Pagan Blog Project 2013 - G is for Ghost


I am very interested in ghosts and spirits.  Necromancy and magic associated with those past is a very intriguing area for me.  Ghosts are believed to be energy of a person who has passed, but the energy remains locked here in the physical world.  I do believe that we have energies here with us from those that have died.

This video that was taken by SyFy - Ghosthunter's Show makes me totally believe they caught something on tape.



My Deity, Hecate known as the Goddess of the Night and Queen of the Underworld is thought to have helped souls traveling to the afterlife.  When I learned of this, as well as many other connections to the Goddess, I knew that she was calling to me to follow her.

Since I was a child I always felt that I had some sort of ability to talk to those that had moved on.  I felt that the energy actually came to me and shared messages with me.  I've worked with scrying mirrors, crystal balls and pyro-mancy to try to harness that ability.  I’m still waiting for it to fully manifest itself. 

When we moved in to this house six years ago, I knew that it was haunted.

Hubby stayed here while I did a turn and burn back and forth to San Diego to collect our animals and to bring our kid back to the NC.  While I was gone he slept on the couch in our living room.  When I returned he confessed to me that he woke up in the middle of the night with an elderly lady standing over him.  She was tucking the covers around him and then disappeared.

 At the end of my hallway seems to be some sort of energy source.  To the right of the end of the hall is our bedroom and to the left, my office.  I had the head of my bed directly at the wall where this “energy” was.  At night, as I tried to sleep next to the open door a face would come into the room an yell silently at me.  His eyes opened very wide and mouth agape.  His hands were up around his head and his eye hollow, just like the painting, The Scream, by Edvard Munch.

Over the next few weeks I would see a man in a blue hat walking around our yard.  One evening I actually yelled out the window because I thought hubby was out back.

I spent weeks researching the possible identity of the man at the end of the hall.  Our house was owned by Mrs. Rose.  She had passed away in 2005.  I found her obituary in the archives of our local paper and found that she was preceded in death by two husbands, Perry Brock and Thurman Rose.  As I sat at my desk reading the obituary out loud I felt a presence behind me.  I looked over to see the man in the blue hat standing by my pantry.  He turned his head to the side as if to understand what I was saying.  I repeated the name Perry Brock and he shook his head side to side indicating no.  I read aloud Thurman Rose and he nodded in the affirmative.  He smiled briefly and disappeared.

We have had items move, seen shadows and heard odd noises in the house ever since.  The only sudden increase in activity is when we were renovating the patio area to turn it into a kennel.  Mr. Rose would walk around out in the patio open the storage area door and then walk outside as if repeating some ancient ritual. 

Today for the most part they live with us and don’t create havoc. I believe they're accepted that we live here and that we love the house as much as they did. 

Recently I added a portal at the end of the hallway to invite them to come and talk with me more. 

 
Photo Credit - Renee Olson
11X13 Inch Scrying Mirror in my hall


Nothing has arrived yet.  But who knows, maybe they’ll show up soon.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(
Recommended Reading

Detox - Day 7

This is my final update on the Detox that I've been working on.  I'm settling into life without coffee and limited alcohol.  Yes my friends, the days of a few glasses a wine in the evening are gone.

I've traded my coffee for green tea and my wine for air popped popcorn.  I've settled down to 1 tablespoon of ACV twice daily.

I feel wonderful.  My body is feeling stronger and I wake up more easily.  I'm very excited about how this is going.

I can't wait to see the results I get over the next few months.  I already feel my body changing.  I'm also trying to stay on top of our vitamins.

I'd love to hear if anyone out there is trying a cleanse or making changes to their lives.  Spring is a time for growing and changing.  Let's change together!

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Meatless Monday – Cheesy Spinach Kugel


So I've been doing Meatless Monday for a while and a few months ago I did a recipe for my Pesto Mac & Cheese.  A friend of mine saw the recipe and sent me a message asking me if I’d ever tried Kugel?  I had no idea what it was so I had her send me her recipe over so I could give it a try.  I made it a couple of time and then customized it.  Thanks so much to Zanalista for sharing the information and the idea for this great recipe.

So what is Kugel anyway?  Kugel is a baked dish that can be served either sweet or savory.  It’s extremely flexible and can be made with either potatoes or egg noodles.  I opted for a savory version.  I started out making a full recipe but this doesn't reheat as well as I’d hoped, it is very similar to mac & cheese and is usually best on the first day.  My recipe feeds two people and if you’d like to make for a family just double.

So let’s get started

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Ingredients
¼ of a 16oz bag of wide egg noodles
½ of a small container of sour cream
½ of a small container of cottage cheese
1 cup of shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup of shredded Muenster or other white cheese
1 cup of frozen spinach
½ cup of milk (about)
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt
Pepper


Process
Boil your noodles per package instructions, keep in mind you can vary the noodles based on number of servings, I was going for a small dish.  Cook until al dente and drain.
TIP – Salt your water to flavor the noodles

In a bowl combine the sour cream, the cottage cheese and the spinach, salt and pepper to taste.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


In a baking pan (butter it, else it will stick) layer the noodles and cheese mixture, alternating like you would when making a lasagna.  Sprinkle your shredded cheeses between each layer, leaving a bit to put on the top.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Take the ½ cup of milk and pour into the pan.  You should see it come up just to the top of the noodles.  Zanalista recommended pouring at the four corners to insure coverage.  I did it that way and it worked out perfect.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Sprinkle the breadcrumbs across the top of the dish and place in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes.  The breadcrumbs are optional, but I tried it both ways and they really add a great texture to the dish.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

I checked on mine several times as I thought the bake time was too long but it did indeed need the full 45 minutes to allow the milk to combine with the cheese and noodles to make a really awesome sauce.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Cut into squares and serve.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


My understanding is that you can make this dish with raisins and brown sugar for a sweet option but I didn't try that.  I loved this and it turned out amazing.  I've added it to my meatless diet.

Have a recipe you’d like me to try?  Want to tell me about one of mine you've tried?  Just send me a message as Sosanna@sosannascloset.com or leave me a comment here.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Detox Day 4


 Now called - My New Life - Day 1

So yesterday I had planned to do yard work but I was rained out.  Instead hubby and I did some stuff around the house and took a trip to Smithfield to find some hair dye.  I ended up finding what I needed and now am sporting some nice raven locks.  I’m looking very witchy indeed.




We rode around a bit and ended up stomping at a Mexican place that “said” fresh ingredients and traditional Mexican cuisine.  The only thing traditional in that joint was the piƱata when we walked in.  The food was awful tasted canned and was just gross.  – Note to self, don’t eat out.

We came home and for dinner I made some shoe string French friends with a Cajun spice combo I read about online.  Not so good.  Way too cayenne pepper.  I quickly tossed that and tried just dipping some in some Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).  They were fantastic!  I really enjoyed it. 
This morning I’m feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I love how I feel today.  In fact I don’t think I’ve ever felt better.  Hubby is making skillet for breakfast.  I’m going to have my ACV just before I eat. My Green smoothie will be later in the day, maybe for afternoon snack.  I’m going to switch to 1 tablespoon of my ACV before breakfast and dinner. 


For those interested that edema I had in my legs … 100% completely gone. 

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Detox Day 3



So it is day three.  I must say I’m amazed.  This morning hubby checked my legs and my edema was completely and totally gone.  So in a little over 48 hours the Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) did what I used to be on Lasix for.  Taking “water pills” strip your body of nutrients and has a huge number of side effects

If someone had told me that I could just add 2 tablespoons of ACV to my diet twice a day and I wouldn't have the painful swelling from water retention I would have never believed it.

Even though my swelling is gone I plan to continue the ACV.  I really think the benefits outweigh the short time term bad taste.  One thing I want to point out though is that I’m using Bragg’s ACV.  It’s completely organic and unfiltered/unpasteurized.  It has what is called the “mother” in it.  The Mother is the best part of the vinegar which is killed during pasteurization.  The health benefits are amazing.

I thought that I would be really missing my coffee.  However I’m really not missing it at all.  I remember waking up Thursday morning and dragging myself to the coffee pot and being groggy and annoyed.  This morning just 3 mornings later I bounced out of bed and was alert and ready to go.  Is it possible that we've been tricked into thinking we “need” coffee to get us going??  Not sure.  I do know this.  I’m already feeling a LOT better.  I can’t wait to see how this goes.  Perhaps I should change the title from “Detox” to “My life”

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Dextox Day 2

So today is day two.  This morning I’m having a cup of white tea and sitting with hubby.  We’ll be starting breakfast shortly which will consist of a green smoothie.  We've got yard work planned for today if the rain holds off.  Lunch will be something with the remaining milk we have.  We’re not going to buy anymore because of some info we read about aspartame being added to milk.
It may sound a little “conspiracy theory-ish” but I really just don’t trust people to do the right thing when it comes to our food. 

Tonight we’ll make the eggplant dish we were going to do last night.  We ended up having left over black bean tacos.  I spent the majority of the day drinking water and working at my desk.  I suffered through 3 full mugs of my vinegar elixir.  It was HORRID.  I've read several ways to make it better by adding different juices and honey.  This morning hubby looked at me and said, just shoot it.  I was like what??? Yeah, you know like you would Tequila.  I thought, Umm that will kill ya.  LOL He did his first and it took his breath away.  I decided what the hell.  I poured my two tablespoons in a glass shot it, and then chased it with a bit of tap water w/o breathing between.  It was nowhere near as bad as sitting through those mugs.  So now before my main meals I’ll do my shot of ACV. 

My results so far are actually pretty good.  My main concern was the water retention in my legs.  It has already decreased by ½ easy.  I've taken this week off from my regular job to focus on getting ready for vending events and getting some yard work done.   Spring has sprung and I need to get my garden area ready.   I already have some lettuce sprouting in my pods and I’m sooo ready to have some wonderful food this year.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - F is for Fat


So this week for the second letter F I decided to write about Fat.  Yes, you heard me, Fat.  How exactly is “Fat” related to Pagan, especially pagan enough to be part of the Pagan Blog Project?
Many people have weight issues.  We’re looking currently at young people with a shorter life span than the parents which has never happened in our history.  We have the highest level of heart disease and diabetes ever.  So what’s going on and still, how is this a Pagan issue?

Just like any other group of people Pagans are a diverse group.  We’re old, young, tall, short, skinny and fat.  However when I did a quick Google search this result blew me away.

Screenshot - Google



Wow.  90% I've been to a lot of Pagan events and I don’t think that 90% were “old fat bitches”.  Yikes.

I recently picked up the book, The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan, after reading her blog post “10 Rules for Fat Girls”.  I've yet to crack it open for two reasons.  One part of my issue is I’m still taking the bat to my head about the recent weight gain I’ve had.  In reading the intro on the back of the book Dianne asks us to embrace the Goddess within us, no matter our shape or size.  Secondly, when I went to her site and found it covered with her book character, a very thin person.  I felt a bit slighted that on one hand she talks about taking back your body and she has the ability to make her character anyway she wants, and yet she chose to make her thin.


I was down to a size 10.  I worked out every single day.  I drank loads of water and even tried a smoothie a day to try to get smaller.  My hips were bony, my ass was flat and my boobs were floppy.  My mother was here, and life pretty much sucked. 

I’m still completely set on my food.  I still eat vegetarian (lacto-ovo) and I don’t eat from drive thru’s or processed foods.  I eat fresh when I can, and mostly legumes and very little bread.  Just the act of not working out changed my body and put it back in the state it is in now.  I’m wearing a size 16/18.  (Sometimes, attention clothing manufacturers, can we please come together on a universal size, Levis 16 shouldn't actually be a 12)

My bra was a 34 B (b is for bah!) and Now back up to a 38 D (D is for DAMN!)  When I sit next to my bed and check out my Facebook at night, the light from my iPhone shines up between my breasts and from time to time I say, “Wow, I've got nice cleavage.” 

Why then can I not get that awful feeling of feeling like a failure or that I’m just not good the way I am now.  Hubby has told me numerous times that he prefers me this way.  I prefer me this way, but for some reason when I’m out in public or when I’m about to go out I feel as though I’m some hideous creature that needs to be banished to another realm?

The media and society have done a number on women.  They tell us that we need to have straighter hair, lighter skin, fuller lips and even what to smell like in order to be accepted.  I’ve shared it many times but the documentary “Killing Us Softly -3” takes the viewer on a journey through the media images that women and young girls are bombarded with daily.

 It was also brought to my attention by my ever so observant kid that shows like “The Biggest Loser” which I watched religiously actually reinforce a negative body image on those that are not built like Jillian or Bob.  These overweight people are working out until they puke and are screamed at by little thin people calling them names.  Even though extremely inspirational at the amount of weight they can lose, I found a page that shows that many of them put all of their lost weight back on.  I’m not surprised.


Photo Credit - Renee Olson - 300lbs



I've yoyo’d from 310lbs down to 108,   
Photo Credit - Renee Olson - 108lbs



     
then back up to 280, then down to 175.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - 283lbs


Photo Credit - Renee Olson - 175lbs
I don’t’ know what I weigh now.  There’s no scale in the house.  I measure by how my clothes fit.
Yesterday I was able to put my favorite shirt back on.  I like me here.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson - ?

My cute little panties don’t fit any more and my cute little socks are now too small.  I’m no longer shopping in the skinny section of the shops but I am doing everything I can to accept who I am today.  To look for the Goddess within.


Our representation of the Goddess in Paganism is of an ample breasted woman, with broad hips.  Often she’s depicted as being with child, and in some cases giving birth to the world.  Our views on ourselves and other women in our community need to reflect this.  We are pagans.  We celebrate diversity and embrace the Goddess.  We need to celebrate who we are and love women of all sizes.  Skinny and Fat alike.  We may not be able to change the world all at once, but we can at least make being Fat & Pagan, perfectly ok in our little corner.



Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(


Recommended Reading

Time to Detox - Day 1

Last week in our yard clean up I twisted my knee a bit.  It was a bit swollen and boy was I tired.  I have to admit my diet has gone down hill a bit.  I'm drinking coffee again and not eating as many fresh veggies as I should.  I stopped my vitamins completely and am not drinking enough water. And I work (at my desk) 14-16 hours a day.

I still eat organic and vegetarian but just changing those things above, I've gone from a size 10 to a size 16/18.  I like myself at about 14/16.  Hubby likes to have a little to grab on to and I like to have cleavage.

I watched a show yesterday called Hungry for Change.  Currently they're offering a free screening online of the entire documentary. It was made by the same people who did Food, Matters.    It has inspired me to do a bit of a cleanse.  That and of course the fact that I have so much water weight I can barely move. I plan to detox and get myself together. I'll journal it under the tag - #detox.


Detox Day 1 - March 22nd 2013

This morning I'm starting out by not having any coffee.  This step alone will remove about 20 tsps of sugar plus the the 8 grams that are in the cup of milk I probably use between them. Instead I'm having green tea w/o any sweetener.

I'm adding my vitamins (note I use Nature Made vitamins because they offer a points program that gives you $7.00 off vitamins, plus at some of the local pharmacies they are bogo free) back in which are:

1 Magnesium (133mg) Calcium (333mg) Zinc (5mg) with D3(200UI)
1 Women's Alive
1 Vitamin E (400UI)
5 Super Complex B
1 Vitamin C (1000mg)
1 D3 (1000UI)

I have a malabsorption disorder related to messed up Gastric Bypass I had 14 years ago.

I will have five meals a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner plus two snacks.

Breakfast will be a green smoothie.  I used to do these every day.  After my mother moved into the nursing home and all that crap with my family I sorta stopped doing the things that made me feel better.  Maybe I was punishing myself.  I'm not really sure.  In any event, today starts the return of the green smoothie.

I use the following recipe

8 oz of water
2 oranges peeled
1 apple with the peel (remove the stem)
1 pear with the peel (remove the stem)
2 big handfuls of fresh baby Spinach
2/3 a banana (tip, cut your banana in thirds and put in a baggie in the freezer)
3-4 slices of frozen peaches or a handful of frozen berries
3 tbs wheat germ or other fiber (note read the labels and try to get a pure a product as possible)

Another tip here is buy your fruit local in season and then freeze them so you have them year around.  Many people use fresh completely but I like my smoothie thick and cold so I like to use frozen.

Lunch today will be Black Bean Tacos.
Dinner today will be a new Eggplant recipe that Hubby and I are working out for one of my Meatless Monday dishes.

Snack 1 - 1 oz Sunflower seeds
Snack 2 - 1 whole orange

PLUS I can eat any other raw veggie any time I want.  So any carrots, celery or even a small salad with balsamic vinegar.

I'm very worried about my water retention so to combat that I will have 2 - 3 cups of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar elixir.

1 cup of hot water
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Honey

It tastes really bad.  However I had friend send me to a website with a tastier recipe.  I looked it over and it does look better, however if you use it be sure to look for juices that are not sweetened with HFCS or better yet, make your own juice.  Thanks to Johanna for the link.

I'm also going to tell myself every single day that I am worth it.  I'm a great person and I'm a winner.  Health is about how I feel, not about what size pants I'm in.

So be prepared for what I hope to be daily (or weekly) updates on my detox and wish me luck.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(






Meatless Monday - Black Bean Tacos


One of my favorite dishes is Black Bean Tacos.  Hubby and I actually ate these every night for dinner for an entire year.  We don’t have them that often now but boy, these are really really REALLY good.

If you can always try to get organic ingredients for these recipes.  In my photos below you’ll see that sometimes I have organic and sometimes I don’t.  It really depends on what’s on sale and what is available at the market.
So let’s get on to the recipe.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Ingredients
Fresh Baby spinach
Fresh Avocado
Fresh Cilantro
Fresh whole tomato
Cheese (I use white because there are no dyes & Cabot because there is no rBST)
Raw Yellow Corn tortillas
1 can black beans
Red pepper flakes
Sour Cream


Photo Credit - Renee Olson


I start out by getting my beans on the stove
Add the chopped cilantro and the chili flakes to taste (careful with chili flake, I only use about ¼ of a teaspoon) Just warm the beans through, if you boil them they’ll get mushy.


Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Next I start my oil heating on the stove in a shallow fry pan.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

While the oil is heating I grate the cheese


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Chop the spinach and tomato
And prep the avocado

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Photo Credit - Renee Olson


The avocado is removed from the peel and mashed up with a bit of salt. Avocado can be tricky to work with so here’s a video on how to remove the pit, fan and dice.


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Using a pair of tongs, I take the raw corn tortilla shell and lay it gently in the oil.  I use the tongs to shape the tortilla in to the basic taco shell.  Traditionally these shells are simply warmed on a flat top and served but I like the extra crunch.  I also use this same technique to make my own tortilla chips.  Just cut the circles in half twice and you have little triangles that you can fry until golden brown and salt. 



Assemble all the ingredients and serve!





A couple of tips use a butter knife to coat the inside of the taco shell with sour cream and the avocado, and then add the beans.  If you do it this way you’ll get a nice bit of the mixture in every bite.  I add my cheese next so it melts over the beans.  I've noticed too, that using the avocado I use much less cheese.  

Win win!

Another wonderful Meatless Monday! 
Enjoy!

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - F is for Family


Merriam Webster defines the word family as a group of individual living under one roof and usually under one head.  It goes on to say that it can also be a group of people united by certain convictions or a comment affiliation.

My struggles with family over the last year have been crazy.  A year ago January my mother ended up moving in with me for five or six months.  It was HORRIBLE.  I did what I could to get her together, bills squared away and all her medical needs met.  I cooked for her three times a day plus snacks as well as cleaning up after her and doing her laundry.  She was here 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I had little or no support at all from my siblings who claimed to love her.  I finally was able to get her approved for disability and get her accepted into an assisted living facility when all hell broke loose.  One of my sisters decided that she had not been in on the discussions the entire time about getting her into a home and started telling everyone that I stole my mother’s social security.  She even went so far as to attack my mental disorder AND my religion.  She sent me repeated text messages to the point that I had to go to the phone company and block her from sending me any messages at all. 

During this time I saw a change in my friends in social media.  Some I have known for years and years, others only a few months.  These folks rallied together and came to my defense.  The stood up to other’s who would attack me on Facebook.  And one took me under her wing and adopted me outright.  I've known her for years.  She and I worked together at a BBS called Cupid’s Playpen.  We spent nights hosting bowling events and picnics as well as playing MUDs together.  Today I am her sister.

I have family that is related to me by blood.  I’m not really that close to most of them.  I have cousins and nieces.  I rarely talk to any of them and usually just post the random happy birthday messages on Facebook.  I get invited to events and reunions and sometimes even hear the “I love you” from them.  I wonder though, do they really know what love or family is?  I've not been around them.  They don’t know me. They don’t know about my panic attacks or my days trapped in the house from fear.  I don’t even really know for sure who my father is.  Yet I have people from his side of the family tell me they love me and stuff.  I guess I should be happy about it, but it just makes me uncomfortable.  They know that he kidnapped me and raped me but they invited me to groups honoring him.  It all so confusing sometimes because even on my mother’s side, I want to hold her accountable for what happened yet everyone tells me I need to let go.

Of all the things in my life that have hurt me, the majority of the pain has come from people that called themselves my family.  My birth family that is.

I have found a new family.  My pagan family, my online family.  This year on my birthday I had over 100 people wish me a happy birthday.  Three of them were birth family.  My sister that blocked me and was so vile to me managed to send me a happy birthday text 3 minutes before midnight on my birthday.  My adopted family continued to amaze me with wonderful flowers and gifts.  Instead of having a birth DAY I had a birth WEEK.

Family comes in all shapes and sizes.  It can be people who are related by blood or people who CHOOSE to come together and share love and kindness to each other.  I've found that this family, is the best family every.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Meatless Monday - Falafel



The majority of my life I was exposed only to “southern cooking”.  I had never tried any other food types until I was in my twenties.  The most exotic thing I had ever tried was General Tso’s Chicken at the local buffet.

When I moved to California, my culinary life bombarded with all sorts of new and exciting dishes.  I tried cuisines from all around the world.  Japan, France, Taiwan and India were the new exotic destinations on my journey.  When I saw some of the names, Hummus and Falafel for example my brain screamed, “DON’T EAT THAT!” 

I’m so glad I didn't listen.  I've moved back to North Carolina now and the closest real Falafel to me is an hour away.  So I have to sometimes break my “no processed foods” rule and pick up a pack of falafel from the store.  Veggie Patch makes a great Falafel that you just pop in the oven and heat through.

So what is Falafel anyway?
A falafel is a deep-fried (yep stole my southern heart) ball made from ground chickpeas served usually in a pita topped with greens and sauce and is from the Middle East.

Here’s my variation on the dish

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Sometimes when I don’t have pita, I’ll use a tortilla instead; warm the bread you’ll be using.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


I go ahead and pop the falafel  in the oven while making the sauce.


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

I use about a 1/3 of a cucumber chopped finely and add it to my Greek yogurt as well as my dill.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Instead of lettuce I use spinach; it’s much better for you than lettuce. Plus a bit of tomato.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Assemble!

Photo Credit - Renee Olson




Finally add the falafel and enjoy!

What new foods have you tried that you were first afraid of and now love?? 

Namaste & Blessed Be!
Sosanna

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - E is for Easter



Today I decided to go ahead and do E is for Easter.  When you Google Easter the following definition appears – “The most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ.”  However a Christian scholar stated that the name Easter was actually named after Eostre, the great Mother Goddess of the Saxons in Northern Europe. The name was derived from the ancient word for spring – eastre.

Many religious cultures have a resurrection story associated with them, Osiris for example.  The stories of all religions seem to cross over and mash into a very common thread. 
To me I never really understood how Christians could take the obvious Pagan symbolism of holidays like Easter and Yule and incorporate them into their own festivals and not see the links to paganism.


In research for this post, I found out that apparently early Christians stained eggs in order to represent the blood sacrifice of Jesus or the shell is somehow representative of the tomb.  However coloring eggs predates Christianity in a spring celebration called No Ruz, the Zorostrian new year.  In Iran, a mother eats one colored egg for every child she has.  Again here, the goddess Eostre, is a fertility goddess which is a classic association with eggs.


As a child growing up in the south and raised as southern Baptist one of the most visited church days was Easter Sunday.  Everyone gets all dressed up in their new shoes and new dresses and head out to church.  Fancy homes had Easter Bonnets to wear.  The constant contradictions in my world related to religion left me thinking that Easter was a time when a bunny came out and rolled a big chocolate egg out of the way of a tomb so that a man could rise from the dead, and then head out to heaven again.  And if I were good, and blessed, Jesus would make sure we had food, fancy cars and Easter Bonnets.

Needless to say that’s not what happened.  My mother’s “friend” always bought my sister and me our Easter dresses and we got our candy from my mom and grandma.  

Here I am with my mother's "friend".  He always brought us pretty Easter dresses and cracker jacks.  He was a really nice man.  I'm the one sitting on the seat.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Here I am with my grandma, I'm the one sitting closet to the basket.
Photo Credit - Renee Olson



Here I am below, I'm the one on the right, sitting so lady-like.  (LOL)

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Every year I always checked my basket for a stuffed bunny.  I wanted one so bad.   When I turned 8 or 9, when my mother told me that I was too old to get Easter anymore; that year she gave my two younger sisters stuffed bunnies.  After I told my hubby this story, the first 3 years we were together, he always came home with a stuffed bunny for me at Easter.


Today, I celebrate spring.  I go outside and enjoy the day.  I welcome Mother Earth and the plants coming back to life.  I don’t get chocolate eggs or an Easter Bonnet but I do get the joy of having my own fresh eggs from my hens outside and getting set to plant my garden.
How do you celebrate?

Namaste and Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Meatless Monday – Twice Baked Broccoli & Cheese Potatoes




Sometimes you end up with extra potatoes that just need to be cooked.  Hubby and I sometimes by a bag only to find out when we get home that there is a bag in the pantry.  Previously I shared my Baked Potato Fries recipe; this is another recipe for using leftover baked potatoes.

Ingredients
4-6 Baked Potatoes (usually 1 – 2 per person)
1 ½ cups of frozen organic broccoli
1 cup of cheese (of your choice)
Salt, Pepper and Sour Cream to taste

Process

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Place the broccoli in a veggie steamer and cook until tender

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Olson




Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the inside into a bowl

Set skins aside to be stuffed later

Photo Credit - Renee Olson
Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add insides to a large bowl and mash

Photo Credit - Renee Olson





Add cheese and stir
Remove the broccoli from the steamer and do a rough chop

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add broccoli to the potato mixture
Salt & Pepper to taste



Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Stuff the potato mixture into the skins and top with cheese
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or long enough to heat through.
Remove from the oven, top with Sour Cream and serve.


Photo Credit - Renee Olson


These were really tasty.  It would be easy to substitute with other veggies.  Adding cauliflower or steamed spinach would be another great way to spice up those potatoes!

Enjoy!



Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - E is for Evil Eye



The Evil Eye is a said to be a look that causes bad luck or injury to the person who receives it.  Cultures all over the world have this belief but the strongest belief comes from the Middle East, Asia, Africa Europe and the Mediterranean.  However, today belief in the evil eye is global.  Even the island of Hawaii has it, but they call it the stink eye.

Many cultures have specific ways to ward off, or escape the evil eye ranging from handing up a blue stone, whispering prayers or drinking wine.  A common image for protection again the evil eye is below.
www.galerist.com.tr

One of my favorite wards against the evil eye is close to another of my passions.  Heavy Metal Music.  Ronnie James Dio used a symbol called “Devil Horns” in his stage performances. 




This symbol was taken from the “Malocchio”; a hand gesture used by his grandmother to protect her from the evil eye.

In “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” (which I highly recommend) he discusses the origin of the gesture.





Personally, I believe that what you send out comes back to you, so those that send out things that are harmful to others should pay close attention.  I was recently contacted by someone who wanted “justice” for someone cheating on them.  I offered a gentle reminder that justice and revenge are two very separate things.


To protect myself I have a constant mirroring spell that I refresh around my property as well as keeping lots of sage on hand.  I've also been asked to create house blessing cords, which hang on door knobs and protection masks to hang on entry ways.

Pan Mask - Renee Olson - Artist

Protection Mask - Renee Olson - Artist



What’s your way to keep your home and family safe from spiritual attacks?
Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(