Thursday, February 24, 2011

Miscarriages a Crime?!?!

{royalty free photo}

It looks like the American Rightwingers are really going to town on women's reproductive rights. Just when you think it couldn't get any more insane, have a look at this:

Anti-Abortion Georgia Lawmaker Proposes Law That Would Criminalize Miscarriages

Are lawmakers from the "women are chattel" set having some sort of nation-wide competition to see who can get the most sick-minded anti-abortion law enacted? Sure seems that way! Last week, a public outcry forced South Dakota lawmakers to shelve a bill that opened the possibility that abortion providers would be endangered by people who believed that killing them was a justifiable homicide. Today comes word that Georgia state Representative Bobby Franklin is shopping a bill that wouldn't just make abortion illegal in Georgia, it would criminalize miscarriages to boot.

Read the rest of the article here.



Just for the Helluvit

A few of the Pagan blogs that I read have been doing this Pagan questionnaire which is pretty cheesy in some parts. I do have a fondness for cheesy questionnaires, so I thought I would have a got at it too. Feel free to join in the fun! :D


Do you have a magical/Pagan name?

Nope, and if I did I wouldn't share it.

What does it mean?
How did you find Paganism?
Through a couple of friends.

How long have you been practicing?
Practicing what, exactly? I have identified myself as a Pagan since I was about 16 or 17. I am a tad older than that now.

Solitary or group practitioner?
Both I suppose.

What is your path?
Irish Polytheist would probably be the most accurate description. Oh, and an animist.
Are you out of the broom closet?
At the moment I am. I am in my office.


Who is your patron Deity?
Got four "household" deities: Macha, Airmid, Brigid & Flidais.

What Gods do you worship?
The Irish Pantheon

Do you fear darkly aspected Gods/Goddess, or rather respect them?
I don't see the gods as one-dimensional "dark or light aspects". I see them as full, rounded individuals just as people are. That said, I have at the very least a minimal respect for all gods of all pantheons and I wouldn't want to piss any of them off. I have a fondness for others, and I love and admire the gods of the pantheon that I worship.
Do you worship the Christian God?
No. We had a falling out a long time ago and haven't been on speaking terms since.

Do you ever worship animals?
I pay homage to and work with some animals.

Or plants?
The same as animals.


Do you regularly commune with nature?
All the time. I hope that this is something that everyone does, whether they are Pagan or not.

Ever walked barefoot in the woods?
Yes, when the snow is not on the ground.

Taken a camping trip just to talk to nature?
Fortunately now I do not need to! But I still do enjoy camping.

Describe the moment you felt closest to Mother Earth?
Oh wouldn't you like to know. :p

Do you have a familiar?

Have you ever called upon the powers of an animal in ritual?

Or a plant?

Do you hug trees?
What hippie doesn't?

Give them gifts?

What is your favourite herb/flower to work with?
It depends what I am working with them for. The ones I most often work with are probably sweet woodruff, herb robert, tansy, monkshood, irish moss, henbane, lady's mantle, dandelions, woad, meadowsweet, juniper, wormwood, mistletoe, various ferns, valerian, mugwort, nightshade, wild roses, lemonbalm, mullein, sweet william, vipers bugloss, and foxglove.

What is your favourite tree to work with?
The rowan is definitely my favourite tree. I also often work with hawthorn, cedar, birch, witch hazel, oak, blackthorn, elder, and yew.


What is your favourite holiday?
I love all four of our festivals.
What is your least favourite holiday?
See above.
Have you ever held a ritual on a holiday?
Ever taken a day off work to celebrate a Pagan holiday?
I work from home so that is not an issue. Previously I never asked for time off work for one. I organize around it.

Do you celebrate Yule on the 21 rather than the 25?
It is not one of my feast days, so I will celebrate it whenever friends and family are available.

Have you ever felt the veil thin?

Ever danced the Maypole?
Once and I almost got tangled up.
Know what the Maypole symbolizes?
Something naughty, yet oh-so-nice.

How do you usually celebrate the Pagan holidays?
Feasting, offerings, rituals and feasting. Did I mention feasting?


Do you use Tarot?

Do you use runes?

Do you use a pendulum?
Not anymore.

Do you use dowsing rods?
Never tried that, but it is interesting!

Do you use astrology?
Not really.

Any other form of divination?
Ogham, tealeaves, nature omens, and scrying. Oh and sometimes dreams if I can actually remember them.


What was the first spell you did?
A very simple candle spell for success.

What was the latest?
A protection spell for someone else.

Ever done a love spell?

A job spell?

A healing spell?

What was the most powerful spell you’ve ever performed?
That I am not divulging.

What deities do you usually call on?
For divination, ancestral workings, fertility and agriculture: Macha; working with herbs and healing: Airmid; lust, and workings involving the wild: Flidais; for household protection and domestic workings and issues: Brigid.


Do you believe in Vampires?
The emotional and psychic variety, yes.

I believe that there is a history of folks shapeshifting into wolves.

See above.


Aren't Elves supposed to be in the Faery family? I believe that land spirits/spirits of a place exist.

Do komodo dragons count?

Again, aren't they in the Faery family?


Ever “seen” any of the above?
Even though we don't have it in Canada, I plead the fifth.

Ever talked to any of the above?

Ever used any of the above in magic?
Anyone who thinks that they can "use" them deserves whatever nastiness that comes with that idiotic line of thinking.

Do you have one of them as a personal guardian?
I have a few garden gnome statues. I am sure that they would make pretty decent weapons if an idiot decided to break into my home.


Do you see a rabbit, a man or a woman in the moon?
There are all sorts of funky patterns on the face of the Moon.

Own a cat?
Technically he owns me.

When you meditate, what does your happy place look like?
Ever seen the original Wickerman?

Do you work with Chakras?

Do you believe in past lives?

If so, describe a few briefly:
Birth. Life. Death. Repeat.
Do you believe in soul mates?
I have spent the last decade or so thinking that I have found mine. With that kinda love it is hard not to believe.

Do you have a spirit guide?
Isn't this just another way of saying familiars or gods?

Is it always love and light?
What about the sparkles? I am a moody creature, so you figure that one out.
Well, it looks like my diversion from housework has come to an end. ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

The 2011 Daydream List {Growing Edition}

I have been spending way too much time daydreaming about various gardening and homestead projects {another post to come} and about what I want to grow this year. Thank the gods that it is not too long before I can start putting them into action! :D
If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will probably notice that there are varieties on here that I have grown in previous years. I love my "olde faithfuls" and they are staying. That said, I do want to challenge myself a bit this year and try growing somethings that I have avoided in the past {such as melons!} because I was scared that they wouldn't make it. I am still scared that they might croak, but I might as well give it a shot. ;)
I also want to expand the "witchy" plants that I grow and some of them present their own challenges too.
So, here she is {not listed, the gaggle of perennials already in the ground that have been listed previously}...
Fruit & Veggies:
Beans {Bush}
Contender, Black Valentine, Orca, Jacob's Cattle, Black Turtle, Ireland Creek Annie
Beans {Pole}
Tender Green, Northeaster, Kentucky Wonder, Purple Mustache, Scarlet Runner, Blue Lake
Detroit Golden, Kissing Booth, Kissing Booth Tokens, Early Wonder, Chioggia
Experimental Deer, Storybook Peacock, Red Acre
Scarlet Nantes, Bicycling {white, red & yellow}, Cosmic Purple, Atomic Red
Fordhook Giant, Ruby Red, Rainbow
Hopi Blue & Golden Bantam
Marketmore & Lemon
Arugula, Deer Tongue Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, Royal Oakleaf Lettuce, Freckles Lettuce, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Flame Lettuce, Garden Cress, Early Mizuna, Giant Red Mustard
Dinosaur & Red Russian
Noire des Carmes Cantalope & Moon and Stars Watermelon
Evergreen Bunching, Red Baron, Rossa di Milano
Hollow Crown
Laxton's Progress, Peas for Peace, Norli, Golden Sweet
Lipstick Sweet, Hungarian Black, Little Bells, Joe E. Parker
Gold Rush, Chieftan Red, Irish Cobbler, Russet Burbank
Small Sugar, Jarradale, Knuckle Head
French Breakfast, German Giant, Cherry Belle, Crop Circle, Black Spanish
Boyn Summer Bearing
Bloomsdale Longstanding & Samish
Squash {Summer}
Yellow Pattypan & Black Beauty
Squash {Winter}
Uchiki Kuri, Strange Squash from Outer Space, Table Queen Acorn, Waltham Butternut
Wild & Alpine
Yellow Pear, Black Krim, Costoluto Genovese, Eva Purple Ball, Green Zebra, Principe Borghese and Old German
Hobo & White Egg
Flowers & Herbs {and other plants!}:
Nasturtiums {Dwarf Jewel & Black Velvet}, Dill, Basil {Purple Dark Opal, Genovese, Cinnamon, Lemon}, Cilantro, Stinging Nettle, Oregano, Mint {Chocolate, Pineapple, Ginger}, Lavender {Munstead & Hidcote}, Tarragon
Wild Rose, Mullein, Wild Tobacco, Sweetpeas {Cupani & Gradiflora}, Forget-Me-Nots, Black Hollyhock, Bittersweet Nightshade, Foxglove, Lily-of-the-Valley, Milkweed, Snapdragons {Black Prince}, Cornflower {Black Gem & Jubilee Gem}, Borage, Meadowsweet, Elecampane, Cowslip, Sweet Willam, Flax, Monkshood, Thistle, Irish Moss, Evening Primrose, Agrimony, Moneywort, Eyebright, Datura, Maiden Hair Fern, Yarrow, Vervain, Moonflower, Sweetgrass, Larkspur, Butterfly Weed
Ornamental/Other Use
Cosmos {Seashell & Mona Spangler}, Sunflowers {Evening Sun, Henri Wilde, Teddybear, Russian Mammoth}, Chinese Lanterns, Cup and Saucer Vine, Morning Glories, Poppies {Pizzicato, Ladybird, Black Peony}, Coleus, Southern Ground Cedar, Orstrich Fern, Common Polypoddy, Northern Beech Fern, Blue Bead Lily, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Northern Blue Violet, Trout Lily, Wintergreen, Amaranth {Red Garnet}, Multicoloured Broom Corn
What are you all planning/hoping to grow this year?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

North Bay 2011 Seed Exchange & Eco Fair!

Yay! :D

North Bay Heritage Gardeners, St Andrew’s United Church, North Bay Horticultural Society, The North Bay Master Gardeners, & Near North Locavores presents:


Come join us on Saturday February 26th, 2011 from 1 pm to 4pm at 366 Cassells Street/St Andrew’s United Church for North Bay’s second annual Seed Exchange & Eco Fair! This is a free event that has parking and public transit near by.

Gardening is a very rewarding pastime! It is a great way to be physically active while providing affordable fresh produce in your diet, creating habitat for wildlife, or simply beautifying your surroundings. We will have materials and information available for all types of growing situations and experience levels.

Get a head start on the 2011 gardening season at the Seed Exchange. You can trade seeds that you have saved (please make sure that you label your package with as much info as possible, including the variety name and how many seeds are in each package) or purchase seeds for 25 cents each package. Ornamentals and edibles are welcome.

Expand your knowledge at our free workshops for gardeners of all ages and skill-sets and there will be plenty of fun for children too with parental-supervised activities and crafts.

Stop by and visit the vendors at the Eco Fair to learn more about local organizations or get some shopping done at the various environmentally-conscious businesses that will be attending.

If you can’t find what you are looking for at the seed exchange, do not worry, as there will be vendors selling seeds, and other gardening supplies too! There will be commercial seeds to choose from and The Master Gardeners and The North Bay Horticultural Society will be selling seeds as fundraisers for their organizations.

For more info you can contact Monica of North Bay Heritage Gardeners at (705) 472- 4006 or heritage.gardeners(at)



Monday, February 7, 2011

Half Way 'Til Spring

I was hoping to do a post on the lore behind Imbolc, but I guess that will have to wait til next year. Instead I have been really busy the last little while painting, cleaning the house, and do all sorts of other things in preparation for and in celebration of Imbolc.

While across the pond the first stirrings of Spring must be happening by now, we are only half way through the deep freeze of our Northern Ontario Winter.But according to a few groundhogs, including Shubenacadie Sam and Wiarton Willie, it might just come early this year. If you ask me, it can't come soon enough!

I painted my kitchen, which was a pain in the arse, but the new colour is luverly, methinks.

I also cleaned the house from to to bottom. I made a "spiritual cleaning tea" with a mix of plant pretties that have excellent magical cleaning and protective properties. Below is the recipe:

Sweet woodruff, rowan berries, birch bark {fallen!}, juniper berries, cedar, lemon balm, peppermint, sweetfern, thyme, dandelion root, witch hazel, st john's wort, and sage. Boil water and pour over ingredients in a glass jar. Let it steep for a few hours. Drain liquid through cheese cloth {and I put the plant stuff in the compost after}. Mix tea in with cider vinegar and keep in a clean jar. It can be refrigerated for about 3 months no problem. To use mix with 3 parts water in a spray bottle.

On the eve of Imbolc I got our altar set up and ready for our ritual the next day. Before going to bed I left some colcannon and whiskey outside as an offering and a piece of ribbon in for Brigid to bless.

I got up in the hours before dawn {best cure for too much whiskey the night before: strong coffee and a cold shower!} to get everything else ready for the day. I baked bairín breac to be used as offerings with a little left over for us to nom. I also scored some local homemade Amish butter for the same purpose, and of course the obligatory whiskey and honey too.

I have been promising a couple of our blog readers for some altar peektures for a while now, and looky, I am finally living up to that promise. ;)
{Deities' altar}
{Brigid's altar, which is temporary} {Ancestral altar}
I did the house blessing ritual that I usually do on the cross quarter days and I also made a new rowan and red thread charm. This one is just a very simple one of bunched leaves and berries and I hung it over the house door way.
Oh, I suppose I should mention that this bunch was found on the ground by a tree that is in one of the places I frequent for wildcrafting. It is traditionally bad form {and bad luck!} to cut a rowan outside of the "two days of Bealtaine", which I am in agreement with Seren of Tairis who thinks that this is between the new date of Bealtaine {May 1st} and the old {probably May 5th}. As she points out as well, there seems to be no lore against picking the berries outside of this time.


Fuck Monsanto.

So apparently I have been living under a rock the last little while, because I just heard about the USDA's FULL deregulation of Monsanto's GE alfalfa.

The Center for Food Safety criticized the announcement today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it will once again allow unlimited, nation-wide commercial planting of Monsanto’s genetically-engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa, despite the many risks to organic and conventional farmers USDA acknowledged in its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). On a call today with stakeholders, Secretary Vilsack reiterated the concerns surrounding purity and access to non-GE seed, yet the Agency’s decision still places the entire burden for preventing contamination on non-GE farmers, with no protections for food producers, consumers and exporters.

“We’re disappointed with USDA’s decision and we will be back in court representing the interest of farmers, preservation of the environment, and consumer choice” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety. “USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment.”

The rest of the article can be read here.


Not only that though, there are roomers abound that Wholefoods and other big organic companies are selling out on the issue.

Ugh. There is a petition targeting the US President and Secretary of Agriculture that you can sign here.




Le Reel da la Sorcière {"Witches' Reel"} by Les Bâtards Du Nord



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy {Belated} Imbolc!

artwork by Warwick Goble

Genealogy of Brigit

The genealogy of the holy maiden Brigit,
Radiant arrow of flame, noble foster-mother of gods,
Brigit the daughter of the Dagda,
Dagda the Good God, the son of Ethlinn,
Ethlinn the daughter of Balor,
Balor the king of the Fomoire.

Every day and every night
That I say the genealogy of Brigit,
I shall not be killed, I shall not be injured,
I shall not be enchanted, I shall not be cursed,
Neither shall my power leave me.

No earth, no sod, no turf shall cover me,
No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me,
No water, no lake, no sea shall drown me,
No air, no wind, no vapour shall sicken me,
No glamour out of Faery shall o'ertake me,
And I under the protection of the holy maiden,
My gentle foster-mother, my beloved Brigit.

~A beautiful re-interpretation of Genealogy of Bride found in the Carmina Gadelica Vol. 1. You can find the re-interpretation over at Brigid's Flame.


Aymi & Laurel