Pagan: Yule Altar and rituals

I’ve created my Yule altar and I’m loving it. My covering is dark blue because I love the colour and it really makes me think of this time as the dark time of Cerridwen. On it, I’ve got my snowflake crystal ornament, a pine cone, my incense burner, my candles, and my rune and tarot holders. As I go by it, it reminds me to stop and think of the meaning of this time of year. It’s the dark half of the year to the Celts- a time of reflection and of determining what is really meaningful to me.

Yule is not just about presents and about homecoming in my eyes. It’s about family and about pruning away the things that don’t work anymore. It’s a time where I look into the ice reflections and ask myself, “Where am I going and where do I want to be?” I normally do this using a bowlful of water with a sprinkle of salt or with a hand-held mirror. I concentrate on seeing me as I am now and how I want to be once springtime arrives. I see what is surrounding me– what things clinging to me that are holding me back and what things would move me forward– but aren’t because of those clinging vines.

During this time, I also start putting together my recipes for the holiday. One of my faves is my apple cranberry sauce. This sauce is great for Thanksgiving or anytime of the year when you can get fresh cranberries and apples. I’ll post it later next week.

Holidays, Happiness, and a Promise

The holiday season has started. I’m actually trying to be in the holiday spirit as well. It’s not easy with everything I’m going through. But I’ve made myself a promise– 2011 is the year of little joys. This means honoring and enjoying the little things in life that make us happy and provide us smiles while hitting our emotions. I urge everyone to make this new year as the year of Little Joys. Why? Because it’s important to remember the little things in life that bring pleasure and to remember the first times in life. You know, the first time your child walked, the first time you realized you were in love, your first snow storm you can remember. Those first are things to celebrate. So the coming year is going to be the Little Joys Year– where you enjoy the little things that bring joy and emotion to your heart.

I prepare this holiday season with a heavy heart because things haven’t gone as I wanted them. But I’ve realized the past couple of days that it doesn’t mean I can’t make things better as I go. I can. I just have to believe in myself and those who love me to do so. I’ve been making some jewelry for those I love and I’ve been working hard on getting some other things finished as well. It’s not been easy trying to get things done with all the extra medication and tiredness I’ve been experiencing the past month. I’ve not said anything to those who know me, but I agree with my specialist– my lupus is active again. I should be getting my test results shortly– okay, right now, and yeah, we’re right. It means some prednisone time on top of other stuff, but I’m hoping I’ll be feeling better over the next month or so.

Right now, I’ve got my slow cooker pork veggie soup cooking. It’s fun, easy and colourful. It’s also good for you and really healthy as well. I’m debating on thickening it up once it’s done, but maybe I will. :mrgreen: So how do you make this delicious treat?

Pork Loin and Veggie Slow Cooker Soup

1 pork loin, about 2lbs. diced if not frozen, or cut into chunks if frozen

1 box chicken stock

5 stalks of celery, deleaved, cleaned and diced into bite size pieces

10 baby carrots, diced

3 small white potatoes, diced and parboiled in boiling water for 10 minutes

1 small onion, peeled and diced

1 can diced tomatoes

2 ancient red peppers, deribbed, deseeded, and diced

1 tbsp chicken soup base

2 cups water

2 tbsp blueberry promengranate red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, diced finely

Mrs. Dash, Garlic powder, basil, Italian seasoning mix, and salt (amounts to taste)

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In slow cooker, layer all the veggies in first. Then mix thoroughly with the stock, soup base, red wine vinegar and seasonings. Add in the pork and cook on high for 4 hours. An hour before serving, add in the 2 cups of water and shred pork to bite size pieces if you’ve not done it in the beginning. Add more seasonings like salt and pepper to taste at the table.

Pagan: Yule is Approaching

Today I’m listening to an old favourite- “Jingle Bones” from the Disney Christmas album and giggling madly. Why? Because this album is from my childhood and I realized how much this album played in my psyche as I grew up. I’m a witch/druid/eclectic pagan who loves holidays and enjoys her family and friends in varying doses. (Too much and I so need solitude!) But more than that– Yule is approaching as is Mithra’s birthday and Christmas and my family will be here for the first year ever. This is the first year we’ll have been together since we were kids for the holidays. I’m excited, nervous and want everything to go according to plan– which amuses my male and my psychiatrist both. It’s even funnier to them both to know I’ve even programmed in the chaos and last minute changes that are bound to happen as well. Continue reading