This post will mostly be about the spiritual side of well-being (for a change!) – although I did make a “feast” and will post a couple of pictures of last week’s food. Last night was Samhain (Halloween) and I conducted a ritual for my re-dedication to the path. It’s been an odd week – feeling off-kilter, battling what I assume is a sinus infection, dealing with sneaky and odd people, strange dreams and so on.
I’d like to start by saying that I felt like a caterpillar struggling to break free from the cocoon. The Atheist side of me battled to be heard over the Pagan calling. Like I stated in last week’s post – I’ve always maintained a kind of Agnostic attitude towards the path. As I researched info for my ritual, I sensed a “plugging” in or a settling which was like slipping into a comfortable skin, while my mind did its best to pull in the other direction.
All the details slotted into place like it was meant to be. Everything made sense and some things happened to me that solidified why I needed to re-dedicate myself. One of the main things was due to my own lackadaisical attitude that seems to raise its head every now and then. I am usually very careful about my wallet, but on Friday – I lost it – twice! I will explain how interesting this was in a minute.
First – we were having a Halloween celebration at work and I’d agreed to pick up donuts from the Donut Palace in Springfield (the best!) I don’t remember not putting my wallet in my bag – but when I got to work and started rifling around for it – I discovered that I didn’t have it. I panicked a little, hoping that on the one hand it was still in my car – and on the other hand – hoping that it wasn’t somewhere visible, as I park at the Walmart near my home to get the bus to work. I had visions of someone breaking a window to get to it (even though I only had a dollar note and some change!) All day I worried about it, until I got to the car park and found it on the floor of the back seat. This is not like me, but I was relieved and tucked it into my jacket pocket.
Then I went shopping at Walmart to get a few things for the ritual and got back into my car to go and get some wine. When I got to the liquor store, I got out of my car and went to get my wallet from my jacket pocket. It wasn’t there! I assumed that I’d left it in the car, but I remembered feeling for it when I put my shopping in the trunk at Walmart. It had been in my pocket when I checked then, so I’d assumed it was okay. I nearly tore my car up looking for it – including the trunk and under the seats. It was nowhere to be found. I marvel at the fact that I didn’t carry on and cry or call Robert in a freak-out. I remained calm – although worried, nonetheless.
I got back in my car and drove to Walmart, then to the spot where I had parked earlier. I got out and paced up and down as it started getting dark. I saw the guys getting the shopping carts and asked them if they’d seen it. They were polite and said no, but that I should check inside the store. That was when I got my phone out to call Robert, but something told me to check the car again. I put my hand under the driver’s seat and pushed right to the back. There it was!!! It was then that I remembered Ganesha and how he is the Lord of Obstacles. He can clear obstacles for you but he also places them in your path if there’s a lesson to be learned.
I realized that it was a lesson regarding being too careless and not being present in the moment. Now, I could easily say that it was just a busy day for me and I had been zig zagging around too much and not paying attention. I think it’s interesting to note the apparent connection! I went back to the liquor store and found a lovely wine for the ritual – keeping a focus on my wallet at all times!
From a Californian winery (that started in Transylvania!) http://vampire.com/
When I saw it I had to have it. It was like I was drawn to it – as I ventured away from my usual aisle in the store. I felt that it was fitting for the night and the ritual – seeing as I invoked Kali for her powers of transformation and clearing away my negativity. (Also – it was a waning moon on Samhain/Halloween.)
I won’t go into detail about the sneaky and odd people I had to deal with – as it was at work and I’d rather not be fired – not that any of them read this blog. (I assume!) For the most part – I stuck to the healthy eating regime – although I broke it on Friday. (Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!) Here are a couple of photos of the food I prepared for the week:
This was more like a stew – but very satisfying!
Chicken and Couscous Cold Fighting Soup
1 cup chopped onions (about 1/2 of a medium)
3/4 cup sliced leeks (about 1 medium, white and light green parts only)
1/2 cup sliced carrots (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped celery (about 2 ribs)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced lemongrass (or paste)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 cups chicken stock
8 ounces cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 cup pearl couscous
1/2 of a lemon
salt and pepper
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Heat one tablespoon of the stock in a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven or stock pot over medium. When it begins to sizzle, add the onions, leeks, carrots, and celery. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in the ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, and heat until aromatic. Sprinkle the turmeric over the vegetables and stir.
Add the stock, chicken, and couscous, and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer; cook for 15 minutes. Squeeze the half lemon into the soup, taste, and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Top with parsley before serving.
These were a great breakfast or snack – more satisfying than the egg muffins I tried the week before. They were great cold or warm – with hot sauce. (I mixed some ketchup – with no High Fructose Corn Syrup – and Sriracha sauce. Lovely!)
Broccoli cheddar quinoa bites
¾ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1½ cups water (or vegetable broth or chicken broth)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups broccoli florets, finely diced
1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon paprika
Crushed red pepper (optional) to taste
In a medium sauce pan, combine quinoa and water (or broth) and cook according to package directions. Let cool.
In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, eggs, broccoli, onion, garlic, cheese and paprika.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
Put a heaping tablespoonful of quinoa mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and then gently remove from pan to cool completely.
With the exercising – I increased my plank time to 20 seconds x 10 each day. I’m really happy with this routine – along with the elliptical – and find that it works the abs wonderfully. I’m already noticing the difference after two weeks!
Now – the ritual:
I made incense for Kali, Ganesha and my ancestors (family who have passed – as Samhain is a time to pay homage to them.) I consecrated candles for each – with oils I blended myself. For Kali I used Red Sandalwood, Chili pepper, Yarrow and Dragonsblood for the incense and my “Expulsion” oil. (See the dark red bowl in the photo.) For Ganesha I used Star Anise, Cinnamon, Dragonsblood and Mistletoe for the incense and my “Shapeshifter” oil. (See the green bowl in the photo.) For my ancestors I used some old incense (to signify resurrection – as I need to heal old wounds) and added Damiana, Dittany of Crete and Coltsfoot, with my “Sorrow” oil. (See the clear bowl in the photo.)
I won’t be posting my ritual here – as it was personal – although I’m sharing the experience through pictures and other details I feel are either interesting or relevant. Robert lit a fire in the pit for me, as it was a little chilly. As soon as I started setting up – an owl started hooting (which we’ve never heard here before) and a creature we decided must have been a fox trying to imitate it. (Foxes usually do this in order to travel undetected. They mimic another animals – like dogs or cats – but their sound is distinctive. I’ve heard this before, and you can tell that it’s a fox due to the strange chattering in the back of their throats!)
I had been up since 2am and didn’t do the ritual until 10pm – so I was exhausted afterwards. I only ate half the “feast” – which I’d spent the afternoon preparing as I listened to music. For Kali – I was drawn to heavy metal – which I’m sure a lot of Hindu’s or other witches would find offensive. I’m very much an eclectic witch and follow my instincts. I was going to choose something Indian or some folk music, but it felt like she was telling me “No – I’m a Goddess of Battle!” Before I knew it, I was listening to Soulfly and charging through the Spicy Lentils! When it came time to prepare the rice (sprouted, brown, organic Basmati) and the Dark Berry Crumble, I switched to the lovely music of Faun for Ganesha. I was following my instincts and it just felt right!
I also put together a playlist for the ritual:
When I lit the candle for my ancestors – the rain started falling gently. It was beautiful, with no wind to speak of. I meditated on their effect on my life and how much I missed them. I started to weep quietly and contemplated how I need to focus on mending the rift. Here’s the chant I wrote for the ritual:
“Heal the heart, Mend the rift, Pave the way for us to shift.
Back in the arms, Back in the fold, The warmth of the family thaws the cold.”
The first photo is Nona – my grandmother on my mother’s side. She was a dancer in a travelling troupe, in the early part of the 1900’s. She had a total of eleven children and died giving birth to the last two – who were twins. (I never met her – although I’ve been told I take after her. The middle photo is my brother Peter, who died of a heroin overdose in 1997. That was year of deaths for our family and friends – but the grief I felt for Peter was the first time I’d felt it. Grief is so different from normal pain or misery over a broken relationship. It hits you in the guts like a cannonball and you can’t control it. You fold up like a dead flower and just have to let it take it’s course.
The last photo shows my Nanna and Pa. Such a great couple. We lived with them when the divorces were going on, in my early years. They had a wonderful sense of humor. I love them all.
Anyway – I haven’t put together my menu for next week. Too tired!
Until then – stay healthy and happy!