On Honoring Our Dead, Community, Belonging and Not Belonging, Culture and Appropriation

November 10, 2014 in Articles by Lasara Firefox Allen

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My offering of fresh soul cakes, cream, spiked magickal cider, and assorted treats for the Pictsies, our ancestors, and the hungry ghosts.

I had a pretty amazing few days of fêting the beloved dead October 30, Nov. 1, and Nov 2. Starting with a sweet, intimate Halloween party and Samhain celebration that culminated in a simple Witches’ New Year circle around the fire, and treats left out for the Pictsies. (Like we do, in our family.) Fresh soul cakes baked with magickal herbs – rosemary, saffron, rose petals, and more. Apple cider with seasonings the warm and bring abundance during the cold months. Friends, and a lovely fire on a cool, damp, northern California night.

Then down to SF. My daughter, who will be 18 in February, had asked me to take her to Dia de los Muertos in the Mission. It had been a couple of decades since I had been there, but I wanted to go with her. Partially because we have always honored our dead at this turning of the wheel (and in more innocent times, before the deepening of my thoughts on white appropriation of marginalized cultures and continued colonization) offrendas, calaveras, and papel picado had a place on our Witchy altars, along with the treats for our ancestors and the other items dedicated to the supernatural beings that walk amongst us at this time of year.

And partially because I want to spend as many moments in ritual space, having peak experiences with her as possible before she moves out on her own in the coming year cycle. She had never been to the Spiral Dance, and I wanted to share this with her.

In my heart this is the beginning of a new year; with new hopes and dreams and fears and joys. New paths to walk and oaths to keep.

I know in my heart that these rituals will help us both transition our relationship. And I trust they will make her stronger as she heads into a larger, less certain world.

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Me and Aurora, post altar build, pre ritual garb.

As happens, the space opened for us to also enter into celebrating the Reclaiming Spiral Dance – again, for the first time in 20-some years for me. But it was another experience of ritual to share with my daughter, and another layering in of the recognition of life cycles, so important now. And always.

And, I had experienced an intimate death in the past year. A member of my extended family, my Goddess-Auntie Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, who also happened to be a teacher and leader in the Pagan movement. In another of a long list of requests She has made to me through and beyond her dying time, I was called upon to create an altar in her memory for the ritual.

I invited my mom, Motherbear to come and be part of the altar building. It made sense. Now three generations of Witches recognizing the passing of time together. And in recognition of our family, extended familial, and land-family connections, Kirsten Johnsen too; a land-sister (Greenfield family), and another of MG’s death doulas, or whatever we were as we were there in Morning Glory’s dying process.

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Mighty Dead Memorial Altar, Spiral Dance.

As it turned out, there were many Mighty Dead – the elders and teachers from our Witchy and Pagan lineages and traditions – who had passed on in the year cycle from last Samhain to this. And an altar needed to be built for them all. I was glad to volunteer my crew to create this more expanded altar too. So many of these Mighty Ones are dear to our hearts, our teachers and compatriots. Donald Michael Kraig, Antonia Lamb, Lady Loreon Vigne, Margot Adler, and SO MANY others . This year so many passed into the next place.

So as things tend to happen, the experiences show up in ways that offer us opportunities we are blessed to walk into. My favorite way to attend just about any event is from inside the beast; from the ground and grounding up, part of the workings of the collective, the setting of space. Because Magick is real, I – once again, like so many other times – got to share this experience of diving deep into the fabric weaving with Aurora. And with my mom. Again like so many other times.

Yet rare, too. There have not been so many where the three generations of us all get to plug into that current together, crafting the weft and weave as three generations of Witches working on a shared project.

Traveling through time and space together in a weekend long liminal space as a multigenerational familial unit was an opportunity to practice what I preach; to spend dedicated time in worship, community, communion, family. To learn how to take better care of my elders – and my personal elder; my mom. To take into account the procession of age marching on. To make sure my mom didn’t have to carry too much, walk too far, stand too long.

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Three generations of Witches. Me, Aurora, my mom Marylyn Motherbear.

And to make sure my kiddo ate often enough, slept enough hours, got to do at least many of the things that were important to her while we were in The City. (Yes, we’re Country Pagans.) And to share important moments while trying not to make it all too precious.

Time marches on, and we march with it. Moments happen as they will.

(I also recognize how well my kiddo knows me, how much she takes care of me too – knowing my triggers, anticipating my transitional difficulties, smoothing the way in her graceful manner, holding the space for me in the edge-places where I tend to feel less safe. She’s also learning how to take care of her elders. I recognize this.)

On Sunday I got to see MG’s daughter and an old friend of mine, and land-sister, which also felt like an important part of the weekend, though it was a busy visit (she styled my hair – which she is AMAZING at), and we didn’t have a lot of time to get to the heart of the matter. Yet, the heart of it is right there, in death. As it is.

Then Mom, Ror and I got ready to head over to Dia de los Muertos.

Ror and I are in ongoing, months-long conversation about cultural appropriation, and this time was no different. It was amplified. Our weekend was woven through with conversations about heritage and appropriation and colonialism and privilege and feminism and eurocentrism and displacement and Inidgeneity and community and allyship and respect and process. The conversation is had in bits and pieces, with ever-changing context and content and participation.

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Aurora and me.

Ror chose to paint her face in death paint, but in honor of her (our) heritage she decorated her skull mask with Celtic knot work, and painted a pentagam over her heart.

In the procession I had mixed feelings – the gentrification of the Mission brings a pervasive sad and bitter taste. It was riding in the night breeze. I felt unsure of the vibe or intention of the revelers in some cases, but also felt the dead walking with us, and communed with the spirits of those lost to violence, lack of care, gender- and race-based harm. I prayed to and for my personal dead, and the collective dead.

Sunday morning I had heard that our own little northern community had been stricken with loss; the brutal rape and murder of a vibrant young woman – a dance teacher – at the hands of a man on Halloween night. There were no details published anywhere; just word of mouth, and raw, fear tinged anger and shock. This also offered another shade of awareness in my walking on Sunday night.

The social justice threads of the Mission Dia de los Muertos observation felt clear to me, in the roots of the movement. And in the energy of the voices of the dead. And in the altars when we arrived at them.

The losses. So many. Young men, boys, black and brown, mowed down by police brutality. Trans people torn away by hate-crime violence. Women lost to sexual violence; indigenous women, Women of Color. Prostitutes, mothers, daughters, wives. Dance instructors. None of us immune to the fear held in the risk of being born in a female body; yet knowing too that women with darker skin are brutalized more often than those of us with lighter skin.

And the loss of cultures. Homes.

Environmental degradation.

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My child and Death share a loving embrace.

I could feel the dead calling out to be heard. Calling out for justice.

And, at the same time, I celebrated life and living with my daughter. And my mother. And our friends. We met up with many of them. Ate together and sat together and walked together and prayed together and talked together.

We honored life and death, living and dying. Dancing, walking, eating. All as mindfully as possible, remembering the dead and offering them the joy of the acts, and the honor-gift of rememberance.

Throughout the ensuing week I have been reading about Dia de los Muertos. About appropriation and the forces of commercialism and exploitation.

There is a fine line between honoring a tradition and appropriating it. And many voices came forth to join the discussion.

Rosa de Anda, a founder of what is now known as the Mission Dia de los Muertos obervance, had this to say:

But this is not about what we had; it is about what we have. It is about the NOW. We have an amazing mix of people in our San Francisco, Bay Area community. Our recently arrived neighbors are not going back to where they came from, anymore than you, or I, are going back to where we came from. We all came from somewhere? How far back do you want to go? This land was Mexico’s until 1857. That is not that long ago, and perhaps that is why we are no longer a minority in places like southern California, where Latinos, by their shear numbers are reclaiming the land.

As Brujas, Witches, healers, and all forms working with spirit, that is our most powerful tool. I have faith that spiritual power is closely related to ancestral work. Spending time with our ancestors informs us how incredibly short our lives are on this planet and how challenging it is to transform what we have inherited. We can heal our past and our future by celebrating Dia de Los Muertos now, and introducing our ancestors to each other.

The hipsters may not know they are in ritual, but they are being affected by their participation. We know that when we are in ritual it is a point of great magical power. I accept this to be the truth, what happens in between the worlds, changes and heals all the worlds.

It is not just the Mission that is dying, blood is spilling everywhere, including in the civil drug wars in Mexico. Get ready to embrace “right action.” We will be forced to take it.

Each one of us participating in this thread is powerful and we have influence to effect how our Day of the Dead is celebrated in our communities. It is easy to pass judgment and criticize the skeletons dancing inebriated on the streets, it is more difficult to think about why these privileged white people find it so necessary to be so drugged. It is more responsible to work towards building homes for the displaced, feeding the hungry, healing the sick and working to mend our broken hearts. That is the reason to celebrate El Día de Los Muertos, because we are alive.

…We have every right to define ourselves as an elevated community practicing and gathering tools from all corners of the world respectfully sharing what our ancestors left for us. We have every right to reinvent, co-create, and succeed in peaceful co-existence. Long live El Dia de Los Muertos!”

— Rosa de Anda
Read more here.

Its is nuanced for sure. And there are many points of view that need to be taken into account. Rosa’s is one of them. So is Aya DeLeon’s.

Like the Pilgrims, you have begun to take over, to gentrify and colonize this holiday for yourselves. I was shocked this year to find Day of the Dead events in my native Oakland Bay Area not only that were not organized by Chican@s or Mexican@s or Latin@s, but events with zero Latin@ artists participating, involved, consulted, paid, recognized, acknowledged, prayed with.

Certain announcements of some of this year’s celebrations conjured visions of hipsters drinking special holiday microbrews and listening to live music by white bands and eating white food in calavera facepaint and broken trails of marigolds. Don’t bother to build an altar because your celebration is an altar of death, a ceremony of killing culture by appropriation. Do you really not know how to sit at the table? To say thank you? To be a gracious guest?

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Interactive Memorial Altar

This year, as midterm elections near and “immigration reform” gets bandied about on the lips of politicians, urban young white voters will wear skull faces and watch puppets with dancing skeleton bones, and party and drink and celebrate. But those same revelers will not think for a single second of deaths of Latin@s trying to cross a militarized border to escape from the deaths caused by NAFTA and CAFTA and US foreign policy and drug policies and dirty wars in Mexico and Central America. Amidst the celebration, there will be no thought for femicide in Juarez, for murdered and missing Indigenous women in North America. As they drink and dance in white-organized and dominated Dia De Los Muertos celebrations without a thought for us, except perhaps the cleaning or custodial staff that will clean up after them, we Latin@s learn what we learned in 1492 about the invaders: you want the golden treasures of our culture, but you don’t want us. Since then, white people have shown that they don’t value indigenous life, but are fascinated by indigenous spirituality.

Not all white people feel this way. Thank you to those of you who speak up against this. Thank you to all who boycott these events, support Latin@/Chican@/Mexican@-led events, hire our community’s artists, and hold the tradition with reverence. For those of you who haven’t been doing so, it’s not too late to start. Challenge white people who attempt to appropriate. Boycott their events and be noisy about it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to participate in this deeply human holiday, there’s something wrong with wanting to colonize.
— Aya DdeLeon
Read more here.

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Artist unknown. If YOU know, please leave name in the comment section?


It’s important to remember that Rosa De Anda’s eloquent and beautifully passionate (and compassionate) opinion is one of
*many*.  Aya de Leon’s as well. And it is important to continue seeking out other points of view too, even if they are not as easy to hear, or see, or don’t feel as good.

Obviously just because a point of view aligns with ours doesn’t mean it’s the *only* valid point of view. It doesn’t remove our responsibility to continue looking for and listening to subaltern voices.

Things have changed since the ’70s. Some lines are being drawn in a starker way. There is more fragmentation. And, as cultures and voices that are marginal/marginalized struggle to be seen and heard for what they are, it is important to give those cultures and voices the space to self-identify.

For those of us who are would-be allies, allyship may mean just listening a lot, holding the space for multiple – possibly conflicting – voices from within those cultures to be heard, being the megaphone for the range of points of view. Seeking out the voices that make us pause. The opinions that are like a knife; painful and perhaps divisive.

We all want to believe in The Oneness where we are beyond the struggles of Self and Other.

We are divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.

Sometimes standing in the division is the thing that makes the eventual wholeness possible.

The last thing any of us want to do – or at least I can speak for myself; the last thing want to do is to continue the process of colonization. Unconsciously is as harmful as consciously. Assimilation is a tactic of the colonizer. There is perhaps a fine line between natural transformation of a thing, and forced assimilation.

Many people try to sidestep responsibility by saying that cultures have always done this; that he dominant culture just does this, has done, will do.

I say, just because a thing has always been the way it is doesn’t mean it should continue that way. Just because the dominant culture (any and all dominant cultures) have had their way in the past (sometimes exterminating spiritual and cultural systems entirely, sometimes forcing adaptation, sometimes “transforming” a culture or religion without the consent of the original peoples of that culture or religion) – do we want to continue that trend?

I do not. I do want to help continue the conversation. I want to do what I can to support marginalized cultures in continued self-determination. And over time, ideally learn how to collaborate and cocreate – with full consent – in a shifting, changing world.

There are easy first steps to take; as people with the privilege of a larger platform, a more easily heard voice, we look for and listen to the voices of people who come from marginalized populations. We help to amplify those voices. We listen, and learn. Dance-Black-Death-allegory

We donate to organizations that keep traditions alive. More importantly perhaps, we build community. We ask how we can best help.

And we learn how to feel our way through our own shame and fear, to process our resistance to the things that are hard to sit with – without making the conversation about us.

In all of it, if we are respectful and attentive and intentional, we all find moments of shared experience, shared prayer, shared celebration.

If all goes well, we will find a path that allows us to pray in our different ways, to our different gods, at the same time and in the same space. And somehow, if we hold the prayer for long enough and hard enough, and then back it up with action, we may arrive at moments of accord.

I think that perhaps it is by recognizing difference that we honor one another and approach some sense of shared liberation.

Blessed are the fighters, and the peace makers, and the leaders, and the activists, and the listeners, and the changemakers.

Keep loving. Keep fighting.

New Moon WOMANifestation! November 22, 2014

November 8, 2014 in Upcoming Events by Lasara Firefox Allen

venus37moon_youngCome together with a circle of your sisters this new moon, and play with some WOMANifestation techniques. :)

Date: Sat., November 22. Gathering at 7:00, circle begins at 7:30 PROMPT. Please be on time for the circle. Brief hang out and socialize sesh after circle.

We will set magickal manifestation intentions for the coming month in a sacred, activated, magickal container. Your goals may be financial, community building, personal care, project completion – or all of the above!

Finger food welcome, as well as drinks for after our circle if desired.

$15 donation requested – no one turned away for lack of funds. And larger donations will always be accepted. :)
See pricing below for additional items; Money Magick Spell Kit, Manifestation Booklet

If you are purchasing a Money Magick spell kit and article collection, please paypal payment to info@lasarafirefoxallen.com so I can have your items ready for you.


Cirlce Reg and Manifestation Items



Personal message or email me for directions to you if you have not yet been to my home.

The Fivefold Goddess – An Intiation Cycle into a New Divine Feminine

November 7, 2014 in Upcoming Events by Lasara Firefox Allen

The Fivefold Goddess

An Initiation Cycle into a New Divine Feminine

woman with antlers, five foldWednesday, February 18, 2015, 6:30pm – 8:00pm Pacific
Web-based. Anywhere you are
ALL WOMEN WELCOME.
More info on the Fivefold Goddess here!

The Fivefold Goddess offers women a new, more inclusive, more complex and flexible model for women’s experience of our own divine nature. This model speaks to and for women who are looking for an archetypal system that offers a relationship with creative potential that exists beyond our biology, and more easily encompasses and reflects the life experiences and phases of women.

The fivefold model is a creative, fluid model that allows for a cyclical flow that is more natural to womanhood in our era. It is a model not tied to biology, but to active currents in life that surge, shift, and spiral back again in the process of living.

REGISTER HERE:
on Square Market

$50 off registration through Dec 21!
Use code on check out:
WINTERSOLSTICEGODDESS

This seven weeks long course will begin with an intro call, then continue with group discussions and a ritual every week for five weeks – one per archetype. The course will end with a closing session.

(“Calls” may be web-based video interface, if I can find one I like well enough.)

Also included for your support, education, fun, and comfort, is access to an interactive discussion group available 24/7.

Registration fee is $249. Registration rate includes all instruction, ongoing access to calls and rituals for your future use, and electronic publications on the theme.

Course is planned to begin on February 18, 2015. 6:30 PM Pacific time. New moon in Aquarius will lend its power to a new and migkcal beginning.

Bonuses will be forthcoming.

ALL WOMEN WELCOME!

Hallowe’en, Samhain, The Witches’ New Year – with recipes!

October 30, 2014 in Articles by Lasara Firefox Allen

01_bodleian_264Samhain: 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 turning toward the dark season, they celebrated the beginning of their new year. Many traditions of modern Witchcraft have roots in the Celtic cycle of the year, and Samhain – which coincides roughly with Hallowe’en – is now also known as the Witches’ New Year.

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. 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 a loved one 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 of revelry with friends and strangers alike.

With 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 appeals to you. 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 believes it is also important to allow that these powers may change, 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 here 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.

mulled_cider_03Magickal 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
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
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.

Rosemary-cookiesSoul 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.

Why Coaching?

October 17, 2014 in Coaching with Lasara, Latest News! by Lasara Firefox Allen

Why Coaching?

poly and kink friendly professional with heartsOver on facebook, I’ve recently had a few folks ask me what coaching is, and one even questioning its validity as a healing modality. I have taken the time to answer each of them individually, AND, I know that if some are asking, others a wondering. So here’s some info that may help you to decide if coaching is for you.

Life coaching may be a weak term, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming may be a confusing name for a complex modality, but I hope to shed some light on coaching in general, and on my personal strengths in particular. (You can find some testimonials here.)

Yes, this is long. And yes, you should read it if you are curious about coaching.

To start with, traditional therapists are great – especially for things like mental health crisis, support during dramatic life changes (loss of a relationship, death of a loved one), and mental health treatment SafeSpace_Final32[1]plan adherence.

And, if you are like me, you have worked with therapists and had that really help, and at other times had it really NOT help.

Regardless of whether I’m working with a therapist at the time or not, I *always* have at least one coach I’m working with. Coaching keeps my head in the game in a way that therapy is not designed to do. Also, my coaches know I’m a freak, and my lifestyle never strikes them as cause for alarm.

(I can’t even tell you how many judgy therapists have “fired me” as a client over the years because I’m “poly” or whatever title you want to give it, and they thought that was part of what was *wrong* with me.)

Would you rather go to a massage therapist, or a chiropractor? Would you rather go to a naturopath or an allopathic doctor?I choose BOTH. I go to each as needed. In addition to that, I have an osteopathic doctor who I love and who helps me beyond measure.

My point is, why choose only ONE mode of healing, when there are so many amazing options out there?

Here are some reasons you would want to hire a coach instead of a therapist:

1. Instead of talking it out (you know you can talk it out for hours and end up right where you started), we focus on creating easeful, sustainable, profound forward momentum.

2. Your coach is not there to judge your choices, but to point them out to you and assist you in evaluating how those choices are serving you.

3. If your coach is an NLP-based coach, your coach knows that YOU have the answers, and that is up to your coach only to elicit and help you build upon those answers.

4. If your coach is versatile enough in their training, your coach will be able to match you, and coach you in the way that works for you. You want a softer, more intuitive approach, a well trained coach can give you that. If you want a task master approach, a versatile coach will be able to step into that too.

Why you would want to hire ME as your coach:

1. I have an excellent track record as a coach. I’ve been working with clients who have been able to totally revolutionize relationships, work realities, sexual healing, and self worth issues, body acceptance. (See my testimonials here.)

2. I have tons of training, and I use it all the time. I spent in the mid five figures out of my pocket and over three years in training with the brightest in the field to become adept at NLP. My training included mastering a set of skills that allows me to help people to get through trauma, blocks, and limiting beliefs in order to heal, strategize, and move forward.

In addition to extensive training in NLP, I have a majorly diverse set of other modalities I use in my coaching sessions, from cognitive behavioral techniques to Witchy magic. It all comes down to the question of WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?

While I don’t have a masters degree from an accredited university, I did put in enough time that I could have had one. I just did my training outside of the standard schooling arena. One way to look at it is as a highly honed independent education option.

3. I am alternative lifestyle friendly. Kinky? Awesome. Poly? Me too, Queer? Yep.

4. I am an expert in the field of sexual and relational education. I have professional training, and years of experience teaching and coaching on sexual and relational topics.

5. I only take clients I feel like I can truly help. I take on clients who want to do the work, are ready to dive in and move through it, and are dedicated to the process of their own healing. I only take on clients who feel like a really solid “YES!” to me. And I expect my clients only to sign on with me if the feel a solid yes, too.

Please note:

Not all life coaches have done the amount of training that I have. Some have, some haven’t. And just like with any profession though, espcially in the healing arts, there are some good and some bad practitioners. And, some practitioners that are a good fit for you, and some not.

Some things people can do to see whether a coach is ligit or not is to ask what their training is, get references, get a feel for what they have to offer.

But, just because coaches don’t have the usual letters after our names (my designation is MPTNLP – master practitioner trainer NLP, though I go with MPNLP – master prac nlp – if I use anything at all – mostly I don’t) isn’t any reason to disregard a whole professional category.

Ready to book a 15-minute, complimentary, no strings attached interview session?

It’s the best way to see if we’re compatible.

Fill out the form below, and Iwill get back to you within 48 hours.

The Daily Card Oct. 15, 2014 – XIV – Temperance

October 16, 2014 in The Daily Card by Lasara Firefox Allen

The Daily Card

Oct. 15, 2014 – XIV – Temperance

Shadowscapes Tarot

IMG_4896I got a couple of new decks from Llewellyn, and I’m very excited. This deck is called Shadowscapes. It’s really a beautiful deck. The art is delicate, pretty, magical. The ink has a slightly silvery sheen, and the cards nearly glow.

Tonight I drew Temperance. It’s a good card to get. Sometimes we need to be reminded that times of hardship make us stronger, just like fire and water do to steel.

Sitting on a tree that reaches out over what is perhaps an occluded valley, an angelic being holds an orb of fire and water, commingled, balanced. Dynamic and alive. Above the orb extends a water dragon, wrapped in glowing light. fire and water spin off to the sides. There is a suggestion of fractals.

The magick is working her, and she is working the magick. Like life. We are working it as we are worked by it. Sometimes we are more worked than working. But even at those times, our resolution is being made more solid.

In the abyss, all things are possible.

Bless!

Want to book a reading with me? Mention this page and get $10 off.

Or, if you want to host a part with friends, you can
check out my Tarot and Tea Parties for a special October rate!

The Daily Card – Oct. 13, 2014 – Page of Cups

October 14, 2014 in The Daily Card by Lasara Firefox Allen

The Daily Card

Oct. 13, 2014 – Page of Cups

Vertigo Tarot Deck Set 20th Anniversary Edition

IMG_4874Some days these not much for it except to say “Yes, this was a water day.”

That deep part – that part where the words are written across her solar plexus? I feel that. My skin raw with words flung like lashes, leeches, feeling submerged. There is body. There is water. Face fades behind the blatant function and form of letter and number.

Abstraction. Absurdism. Destruction. Disruption. Water renders it all null. For the love of it.

Bless!

Want to book a reading with me? Mention this page and get $10 off.

Or, if you want to host a part with friends, you can
check out my Tarot and Tea Parties for a special October rate!

Tarot and Tea – still booking for Oct, Nov!

October 13, 2014 in Latest News!, tarot by Lasara Firefox Allen

Still Booking for October and Early November!

Take advantage of my October special rates now!

I still have openings for Astrological Samhain – 15• Scorpio – November 6! (Also, 5, 7, and 8.)

Book for a Samhain celebration/observation with your circle of friends, spiritual family, coven.

Or, BOOK ME FOR YOUR COMPANY’S HARVEST CELEBRATION or CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY!

Scroll down to contact me now via the contact form at bottom of this page.

Tarot and Tea

tarot booth with querant

Parties

with

Lasara Firefox Allen

Intuitive reader, NLP Certified Coach, Mystical Witch

Invite your friends, loved ones, family, or circle to join you for an afternoon or evening of
magickal prophesy tea, and reading of the cards.

Herbal-Tea in glass pot

Included; prophesy tea, use of my tea pot, cards, and up to nine readings by Lasara

You bring; your curiosity, your own tea cup or mug, and your question for the cards.

In the time we spend together, I can read three cards each for up to nine querents.

OCTOBER SPECIAL: $175 for two hours

Local only; within 35 miles of Willits. Travel costs are added on for parties that are planned for further away.

The Daily Card – Oct. 10, 2014 – Two of Air

October 11, 2014 in The Daily Card by Lasara Firefox Allen

The Daily Card

Oct. 10, 2014 – Two of Air

Erotic Tarot of Manara

FullSizeRender-2TRIGGER WARNING: rough sex, porn

So, I’m not a prude or anything…I mean, I don’t think I am? But a lot of “erotic” art doesn’t feel erotic to me. Manara’s work falls into this category for me; decidedly unerotic erotica.

On that note, I figured out recently what my favorite porn is. It’s porn where the people are naked, and having sex. Real sex. No shoes, no silly lace gloves. Makeup is minimal if used at all. And also, kinda average bodies. Like, I like the jiggle of flesh – I find I’m not into the bounce of fake boobs as much. I like real sounds, not over-acted porno sounds. I mean, loud is good. But, real loud. Sport fucking is good. If it’s real sport fucking.

(Faking the rough stuff often looks painful to me. The rough stuff, IMO, should be painful only in good ways.)

Dirty, raw, tender, sweet, wet, hard, silly, fun, sexy. That’s what I like. Barefoot. Like in real life.

(I mean, no offense to your shoe kink, though.)

So Manara’s aesthetic is totally out for me. This deck is going into the giveaway pile as of now. I have no idea why I still have it at all. I don’t even know where or when I got it!

That said, two of swords is a card I love. Air/swords. No swords in this deck. Odd, huh? See, I find swords a little bit erotic.

I don’t get a lot off the image except that she’s smiling. And the male figure looks kinda like an Oscar? But with a fedora and scarf? She is Giant and he is tiny? Is he chocolate?

Two of swords is a peaceful form of air. It’s a sweet, easy breath. It’s a pause. Calm in a storm. She looks like maybe a calm storm.

There you go. Now you know something about my erotic life…only because this erotic deck is so not erotic.

Bless!

Want to book a reading with me? Mention this page and get $10 off.

Or, if you want to host a part with friends, you can
check out my Tarot and Tea Parties for a special October rate!

The Daily Card Oct. 9, 2014 – XIX – The Sun

October 10, 2014 in The Daily Card by Lasara Firefox Allen

The Daily Card

Oct. 9, 2014 – XIX – The Sun

Transformational Tarot

FullSizeRender-1I have had this deck for probably twenty years, and haven’t used it in maybe ten. But I grabbed it tonight since I didn’t want to loop back through my decks yet, and I’m slowly running out of originals.

An aside on that note; soon I will know how many decks I actually own. (I’m open to owning more though! If you want to buy me a deck, or send me your own to review, I will happily accept. :) As a matter of fact I’m creating an Amazon list for just this purpose; tarot decks that I would love to read with!)

As I start working the cards, I find that the reason I haven’t used this deck is because it has some tender memories attached. And, in the acknowledgment of the recent eclipse and all the Big Energy, I think it is worth it to reclaim our lost parts.

Even the decks we’ve hung on to, but haven’t wanted to pick up.

Well, here I am. Picking up the deck. And the deck is really beautiful.

I draw The Sun – XIX. This card is gorgeous. It looks to me that the Sun here is the sun, as in The Christ. His face is framed by gold, and surrounded by rays. His head floats, bodiless, above a verdant garden, bursting with sunflowers. There is a domicile in the distance, and there are children playing in the dirt road that runs through the field.

He looks placid. They look playful. And the field is riotous.

The front of the card is braced by two tall trees. This reminds me of the Priestess card, with Her columns. A doorway between worlds.

This is what is given when we reclaim lost parts. Light, life, love, joy, safety.

Bless!

Want to book a reading with me? Mention this page and get $10 off.

Or, if you want to host a part with friends, you can
check out my Tarot and Tea Parties for a special October rate!