_Let's get festive - a bumper Yule inspiration pack to get you in the mood! This may seem a bit Chrismassy for a Pagan Blog but since the Pagan roots of CH

First my favourite seasonal recipe.

Mulled Apple Juice

1 litre of apple juice
3-4 slices of orange/lemon
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (Or a small stick)
3-4 allspice berries
1/2 tsp nutmeg
(sugar to taste if you want to)

(or a sachet of mulled wine spice instead of the spices)

I like to put everything in a slow cooker and then leave it to infuse
for a good long time maybe an hour as there is no alcohol in this you
don't have to worry about accidentally burning it off. You could use a saucepan on the hob instead but I wouldn't leave it as long, maybe a gentle heat for 15 mins and check the taste.

The TV is saturated with Christmas films this time of year and as
popular as they are I have never really managed to get into "It's a
Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street", sacrilege I know!  But
that doesn't mean I don't love a bit of Christmas TV even though I am a Pagan, so I have listed my top 4 below if you want to try them out.

A Christmas Carol (the 1984 version please!) is a story I read every
year at Christmas.  I am sure this story started the tradition of
ghost stories at Christmas and couldn't be more appropriate in this
day and age, we could all do with a bit of the Milk of Human Kindness at the moment.

The Children of Green Knowe - set in post-war England at Christmas time, a charming tale of friendship and more ghosts, but it remains responsible for my lingering fear of Peacock cries!
__The Box of Delights - Carols, Herne the Hunter, snow, a
Punch and Judy show and a magical box.  The Wolves are running!

The Blue Carbuncle (Sherlock Holmes) - An adventure from the great detective set at Christmas time in the heart of the Victorian
Christmas revival.  Missing jewels and a missing Christmas Goose - it will not disappoint!

Finally Music for the Season (Remember how I said I couldn't quit the folk music!)

Steeleye Span "Winter" Album, especially the Mistletoe Bough for real Pagan flavour! See track 8 on the link.

Loreen McKennit "A Midwinter Night's Dream" especially my perennial favourite carols "Holly & the Ivy" and "In the Bleak Midwinter".
Let's break some bread!
I am a big believer in the post-ritual meal; especially post-group-rituals. You know the sort of thing, after a big Samhain ritual, when the circle is closed everyone starts to pull out bread and cheese and mulled wine in thermos flask and a post-ritual feasting ensues. 

There are two main reasons why I am so keen on this practice: Grounding and Community.

Rituals can take you to places of incredible spiritual highs.  You can open yourself right up psychically and whilst this is great and feels wonderful it isn’t a good idea to walk out in the world in such a state of openness.  Being psychically open means attracting and absorbing all energy with no filters.  In a cleansed and sacred space with trusted friends this is no problem, in the big wide world you face attracting and absorbing everything from other people’s anger and frustration to spirits looking for mischief.  In particular I seriously counsel against anyone driving back from a ritual in such a heightened state as it simply isn’t safe, your senses may be heightened but this means your reaction time will be slowed as you will be taking in far more information that you can realistically process.  Eating a meal after the ritual is a fantastic and earthy form of grounding.  Nothing gets you back in your body quicker than having to digest something!

But on to my second reason for a post-ritual nosh…the dissection!  It is really important for groups to discuss what happened in the ritual they just performed, share what you experienced and listen to the sharings of others.  Usually you will find that in this process of sharing, absorbing and rationalising you will get better insights and bond more closely as a community. 

I have worked with groups where a post-ritual meal was an unspoken expectation and other groups where barring a bit of drinking everyone scooted off home without talking about the ritual.  In every case the former rituals were far more spiritually satisfying that the latter.

Historically in many cultures breaking bread together is a vital ritual in itself and that is something you should be capitalising on for your post-ritual meal.  Whilst sharing yourself in the energetically charged circle is a close and binding thing, nothing makes people closer than sharing it all again over a meal.  It brings the spiritually sacred experiences straight into the middle of your mundane world …for what is more mundane than eating, we do it 3 times or more a day.

The key to a post-ritual meal is low prep food or food you can easily prepare in advance.  You are not throwing a dinner party, people are primarily coming for the ritual; the food is just a bonus. Choose simple but nourishing food which is cheap and filling.  I find it easier to making vegetarian food as standard since it is cheaper and many pagans are vegetarian and obviously always check if people are vegan or have allergies to wheat, egg, nuts, dairy etc.  A post-ritual meal help to create an inclusive atmosphere and continue the sense of “safe space” created in the ritual, to help facilitate this ask about allergies beforehand to avoid making anyway feel awkward afterwards. 

Shortly I'll be posting some of my favourite, no-fuss recipes for post-ritual feasting!

Happy day of balance you lovely people! 

We will be celebrating with a potato and cashew nut curry using our homegrown potatoes.

Let me know what your harvest meals are going to be.
Light on Bamboo
Ok - there is a big wide world web out there and it is time to launch words on the wind as well as in the hearth of the Witches Table.

Taking off today is my new twitter account: @AntaraVox


I'll be posting an Autumnal thought for the day, each day, leading up to the Equinox.  This is a short series of musings to help me align with the changing energies of the season and if you want to join me then I am tagging all my tweets with the following:

Come and join me get ready for the Autumn Equinox.