Nature Nurtured is a little sprout of a thing, half-realized and vulnerable, and I’m recognizing that it can withstand some experimentation with placement and light. For the first few months of its existence, the site has been organized into a quasi-magazine format with monthly issues and grouped posts standing in as articles.
WARNING: This will be a rant. I’m pissy and I can’t sleep until I get this off my chest. But, I figure if it gets me out of my funk and writing again, it can’t be all bad.
I never write about environmental topics. The reason for this is that on the whole, as a group, I dislike environmentalists. Unfortunately, the majority are simply looking for an outlet for their own impotent outrage or a way to puff themselves up so that they may feel self-righteous in the face of their neighbours.
No one, of course, wants to believe that they fit either of these descriptions. But I can tell you, I have been an environmentalist for over a decade and at times both of these descriptions have described me. Perhaps not all at once, and it is something that I grew out of, but it doesn’t change the facts.
I am homesick. Calgary winters are cold and dry and beige. Yes, you read that right. It only rains in the spring, so during the winter everything has a dead, dry, beige tone to it. This year the winter seems particularly long, even when I know academically that it’s not all that different from last year.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. For the first 30 years of my life I’d only ever been outside of the PNW 4 times; and I’d only been away from the pacific coast twice. I’m not what you’d call a world traveller.
This will be more of a pan religio-cultural installment of Pagan Fashion since scarves, veils and head coverings span just about every culture and religion out there. And while I’m going to do my best to be inclusive, I am sure that I will probably forget someone. Also, this will be a link/image heavy post. If your computer is on the ancient side, like mine, it may take some time for everything to load.
Scarves are one of my go-to accessories for just about any occasion. They can keep away the chill in cooler months, and provide extra sun protection in the summer. My collection is constantly growing. Even when you’re short of cash, a scarf is a great way to extend your wardrobe.
Last year at about this time, I found myself bemoaning the lack of options for gluten-free Pagans when it came to ritual fare. Since then I have found myself on something of a mission to make sure that those of us on a gluten-free diet can still enjoy a fully decked out Sabbat celebration as well as any other Pagan/Witchy gathering.
First up was my Imbolc article with an almost completely gluten-free menu.¹ I also want to add recipes of my own that I have used and perfected (more or less). This post is the first. After so many test batches that I think my little one will be forever addicted to “scones”², I give you gluten-free ritual cakes.
February 2nd¹ marks the Festival of Brigid. Also known as Imbolc or La Fheile Bride.² It is one of the four Fire Festivals or Greater Sabbats of the year. The word Imbolc comes from Oimealg meaning ‘ewe’s milk’ as it was the time of year when domestic livestock, specifically sheep, would be lactating and preparing to give birth.
To be honest, I’ve never really had much of a connection with Brigid. I’ve been inspired by the idea of her on numerous occasions, but I’ve never felt the devotion or closeness to her that her followers describe.
For me, Imbolc is the time of year to begin preparations for spring. I restock my supply of ritual/spell candles, bake something tasty, light a candle and make my first visit to the local nursery or garden centre. I usually manage to pick up a hyacinth or a crocus for my indoor garden. This year, the local nursery is still closed, so I picked up a little crocus plant at Safeway – the blooms are already open and a rich delicious purple.
January’s full moon is commonly known as the Wolf Moon. This name has been attributed to Native American tribes, but it would appear that this attribution is somewhat of an urban legend. According to Wikipedia, the Algonquin name for the January moon translates to:
“sun has not strength to thaw”
While there is only speculation as to where the term Wolf Moon came from, it is believed in some circles that the wolf represents the ‘night’ of the year.¹ Other names for the January full moon include Old Moon, Snow Moon, Alder Moon and Cold Moon.
From our earliest childhood we are mesmerized by the silvery beauty of the moon. As large in the night sky as the sun is in the day, the moon has provided inspiration to artists, musicians and magic workers for thousands of years.
I remember the first time I pointed out the full moon to my little one. She sat staring up at it through our frost covered window for a good ten minutes, chanting “Moon! Moon!” over and over. Eventually she fell into silence, but would not let me close the curtain. She wanted to watch the moon.
Now she is in love with the shapes of the moon and stars. She is always the first to spot a crescent moon anywhere and on anything (including the cat’s claws). She has a toy that projects stars on to the ceiling in the dark, and won’t go to sleep until she has picked out the moon amongst them.