Pagan Thanksgiving Baking Ritual

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No matter your religious or spiritual preference, if you’re in the US, you’re likely celebrating Thanksgiving today.  Taken at it’s root, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to gather with friends and family and just simply celebrate what we have as opposed to what we do not.

For my family, it’s natural for us to just incorporate Thanksgiving into a Samhain transition into Yule holiday. We are still bountiful for our fall harvests, apples, grains and meats are plentiful.  This holiday just gives me more excuses to bake them and practice my kitchen witchery!

Prosperity and Warmth Spell

Turn on warm and happy music.

Gather your favorite mixing bowl and spoon.

Gather your apples and sugar.

Light a red candle for warmth and love.
Light a green candle for prosperity.

Sprinkle sugar over the apples and say:

These apples who grew so lovely on the tree,

Thank you for coming to me.

May your warmth fill my body.

Like the bounty of your boughs,

May your blessings fill my pantry!

Now as you are mixing and blending the ingredients, focus your intentions on what you are thankful for and what you’d like to see in the next year.  Circle your spoon clockwise in the bowl to bring those things into your life.

As the pie bakes, think of the spell transforming and coming into fruition.

Then when you share the pie with your friends and family, know that you’re sharing your love, blessings and intentions with them.

Happy Thanksgiving Folks!

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Tree of Life Apple Pie

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • About 5 cups thinly sliced apples (peeled and cored), 8-10 medium apples
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • Double pie crust
  • 1 egg white + 1 tablespoon water
  • granulated sugar

 

  1. Mix first 5 ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. Roll out and place an uncooked pie crust in the bottom of a deep 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Place the apple mixture in the uncooked pie shell. Place small pieces of butter on top of apple mixture.
  4. Take some pie dough and shape it into the tree trunk, branches and leaves. Start with the trunk and branches, then layer the leaves onto the branches and decoratively around the side of the pie crust.
  5. Mix the egg white and 1 tablespoon of water together in a small bowl and then brush the top with water and sprinkle with sugar before baking.
  6. Bake at 450 for the first 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and continue cooking for an additional 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  7. If the edge of the crust starts to brown more quickly than the center, carefully cover the edge with foil for the last 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning.
  8. Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before serving. Can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.
  9. Don’t forget the a’la’mode!

Teaching our Children Compassion

compassionMore so than ever…

If anyone has been paying attention to the tumultuous situation in the US right now, we know that we urgently and most critically need to reassure and guide our children.  These are dark times, and yet there is hope. There will always be hope as long as there are those of us to light the flame in the darkness.

Without getting too political because I’m sure everyone has enough of that elsewhere, I am going to focus on ways we can as Pagan families help our children and our communities know that the world can become what we make it.

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Encourage your family to volunteer. Choose whatever area or cause that fits your family. For mine, we love to spend time in nature, so volunteering to clean up a beach, a garden or create more habitat for birds and pollinators makes sense for us.   If you reach out to your local park services, schools or community parks, you can usually find programs to help you do just that.

If you are in the states, here is a good resource to get you started:  https://www.usa.gov/volunteer

There are hundreds of opportunities out there, you just have to set aside time to do them.  I suggest that you bring your children to physically participate rather than just write a check, although checks certainly have their place!  Children however (and dare I say, some adults) need hands on experience. There is something to be said about the sense of pride and accomplishment you feel after a good job well done.

This past weekend, we spent our Sunday, cleaning up and restoring a plot of land at our schools garden. The weather was awesome, not too hot, not too cold, even a few butterflies still flitted around. The girls got their hands dirty clearing weeds, debris and spreading out mulch.  I believe even a few callouses were to be had! Later they both told me how good that this made their hearts feel.  Which made my heart swell with pride.

Even if we can’t control the bigger picture, we sure can control that what is directly around us in a more positive light.

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To Ourselves

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During this time and of course with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season approaching.  Yes, yes, we are Pagan but even so, whether you celebrate Yule, Christmas, Hanuka (anything else I’m forgetting) or nothing at all, you’re still going to be subject to the 24-7 bombardment of merriment.  It’s everywhere! Buy now! Black November! Newest Kids toy! Most wanted! On SALE!

Ugh that stressed me out just typing that.

So during this time have compassion for YOURSELF.

Take time for you.  I know that we’ve all heard that before, and it seems impossible or guilt ridden, but do it.  Give yourself permission to step outside the stream of craziness.  Breathe. Write in your journals, participate in more ceremony, rituals and alter work, if those are your things.

Personally I’ve promised to myself to write more in my journal. It’s something I was slacking on during the past few months due to the business of life getting in my way.

Alter work and journaling, heck just sitting in stillness are my jams. They really calm my soul to be able to think in spiritual ways, the Gods, the Goddesses and intentional thinking, spell work.

So hang in there folks. Keep being kind. Teach your children to be kind. Teach them to reject the other stuff.  Teach them to be strong in this adversity, and stay safe.

Many blessings.

C.P.

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Suburban Samhain

Samhain

 

About 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter.) Even our modern day clocks “fall back” the following weekend after Samhain.  However Samhain is more than just a split of our year. Samhain is one of the most important holidays of the year if not the most important for many Pagans.  This is the when the thinning of the veils happens, when the separation between the living realm and the spirit realm grows weak.  Missing a loved one or want to reach out to an ancestor in your distant past?

Samhain is the perfect time to reach out and making your connection.

Besides honoring your ancestors, now is also the time ward your home from unwanted spirits or intentions.  In the past, people wore masks and costumes to scare off these sorts of things, now we wear costumes for fun! This is a great way to easily incorporate children into process.  While they are enjoying dressing up for Trick or Treating, you can remind them of the original reason people once had for wearing costumes.

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Another way to help ward your house from any ill will is to plant or keep rosemary near your door.  Rosemary has long been associated with protection of ones physical and spiritual world.  It’s purification properties make it ideal to drive away any negative energy. As a bonus it smells great!  Wrap a few sprigs up with orange ribbon and be festive with it!

In addition to our modern day Trick or Treat costume tradition, the simple act of handing out candy and treats also hearkens back to the days of old.  As part of honoring our ancestors offering food for those who have gone beyond or offering food to those less fortunate than ourselves, we are bringing good fortune to our family and community.

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Lastly if possible, build a fire or if you have no place to set a bonfire such as a fire pit, use some candles instead.  Light the darkness and guide the good spirits and your ancestors to the flame.  This is when you can tell stories of loved ones and friends who are on the other side.  Make offerings of food and drink. Toast to them! Include your little ones. Tell them your best memories of time spent with their ancestors.  Let them ask questions. My girls are fond of talking to their great grandparents whom they have never even met! I encourage them to share things from their lives with them.  It is always a positive experience for us all.

So this Halloween night, build a big fire, gather around your love ones, make a toast to those who’ve gone before us, dress up and scare away the bad spirits and hand out candy and treats to all you meet.  Celebrate!

 

Blessings and Skol my fellow Suburban Pagans!

What is the Suburban Pagan Family?

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That’s a great question!

Paganism today is so different from the Paganism of 100 years ago.  You will not find most pagans today with ratty robes, warts on their noses, putting eye of newt in a bubbling black cauldron.  In my home, we don’t stuff children in ovens, we stuff fresh bread dough in them! Bread dough that was kneaded by little hands and created with love and thankfulness stirred in.

In the average pagan home, you will find some trappings of the old world and the new. Sunlight plants on a windowsill, glittering crystals and smokey incense (or a misty diffuser!) thoughtfully arranged on a kitchen counter or perhaps bright colorful fabrics and beautiful statues of Gods and Goddess.  Maybe there are soft furs draped across sofa backs and tall drinking horns full of mead. How about an ornate wheel of the year hanging prominently on the wall next to the family portraits?

What if this house was in a densely packed neighborhood?

This is some of what is Paganism today.  This is my kind of Paganism.

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The above example describes my home. The home where I raise and live with my family. It’s complicated and chaotic. It’s peaceful and moving and yes, sometimes difficult and sad.  It is the average family, in an average town in your average neighborhood.  We don’t live in some dark hollow (though I admit that would be nice sometimes!) We interact with our neighbors on a daily basis.  Our children play with all the neighborhood kids.  We host dinners on occasion and enjoy going out on the weekends to hike or visit fun “nerdy” conventions.

Do we stand out in our neighborhood? Yes sometimes we do.  We are in the deep south. I’m in an interracial marriage and instead of a Jesus fish bumper sticker or church logo, my mom issued minivan sports Goddess and Odin ones! Ha!  Sometimes I catch people giving me the strangest looks from my rear view mirror.

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We are also rabid animal and nature lovers.  Well at least I am, my husband takes a more conservative role behind the scenes. I am out front, leading the charge, teaching my children that they should stand up for what they believe in.  Whether it be saving the old trees at the park or their religious freedom.

Generally speaking however, our lives are very tame and no different than our more mainstream neighbors. We celebrate almost all the same holidays even if we call them by different names. We have more Gods and Goddesses to embrace and seek guidance. We believe in magic, both real and implied. I teach my children to honor their ancestors and the magical creatures that surround our home.  We roast marshmallows by the firepit  and discuss the ancient tales that have been passed down from our forefathers.

So what makes the modern pagan family? You do, your family and mine.

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