The Lesson of Aries

By Erin Coats
on March 24, 2018

The Lesson of Aries

Date Range: March 21 - April 19
Symbol: Ram
Element: Fire
Quality: Cardinal
Planet: Mars
Tarot: The Emperor

 

Traits and Characteristics

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, which is quite suitable as Aries people like to be the first in everything. The sun moves into Aries at the Spring Equinox, giving it a cardinal quality and furthering the initiatory energy so evident in the sign.  Aries are willful and determined and take much from their symbol - the Ram - an aggressive and unstoppable force known for headbutting anything standing in the way.  The brave Aries is not afraid to jump headfirst into a new project, to initiate and realize a dream, solve a dilemma, or blaze a trail.  However, the impatient Aries tends to have difficulty embracing the wisdom to “look before you leap”.  This can be problematic for the impulsive Ram when their well-intended energy carries them in the wrong direction.  No matter the outcome, the Ram will never regret their actions, reckless or not, as any action is better than none.  However, Aries can be a poor loser and become moody and short-tempered when things do not go their way.     

As the first of the fire signs, Aries is the lit match that begins an inferno.  Trendsetters and trailblazers, they are naturally charismatic and highly competitive, fueling their own need for success as well as those around them.  They are optimistic and confident in themselves and in their endeavors and are known for tirelessly juggling several projects at once. 

This unending energy and competitive nature can be a bit much for some people.  Aries are not known for their teamwork and must take care not to become self-centered or bossy.  However, their tendency for leadership and independence as well as their never-ending drive for success makes them excellent in management or other competitive and challenging fields such as medicine, sports, law-enforcement and the military.  As a risk-taker, the Ram doesn’t mind spending their hard-earned cash and can be a little irresponsible with the finances.  It’s a good thing the accomplished Aries doesn’t sit idle or the Ram wouldn’t be able to make up for such spontaneous spending.

Aries value honesty and are blunt with their communications.  Their direct nature can be off-putting for some, but the Ram is just as quick to compliment as they are to criticize.  They also appreciate the same unambiguous communication from others.  Aries enjoy meeting new people.  They like to surround themselves with a variety of different personalities and tend toward large social circles.  They prefer to take the lead when it comes to romance and are not afraid to express their feelings.  However, their impetuous side can lead them to move too quickly in this area.  The passionate Ram’s fires burn bright and hot, leading them to be a bit excessive in their affections.  This also means that the Ram has a tendency to be led by the loins.  Aries look toward partners that can keep up with their desires and have enough energy to keep those fires fed.

 

Cauldron Fire
 

 

The Work

Aries is ruled by the planet Mars and embodied in the warrior archetype.  The nature of the ram, the symbol of Aries, is to charge forward.  Aries greatest challenge is fear and they overcome this obstacle through will and action by meeting those fears head-on.  The warrior knows fear and yet has the discipline to train mind, body, and soul, to charge past this fear to reach a goal.  Just like Aries, the warrior must possess great vigor and courage.  A warrior is someone with the determination, the will, and the discipline to bring about change and transformation.  In our tradition, you often find people that are uncomfortable with the concept of the warrior and yet some of those qualities are parallel to those found in a witch or magick worker.

What is a spiritual warrior? 

The Tibetan Buddhists would say that a spiritual warrior combats personal ignorance and while the witch’s path is not the same as the Buddhist, I would agree with this concept.  Witches are seekers, seeking the outer mysteries, but also the inner mysteries through introspection and meditation.  We challenge our fears, our beliefs, and our own untruths. 

You will journey to meet a war god and examine your own battles and strategies and then do a working to strengthen those strategies and aid in your own personal battles.

*** Please note that we will be making a cauldron fire for this work.  Working with fire can be dangerous and this spellwork is not intended to be done by minors.  You will need a cast iron cauldron (which will become super-heated) on a non-flammable surface (like a trivet, large stone, or brick).  Do not attempt to make a cauldron fire near cloth, paper, or any other flammable objects.  It’s also a good idea to forgo the robe or any other form of lose clothing and to tie your hair back.  Be sure to have a large lid or pan nearby to snuff out the fire if need be.  Never leave the fire unattended. ***

You may wish to add a little kick to your cauldron fire by steeping some fire herbs in the rubbing alcohol ahead of time.  Always be sure to research your herbs before using them as some may be poisonous or release harmful fumes when burned.  Allow the herbs to soak for at least a week.  They may be strained out before the spell if you wish or left in the alcohol to be burned in the cauldron.  Please note that large pieces of herb will burn hotter and possibly spark or pop if left in the mixture.

 

Suggested Fire Herbs: Nettle, Basil, Thistle, Cinnamon

 

Materials:

Cast Iron Cauldron

Epsom Salt

Long Candle Lighter (or a long-stemmed match if you prefer)

Measuring Cup

Rubbing Alcohol (with or without herbs)

Trivet or another fireproof surface

Small slip of paper

Pen (red is good)

Piece of red thread (cut large enough to fasten the paper into a scroll)

 

Pre-spell Work

<Measure equal parts Epsom salt and alcohol, pouring the Epsom salt in the bottom of the cauldron first.  Do not overfill the cauldron.  You will need to leave at least half of the cauldron empty.  While the salt helps to slow the burn, an unequal portion of alcohol to salt or an overfilled cauldron can cause the fire to burn out of control.  Make sure your cauldron is placed on the fire proof surface before you begin the spellwork.>

 

Circle Cast

I cast this circle for my protection, from all harm, on all levels.

I cast this circle to allow in only those energies and entities for my highest good.

I cast this circle to form a space beyond space, a time beyond time, a place in which perfect love and perfect trust reign supreme.

 

Quarter Calls

To the Guardian of the North and Earth, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Aid me in grounding myself once the work here is completed.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the East and Air, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Help me to see clearly the strategies best suited for my situation.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the South and Fire, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Kindle my will and embolden my actions.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the West and Water, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Keep love in my heart as I face my fears.  Hail and Welcome!

 

Evocation of Deity

I acknowledge and honor the Great Spirit and Creator, Cauldron of the Universe, you who are all, above and below, within and without, life and death

And from you, the two who move as one

The Goddess, who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone

And the God, who is both Hunter and Hunted, Singer and Song

Join me for this working.

Hail and Welcome!

 

Evocation of Aries Energy

And though the energy of Aries currently influences our world at this time, I give formal invitation that it may aid in my work.  Hail and Welcome!

 

Naming the Work

It is my intention to pair with the energy of Aries as I seek to meet a War God and strengthen my own warrior energy.

The Meditation

This meditation is to seek out a warrior god that will instruct you for your highest good.  Before we begin, I want you to ask yourself what it is that you fight FOR.  Or maybe there is something you SHOULD be fighting for.  Are you rushing in blindly, fueled on raw emotion or are you using intellect and strategy in your attacks and defense?

<Use whatever means work best for you to count yourself down into meditation>

You find yourself on the edge of a battlefield; you hear the war drums beating in your ears like the pulse of your blood.  A figure comes toward you, emerging from the smoke.  It may be the Greek Ares or Athena or the Roman Mars - maybe the Norse Odin, Tyr, or Freya, or the Celtic Morrigan.  Introduce yourself.  Talk with the god, tell your own story, and explain what you’re fighting for and how you’re fighting that battle.  Do they have any insight for you?  Any instruction or strategy to share?  Is there something you can change in the way you think or the way you are approaching the battle that may help you gain ground?

Thank the god for their insight and leave an offering if you’re called to do so.

 

Raising Energy

<As Aries is one of the most active signs, I suggest you raise the energy in a very active manner by using dance or some other form of movement.>

 

Spellwork

  • Light the cauldron fire.
  • Hold in your mind what it is you are fighting FOR. If it’s changed with your meditation, hold that new concept in your mind.
  • Write the thing you’re fighting FOR on the slip of paper and roll it into a scroll. Tie it with the piece of red thread.
  • Very carefully put the scroll into the cauldron fire while holding the completed intention in your mind, releasing the energy as your scroll burns to ashes.

 

Giving Thanks

I offer my thanks to the energy and wisdom of Aries.

 

De-vocation of Deity

I give thanks to the Great Spirit, Goddess, and God for joining me in this working.  Stay if you will, go if you must!

 

Release Quarters

To the Guardian of the North and Earth, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the West and Water, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the South and Fire, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the East and Air, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

Release the Circle

 

The circle is open, but unbroken. 

 

Salt and Ash disposal

Do not attempt to clean your cauldron out until it has cooled completely.  Ensure that it will remain undisturbed on the fireproof surface (and away from flammable materials) until it has cooled down.  If your work was done to combat something or get rid of it, you will need to dispose of the salt and ashes away from your home.  Always be respectful of another person’s property and the environment. 

The salt is very hard to clean from the cauldron and unfortunately, you may need to use water to get it all out.  We all know that water and cast iron do not mix.  If you find yourself with a rusty cauldron afterwards, consult the blog "Cauldron Care" to help re-season it.

Lemon Meringue Cake

By Erin Coats
on March 20, 2018

Lemon Meringue Cake

This not so simple dessert is well worth the extra effort! If you love lemon, you will be pleased! This recipe is a combination of several recipes that I combined to make the perfect Springtime sweet and tangy treat.

 

Lemon Curd

Juice and zest from 2 lemons

1/3 C Sugar

4 Egg Yolks (reserve whites for icing)

3 Tablespoons butter

  • Combine all ingredients in a double boiler. You can also use a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water.
  • Heat while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook until mixture coats the back of a spoon. It will be somewhat thicker but not like commercial pudding.
  • Refrigerate until thick.

 

Sponge Cake

6 Eggs, room temperature

2 teas. Lemon Zest

¼ C Lemon Juice

¼ C Water

1 teas. Vanilla

1 C Sugar

1 ¼ C All- purpose Flour

1/2 teas. Cream of Tartar

½ C Sugar

 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Separate eggs.
  • Beat yolks in med mixing bowl on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and pale yellow.
  • Add lemon zest, juice, water and vanilla; beat on low to combine.
  • Gradually beat in1 C. sugar on low.
  • Increase to medium and beat until thickened slightly and double in volume. This will take about 5 minutes so I highly recommend using a stand mixer. There is no leavening in this cake. It depends on the air beaten into the eggs to give it rise.
  • Sprinkle the flour ¼ C at a time over the egg mixture, gently folding after each addition. Set aside.
  • With clean beaters and bowl, beat egg whites and Cream of Tartar on med until soft peaks form.
  • Gradually add ½ C sugar, beating on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold 1 C of the whites into the yolk mixture. \Add combined mixture to remaining whites. Fold gently until no more white streaks are visible.
  • Prepare (2) 8 or 9 inch round cake pans by simply lining the bottoms with parchment paper. Do not grease. Pour batter evenly into the pans. Level with a spatula.
  • Bake 25 -30 minutes until cakes spring back when lightly touched.
  • Cool completely in pans. Loosen from sides with a knife. Invert onto cooling rack and remove parchment.
  • Use a pastry brush to coat both tops and bottoms with simple syrup.

 

Simple Syrup

  • Combine juice of one lemon with 2 Tablespoons water and ¼ C Sugar.
  • Heat in small saucepan until reduced by about 1/3rd.

 

Meringue Icing

4 Egg Whites

½ teas. Cream of Tartar

1 C sugar

¼ C Water

  • In a small saucepan, heat Water and Sugar to 230 degrees F on med high heat without stirring.
  • Reduce heat to med and continue to heat to 250 degrees F without stirring.
  • Meanwhile beat egg white with Cream of Tartar until soft peaks form.
  • With mixer on high, slowly drizzle hot sugar mixture into egg whites.
  • Continue to beat 10 minutes.

 

Assembly

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place one cake layer on oven proof serving plate.
  • Spread cooled Lemon Curd to about ¼ inch from edge of layer.
  • Top with second layer.
  • Frost entire cake with Meringue Icing.
  • TURN OVEN OFF. Place frosted cake in oven and leave until oven has cooled. This will set and brown the meringue.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.

 

 

Lamb Stew

By Erin Coats
on March 17, 2018

Lamb Stew

This filling lamb stew will be a big hit at your Ostara table.

 

3 slices Bacon, diced

3# boneless Lamb ( I used ½ leg), cut into 1” pieces

½ teas. Salt

½ teas. Black Pepper

1/3 C all purpose Flour

Additional bacon grease or olive oil

2 teas. Minced garlic (2 cloves)

½ large, Onion, diced

¼ C. Water

2 C Beef Stock or Broth

1 teas. White Sugar

½# Baby Carrots

1 – 1 ½# New Potatoes, halved lengthwise

½ teas. Dried Thyme

1 or 2 Bay Leaves

½ C Water or Dry White Wine

1 C. fresh or frozen Green Peas

 

  • Cook bacon over med high heat in large skillet until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Season flour with salt and pepper.
  • Toss lamb in flour mixture to coat.
  • Brown in bacon fat in batches adding additional fat as needed.  Transfer meat to a large stockpot.
  • Add onion and garlic to remaining fat in skillet until onion starts to become lightly browned.
  • Add ½ C water to pan and stir and scrape up browned bits.
  • Add contents of skillet along with bacon, sugar and beef stock.
  • Cover and simmer 1 ½ hours.
  • Add onions, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves and ½ C water/wine.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender.
  • Add peas and simmer another 10 minutes.

The Lesson of Pisces

By Erin Coats
on February 21, 2018

The Lesson of Pisces

Date Range: February 19 – March 20
Symbol: Two Fish
Element: Water
Quality: Mutable
Planet: Neptune
Tarot: The Moon

 

Traits and Characteristics

Pisces is the twelfth and final sign of the zodiac.  It is symbolized by two fish tethered together and swimming in opposite directions.  Some have said this is a representation of the duality of Piscean nature as those born under this sign often move freely between the mundane world and the mystical or illusory.  As imaginative and idealistic creatures, Pisces live part of their lives in their own minds, imagining a better, more comfortable, and beautiful space for themselves.  Some say the Pisces fish speak of the sign’s ability to “go with the flow” and “not make waves”.  As a mutable sign and the chameleons of the zodiac, they are able to conform and adapt themselves to fit any situation and are malleable enough to blend in with any crowd.  Fish take inspiration from their surroundings and experiences and these things often mold their personalities.  They also tend to have peaceful and submissive natures.  Being a Pisces, I have my own personal take on the symbolism.  Just as the fish swim in opposite directions, Pisces often find themselves at odds with their own opposing viewpoints and internal conflicts.

Pisces imaginative side is something of a mixed blessing.  It helps the Fish to excel in what they like most – becoming lost in a world of perfection, whatever that may entail for the individual.  It also helps to feed the Fish’s own talents.  Pisces do not do well in the daily grind, but tend to excel in the creative world of artistry, writing, music, and acting – anything that helps them escape the pain and tedium of the real world.  They also trend toward spiritual and mystical pursuits.  As entertaining as this may sound, Pisces escapist nature can render them unreliable and ungrounded.  It’s easy for the dreamy Fish to become lost in an imaginary world and distance his or herself from others.  This can also occur if the Fish allows him or herself to become depressed or disenchanted with the status quo.  Pisces need other people to keep them focused and on track as they lack self-discipline.  This escapist nature also leaves the Fish vulnerable to addiction and overindulgence.

Fish are most happy when helping others and love to surprise and delight with gifts and/or assistance.  They are incredibly intuitive and empathetic.  Pisces are ruled by their emotions and those emotions are often roused and magnified by the emotions of the people they surround themselves with.  A Pisces will do anything for the people they love, though these gestures are not entirely altruistic.  Fish feel the pain and joy of their loved ones.  For this reason, Fish do not like to hurt people’s feelings and have a hard time saying no.  This can be a bad thing for the Fish, because they have a gullible nature and their giving personalities can be taken advantage of quite easily.  As a tediously sensitive sign, Pisces don’t take criticism or rejection well and try their best to treat others as they wish to be treated. 

Pisces are dreamers, not doers.  This isn’t to say they lack ambition or that they are incapable of excelling.  When a Pisces feels strongly enough about a cause or goal, they will put their all into it.  But Pisces can be lazy as their default attitude is to stand back and allow things to work themselves out instead of taking matters into their own hands.  They often put more effort into solving other people’s problems than they do their own.

Love is very important to the Pisces who will search far and wide for their soul mate.  They are gentle and sensitive lovers who bring overwhelming emotion to the bedroom.  Pisces look to connect to their lover in an emotional and spiritual sense more than a physical one.

 

The Work

The work we do in Pisces is the work of the ecstatic.  Pisces travel freely between the mundane and the mystical, but not everyone is able to let go so easily.  Many of us are grounded here in this realm, anchored by our need for complete control.  In this ritual you will work with the Greek God of wine and ritual madness, Dionysus.  You will be asked to loosen your grip, go with the flow, and see where the wave takes you. 

This ritual is meant to be done by individuals aged 21 or over!  It is against the law for minors to consume alcohol and the Muses do not condone illegal activities.  With that being said, those who are under 21 may use other exhibitory techniques to aid in the shifting of consciousness in leu of the wine.  These include up-beat music, chanting, or drumming, and body movements.  Incense is also a great tool to help in shifting consciousness.

 

Materials:

Drum or rattle or some form of up-beat music, preferably without words

Incense (Use what you prefer or *See below for Scott Cunningham’s ‘Pisces Incense’)

1 Cup of Red Wine – 21 years old and up only (Use what you prefer or **See below for Christopher Penczak’s ‘Journey Wine’)

 

*Pisces Incense

The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, & Brews – Scott Cunningham

2 parts Frankincense

1 part Eucalyptus

1 part Lemon peel

A few drops Sandalwood oil

 

**Journey Wine

WARNING: Do not drink mulled wine if you have allergies to wine or any of the herbs in this brew.  Please note that American mandrake (mayapple) is a poisonous plant!

The Living Temple of Witchcraft Volume Two: The Journey of the God – Christopher Penczak

Bottle of red wine

1 teaspoon chamomile

2 teaspoons mugwort

1 teaspoon scullcap

2 teaspoons vervain

1 teaspoon nettles

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 pinch American mandrake (a.k.a mayapple – NOT to be confused with English mandrake which is also called mandrake root)

 

Circle Cast

I cast this circle for my protection, from all harm, on all levels.

I cast this circle to allow in only those energies and entities for my highest good.

I cast this circle to form a space beyond space, a time beyond time, a place in which perfect love and perfect trust reign supreme.

 

Quarter Calls

To the Guardian of the North and Earth, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Aid me in grounding myself once the work here is completed.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the East and Air, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Help me to see clearly and interpret those things revealed to me during my journey.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the South and Fire, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Kindle my will and burn away any fears I have in letting go.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the West and Water, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Let the tides sweep me where they shall and help me go with the flow of this journey.  Hail and Welcome!

 

Evocation of Deity

I acknowledge and honor the Great Spirit and Creator, Cauldron of the Universe, you who are all, above and below, within and without, life and death

And from you, the two who move as one

The Goddess, who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone

And the God, who is both Hunter and Hunted, Singer and Song

Join me for this working.

Hail and Welcome!

 

Evocation of Pisces Energy

And though the energy of Pisces currently influences our world at this time, I give formal invitation that it may aid in my work.  Hail and Welcome!

 

Naming the Work

It is my intention to pair with the energy of Pisces as I seek to meet the Ecstatic God, Dionysus -  to join his wild band of maenads and satyrs - to become intoxicated in my own power and spirit, and to merge with that wild energy and find my own spiritual ecstasy in whatever form that may take.

 

Honor Dionysus

<Homeric Hymns: 26 – To Dionysus>

 

(ll. 1-9) I begin to sing of ivy-crowned Dionysus, the loud-

crying god, splendid son of Zeus and glorious Semele.  The rich-

haired Nymphs received him in their bosoms from the lord his

father and fostered and nurtured him carefully in the dells of

Nysa, where by the will of his father he grew up in a sweet-

smelling cave, being reckoned among the immortals.  But when the

goddesses had brought him up, a god oft hymned, then began he to

wander continually through the woody coombes, thickly wreathed

with ivy and laurel.  And the Nymphs followed in his train with

him for their leader; and the boundless forest was filled with

their outcry.

 

(ll. 10-13) And so hail to you, Dionysus, god of abundant

clusters!  Grant that we may come again rejoicing to this season,

and from that season onwards for many a year.

 

 

Energy Raising

<Light the incense, turn on the music or begin drumming or rattling.  This is the time to dance.  This is the time to enjoy that cup of wine.  Bottoms up.>

 

The Meditation

<Use whatever means work best for you to count yourself down into meditation>

You find yourself on a threshold, an ivy wound gateway.  The loud thumping of drums and crash of cymbals is so emphatic it makes the very air around you vibrate.  Beyond the arch burns a brilliant bonfire and from your place under the bow you can see the dancers whirling - Dionysus’s maenads - each clad in fox pelts and holding a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy and topped with a pine cone.  They thrash about, lost in the ecstasy of the music and drink.  And there, seated before the fire is the beautiful Dionysus himself.  His chest is bare, his loins covered by a fox pelt.  He is crowned in ivy and acorns and holds a drinking horn in one hand.   He looks straight at you and winks, his eyes merry.  You are safe here under the arch, separate from the wild revelry taking place around the bonfire.  But you cannot pull your eyes away from the mad ritual before you – the dancers and their desperate shadows and just beyond the fire you notice a ring of goat footed men, each with an instrument in hand – drums, pipes, and symbols – they dance as they play.  The music calls to you and you notice that some of the dancers are doing the same, whirling this way and that and beckoning you forward.  As you move away from the protection of the arch, one of the maenads breaks away from the dance.  She taps the thyrsus on the ground and a spring of wine wells up in a fountain at your feet.  She gestures for you to take a sip, so you bend over and drink from the flow as if from a water fountain.  The wine is sweet and strong and you cannot stop yourself from gulping it down.  When at last you pull yourself away from the flow to stand straight, you realize you’ve become quite drunk.  The generous maenad takes you by the hand and before you know it, you are pulled into the dance.  Stay there awhile and lose yourself in the sensations.  When you’ve had your fill, you may wish to approach Dionysus.  He may ask you to join him again some time or perhaps he has some wisdom for you.  When you’ve exhausted yourself and wrapped up your conversation, thank the revealers and Dionysus for including you in the wild party.  Make your way back through the arch and count yourself out of meditation.

 

Grounding

<Take it slow and easy, giving yourself plenty of time to fully return to your body.  You may need to do some extra grounding.  This is best done by simply touching the ground beneath you.  You may wish to lay on the ground or sit and touch your hands and forehead to the ground.  Do this as long as needed.>

 

De-vocation

I offer my thanks to the energy and wisdom of Pisces.

 

De-vocation of Deity

I give thanks to the Great Spirit, Goddess, and God for joining me in this working.  Stay if you will, go if you must!

 

Release Quarters

To the Guardian of the North and Earth, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the West and Water, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the South and Fire, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the East and Air, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

Release the Circle

 

The circle is open, but unbroken. 

 

 

***

 

You may wish to do even more grounding once you’ve closed the circle.  It’s always a good idea to eat something with a lot of carbohydrates if you’re feeling disconnected or flighty.  Bread will help soak up that wine. ^_~

Custard Pie

By Erin Coats
on January 30, 2018

Custard Pie

This simple, yet delicious pie celebrates the early promise of spring by embracing the abundance of milk. Fresh eggs also star in this soft, creamy dessert. And it’s topped with nutmeg for prosperity and protection.

 

Custard Pie

4 Eggs, slightly beaten

½ C Sugar

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Vanilla

2 ½ C Scalded Milk

1 9” pie crust, unbaked

Ground nutmeg

 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Blend beaten eggs with sugar, salt and vanilla.
  • Very gradually stir in hot milk, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t scramble.  Stir just until combined. Avoid over mixing as this will cause the filling to weep and be rubbery.
  • Pour into prepared pie shell and sprinkle with nutmeg.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes or until sharp knife blade inserted halfway between the center and outer edge comes out clean.
  • Remove to cooling rack and cool completely before cutting.
  • Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Loaded Potato Soup

By Erin Coats
on January 24, 2018

Loaded Potato Soup

This is more of a technique than a specific recipe. I learned it while managing the kitchen in a small family restaurant in Michigan. The actual recipe is as follows:

 

Loaded Potato Soup

6 rashers Bacon, chopped

3# Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-1” cubes

½ medium Onion, diced

2 stalks Celery, diced

1 Tablespoon dried Parsley or 2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped fine

4-6 C. Chicken broth or stock

¼ C. Flour

8-10 oz Cheese of choice, shredded ( I use a combination of Velveeta, Sharp Cheddar and Colby Jack)

1-2 C Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

Sour cream and chopped green onion or chives for garnish if desired.

 

  • In a large soup pot, combine potatoes, onion, celery, parsley and enough chicken broth to cover by about 2 inches.
  • Cook on med. heat until vegetables are tender.

 

  • In a medium size saucepan, cook bacon until crisp.
  • Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Reserve.
  • Reserve 3 Tablespoons bacon fat in the saucepan.
  • Add the flour to the bacon fat and stir over medium heat to make a light roux, about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk in enough milk to make a thick white sauce.
  • Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour sauce into hot, cooked vegetable mixture and stir.
  • Additional milk can be added if you prefer a thinner soup.
  • Add reserved bacon. 
Makes about 6 generous servings.

 

This technique can be used in many creamy soup applications. Try subbing fresh broccoli or cauliflower for the potatoes and omit the bacon. Use butter in place of the bacon fat.

Cook the potatoes as directed but skip the bacon and use butter in the roux. Omit the cheese and add canned clams with their juice at the end of the cooking time.

Sauté mushrooms in butter in place of the bacon and add enough butter to replace the bacon fat in the roux. Cook the onion, celery and parsley in either chicken or beef broth for a delicious cream of mushroom soup.

The possibilities are endless!

The Lesson of Aquarius

By Erin Coats
on January 22, 2018

The Lesson of Aquarius

Date Range: January 20 – February 18
Symbol: Water Bearer
Element: Air
Quality: Fixed
Planet: Saturn - Uranus
Tarot: The Star

 

Traits and Characteristics

Aquarius is symbolized by the Water Bearer who nourishes the world by continuously providing such essential fluid.  This is fitting for the humanitarian minded sign that altruistically shares time and ideas for the betterment of the world.  Aquarius comes in two different flavors – the shy and quiet sort and the livelier and rather eccentric type.  Both versions are progressive, constantly pushing for change and betterment.  They despise limitations and will not be constrained.  This lends to their philanthropic work as they strive for freedom and equality, not only for themselves, but for everyone.  Aquarius is a problem solver; this sign is able to see both sides of the situation and offer an impartial opinion.  

Saturn, Aquarius’s original ruling planet, may have a hand in the sign’s uncompromising nature.  There exists a frustrating need to be right and a distaste for anyone who would say otherwise.  The Water Bearer was later assigned to Uranus which is responsible for the sign’s visionary qualities and more eccentric behavior.  This influence is no surprise as it comes from a planet that orbits sideways.  The revolutionary Uranus is also responsible for the rebellious sign’s need to test boundaries and push beyond. 

Aquarius is an air sign with a keen intellect and a strong need for open and honest communication.  They like to surround themselves with people and are great at rallying the troops for social causes or political reasons.  However, the need for social interaction is a double-edged blade for the Aquarius, as they can be quite standoffish when it comes to forming close bonds with others.  The Water Bearer shies away from intimacy with an attitude that seems cold to the outsider, but is really a defense mechanism for this cautious sign.     

Just because Aquarius is slow to open up to others does not mean that they are closed to affectionate relationships.  You won’t win the friendship or love of an Aquarius lest you possess a creative and sharp mind.  Integrity is also an important factor in winning over the Water Bearer.  Whether you’re looking for friendship or love, with patience, you’ll have won a noble partner.  Aquarius is loyal and committed in relationships.  If you’re looking for a clingy or possessive partner, you will not find it in the Aquarius due to their need for independence.

 

The Work

We forgo the formal ritual, as we did in our work with Sagittarius, in lieu of action.  Our inspiration stems from Aquarius’s humanitarianism in a movement to better our community -  organization, party, club, neighborhood, state, or even the global community.  Big thinkers with resources and preexisting ideas may wish to fully embrace their inner Water Bearer in the spirit of community building and form an awareness group, committee, charity, or other philanthropic organization.  For the rest, a heartfelt and passionate donation of time and/or resources to founded groups will suffice.  Consider your local options, awareness movements, charities, and environmental concerns.  Write a well-planned letter to your local government officials or begin a petition.  Communication is key.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your options or aren’t inspired, try a meditation beforehand.  This will also help in the planning stages of larger endeavors if you’ve decided to blaze the trail yourself.

You could consult the Greek Titan Uranus – aka Father Sky – who is both son and husband to the Earth Mother, Gaia.  He was rather fond of the creation process, but never terribly fond of his creations.  If consulting an insecure sky god who imprisoned his children doesn’t suit your fancy, I recommend a chat with the Titan Prometheus.  This guy leveled the playing field like any good Aquarius would.  He was considered a renegade by his peers and was punished for defying his fellow gods and gifting humanity with fire.

Time: In a waxing moon if you wish to grow/start something or a waning moon if you are working to eradicate something.

Remember that change takes time and commitment.  Transformation generally requires more than a single application.

The Lesson of Capricorn

By Erin Coats
on December 26, 2017

The Lesson of Capricorn

Date Range: December 21 – January 19
Symbol: Sea-Goat
Element: Earth
Quality: Cardinal
Planet: Saturn
Tarot: The Devil

 

Traits and Characteristics

The symbol of Capricorn is a mythological creature - the sea-goat - having the upper body of a goat and the tail of a fish.  The upper half of the creature is fairly fitting for the Capricorn – like the goat who carefully climbs the mountain side always moving forward one carefully planned step at a time, the Capricorn is ever moving toward their goals.  The second half of the creature is a bit more puzzling as the Capricorn can come off as cold and unsympathetic at times.  This isn’t to say the earth sign has no emotional depth, only that it lies beneath the surface.

Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn, known for its restrictive nature.  This is apparent in Capricorns most striking trait - discipline.  Sea-Goats are incredibly responsible and have a strong sense of self-control.  They are known for their great accomplishments, achieving whatever they’ve set out to realize.  This comes as no surprise as they are prone to meticulous planning followed by determined and tireless action.  They are resourceful, always finding the right tool to get the job done.  The Goat will take the most direct path toward any given goal and there is no obstacle big enough to keep them from it.  Capricorns make great leaders and managers as they are remarkably good at recognizing and utilizing other people’s strengths to accomplish their goals.  The downside of Saturn’s influence is that Capricorn can be distant and unforgiving at times.

Capricorn is an earth sign with a heavy focus on the material world.  With their careful planning and focused action toward long-term goals, they are able to make the most of their surroundings.  Capricorns tend to have nice things and substantial savings.  They’ve worked damned hard to get where they are.  The solid influence of the element of earth makes the Capricorn stubborn.  This helps the Goat keep on track, but can wreak havoc on interpersonal relationships.  Their traditional values coupled with an un-moving nature means Capricorn may not be terribly accepting of things that do not fit their perspective.  The Goat can be forceful in his/her attempts to enlighten.

Capricorns cherish family and are prone to keep a small social circle.  They value loyalty and hard work in others, traits found in themselves.  They do not fall in love quickly or easily, but are very committed when they do. 

The Work

We all like to make New Year’s resolutions, but most of us are not so great at staying focused on our goal.  By the third week of January that diet is out the door and the gym membership a faint memory.  Our work here will ensure that we carry the discipline of Capricorn into Aquarius and beyond to accomplish our long-term goals for the coming year. 

One of Capricorn’s strengths and tools of success is planning.  You will begin with a goal and make a solid plan to insure success.  Write it out, post it on the fridge, in your smart phone, make a banner if that helps.  If you’re going to lose weight, make a list of ways you will make this happen.  The magick only works if you back it with action.  Will you exercise?  What days and how long?  What exercises will you do?  Are you going to change your eating habits?  Have you taken the time to educate yourself on the best foods to eat and the proper amounts?  Have you found or made recipes?  Planned shopping lists?  Rid your cabinets of the things that may lead you astray?  What will you do if you go out to eat?  Go on vacation?  Mess up and eat a Butterfinger?  All of these things need to be considered and considered carefully.  Know where your weaknesses are and make a plan to deal with them.

For the work, you will be burying an item that represents your resolution.  Our color correspondence list may help you decide what that object should be.  If all else fails, write it on a piece of construction paper and tie it into a scroll, closing the scroll with a piece of ribbon, string, or twine.  Consider if your spell is meant to draw something to you (money, success, love) or send it away from you (debt, a bad habit, a toxic relationship).  For drawing work, you will bury the item near your front door or in a potted plant inside your home or on your porch.  If you are sending something away from you, the item should be buried away from you, somewhere you aren’t prone to go again.  Please make sure you are not trespassing on anyone’s property or breaking any other laws when you discard of the item.

Also note that you do not have to do your spell work in the location you are discarding the item.  Do the work ahead of time and take your item where it needs to be buried.

***

Best Time:  New Year’s Eve

 

Materials:

Something that represents your goal – if you are using the scroll method it is advised that you write on and scroll the paper while in circle to give more energy to your goal.

A place to bury that something

 

Circle Cast

I cast this circle for my protection, from all harm, on all levels.

I cast this circle to allow in only those energies and entities for my highest good.

I cast this circle to form a space beyond space, a time beyond time, a place in which perfect love and perfect trust reign supreme.

 

Quarter Calls

To the Guardian of the North and Earth, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Aid me in the manifestation of my work in the realm of Capricorn.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the East and Air, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Help me to see clearly and remain focused on my path to success.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the South and Fire, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Let my passion burn brightly as I work toward my goal.  Hail and Welcome!

 

To the Guardian of the West and Water, I bid you join my circle and offer your protection.  Keep love in my heart as I make these needed changes.  Hail and Welcome!

 

Evocation of Deity

I acknowledge and honor the Great Spirit and Creator, Cauldron of the Universe, you who are all, above and below, within and without, life and death

And from you, the two who move as one

The Goddess, who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone

And the God, who is both Hunter and Hunted, Singer and Song

Join me for this working.

Hail and Welcome!

 

Evocation of Capricorn Energy

And though the energy of Capricorn currently influences our world at this time, I give formal invitation that it may aid in my work.  Hail and Welcome!

 

Naming the Work

It is my intention to pair with the energy of Capricorn as I seek to [discard/manifest] this [imbalance/aspect] in the coming year.

  

Energy Raising

<Use your favorite form of energy raising here: dance, chant, drumming, incense, etc.> 

The Work

<At the peak of your energy raising, hold the item in your hand and visualize yourself having accomplished your goal.  Put all the energy and fire you have into that intention and place that energy into the item.  You may wish to make a statement at this time.  Always speak of your goal as if it were already accomplished – “I am healthy”, “I am free”, “I am a positive person”.>


De-vocation

I offer my thanks to the energy and wisdom of Capricorn.

 

De-vocation of Deity

I give thanks to the Great Spirit, Goddess, and God for joining me in this working.  Stay if you will, go if you must!

 

Release Quarters

To the Guardian of the North and Earth, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the West and Water, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the South and Fire, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

To the Guardian of the East and Air, I thank you for your presence and aid in my working.  Hail and Farewell!

 

Release the Circle

 

The circle is open, but unbroken. 

 

Be sure to bury your item as soon as you can and stay focused on your plan for success.

Color Correspondences

By Erin Coats
on December 23, 2017
1 comment

Color Correspondences

When doing any sort of magick, whether you are sending healing light, or working a money spell, it’s a good idea to incorporate elements which correspond with the type of energy you are sending. The following lists consist of correspondences generally accepted and used within the witch community and are by no means comprehensive. They are meant as a guide, not a rule. Remember to follow your instincts when it comes to magickal workings.



Red  Red - Action, Aggression, Courage, Motivation, Element of Fire, Lust, Masculine Divine, Passion, Physical Energy, Vigor, Will



Orange  Orange – Boosts Energy, Communication, Legal Matters, Memory, Mental Faculty, Solar Association



Gold  Gold – Masculine Divine, Personal Power, Prosperity, Solar Association, Success



  Yellow – Clarity, Communication, Element of Air, Intellect, Joy, Solar Association



Green  Green – Abundance, Element of Earth, Fertility, Growth, Healing, Life, Love, Mother Earth, Prosperity



Turquoise  Turquoise – Balance, Healing, Protection



Blue  Blue – Dream Work, Healing, Element of Water, Peace, Prosperity



Purple  Purple – Divinity, Psychic Abilities, Spiritual Peace and Balance, Spiritual Power


Indigo  Indigo – Psychic Energy, Visualization



Violet  Violet – Divinity, Psychic Abilities, Purification, Spiritual Power



Black  Black – Breaking Addictions, Dark and Underworld Deities, Healing, Meditation, Peace, Protection, Reflection


Brown  Brown – Element of Earth, Grounding, Healing for Animals, Material Gain



Pink  Pink – Joy, Love, Nurturing, Peace



Silver  Silver – Cycles, Dream Work, Emotional Stability, Feminine Divine, Intuition, Lunar Connections, Psychic Ability



White  White – Cleansing, Divinity, Healing, Protection, Purification – White is considered an all-purpose color.

Orange Cardamom Cutouts

By Erin Coats
on December 23, 2017

Orange Cardamom Cutouts

These little gems add a hint of citrus sunshine to your snowy Yule!

 

***

Orange Cardamom Cutouts

*Makes about 3 dozen cookies

 

1 ½ c. Confectioners’ Sugar

1 c softened Butter

1 Egg

1 t. Vanilla

Finely grated peel of 1 Orange

2 ½ c. All Purpose Flour

2 t. Baking Powder

1 t. ground Cardomom

½ t. Salt

Orange glaze

Assorted decorations

***

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream together butter and sugar.
  • Add egg, vanilla and orange peel.
  • Stir in combined flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt until well combined.
  • Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
  • Divide dough in half, and, keeping one half refrigerated, roll out to about 1/8 ¼ inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes. Re-roll scraps with additional chilled dough until all dough has been used.
  • Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets about 7 minutes until just firm and barely browned at edges.
  • Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Frost thinly and decorate.
  • Allow to dry completely before stacking/storing.

***

Orange Glaze

Juice of one orange

1-1/2 c. Confectioners’ Sugar

  • Combine in small bowl until smooth and easily spreadable. This glaze should flow easily on cookies.