor paints, books, mothers, outdoor adventures……

  Here‘s a study about screen time that finds that children who spend longer than two hours in front of a computer or television screen are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties, regardless of how physically active they are. And the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees.

 And Wendy, if you’re reading this, a Taco bell bean burrito and a McDonald’s snack wrap are equally UN-healthy.

Wheat Grass Ostara Basket

  For our March Waldorf Inspired Homeschool Day, we made wheat grass baskets.
First, I lit a beeswax candle the children made last month and read The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Olfers.  I have loved this book for over 20 years, and it was delightful to see so many children enjoy it for the first time!

Then the work began. Each child lined the bottom of their basket with plastic, then a layer of dirt. Then we spread a good layer of wheat berries (the same wheat you grind to make flour, available in bulk at health food stores, or ask a friend who bakes…). We watered the seeds and covered it all with some plastic wrap to keep it moist.

Even the babies participated!

Voila! I am very excited for Spring!

Check back tomorrow for a few recipes for left over soaked wheat berries……..

And until then, check out Living Crafts Blog Grass Grow Along!

And a big THANK YOU to my friend and teacher Michelle for these photos!

What Spring/Easter/Equinox/Ostara activities are you doing?

Gratitude Friday

This week, I am grateful for:

  • young pregnant women turning into strong confident mothers
  • orchids
  • extra zils 
  • inter – library loan
  • priestesses who call me Goddess
  • Aldi extra virgin olive oil
  • giant dogs
  • splinters that eventually do come out
  • She loves it!  

What are you grateful for?

I am already working hard on tomorrow’s post, written specifically for one of my favorite followers –
“How to Celebrate Brighid With a 4 Year Old”
Until then, ❤ 
Om gam ganapataye namaha!

W.I.P. Wednesday

I have three projects on needles right now. I am making a larger orange silk Norwegian Baby Cap for Méabh as she has outgrown her pink one, and a Noro sweater for myself.  (ok, but I am making mine out of Boku, because I have a ton of it.) The sweater is extremely easy and it is what I carry with me for knitting during movies, while driving, reading, etc.

But today I am trying to finish Chris’ seed stitch beanie. This is the second one I have made because he lost the first one last year. He claims it was an accident and he really wanted a new one. Here is a picture I took of him just now modeling it:

  Doesn’t he look excited that it is almost done?!? I have been trying it on him day after day, and always it has been too small. As you can see, today it is too big, so I just frogged 10 rows! Now to begin reducing!
I wrote the pattern myself. Here it is!:
Christophers’ Awesome Seed Stitch Beanie Hat
Worsted weight wool (Malabrigo)
1 16″ circular needle, size 7
one set of double pointeds, size 7
stitch markers
Gauge: (approximate) 4 or 4.5 sts. to the inch
Directions: Cast on 84 stitches on circular needles.Work 5.5″ (or as desired) in seed stitch (round 1: k1, p1 for entire round; round 2: p1, k1 for entire round). Then put a stitch marker after every 12th stitch.
Reduction rows: (switch to double pointed needles when necessary) *K2 tog. before each marker, knit one round plain* 4 times, then K2 tog before marker on every round until there are seven stitches left on the needle.  (as I reduce, I adjust seed stitch. There is probably a better way to do this, I just don’t know it yet). Break off yarn, leaving a fairly long tail. Draw tail through remaining 7 st, pull firmly, and draw through to inside of hat.
Place on man.
Friend me on Ravelry, I am MidwifeMelanie.
What’s your W.I.P. ?

Bellydance Sunday

I love American Tribal Style Bellydance.

  I took my first bellydance class in 1992 when I was pregnant with Rowan. The teacher was super nice to me; she gave me some of her old jewelry and albums even, but another student had assured me that the local bellydance community wouldn’t be accepting of me because I was Pagan.
  Flash forward 10 years. Still taking classes. My new teacher brings in a magazine with a picture of the most beautiful bellydancer I ever saw! Raven haired, tattooed, strong, pierced. I told my teacher “I want to dress and dance like her!”  “No, you don’t.” she responded.

I jotted down a phone number before going home, where I called Fat Chance Bellydance to receive their mail order catalog.
  How I poured over that catalog. At homeschool meetings, at midwifery workshops, over breakfast, over evening wine. I drew my dream costume: black ten yard skirt, tassel belt, red choli, coin bra, orange veil, and yes, turban.
  My teacher moved away, and suggested a few of her more dedicated students check out a folkloric troupe in a nearby city. Rakset al-Nehri was welcoming and woman centered. They wore great costumes and seemed to dance in a way that was more proud than I was accustomed to. I showed them my catalog, but they were only a bit interested. However I would not give up! I wore tribal “dots” to my first hafla. I started buying videos. Then, oh then, my forever teacher Michele choreographed the Sword Dance. We got to wear ATS costumes. And the moves were ATS inspired. Delightful!
  Pretty soon I was co-teaching ATS Sundays. My skills grew and my students grew.  I started teaching in different cities. Then, in 2008,  I received my FCBD ATS Teacher Certification from Carolena Nericcio herself. The original raven haired woman whose picture I had fallen in love with years earlier!
  I love  Fat Chance American Tribal Style Bellydance. I love the beautiful strong women. I love the piercings and tattoos. I love making eye contact while dancing.The puja, the posture. The rules. The freedom. I love unda.

The nitty gritty:
Today in class we practiced passing the Arabic 123 in troupe.
In Level One it was zil day! Fun! My newest students are really coming along beautifully.
In Level Two we reviewed the Turkish Shimmy with arms and circle up
and practiced doing Reach and Sit (without bouncing).

There was much discussion and planning of our upcoming show in EuClair with Sofia Tribal
and even more excitement for the show and workshop Tribal Union this September in Milwaukee with Sister Studio Tamarind Tribal Bellydance. I cannot wait to be in the presence of Carolina again.

A "Do Nothing" Saturday

 What is a “Do Nothing” Saturday like at Many Hands House?

I awoke to a much anticipated  blossom:

An inter-library loan jackpot:

And even more book packages in the mail!:

Started kombucha:

  I also helped make pancakes, tore phone books,  cleaned the basement, did laundry, washed countless dishes, breastfed, soaked my little guy’s owie foot, rinsed sprouts, tested a new vegan cheese, held rats, listened to a chapter of The Sword in the Stone, and knit while the men role played.

And there is still SNL.


What does your family do on a “do nothing day”?

by Melanie

Who’s your patron deity?

This question came up among friends recently, and I was surprised at how hard it was for me to answer.  For many years, I could come up with a goddess or god, from whatever pantheon that had caught my eye at the time, and rattle-off the many ways that I was “working with” that deity (usually in ritual, and usually for my own purposes). 

Now, I worship the eldest tribe: Sun, Moon, Earth, Storm, Sea, the four Winds, Fire, Horn, and Green.  They walk their own paths, and to “summon” or “devoke” Them seems odd,  to say the least, if not downright delusional. If your patron goddess were Inanna, but she strolled through your town every morning, how would you “work with” her?  

We hold sabbat when the Moon is full, we sing the Sun back home at Yule.  When worshiping the Eldest gods, you can’t answer questions like “Who are you ‘working with’?” without first answering the questions “Where?” and “When?”  Land and season unraveled from my gods would only leave me with personified ideas who could not move beyond the boundaries of my own belief and imagination. 

The other question that I must ask is, “Who else?”  The Eldest are a tribe; they are related, one to the other.  At spring, the Green stretches from his Mother Earth towards the returning Sun.  We live in the midst of (and because of!) these interactions. We cannot attribute our lives to just one of Them. 

If the forces of nature are your pantheon, and the seasons are your mythology, then a question like “Who’s your patron deity?” becomes a bit more complex.

How would you answer?

Some thoughts on pagan gatherings…

What if…

…the Fire folk (those who build and keep the gathering fires, who spin and breathe fire)  were the ones who lit the torches at dusk?  What if there were songs they sung along the way?

…those who love Storm watched the weather, gave reports, alerted the tribe, and also poured offerings and beat the drum for His coming?

…the Sun folk blew the horns and sang the songs at Her rising and setting?

…the Moon folk rustled past our tents in quiet procession, or howled and rejoiced at His fullness?

…and the Green folk garlanded the trees, and the Red folk raised the stangs, and the Earth folk placed the great stones? 

…we realized that our goddesses and gods are right here with us, and we celebrated it?