Spirit: Balticon 2013

Balticon was great for many reasons, but I will talk exclusively about the three great pagan-ish things that happened, the ones I went to at least.

The first: TECHNO-PAGAN RITUAL!

I wrote about this ritual recently actually and here is the link for more technical information on the rite: https://rosesrocksandredfoxes.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/spirit-techno-pagan-rite-by-pheonix/

I actually came to this years ritual and I HAD SO MUCH FUN! There were bubbles, bells, rattles, glowsticks, a squishy neon ball with lights on the inside, and cool music.

Those who wished to process from outside to get more people to join us played our bells and rattles and drums, blew our bubbles, and paraded around a section of the convention area and made our way back to the sanctuary.

We had two members greet us upon entering. One sprinkled glow water (water with a glowstick inside) on us saying “blessings”. Another member in a robe with a lightsaber blessed people saying “In perfect love and perfect trust” making the knighting motion over each shoulder.

We then started the ritual calling in landmark areas for our directions: Chesapeake Bay was East, Susquehanna River was North, the Catoctin Mountains was West, and Belt Woods was South. We also called in Earth Mother, Cybernata, and Logos.

We raised energy by passing/throwing around the squishy neon ball that lit up with movement and we played fun dance music in the background.

We then shared with each other how technology and the internet has changed our lives. Mostly we shared how it had changed our lives for the better.

Afterwards, we blessed any technology we had on us in incense. I blessed my phone and USB.

Lastly we shared cakes and ale. At this ritual we had iced sandwich cookies for cakes and mountain dew for ale. THe mountain dew was in a giant neon green alien cup.

After the ritual was over we had a smaller dance party in the courtyard/sanctuary for an hour! WHOOO!

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second: Viking Wire Weaving

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I loved learning this. It’s beautiful in the process and turns into a lightweight beautiful chain when you finish. Our lesson ran overtime so I never learned how to finish it, though our teacher said we could look it up on youtube, plenty of videos there apparently.

third: Sewing a “Viking” pouch

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Okay, so the class was called making a Viking pouch but pretty much it’s just a pouch. Our teacher, having been booked for teaching a few too many classes in such a short period of time, accidently gave us the wrong directions for the pouch we were supposed to make and didn’t have the string for the drawstring pouch she accidently started teaching us how to make. SO, I got creative and made this. I added embroidery later and still need to add extra fabric so I can attach it to any belt.

Book Reviews: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver

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This book, title and authors in Post Title, is absolutely amazing. It’s about a family spending one year deciding to eat nothing but local food, whether from the farmer’s market or from the farm land on the farm they move to. It includes miles of information on currant environmental issues, information about the food we do and can eat and where it comes from, helpful hints and handy information on gardening/farming and raising livestock, and best of all it also includes recipes. The diversity of the information provided, coupled with humor as well, is what I love about this book. It’s not just informational, like a textbook, but ties it into a real story.

Description from the inside jackets of the book and copy and pasted from Goodreads.com.

“Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

“As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain.

“Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel. . . .”

Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that’s better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.

“This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air.”

A librarian reccomended it to me and I now reccomend it to you. I thuroughly hope you enjoy and love this book as much as I did and reccomend it to your friends too!

DIY: Natural Dyes

I found this on the internet while searching for natural dyes to dye yarn. For my upcoming ritual I want rope and yarn made of 100% natural product but I haven’t found it in the colors I like so I decided to dye the ones I could find.Hope this helps!

THE FOLLOWING IS COPY AND PASTED FROM PIONEER THINKING. HERE IS THE WEB ADDRESS: http://www.pioneerthinking.com/crafts/crafts-basics/naturaldyes.html

“Gathering plant material for dyeing: Blossoms should be in full bloom, berries ripe and nuts mature. Remember, never gather more than 2/3 of a stand of anything in the wild when gathering plant stuff for dying.

To make the dye solution: Chop plant material into small pieces and place in a pot. Double the amount of water to plant material. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. Strain. Now you can add your fabric to be dyed. For a stronger shade, allow material to soak in the dye overnight.

Getting the fabric ready for the dye bath: You will have to soak the fabric in a color fixative before the dye process. This will make the color set in the fabric.

Color Fixatives:

Salt Fixative (for berry dyes) 1/2 cup salt to 8 cups cold water

Plant Fixatives (for plant dyes) 4 parts cold water to 1 part vinegar

Add fabric to the fixative and simmer for an hour. Rinse the material and squeeze out excess. Rinse in cool water until water runs clear.

Dye Bath: Place wet fabric in dye bath. Simmer together until desired color is obtained. The color of the fabric will be lighter when its dry. Also note that all dyed fabric should be laundered in cold water and separately.

Muslin, silk, cotton and wool work best for natural dyes and the lighter the fabric in color, the better. White or pastel colors work the best.

NOTE: It’s best to use an old large pot as your dye vessel. Wear rubber gloves to handle the fabric that has been dyed, the dye can stain your hands. It’s also important to note, some plant dyes may be toxic, check with the Poison Control Center if unsure.

 A Listing Of Plant Material Available For Dyes

Shades Of Orange

Shades Of  Brown
Alder Bark – (orange)

Bloodroot will give a good orange to reddish orange color.

Sassafras (leaves)

Onion (skin) orange

Lichen (gold)

– Carrot – (roots) orange

– Lilac (twigs) – yellow/orange

Barberry (mahonia sp.) yellow orange (with alum) very strong & permanent. Any part of the plant will work.

Giant Coreopsis (Coreopsis gigantea) Yields bright permanent orange with alum.

Turmeric dyed cloth will turn orange or red if it is dipped in lye.

Pomagrante – with alum anywhere from orange to khaki green.

– Butternut – (seed husks) – orange

Eucaluptus – (leaves and bark) beautiful shades of tan, orange and brown.

Wild plum root will give a reddish or rusty brown.

Oak bark will give a tan or oak color.

Sumac (leaves) – tan

– Dandelion (roots) brown

– Broom –(bark) – yellow/brown

Walnut (hulls) – deep brown (wear gloves)

Walnut (husks) – deep brown – black

Tea Bags – light brown, tan

– White Birch – (inner bark) – brown

Juniper Berries

– Fennel – (flowers, leaves) – yellow/brown

Coffee Grinds

Acorns (boiled)

– Hollyhock (petals)

Colorado Fir – (bark) – tan

Yellow dock (shades of brown)

Beetroot -Dark Brown With FeSO4

– Maple Trees (Red Leaf Buds) – red-brown color when dried. Found on branches before new leaves appear only present during early spring and throughout fall.

– Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala) – black, blue, brown from dried leaves.

– Ivy –(twigs) – yellow/brown

Pine Tree Bark – light medium brown. Needs no mordant.

White Maple (bark) – Light brown/ buff – Alum to set

– Birch (bark) – Light brown/ buff – Alum to set

St John’s Wort (blossom) – brown

Broom Sedge – golden yellow and brown

Coneflower (flowers) – brownish green ; leaves and stems – gold

Goldenrod (shoots ) – deep brown

Shades Of Pink
Strawberries

Cherries

Raspberries (red)

Roses and Lavender, with a little mint and some lemon juice to activate the alkaloids can make both a brilliant pink dye and a very tasty pink lemonade.

Lichens – A pink, brown, or wine colored dye can be produced from a lichen known as British soldiers.

– Camilla –It’s a nice pink-magenta. With lemon and salt.

– Grand Fir -(bark) pink

Shades Of Blue – Purple Shades Of  Red
Dogwood (bark) – blue

Red cabbage

Woad(first year leaves). Woad gives a pale to mid blue colour depending on the type of fabric and the amount of woad used.

Mulberries (royal purple)

Elderberries (lavender)

– Saffron –(petals) blue/green

Grapes (purple)

Blueberries

– Cornflower – (petals) blue dye with alum, water

Cherry (roots)

Blackberry (fruit) strong purple

– Hyacinth – (flowers) – blue

Japanese indigo (deep blue)

Indigo (leaves) – blue

Red Cedar Root (purple)

– Raspberry –(fruit) purple/blue

Red Maple Tree (purple)(inner bark)

– Nearly Black Iris – (dark bluish purple) alum mordant

– Dogwood – (fruit) greenish-blue

– Oregon Grape –(fruit) blue/purple

Purple Iris – blue

Sweetgum (bark) – purple / black

– Queen Anne’s Lace –

Elderberry – red

Red leaves will give a reddish brown color I use salt to set the dye.

Sumac (fruit) – light red

Sycamore (bark)- red

Dandelion (root)

Beets – deep red

Bamboo – turkey red

– Crab Apple – (bark) – red/yellow

Rose (hips)

Chokecherries

Madder (root) – red

Hibiscus Flowers (dried)

Kool-aid

– Canadian Hemlock – (bark) reddish brown

– Japanese Yew – (heartwood) – brown dye

Wild ripe Blackberries

– Brazilwood

– St. John’s Wort– (whole plant) soaked in alcohol – red

Bedstraw (root) – red

 

 

 

Shades Of Gray – Black Shades Of Red – Purple
 Iris (roots)

Sumac (leaves) (Black)

Carob pod (boiled) will give a gray to cotton

Oak galls – makes a good black dye.

Sawthorn Oak – (seed cups) – black

Walnut (hull) – black

Rusty nails & vinegar – set with Alum.

Pokeweed (berries)

Hibiscus (flowers, dark red or purple ones) – red-purple.

Daylilies (old blooms)

– Safflower– (flowers, soaked in alcohol) – red

Logwood (is a good purple but you have to watch it as it dyes quick when the pot is fresh. Also it exhausts fast. We use alum to mordant and using iron can give you logwood gray.)

Huckleberry – lavender (can use it for dye and also for ink.)

Portulaca – (flowers, dried and crushed to a powder) use with a vinegar orsalt mordant, can produce strong magentas, reds, scarlets, oranges and
yellows (depending upon the color of the flower)

Beluga Black Lentils – soaked in water overnight .. yield a dark purplish / black water. The color is washfast and lightfast and needs NO MORDANT and it lasts – a beautiful milk chocolate brown (when super thick) … to a lighter medium brown or light brown when watered down.

Dark Hollyhock (petals) – mauve

Basil – purplish grey

Shades Of Green Shades Of Peach/Salmon
Artemisia species provide a range of greens from baby’s breath to nettle green.

– Artichokes

– Tea Tree– (flowers) green/black

Spinach (leaves)

– Sorrel (roots) – dark green

– Foxglove – (flowers) apple green

– Lilac –(flowers) – green

– Camellia –(pink, red petals) – green

– Snapdragon – (flowers) – green

Black-Eyed Susans

Grass (yellow green)

– Pigsweed (entire plant) yellow green

– Red Pine (needles) green

Nettle

– Broom– (stem) green

– Larkspur – green – alum

Plantain Roots

– White Ash – (bark) – yellow

– Purple Milkweed –(flowers & leaves) – green

Lily-of-the-valley (light green) be careful what you do with the spent dye bath. The plant is toxic so try to avoid pouring it down the drain into the water supply.

Barberry root (wool was dyed a greenish bronze-gold)

Red onion (skin) (a medium green, lighter than
forest green)

– Yarrow –(flowers) yellow & green shades

– Mulga Acacia –(seed pods) – green

– Peach – (leaves) yellow/green

– Coneflower (flowers) – green

Peppermint – dark kakhi green color

Queen Anne’s Lace – pale green

Black-Eyed Susans – bright olive/apple green

Hydrangea (flowers) – alum mordant, added some copper and it came out a beautiful celery green

Chamomile (leaves) – green

Jewelweed – orange/peach

Broom Flower

Virginia Creeper (all parts); alum mordant; Peach.

Achiote powder (annatto seed

Plum tree (roots) (salmon color on wool with alum)

Weeping Willow (wood & bark) makes a peachy brown (the tannin
acts as a mordant)

– Virgina Creeper – (fruit) – pink

Balm (blossom) – rose pink

 

Shades Of Yellow/Wheat

Bay leaves – yellow

Barberry (bark) – yellow

Crocus – yellow

Fustic – yellow

Saffron (stigmas) – yellow – set with Alum.

Safflower (flowers, soaked in water) – yellow

Sassafras (bark)- yellow

– Syrian Rue (glows under black light)

Red Clover (whole blossom, leaves and stem) alum mordant – gold

Yellow cone flower (whole flower head); chrome mordant; Brass to Greeney-Brass.

– Onion (skins) – set with Alum.

– Alfalfa (seeds) – yellow

Marigold (blossoms) – yellow

Willow (leaves)

Queen Anne’s Lace

– Heather– (plant) – yellow

St. John’s Wort – (flowers & leaves) – gold/yellow

Burdock

Celery (leaves)

Golden Rod (flowers)

Sumac (bark) – The inner pith of Sumac branches can produce a super bright yellow color.

Weld (bright yellow)

Old man’s beard lichen – yellow/brown/orange shades

Oregon-grape roots – yellow

Cameleon plant (golden)

– Mimosa– (flowers) yellow

Dandelion flower

Osage Orange also known as Bois d’arc or hedgeapple (heartwood, inner bark, wood, shavings or sawdust) (pale yellow)

Daffodil flower heads (after they have died); alum mordant

Mullen (leaf and root) pale yellow. *careful, because the little fuzzy hairs can make one itchy!

Hickory leaves (yellow) if plenty of leaves are boiled and salt added.

Tea ( ecru color)

Yellow, Curly, Bitter, or Butter Dock (despite various leaf shapes, all have a bright yellow taproot) gives you a yellow/flesh color.

White mulberry tree (bark) Cream color onto white or off-white wool. Alum mordant.

Paprika -pale yellow – light orange)

Peach (leaves) – yellow

Beetroot (yellow) (alum & K2Cr2O7)

Turmeric (spice) –bright yellow

Oxallis (wood sorrels) (flowers) – the one with the yellow flowers. Use the flower heads, some stem ok. It is nearly fluorescent yellow, and quite colorfast on alum mordanted wool.

If the oxalis flowers are fermented or if a small dash of cloudy ammonia is added to the dyebath (made alkaline) the fluorescent yellow becomes fluorescent orange. Usually I do this as an after-bath, once I have the initial colour. Useful for shifting the dye shade, and some good surprises in store!

Dahlia Flowers (Red, yellow, orange flowers) make a lovely yellow to orange dye for wool.

Mulga Acacia -(flowers) – yellow

– Sunflowers – (flowers) – yellow

Dyer’s Greenwood (shoots) – yellow

Tansy (tops) – yellow

Yarrow – yellow and gold

Just to remind, the source for this information is: http://www.pioneerthinking.com/crafts/crafts-basics/naturaldyes.html

Things I Want to Try: Ritual Ointment

I first got the idea for this when I was reading the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter books by Laurell K. Hamilton. In the books, Anita Blake, who is a animator/necromancer, uses an ointment during her zombie raisings for focus and other things. Of course, I realized an ointment would be perfect for ritual use in the real world. It would help you focus, incorporate herbs that relate to your ritual or deity, and put your sense of smell into play which can be a very powerful tool in ritual. Also, you can incorporate your chakras into the mix with the placing of the ointment. Here is the information on the ointment, and the normal tools for doing a zombie raising(for fun), that Anita uses in the books, then we’ll discuss alternatives.

Standard raising kit

  • A sacrifice (Usually a chicken, sometimes a goat, or even the animators own blood)
  • A ceremonial knife (Any type, from hunting knife to machete – but not one used in just day-to-day life)
  • Ointment, each raiser has their own formula that they like, but most have similar ingredients
  • Salt

The ointment used is a blend of herbs and graveyard mold. To look at, it is a pale, off-white in colour with flecks of greenish light. It has a waxy and thick feel on the skin, but is quickly absorbed. The mixture usually includes varying amounts of:

  • Rosemary: for memory
  • Cinnamon: for preservation
  • Cloves: also for preservation
  • Sage: for wisdom
  • Thyme: to bind it all together”

For an alternative, I would suggest the simplest way to go would be using petroleum jelly and mix in whole, dry, or the essential oils of the herbs you want to incorporate. The herbs above have, of course, many other properties, some probably more a prevalent property of the herb than those listed above.

This is a great resource for herbal properties: http://www.joellessacredgrove.com/Herbs/herbs2.html

If you want to look up the meanings and properties within a certain pantheon or for a certain deity, then I would check out a book on the specific pantheon.

Rosemary is a great choice for an ointment as well as Lavender. Both have many properties including protection and purification. Rosemary is on the left, though you usually will find only those top green parts, not the flowers. Lavender is on the right.

As for the graveyard mold, I wouldn’t use it, because it sounds toxic and gross. It also sounds like, from reading the books myself, that the above section on the ointment Anita Blake uses is incorrect. I believe I remember Anita saying in the books that she incorporates the graveyard mold into a petroleum jelly. Anita describes it looking like squished lightning bugs (that are still “lighting”, though dead, I presume from the sparkling comment she used) in the ointment. If you want something sparkling or glittery, I would suggest that exactly, glitter. It would look pretty cool.

Also, when it comes to the herbs, I would definitely keep in mind what you know you’re allergic to and watch for signs if you don’t know you’re allergic to something. Some herbs and flowers and known to simply irritate the skin and I’ve heard that glitter can irritate some people’s skin too.

Hope it helps, and if you try or have tried something like it, please comment and let me know what you thought. I’ll be posting my own pictures when I make mine.

Picture Source #1 (Anita Blake): http://section244.blogspot.com/2011/10/marvelous-non-marvels.html

Picture Sources #2 (Rosemary): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary

Picture Source #3 (Lavender): http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=127

Food: Heavy Metal Detox Pesto Recipe

Heavy Metal Detox Pesto Recipe –

Add More Parsley and Cilantro (Coriander) To Your Diet:
Parsley and cilantro (coriander) are very powerful natural green plant foods for detoxing heavy metals out of your body. Add these amazing herbs to juices, salads, soups and meals.

Heavy Metal Detox Pesto Recipe:
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Brazil nuts (selenium source) or macadamia nuts
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (cysteine source)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium sources)
1 cup fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 cup parsley
2/3 cup cold pressed olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice (Vitamin C source)
Big pinch of sea salt and or dulse flakes to flavor.
Soak the seeds and nuts overnight to release the enzyme exhibitors. Process the parsley, cilantro (coriander) and olive oil in a blender until chopped. Add the garlic, nuts, and seeds, salt/dulse and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is finely blended into a paste. Store in dark glass jar. It freezes well also if need be. Enjoy!

In case you are like me and were wondering why the recipe is calling coriander and cilantro the same thing, here is a resource I used to look it up: http://whatscookingamerica.net/cilantro.htm
Also, Wikipedia helped.
Source for information and Picture: http://www.facebook.com/GrowingOrganicEatingOrganic

DIY: Natural Insect Repellent

Insect Repellents

A repellent can be made by mixing 1 part of your selected essential oil with 10 parts jojoba oil, olive oil, rubbing alcohol, vodka, or witch hazel.

*Geranium Oil- repels Mosquitoes & flies.

*Tea Tree Oil- Repels Lice, ants and Mosquitoes.

*Lavender Oil- Repels Fleas, Mosquitoes, Flies, Ticks and Chiggers.

*Catnip oil- Repels Mosquitoes.

*Eucalyptus Oil- Repels Mosquitoes.

*Rosemary Oil: Repels Ticks & Fleas.

*Lemongrass Oil- Fleas, Mosquitoes, Flies, Ticks & Chiggers.

*Cedarwood Oil- Lice and Moths.

*Clove oil-Mosquitoes.

*Peppermint Oil- Repels Ants, Lice & Spiders.

*Citronella Oil- Repels Mosquitoes.

*Patchouli Oil- Repels Gnats.

*Cinnamon Oil- Repels Ants.
XxEmberxX

Source for everything: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Good-Witches-Farm-House-Kitchen/264811936868196

Food: Garden Goddess Brew

Garden Goddess Brew

  • A whole Zucchini
  • A whole Squash
  • A whole stalk of Swiss Char
  • Some Arugula
  • A can of organic Garbanzo Beans
  • A can of Sweet Corn
  • A can of Wax and Green Beans
  • Half a Sweet Onion
  • A small yellow onion, greens and all
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Crushed Mint
  • Parsley
  • Sea Salt
  • Two cans of whole Tomatoes and a can of Tomato sauce
  • Water

I call this my Garden Goddess Brew (sorry for the dark photo) mainly because I made this for Midsummer. It’s my first recipe and the first time I really made dinner. It’s completely vegan, though not for the principle of being vegan. I listed everything I put in there but any vegetables will do and of course you can adjust the herbs to what you like. It’s a great way to use vegetables that are getting to the point that if they aren’t used soon, they’ll go bad and for cans of vegetables that just seemed to never get picked to add to dinner. I loved the stew, my parents loved it, and those who tried it when I brought some to the Midsummer ritual I went to this last Friday loved it too. It was hearty and filling and the best side was two slices of 12 Grain bread to sop up the broth.

DIY: Housemade Cleaners!

I made them, the house cleaners I wanted to try and that I posted about two days ago. the window cleaner is on the left in an empty baby wash container and the cleaning paste (which needs to be stirred) is on the right. All the Baking soda has separated and settled on the bottom, thus the plastic knife on top I’m using to stir. I added a little Orange and Rosmary Essential Oil. I also made them during an informal ritual to Dagda in his aspect of the Great Warrior God and blessed them by word and also by passing both the ingrediants and the finished product through pine incense. I also lit a red candle for my intent, burned pine incense, put garnet and ruby and bloodstone on the altar, and stated by intent while asking for help.  I asked for energy, discipline, and help in ridding the house of bad energies and garbage and all the bad stuff bringing me and my parents (who I live with) down. I stated that the cleaners were my weapons in cleaning and that with the help of Dadga, my blessed weapons, the energy from this ritual, the power in the oils and incense, but most importantly with my own efforts, that the house would be clean and that it was more than possible.

Note: If you just make the household cleaner then that great! You don’t have to do a ritual or anything else. I have always had a lot or problems cleaning my house but it needs to be done. It’s cluttered, dusty, and dirty in places. Most of all, my house is holding a lot of negative energy. I needed the extra boost, but that doesn’t mean you do. Do what you can, do what you will. All efforts will help your house become a positive and healthy place to live!

Note 2: Pine, the color Red, Rubies, Garnets, and Bloodstone are all Correspondences to Celtic Warrior Deities according to DJ Conway’s book Celtic Magic that I use as my reference in my Celtic rituals.

Note 3: Rosmary’s properties are Protection, Purification, Love, Mental Sharpnes. Orange’s Properties are Love. It also smells great!