Tag Archives: food

Harvesting …

I harvested black & red currants today, got about 7lb of the black and 5lb of the red and from just one bush each! It’s the white currants’ turn tomorrow and they look as though there’s a goodly crop :-).

We’re fast approaching Lammas, the harvest feast of the Celtic year and the fruit garden here is giving me of its best. We’re not completely self-sufficient … we like lemons, pineapple, olive oil, flour for bread and cakes, and I eat meat … but we must be about 2/3 to 3/4 self-sufficient. I get to be a better gardener each year, it’s amazing what thoughtful practice can do :-).

As a shaman, I like to live on the produce of the place where I am as far as possible and certainlky to eat local produce as much as I can. The food grown on the land where you live contains the minerals, antibodies, vitamins, and other goodies that you need to live there. This is well known for the effect of honey on hay-fever sufferers. All local food has goodness you need to help you be well there.

Being allergic to the place you live says more about you and your own feelings of at-one-ness with that place than anything else. It’s worth pondering on that … how do you feel about where you live? Do you love it? Is it your friend? Do you care about it? All those sort of questions. If you find yourself answering “no” to them then it’s worth journeying (or whatever you call it) to find out if you should really be there.

This is normal to my life and has been for most of it, since I knew what I was doing. I like to see other places, new places, but I love to come home. When I’m driving and go out into Loegr (England) across the great bridge over the Hafren (Severn) I say farewell to my land and greet Loegr. On the homeward journey I am always so pleased to be crossing the bridge again and I feel the Hafren, and the land, welcome me back.

Being at one with the land where I live I’m not stressed by my home but supported by it. the same for the food, it really does support me. And the water as we’re fortunate to be on our own spring here. Growing my own food helps this enormously. I know what love, and trial and tribulation with the weather sometimes and the slugs etc, has gone into making it. when I go to get supper I go out into the garden asking, “Now, what have you got for me today?”. It’s always good and sometimes a delightful surprise, like the first carrot of this season was the other day … Ooooo! the scent of that carrot as I eased it out of the soil !!!

Even if you only have a tiny garden, yard, pation, balcony even, you can grow some of your own food. In fact, it’s quite amazing what you can grow in just a square yard, this article shows you how to do it. do give it a go if you can … even some basil, salad, mustard-n-cress, sprouting beans and a tomato plant can fit on window ledges :-).

Harvest is so much more than just gathering in fruit and veg … it’s about gathering in yourself too.

  • I’ll be talking more aobut Lammas on Friday – look here

writer artist gardener shaman

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Gardening with the Moon: Planning to use 501

Make a list of the plants that need spraying the day before, especially while you’re new to this. You’ll have so much to think about a list will help keep you focused. Planting the veg in the BD groups helps enormously.

This table is to give you an idea of which plants to use 501 on, and on which day, but it’s not comprehensive. Why not make your own table and add to it as you wish?

Leaf Flower Fruit
Salad leaves lettuce rocket etc, Cabbage Kale Spinach Chard Cauliflower Broccoli Purple & green Sprouting Calabrese Tomato Cucumber Courgette/zucchini, squash, pumpkins Peas & Beans
Herbs whose leaves you use like mint, sage, oregano, thyme, tarragon, marjoram, fennel Edible flowers like nasturtiums, calendula, rose petals, day lilies, geraniums Fruit & nut trees, like apples, pears, cherries, peaches, plums, hazel, walnut
Ornamental grasses, variegated leaf plants, hostas, etc All flowers & flowering trees, like ornamental cherries Things like holly, spindle, guilder rose, firethorn Chinese Lantern

So … looking at the Star Calendar, you look for …

  • the time of the month when the Earth is breathing OUT
  • then, within that, for the relevant days for the part of the plant you want to help – e.g. LEAF for lettuces.

Then  you organise yourself to do the 501 spray on the relevant day.

501 for Root plants

This is different … Remember, root plants, in biodynamics, are those of which you use/eat the roots

  • you do Root plants – in the afternoon – on a root day when the Earth is breathing IN … quite the opposite way round to all the others! This is for … spuds, carrots, beetroot, swede, parsnip, turnip, horseradish, onions, garlic, etc.

Tip –  I do the dahlias as I lift them, helps them to store and flower well the following year.

You do root plants just before they are ready to harvest. This “finishes” the plant, helping it to come to its best, it also increases its storing or standing capacity.

When to use 501 …


–         Just when the leaves are coming in spring

–         Between pickings for leaf plants like kale and lettuce

–         At any time the plants look stressed

–         After a drought for leaf plants, including the lawn, to help good recovery


–         Just as the flower buds are forming for flowering plants, including broccoli, cauliflower, flowering cherries, mock orange trees, etc.

–         At any time the plants look stressed

–         Again when you want a 2nd or 3rd flowering for flowers like roses and geraniums, spearlets of broccoli etc


–         Just as or just after the petals have fallen so the fruits are beginning to form for fruit plants

–         At any time the plants look stressed

–         Just before harvesting the fruit

39 Days of Prayer – Day 32

Day 32 – For a Healthy Physical Body


I place the well-being of my body into your hands.

Thank you for freeing my body of aches, pains, and discomfort.

By your blessing and power, any illness I carry in my physical body, known or unknown, is now healed and I am free from harm.

Thank you for restoring my health,

and for giving me the strength and wisdom I need to maintain my healing.

May I be supplied with healthy foods and clean water,

May I discover the joy in movement and a respect for my body,

and may my will be supported by your love for me.

Blessed be.

A Quickie … but a bit of a downer !!!

Because  it’s my day and I didn’t have much material for it other than the Ogham I’m having a go at an off-the-cuff one now …

How many people out there enjoy “weather”? I love it, almost whatever it is. Our’s is quite odd at the moment in Britain, probably due to ash clouds as well as global warming and that brings me to what set me off tonight. I watched the programme on the Icelandic volcanoes the other night and very good it was too. The way they can change weather for us, just like that, and the amount of change too, is staggering. As I said, I love weather … but this was scary!

The big volcano, Katala, is very likely to go off in the next few months and make the lst one look like a damp squib. global warming is making the Jet Stream far more contrary than it used to be so it’s quite likely the volcanic cloud will sweep Europe quickly and, from there, make its way around the whole globe. This could mean a darkness on the face of the Earth similar to what happened with the Yellow Plague in the 500s when starvation and famine ran round the northern hemisphere.

What can we do about it? Well, stopping a volcano is not even a starter for 10! You think BP has problems? Just imagine trying to plug a volcano – I get ROFLMAO at the mere thought. So … ???

We can plan for it. It IS going to happen, it’s not an “if” but a “when”. and it’s not just air travel, that will b e the least of our worries, it’ll be food, water, livestock dying, asthma, emphysema, any lung sufferers having a really bad time and probably dying. And that’s just for starters. With no air travel that will cut off food imports as well – assuming anyone has any to spare. Etc, etc, etc.

So what’s my point? It really is high time we stopped having World Cup, Big Brother, general gossip, party politics, and if we have a barbecue summer, as our first priorities. The state of the climate really IS far more important even than the Afghan war of terrorism.

People are quite ridiculous in the way they look at weather. If it rains that’s a “bad” thing … but where do the silly sausages think their food comes from? Do they think it grows in plastic packs in the supermarket? Doesn’t anyone teach about how plants work? That plants – indeed most life on Earth – is about 70% water ??? where does this water come from? Out the tap ???

We have to stop being ignorant. we have to stop worrying about getting a degree in film technique or media studies and start doing “real” things like understanding what keeps us alive and how fragile that system is. And that we humans can’t “fix” nay of it, certainly not by throwing money at it.

Ho hum! Rant over. But I am concerned, the more I hear/see people who are completely ignorant of how life works – real life like food and air and water – but are brilliant at “business plans”.

and on that note … do you know … I met a student nurse at our doc’s practice who didn’t even know where the pancreas was or what it does when she was asked to examine me … a diabetes patient. If that’s not scary, what is ? Arrrrrggghhh !!!

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …
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Celtic shaman – Elen Sentier Ogham: Duir – Oak

Druid’s Life – Food Ethics

Apparently in the UK something like a third of the food we buy ends up in the bin. We buy far more than we need, we don’t store it properly, we throw it away because it’s out of date, not actually ‘off’ we make oversized portions, don’t use leftovers, don’t check what’s in the fridge before we head out shopping. I suspect the statistics for other Western countries are comparably depressing.

Everything we eat, with the exceptions of salt and water, was once living. They are killed for us to eat them. Please think about that very carefully. Everything in your fridge, your freezer, your cupboard, was once alive. It has died for you. It’s one thing if you eat it, but killing something so that you can put it in the dustbin and send it to landfill? That’s immoral.

 This is just domestic food waste, as well. It doesn’t take into account how much the supermarkets throw away, how much is damaged in transit, or ditched by food processors. So perhaps the percentage of food we grow that we end up eating is going to be closer to a half. Let me do that again. Half of the animals we raise and slaughter very likely just go to landfill. How much of land tied up in farming could be returned to nature if only we wasted less? We’ve a rising human population, many of whom suffer food shortages. If we can’t learn to be more efficient with what we have, we are paving the way to all kinds of problems.

Most of us are so removed from food production that we forget what it means. We lose sight of the cost – to the animals who are raised and slaughtered, and the land that is cultivated. Farming contributes to the loss of bio diversity. Expanding farmland for things like palm oil (used in so many products now) leads to felling in rainforests and pushes animals closer to the brink of extinction. And all because we are too lazy to make proper use of what he have.

If we all made more effort to buy what only we need, to store it intelligently, use it in good time, not make insanely big portions, save and re-use leftovers, and treat food with respect, we could make a huge difference. What’s the possible justification for doing otherwise? Anyone who claims that they are too busy, or has more important things to do, is kidding themselves, at best. It isn’t hard, it doesn’t take much effort.

What it comes down to is whether you care enough to spare a few moments and plan you food. This is an issue of basic decency, and basic human survival. We have to stop taking just to waste. We have to respect the plants and animals that die for us on a daily basis. We have to respect ourselves and take better care of our own resources. There are no excuses.

Food, feasting, celebrating, staying alive…

Food is an essential part of everyday life, a focus at festivals, and a significant ethical consideration. How we handle food day to day can have huge effects on family life, and spiritual expression.

What do we buy? Producing food has huge environmental impact. Do you source locally when you can? Free range? Does meat feature in your diet? Do you think about food miles? (the drive to and from the supermarket causes the most damage in this regard). How healthy is your diet? Do you make food from scratch, or buy pre-pre-prepared? All of these issues represent ethical dilemmas around food and family.

I’m not suggesting there are any right answers, but, here are a few things to mull. Good diet significantly contributes to good health. Whatever else you do or don’t eat, getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on your plate is good for you. Eating together is a powerful, bonding activity. It creates opportunities to talk, and listen, and reinforces bonds. There is a quote (no idea where from) that goes ‘families who eat together and pray together, stay together’.

There’s a trend in western culture towards fragmented eating, individuals foraging from fridge or freezer to re-heat in microwaves, eating alone and around other activities. Good food, and the sharing of it, is life enhancing. If it’s not viable to do all the time, there’s still much to be said for trying to do it as often as you can. Making good food is an expression of care for your tribe, and an act of creativity. Those who put in the time and effort, should be honoured for their generosity. If someone makes a cake for your ritual, that’s something to celebrate and praise. If someone other than you does the cooking, make sure their work is fully acknowledged. Meal making is important, don’t take it for granted! There is fun to be had in making good food, and it is something that can be shared. If you want to teach children about nutrition and food ethics, nothing beats getting them into the kitchen.

Western culture pushes us towards living faster, doing less for ourselves, and perceiving less value in traditional skills. There is nobility in self sufficiency. There is magic in the rising of a loaf, the crafting of a banquet. ‘Ease’ and ‘convenience’ are seldom satisfying, and pre-made food, whacked into the microwave may keep your body moving, but it will not feed your soul. If you let food be an active expression of your paganism, it will have significant positive effects on you, and those around you.

Bryn Colvin


Book Review: Yule by Dorothy Morrison


Note: Review originally published in 2000. Personal notations are from that period, and not current. I just had to include this today!

Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth
By Dorothy Morrison

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Number of Pages: 198
ISBN: 1-56718-496-0
Copyright: Dorothy Morrison 2000
Release: Fall 2000

I literally itched to get this book from the moment it was offered to me. Dorothy Morrison has made a large impact on the pagan community with her warmth and heart, and I feel honored to recommend this book.

And that I do, highly! Particularly at this time of year – a season to prepare and give gifts, to celebrate the birth of the Sun, to celebrate our families, our friends, our lives. I think I gained five pounds just reading and imagining the recipes – I envisioned Ms. Morrison’s “Ambrosia” (pg 128) melting in my mouth; “Gingerbread Cookies” (pg 127) and “Wassail” (pg 144) for all at my family gathering this holiday season.

This of course leads to thoughts of presents for various family members. Almost all of my family is unbearably difficult to buy for – so I simplify and give them all pictures of the girls. For those who invariably require something a little more (like my much younger brothers, who aren’t much older than my girls) I try to find something to suit their personalities.

This year, each of them is getting gifts made by my little family, following directions in “Yule.” My mother (again, the most difficult person to buy for) will get a Potpourri Lamp as described on page 101, with slight modifications. This will be from myself, as the girls have laid claim on decorating other candle-holders. My brothers will receive the “Coffee Spoons” found on page 149. My grandparents will be getting a modified version of the Stocking Identifiers on page 64, to be used as ornaments on their little tree.

Here’s a sample of Ms. Morrison’s work, from page 51:

The Dawning of Solstice
T’was the dawning of Solstice
The shortest day of the year
And we cheered on the Mother
For Her delivery was near
And as we watched the pink streaks
That flashed bright in the sky
We knew he was coming
In the flash of an eye
Then the Mother groaned once
And an orange streak appeared
Then yellow, then white
And we all laughed and cheered
Then the first ray of sunshine
Bathed us all with its light
And we knew that the Sun
Had been born of the Night
And He rose in the sky – Just a tiny bright ball –
To warm our hearts and our planet…
Happy Solstice to all!
~ Adapted by Dorothy Morrison from the 1823 poem “A Visit From St.Nicholas” By Clement C. Moore

Y’all have a little time before it’s too late for this year’s Yule celebrations. If you are at a creative loss for ideas, or just wish to try something new – I cannot stress enough – THIS BOOK COVERS IT! From the origins of the multitude of celebrations, to crafts and activities, to a countdown calendar – Ms.Morrison’s Yule is a perfect resource to help you welcome the Sun!

I bet it would make a great gift, too. 😉

Jodi Lee is publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project. Her writing has appeared in several recent anthologies as well as magazines on and offline for the past decade. Having shelved her first novel for the time being, she is currently working on two (or three) novels set in the fictional town of New Bedlam.

Interested in some horror for the holidays? Pre-order Courting Morpheus, the anthology set in New Bedlam! Featuring the works of MR Sellars, Camille Alexa and more, the stories explore the insanity that builds as Morpheus is busy elsewhere…

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