Saturday, 27 December 2008


This is pure indulgence :-) I love making these! I got the original recipe (and, I find, the best recipe so far) for these Bloomin' Brilliant Brownies from Jamie Oliver's Little Book of Big Treats written for Comic Relief a couple of years back with a few edits/addition


  • 250g of unsalted butter
  • 200g of dark broken up chocolate
  • 50g of chocolate drops
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 65g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 360g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Remember - organic/fairtrade/free-range/available etc etc etc for the above :-)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Line a baking tin (mines about 9' by 12' and about half an inch deep) with greaseproof paper. Put a bowl over a pan of boiling water and melt the chocolate and the butter together, stirring until it's smooth. Stir in the chocolate drops, but a small handfull for later. (Tip: My Greataunt said if you put the chocolate in a pan with a dash of milk on a medium to low heat, it shouldn't burn/stick. It's worked so far...)
In another bowl, sift in the cococa, flour and baking power, add in the sugar and mix well, then stir it into the chocolate mixture, stirring well. Beat the four eggs and mix it in until its silky.
Pour the mixture into the baking tray (scrape well with a spatula - waste not!), smooth it over and sprinkle on the rest of the chocolate drops and place in the oven for around 20-25 minutes (I've got a fan oven, so I put it in for about 20, take them out and let it cook in its own heat then let it cool down).Erm, they shouldn't be cooked to the point that a skewer comes out clean, and the should be a little springy.Let them cool down, transfer to a cutting board, then cut them to appropriate sizes.
And, er, enjoy :-)

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Hi everyone! And meme :)

Hey everyone. I seem to have internet again, at long last! So I'll start again with a nice meme:

The Forgiveness Meme (from

We've all done things we regret that resulted in hurting others, either directly or indirectly. Or we hurt ourselves. The Forgiveness Meme lets you state publicly (or privately) what you did, how you fell about it and provides a way for those who know you to offer acceptance and forgiveness for the action. Once you have been forgiven, either directly or by proxy, let the guilt go and be free of it. Then your friends and random strangers can decide whether you are sincere and whether they will forgive you or not, and possibly provide feedback and support. Just answer these three questions:


1) What I did:
In January, I was going out with Cerith but ended up cheating on him with my best friend Kayleigh. At the time I was having doubts about the relationship, about a week after things happened with her, I ended it with him saying I had too much stress going on at the time and couldn't cope with a relationship, which was half-true as it was then that I found out Dad'd been cheating on my Mother (ironic...) and the stress was ridiculous at home.
Things with me and Kay lasted a further week.

2) How I feel about it:
At the time, I was pretty indifferent. I didn't end it with him so much as to attempt to be with her, but more out of guilt and necessity. Now? I feel like I betrayed him. He really was a nice guy and apart from, ah, certain issues, he'd been nothing but awesome to me. And yeah, I betrayed him and did something I said I'd never do.

3) Do I want to be forgiven?:
I don't want to tell him. And I want him to hate me for it. So no.

Sunday, 21 September 2008


The Mabon Ritual was quite... something. I'm still trying to understand some of the stuff I was feeling. One of the things that surprised me was one a compulsion to cleanse the area. It didn't feel particularly 'negative' or unwelcoming or, well, in needing of a cleanse, but I still did it.
I lit some frankincense, sprayed salt water, rang bells, 'commanded' all energies to leaves, shouted etc.

I felt quite empowered.

Another thing I noticed was a dislike to using my Athame. I don't relate to that ritual tool at all - or it could mine that I don't like? Whatever the answer, I don't like using it, so I probably wont anymore. And Pinky's wand was acting bizarrely. Well, one thing for sure, my view towards wands have changed since talking to Erin.
Plus I think it's a little jealous since I began using other wands...

A break down anywho - Don and I arrived at the Temple (Star of Venus looked so bare. It was quite disheartening) and Don promptly got to brushing the floor while I was, as mentioned above, compelled to cleanse the area of all residual energies, positive and negative. I also charged the salt and water for their use. Susan and Pinky arrived and begun with setting out the quarters and the altars, getting everything laid out nicely.

The ritual begun with Don and I blessing each other with the smudge stick and the the salt-water, swapping our respective items. We then asked the ladies to stay outside while we went in and consecrated and blessed the Temple, returning outside for the blessing and cleansing of Susan and Pinky.

We took our places, and, erm, I can't really remember exactly the order that everything happened. I think Don begun by thanking the spirits of place. Not I have to state here and now that Donald is an amazing orator and ritualist. The words he devises are beautiful and fitting with the mentality of ritual and respect. He wrote out a prose of thanks and welcome to the Genius Loci, and read it out with eloquence.

Next came the grounding. I was supposed to come up with something for this but I came out blank, so I asked is Pinky could do her Tree of Life visualisation again. I had mentioned some problems with this at the Ritual Planning session, only because I thought it may be good to experiment with something different. It works, of course - just wanted to push the boat out a bit! This particular one was different. I could actually feel warmth from my feet and coolness from my hands and head.

Pinky then came around the circle with her wand to 'mark out' or cast the circle itself. For the elements, as with Midsummer, we all each called an element. Air for me, Fire for Susan, Water for Pinky and Don called Earth. Finally we collectively called to Spirit by linking hands. I felt a real connection when we called Spirit - usually one of us has a script, or something thought out to say when we call an element but as we were doing it together, there was no one voice, we worked collectively. I think it was either here (or after the other Beings had been welcomed or acknowledged) that I sorta asked everyone to link hands again and chant with me, three times, the Druidic Vow:

We swear by Peace and Love to stand,
Heart to heart and hand in hand, Mark,
O Spirit, and hear us now,
Confirming this, our sacred vow.

I can't say whether it went down well. It wasn't part of the script, but it felt appropriate to me at the time. Pinky and Susan then called to the Deities. One the Goddess side was Persephone, Demeter and Hecate called by Pinky, and for the God was the Mabon called by Susan. I think I called to Taliesin there and then, as the Bardic Circle wasn't taking place, but as Pinky was saying her Poetry anywho.

Pinky then acknowledged the Fae. ("Never welcome them... never welcome them...") It was about then that was the time for me to call to the Ancestors and Descendants. I, er, hadn't prepared anything, again. So I decided to make something up on the spot. Strangely, it came quite easily to me and I think it worked well. As well as welcoming them, it was also a sort of visualisation about the Ancestors and Descendants, naming ourselves also as Descendants and Ancestors. I might write it up at some point.

Don, with his now customary wordsmithery and art, called out to the totems in poem form and asked us to call our own. Normally I would have called to the Owl and Raven, but I think that they were Power animals for a certain period. I have an affinity with both, but I'm doubting now whether they are actually my Totems. So I called out to whatever totem may be mine, revealed or otherwise.

Last was Susan calling the Mysterious Ones.

As all the invoking occurred, the ritual went to the main part, or the Tofu - (not the meat of the ritual lawl, to keep vegans happy). It involved the group writing down what aspects they wanted to shed of old (something I associate with Samhain, but it worked all the same) on leaf shaped paper that Don made. They were then to be composted by Pinky, or burned, when they got home. A basket of apples was then passed around where we picked what we wanted to bring in for the coming year. I picked three - one thanking all my friends and family, one thanking all my achievements and one asking to bring in peace in an angry boy.

After we did this, we each went to the Altar and gave a Blessed Hazelnut to whoever we wanted saying what we wished for them in the new year. And I ate my gifts heartily ;).

I guess it was kinda emotional. Susan was moved, I can't really say for Don and Pinky was... vibrant. I felt sad. I could be over-dramatic and say I always do these days, but that's besides the point. It was highly symbolic. I was shedding the old year in quite a literal sense. I was shedding my old life in a fortnight for University. So I got rid of everything I didn't want to bring there, everything that hindered me this year, and I asked personal forgiveness (by which I mean, I asked my 'Self' to forgive 'my' actions of the year), and asked to be a better friend, to be a better lover, to be a better healer, and a better person. I asked that Kay and everyone else were to be looked after.

The energies were palpable. We didn't need to raise energy.

Pinky gave us Food and Drink, we devoked and feasted. Unfortunately also, we didn't have time for the Bardic Circle, but that didn't matter. I felt inspired, I felt filled, and Pinky shared her muse, as did Don in his rituality, and Susan had to leave, unfortunately.


I've just been sorting through my room and I've found a pile of mail I haven't sent!! I cannot believe I haven't gotten 'round to sending them! There's Connie's Christmas present (10 months ago!) and Mika's Birthday present in among them (April). So I'll be sending them as soon as possible.

Seeing stuff like this makes me incredulous to how lazy and forgetful I can be. This is beyond.

Sorry peeps!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


Two weeks and three days. That's how long I have before I enroll at the University of Wales Lampeter. I'm terrified.

I understand that it isn't the same as some people who are going far away, like to Birmingham, as Lampeter about an hour and a half away? It's the whole university experience that I'm scared off. Am I doing the right course? Well it's one I love. Though, religious studies/philosophical studies isn't something I'm going to get to use practically after Uni. So will it be 3 years and £15,000+ down the drain? I don't know.

Will I make friends? I'm alone and love my own company, but I crave company and I'm a very social animal when it really comes down to it.

No doubt it'll go perfectly, and I'll love it, but I still have fears.

This is a small initiation. It's living independently from home for the first time, being self-providing. It's the créme de la créme of education at the moment. This is me dedicating myself to a dicipline. This is serious.

At the same time however, I welcome the challenge. Beyond the apprehension, I'm excited, I'm full of energy. And I'm not leaving all my friends (who'll be just a couple of bus rides away), I've still got Neil, who's going as well.

This is new.

Sorry for not writing about anything significant, blog buddies! I just need to find somewhere to say this.

"It's too early..."

Over the past few days, I've been violently sick, been getting ridiculous heartburn and migraines. I've also been staying up late almost every night as there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything.

I know what's been causin it however. It's drinking obscene amounts of coffee in order to stay away. I tried drinking ginseng tea, but that didn't work. What I do, however, is melt down a tablespoon of coffee in a shot-glass topped with a water and drinking three of those at a time.

It's stuff like this which really make me realised how little regard I give to my body. I'm overweight and unhealthy. I'm a vegetarian, but I gorge on foods at times, merely out of boredom. I give little care to my physical appearance (small brush of a the hair, put on whatever's available). That said, I'm a physical clean freak. I constantly wash my hands, I shower every day and scrubs diligently, and sometimes I must wash my hair twice a day.

This makes me realise, again, the hypocrisy I have when applying my values onto my own life. I constantly encourage my family and close friends to stop smoking, help them eat healthier foods, tell them herbs that will help certain ailments (with what little knowledge I have) but I totally neglect my own. I try to be active to helping the local environment, but my garden is a tip. I've gone to other people's houses to help clean their rooms (this'll sound weird, but it's acutally a bonding session with friends!), or move things about in their houses - but my room is horrible. there is no floor space, the walls need a clean, and I have piles and piles of papers everywhere, and I wonder why I never sleep - it's too cluttered.

It's quite bewildering how procrastination stops me from actually applying good values onto one's life. I can't do it. So I spend nightime doing my work, cleaning my room, catching up on tasks because I'm so lazy during the day. Look at me now though - it's almost 4am and I'm online - not doing my jobs!!!

The coffee though, just shows it all. I'm an neglecting my body to help fix the laziness that's caused all this. The cycle is vicious. I'm AWAKE by night, and exhausted by day, to the cycle to get things done at night when I can't during the day gets worse.

What's more, I hate coffee.

Apologies for the rambling, blog buddies. I'm off to drink some peppermint tea to help with me stomach and finaly pack some ruddy boxes.

Awards to Blog Buddies!

Many, many thanks to Susan Moonroot for nominating me for the "I Love Your Blog" award! I must do likewise now.

The Rules for those receiving an award are:

  • The winner can put the logo on their blog
  • Link the person you received the award from
  • Nominate at least 7 other blogs
  • Put links of those blogs on yours
  • Leave a message on the blogs nominated

I'd like to show some love to:

  • Moonroot - Her blog shows her strength through troubled times and her dedication to a way of life "[living] lightly on the earth". No matter the times, her posts are always positives and thoughtful. I'm proud and honoured to call her a friend.
  • Lothlorien-Nemeton Seedgroup - Is an OBOD seedgroup facilitated by Adam and Mika who are two Kindred Souls charting their progress working at the Earth Sanctuary combining ecology, psychosynthesis and other aspects to created a beautiful and earth-loving school.
  • Engineering Judgement - Tom is an engineering student, combining his extensive knowledge and creativity, and decidedly Finnish-like insanity to make a reality to his creations. His blog charts his thoughts and often humourous ramblings. Plus he looks like the guy on the right ;-D
  • The Spiritual Journey of a Somerset Pagan - I've recently discovered Andy's blog through Moonroot, and find his updates funny and genuine. Give it a read!

And this is where I must draw the line... as a relative newcomer to Blogspot, I don't really know many other blogs (Mika and Adam have some others, however :) ) on blogspot bar some by some Artists I quite like, such as Frank Turner.

However, I wanted to show my love to you lot! Pass it on and share the appreciation!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni Cheese!

About 1bl of cooked pasta (macaroni or penne) - or enough to make about a half to one inch thick layer in a large baking dish

For the sauce:
500ml of milk
Half an onion
Two cloves of garlic
Sprig of thyme

1.5oz of butter
1oz of flour

Pinch of cayenne pepper (or a bit more if you like that)
Pinch of nutmeg (or, don't do like me and put in about a tablespoon of it...)
Salt 'n Pepper
About 4oz of gratted cheddar, and maybe a little extra to sprinkle.
2.5oz of gratted parmesan
Something like a handful of 1cm thick cheddar cubes (I didn't have enough cheese for that, but it's a good idea nonetheless)

Right! I got this
recipe from VideoJug.
Preheat the oven to about 22oC. Then, in a saucepan heat up the milk in about a meadium heat and put in the onion, garlic and thyme and leave it on the heat to flavour it but take it off the heat before it boils.

In another saucepan, melt the butter with a wooden spoon and add the flour when it's all melted. Stir is well and then strain the milk, stir, add the cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt 'n pepper and whisk until it thickens.

Take it off the heat and mix in the gratted cheddar, mixing until it melts then mixing in the parmesan, stirring well. In a large bowl, mix the pasta and sauce together, mixing well, then add the cubes and mix again.

Transfer it to a lare oven dish, sprinkle the remainder cheddar, spirinkle some pepper, and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it's brown on top and bubbling inside. And Serve!!

That should provide four people with a decent portion (like a side?) or it should give two people a good meal.

Enjoy :) I did.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Making a Peace Mala

I've made a small instructional video on how to make a Peace Mala. Mostly, it was to test out my new webcam (which works wonderfully), but this seems good enough.



Tuesday, 26 August 2008

For Susan

Susan, just made this for you, because we all love you, and this is something to show all people who love you and the things that make you wonderful, loved, and the amazing person you are.


Monday, 25 August 2008

Poetic joy!

After a year of not being able to listen to DruidCast (for the OBOD by Dave the Bard), it now seems to be working so I've been listening to the old ones that I missed. The third podcast, I was surprised to hear, had one of my poems read out! I totally forgot I sent it in, so it was indeed a wonderful surprise!

Here's the text of it:

An Invocation of Awen
Flow through me O Sacred Awen
You the muse to Poets, Bards and Artists.

Let my tongue weave golden ribbons of Words
To wrap around mesmerised crowds like silk.
Let my stories inspire the emptiest of minds
And bring joy to the bottom pits of the saddest heart.

Whilst ordinary verse may make move a lady to tears
You, the Fires of Arousal, will make them Burn!
You are the spirit that enlightens and inspires
And yours is the essence of insight and wisdom.

So allow me but a glimpse of the texts of the Fferyllt,
The great Alchemists of high Dinas Affaraon,
From which Ceridwen read to brew the Cauldron of Wisdom
That blessed the fair Taliesin with his golden tongue.

Grant me this day wisdom and inspiration, sacred Awen
Flow with Nwyfre in my blood and burst my heart a-flame!
Paul Rousselle Feb'07

Thursday, 21 August 2008

8 Things

8 Reasons To Love Wales:

  1. A rich a diverse history, from the druids to the kingdoms that once were part of these islands.
  2. The establishment of the modern Eisteddfod!
  3. The Mabinogion - a series of wonderful and beautiful tales to enchant any mind.
  4. Dylan Thomas!
  5. Carmarthen - a town steeped in such history (the historical roman town of Moridunum) and mythology (Merlin is linked deeply with Carmarthen) that it's rather hard not to fall in love with this wonderful town.
  6. Susan's cooking! Every time she writes about her cordials and cooking I can just about taste it :)
  7. Pobi Caws. There's cheese-on-toast, and then there's Pobi Caws (or welsh rarebit). Who could think that cheese-on-toast could be made into such a divine national dish!
  8. Rain. Yes, I've said it. I love the rain...

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Consuming plants versus animals

I have a dilemma.

vegetarianism manifested itself fully early in the year. There were quite a few reasons for this.
I totally abhorred the thought of killing a life in order to sustain myself. At the end of the day, how can I justify the 'sacrifice' of one order to allow myself to live? I'd kill (or 'allow' the killing) for my own sake, in itself an arrogant gesture assuming that my life is of more importance than theirs; that I have the right to take that life and not them.

Then there was the very idea of eating flesh. Even as a child I never really enjoyed the idea of it. You ate meat. Meat was meat. When meat is flesh then... it suddenly has a new perspective on you.

Now for the typical reason. Animals are reared for the sole purpose of serving us. This is another way that I see the human arrogance of assuming we are dominant over them. Higher brain function doesn't mean you are better than them. Husbandry was around a long time before the advent of the Abrahamic religions, but lines such as the Bible's
Genesis 1:27-29:

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them,
"Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the
fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that
moves on the ground."

29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing
plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in
it. They will be yours for food.

30 And to all the beasts of the earth
and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the
ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for
food." And it was so.

are taught regularly without question to children, that we are masters of the earth and were first commanded by Yahweh to "fill the earth and subdue it". Scientism also gives an ethic of near superiority over anything we find. Animals can be tested on for the benefit of humans. Plants genetically engineered for the benefit of humans. Forests felled for the benefit of humans. Cruelty to animals is a daily and 'normal' occurrence. And many scientists consider the point of cruelty to some animals null until they've proved they can feel pain. Fish were only recently scientifically proven to be able to feel pain! What a horrible philosophy. It's not the point of whether or not they can feel pain, but in the way they're treated. If you have the ability to treat a living being with such regard as to consider them as nothing but objects of use without any regard, then what does that reflect on you as a person?

Many animals are held in squalid conditions, abnormally injected with chemicals and water, and whatever else. I can't stomach that a living, sentient being is forced to live like this for the purpose of food.
I'll say now though, not all animals are held like so. Some are decently cared for and loved in optimum ways, but they're still trapped beings for the sake of food

So those are my reasons.

I have a problem, however. I'm vegetarian - not
vegan. I still drink milk and eat eggs and other products derived from living beings. Though I aspire to the transition to a vegan lifestyle, I'm not there yet - as such the hypocrisy of my words are transparent. I'm still supporting animals exploitation and dominance. I wear leather. Again, as above.

For now, I do my best to source products from compassionate origins - organic free range eggs, local organic milk etc. I use leather as little as I possibly can and try to use faux leather where I can - but still, I'm not vegan. In a way, I still consider myself as bad as the exploiters. I soon will be.

I found another problem again, and this is directly linked to the consumption of plants. In an animistic philosophy, the plant is a living, vibrating being, which is something we know already. They are organisms capable of eating, reproducing, breathing. Can they feel pain? Does it matter if they can or can't?

The problem rises again. Agriculture is geared towards the mass propagation of matter for our own use and consumption. We're using cutting down and using plants in much the same way as we're using animals. One way this doesn't occur is with fruit. A fruit is designed to be eaten by animals in order to allow the seeds to germinate in the intestines, then to grow with the faeces later excreted. We're meant to eat them. Which is fine - but with that, we've geared a means to cultivate and grow plants for their fruit on a massive scale. They're grown solely for our own use.

Taking out meat from my diet means that I'm increasing my consumption of plant matter by a greater margin. I'm forsaking ten for one, essentially. Killing more, presuming we can hold plants in the same box animals.

And that is my little problem of the now. Hope this wasn't too long winded.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Meme: 8 Things

I found this wonderful meme from Magpie Girl, while randomly browsing the net.

I think the general idea if you find a theme every 8odd days and make a list, such as "8 things I believe" or "8 things to love about marzipan" haha. A funny one I found was:

8 Reasons to Be Gay

  1. When you have a boyfriend, your wardrobe doubles!
  2. Two penises are better then one.
  3. Glitter!!
  4. Tits...
  5. You get this nifty free membership card, and these glasses.
  6. Because you get to use words like Fierce and Fabulous.
  7. You get to enjoy the joys of discrimination in 48 states and most coutries around the world.
  8. You don't have to worry about getting anyone pregnant.

You do some :)

Monday, 4 August 2008

Ritual in Star of Venus

I think the Lammas ritual went pretty well. I must remember to that Susan properly next time I see her. And Pinky as well! On a personal basis the ritual helped clarify some of the meanings of Lammas itself, though the next task shall be to experience Mabon properly. Though as an equinox, it should be rooted in the equality of night and day and possibly in the waning of the day to the night. Maybe.

The main meaning that I understood was as the first of the harvests, it's truly the first time that we can appreciate the efforts and the toils that went into the planting of the seeds, plants and other items. It's the time to properly give thanks to those who have worked and also to taste of the first fruits of the labours. Importantly so, however, it is the time to really think about those whose harvests were not fields were not plentiful - the Third World, places with drought and political disharmony. Some harvest may well have been full but the majority of the crop taken to give to the leaders rather than distributed fairly among all. I think this was the main motive for the bowl of grains I brought. It was a mandala of Quinoa and Rice - the grains of the Americas and of the Orient. In lands like Central and South America, they were wealthy and prosperous yet the people lie sick and in pain through the lack of bounty. It is from the Aztec and Inca that we have Quinoa, known as a Mother Grain, so I took it as symbolic of there. Rice is the staple food of the majority of Asia. It's practically what the impoverished have to rely on even if there is nothing left - but rising food prices means it's becoming scarce. So that was my symbol.

It's interesting however that we were able to bring so much to the ritual in terms of fruit and jams and grains and baked goods, that as it was time to leave much of the harvest had been left. The welsh cakes were hardly touched. The fruit were still in abundance. No matter, I took some and those that cleared up took the rest where I'm sure they were well enjoyed afterwards. Speaking of which, I'll need to give Karen her Tupperware back if she comes to the moot - something I hope she will do. Karen had previous experience of a local coven, but one that turned quite negative, so some of the group (especially Pinky, the wonderful woman) to make her feel welcome and safe from the negative attacks. I noticed little things that Pinky said to her that made me smile quietly.

The Basket of Abundance was one of the main items of the ritual. It was a point during the ritual where a basket was passed around the circle filled with homemade (or bought) items that the group had brought along. Other attendees then picked something they fancied, sharing crafts and gifts. Compared to some of the items given, my God's Eye (or Brigid's Cross?) seemed quite pathetic in comparison. This only reinforced the realisation that I need to learn a lot of craft skills and put them to good practice. What I took out were rather pleasing. One was a Calendula Flower Essence homemade by Louisa. She described it's properties thusly:

A hug from a good friend when you feel alone in the middle of a crowd.

It's meant to give you that inner happiness you get with contentment and the like, so this is something I'll cherish and use much of. If only I could get a dropper for it. I also to out a green tea home fragrance oil, bought from The Body Shop by Mel, that revealed a wonderful flowery fragrance that I love so much of green tea. Quite useful.

Pinky also gave me one of her Hag Stones, one of an unusual type. Along with the usual hole through the middle, it had another connecting to the main tunnel from what became the top. I don't fully know if this has any significance, however. The folklore behind the hag stone if that as an item you hold to your eye, it helps protect against diseases of the eye and generally protect the home of sickness. If one were to look through the middle, the Shining Ones and Earth Beings may be seen. I've hung this one on the holder of the chain on the front door and give it a hold or touch before leaving.

One of the final parts of the ritual before the closing was a guided visualisation by Susan which involved a meeting with the Corn Goddess. This meeting, with me, involved a talk by her explaining that I cannot consider things happening without first planting the seeds and making manifest what I wish to. Every outcome requires effort and sacrifices, and most importantly, time and patience. She then gave a gift of three braided stalks of wheat. I wasn't too sure of the meaning, however.

After the visualisation, we were invited to pick a disk of holly or blackthorn (kindly provided by Pinky's husband) and drawn o it something meaningful of the journey, or something to keep as an amulet. I took blackthorn drawing on one side the gift (badly) on a background of a setting sun and on the other side a bindrune of Kenaz, Uruz and Thurisaz to represent Will, Effort and Work to Manifest. That is, what I need help to increase in myself to manifest what I require rather than procrastinating. Afterwards, I excused myself, and went downstairs to buy some drawstring bags from the Star of Venus downstairs. I then invited them to put the disk in the bag and then fill it with a choice of the grains that had been brought. Or fill the bag with grain and keep the disk. Or... whatever they felt was best! I did the former, but I've since taken out the disk and placed it at my altar and hung the bag at my bedroom door.

Talking of Star of Venus, is seems the shop is now closing. They can't afford the rent for the shop at all. They've barely been open a year and now it shall be no more at the end of August. However, Bev and Dave may be able to open the shop in the downstairs of their house as they may not have the foster children from much longer and all their children are going to university. Though how they'll be able to afford the rent with the shop, I'll never know. They're contracted for a few more years, so they still need to pay it somehow.

I don't think I'll write much more - dawn's just broken and I think the cat's waiting for me to sleep.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

BBC Radio Article on Lammas

I was skimming through the pages on religion. The 'article of the now' was about Lammas (which is a contraction of Hlaefmass or Loaf Mass. I didn't use to use it until today, because of the word Mass, but I found out it comes from the Anglo-Saxon masse meaning lump or dough. Which is apt) so I decided to read it. While short 'n sweet, it did provide a link to a radio piece on the Lammas Games in 2007.

One of the bits that caught my attention was a small interview with Paul Mitchell, (from the Anderida Gorsedd no less!) a Bard from England.

Interviewer: How does druidry affect your everyday life?
Paul Mitchell: I don't believe what I believe because I'm a Druid, I'm a Druid because of the things I believe. It's a title I give myself, I don't fool myself that I am the same as the ancient druids of times gone by.
I don't think it influences my life, I think it is simply a reflection of my beliefs, my values, my values around the environment, around people, around community, and how important they are to me and, I think, to everyone and everything.

That is possibly on the better ways of describing Paganism and how it relates to us. My deviation to Paganism didn't make me Pagan, but rather is a system that fitted comfortably with what I believed in. Granted, since the label, I've quietly sealed the box up and progressed further inside than I would have imagined but I'm quite comfortable here. I've discovered a wonderful community and I think I'm now progressing quite nicely.

Beyond that, they prominently interview Bobcat (Emma Restall-Orr). She's always good to listen to on the various radio pieces they do. Admittedly I rather prefer listening to her than reading her books. There's Living Druidry on the bookshelf but her writing style (I'm picky with the way people write) has left it sadly unread.

There have been comments that the druidry of today is getting progressively more Wiccan in style and while I don't completely agree with that, you do feel it sometimes with her rituals. OBOD have their fair share, but there you go.

She's quite refreshing to listen to with her useful description of Lammas, and the games. She's frequently on the BBC, so I think if you rummage around there you could find some more pieces with her.

Anywho! Listen to the whole radio piece. It's quite interesting.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Thoughts on Lammas

Gwyl Awst (Lammas) is the festival that is coming up - roughly the three days of the 31st to the 2nd.

It's one of those celebrations which seems to pass me by mostly unnoticed. Along with the Equinox and Nos Galan Gaeaf (Samhain), to a degree, I considered them all 'autumnal' (even though Gwyl Awst is in the Summer) and as harvest festivals - to me, harvest signified autumn.

They were the festivals with the least personal meaning to myself as harvest had little meaning to my life. I never performed a harvest and the closest I can consider to it would be the summery blackberry pickings with my late grandmother and the Harvest Festivals (where tins and goods were brought in by students and shared out among the elderly members of the community) in school during early September.

A personal decision to make Paganism a more integral part of daily and general practice, this year I hope to make that different with a closer inspection of both the external and immanent meanings.

moonroot has organised a joint (and partly public) formal celebration of Gwyl Awst in the upper Temple of Star of Venus. This I'm hoping shall help me connect with the meaning of the festival.

On the plus side, this time of year means an abundance of fresh summer fruits! I've been told that it's around this time when berry picking is best for things such as blackberries, bilberries and the like, but my parents are adamant that it's a late august thing. They are becoming more available however.

It's these fruits that are also able to help against colds and help build up the immune system (particularly red coloured fruit). Little consolation now though, as I'm nursing a cold mingled with this allergy to nature (hayfever). I'm off to make a Lemsip!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Only Human

I was listening to this song by Dave the Bard, and it made me think quite a bit.

Only Human
Isn’t it crazy, isn’t it cruel,
That a man can earn millions from kicking a ball,
While for other countries, we role a dice,
For a little clean water and a bowl of rice,
Politicians and empty promises help lessen our pain,
It’s only human

Isn’t it wonderful, isn’t it right,
There’s nothing as worthless as an animals life,
But it helps me feel better, when I feel ill,
I can’t taste the pain in this little pill,
A thousand lives given to live just a few more years,
It’s only human.

Cut down a forest for grass that won’t grow,
To help melt the ice caps, to help melt the snow,
We’ll watch the seas rise with nowhere to go,
It’s only human.

Isn’t is holy, isn’t it good,
That people kill people in the name of their God,
A bomb for a Father, a bullet for a Son,
And a smile for the child that carried the gun,
Only one God can be right when all's said and done,
It’s only human.
Damh the Bard

This song encapsulates the sickening qualities that show what makes us human. No other animal would be so cruel as to deny an infant chimpanzee love, affection, warmth to observe the affects of deprivation.

No other animal would wipe out entire species over a single warped idea.

No other animal would level a forest to rear poorly treated animals for cheap meat.

No other animal would kill for his own sky-faerie, who told him that he was that he was The One And Only Right Way™.

We've developed into an insensitively sickening race and it makes one realise why the Earth Mother is trying to purge us and begin again. If the price of sapience is the loss of natural affinity, of our integral goodness then I doubt very much that it is quite worth paying that much.

We need to regain compassionate respect and regard for one another, not just as humans, but along with every single sentient being - plants included.

I'm quite ashamed to be Homo Sapien.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Crackers and Religion

I was discussing some Matzo crackers with my auntie, who came for a visit from France, and remarked on the same that it was not to be used for Passover. I tried to explain this to her, but I couldn't quite find the right word for Passover (I eventually settled, rather embarrassingly, for 'Jewish Easter'). All the while, I described the Passover story to jog her memory, where the Angel of Death were passing over the Hebrew homes, where the blood had been painted with blood, after which the Pharaoh released them and while preparing to leave, they made unleavened bread, not having the time to allow it to rise.

And she seemed bemused by the story.

She didn't know the story, and this surprised me as she had called herself a Christian for quite some time. I pushed further and she answered that she called herself Catholic as she had been baptised as such and was culturally so. Culturally so. Hmm. Not that reminds me of an article by Richard Dawkins on how, all the while being a firm Atheist, called himself a Cultural Christian. That is to say, he enjoyed Handel's 'The Messiah' and singing Carols, and the architecture of churches and the culture created by Christians.

Following a tradition and a cultural act created perhaps from religious traditions does not make you a member of that religion. Aren't you just paying lip service, or saying so because it is more culturally acceptable? And why does religion have to do with culture?

By this I mean the architect of Westminster may have been a Christian, but that does not make it a Christian building. Handel's music may have religious themes, but I listen to it because it is beautiful and moving. Even if he was Christian, it does not make the music, by default, Christian. I see this in the same light as when Dawkins said that labelling a child by their religion is abhorrent because they do not have the capacity to chose their religion and it is equally abhorrent to have a child labelled in the same way as their parent.

I'm wondering how many, like my Aunt, have written a religion in, say, the census while not having any real knowledge/belief in that religion and put it as such because they consider it so by habit and culture.

Maybe a census should be expanded to clarify this.

71% in the UK census classed themselves as Christian but I guesstimate that perhaps 20% or more have only gone to church as children or for certain ceremonies (weddings, funerals etc.) or even personal crisis (in the example of my father. He found a resurgence in his Catholicism, went to Confession, then fell by the wayside again). Childhood baptism does not make one Christian by choice.

I'm also wondering if the 15% of the No Religion box were Atheist or those who don't believe in anything or those who don't generally care or the culturally religious.

Ho hum.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

New blog

I've had this account for quite some time, but I've decided to get rid of all my old posts. I've also decided to use this independently to my Livejournal as a portal to write read-worthy (albeit self-focused) posts.

I'll endeavour to post periodically.

I hope you enjoy.