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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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing Back The Light

"The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk."

-Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy

I really couldn't agree more.

As we shiver in the wake of the shortest day of the year, those of us in chilly climes struggle to surrender to the limited daylight, and the blues that set in all too easily. You may not know me well enough just yet, but I am a NOTORIOUS grump the moment the mercury plunges below freezing. 

"Goin' where the weather suits my clothes..."

"Goin' where the weather suits my clothes..."

Okay, truth…the moment it falls below 50F I start to get a bit snarly. But that's beside the point.

I am, in fact, a cat. I really just want to lounge around in a patch of sun all day. 

Mmmmmm...but for those of us who are able to magically walk around on two legs, life (and finances) tend to dictate otherwise. Sigh.

Here's the thing. We need every bit of sunshine we can get in the long winter months, any way we can. Here's how to make it happen:

1. Mainline Vitamin D

I'm not kidding. If it's winter, even if you are the outdoorsy type, you aren't getting enough. 

And that leads directly to depression, anxiety, lowered immune function.

It's an easy fix. Pills are fine, but for seasonal superpowers, knock this back twice daily:  Source Naturals Vitamin D-3 liquid

2. Get Thee In The Sun

Swathe yourself in soft (animal-friendly!) fabrics, and head outside. Go ahead, brave it. Even for 20 minutes. It will help you sleep better, drastically improve your mood, and boost your immune system.

The outside air will revive you, I promise, but if the idea of venturing out is just too unbearable, wrap yourself in something sensual and curl up in a sunny window. Close your eyes and let the warmth tickle you.

Either way, protect your skin with one of my all-time-favorite beauty potions: Simplers Botanicals Carrot Seed Oil.

Carrot seed oil has amazing anti-aging, wrinkle-fighting, skin-repairing properties, and is a natural sunscreen. 

Three drops in a dollop of your day cream will cover your face, neck, decollate, hands, and forearms.

3. Let The Sunshine In

In the precious hours of daylight, amp up your sun and heat absorption by keeping your windows sparkling clean: white vinegar first, then anoint the corners of each window with a drop of pure lemon, grapefruit, or orange essential oils.  I'm in love with these from my dear and delicious friend ContessaCreate. Ask for healing solar power to come into your home and your heart, and give thanks. Then, when the sun goes down, light up your den with creamy candles and fairy lights. (If you opt for the battery-operated candles, go for eco-friendly rechargeables-more of an investment upfront, but worth in in the long-haul, and so much easier on the planet.) 

Take a cue from our pagan ancestors, and prepare meals using lots of yellow and orange foods, harnessing the energy of the sun. Try pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, and LOTS of citrus fruits.

Speaking of sunshine and coconut milk...after all that cleaning and frolicking, don't you just need a nibble? 

Sunshine sweetness!

Sunshine sweetness!

Luscious Lemon Cakes

1. Make the lemon curd first:

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 to 5 lemons per cup. Zest first, then juice.)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ cups xylitol or coconut sugar 
  • 4 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ⅛ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • Zest of 2 lemons (zest finely, and zest extra!)
  • ⅓ cup plain, full-fat organic coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. vegan butter (Olive oil Earth Balance is one of the healthiest choices)


Using a food processor/blender, combine lemon juice, water, xylitol, cornstarch, and salt. When the mixture is smooth, pour it into a saucepan and add lemon zest. Turn the heat under the saucepan to medium, and whisk until the mixture comes to a full boil, about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to boil for one minute undisturbed; the mixture should have noticeably thickened and started to turn clear. Remove from heat.

Add coconut milk and vegan butter. Whisk until everything is fully combined. Allow the lemon curd to thicken and cool in the saucepan until it reaches room temperature. Set aside.

2. Now make the rest. 

Crust:
1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 cup xylitol or coconut sugar
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup vegan butter

Filling:
2 cups of lemon curd 
1/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, stir the flour, xylitol, and salt. Then cut in the butter, until you have a fine crumb. Press the crust mixture into a greased, 8×8 inch cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes. While the crust bakes, whisk together 1/2 cup of the lemon curd and the 1/4 cup of flour, until smooth. Add an additional 1/2 of curd, and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining curd and whisk a final time. (Don't dump all the dry mixture into all the curd at once-you'll get lumps.)  When the crust is done baking, pour the filling mixture into the pan and return to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. The filling may still look a bit jiggly, but fear not-it will solidify when cooled.  Cool at room temperature, before garnishing with a sprinkling of xylitol (entirely optional. please note: xylitol is far from a perfect sweetener, but it does work exceptionally well in this recipe. Avoid it if you have even a slight sensitivity) , cutting, and serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Now, get naked beneath a fuzzy throw, and share these with a friend. 

A very close friend.

xxxAlise