The Answer to the Season’s Biggest Question; Yes, Santa IS Real!


December 6, 2013 in Articles

santa-clausWhen it comes to the delicate matter of belief, there are creative ways to answer our children’s questions without taking the magic out of life.

When my oldest child was about five, she asked whether Santa Claus was real. Her dad and I told her that Santa is real — to those who believe.

Is love real? Is hope real? Is magic real? Is faith real? We can’t touch or see any of these things, but most of us believe in at least a few of them. In some cases, we can feel them. In others, we may see proof of them appearing in the physical world.

I believe in Christmas miracles. I believe that Mystics speak with God. I believe that Tibetan lamas reincarnate with full recall of their previous lives. I believe in our ability to do good in the world, with each conscious choice we make. I believe in faeries, and faerie tales, pookas, ghosts, saints, and goblins. I believe in a power omnipresent and indivisible.

And, I still believe in Santa Claus. I always will. Just like I believe in God, with Its ineffability, and the many faces It wears.
Jitterbug Perfume by Tim Robbins has one of the best descriptions I’ve seen of the human relationship with deity. The premise is this: the gods depend upon our belief in them to survive. Our belief in the gods makes them real.

The power of belief is an important gift we must instruct and safeguard in our children. Belief is what we build our lives upon. Without belief, we may be cast adrift on an endless, meaningless sea. Belief offers a rudder when nothing else can help us find our way.



At 12, my oldest started the Christmas season by saying she no longer believed in Santa. And then complained when she didn’t feel the Christmas Spirit flooding her as we trimmed the tree.

I talked to her about faith.

The fact is, sometimes it’s hard to have faith that Santa will come. I’ll admit it; even I have been known to test The Spirit from time to time. My first Christmas post-divorce I made such a test.

That year it was hard to find my belief in the Spirit of Christmas. I had no one to give my Christmas list to. No one to tell what I hoped to find under the tree. I prayed to the universe to enforce my faith. I wanted proof that Santa was still real.

I wanted indoor/outdoor, “Ugg” knock-off slippers. I know, it’s kind of petty. Slippers? But it was what I wanted. Sometimes, especially in the midst of doubt, fear, and sadness, it’s the little things that matter. Cozy feet on a lonely morning. A small gift out of nowhere.
It was a deal between me and The Spirit, and since I had asked, The Spirit knew exactly what was required to validate my faith.

Come Christmas day, I was gifted a pair of slippers.

That Christmas, Santa showed up as my sister. She didn’t get the slippers for me, but for one of our nieces. When the slippers didn’t fit the quickly growing girl, my sister asked me to take them instead; she didn’t want to go to the trouble of carrying them home on the plane and exchanging them.

I whispered a thank you to Santa, and reminded myself that sometimes He works in mysterious ways; I didn’t know my sister was bringing slippers for the nieces. She didn’t know I wanted them, either. But Santa did. And He delivered.

Throughout my life I’ve seen innumerable miracles of Christmas faith occur, large and small.

I was 14 when my father left the family. That year Christmas looked bleak. There were five mouths to feed, and no “extra”money to be found. We had a “Charlie Brown tree” cut from a stand of fir trees on our own land, and bedecked with ornaments from Christmases past. We were fortunate enough to have food in the cupboard. But my mother was devastated knowing there was no way she would be able to provide Christmas gifts for all of us.

As the oldest at home, I was privy to the goings-on of the adult world. But to this day, I don’t have any idea who brought Santa that year. All I know is that on Christmas Eve a jolly, bespectacled man with a beard of white and suit of red pulled into our very remote, country driveway in his sleigh — or rather, his worn, old, white pick-up truck — with bags filled with festively wrapped gifts. There was a name on each one.

Santa left the bags on our porch. With a jolly smile he offered a “Merry Christmas!”, and was on his way.

In 2007 my Christmas Miracle was the grandest The Spirit of Christmas has yet conspired to deliver for me; the man I’ve been waiting my whole life to find crossed mountain and river that stormy December to be by my side and spend the holidays with me and the children.
That Christmas I felt like both Doris and little Susan in Miracle on 34th Street; the home, the family, the life that I had been nearly afraid to desire became my greatest Christmas miracle. Now every holiday season is a celebration of that most profound of miracles; the emergence of deep love and partnership.

For me, the holidays will continue for the rest of our lives. My faith in the Miracle of Christmas is no longer shakable. No more tests required – I finally got my ultimate proof. The man of my dreams, now my husband, is here to stay.

Some would say it was just a fluke of timing. And there’s something to that; finding The One is a miracle whenever it happens. But to me, it was more than just a twist of circumstance that this relationship arrived wrapped in a Christmas ribbon. For me, it’s further proof that when we open ourselves to the possibility that magic exists, magic proves itself to be real.

Movies are built on the theme of The Christmas Miracle. In this case, art imitates life. Christmas stories with their grand, sweeping, soaring themes serve as a reminder of what’s possible when we allow ourselves to invest in love and faith. And as believing becomes more effortless, the miracles grow larger. Through our agency, miracles are made manifest.

Off the screen, food banks fill for at least one day with more than enough to feed the local hungry. People open their homes to strangers so they will have somewhere to be on Christmas morning. Communities pull together and provide gifts for children who would otherwise be without.

To quote the words of song writer Red West, popularized by Elvis, “if every day could be just like Christmas, what a wonderful world this would be.”

As a Mystic mama, I don’t feel like a hypocrite or a liar, or as though I’m misleading my children by allowing them to believe in a power that makes their child-lives a little more happy, a little more bountiful, a little more hopeful, a little more magical.

And as they grow older, The Spirit need not disappear. Instead of losing heart at the news that Santa is a myth, faith can continue to flourish. Given the chance to become part of the spirit of Saint Nick, children become an active part of that energy of selfless giving. They become the ones who enact the miracles of the season. They grow to be the hearts and bodies that offer those miracles up.

It’s been proven to me again and again through personal experience that the Holiday Spirit does exist. I have been both the one who receives and the one who delivers on the promise of hope that the season offer.

The Spirit is palpable. It acts in the world. Call it the power of faith, or Jesus, or Santa Claus, or generosity — it’s a reminder of a bond of love for our fellow human beings.

Regardless of the name we give it, it sustains. If we allow it to, if we believe it will, it acts through and for each of us, bringing miracles to bear.

The Sexy Witch Virtual Cohort Series, 2014 – Teleclass and Online Classroom!

November 30, 2013 in Latest News!

Sexy WitchThe Sexy Witch Workshop Series

A LIFE-ALTERING OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN!

(LOCAL to the WILLITS AREA? Interested in a face-to-face series?

PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK FOR LASARA’S LOCAL CLASS SERIES!)

Enter in to a journey with a circle of sisters, wherever you are. Utilizing the amazing technological world of electronic connection, we will create a shared experience of sitting in circle. Together, we will work the path of Sexy Witch.

“For any woman who wants to understand, enhance, reclaim or heal her sexuality, this book is a must.”
-Anodea Judith, Ph.D., author of Wheels of Life and Eastern Body, Western Mind.

The book Sexy Witch is part self-help guidebook, part self-esteem workbook, and part mystery initiation into the hidden secrets of Self Empowerment. Addressing self-referential sexual and spiritual power, Sexy Witch promises to bring you home to your deepest truth.

This eight-week course is based on the book Sexy Witch, and lead by author Lasara Firefox Allen.

“LaSara Firefox is a genius! You couldn’t ask for a better guide to take you on this emboldening and engaging adventure. Whether or not you consider yourself a witch, Sexy Witch is a fabulous book full of serious fun.”
-Ariel Gore, author of Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness.

In this course, you will:

•    Claim your body as your own territory.
•    Claim your sexuality through self-agency.
•    Look at and overcome condition that fosters disempowerment.
•    Complete exercises, magickal acts, and rituals that liberate and empower you.
•    Tear down old forms that aren’t serving you, and build new ones that do.
•    Examine our collective historical past as women, and heal through it.
•    Find empowerment through redefinition of self.

“I did the Sexy Witch teleclass series with Lasára a few years ago and the impact it had on my life, my view of myself and my whole world was and is still profound. Going through it with a group gave it power I don’t think would have come from working the book individually. I am blessed and so grateful that I had the opportunity to do the Sexy Witch group.
-Sage Fae Wolf, social worker, CA

Included in this interactive format:
•    Once-weekly teleclasses, PLUS interactive videocasting on spreecast, where you will have facetime with Lasara and your other circle-sisters. During weekly virtual gatherings, we discuss our process, progress, challenges, and realizations.
•    In between gatherings everyone does the work from the chapters of Sexy Witch. None of the exercises are compulsory, or required. You do the amount of work on each chapter that works for you. (Order your copy of Sexy Witch from me, and get it signed!:) )
•   An online fb-based classroom/living room so you can stay in touch with your circle sisters between weekly in-person circles.
•    You can have a Sexy Witch Sister with whom to share and receive support with as the course goes along. (If you don’t join with someone you’re already close with, I will match you up with another participant.)
•    Meditations in the book are available as recordings to those who take the course.

The course will culminate in a group initiation based on the final initiation in Sexy Witch, near the date of spring equinox, 2014. Teleclass gatherings will be Mondays, 6:30 – 7:30 PM Pacific, followed by interactive webcasting  via spreecast for weekly facetime with Lasara and your circle sisters. Session starts January 27 and  completes March 24 (no class on Feb 17, due to PantheaCon!).

The rate for the entire 8-week course is $295. EARLY BIRD SPECIAL $275! Seating is limited! Register ASAP.

Time commitment:

        There’s a once a week teleclass and intereactive videocast gathering on Mondays, from 6:30 until about 8:30 PM, Pacific time. The course runs for eight weeks.

 

 


Deposit, or early bird rate available. Register now!



Not familiar with Sexy Witch? Sexy Witchis Lasara’s best-selling book on women’s self-referential sexuality and empowerment. It was published by Llewellyn Worldwide in 2005. Sexy Witch is available in four languages, has been reviewed all over the globe, and has hit bestseller lists in two countries.

“This witty and smart, well-researched gem of a book has the power to transform the feminist movement at the radical roots – women’s bodies and their sexuality. For any woman who wants to understand, enhance, reclaim or heal her sexuality, this book is a must. It will serve to liberate your sisters as well as the men and women who love them.”
-Anodea Judith, Ph.D., author of Wheels of Life and Eastern Body, Western Mind.

 

“I worked through Sexy Witch with Lasara and a small group of women in 2008, and am so happy I did! The work I did, and we did together, still reverberates in my life years later. My relationship with my body and my partner is richer and clearer, and I feel much more certain about my communication with my kids about what love and beauty is in the world. Lasara’s book is more than an educational read, it’s an experience offered to know yourself on very deep levels. To work through this material with Lasara herself is an experience not to be missed.”
-Durga Fuller – TheCookAwakening.com, nutrition expert, coach, and mom, OR

“Lasára’s insightful work with Sexy Witch will stimulate you to question the reality within which you have chosen to live. In accepting her invitation to the path of transformation you can discover a rich reality which exists within.”
-Liesl, O.T.O Priestess, CA

“I was in the last class and it’s so much more than the book… And the group got together weekly on the bridge line and brought very thought provoking discussions to the table.”
-Apolla, Financial Systems Consultant, VA


 

For more details, get in touch with me via facebook, or drop a note at info@lasarafirefoxallen.com.

Notice; this may be the last time I offer the Sexy Witch series as a virtual experience.

Interested in upcoming course offerings? Subscribe to Lasara’s Lists!

Face-to-Face Sexy Witch Series, 2014 – Willits, CA – REGISTRATION OPEN NOW!

November 30, 2013 in Latest News!

Sexy WitchThe Sexy Witch Workshop Series

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR LOCAL WOMEN!

(NOT LOCAL? PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK FOR LASARA’S ONLINE/TELECLASS SERIES!)

“For any woman who wants to understand, enhance, reclaim or heal her sexuality, this book is a must.”
-Anodea Judith, Ph.D., author of Wheels of Life and Eastern Body, Western Mind.

The book Sexy Witch is part self-help guidebook, part self-esteem workbook, and part mystery initiation into the hidden secrets of Self Empowerment. Addressing self-referential sexual and spiritual power, Sexy Witch promises to bring you home to your deepest truth.

This eight-week course is based on the book Sexy Witch, and is lead by local author, Lasara Firefox Allen.

“LaSara Firefox is a genius! You couldn’t ask for a better guide to take you on this emboldening and engaging adventure. Whether or not you consider yourself a witch, Sexy Witch is a fabulous book full of serious fun.”
-Ariel Gore, author of Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness.

In this course, you will:

  • Claim your body as your own territory.
  • Claim your sexuality through self-agency.
  • Look at and overcome condition that fosters disempowerment.
  • Complete exercises, magickal acts, and rituals that liberate and empower you.
  • Tear down old forms that aren’t serving you, and build new ones that do.
  • Examine our collective historical past as women, and heal through it.
  • Find empowerment through redefinition of self.

“I did the Sexy Witch teleclass series with Lasára a few years ago and the impact it had on my life, my view of myself and my whole world was and is still profound. Going through it with a group gave it power I don’t think would have come from working the book individually. I am blessed and so grateful that I had the opportunity to do the Sexy Witch group.
-Sage Fae Wolf, social worker, CA

Included in this interactive format:

  • Once-weekly face-to-face class at Lasara’s home in Brooktrails
  • An fb-based private “classroom/living room” environment where you can stay in touch with your circle sisters between classes.
  • You’ll be teamed up with a Sexy Witch Sister with whom you may share and receive support with as the course goes along. (If you don’t join with someone you’re already close with, Lasara will match you up with another participant.)
  • Meditations in the book are available as recordings to those who take the course.

The course will culminate in a group initiation based on the final initiation in Sexy Witch on March 18, 2014, near spring equinox. Gatherings will be Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, January 28 to March 18, and will take place at Lasara’s home in Willits. The rate for the entire 8-week course is $295. EARLY BIRD SPECIAL $275! Seating is limited! Register ASAP.

FAQs:

Time commitment:

    This is a nine-week series.
    There’s a once a week gathering on Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM. During the gatherings we discuss our process, progress, challenges, and realizations.
    In between gatherings everyone does the work from the chapters of Sexy Witch. None of the exercises are compulsory, or required. You do the amount of work on each chapter that works for you.

 

Scroll to the bottom of the page for more endorsements from former participants.


Deposit, or early bird rate available. Regsiter now!



Not familiar with Sexy Witch? Sexy Witchis Lasara’s best-selling book on women’s self-referential sexuality and empowerment. It was published by Llewellyn Worldwide in 2005. Sexy Witch is available in four languages, has been reviewed all over the globe, and has hit bestseller lists in two countries.

“This witty and smart, well-researched gem of a book has the power to transform the feminist movement at the radical roots – women’s bodies and their sexuality. For any woman who wants to understand, enhance, reclaim or heal her sexuality, this book is a must. It will serve to liberate your sisters as well as the men and women who love them.”
-Anodea Judith, Ph.D., author of Wheels of Life and Eastern Body, Western Mind.

“I worked through Sexy Witch with Lasara and a small group of women in 2008, and am so happy I did! The work I did, and we did together, still reverberates in my life years later. My relationship with my body and my partner is richer and clearer, and I feel much more certain about my communication with my kids about what love and beauty is in the world. Lasara’s book is more than an educational read, it’s an experience offered to know yourself on very deep levels. To work through this material with Lasara herself is an experience not to be missed.”
-Durga Fuller – TheCookAwakening.com, nutrition expert, coach, and mom, OR

“Lasára’s insightful work with Sexy Witch will stimulate you to question the reality within which you have chosen to live. In accepting her invitation to the path of transformation you can discover a rich reality which exists within.”
-Liesl, O.T.O Priestess, CA

“I was in the last class and it’s so much more than the book… And the group got together weekly on the bridge line and brought very thought provoking discussions to the table.”
-Apolla, Financial Systems Consultant, VA

For more details, get in touch with me via facebook, or drop a note at lasara.allen.mpnlp@gmail.com.com.

Notice; this may be the last time I offer the Sexy Witch series.

Interested in upcoming course offerings? Subscribe to Lasara’s Lists!

Thanks and Thanksgiving – Gratitude is a Gift, and So Is Remembrance

November 28, 2013 in Articles

Reprint, with slight edits. First posted on November 21, 2010

Most of us know something about the abysmal history that follows from that first, mythical “Thanksgiving Day”.

I will not belittle the horror and carnage that followed the “founding of a new land” (new to whom?) as “manifest destiny” was used as an ideological weapon that allowed the settlers to push westward, killing people and destroying cultures, and irrevocably changing the fabric of a nation forever.

The inarguable atrocities occurred for hundreds of years, and continue to this day. The Trail of Tears (or, “Nunna dual Tsuni” in the Cherokee language; The Trail Where They Cried). “Americanization” of Native peoples. Broken treaties.

784px-the_first_thanksgiving_jean_louis_gerome_ferrisHowever, perhaps it isn’t essential to get attached to the negative political connotations of this holiday. To have Thanksgiving become Guiltfest.

Perhaps in all of this, we can also believe – or at least hope against hope – that there was, once upon a time, that first gathering of thanksgiving, where the newcomers, out of a deep sense of gratitude and recognition, invited the native people to share a feast with them in thanks for the help that had allowed the settlers to survive their early days in a new land.

This coming together of openhearted and grateful sharing is the spirit I attempt to enter into the holiday with. This, and the belief that it’s worth dedicating at least one day out of the year to the practice of gratitude.

Thanksgiving day does not need to be a political statement. I’ll go even further and say that though the institutionalization of the federal holiday may have originally been a political move, the observation of the holiday has become one of that is patently apolitical. And while the original wording of the proclamations that the Thanksgiving holiday is built upon were Christian in intent, the observation has become more or less secular.

Today, for most Americans, the spirit of Thanksgiving is one of inclusion. Pagans, and even Atheists celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a chance to take inventory of our lives, an opportunity to consciously reflect upon and share the things we are truly grateful for with friends and family. And a time to indulge in the fruits of our harvests – literal or metaphoric – by way of a large feast, often brought together in a stone-soup or potluck manner.

Like so many of the celebrations of the darkening season, this feast is both a recognition of bounty, and a practice of faith. Faith that through shared abundance, there’s no winter that will be hard enough that we don’t get through it. And at the basic, beautiful, mundanely rooted nature of it, the actual bounty is in no way metaphoric, but is wholly celebratory.

Perhaps somewhere in these days leading up to the holiday you’ll take some time to reflect on the history of the native people of these lands, because this dark side of the history of this nation should never be forgotten – and all too often, it is.

1280px-Bia-map-indian-reservations-usaPerhaps you will educate your children about the shadows that dwell behind the images of Pilgrims and turkeys that adorn their classrooms, because their teachers are not going to. Maybe you’ll take a moment of silent prayer, or maybe even shared prayer, in recognition of the hidden history of the Indian Wars and the cultural genocide of the native peoples of this country before (or even at) your Thanksgiving gathering – because until there’s a federally recognized Indigenous People’s Day proclaimed, this is one of the few days out of the year that reminds us of our national shadow history.

And, maybe the awareness of what you’re grateful for will serve as a reminder to offer what you can to those who have less.

And, I hope you’ll begin counting your blessings. Because once you begin counting, you won’t be able to stop.

On Thanksgiving, you have an opportunity to recognize not just the bounty of your table piled high and your cup running over, but also the wealth of community, family, and abundance of all forms. And the more conscious you become of what it is that you’re grateful for, the deeper your experience of the holiday of Thanksgiving will be.

 

Some Thanksgiving Games:

Get GRATIGORIES! Get grateful.

(Click link above for a gift of a card game, from me to you.)

A Gratitude Round Robin – Gratitude Games * A Grateful A to Z – A Gratitude Game for Kids of All Ages

A Gratitude Game – Gratitude Round-Robin
Posted on November 21, 2010

Definition of Terms

a. Round is a go-around where everyone in a group gives their answer.

b. Round-Leader is the facilitator of the round. This position transitions at the conclusion of each round. The role of round leader can go to the person who wants it next, or you can pass the role in the round, either to the left or right. If a player does not want to be a round leader, they can pass.

Basic Guidelines:

a. Never force, “cajole” , or pressure any player into responding to any prompt. “Pass” is always an acceptable response.

b. The main rule is: Answer from gratitude. BE GRATEFUL!

c. Always give the person who is offering their gratitude the floor. Do not interrupt them, question them, or quiet them. If you’re playing this as a family, it’s especially important that you allow one another the full range of voice.

Round-Robin:

Sitting in a circle, or around a table, one person starts with a statement of gratitude, then everyone else in the group follows one-by-one. The group can set guidelines as desired.

Some possibilities:

  • Stay within a theme for each round.
  • No repeats per round. (For example, if someone says they’re grateful for family, someone else may say they’re grateful for a person IN their family, but not repeat the more general idea.)
  • Staying with one idea for every round (like, the round-leader says they’re grateful for apples, then everyone in the round says why they’re grateful for apples).

A Grateful A – Z — A Gratitude Game for Kids of All Ages
Posted on November 17, 2010

When I was a kid, we played alphabet games in the car to pass the time on long drives or road trips. I’ve recreated one of those games, with a gratitude theme. A Grateful A to Z includes players of all ages – from talking age up.

A Grateful A to Z is an adaptable game. Variations are listed below. For young players, A Grateful A to Z serves two purposes; it teaches both language skills and gratitude! And, with older players, there are ways to make A Grateful A to Z more complicated.

You can choose a category, or allow A Grateful A to Z to be free-form. Free-form is recommended for younger players, and is easier than working with a category. Themes or categories are recommended for more advanced players.

1. Definition of terms:

a. “Round” is a go-around where everyone in a group gives their answer to the category, or passes.

b. “Round-Leader” is the facilitator of the round. This position transitions at the conclusion of each round. The role of round leader can go to the person who wants it next, or you can pass the role in the round, either to the left or right. If a player does not want to be a round leader, they can pass.

2. Basic Guidelines:

a. The main rule is: Answer from gratitude. Be GRATEFUL!

b. Never force, cajole, or pressure any player into responding to any prompt. “Pass” is always an acceptable response.

c. Always give the person who is offering their gratitude the floor. Do not interrupt, question, or quiet them. If you’re playing this as a family, it’s especially important that you allow one another the full range of voice.

Remember, you can print out these directions, or you can upload them to your palm-top and not print at all. Please keep your “footprint” in mind when considering your options.

Variations and Detailed Guidelines:

A Grateful A – Z, Freeform:
The round leader starts a round with the phrase “I’m grateful for…”, and chooses anything starting with an A. The round leader can pass the prompt either to the right or left. The round ends when the alphabet ends. You can make it more complicated by offering a “no repeats” guideline.

A Grateful A – Z, with Themes:
Round leader comes up with a theme – people you’re grateful for, things you’re grateful for, inventions you’re grateful for.

Enjoy your family this holiday season!

The Witchy Origins of Hallowe’en – with fun family activities!

October 18, 2013 in Articles

Fairy-Magic-Halloween-Fairy-Cards-1Samhain: The Witches’ New Year
In Gaelic, the Celtic language, the word Samhain (and variations of it) means “summer’s end”. The Celts divided the year up into two parts; the Winter Half, or Dark Half, and the Summer Half, or Light Half. Samhain was the advent of the Dark Half of the year.

The Celts considered day as starting with evening instead of midnight or morning, and so it was with the year. As the Celts recognized the beginning of the dark season, they celebrated their new year.

Many traditions of modern Witchcraft have roots in the Celtic cycle of the year, and Samhain – which coincides with Hallowe’en – is also known as the Witches’ New Year.

Samhain was one of four yearly Fire Festivals celebrated by the Druids of the Celtic lands. Each of these festivals lasted three days. They were celebrated on the seasonal turning points between equinoxes and solstices, also known as the cross-quarters.

During the Samhain festival, and at it’s seasonal polarity, Beltane, a single community fire was built on the top of a nearby hill. Once the fire was built all the hearth fires in family homes were let to go out so the flame could be rekindled from the shared fire. These were the only times during the year that hearth fires were extinguished.

On the final morning of the festival, the head of each household would take embers from the community fire and restart the fire in the family hearth.

In ancient Celtic tradition the day before Samhain was considered the last day of the old year, and the day after was considered the first day of the new year. Samhain itself was considered a time between times, a day between years, and a world between worlds. It was the time of the year where the veil between the world of spirit and the world of the living was believed to be thinnest.

The Celts believed that Samhain was a time when spirits of the dead and the not yet born, faeries, and other supernatural beings would walk among the living. During the three days of celebration people dressed in costumes to make the wandering spirits feel at home.

During this time the poor of the community were given license to beg for food in the guise of supernatural beings. Homesteaders, not wanting to bring disfavor upon themselves by acting selfishly, would feed the hungry spirits. In this way, the living and dead were fed on Samhain. It was believed that the ancestors would bring blessings to those who had been generous.

The Celts lived by strict rules, but during Samhain the usual rules were laid aside. Mischief was made, fortunes were told, and revels were had. Men dressed as women, women dressed as men, and bands of young people would wander for miles seeking food and drink from the farmsteads in return for the entertainment they offered.

This is where one of the American traditions of Hallowe’en came from. Trick-or-treating was once called mumming, and was a time where groups of people, adults and children alike, would go from door to door in costume singing, jesting and posing as spirits. The people they visited would offer treats such as soul cakes and cider in exchange for the entertainment, and in order to create goodwill with the spirits.

The closeness of the different worlds during Samhain made it an especially easy time to catch a glimpse of the future, and many would play games of divination on Samhain eve. Apple bobbing descended from one of these games.

Ancient people had an intimate relationship with death. With the coming on of the winter season, Samhain was a time of getting ready to face the possible losses that were to be expected. Samhain was considered the third, and last, harvest of the season. Called the Red Harvest, this harvest was the harvest of meat. Herds of livestock were culled; the weak and old animals were slaughtered, so that there would be enough food for the healthy livestock to survive the winter.

Some of the meat was salted, cured, and saved for winter. Some of the meat was eaten during the festival. Some of the meat, and all the bones, were burned on the bone-fire (possibly the origin of the word bonfire) in offering to the spirits. The bone ash was used to nourish the fields where crops would be grown the next year.

Jack-o-lanterns were originally carved from turnips and other tubers, and were made as a warding to keep unfriendly spirits, mischievous faeries and hungry souls from stopping over. The bonfires built on hilltops were there to light the way for the wandering dead, and to give them warmth and comfort in the darkness.

If loved ones had died in the previous year, family members would place a lighted candle in the window to lead the spirit home. The living would leave doors and windows unlatched, and set a place at the supper table for their beloved dead. The family would eat in silence in honor of the dead, from whom death had taken voice. This tradition lives on in many traditions of Witchcraft as the “dumb supper”, which is part of many ritual observances of the Witches’ New Year.

Modern American Traditions:
In the United States, many celebrate Halloween by dressing in costume, transforming ourselves into our dearest dreams or our scariest nightmares. We get to go out into the world as someone other than we usually are.

The tradition of mumming lives on in the guise of trick-or-treating. Though perhaps some of the artistry of the mummers plays has been lost along the way, trick-or-treating is still an opportunity to be out in the community with friends and family, sharing an experience with others of revelry with friends and strangers alike.

With some intention you can transform Halloween into a heartfelt and personal experience of the beauty of life and death.

This Halloween you, your family and friends could make an altar to your beloved dead. You could host a dumb supper. Or create a play with your friends and perform it at each house you visit on Halloween.

Or, perhaps the idea of giving generously at this time of year sounds good. With the help of a teacher in your school, you could set up a canned food drive for those in your community who do not have what they need to be warm and happy. It’s very likely, your ancestors will bless you for your acts of good will.

Recipes: Magickal Mulled Cider and Spirit Cakes

This Magickal Mulled Cider is made of apples, one of the most popular of traditional Halloween treats, and spices – which are full of magick! Listed below are some powers that certain spices are believed to have. However, this Witch believe it is also important to know that these powers change, sometimes from person to person.

The most important thing to remember when working magick of any kind, is that your intention (what you want to make happen) is the most important tool you have for any spell-working. So, as you work with this magickal recipe see if you can intuit what magickal properties each spice holds. To do this, hold spices in your hand one at a time, and let your body tell you what each one is good for.

You can also give something a meaning. This may be considered a superstition by many, but this Witch solidly believes that what you intend holds power. You can create meaning, a new reality even, just by Willing it to be so.

Here are some traditional powers the spices you will use today are believed to have:

  • Cloves are considered helpful to those in mourning, and they bring prophecy and offer protection.
  • Nutmeg brings dreams, vision and wealth.
  • Cinnamon is good for strengthening magickal acts, bringing success, wealth and health, bringing the second sight – the sight of prophecy – and it warms the spirit and the body.
  • Allspice is for strengthening a community.
  • Ginger warms, energizes and purifies.
  • Lemon is for purification.
  • Orange is for love and vision.

If you hold the intention for it, this Magickal Cider will bring visions, comfort, warmth, health, wealth, love and a strong sense of community to all you share it with. It is great for a Halloween party, a Samhain night ritual, or anytime you feel the need for some warm, sweet magick.

Magickal Mulled Cider
Serves: Many revelers

Ingredients:
1 gallon apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks for the pot,
Additional cinnamon sticks, one each per mug (optional)
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or 1/8 teaspoon dry, powdered nutmeg
5 pieces whole allspice
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, or 1/4 teaspoon dry, powdered ginger
1 pinch ground cinnamon per mug
1 tablespoon dried orange peel, or the peel of one fresh (ideally organic) orange
Pieces of fresh orange peel cut into stars and other shapes, one per mug (optional)
1 lemon, juiced and pulped

Equipment:
Large (6 Quart) saucepan
Small muslin spice bag, cheese cloth, or a tea strainer
Spice grater
Small plate
Cutting board
Paring knife
Wooden mixing spoon
Ladle
Mugs all around

How-to:
1. Heat cider to a simmer in the sauce pan.
2. While cider heats, grate ginger and nutmeg onto plate.
3. If using fresh orange peel, cut peel into small pieces. (You can cut designs if you like. Stars, pumpkins, spirals, circles. Especially good for pieces to put into mugs.)
4. If you don’t like to have to strain the cider, put spices and peel into a spice bag, or tie in cheese cloth. (I prefer to leave the spices loose, and don’t mind straining. If you are the same, skip this step.)
5. Using your wooden spoon, mix the cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, orange peel, lemon juice and pulp into the cider.
6. Allow to simmer on medium-low heat for at least 1.5 hours.
7. Serve hot. Ladle into mugs, and place a fresh cinnamon stick (optional) and/or fresh piece of orange peel in each mug.

If the cider is too spicy, you can add more cider to water it down. If it’s not spicy enough for your tastes, add more of the seasonings you like most and simmer for longer.

Soul Cakes
These cakes are kind of sweet, kind of savory, kind of biscuit-like, and hearty. And they have lots of stories. One thing you can be sure of is that they will fill the tummies of hungry visitors, spirit and living alike.

All parts of this recipe are magick in some way. Here are a few of the magickal properties of some of the ingredients:

This recipe includes rosemary for remembrance and good will, and salt for cleansing, protection, and resurrection of the pure spirit. Oat is useful for increasing the wealth of your home, sustenance (a good thing for the coming darkness), and in lifting a bad mood (also good for those of us who experience low spirits in the darker part of the year). Wheat is for fertility, and is a wonderful way to recognize the relationship between life and death at this time of year as the seeds are plowed under in the fields, awaiting the springtime warmth to sprout and grow again.

Add spices at Will. What kind of magick do you want in these cakes? And, perhaps as importantly, which spices do you think would taste good? (Sometimes our more subtle senses know better than our conscious minds what is needed.) As with the cider recipe, feel your way into the magick of the spices you want to put into these cakes. Some ideas: cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, ginger,

While oat flour may not be the easiest to find, you can make it yourself by grinding oats (like the kind you make oatmeal with) in a food processor, coffee grinder (that you don’t grind coffee in!), or blender. Using different flours will offer a different type of cake. Whole wheat will be hearty, savory, and somewhat rough. Pastry flour will deliver a more light and delicate cake.

Equipment:
Mortar and pestle
Two large mixing bowls
One smaller bowl
Flour sifter
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Wooden mixing spoon
Electrical egg beater
Baking sheet
Knife for cutting shapes into cakes, if desired

Ingredients:
1.5 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup fine, granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 lb. flour; unbleached wheat, whole wheat, oat, or a mixture.
NOTE: The number of cups of flour will vary depending on flour used. 1 lb = 3 1/3 cups wheat or all purpose flour, or 5 cups oat flour. If you are mixing types of flour, a good mix would be 2 cups wheat or all-purpose to 2 cups oat.
1 pinch of salt
1 generous pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon half and half or cream
1 teaspoon of ground allspice, OR mixed spices.
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped.
3 tablespoons currants (optional)
Milk to feel (explained later)
Extra butter for baking sheet

How-to:
1. Set oven to 350ºF.
2. Crush saffron in mortar and pestle.
3. Add cream and mix with pestle, crushing saffron into the cream.
4. Let sit
5. In one of the mixing bowls, sift together the flour, salt and spices.
6. In the other mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. You may do so by hand, or with your egg beater.
7. In the smaller bowl, beat in the egg yolks until creamy.
8. Add the egg yolks to the sugar and butter bit by bit, whipping until smooth after each addition.
9. With your mixing spoon, fold the currants, flour, salt and spice combination into the egg, butter, cream and sugar mixture.
10. Add saffron/cream combination and mix it in.
11. Add milk bit by bit, to form a soft dough.
12. Divide into pieces and form into flat cakes of 1.5 – 2 inches in size.
13. Place on a buttered baking sheet.
14. If desired, gently cut designs into the top of cakes; stars, hearts, moons, spirals.
15. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
16. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for about then minutes, and then move to cookie rack.

And finally…from our family tradition;
Don’t forget to leave a treat out for the Pictsies on All Hallow’s Eve. They may be small, but they are mighty. It’s always good to know that the little guys have your back. So don’t forget to show them that you’ve got theirs. And in our family we have more than a minor interest in keeping the wee folks happy; we trace our lineage directly back to the slight and flight of foot, woad-covered, elusive, rebels of the old country.

In our family we leave out cream and cookies. Or, nice, fresh soul cakes.

Get Gratigories – Get Grateful!

October 15, 2013 in Latest News!

gratigories_advance_cardToday I got a note asking if I’m still selling Gratigories. Some of you may remember Gratigories! – the game I designed a few years back. For those of you who don’t, here’s the story:

Gratigories – the game that inspires you to get grateful!

Gratigories is a fun way to practice gratitude with your loved ones. A wonderful game for Thanksgiving – or any other day! You can play Gratigories! with your kids, your parents, your friends. Even your colleagues and clients.

Gratigories comes with three sets of cards; basic, advanced, and adult. And it can be played in three different ways. Cultivating gratitude takes practice. Gratigories helps you work your gratitude muscle. Play Gratigories, and get grateful!

gratigories_cards_imageGratitude Games are green; no packaging, no shipping and handling = zero waste! Visit this link to download the games. The file is large, so please allow ample time to download in full.

The answer to the question of whether I’m selling Gratigories anymore is this; no. I’m not selling them. However, I’m inspired to put Gratigories out as a “love offering”. While you may download the games, previously available at $16.99, for free, donations are gratefully accepted. You may donate any amount you feel moved to at the PayPal link below.





Gratigories was developed by Lasara Firefox Allen. The card sets were designed by our friends at Bubonic Media. They’re vibrant, colorful, and full of heart! ENJOY! With gratitude.

My Open Letter to Miley…and You.

October 8, 2013 in Articles

Miley Cyrus Attends Mackapalooza In South BeachDear World,

I have yet to weigh in here on my blog/site about the Miley situation. Partially because I am in a learning place regarding the racism angle, and how the VMA performances brought up issues of white supremacy, issues of intersectionality, sexuality, prejudice, and cultural appropriation.

[...]

However, my attention was brought back to Miley and feminism by the very-recent deluge of open letters ostensibly meant for Miley, but really written to us all.

READ THE REST HERE!

The Gift of Aging: what I know at 40 years.

September 27, 2013 in Articles

196458_10150144377699286_562844285_6277606_587167_n(Originally posted on May 24, 2011. Reposted in honor of a friend’s 40th!)

Every year on and around my birthday, I take inventory. Whether I want to or not, this happens. So I’ve learned to roll with it. And this year, here’s what inventory has yielded:

Limit and defeat are not synonyms.
As a writer, maybe you’d think I would have figured that one out before now. :-) But, as a person this actually comes as a bracing yet pleasant surprise.

Seriously, it’s huge to know that recognizing my limitations is a sign of strength, wisdom, and courage – not weakness. This clarification serves me deeply, and will serve me well for the rest of my life I’m certain.

“Everything is OK” is a radical awareness.
Fact is, “everything is OK” wasn’t usually true for me in my life, and OK certainly didn’t seem like something to strive for. (Strive for OKness? If you’re going to strive, isn’t there something bigger, better, faster, more to strive for than OK?)

But, now that I’ve arrived at really, solidly OK, I can’t actually think of anywhere more perfect.

I don’t mean that in a defeatist way – defeat again, jeeze! WTF is my trip, right? I guess I was raised to be “strong” – No, what I really mean that being OK is absolutely sublime. Quietly, sweetly, beautifully, gently sublime.

More is not always better.
Back to the limit setting. Turning it down to a three or four, or even a one sometimes, instead of running at 11 on a dial that was made for 10 is a beautiful gift to self. Running in over-drive is a sure-fire way to burn out.

Again slow-dawning, but I know this deep in my bones now.

Learning to modulate my experience properly has been a God-send. More about this in Gratitude.

Drama is optional.
It used to seem that drama was purely a fact of life. Now that I have reduced (and in some cases fully eradicated) dramatics from my life, I see that a drama-less (or less-drama) life is totally achievable.

As drama has died down in my personal space, I find that I choose my friends differently. I choose friends who also have a low- or no-drama lifestyle.

I choose to surround myself with friends who are happily coupled or happily single. I choose to invest in friendships with people who value their health and well-being. I choose friends I can relax with and laugh with, talk about a beautiful future with, discuss politics and world events with – and not always have the same views, but always the same willingness to listen to and learn from each other.

Drama is a huge time-sink and downer. While it was a great distraction technique, I’m ever so grateful to have a life where I no longer need distraction.

Gratitude.
I am so grateful for my life. How it is now more than anything. It’s not how I would have imagined it. It’s more gentle, more quiet, more introverted, more careful. This care has made space for something new. This is far better than I could have foreseen.

I’m grateful for the gift of perspective. I’m grateful for love. I’m grateful for the awareness of choice.

I’m grateful for the abundant reasons that I became fully aware of and present in to accept things in a new way. Love, marriage, my beautiful daughters. I’m grateful that my desire to finally really show up to this fully only took until I was 37, not longer.

I’m grateful to the crash that ended all crashes – at least of that magnitude.

I’m grateful for the right meds, and the reasons – those listed above – to stay on them. I’m grateful for my health, and the absolute awareness that it’s really in my hands. And for all the tools that I have to approach this responsibility in a gentle, profound, and comprehensive way. I’m grateful for the support I have. My therapist and my psych doc. My family.

I’m grateful for the amazing truth that I have found a life (and lifetime) partner who totally understands me. I’m grateful for love and trust. I’m grateful for my husband, who’s been my beautiful and amazing teacher and ally in this; the reason for my growing into all of myself. The dark corners and the light ones. To fully inhabit all of it, without fear. Totally grateful.

I’m grateful for knowing what I needed. Knowing what I desired. And finding that they were absolutely the same in the end – not at odds as I had experienced desire and need at times.

I’m glad to know what crazy is, from the outside. Not that I’m not still crazy. Crazy is in me por vida. But now I really know how hard it rode me. And I know that being ridden by it was a choice I made out of attachment to the glory of a sense of wider range.

And I’m grateful that I released that attachment in exchange for stability.

I’m grateful. Grateful for remorse as well as joy at remembrance of my past. I’m grateful that I truly feel there is no impetus that will drive me to endanger those I love or myself. I’m grateful that the risk of doing anything I feel grievously ashamed by or of in this more stable future feels so unlikely that it’s impossible to imagine what that thing would even be. And yes, this is partially because I have a husband who fully understands and accepts me, and daughters who understand what my kind of crazy means. (Thanks to my husband and kids for their wisdom and understanding.)

I’m grateful for the truth of ease. I said I wanted ease, and I got it. This “order” took a while to get here, but every wish is a prayer. And the more I prayed, the truer it became.

I’m grateful for my faith and my spiritual reality. For practices that bring me deeper and deeper into the sacred heart.

I’m so grateful for who and where I am now, and for who and what I have in my life. My husband and daughters. My larger family and community, local and global. I’m grateful for a happy home that is nest-like and sweet. For my path of service and offering, and my path of vocational expression. I’m grateful for the yield of these things on all levels.

And I’m grateful to all of you, who so graciously mirror back what my offerings bring to the world. You’re my ballast in this, as well as my compass. Thank you.

I’m safe. And loved. And free. And whole. And aware of my ability to live in this with peace of mind and heart.

For all this and more, I’m very, very grateful.

The accrued wisdom of 40 years on planet earth.
Inventory at this threshold – the end of a decade, and the beginning of a new one – has been painless. It’s been quietly blissful. I can imagine life getting easier and more beautiful. I can imagine growing old with my love, and watching our children continue to grow in their grace, beauty, and strength.

At the advent of this new decade, I see a beautiful and easy road ahead.

October New Moon WOMANifestation Circle – Willits – October 3

September 26, 2013 in Latest News!

ImageJ=1.43uOctober 3, 6PM, Brooktrails, Willits

Come together with a circle of your sisters this new moon, and dance with the phases of the moon to create and enhance generative potential in your life. We’ll play with some WOMANifestation techniques, and set magickal manifestation intentions for the coming month in a sacred, activated, magickal container.

For a small additional fee, you will receive a money magick kit, along with instructions for your own continued practice, in addition to workshop fun and games.

$15.
Add $5 for your own Money Magick kit.

Register now. Directions upon registration.


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The Question Box and The Flesh Colored Crayon

July 16, 2013 in Articles

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl. Her skin was the color of dark mocha. Her hair was joyfully bouncy, and curled like baby grapevines do. It was as black as darkest night. Her teeth glistened white and her lips were full. Her smile shone like light breaking through clouds.

One day the beautiful little girl was coloring with crayons. She colored the sky “B…L…U…E.”, reading the color and drawing the sky. She drew a peach tree and colored the leaves on it “G…R…E…E…N. “ She picked up a crayon to color the peaches. “F…L…E…S…H,” was what that crayon said.

“Momma,” the girl asked, “what does FLESH mean?” Her momma said, “It means skin, my baby. Why do you ask?”

The beautiful little girl answered with another question; “Why does this crayon say flesh then? My skin is like chocolate, not like peaches.”

The girl’s momma – whose skin was dark as dusk – didn’t cry, though she wanted to. Instead, she gently picked up the crayon, and said, “That’s a question for later, dearest one.”

The girl’s momma took a box from a cabinet and put the “flesh” colored crayon into it. “This is your question box.” the girl’s momma said, “When you have a question I’m not ready to answer, we’ll save it for later in here.”

The little girl took the box and drew on it. She loved her question box, and guarded it like a box of treasures. After all, it was a box of treasures. The box was filled with the girl’s deepest curiosities.

Over the years the girl grew, and she put questions of all sorts in the box. Sometimes they were in the form of objects, like the crayon, sometimes drawings, and later it was written notes. She and her mother would take the questions out one by one, and her mother would answer the ones she felt ready to.

It was a long time before the girl’s momma was ready to answer the question about the flesh colored crayon. But answer she did. She told her daughter a story about her ancestors, and about the world. The momma told her daughter about dark and night and the unknown. She told her about fairness and what’s right.

And the girl’s momma gave her a gift. Though the beautiful girl was no longer little, and didn’t really color with crayons anymore, her momma handed her a crayon that was the same color as the one from years before. The crayon said, “P…E…A…C…H.”

The daughter and the momma both smiled. In that moment they knew for certain that there was a right time for every question, and a right time for every answer.

*****

How to Make A Question Box

Honoring Your Child’s Questions with Answers
Sometimes the most honest answer is “That’s not a question I’m ready to answer.” If that’s the case, follow up appropriately. Let your child know when you would be willing to revisit the topic – whether it’s in a couple of days, or when your kid is in the fifth grade, or when she or he is 13, or when you’ve sorted your thoughts and feelings out. Always be responsible and proactive with the follow-up.

How to Make Your Question Box

Having your own question box makes it easy to keep track of the questions you’re not ready to answer. A question box offers a structure that will honor your child’s question and your boundaries and comfort zones at the same time.

You will need:

1. A box. You can easily recycle one that’s the size you want, or you can use a sturdy, craft-ready wooden box from your local craft store. The box should be small enough to fit on a counter or desk, and large enough to hold items your wee one has questions about.

2. Paints, collage items (glue, scissors, etc), or drawing implements. Optional: sequins, bedazzlements, glitter, other fun stuff.

Once you’ve chosen a box, decorate it with your kid(s). Paint, collage, or draw on it. Get as fun and fancy as you like! Make your question box easy to open and close.

How to Use Your Question Box
When a question comes up that you’re not ready to answer, choose an item that will serve as a conversation-starter on the topic at a later date. This can be a piece of paper with the topic written on it, or an item that is symbolic of the topic.

Decide on a time when you will review the items in the box and answer the questions, or at least revisit them.

This piece is supplemental to an article called Seven Steps to Healthy Communication with Your Kids, also by Lasara Firefox Allen. Find this article and many others at www.LasaraFirefoxAllen.com.