Jul 28, 2014

Moonday Musings: The Ant and the Dove

The Ant and the Dove

AN ANT went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of drowning.  A Dove sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked
a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her.  The Ant climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank. Shortly afterwards a birdcatcher came and stood under the tree, and laid his lime-twigs for the Dove, which sat in the branches.  The Ant, perceiving his design, stung him in the foot.  In pain the birdcatcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove
take wing.

One good turn deserves another.

As those of you who read The Sunday Stew are aware, I'm in need. My car is a 2006 Hyundai Elantra, and it's been pretty good to me over the years. I've done my best to return the favor. Unfortunately, she broke down on me a few months ago, and I've not had the cash-flow to bring her up to speed. I hate the idea of doing a fundraiser, as I know everyone's getting bombarded with those lately. So, I brought up the idea of raffling off some of my wares to my close friends/family. My sister suggested that she and others sweeten the pot a little, and we ended up with $500 worth of prize to raffle off.  I was deeply touched by their willingness to help me, even though I know this is a sacrifice for all of them. They are small business owners themselves. Not one of them hesitated when they saw I had a need.

Community means a lot to me. I don't have genetic relatives with whom I am close (children aside). Chosen family is much more important to someone like me. I'm sure there are plenty of you who feel the same way. To know that I can count on my friends to help me, and for them to know that I would reciprocate immediately whenever they need me is a priceless gift, and I never want to take that for granted.

I'm the kind of person who has a difficult time asking for help. I've always been very independent, and am usually the one who does the giving, the helping, etc... it's humbling to be in a position of needing help. I am the "fix-it" girl.. not the one who needs help fixing. I know in my head that this is a good thing. I know that there's no shame in it, but society's conditioning combined with my background make it hard for me to feel like that in my heart. I know the Universe is teaching me a lesson here. I hope I can learn it well and pass it along from a different perspective than I have in the past.

If this raffle idea works out, I'm hoping to pay it forward by getting other small business owners to donate wares for others in need as well. I think it would be great to have a network of Pagans who want to help our own community, particularly in these financially difficult times. Regardless of its success, I am filled with love and gratitude for you all.

Jul 27, 2014

The Sunday Stew: Lughnassadh Edition (July 27-Aug 2)

Editors: Jennifer Rasmussen, Kallan Kennedy

The Sunday Stew is a free, e-publication delivered every Sunday as a loving gift to the Pagan community. All submissions are the intellectual property of their authors, and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the blog owner. All photos are used with permission.

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Friday, August 1 is the fire festival known as Lughnassadh (aka Lughnasadh, Lammas).   Lughnassadh is the Gaelic name after the Irish God, Lugh, who honored his stepmother Tailtiu (Telsha) with a day of games and competition. Legend has it that Tailtiu died after plowing all the fields of Eire to prepare them for planting. Lugh honored her with this day of funerary games and competition.

Ly De Angeles says the about Lugh and this festival in her book, "When I See the Wild God":

"Lugh: As with most of the Deithe of the Celtic pantheon: Lugh represents the fullness of life (including both love and the betrayal of love) and the transition of life, death, and rebirth. His symbol is the spear (represented in ritual as the staff and wand). The golden eagle is the totem of his death...Llugnassad is the time of the harvest of crops, fruit, and vegetables, representing the time of reaping. The significance of fire and death at this time on the wheel is very strong in this land, and Lugh is venerated simply because his persona as a strong solar Deithe and a lord of life and death is so very apt."

Life, death, rebirth. Harvest. Bounty. All things we contemplate and celebrate on this day. Life is what we celebrate, but death and rebirth are things we don't often think about at this time. As we reap our crops, they are dying for us to live. Many will be reborn in the Spring- some will not. This is the first of the harvest festivals.

May your Lughnassadh bring you a truly bountiful harvest of friendship, joy, health and peace. May the fires within burn bright, and may this be the first of many blessings in this season of harvest.

Happy Birthday this week to Amy Hines, Laura Kirkham, Melissa Lussier, Kazan Clark, Miriam Nagel Short-Poncer, Lori Darnall-Norris, Mandy Wells, Patrecia Jackson, Kelia Ramares-Watson, Lady Jess Bee, Lori Savko-Perdue, Dianna Jones, and  James Harold Thompson. May this be your very best birthday ever, and may your next year of life bring you joy, happiness, peace and success in abundance!

In the News

This segment features news from around the world. The articles do not reflect the views of the staff of The Sunday Stew, nor the blog owner. We believe you should be informed as to what is going on in the world where the terms Paganism and Witchcraft are concerned.

Witchcraft Creeps Into Public Offices (Uganda)

Pagan Lore with Karen Szabo

Good Morning, Sunday Stew readers!  Are you ready for another week of Pagan Lore?  Here we go......

Sunday, July 27 
Day of Hatshepsut: on this day each year, the eighteenth dynasty Healer Queen of ancient Egypt is honored. Healing rituals are performed by many Wiccans, especially those of the Egyptian traditions.  
In Belgium, a centuries-old event known as The Procession of Witches takes place every year on this day.

Monday, July 28 
In the olden days of Pagan Europe, the great thunder-god, Thor, was honored on this day with prayers for protection of the crops against destructive storms.

Tuesday, July 29 
On this day in Tarascon, France, the annual festival of Tarasque takes place. The festival, celebrated since Pagan times, commemorates the capture of a mythical fire-breathing dragon. A decorated dragon float is paraded through the streets of the city and touched by spectators for good luck and to ward off evil.

Wednesday, July 30 
In Nova Scotia, this day is sacred to the Micmac Indian tribe. It is believed that all those who are wed or christened at this time will be blessed with happiness and good health by the Great Spirits. Saint Ann (the Mother Goddess) and Gloosca (the Father God) are honored.

Thursday, July 31 
Today is Lammas Eve, or The Eve of Lughnasadh.  In pre-Christian times, the Oidhche Lugnasa was celebrated by the Celts on this night in honor of their solar deity named Lugh. His annual sacrifice at the end of the harvest ensured the fertility of the corn and grain for the next growing season.  
An old August Eve tradition in rural Scotland is predicting the following year's marriages and deaths by throwing sickles into the air and then drawing omens from the position in which they fall.  
On this date in the year 1831, famous mystic and spiritualist medium Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born in the Ukraine.

Friday, August 1 
On this day, Lammas is celebrated by Wiccans and Witches throughout the world. Lammas (which is also known as Lughnasadh, August Eve, and the First Festival of Harvest) marks the start of the harvest season and is a time when the fertility aspect of the sacred union of the Goddess and Horned God is honored. The making of corn dollies (small figures fashioned from braided straw) is a centuries-old Pagan custom which is carried on by many modern Witches as part of the Lammas Sabbat rite. Corn dollies are placed on the altar to represent the Mother Goddess who presides over the harvest. It is customary on each Lammas to make or buy a new corn dolly and then burn the old one from the past year for good luck. 
On this day in the country of Macedonia, Neo-Pagans celebrate the Day of the Dryads, an annual nature festival dedicated to the maiden spirits who inhabit and rule over forests and trees. 

Saturday, August 2 
On this day, the Feast of Anahita is celebrated in honor of the ancient Persian Goddess Anahita, a deity associated with love and lunar powers.  
Lady Godiva Day is also celebrated annually on this date in the village of Coventry, England, with a medieval-style parade led by a nude woman on horseback.

Wishing you all a wonderful week,

Sparkle & Shine with Sosanna


Lughnasadh is the celebration of the first harvest and is celebrated by Wiccans as one of the eight Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year.  It was Christianized as Lammas Day, the festival of the wheat harvest.  To honor this day, many celebrate by having bonfires, and some bake a loaf of bread and then symbolically sacrifice and eat it to pay homage to the killing (cutting) of the wheat and then the baking and consummation of it.
As a Torchbearer to the Goddess Hecate, I do not generally follow the Wheel of the Year as it relates to rites and ceremonies.  My holidays, for lack of a better word, are held monthly on the dark moon when I make offerings to the Goddess.  These come in the form of Hecate’s Supper.  This is a ritual meal prepared with her favorite ingredients and what is left is an offering at the crossroads.  Generally, I include house sweepings from the month. These are the odds and ends of magical items, or maybe dust and dirt that may have collected in my ritual space.  

As we look to the Wheel and honor the sacrifice of the wheat so that we may continue our journey, take a moment to remember that even those who may not follow your path may be honoring something similar on this day and with that you can find a common ground.

Wishing you a wonderful first harvest night.
Namaste & Blessed Be

From Madness to Mindfulness with Jennifer Rasmussen

The Mindful Harvest

For Witches like me, the harvest is a special time. I have always felt a connection to the land and longed for a homestead of my own. We are not in a position where we can live that life, so I have to be content with a small garden on the south side of the house. 

Planting and watching the fruits of my labor grow is an amazing feeling. Feeling the dirt underneath my fingernails is indescribable. In my garden, I am mindful and aware. I am aware of the bugs crawling in the dirt. I am aware of the light green of the tomato plants compared to the dark green of the pepper plants. The scent of tomato plants pulls me inward to my thoughts and to the Earth. Caressing the rosemary leaves and inhaling their scent as it lingers on my hands brings such a peaceful feeling. In this place, my soul is quiet.

Each morning, I come to the garden and greet my “babies”. I bid them a good morning and tell them how beautiful they are. I tell them how much I appreciate how well they are growing and the food they will bring us. The black raspberries are done growing and have been made into preserves to last the winter. Each time I picked them, I thanked them for growing and producing more than the year before. I thanked them for nourishing me, my husband, and our three grandchildren who love to eat them. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy since they have been outside during more than one of my chat sessions.

Currently, we have six jalapenos growing. They are still a bit small, but I am hoping they will be ready to harvest for Lughnassadh. We also have one green bell pepper that is quite large. I am waiting for the Sabbat to harvest him, too. The tomatoes and hot banana peppers will not be ready, but that is okay. 

For me, gardening is a lesson in mindfulness. It requires me to be in the moment and to learn patience. I tend to want to jump before the time is right. I tell myself that that pepper might not be there later, or the animals might get it before I do, or that tomato might rot on the vine. I have to remind myself that all is as it should be. The pepper will still be there tomorrow. If the animals get the food before I do, so be it. As for that tomato, it has some growing and ripening yet to do, and so do I. 

Guest Post: Renee Avard-Furlow

We are in the heat of summer in the United States. And in Texas, we are faced with extreme temperatures, rapid weather changes, and major humidity. Summertime means that gardens are producing, lots of people are swimming, and vacations are being taken.

Lughnasadh (or Lammas) is a time for celebration. It is derived from the Celtic tradition of honoring the God Lugh and for expressing gratitude for the first harvest.  The name Lugh is from an old Celtic word meaning 'oath' and therefore, this holiday is a perfect time for incorporating special oaths such as a marriage, beginning a new job, other daily contracts, and, of course, the appreciation of the first harvest plus strength and health enforcement. 

Rituals celebrating the harvest are often performed most likely outdoors. An example of the ritual I like to do is: 

I sit by my altar where I have decorated it with red and yellow cloths and fresh flowers of the same colors. I try to dress in accordance as well. I take a deep breath and express my honor and love for the God Lugh and the Goddesses Demeter and Ceres. I ring my bell and dole out appreciation for them by saying special gratitude for their parts in the creation of the harvest we are blessed to have in front of us. Then, thanks are said for my health and my strength. I ring the bell for each of these blessings, sit down, and write out my oath for the year:

You have each blessed me with a special way of being. 
I know my life is more enriched because of you following your calling.
I feel stronger each and every day from the moment I awake.
And in this strength, I know this is the time I must thank you for the break.

Ding of the bell again.

It is with a most grateful spirit I honor you and your deeds. 
And I am blessed by the harvest and all of the met needs.
Thank you for the ability to move forward in this moment.
And I am especially glad I can say of my strength that I own it.

Ding of the bell.

Then I write out my goals for the year ahead and make a pledge to myself and to the great God and Goddesses of the holiday.  I vow to make the most out of life; to continue following in the steps of the current strength I am blessed with; to always express gratitude for the current health state that I am in, no matter how much I do not understand the reasons behind them. 

Then, I relax outside on the grass next to the familiar tree I visit daily and just breathe in the air and am honored and touched by the blessings that surround me daily. 

Blessed Lughnasadh! 
@ Renee Avard
July 2014
As an eclectic Spiritualist with focus on Earth-Based Spirituality, Renee Avard-Furlow, the “Unique-tivity Guide,” created a business to be a Holistic and Spiritual path used in assisting in bringing out the unique and creative side each person already has inside them. Recently published, her book, 'Defining Love Worth Catching', can be found on Amazon. Forever learning, Renee is both a student and a Guide here to show all how to allow your Star inside to lighten Life outside. Renee imparts the wisdom needed for everyone to know and accept that we are ALL worth catching. Follow Renee and her endeavors at the following links:

There and Back A-hen: Just a bunch of clucking nonsense with Melissa "Chicky" Cassick

Lughnasadh Lessons

The harvest has just begun, and already I am planning out next year’s plantings. I guess that’s the way it goes.  Even knowing how fast the Wheel spins, I still try to get ahead of myself. 

This was the first year I planted vegetables in the front of our house. We had bushes out there the first few years we lived here, but over the last two, home improvements and utility work took out all but one shrub. I dug out another foot and a half toward the sidewalk, and managed to wedge some tomatoes, peas, and cucumbers in. I took a cue from my Native American ancestors with the latter two: I used tomato cages for support, and planted the peas in a circle with a cuke in the middle. The peas climbed nicely up the cages, produced, and died back, leaving the growing cucumbers to take over use of the cage. My ancestors would have used corn as the support, with beans and squash. The only mistake I can see now is that I idiotically put the tomatoes in front, which means my peas and cucumbers are getting less sun than they could have. 
And so, we modify. I get my notebook out and write, “NO! You ninny!” and re-do my little map. Sometimes with gardening, as with life, the most obvious things are overlooked.

I planted grapes last year, and this year I learned how to prune them. They are absolutely enormous, and very heavy with fruit. But I have encountered an unexpected snag: my neighbors, who are usually very easygoing, complained about the grape vines poking through our chain link fence to their side. I may have to prune them back to nothing next spring and transplant them to further back in the yard, which will mean a year of non-production, and possibly losing a couple. It’s unfortunate, but the price I will pay for keeping good relations with neighbors I like.

I also know that next spring I don’t need to start quite so many basils! When last year’s went to seed, I got carried away and tended the wee babies with such care that I had dozens of flourishing plants. I gave several away and stuck a few others in the front and side gardens, and now I am overrun with more basil than I can use even if I fed my family nothing but pesto until winter. I am drying a great deal of it and giving more away, but next year I’ll cut back on seedlings. 

We make adjustments, we learn, we deal with setbacks. Anything that grows comes with its challenges, whether it is baby plant, baby guinea pig, or baby human. You have to be ready for anything -- and more than willing to get your hands dirty.

Lughnassadh Art by Miss Margery Cassick

Stirring the Pot with Marissa Dean

Answer the Call

As you may or may not know, I am a new practitioner of Voodoo. A few weeks ago, I decided to devote my altar to Yemaya, the Mother of Life, Goddess of the Oceans. Shortly after I arrived at that decision, I began seeing vultures: vultures in the sky, on the ground, in my dreams.

Everywhere I turned; there was a vulture or two to be seen. I found myself entranced by rivers, when previously I had been more of a beach and ocean lover. It occurred to me that maybe these were signs that I was being called to serve a different goddess.

Oshun is tied to rivers and freshwater and one of Her patron animals is the vulture. After a consult with my beloved almost mother-in-law, that solidified my decision. Oshun has been calling to me and I am answering Her call. My question to all you lovely readers is, have you been called to serve? Are there signs that you may be overlooking?  

As Kallan so aptly put it during our "come to Oshun" conversation, ’You don't pick the Goddess, She picks you'. Maybe you have been picked and you don't even know it.

The Good Green Witch with Rhonda De Felice

From Seed to Harvest

There’s nothing like walking outside to my yard to harvest some fresh herbs for my Sunday sauce. I miss it all winter long. I missed that for many years as I lived in the city and had no garden. The smell on my hands that lingers, the bees that hang around the basil flowers that should have been plucked … I value these things as I nibble a parsley stem.

It has been rainy and I have been working, so my garden has been a lot more neglected than it was this time last year; and still my plants give me bounty. They forgive me and do their thing. They offer freely. The nights have been a little too cool, so I fret over my tomatoes. They hang in there. I have one little guy that can’t be more than 10” tall, and its leaves are so small that I have dubbed it my Charlie Brown Tomato Plant, but darned if it doesn’t have 2 tomatoes for me.

I grow my plants from seeds, so I have been very close to them since they were just little tiny leaves poking out of the soil in toilet paper rolls in my bathroom, the only room with enough sun and warmth to get them started in late winter. I loved them and sang to them. Yesterday I got to catch up with them, finally. Sometimes all I can do is stand and marvel that this beautiful shrubby plant with a dozen tomatoes waiting to ripen - all for me! - was started with one tiny single solitary seed. How is that not as miraculous to everyone else as it is to me? Why have we forgotten this?

I am a Solitary. Little lonely me. Now as I stand in my garden I realize that the smallest, single, solitary tiny thing can do, be, and give so much. We are all miraculous. We have forgotten this as surely as we have forgotten to marvel over a plant in a garden. We have to get back to it. We must treasure ourselves and see the magic all around us that we now overlook. It’s all so simple. Stick a seed in the ground, and Nature does Her thing. We need to re-learn that before it goes away. We must SEE.

In the meantime, I have overachieving cucumber plants that are, as I type, calling me to take from them. It’s Round #2 of gifts from them, and they show no signs of slowing. I thank them as I pick what they give me. Cucumbers always meant summer to me, because as a child, we never bought cucumbers out of season. That would have been extravagant, unthinkable. Now, however, since we can get cucumbers that have little taste any time of the year, they become less special. I rarely eat a cucumber out of season for this reason.
The bees on the oregano that I have let go to flower pay me no mind, and I thank them too. I hope to see their Sisters next year. Next year will be another harvest.

The Magical Gardener with Johanna Lawson

Here We Go A-Harvesting

At first glance around the garden, it is hard to believe that we are in the dark half of the year. The flowers are in full fragrant bloom. The trees are still lush, full of vibrant green leaves. My herb plants are abundant, seeming to have doubled in size in just a week. The birds are still munching away at feeders and flapping around in the bird baths. The bees and butterflies are busy among all of the blossoms. In spite of all this, the death of the year is nearing and, if you look closer, the signs are right there under all that growth in my garden. The squirrels are working diligently on their winter nests hidden in the forks of the upper tree branches. The chrysanthemums, an autumn bloomer, grow taller each day. The goldfinches have returned in full force from their nesting season in June and July, quickly emptying the thistle feeders. The sun is setting just a bit earlier each evening. It doesn’t take a calendar to tell us that the transition to autumn has started, that the first harvest has arrived, and that the wheel of the year has turned to Lughnasadh.

August 1st, Lughnasadh, marks a time of transition for both the garden and the gardener. The tasks of the garden turn from tending and encouraging those growing and blooming plants to harvesting the ripened and ready fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. What we started in spring is now coming to an end. We know what worked this year, and what did not, and how we will change the garden for the better next year. We have sown the last of the vegetable and herb seeds and seedlings for harvest in late October, the final harvest. Mother Earth has educated us in Her ways and the way of nature and we are now preparing for our final exams. As magical gardeners, as Pagans, as Witches, we are moving away from the celebrations of life and fertility in our gardens and beginning to work with the shadows of death and decay as Mother Earth begins Her slow descent into Her winter slumber.

As the first harvest arrives, we should take some time to revel in the last of the fertility bursting around us. I like to take pictures of my gardens at Lughnasadh to document these last beautiful summer days of color and growth. I also like to work with my herbs on this day, cutting branches of sage, rosemary, and other herbs and bundling them into smudge sticks for use through the year. Harvesting herbs now will encourage further growth for the second and final harvests. My spirit does little leaps as I hang bunches of herbs in my kitchen to dry and think of all the ways I will use them in the weeks and months ahead. I also deadhead perennials now to bring on another surge of blooms to last through the end of summer. I also like to head to the nursery a day or two before Lughnasadh and “rescue” some clearance plants, usually herbs, those that are in need of a little TLC that no one else wants to take home with them. 

There is spiritual work to be done now, too. Lughnasadh is when we work with what we have grown in the garden of our lives. The seeds of change and new beginnings we planted in ourselves in spring are now ready for harvest. Now we must use those changes, those new parts of ourselves, to better our lives and the lives of those around us. We celebrate our growth and work to conquer any fears we may have in walking forward with our new and improved selves. We give thanks for the abundance all around us, whether it is in our gardens, our families, our creative works, or our spiritual paths.

Enjoy these last days of summer. Rejoice in the bounty of the garden and of Mother Earth. Celebrate what you have grown in your life. Before long, we will be at the final harvest and settling in to dream up next year’s gardens and planning new beginnings.

Wishing you all a blessed Lughnasadh and a bountiful harvest!

The Witches’ Cupboard by Autumn Earthsong

Recipes for Lughnasadh/Lammas

The Wheel has turned again and Lughnasadh/Lammas is almost here!  I can’t believe how fast the summer is going by.  I LOVE autumn, and Lughnasadh is the first of the harvest Sabbats. This Sabbat is all about the harvest whether you are harvesting your summer vegetables, your herbs, canning and freezing, gathering nuts and berries, or just enjoying the beauty of your flowers. If you haven’t started harvesting already, now is the time!   

This first harvest is about grains, too.  The farmers are harvesting their corn, oats, wheat, barley, rice, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, sorghum etc. Also, nuts like sunflower, pecans, walnuts, acorns, beechnuts, chestnuts, butternuts, hickory, and pine are easily gathered this time of year and in the fall. Late summer fruits like apples, figs, and some berries like elder, grapes, peaches and plums are abundant as well.   

Grains are an important part of our diets and being healthy.  They are a source of fiber, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium.  They help reduce the risk of heart disease, keep our system working, help with weight management, reduce cholesterol, help to control diabetes, build our muscles and immune system and bones.  They are good for us and make some great eating!  There is nothing like a bowl of oatmeal or grits on a cool fall morning!  

Baking bread is a wonderful thing to do for Lughnasadh/Lammas.  Grains, nuts, and dried fruit are so healthy for us and a great way to use summer’s bounty.  I’ll be sharing a few recipes with you over the next couple of weeks to try out.  Some of these recipes may use a bread machine and some won’t.  There is nothing better than a slice of homemade bread with sweet butter!  Adding crunchy grains and nuts, savory herbs and sweet, dried fruits makes it even more delish! 

Herb and Crunch Bread
*This is a bread machine recipe and one I make often!  
*Makes a 2 lb loaf

1 1/2 cups room temp water
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 TB sugar
2 TB dry milk
2 TB softened butter
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsp bread machine yeast
2/3 cup dry roasted sunflower nuts

Measure carefully, placing all ingredients except nuts in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.  Add nuts at the raisin/nut signal

Select Basic/White cycle.  Use medium or light crust color. Remove baked bread from pan as soon as signal beeps and cool on wire rack. 
Honey Oatmeal Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
 3/4 cup oats (instant or old fashioned)
 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
 1 1/2 tsp salt
 1 cup milk
 1/4 cup water, lukewarm
2 tbsp unsalted butter 
 1/4 cup honey

 1 1/2-2 tbsp honey, warmed 
 1 1/2-2 tbsp old- fashioned oatmeal

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, oats, yeast, and salt.
In a small bowl, or two cup measuring cup, warm the milk so that it’s hot enough to melt the butter, but not boiling. Add the butter, stirring until melted, then stir in the water and honey.
 Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing with a dough hook until it just comes together to form a dough. Knead in the mixer, with the dough hook attachment, for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is barely tacky. If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to soften it up.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
 Once doubled, place the dough on a clean, dry work surface. If the dough is too sticky, lightly flour the surface before continuing. With your fingers, flatten the dough into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Tightly roll the dough, tucking the ends as needed, into a loaf. Place the shaped dough into a 9×5-inch loaf pan, cover with a clean dry towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
 Preheat oven to 350*  
 When the loaf is doubled again, brush the top with the warmed honey and sprinkle with the oats.
Place the bread in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, 
 Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

I’ll be back next week with more recipes using grains!  Happy Lughnasadh/Lammas to all!
Blessings and Love, Autumn

Magick in Motherhood with Autumn Noel


Back to school commercials, prime time TV previews, craft stores putting up their fall decorations in the aisles…ah, Lughnasadh. It is my favorite time of year, and now my favorite Sabbat of all. I have always loved this “season” long before I ever started practicing Paganism. I’ve always known there was a change in the air, but I never could quite place my finger on it. No longer does it feel like the lazy days of summer, but it doesn’t feel, or look, like fall yet either. I’d always just referred to this as “Back to School Season,” and then Lughnasadh was introduced to me by my sister when she told me we could “celebrate Fall early” with an old harvest festival. That sparked my interest and actually paved my way to my current spirituality, so I guess that I am a bit partial to the holiday. 

We celebrate the Sabbat together every year by breaking bread at sundown, grilling harvest vegetables and watching a few Halloween movies (its early, but we don’t care!) to get us in the harvest spirit. I have a box of early harvest decorations, and I am just itching to get it out! Sunflowers and apples and warm reds and yellows will soon welcome my visitors and get me excited to put out my autumn decorations in the fall. Back to School Season/Lughnasadh fills me with the feeling of hope and the promise that soon there will be cooler days, a routine that summertime cannot offer me, and a harvest of many things to be thankful for in my life. 

Lughnasadh Corn on the Cob and Marinade
- 4- 6 ears of corn, shucked 
- 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing of choice
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 1 tsp. garlic pepper
- 1 tbs. minced garlic (I use the jar kind)
- pinch or two of red pepper flakes

Shuck and clean corn, begin grilling over low heat. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a small dish. Grill corn plain for 4-5 minutes. Begin basting corn with marinade and turning frequently for two minutes, or until kernels are tender when pierced.  Or, leave corn on the grill until it starts to brown for a crispier taste! 

Brightest Blessings!
-Autumn Noel 

Saga's Spirit with Loren Morris

Lughnasadh Altar Wreath Craft

Last year I made a nice Lughnasadh banner craft, if you haven't seen it, it's here. It's a great craft to help kids learn symbolism of the Sabbat.

I'm still in the process of trying to use all of my current stock of craft supplies. I dug through my items and slowly put together a craft in my mind to make for Lughnasadh. I found a grapevine that I had forgotten about. I found some corn husks from a couple of years ago that were left over from other Lughnasadh crafts. I looked at my clay and came up with a way to use it. I found some material that I cut into strips.

I went on a morning walk and found some gorgeous sunflowers. This would be the only thing that I didn't have. I tried using a kitty litter method to quickly dry the sunflowers; it ended up being a big NO-NO. I then ended up running back up the hill in the rain, laughing, with scissors in one hand and a bag in the other, to get some more sunflowers. I hope that the flowers dry nicely, but if they don't I have more to replace them that are currently hanging to dry. So I've made this with my fresh sunflowers, but you can use fake or dried, if you would like.

My process for making the wreath was in this order: 

Broome Shtick with Rob Houck

Broome Shtick' was born out of cartoonist Rob Houck's desire to hear less crickets at night, and more cackling witches.  Check out more of his witchy/toony goodness on Facebook, and find out why the Reverend John Hale is saying, 'God save us all from Rob Houck.'

Lammas Pages for your BoS from LaPulia Studio:

Click Here to Download from Lapulia Studio

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This Week in Astrology

All times EDT

Planets in Retrograde

Pluto (until September 24)
Neptune (until November 16)
Uranus (until December 21)

The Week at a Glance
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The Weekly Divine with Kallan Kennedy

Kallan Kennedy is a professional tarot/totem intuitive with more than 20 years of divination experience. She offers private readings to her clients via her website, Secret Services. Order your personal reading today!

This Week's Tarot card: The Fool

Vanessa Tarot Deck
Fearlessness, imagination, open-mindedness, and an adventurous spirit. Freedom from cares and worries. Ideas, thoughts, and impulses coming from a completely unexpected place. Nonchalance at the threshold of gaining all or losing all. Extravagance and intoxication with life. The pure and undifferentiated power of creation itself, where ultimate knowledge and oblivion are unified.

The Fool Tarot card is a card of potential, new beginnings and innocence. This Tarot card shows the highest potential for your life, reaching a state of renewal and new beginnings, where each day is an adventure and each moment is lived to the fullest. Coming on the heels of the New Moon in Leo, this is truly perfect timing. So many of us have been experiencing a really difficult first half of this year. The Fool gives us a renewed sense of new experiences, personal growth, development and adventure. The Fool Tarot card asks you to take a ‘leap of faith’ and to trust in the Universe (God, Goddess, The Mystery, however you see it) in that if you begin a new journey, you will find success. This is a time when you need to truly ‘believe’ and have faith in where the Universe is taking you.

This Week's Totem: Robin

Robin is the symbol of the Sun, and whenever we hear her song, smiles and happiness are sure to follow. Robin tells us to believe in ourselves and in our dreams, because if we do, obstacles will fall by the wayside. If you want to grow, Robin says you must first learn to sing your own song. Robin will show you the way, you just need to trust what you know is your truth. Robin represents the stimulation of new growth and renewal in many areas of life. He teaches that any changes can be made with joy, laughter and a song in your heart. Robin shows you how to ride the winds of passion within your heart and become independent and self reliant through this change.

If Robin is your totem: you have the ability to will new growth into your life at any given moment. All you have to do is make a wish, be patient, and watch it come true. You have the ability to find contentment in a variety of circumstances and find pleasure in the simple things in life. Often, you will have prophetic vision and your wisdom will be highly sought after by your peers.

The robin brings a fresh new perspective to situations that are otherwise foggy and unclear. Try calling on robin energy for clarity when your judgment is clouded or when you need light shed on an issue. Not only is the robin a promise of new beginnings with a new cycle,  it carries symbolic meanings of cheer, joviality and light-heartedness. Whenever you hear the robin sing, you can be sure he's bringing a message of a new cycle and rejoicing.

The "I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends" Raffle

I (Kallan) am in need of car repairs, and I don't want to do a typical fundraiser. Instead, I want to do something fun. My friends jumped in to help me on this, and so I'm going to raise this money by doing an online raffle!

The Prize is worth $500.00 and here's what the winner will receive:

A deluxe Tarot/Totem reading package from Secret Services
This package includes one detailed Tarot report that gives you a snapshot of the next year; and, an American totems report with your own personalized medicine wheel and explanation of each totem and how they relate to you.

This delicious read by author Samantha Curtin- it's a signed copy of her book, "Summer's Hollow"

This beautiful Amethyst Pendant from Sosanna's Closet 

This lovely painted plaque from artist Loren Morris at Hemlock and Garnet

This gorgeous hand-crafted wrap and hat set  from Leave Them in Stitches

And this amazing package from  Exclusively Yours Designs (The Designer of this site, Secret Services, Hemlock and Garnet, and Leave Them in Stitches)

(Blogger Platform ONLY)

Design 2: Basic Package JotForm integration plus Facebook or Etsy Package (winner's choice)

Header, 3 photo updates included
Navigation bar, drop down if needed
Layout of your choice
Post signature, with graphic if needed
Background and color schemes throughout
Grab Button
Custom fonts
Social Media icons
5 SOS calls/emails
PLUS: Jotform integration to use as a contact form or an order form for products (paypal integrated) WITH a complimentary Marketing analysis/consultation for your home based business (if it applies)

How it works:

There are 50 slots available.

Your buy-in is only $21.00 for a chance.

Send your money via PayPal to info@secret-services.net and I’ll put your name into the next available slot. Be sure your name is attached to the email address you send from!

When we fill that 50th slot, it’ll trigger the drawing.

You are welcome to buy-in to more than one chance, and sharing with friends is not only appreciated but welcomed, as it’ll make the raffle happen faster, and put me on the road again sooner.

The raffle will take place via random number generator and will be announced via the Secret Services Facebook page. (Disclaimer: Facebook does not endorse this raffle or Secret Services in any way). 

You’re both helping me be mobile again, and getting a chance at a really great prize.

Read my testimonials page (http://secret-services.net/testimonials.html to see what clients say about the tarot/totem readings.

Check out the pages of our prize donators as well! Author Samantha CurtinSosanna’s ClosetLeave Them in Stitches  Hemlock and Garnet  and Exclusively Yours Design and Marketing Services.  Make sure you like/comment! Thanks to them all of you who participate as well for proving I can get by with a little help from my friends.  There will be a "shareable" meme posted on the Secret Services Facebook page today at 8am EDT so you can share The Stew link and/or the meme to help get this going. 

Thanks again, friends!

That's it for this week's Stew. Mull. Digest. Enjoy!
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