Roses: Backyard Wild Flowers – Year Two

Last year I planted wildflower seeds in my backyard, my first contribution to the “garden”. Stalks sprouted but that was the extent of growth last year. THIS year however has grown much better results. The following pictures are from the last few weeks as that part of the backyard has progressed. Some of the pictures are through the kitchen window because for a little while we had a mud wasp nest next to where the window opened up. Todays picture is from the other side of the window because I didn’t think to take it while I planted ANOTHER section of wildflowers and I was just too hot to feel like going back out again. lol.

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First signs we noticed of wildflowers coming up. Just one white one and a half white, half pink one.

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The next time we looked there were four bunches of flowers: two white, one half white and half pink, and one all pink

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Close up looks of the flowers

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Todays photo with two bunches of pink flowers, two of white, and still only one of the half pink half white ones.

Food: Bean Spreads

I made these spreads so I wouldn’t have to buy hummus. Hummus is kind of expensive and I like something a bit thicker. SO… I started making these.

INGREDIANTS:

* 1 can (or 2 if you want to make more) of beans of your choice, higher protein the better people
* herbs and spices of your liking (I like cayenne pepper and spicy stuff)
* salt and pepper to taste
* pickled peppers or olives or nuts for a garnish like you see in Sabra and Tribe Hummus containers

INSTRUCTIONS:

* take beans out of can and put into a sauce pan on medium heat
* season with herbs and spices, salt and pepper to your liking
* cook beans until they are soft or noticably softer (this also cooks off extra liquids)
* when beans are soft, turn off heat and mash with a spoon or pestle to a consistancy you like, I prefer mine a bit chunky
* finely chop your garnish and place in the center like you see sometimes when you buy hummus

I’ve made three kinds: northern bean spread, dark kidney bean spread, and a garbanzo bean (chickpea) spread. The northern bean and dark kidney bean were the best.

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This is my dark kidney bean spread with finely chopped pickled jalepenos in the center as garnish.

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This was my first go at making the spread, I made this one with garbanzo beans (chickpeas). I learned not to use just a couple whole slices of pickled jalepenos. It wasn’t enough. Plus I also didn’t season it very much. Learned that lesson too.

Spirit: Financial Aid Ritual

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It’s seems my financial aid for the upcoming semesters is in a state of limbo, the reason for which I have no idea. I hope it all works out, hopefully it will. For the mean time I adapted a previous ritual to amp up the impact. The prayers I have said for this ritual I can’t much remember. Always it had to do with the feeding and nourishment the elements have with one another especially concerning air and earth.

The altar is split in two halves. One half is for the dieties of Justice. Correspondences to dieties of Justice that I had on hand were/are:
* Color – Dark Blue and purple: Everything rested on my altar cloth which is a rag carpet which shades of purple and I used blue paper to write Financial Aid on to focus my energy
* Animals – Unicorn: I had a picture of a unicorn
* Stones – Ameythst: I have two pieces and a necklace with an ameythyst pendant
* Direction – North: I used my North candle which was also in a smoky blue candle holder
* Tool – Cauldron: the picture is sitting on top of the cauldron

The second half was for dieties of Illumination, the Sun, and Healing. Correspondences for these dieties that I had on hand are:
* Color – Gold, Pale Yellow: I had a gold colored decorative fan, I used yellow candles, and I used yellow paper to write financial aid on to focus my energy
* Animals – Snake: I have a dark gold colored ring that has two snakes twining on it that I placed on the fan
* Stones – Pyrite: I placed maybe five pieces of pyrite on the fan
* Direction – East: I placed my East candle which was also in a marigold colored candle holder
* Tool – Wand: Now, I have a wand that I don’t use which I put on the fan but I also had the staff I do use by the set-up

Between the two I have a candle that has blue and yellow on it to bind the two together

The days since I set this up, the weather has been threatening great rain storms but had only twinkled. I collected rain water the day or so before I set this up thankfully and have been sprinkling the set-up to symbolically fertilize the ritual

During the next big rain, which is hopefully soon, I will perform a longer and more energy raising rite with this altar to energize it more.

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Spirit: Techno-Pagan Rite by Pheonix

My friend Pheonix is a co-coordinator of Turning Circle, which I have mentioned before I am a part of. Another co-coordinator, Selene, has major connections with Balticon, a science fiction convention in Baltimore. Last year, our Circle did a ritual for Balticon and Pheonix designed a Techno-Pagan rite for this event. We are doing this ritual again this year at Balticon on Mya 26th. Any pagans out there who are interested should come join the fun. Here is a little information on the ritual from Pheonix herself and the dieties she used.


TECHNO-PAGAN RITE

When our group was asked to lead a full moon ritual for a local science fiction convention, Balticon, it occured to me that a simple esbat was much too pedestrian for the venue. I had just finished reading the book “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman, and it had set my brain afire about this idea of modern Gods. I really wanted to do a ritual that somehow honored these Gods of modern tech that intertwine with the ways we live our lives in America in the 21st century. Gaiman seemed reluctant to give names to any of the new Gods, but I felt they deserved to come out of the mists and be more formally known.

I have heard and read often that if we do not choose our Gods, they choose us. Perhaps we give ourselves to fame or money or power, but if there is nothing else at our core, we do indeed make these things our Gods. Even if they be hollow Gods who offer little lasting comfort, they come to rule us. Perhaps by naming some of the forces that rule our lives, I felt we could create a mutually beneficial relationship that involved love as well as fear.

I decided to give name to the God of Telecommunications – “Logos.” The word is Greek and occurs in a Christian context describing how Yahweh gave birth to the world through the spoken word – Logos. It seemed a juicy term, and one ripe for reinvention. I stole it fair and square for the forces that make my smart phone work, and keep data zinging through the air waves around the globe.

The world wide web seemed like a digital version of the web of life of which we are a part. I envisioned her as a dark sister to the Goddess Gaia — a huge force that encompasses so much of our lives that we often don’t even see her. I wanted to give her a name that sounded techy, but original and came up with “Cybernata.” If anyone else already has this name for something else, I apologize. The Goddess seemed to like it, so I stuck with it.

The ritual we ended up doing took the form of a pretty generic Wiccan circle. For the quarters, instead of directions, we called in geographic landmarks for the area. I really wanted to enforce that Neo-Paganism is a faith rooted in the past and the natural world around us, but has wings that take us easily into the tech of modern life. Where humans go, our Gods go with us. We spent the ritual honoring these new deities and sharing how they had touched our lives – for those of us who have lived both pre and post internet, seeing these changes has been a momentous thing. We ended by giving everyone who came a glow bracelet showing that we were all connected – an instant tribe when assemble to worship together.

Many enjoyed the rite, and applauded this new take on modern Paganism, but we had our skeptics. Some felt it wasn’t appropriate to mix religion and science (why be at a Pagan ritual at a science fiction convention then?) and some felt it was blasphemous to “make-up” deities. To those who find a heresy in naming the forces around us, I softened the blow by saying I felt that Logos mapped easily as a new name for Mercury, messenger of the Gods, and Cybernata was a good fit for Athena or Minerva, a Goddess of wisdom and strategy. However, it was a human who came up with these earlier names from distant lands that we call into our circles today, and I think their desire to name the forces that rocked their lives was appropriate then as it is for us to call in the tech Gods that hold us in sway today.

I find some of the great strengths of Paganism is both our adaptability and our great senses of humor. I feel a religions that doesn’t take itself too seriously is one that will grow and thrive rather than twisting up into some dying parody of itself. I approached a ritual for these new Gods with my tongue firmly in cheek, and a desire to have a fun time at a SF convention, but my desire to name and honor these deities was also a devout and heartfelt one. I hope others who might come to know these deities giving them the respect they are due, will understand and appreciate that the world is always unfolding anew around us, and we too can be part of the creation of this brave new world we find ourselves in.

Calling in Gods of Tech . . .

Logos, God of Telecommunications

First there was the nothing, the unmanifest, but the word was spoken and LO there became something from the nothing. As the words flow on wings from site to site across continents and satellites, so is LOGOS, God of the spoken word born and born anew. We call to Logos, God of telecommunication! Blessings and Welcome! [Chime bell]

Cybernata, Goddess of the internet.

From the darkness came the embryo, the Arpanet. Then came transmission control protocol, ISP’s, and the birth of the world wide web at CERN. From code and wires, phone lines, and personal computers, grew this web of light, this massive structure of knowledge and truth, lies and . . .porn. Keeper of knowledge, spinner of dreams, and transmitter of thought, we hail the consciousness that is Cybernata, Goddesss of the Internet. Great Goddess, Blessings and welcome! [Plug in lights, turn on laptop playing internet music, chime bell]

This was copied and pasted from an e-mail with permission to put on this blog to get some internet hits for Cybernata and Logos.

Spirit: _ by Nick Brandt

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I don’t know if these husks were attained by poaching or not.

If they were from poaching… How does this happen? How can you change the minds of someone who thinks this is okay?…

If they weren’t, then a powerful picture but I’ll remind those what this picture reminded me of: Endangered animals like Elephants are hunted and killed everyday by poachers. Many times it’s because these poachers are in dire straits due to poverty and hunger and this is a way to eat or make money through trading in the black market. I would hope i wouldn’t do anything like that if put in the same position… It’s crazy to think about. You never know.

Source: http://earthandanimals.tumblr.com/post/50442081404