Let the Bragging Begin!

I was so excited when the new season of “Penn & Teller’s Bullshit” started on Showtime. Love that show! Of course imagine my surprise, and excitement, when during their episode about video games they included some sound bites from Lawrence G. Walters! Who is he? He’s our First Amendment attorney! Well, he’s the one we interviewed last year, thus making him ours as far as I’m concerned. Important question, can I now consider myself a mere one person removed from the awesomeness that is Penn & Teller?

I also found a pleasant surprise in my inbox last week. The fall issue of “New Age Retailer” includes an interview with Raven Digitalis! Magical Buffet readers will recognize the name thanks to this and this. What I’m saying is that all the way back in 2007 I knew that Raven was a great guy to interview and that “New Age Retailer” is just catching up. Indeed, I’m truly a trendsetter.

On a side note, we got a great response to my blog about my husband making the infamous “Corndog Millionaire Muffins”. I’ve been told by many readers that they too now plan on trying these tasty freaks against muffin nature. If you try making these, or the Naughty Shirley, send us a picture and tell us your thoughts on them and we’ll gather them up to share with the rest of The Magical Buffet community!

Did you see the video of Lil’ Kim and Cyndi Lauper performing at Nelson Mandela’s birthday celebration? How about the clip of John Barrowman and David Tennant driving the ladies wild at Comic Con? Fans of The Magical Buffet on Facebook saw these and more goofy tidbits, so if you’re on Facebook, become our fan for some extra fun!

Do you belong to a paranormal investigation group? If you’re a friend of The Magical Buffet on My Space, you saw the special invitation we extended to our My Space paranormal peeps. My Space is where we really started from, so our friends there get all kinds of notes like that, so if you’re on My Space, be our friend!

As always, we can’t do this without you! So thank you for your support!

I Love the Ida Maria CD

“Find a cure for my life.
Put a price on my soul.
Put a smile on my face.
Build a wall,
Build a fortress ‘round my heart.”
“Oh My God” by Ida Maria

The frantic pace and build up of those words in Ida Maria’s song “Oh My God” cut me to the quick. “Oh my god, oh you think I’m in control. Oh my god, oh you think it’s all for fun.” Is there anyone who hasn’t felt that way at one point or another in their life? Where you’re not in control, that everything is most definitely not fine? Well hopefully you’ll find Ida Maria’s beautiful, edgy voice rising into a scream, as therapeutic as I do.

The rest of Ida Maria’s album “Fortress ‘Round My Heart” is a wonderful mixed bag. The entire album is littered with awesome rock tunes with infectiously catchy melodies. A real stand out in that category is “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”, a rock tune with an amazingly catchy chorus that you can’t resist singing along with that turns the table on rock clichés by taking a stab at objectifying men. (But not curing a blogger of creating run on sentences.) Maria’s voice is light and feminine but at other times it’s biting and pushing the edges of her vocal range, in a good way. There are a few smoky ballads as well, such as “Keep Me Warm” and “In the End”. But for me, Maria is at her best when she’s yelling into a microphone on tracks like “Morning Light” and “Stella” and “Oh My God” and “Queen of the World” and “Drive Away My Heart” and I really liked this album, can you tell?

Check out the song that started it all for me, “Oh My God”.

And click here to enjoy the ultra catchy “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”.

The Evil that Hungry Girl has Wrought

My friend Erin got me started with Hungry Girl by getting me the first Hungry Girl cookbook, cleverly titled “Hungry Girl” by Lisa Lillien. Next thing you know I’m signed up for the email alerts and buying their latest book “200 Under 200”. Curse you Erin! For those of you unfamiliar with Hungry Girl, it’s a website with a sense of humor that talks about trying to eat a low calorie, low fat, high fiber, diet. They email out nutritional information about dishes in restaurants, offer alternative recipes to classic dishes, and let you know about new food products that are out there that taste great and aren’t a sin to indulge in. (Can anyone whose eating those Skinny Cow Truffle ice cream bars give me an amen?)

Thanks to Hungry Girl my husband and I have discovered the joy of soy (Holy crap soy crumbles taste a lot like meat and have no calories and fat when compared to hamburger!), the wonders of Laughing Cow cheese wedges (A whole wedge, the entire thing is only 35 calories?!), and thanks to their product alerts my husband finally found a hot dog he could eat that I won’t beat him up about (Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks, only 40 calories per dog and they taste so good!). And it’s that very same hot dog that features in something so wrong, so in violation of the natural order, and yet, is quite tasty.

My husband love hot dogs. Left on his own they would most likely be his breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Before you say it, yes, I’ve seen him eat hot dogs while drinking coffee so hot dogs for breakfast aren’t out of the question. Anyway, on July 16, 2009 (a day that shall now live in infamy) I got my email from the Hungry Girl website. “Yesterday was National Hot Dog Day. Today is National Corn Fritters Day. We’re getting creative and merging the two. Happy Corndog Day, people! ” it started out. And then, the first recipe was revealed, the “Corndog Millionaire Muffins”.

Yes folks, a muffin designed to recreate the taste of eating a corndog. I said to myself, this is too funny, I should email it to my husband. Next thing you know, I’m coming home from work to a piping hot batch of corndog muffins! There they are in the tin, looking like a tasty yellow cake cupcake with hot dogs protruding out of them! “Ack!” I told my husband, “Muffins should not have a wafting aroma of hot dogs about them!”

There was a brief discussion as to what to drink with a corndog muffin (Does it pair well with a red wine perhaps?). We decided that only an equally great violation against nature could be paired with this meal. So I made myself a rum and diet caffeine free coke using rum from my $50 bottle of 15 year old Rhum Barbancourt.

It seemed like a sin to use such a good rum for a lowly rum and coke, but boy did it taste good! And the muffins, as wrong and evil as they are, tasted like corndogs. They look freakish and wrong, but they tasted just …. like …. corndogs. They tasted good and at only 160 calories a muffin their appearance is the only thing twisted and wrong.

Want to become your very own Corndog Millionaire by making these muffins? Click here! Want to visit the awesome Hungry Girl website to get great low cal recipes and tips to buying yummy guilt free food? Click here.

Standing With Stones

When I first saw the package for “Standing with Stones: A Journey Through Megalithic Britain” I thought, whatever, yet another thing about Stonehenge. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I still opted to pop it into my DVD player.

“Standing with Stones” dedicates possibly one full minute to Stonehenge and nothing more. So what the heck does writer/presenter Rupert Soskin talk about for a little over two hours? Everything else, and if there is one thing you take away from this film is that there is a whole lot of everything else. Soskin leads you on a picturesque tour that covers England, Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man, and Scotland, revealing the treasure trove of stone circles, cairns, standing stones, and more that exist relatively unnoticed by modern society.

Soskin makes for a charming tour guide. He displays a whimsical, mischievous nature, nearly delighting in the unsolvable puzzle that these ancient sites present. Other times he cuts through your inclination to get caught up in a perceived spirituality of the sites with insightful, practical observations.

Producer/Director/Cameraman Michael Bott captures the beauty of the land wonderfully. Sweeping shots of majestic landscapes are broken up with amusingly framed scenes of impressive stone displays being frequented by live stock.

“Standing with Stones” is a beautiful, thoughtful examination of all the ancient stone sites that Britain and its surrounding environs have to offer. This film is a must for anyone interested in Britain’s countryside because “Standing with Stones” is a beautiful travelogue. Also, anyone whose spiritual practices are linked to ancient Britain will find this a useful film to watch to get insights into what their spiritual ancestors lives may have been like, including a wonderful segment dedicated to ancient Druids.

Although not a summer movie blockbuster, no explosions or alien invaders here, I did find “Standing with Stones” and a nice glass of wine to be an enjoyable way to spend an evening.

You can purchase “Standing with Stones” at Amazon.com, Disinfo.com, and iTunes.

Fun with English!

I’ll admit it; I love it when the Merriam-Webster dictionary adds new words. In many ways it provides a snap shot of what has been happening in American culture. Merriam-Webster Inc. has added more than 100 words to the latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary. The Associated Press offered up a small sample which shows America’s expanding multiculturalism and love affair with technology and the internet.

Thumbs up for:

Webisode, which was first documented in 1996, is an episode especially of a TV show that may or may not have been telecast but can be viewed at a Web site. Can all the Dr. Horrible fans in the house give me a yeah?

Reggaeton, which was first documented in 2003, is popular music of Puerto Rican origin that combines rap with Caribbean rhythms. If you want to shake your booty, Reggaeton works quite well at getting the job done.

Frenemy, which surprisingly was first document in 1977, is one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy. I know, I know….I KNOW! It’s dumb; it’s probably used on teen oriented CW television shows I don’t watch. However, I love it. First off, everyone has known someone who pretends to be your friend but secretly they’re out to destroy you. In the past I was forced to use words that I’ve been discouraged from using on the website to describe my relationship to someone like this, but now they’re a hip frenemy! Anyway, I read Perez Hilton, Go Fug Yourself, and TMZ almost daily. You can’t read those sites without some of the lingo sticking.

Shawarma, which was first documented in 1953, is a sandwich especially of sliced lamb or chicken, vegetables, and often tahini wrapped in pita bread. How have we survived as a civilization without a definition for the yummy shawarma? I imagine some precocious youth reading the dictionary (Hey, it happens, right?) and stumbling upon shawarma and saying to themselves, I have GOT to get me some of that!

Thumbs down for:

Locavore, which was first documented in 2005, is one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible. I have no problem with the eat local food movement, but seriously, did we need a word for it? And if we did, did it need to make me think of loca, as in that girl is loca? Or worse, the song “Locomotion”, which is now stuck in my head. Thanks locavores!

Waterboarding, which was first documented in 2004, is an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee’s mouth and nose as to induce the sensation of drowning. I don’t actually have a problem with the word, and I understand why it made the cut to get added into the latest edition, I’m just sad that we all learned what it was.

Staycation, which was first documented in 2005, is a vacation spent at home or nearby. Was there a more offensive trend in the media then the invention of the staycation? You know, stay home poor people; us wealthy folks will enjoy the vacation hot spots.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Holistay
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Joke of the Day

I tried to come up with a witty, thoughtful, ending for this article, but how on earth do you follow The Daily Show? So I’m not trying. End of article. Click out.

Tree Medicine, Magic, and Lore: Cedar

By Ellen Evert Hopman
Illustrated by Will Hobbs

Throughout history the names and uses of Cedar and Juniper have often been confused. The similarities of their bark, berries, and general appearance have made them substitutes for one another in mundane and magical realms. An ancient Greek word for Cedar also meant oar, rudder, rowboat, and canoe. Native Americans used the White Cedar, Arborvitae, for fence posts, boats, canoes, shingles, and to make fire by friction. In modern times Cedar is used for fencing, house wares, and shingles. Cedar chests are usually made from a species of Juniper.

Among the Algonquin Cedar is so sacred that no religious ceremony is done without it. The leaves and twigs are simmered into tea or burned as incense to prepare a ritual space. It is said that Cedar harmonizes the emotions and puts one into the proper state of mind for prayer. Cedar branches are used to cover the floor of the sweat lodge, due to their antiviral and disinfectant qualities. The tea of the young branches helps fevers, rheumatism, chest colds and flu.

The Cherokee tell the story of How The Cedar Tree Became Red. In ancient times there was an evil sorcerer who was very cruel to the people. When he was finally caught they decapitated him, but the sorcerer’s head refused to die.

The head was hung on a different tree branch every night until finally, when hung on a Cedar tree, it expired. The blood of the sorcerer had turned the bark red.

From this story they learned that the Cedar tree could vanquish all evil. Its twigs were burned to repel ghosts and malevolent spirits. Its balsamic fragrance was calming to the senses. And its undecaying wood warded off damp and insects, making it too sacred to be burned as fuel.

In ancient European tradition Juniper was seen as a substitute. The smoke of a Juniper fire was said to drive off the demons of disease. The tea was said to restore lost youth – no doubt because of the berry’s effects on rheumatism, gout and weak digestion.

In Wales Juniper was held so sacred that to cut one down meant certain death to a family member within the year. Sprigs of Juniper were hung in the cowsheds of the Western Isles to protect the cattle.

about the author:

Ellen Evert Hopman is a Druid Priestess, herbalist and author of “Priestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey”, “A Druids Herbal – Of Sacred Tree Medicine”, “Walking the World in Wonder – A Children’s Herbal” and other volumes. Visit her website for more!











Bibliography
Adams, Barbara Means, Prayers Of Smoke, Renewing Makaha Tribal Tradition; Celestial Arts, Berkeley, CA 1990

Baker, Margaret, Discovering The Folklore Of Plants; Shire Publications Ltd., Aylesbury, Bucks, U.K. 1975

Beith, Mary, Healing Threads, Traditional Medicines of the Highlands and Islands; Polygon, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1995

Brunaux, Jean Louis, The Celtic Gauls: Gods, Rites and Sanctuaries; Seaby, London, 1988

Calder, George (translator), Book of Ballymote: Auraicept Na nEces (The Scholars Primer); Edinburgh, 1917

Carmichael, Alexander, Carmina Gadelica, Hymns and Incantations; Floris Books, Edinburgh 1992

Cunliffe, Barry, The Celtic World; St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York, 1993

Cunningham, Scott, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs; Llewellyn Publications, St Paul, MN 1986

Ellis, Peter Berresford, Celtic Women; Wm. B. Erdman’s Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996

Erichsen-Brown, Charlotte, Medicinal and Other Uses Of North American Plants; Dover Publications Inc., New York, NY 1989

Evans-Wentz, W.Y., The Fairy Faith In Celtic Countries; Citadel Press, New York, NY 1990

Farrar, Janet and Stewart, The Witch’s Goddess; Phoenix Publishing Inc, Custer, WA 98240

Frazier, James G., The Golden Bough, The Roots of Religion And Folklore; Avenel Books, NY 1981

Friedrich, Paul, Proto-Indo-European Trees; The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL 1970

Green, Miranda J., The Celtic World; Routledge, London, 1995

Green, Miranda J., The World of the Druids, Thames and Hudson, London 1997

Grieve, M., A Modern Herbal, Dover Publications Inc., New York, NY 1971

Hoagland, Kathleen, 1,000 Years of Irish Poetry, The Gaelic and the Anglo-Irish Poets From Pagan Times To The Present; The Devin-Adair Company, Old Greenwich, CT 1981

Hopman, Ellen Evert, A Druids Herbal For The Sacred Earth Year; Inner Traditions/Destiny Books, Rochester, VT 1995

Hopman, Ellen Evert, Tree Medicine, Tree Magic; Phoenix Publishers, Custer, WA 1991

Kelly, Fergus, A Guide To Early Irish Law; Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, 1991

Kondratiev, Alexei, The Apple Branch; The Collins Press, Cork, 1998

Lust, John The Herb Book; Bantam Books, New York, 1974

Markale, Jean, The Druids; Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT, 1999

Matthews, Caitlin & John, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom; Element Books, Rockport, MA 1994

Matthews, John, The Druid Sourcebook; Blanford Press, London, 1996

McNeill, F. Marian, The Silver Bough, Vol. One; William Maclellan, Glasgow, 1977

Meyer, Kuno, Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry; Constable, London, 1959

Moerman, Daniel E., Medicinal Plants Of Native America; University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology Technical Reports, Number 19, Ann Arbor, MI 1986

Mooney, James, History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees; Bright Mountain Books, Ashville, NC 1992

Naddair, Kaledon, Keltic Folk and Faerie Tales; Century Hutchinson Ltd., London, 1987

O’Boyle, Sean, Ogam, the Poet’s Secret; Gilbert Dalton, Dublin, 1980

Rees, Alwyn and Brinley, Celtic Heritage; Thames and Hudson, New York, 1989

Ross, Anne, Pagan Celtic Britain; Columbia University Press, New York, NY 1967

Saintine, X.B., The Myths Of The Rhine; Charles E. Tuttle Co., Rutland, VT 1967 (Reprint of the 1875 edition)

Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth and Legend; Newcastle Publishing Co. Ltd., USA, 1975

Stone, Merlin, Ancient Mirrors Of Womanhood; Beacon Press, Boston, MA 1984

The Naughty Shirley

As you will remember from my attempts to master the flaming mojito it was decided that flaming mojitos just weren’t worth the effort or the nasty Bacardi 151 taste. Upon that decision I asked my husband, Jim, what are we going to do with the 151 that’s left? He told me that we would flame drinks again, just not mojitos. And so I foolishly asked, what the heck mixed drinks are you going to set on fire? How about non-alcoholic ones? Ha, how about a Shirley Temple?

He loved the way flaming Shirley Temple sounded. He liked a flaming Shirley Temple Black as a name even better.

I love Shirley Temples! Most of my memories of eating out with my parents as a child involve me being given a sweet Shirley Temple in a cocktail glass with a swizzle stick, just like the adults had. Even now that I’m well past 21 years-old I’ll occasionally order one when I want something that looks like a cocktail but doesn’t have any alcohol.

For those of you who don’t know, a Shirley Temple is a pretty simple drink. My childhood memories are of a glass of 7-Up with the juice from a jar of maraschino cherries with a few of the cherries dropped in. Since we weren’t positive we took a quick peak online and came up with this standard-ish recipe for a Shirley Temple.

Glass.





1oz. grenadine syrup




8oz. ginger ale and add ice




Jim handed the glass to me and I took a sip, minus the cherry to eat, it tasted like the Shirley Temples of my childhood. This is when I pointed out that if he took a shot of Captain Morgan Tattoo rum and added it gently, it would probably make a black layer on top, and then it could be called a Shirley Temple Black (Which is also a drink, with many different recipes ranging from the addition of vodka, kahlua, orange juice, and more).

We added the Tattoo, and sure enough, it made a crimson red drink with a black layer on top. Perfect in appearance for any vampire or goth or goth vampire event.



Now for anyone that hasn’t tried Captain Morgan’s Tattoo, it has an odd spiced flavor to it. Not good for shots or sipping, but I find it okay for rum and cokes. I was concerned as to how my beloved Shirley Temple would taste once we stirred the inky spiced blackness of the Tattoo into it.

The answer….awesome. In fact, you can’t even tell there is any alcohol in it. This could potentially be the most dangerous mixed drink ever because there seriously isn’t even a hint of alcohol to it.

In fact, it tasted so good that neither Jim or I could bring ourselves to light it on fire. Which is probably for the best, I’m running low on pint glasses.

Post Script: After much debate, and suggestions from Greg at What Greg Eats, Jim and I decided to call this drink, Naughty Shirley.

Finding Our Self Esteem and Getting Unstuck on This Path

by Leandra Witchwood

I grew up in a household where my extra efforts where sometimes scoffed at and ridiculed. Growing up this way I naturally believed that my extra efforts were silly and pointless. Even now after years of soul searching, meditation, and empowering myself; I still struggle with my less than healthy self-esteem. I now realize that it was my family’s insecurities mix with my own ability to hang on to the past that helped make me insecure.

I did not appreciate how common this issue is until I took a good look at our American culture. It happened while I was taking my most recent class on progressing in meditation. The instructor commented on how our American mind-set differs from the Tibetan mind-set. She revealed to me how our culture is based on “Your best is not good enough”, instead of “You did your best and that is good. Try it again tomorrow and you will do better.”

I immediately found this enlightening and empowering. It helped me remember that our mindset is not the only mindset available. It was freeing to know that I have the option to change. We don’t always contemplate the messages we receive from family, media, friends, and community. Unfortunately, these messages seep deeply into our psyche doing damage that is tough to mend. Over the past several weeks, I have been contemplating this reality and how one can conquer this subtle oppression.

Someone once told me this, “We are who we think, others think, we think, we are.” Some wisdoms are not always easy to grasp or express and this one defiantly has a “Whoa!” factor. To put it most simply, if we believe in ourselves and express our own inner strengths, others will pick up on this and it will become who we are to them. In turn they will treat is as confident and capable people thus encouraging our own confidence.

Our self-esteem is important in developing ourselves Magickally and spiritually. Recognizably it is counter-productive to achieve proficiency in Magick and spirituality without working on our inner blockages, like low self-esteem. When it comes to learning a spiritual path on your own and performing Magick, your healthy self-esteem is what drives our intentions home. You have to be willing to believe in yourself and your abilities 100%.

When I began this path several years ago, there were very few creditable people offering classes, apprenticeships, coven opportunities, etc. So much of what I learned in the beginning was on my own. Before I was able to find competent teachers with enough experience under their belts I read books, practiced what I read, kept a journal of my experiences and more. From what I can gather not much has changed for many people out there. Many beginners and many of those on the cusp of moving beyond the “101” stage are still limited to learning on their own.

So if we spend so much time practicing alone, reading alone, and learning alone why can’t we find some pride and empowerment in this? Doing so much work and finding the will and dedication without someone encouraging us is not easy. By taking these steps on your own shows you have the inner flicker of your own healthy self-esteem. You don’t have someone around to explain things to you or push further, you tapped into your own personal strength. I feel for people when I read how they feel stuck and can’t progress on their own. I immediately want to jump in and offer encouragement.

I feel we are placed here to help one another ascend. Here are some ways I was able to move forward, find my inner power and confidence. Perhaps you can benefit from the things as well.

1. Read – I don’t mean simply read things published by Pagan authors. Read fiction, periodicals, blogs, and subjects that may not pertain to your practice but have a sense of creativity. Read something that inspires, motivates, and above all challenges you.

2. Listen to Pagan and Spiritual Podcasts –There are so many Pagans out there chatting up the internet. Some you will agree with and some you will not. That doesn’t matter. The point is to open yourself up to other points of view and ideals. This is also a great way to practice non-judgmental listening. If we become too judgmental of how others practice we lose the point. Listen and learn with an open heart and mind.

3. Practice Staying in the Moment – This is a tough one, but it is essential. Breathing is a great way to practice. I found that I am able to adjust my thought patterns and emotions by simply focusing on my breath. Sometimes I will incorporate Yoga breathing techniques, which also seem to be effective.

4. Get Outside – Go camping, take a hike, listen to the birds, watch the clouds, study animals in their habitats without interpretation, or document the growth of your favorite tree or garden. Watch Nature in all her splendor and take time to realize her connections and cycles.

5. Create something – I have a few hobbies and crafts I enjoy from sewing to candle making to making herbal remedies to gardening. I find that when I engage myself in something creative I relax and think. There have been several occasions where I reached critical epiphanies while sewing a ritual robe or cooking up a healing salve.

6. Find a tough and experienced Teacher – I can’t stress this enough… find a tough and experienced teacher. Find someone who has been around for a minimum 10 years, Preferably someone with experience in leading others a public group. When you find someone with experience like this, you are likely to bypass the drama and head games that inexperienced and socially closed leaders tend to indulge. Our Elders are very important and from what I have seen we discredit them too quickly. Make sure the teacher you choose will challenge you mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to accept the challenge of learning something new. Finding a teacher is not always easy but when you find the right one you will be amazed at your growth.

7. Be Willing to Dedicate – Passive learning never does anyone any good. Personally, I see too much passive learning and engagement from the community. Maybe that sounds a little harsh but it is true. We tend to look for the easy answer and the quick fix. Truthfully, this path is filled with necessary lessons that are difficult but well worth the effort. Without these lessons, we would gain nothing. If we only look for the easy in everything, we end up with a very shallow spirituality. When the tough lessons hit you try your best to recognize where they hit you the hardest and find ways to stick with it. Dedication will deliver a deeper understanding of the spiritual experience.

8. Notice your own patterns – I had a man come to me a few years ago who wanted me to read his cards for him. As soon as I saw him I knew what he was looking for. He wanted to know what was following him around to make him have such bad luck. I also knew he was not willing to know the truth. As I read his cards, the uncomfortable truth was revealed. The cards said to him that he needed to change the way he lived his life and viewed/treated the people in his life. He needed to change his reactions to situations and he needed to release himself from negative redundant processes he had become blind to over the years. He was convinced that someone had cursed him, and that may be true. One of the most basic curses and hard-hitting curses is to bind someone to their own destructive behaviors. So if you feel you are stuck take a look at what you have been doing and perhaps try something new.

9. Don’t Quit – If you quit you fail. I don’t like using this word but I can’t describe it any other way. When you quit no one can help you. If you need to step away for a while then take the time you need, but don’t allow your frustration to drive you to ending your journey.

10. Help Others – There is a certain inner reward for doing something for someone else. Volunteer your time helping rescue wild animals, clearing hiking trails, reading to kids in the library, weeding a community garden, etc. Do it as a distraction, make the effort to give back, and give yourself the time to connect with other people even if they are not from a Pagan path.

These are only a few things we can try to move forward and become more confident within our practice. Through time and dedication, we can look back and see how we have changed. Most of us don’t change over night. Give yourself a break and give yourself some time. Change is usually scary and difficult for many people, but trying your best is all you can do. If you falter, try again. You will do better each time.

Do your best today. Try it again tomorrow and you will do better.

Bright Blessings!

About the Author:
Leandra Witchwood has served her local community as a Minister of Earth-Base Spirituality, an Animal Card Reader, Spiritual Counselor, Leader, Teacher, and much more. Leandra enjoys facilitating Labyrinth walks and educational seminars. She also teaches classes on mediation, Witchcraft, Wicca, and various Magickal techniques. Her spiritual teachings and readings are inspiring and revealing. Leandra is currently writing books and blogs to benefit the larger community.

To learn more, visit:http://leandrawitchwood.blogspot.com/

A Blog Post 1600 Years in the Making

Thanks to the efforts of The British Library, The National Library of Russia, St. Catherine’s Monastery, and the Leipzig University Library, you, yes you, can view the Codex Sinaiticus. These four institutions, along with scholars, conservators and curators reunited the entire manuscript in digital form and have made it available for the whole world to read and study….assuming they have internet access. So what is the Codex Sinaiticus?

The name Codex Sinaiticus translates to the Sinai Book. According to the Codex Sinaiticus Project, “During its history – particularly its modern history – parts of Codex Sinaiticus were also known by other names. The 43 leaves which are now at Leipzig University Library were published in 1846 as ‘Codex Frederico-Augustanus’ in honor of Frederick Augustus II, King of Saxony, who was the patron of the German Biblical scholar and editor of Codex Sinaiticus, Constantine Tischendorf. The 347 leaves now in The British Library were previously known as ‘Codex Sinaiticus Petropolitanus’, as they were kept in St Petersburg between 1863 and 1933.

Codex Sinaiticus is named after the Monastery of Saint Catherine, Mount Sinai, where it was preserved for many centuries. It is generally dated to the middle of the fourth century. Leaves and fragments of this manuscript were taken by Constantine Tischendorf on three occasions – in 1844, in 1853 and in 1859 – so that they might be published. The principal surviving portion of the Codex, comprising 347 leaves, was purchased from the Soviet government in 1933 and is now held by the British Library. A further 43 leaves are held at the University Library in Leipzig. Parts of six leaves are held at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. Twelve leaves and forty fragments remain at Saint Catherine’s Monastery, recovered by the monks from the northern wall of the monastery in June 1975.

Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, which was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians.”

So why is this so darn exciting? Think about it, it doesn’t get any older than this. This is THE oldest version of the Old and New Testament kicking around. Through the study of this, people more clever than I will be able to carefully trace the evolution of the Bible and of Christian belief. This is as close to the first person in the Biblical game of telephone as we’ll probably get, and I for one am excited to see what the original text was before it went through 1600 years of ears and mouths.

Also, the study of the physical manuscript offers insights into the evolution of books and book binding, and as we established back in May 2008, I think book binding is way cool.

Interested? Visit the Codex Sinaiticus website to learn more and read the manuscript. (Parts have already been translated to English, with more translations on the way.)

Happy Independence Day!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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