Lammas Altar 2017

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Lammas with a Kitchen Witch: Blackberry Bruschetta

Not a fan of baking the lammas bread from scratch?  There are still lots of creative ways to honor the holiday in your kitchen.

Lammas traditionally celebrates the grain harvest.   Any bread-based meal captures this spirit nicely.

This year, my favorite idea is blackberry bruschetta.

lammas with a kitchen witch

It’s pretty simple.

Start with a nice, crusty loaf of french bread.

I like to get my french bread from a local bakery or the farmer’s market.

french bread

While you’re at the farmer’s market, pick up some big, juicy blackberries (or, even better, find a “pick your own” farm and gather them yourself!)

Because it ripens on the vine pretty close to Lammas in many growing regions in North America, blackberries associate with the holiday quite naturally.

More generally, use them in kitchen spells for prosperity and abundance—-the many tiny seeds on berries symbolize future growth.

blackberries

I smashed one berry per slice a bread and rubbed it on the surface to go under the cheese, kind of like the same concept as pizza sauce.  I enjoyed getting my hands sticky and making a mess like a little kid lol.

(Be warned:  you will stain everything you touch.  But for this reason, blackberries make a nice natural dye.)

blackberry bruschetta smash

smashed blackberries on bruschetta

You might not imagine blackberries work well in savory dishes, but the acidity blends nicely with Italian cheeses and herbs.  Lucky for me, this time of year, my garden bursts with lush green, fresh herbs, so went out to grab some.

(Even the oppressive humidity in the part of the country comes with an upside—-gorgeous summer herbs!).

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In particular, my basil came up nice this year.

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Basil embodies some interesting symbolism in folklore around the world, but I especially adore Italy’s antiquitous custom of leaving a pot of fresh basil on the windowsill to signify the occupant’s “openness to romance.”

Dried basil often finds its way into traditional Lammas incense blends and makes a nice stand-in for fresh flowers on the altar.  If you buy it at the market, put the left over stalks in the vase to fill the room with its fragrant, sunny aura.

I layered fresh graded cheese and garnished with a half blackberry per slice, popped it in the oven to broil lightly, and then finished it off with the basil leaves.

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Yum.

Hope this gives you some inspiration for your own Lammas kitchen witch creations!

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Faerie Cakes with Candied Violets

Spending Beltane in the kitchen this year?  Make it magical with these charming little faerie cakes.

beltane candied violet faerie cakes

Whimsical yet elegant, candied violets make a striking addition to love spells, wishing magic and faerie rituals.

Use candied violets in faerie cakes for a spring ritual, a “dressed up” cakes and ale or to serve at any spring gathering — especially Beltane!

beltane faerie cake

The best part is, they’re practically free!  If you’re in the Eastern US and you haven’t put down pesticide this year on your lawn, there’s a good chance your yard or a nearby one has wild violets in abundance.

violets

Go spend some time outdoors, bring a basket and gather those little beauties up for a Beltane with a splash of purple.

wild violet

Gather a clean, washed, dry paintbrush with a fine tip, an egg white, and some sugar.

eggs, paintbrush, sugar

Start by gently washing the violet blooms.  A spray bottle and a strainer work well for this, but be careful!  Even for flowers, wild violets are delicate!

washing violets

Allow them to dry on a paper towel.

wild violets

Dip the paintbrush in egg whites, and paint each blossom.

candied violets

Then sprinkle sugar on the violets.  Most recipes call for powdered sugar, but I use granulated because it reminds me of late frost.

sugar on violets

Finally, bake some cupcakes!

Any vanilla cupcake recipe will do, but make it from scratch.  The more you put into your ritual food, the more “fragrant” the magic of it.  Be connected to the process.

Bonus points for making the vanilla extract yourself.  Vanilla inspires passion in kitchen spells.   Here, we use it to wink and nod at Beltane’s celebration of “spring romance.”

Pipe on some cream cheese frosting and arrange violets in tiny “bouquets.”

beltane faerie cakes

beltane faerie cake

Serve and enjoy!

beltane cupcakes

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The Role of Fire in Witchcraft

Inspired by the success of my post, The Role of Water in Witchcraft last summer, I decided to continue it as a series for each element.

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One of my earliest memories takes the form of my mother allowing me into the kitchen to watch her make dinner.   Sternly, she instructed me “Not to touch that stove, little one.”

Naturally, the moment she turned, I place my hand unflinchingly on the hot surface, giving myself a ripe little burn and a lifelong lesson about fire:

You really shouldn’t touch it.

Like all the elements, fire bears both creative and destructive force.   Simultaneously dangerous and beautiful, our respect for fire usually begins the first time it burns us!

And yes, I got a nasty burn that day.  But my mother used it to create a hot meal for us.

Same flame, same day.

I chose fire for this season because I strongly associate it with winter.  In the darkest, coldest months, fire provides warmth and light.

Let’s go over different kinds of fire and some creative ways to use it in spell craft.

Candle flame.  Easily the most convenient, common fire tool in ritual, candles are an ideal, all-purpose source of fire perfect for altars.

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Bonfires encourage groups to gather around it, making it an extremely effective focal point for group rituals and coven meetings.  Ideal for “going big” in rituals evoke empowerment or for burning spell elements in banishing rituals.

Hearth fires warm the home and create a cozy, holiday feel.  Perfect for enjoying a winter Sabbat like Imbolc or Yule.  Or, get creative and charge it with passion herbs for a date night at home.

Sparklers.  Remember how magical it was to hold one in your hands as a child, making streaks of light across the summer night.  Use sparklers to bring that same feeling to a moon ritual or night spell.

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sparklers

Torches (as in the sticks with fire on the end of them, not flashlights) look a feel very ceremonial.  These are ideal for rite-of-passage type ceremonies, particularly involving the transition to manhood, or the ascension to a clergy position.

Lanterns work nicely for spring and midsummer festivals, anything involving faeries or woodland spirits, and garden blessings.

Flash paper is available at theatrical supply stores.  It’s usually used for stage magic, but it’s also great fun in spell casting!  Write spells or symbols on them and up it goes–in a flash!

Hope some of these ideas inspire you to use fire in more creative and fun ways during your rituals.  Blessed be!

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What’s New at Moody Moons?

Check out what’s new for spring at the Moody Moon’s workshop!

Click on the photo to be redirected to the product page for full details and description.

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(Above)  Goddess oil combines organic essential oils associated with the moon and goddess magic.

Comes in a lovely corked bottle hand-painted with the color of lavenders to represent higher awareness. Tied off neatly with a goddess charm.

Perfect for use in binding spells between sisters or coven members, to honor the moon cycle or for celebrations involving female rites of passage.  Anoint candles, bless yourself or others, consecrate altar tools or pour it in a ritual bath to charge the water.

 

ostara-incense-web(Above) Ostara, or the Spring Equinox, is among the eight sacred sabbats on the Wheel of the Year. The light begins to overtake the darkness of winter, yielding newly born wildlife and soft colors. As the earth begins to thaw and awaken, pushing up early spring bulbs and bright green grass, it is time to embrace new beginnings and fresh perspectives.

Moody Moon’s Ostara Casting Blend is light, loose incense of delicate flowers and herbs chosen for their association with the magical day of the Spring Equinox.

 

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(Above)  Limited edition sea witch spoon wand.

Hand painted with acrylic in aquamarine colors and decorated with natural moss and a sea shell.  Adorned with a mermaid charm symbolizing the mythological ocean.  Turquoise ribbon grip.

 

spoon-wand-tight(Above)  Looking to add a little magic in the kitchen?

Perfect for gentle use in kitchen rituals and embellished with rich symbolism, this spoon wand makes a lovely gift to the kitchen witch in your life (especially if that’s you!).

Painted white and adorned with ribbon, a glittery heart and pentacle charm.

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Candlemas with a Kitchen Witch

I decided to whip up a little something in honor of the upcoming Imbolc/Candlemas holiday.

In the past, I generally neglected Imbolc.  Maybe because by February, I was over-holidayed, or maybe because unlike Mabon, Samhain, Yule and Ostara, there aren’t really any corresponding mainstream holidays.

But now, Imbolc is one of my favorites.  I love that while every else considers the winter holidays to be over, we have one more to look forward to, and it’s the coziest of the year.

I chose a poppy seed cupcake for this Sabbat.  The key ingredients represent some of the classic, deep-winter symbols of Candlemas.

For reference, I used this recipe.

Because of Imbolc’s strong association with seed blessing, I wanted something that features seeds.  Poppy seeds in particular symbolize deep meditative states and spiritual insight.

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In this context, powdered ingredients like sugar and flour represent the lightly falling snow of the season.

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Known sometimes as the “Festival of Lights,” Candlemas celebrates the return of the sun and the waxing of the light after the Winter Solstice.  Lemon symbolizes solar energy and light.

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Imbolc celebrates animal husbandry and dairy farming in particular.  For this reason, I am adding a cream cheese frosting in addition to the light lemon glaze in the recipe.

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The inclusion of butter also compliments this theme.

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I kind of imagine the time in the oven as “when the magic happens” in baking.  So for a ritual meal, I like to say a blessing before it goes in.

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And like magic, out they come!

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Happy Imbolc!

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