Saturday, November 5, 2011

We Reached Our Funding Goal! 

Yay 117 percent backed!  We reached our funding goal ! So, we set new goal of $2500 and we CAN do this with your help!  Ellen and I are brain storming an additional reward for our current backers and anyone who backs us for $9.00 or more. Stayed tuned, and thanks!!! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Of Apples, Applesauce, and Autumn

A cold October wind moans through the windows. The sky is moody and the light is muted.  But our house is bustling, warm, and filled by the delicious scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cooking apples.  In our house, this is the season for making applesauce.  This year we canned 160 jars over three days using five pressure cookers, two Roma Food Strainers and eighteen half bushel bags of assorted “seconds” from Schobers Orchard in Monroeville, NJ.  It's a highly anticipated process that involves the whole family; and on a cool truly "autumnal" day like this, it also turns us inward toward hearth and home.  

It's easy to understand why the apple has been an important symbol across cultures and history.  Baked, sauced, or au naturel, apples taste delicious, are pleasant to look at, store well,  and are a great excuse to take a trip to a local orchard and have a bit of harvest fun.   Hmm...Eve is often painted handing Adam an apple for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For the Norse it was a symbol of youth. It gave the Celts a desire for fairie.  

The apple is also a great way to illustrate the seasonal cycle. That's why many a kindergarten teacher uses apple tree art projects . Bare in the winter, lovely, fragrant flowers in spring, fruit in late summer, and golden leaves and a final harvest come autumn.  

An apple can also help Pagan parents convey their beliefs to their children. Beneath its bright, shiny skin, right in its center, is a five pointed "star."  Spreading some paint on a sponge and helping your little one press the half sphere into it and then onto a piece of paper is a great way to have some fun together while giving your child a sense of the connection between nature based beliefs and a part of nature. Earth, air, fire, water, and spirit hidden within a womb forging the cycle from bud, to leaf, to petal to fruit.  

PS Our Kickstarter project is 81 percent funded please help us to meet and exceed our goal!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Time Between

My husband, six year old daughter, and I took a walk through the woods and farmland of the Brandywine Valley this afternoon. The sky was cloudless and blue; the air summer warm.  But tan fields of  dry corn stalks, the first  yellow leaves spiraling down, and high honking Vs of geese  heading south left no doubt that Autumn is here.   

Ramsey Farm's tractors rumble and bump  up and down the  hills  dropping families off at the pumpkin fields.  This is my favorite season of the year because is stands between.  It is the ripened fruit on the withering plant.   It is a time of transition and transformation.

Today the woods brought this lesson home.  As we began our walk, we stopped to look at a Black Rat Snake  sharing the trail and  enjoying a patch of  sunlight.  I explained to out little girl that soon it would grow cold and the snake would find a hollow log, a burrow, or even a space under our wood pile where it would  spend the winter hibernating.  

We too are basking in the sunlight of this warm day.  Enjoying it all the more because we know that soon the warmth will  depart.  

Towards the end of our walk,  I found a snake skin on the trail.   I held it in the palm of my hand and felt the tingle of its residual energy.  I explained that  the old skin had become too small and maybe too full of parasites --that the process of shedding old skin takes work,  but that  the snake emerges with a beautiful new skin and travels on leavening the old skin behind.  

 Just as we neared the small parking lot, our  daughter exclaimed, "Eew mommy! Poor possum!"
A small  possum lay  on the side of the trail where the tractor had cleared underbrush.   As we stepped around it, we talked a little about the natural cycle of endings and beginnings--the possum would return to the earth, but in the spring new baby possums would be born.   

Through nature walks and observance of nature based spirituality,  our six-year old daughter knows  that there is a cycle--that  every living thing  is born, changes, and will someday die. As she moves toward the light, cuddles her doll and talks about kindergarten, the cycle isn't something she dwells upon--nor would we want her to do so.  But as middle-ages adults, we carry and accept this reminder  that we are all blessed and bound into this cycle; that death leads to rebirth; darkness to light, and that we all shift from one existence  into another.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mabon--The Second Harvest

The seasons are shifting. The air is still hot and muggy, but every day the sun sets earlier. On the fringes of the woods, the first leaves turn yellow. Honey-rich Autumn light plays across cornfields where tassels and ears are stiff and brown.  Like delinquent children, our pumpkin vines have  run rampant  across our yard.  But  the vines are yellowing now and plump, orange pumpkins   nestle in high grass speckled with Goldenrod and Aster.  Soon, we'll cut the withered cords, store them in the root cellar, and make our annual pilgrimage to Schober's orchard so that we can make applesauce from crisp, fresh picked  Honey Crisps, Empire, Braeburns, and Gingergolds.

As the days shorten,  we move  away from long weekends at the beach and  transition  into school and work routines.

Luckily, Mabon (the Autumn Equinox)  reminds us of the need to find balance even as we transition --to let go of some things to make way for others that fit this season of our lives.  The Second Harvest is a time to rejoice and give thanks for nature's bounty and all that is fruitful and positive in our lives.

But even as we celebrate abundance,  we know that The Wheel of The Year will turn toward darkness, cold, scarcity, and death.  The bountiful Mother WILL become the wise Crone.   Knowing this,  we embrace  duality--the abundance and beauty of this day, this time as well the knowledge that soon the earth will become barren and that--like falling leaves-- we must let go of  those parts of our lives that we have outgrown--to look within and discern and embrace the darkness without which light would have no meaning.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Great news!! Our Kickstarter proposal is up and running please check it out and help get Solstice Sun Solstice Moon published.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some words on Solstice/Yule traditions behind Solstice Moon, Solstice Sun

The Winter Solstice/Yule is the time of greatest darkness and the longest night of the year. Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate the Winter Solstice/Yule between December 20-23 when the dark half of the year gives way to the light half (for those in the Southern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year will come in December).  

For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the turning point when the days begin to grow longer. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. 

At the Solstice itself,  the sun appears to stand still in the sky for a few days before and after (from the Latin for sun + to stand still). People from many different cultures have held solstice celebrations for thousands of years. For our distant ancestors, dependent on hunting, gathering, and growing, the seasons and the weather played a central role in their lives.

The Winter Solstice featured the birth of a "Divine King" long before the rise of Christianity. Since the Sun is considered to represent the Male Divinity in many Pagan traditions, this time is celebrated as the "return of the Sun God" where He is reborn of the Goddess.

 At Solstice/Yule, Pagans celebrate the end of the Holly King's reign and the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb.   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hail the Hail-

 My daughter stands in the wind
-- hair flung in strands--
 like a figurehead come to life
riding the crest of the storm
  I fear her recklessness and long to join her
as I herd the youngster to the porch.
But she has traveled beyond the safety of my arms
 onto a stage
where dark cloud curtains, part swirl,
mound cell upon cell;
She sways with the wind that parts the meadow grass
unafraid of the consequences of her stance,
partakes in the summoning
  of heat, light, thunder.
She moves with the elements lost and found in their fury.
 Wind howls through branches. 
Rain and hail bounce and  clatter on the roof
 strike her, cool her, bruise her.
And still she stands
wrapped in a blanket of her own making.
I want to call to her, but stop.
The storm is hers to claim
As it is mine to reject
until it rumbles and mutters toward the east.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


We are still in the throes of  of getting our Kickstarter proposal together.  It would probably help A LOT if one of us had gone to film school or at least taken a few courses...or really read the instructions on how to use Ellen's friend's camera.  At any rate, as usual,  we are learning by doing and are determined to put out a great presentation that will let us reach our goal and publish a beautiful product.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

 Our economies are crashing and tragedy surrounds us.  But, in this microcosm it is a clear, beautiful August morning.  The cicadas are droning in the arborvitae and a balmy breeze is wafting through my window.  In the garden many of the pumpkins are already orange and the tassels on Colleen's quorum of corn plants are turning brown.  It's the kind of  summer day that I can  sink into and and appreciate the gift of my life in this here and now.  After 52  years on the planet I've learned to embrace that ol'  truism "stop and smell the roses."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's official!  Brigid's Hearth Press is licensed in the  state of Delaware  and Solstice Sun/Solstice Moon, the first of the Wheel of the Year books, is one step closer to publication.   Stay tuned for our Kickstarter proposal on  Check our our proposal and make a pledge.

Owlet's Wings

In the dark snowy woods
Where tall trees loom
Owlet wakes to the rising moon...

Solstice Moon, Solstice Sun is a children’s picture book celebrating the wonders of the winter woods and the beauty of the seasonal cycle as the Earth turns toward longer days on the Winter Solstice.   With its gentle rhymes and  colorful innovative illustrations,  Solstice Sun Solstice Moon  fulfills a need within the Pagan community for quality children’s books  which explore the changing seasons  in  the Wheel of the Year and establish a conscious sense of connection with nature.  The story focuses upon Owlet  who  travels through the woods with his mother to learn the secrets of the season.  We work closely together on the text and illustrations focusing upon changes we observe in the  local countryside of the Brandywine River Valley.