Altared Naturally

Originally written for The Crying Clown Zine (c. 1998)

Just picture yourself, in mid ritual, suddenly your Book of Shadows falls to the floor with an unpleasant sounding thud. Silly you, you forgot your altar!

The Wiccan/ Pagan altar is not just for eating your breakfast on anymore. Also, those looking forward to virgin sacrifices are in for a disappointment. But, look on the bright side, now you don’t have to save yourself for that big moment on the stone slab, just go out and have fun!

So, what should you know about constructing your very own altar? Start with all natural ingredients and assemble them inside a circle. Those are the basics. Your altar can be outdoors for all the little bugs and squirrels to see or it can be inside and easily pushed under your bed for those with parents who like to make room inspections still. An altar can even be made on your desk at work. Just use some creativity and no one will suspect you have brought Pagan influences to concrete jungle.

The altar itself can have a circular base or square, depending on how natural you want to go with it. Outdoors, a fire can substitute for an altar. Make sure you are prepared to safely extinguish it before you leave. Face your altar in a direction of power, generally that’s north, the direction associated with Earth. Some Wiccan use east and west, the direction the sun rises and sets. Lastly, everything on your altar is positioned in a pattern. The arrangement is very individual and can be kept track of in your Book of Shadows. (The Book of Shadows is a book or some other form of note keeping Wiccan use for their exploration and discoveries along their path of learning.)

Just raring to go and get Medieval, I mean creative? To dedicate your altar to the Goddess and God, something you can choose to do. Set up put the tools dedicated to the Goddess (pentacle, cup, bell, crystal, cauldron and others) on the left side of the altar. The tools dedicated to the God (athame, censer, white handled knife, etc) are placed on the right side. In the middle of the altar, you please yourself; at least that is how I see it.

If you don’t follow the ‘standard’ altar plan with God and Goddess on either ends you can fill those areas of your altar with things to represent the elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. The idea is to stick to natural ingredients but you can do a lot with those. A natural altar contains assorted leaves, stones, drawings/ pictures, candles, seashells, feathers, flowers/ herbs, a glass of water, your pet guppy, tissues (handy if you have a cold) and a pirate’s treasure map (assuming you can find one). Keep in mind the elements. The feather and leaves can represent Air. The candle and maybe some burnt offerings from breakfast can represent Fire. Water is easy with seashells or a glass of water. Earth can be represented by the stones or leaves (think compost, just don’t put it on your altar unless you are ready for the smell).

The altar is the physical centre of a ritual. Its a place of power and magick. To think it is mostly a flat surface to work at is a mistake. Some of your energy and magick will remain in your altar after each ritual. You will be bringing a lot from yourself to the ritual and your altar. Because of this, your altar must have special meaning to you. Use your own sense of style, things that are important, have meaning to you, and design your altar to suit yourself and your needs.

Pancake Breakfast Cookie

All the deliciousness of a big breakfast baked into a cookie! This snack by Donna Fier is simply unforgettable.

For more information visit Recipe to Riches!

Preparation time:

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 30

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 package bacon (500 g)

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons buttermilk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 unit egg

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook, swirling pan often, until tan coloured and fragrant with a nutty aroma, about 2 to 5 minutes. Pour into large bowl and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in batches cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, spooning off fat as necessary. Drain on paper towel-lined baking sheet. Chop bacon.

Using wooden spoon, stir sugars, buttermilk, maple syrup and vanilla into cooled butter. In small bowl, beat egg until frothy; beat into butter mixture. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold into butter mixture along with bacon, just until combined. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Shape dough by forming heaping tablespoonfuls into balls; place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time in centre of oven until puffed and set, about 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer to rack to cool completely.

via Pancake Breakfast Cookie.Pancake_Breakfast_Cookie_001

Homestyle Pancakes with Fresh Berries – Astro.ca

Homestyle Pancakes with Fresh Berries – Astro.ca.

Astro has a new caramel yogurt. It’s delicious. So far I can only find it at one store here. Went to their site and found this pancake recipe. I haven’t tried adding yogurt to pancakes before. Just butternilk. Sounds like a good idea, though I don’t think I’d use the caramel yogurt for pancakes.

 

Homestyle Pancakes with Fresh Berries

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sifted flour 250 mL
1 tbsp sugar 15 mL
¾ tsp baking soda 3.75 mL
½ tsp salt 2.5 mL
2 eggs 2
1 cup Astro Original Balkan style yogourt 250 mL
½ cup water 125 mL
1 tbsp melted Lactantia butter, plus additional for brushing griddle 45 mL

PREPARATION

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, beat eggs. Blend in Astro Original Balkan style yogourt, water and melted Lactantia butter. Add dry ingredients and beat until combined.
  3. Brush a griddle or a large skillet with Lactantia butter. Spoon ¼ cup of batter onto griddle.
  4. Cook until bubbles appear on surface and pop, edges are set, and undersides are golden, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Flip pancakes with a spatula and cook until undersides are golden and pancakes are cooked through, 1-2 minutes more.
  6. Serve immediately, or keep warm in 200°F oven. Serve with fresh fruit, maple syrup or whip cream.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

TIP: Add ½ cup frozen blueberries, chocolate chips or nuts for an indulgent breakfast treat.

Bacon, Egg and Toast Cups

For Mother’s Day from Martha Stewart – Bacon, Egg and Toast Cups.

Try cooked, crumbled sausage in place of bacon or make a vegetarian version with sauteed spinach. Dress things up with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 slices white or whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 slices bacon
6 large eggs
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups. With a rolling pin, flatten bread slices slightly and, with a 4 1/4-inch cookie cutter, cut into 8 rounds. Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to edge of cup. Use extra bread to patch any gaps. Brush bread with remaining butter.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, until almost crisp, 4 minutes, flipping once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.) Lay 1 bacon slice in each bread cup and crack an egg over each. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg whites are just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

Standard muffin pans come in 6- or 12-cup size; if baking 6 items in a 12-cup pan, leave empty space in between. Nonstick pans are nice but not essential. Beware of very thin pans, which often lead to burning. Place pans on a baking sheet to make them easier to get in and out of the oven.

Let the Man Do the Work

I have encountered a new guy. Can’t say we have met as we have not met yet. We will be having breakfast/ brunch on Thursday. He is widowed with a 19 year old daughter. He does insurance for refurbished boats. Sounds like someone I could like.

What I have not told my Mother is just how we encountered each other and what other thing I know about him that I probably won’t tell her. I will whisper it to you… shh, keep it to yourself. We met on an adult personals site and he likes to be a sissy, frills and all. You may be thinking this is something I can not do, could not be interested in… and yet… I am. Not sure about it 100%. But, I always did say I would marry a guy who could have a maid to do the housework. So, isn’t this my way of keeping my promise to myself, in my own weird way.

People don’t talk about fetishes and what they like along with sex. I’m not a porn star, nympho type. But, I do know that I am not entirely straight forward. Yet, I don’t feel entirely comfortable to write about it. I know my Mom and sisters think cock sucking is dirty, not something they would do. I’m a bit on the fence there. My ex wasn’t very clean and that does stick in your mind. But, I do like being in control. I do like being the one sitting with a wicked grin while he sweats and moans.

On the other hand… a man who will perform pedicures, bake cookies and clean the washroom as sexual foreplay isn’t all bad. Of course, not all of those at the same time or order.

I used to write adult content for the adult part of backwash.com. I used to write adult stories for a man I liked online. It wasn’t icky. How could it be as long as I was in charge. I could almost be a born again virgin if I didn’t want to get rid of the title quite so much. Yes, I like sex. When it’s done well. To my specifications. Having a little man to boss around could be a good thing.

But, like I wrote, we have yet to actually meet. There’s a long way to go from bacon and eggs to letting him fluff my pillows or wash my windows. Still, as nice and pleasant and polite as I am… there is a part of me that just likes being evil, wicked and shocking. How suitable to have someone who wants that rather than someone who will think I’m peculiar and undesirable.