A Snowflake in Time

My Loves

when you are creating 

fervently

with all your heart

and the sheer expanse of it all seems impossible,

be still for a moment.

What is missing, you ask yourself?

Chances are, it is the Sensual You,

how easily lost in a whirl of mental activity she is

but she is just as easily found,

if you are willing...

Winter Flowers.jpg

As we go inward during the dark season

planning for Spring

incubating

(which can often take the form of intense work)

stop comparing yourself to others,

for you, my Snowflake, are a one-and-only

uniquely able to sparkle.

And yet,

with the awareness that we are here fleetingly

to do as we are meant.

So don't waste it.

With Saturn transiting Capricorn now,

for the next three years,

we are asked to step up

and do the work we are meant for in this lifetime.

This is BIG.

There are no shortcuts

and no indulgences

for these gifts do not come easily

but they are meant to last.

This is a hard-working pair

seeking perfection,

full of solitary energy

so take heed, Dear Ones,

to not forget to care for yourself,

and your loved ones

as you focus on the Big Work.

Feed yourself.

Light, clean plant foods.
Exercise.
Fresh air - even when it's cold outside!
Rest. Clear your mind. Sleep well.
Laugh. Play.

You know the drill.

Because these things work.

And,

as you focus on the task at hand,

embrace the feminine:

invite sounds, scents,

and beautiful vignettes

to join in this dance

which, by design,  

must be done alone.


Yes, there are times when tips are useful to get you moving. 

(I’ve laid out a few here, for scratching the surface.)

Planners, calendars, lists.

But then even these become a point of distraction.

And the time comes

when you must face the Beast.


All by myself, you ask?

Not really.


Some of my most cherished friends

have joined me 

as I go deep within

to give life to something most dear to me.

Allow me to share them with you:

a cornucopia of sorbet star lilies, 

gazing back at me with playful smiles 

bright little faerie faces to inspire


black velvet ears between my lips

and earth-scented fur to melt into

when thoughts become too heavy

 

Winter Friends-2.jpg

 

endless cups of bark decoctions to sip

(yes, I am officially ingesting trees)

for a vision of a Green Man, transformed into a Nordic priestess

then a Celtic one

gave firm word

that I must become one with them

as all the knowledge I seek lies within the Wood

 

a Spring moss candle burns throughout

yes, I know it is Winter

but the soft promise of creation 

offers me the shelter of the forest 

and the strength to carry on

 

Silken threads caress my skin

glowing and supple

from a petal scented bath

 

Weaving ragas soaring through crisp air

calm the sometimes uncontrollable fire

that courses through body and mind

 

And I direct my attentions

once again

to the work at hand.

___________

 

May you always be surrounded by delightful company

as you walk alone.

 

Happy Winter Solstice.

All my love,

xxx Alise

 

Blessed Solstice

Greetings, Beloved Beasties,

from the Emerald Forest...

Where an Elvish Queen nestles beneath the mossy blankets,

not yet sprinkled with snow,

to nurture ideas,

not yet entirely formed,

and drink in all the knowledge of the Stars,

for she is very thirsty...

They will be yours before long.

She has much to give.

 

All My Heart,

xxxAlise

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Tipping the (Red) Velvet

Perhaps you've heard the expression, "Tipping the velvet..."

Those naughty Victorians.

They came up with it.

Repression being the mother of invention, I suppose.

It really does conjure up an image of something wonderfully sensual.

"What is it?" you ask?

I'll let this vintage illustration provide the answer...

Mmm-hmm.

And this was the least explicit depiction I could find for you,

but certainly not the most beguiling.

She really doesn't look so enthralled,

but I'll say that's quite a way to embrace your...art.

*ahem*

Which brings us 'round to Venus' Day.

I couldn't think of anything possibly cheekier for you, my Dirty Things

than a Red Velvet Tart,

in honor of the day, and night

so full of sexual rapture...

CLOTHING? OPTIONAL. SIREN SHOES? MANDATORY.

CLOTHING? OPTIONAL. SIREN SHOES? MANDATORY.

Isn't it pretty? Wait 'til you taste...

Isn't it pretty? Wait 'til you taste...

Tipping The Red Velvet Tart

Makes two tarts. Feel free to double the recipe.

For the Crust:

  • 1-1/2 C raw almonds, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 C coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp raw coconut nectar

For the Red Velvet Filling:

  • 1 large super-ripe avocado
  • 1/4 C raw, unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/4 C full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla powder or extract
  • 4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp beet powder or crystals
  • 1 tsp organic pure chocolate extract

For the Adornment:

  • 1 pt fresh organic raspberries

Lovers, this is almost too easy. You have to gather a few oddball ingredients, like the beet powder and the chocolate extract, but it is sooo worth it. This tart is seduction in its purest form: lush, rich, decadent and deep chocolate, ripe, lusty raspberries, positively tingling with beauty fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Guilt? Never heard of it. 

Pure pleasure. Our kind of night.

You will find the beet powder or crystals in your fave health food store. It's pricey, but can be used to your advantage in shake elixirs for a naturally sweet flavor, a gorgeous color, and all the myriad health benefits of beets, such as fighting inflammation (the root of all ills), detoxification (awesome for your belly and skin), and boosting your stamina, to name a few. I especially like them paired with strawberries and a little vanilla.

You can, of course, swap the maple syrup for stevia or raw coconut nectar if you have candida, diabetes, or an intense sugar sensitivity. But if you can, use the maple. Paired with chocolate, it's nothing short of a religious experience.

I don't love a ton of crust, and this recipe makes a good amount of it, so my advice would be to just create a thin layer in each tart pan, which will give you four crusts. Pop two in the freezer for future dessert ecstasy. I promise you I have much in store for you, my Darlings.

But for now, it's time to begin our love ritual...

Start with music. Anything that makes you feel slinky.

Place a red candle inside a beautiful bowl or tray, adding herbs, flowers, stones, lingerie...whatever feels good to you and conjures up visions of sensuality, love, and feverish erotic encounters, should you so desire. Create your altar. Some suggestions? Sprinkle rose petals, jasmine flowers, carefully place a vanilla bean, a rose quartz (to open the heart to receiving love), a rhodocrosite (for loving ourselves), and perhaps a saucy little personal item to add extra sizzle.

Visualize, feel, breathe deeply, lower your shoulders and hold your head high. Invite Aphrodite and Inanna into your sacred space. Keep going. Are you there? Whisper your your prayers, light the candle, and get ready to channel your Kitchen Witch super-powers.

So, first pulse your almonds in a food processor or high-speed blender until it becomes fine and crumbly. Add in the coconut nectar, and the oil, and give it another blast. (Either oil is purrfect, it just depends on your taste preference. If you don't love coconut with your chocolate, then use the avocado oil, it will simply taste buttery.)

Spoon out a heaping tablespoon for each tart pan, and press around with your fingers to get an even layer on the bottom and up the sides. Set them in the fridge while you make the filling.

Ohhh...the filling. Wait for it.

Cream the avocado in a high speed blender until it is very, very smooth. Now add in the rest of the ingredients, blend well, and...you're done. It's that easy. But don't let its simplicity veil you: this is powerful stuff. Avocados are ruled by Venus, and have long been revered for their beauty and love magick. And chocolate, no less. The manifestation of edible elemental fire so key in giving and receiving love.

Go ahead, give it a little lick. *ahem*

Spoon the filling into the tart shells. Arrange the raspberries in a circular pattern, even more of a Venusian love charge for adding the last touch of sparkle, like jewelry, to your spell. And don't forget to give thanks to your cosmic cohorts and fruits of the Earth.

Leave them in the fridge until you're ready to serve and devour. I cannot promise that you won't end up on the floor, writhing in ecstacy...

Oh, you deserve this one...

Savour it.

xxx Alise

 

Friday's Child: The Return Of The Welsh Witch

After 16 hours of travel,

I am so happy to be in the loving arms of this mystical land...

We arrived, weary. 

But an elusive Welsh Sun was bright,

and beckoned.

The old magicks called,

and we rushed to answer.

The River Usk.

The River Usk.

The river sparkling with faerie dust,

that carried songs,

guiding us...

To the ancient oaks, 

wise and twisted,

reached out,

whispering truths...

Spinning, 

to land on the meadow,

and say hello to The Littlest Hedgehog,

who softly told his tale,

Farther down,

we came upon a curious

and breathtaking sight:

Prehistoric birds

protruding from a most astounding tree.

Guardians.

"Come closer," they said.

And so,

we did.

Slowly making our way around the tree, 

a cave thicket of sinewy branches made themselves known.

An invitation.

My initial, welcoming.

My initial, welcoming.

Inside was a world of magick.

I was in the most exquisite womb,

being nourished at the deepest soul level...

For how long, I cannot say.

Until I looked up,

to see a doorway,

through which I crawled.

And awaiting me on the other side,

the full mystery of the Tree revealed itself:

Serpents.

So many, I couldn't count them all.

They emerged as branches,

undulating,

whispering to me

in a foreign tongue I somehow recognized,

Layered hisses,

sharing ancient wisdom...

My eyes were wet with joy,

and I couldn't stop smiling,

I wrapped my arms around the neck of the Elder,

lay my head upon his,

and promised to return.

My Serpent guide. I took many photos of the Snake Tree, but they asked me to keep them hidden.

My Serpent guide. I took many photos of the Snake Tree, but they asked me to keep them hidden.

I brought my grandmother's tiny ruby ring with me, intending to leave it in the wild,

but the moment came and her ring had disappeared.

Strange, as it had popped up in front of me before I left so many times,

asking to be brought along.

Perhaps she wishes to stay with me a while longer.

But her totem was a Butterfly.

And as we left the sacred tree,

she appeared.

Hello, beauty.

Hello, beauty.

We landed here, ostensibly, 

for a festival,

but there was so much more.

And it was beautiful.

And the boys played brilliantly, as always.

(You can see some of the photos here.)

The Green Man was breathtaking,

beguiling in his detail...

People came from all over the world to write down their wishes,

placing them inside him,

to be released on the last night,

as the Green Man burned.

I whispered mine to him.

He has a good ear.

I'll never forget those moments in the forest,

especially those in the dark hours before dawn

wandering down the stone path,

Deeper

with only the light of a waning Moon

and the sound of the water

to guide us,

and the love in our hearts,

alive and listening

to the wisest of spirits...

"Fy nhgariad."

"Fy nhgariad."

It's time for some Welsh Cakes, no?

Fi cariead i chi!

xxx Alise

Belle Grand-mére

It's been a while since I've seen her.

A French-Welsh burst of light and beauty,

She possessed the most sparkling golden green eyes

and a cloud of fluffy white curls

that danced a razorblade wit waltz

and laughed to make playful even the darkest corners...

Stealing the heart of a young man, many moons ago,

never to be forgotten.

"...with love...5.31.38"

"...with love...5.31.38"

Her family embraced "The English side," as she put it,

And so, she became the latest in a line of roses

to concoct

once a year

the (in)famous Plum Pudding,

A thousand-pound ring of suet and raisins

filled with her bright smiles

and topped with a thick rum sauce.

Her things. Among them two plum pudding molds, one containing six (!) handwritten versions of the original recipe. 

Her things. Among them two plum pudding molds, one containing six (!) handwritten versions of the original recipe. 

I do believe my child self was it's one and only fan.

My grown-up self could never comprehend it.

I tried, many, many times

to lighten it up

make it healthy

without animal sacrifices

The results were unfailingly disastrous.

(This vagabond's myriad kitchens have witnessed the attempts. I am fairly certain ovens have guffawed when I left the room.)

So, in honor of ma belle-mére, my beloved grandmother Margaret, I offer you, gorgeous Readers, my Vixen twist on an altogether different classic: The Welsh Cake. A gorgeous little nibble to accompany your tea, with it's pagan roots in Celtic post-ritual feasting. 

My kind of treat. 

The traditional versions are made with, of course, major butter and sugar. That part was easy enough to fix. Texture, though...therein lay the challenge. Welsh Cakes have a semi-dense consistency, but are cooked on a super-greased griddle, so they end up being somewhere between a scone and a crumpet. Sort of.

And then there's the Rolling Out Of The Dough.

Sometimes...ok. Yes.

Mostly...no patience. Hungry. Now.

So, I've tried these two different ways: the first involves  dropping spoonfuls of dough onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet, and baking for about 20 minutes. This version is crispy, like a cookie.

The second, which I'm really fond of, is made in a pan, stovetop, with coconut oil. I love this because it's light and fluffy, kinda like a little pancake. Or a Madeline.

Mmmmm. Totally doing this.

Welsh Moon Cakes

  • 1 C All-Purpose Gluten-Free flour
  • 1/2 C xylitol
  • 1/2 C vegan butter (try to get the olive oil/flax kind-steer clear of soy if you can)
  • 1 flax "egg" (1 Tbsp ground flax meal + 3 Tbsp pure water.)
  • 1/2  C unsweetened almond milk, more as needed
  • 1/2 C organic raisins
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla, extract or powder
  • Zest of 2 lemons or 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • Generous pinch each of nutmeg and cloves

***Please do not share with your animal friends, as xylitol is toxic to them.

First, make the flax egg. Whisk together the flax meal with the water in a cup, and let it rest somewhere.

Now, sift the flour. (I know. But at least you don't have to grate cheese.) Rake in the vegan butter with a pastry cutter-thingy (above) or a fork until the mixture becomes crumbly. Now add in the xylitol, spices, lemon, and raisins. Mix it. Next goes the flax egg, gelled by now, and the first 1/2 cup of almond milk. Whisk it all together until smooth and a thin enough consistency to spoon out. Add some more almond milk if you need.

Heat some coconut oil - about a teaspoon - into a skillet. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the heated pan, and let them brown on one side. Flip! Now brown on the other. You may need to add more coconut oil and mess with the flame so they don't overcook.

Eat these warm. They store well in an airtight container in the fridge (or even freezer), but do pop them in the toaster for a minute before you bite in. The flavor is superb! Really, really good. The lemon puts it over the top. I love freshly zested citrus, but Loves, let me tell you, essential oils are the way to go. I use the culinary grade, super-high quality oils from Contessa. Exquisite zing. 

I wanted these to have a purrfectly round moon shape, so, of course, at the last minute I went flying out of the Lair to a kitchen shop, madly in search of some kind of mold or cookie cutter that would work with a skillet. What was I thinking? I grabbed something called an Egg Mold, and headed home.

So, the Egg Mold. Very large round object with a little wooden-topped handle. Wooden handle. On a hot stove. Not brilliant. But I tried it. I rubbed it with coconut oil, poured in some dough, and let it go...

Then I got so distracted by a photo a friend sent of Mick Jagger in a bottle green velvet jacket that I burned the test cake.

I'm so easily sidetracked by pretty things.

We always shared a love of the Moon. As a child, she would take me outside to see the night-blooming flowers wink at us as the summer evening air would caress our faces. In those moments, there with her, everything was right in the world.

Late Spring would have brought her a birthday.

Bon anneversaire, dear Lady.

You are missed.

xxx Alise

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Shed Your Skin

Maybe you spent your weekend like this.

And, the guy is STILL irresistible, even when passed out.

And, the guy is STILL irresistible, even when passed out.

It was, after all, a weekend of legendary bar antics.

St. Patrick's Day. 

The celebration of driving the snakes out of Ireland. Symbolically, the forcing of Christianity onto otherwise content Pagans...snakes, of course, being the symbol of the Goddess. 

Ironically, with the Spring Equinox around the corner, and a Full Moon in Virgo, it's impossible to drive the Divine Feminine out of anywhere, or to ignore the change in season...the renewal...the timing so crucial in getting our s***t together after either a long weekend of over-indulging, or simply a long Winter of little movement and much comfort food.

Time, my Beauties, for basking in the radiance of Celtic She-Power. 

Let's charge full-force into this week...detoxed and sparkling,

Full of light,

Sexy as all hell.

The molting begins...

Image courtesy of Museum Victoria, Australia.

Image courtesy of Museum Victoria, Australia.

In honor of our serpent healers, 

we slough off our dead, old layers,

letting go of anything and everything that no longer serves us.

Regeneration. New life.

Why, yes, that  is  candle wax dripped onto my serving tagine...doesn't that happen to everyone?

Why, yes, that is candle wax dripped onto my serving tagine...doesn't that happen to everyone?

The Serpent's Secret

  • 1 C. Celtic salt
  • 1/2 C organic coconut oil, room temperature
  • 12 drops each juniper, rosemary, and mandarin essential oils
  • 6 drops patchouli oil

Mix these all together in a gorgeous bowl. Get naked. Scrub everywhere in circular motions, then in sweeping strokes toward the heart. This blend is an excellent one to detoxify and improve your circulation. Rinse with very warm water, and a soft coating of coconut oil will remain on your skin. You'll feel amazing and you'll taste delicious too.

Now, hotties, drape your smooth and frisky selves in a fluffy towel, and slither into la cucina.

Whip this up.

Spring Elixir

  • 1 grapefruit (I used a Ruby Red here), cut into small-ish pieces
  • 1 Organic cucumber, skin on and chopped
  • A good handful of fresh organic mint leaves
  • 2-3 inch piece fresh aloe leaf, skinned
  • 1-2 droppers liquid stevia

Blend this all together on high speed until smooth. You can add some lemon, fresh grated ginger, or turmeric if you like. This can serve two easily, as you don't need much to reap its benefits. Or, you can drink the whole damn thing down like a badass. Pretend you're Keith...only really into healthy stuff.

Feel incredible? Me too!

Let's rock this season together.

I love you.

xxx Alise

 

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A Pagan's Christmas

I have had a very mercurial relationship with holidays over the years. 

But thanks ever so for leaving out the brandy and carrots for me...

But thanks ever so for leaving out the brandy and carrots for me...

As an “F-this” punk rock teenager became an “I’m doing this MY way” adult, I have both boycotted and embraced traditional holidays, depending on the moment and my level of patience in that moment. One thing is always the same: I sail through the entire year, enjoying the pagan rituals of the earth during each season, free-spirited and brimming with life...then suddenly, December rolls around. And it gets weird.

Somehow it feels like if I don’t do SOMETHING on December 24th and 25th, I’ve missed out. Silly, right? Conditioning, I suppose. 

Fortunately, my co-star feels the same.

Despite highly enjoyable Winter Solstice romps, we still have to steer our wildly adorned pirate ship through the waters claimed by our families - a strange pool of largely cultural, rather than religious, Jews and Christians...with a few atheists thrown in.

So we’ve developed our own rituals over the years that came about organically, and have somehow stuck.  

There is a candelabra instead of a tree, all dressed up in orange and pink flicker lights, topped by Edgar the crow, and featuring a disco ball, a high-heeled slipper, a Turkish coin belt, an African talisman, and a miniature replica of Gene Simmons' Kiss boots.

Edgar will  not  be singing carols, I assure you.

Edgar will not be singing carols, I assure you.

 

Gifts gather at the base of Cleopatra, who has watched over me for many, many moons. 

She sees you when you're sleeping.

She sees you when you're sleeping.

Dinner this year was a sumptuous feast of vegan Indian delights carefully prepared by moi, followed by cold bubbly and the annual, never-gets-old Lord of The Rings marathon.

It was AWESOME.

 

Won’t you share your rituals with me in the comments below?  I’d love to hear!

xxxAlise