Monday, November 19, 2012

It's for the birds, really!

Farm Sanctuary recently held a thanksgiving celebration of their own, but with their own twist. It's all about the Turkeys. No, not how they will be cooked, stuffed or what side dishes to have with them. All of the food was FOR the turkeys.

Yummy feast!
Image source:

I truly see no better way to celebrate thanksgiving. I wish I could have been there! Another great way to celebrate the holiday as a vegan is to take part in Farm Sanctuary's Adopt a Turkey program.  The link to the program is:

~ G ~

vegan thanksgiving potluck

Our local meetup had a thanksgiving potluck this weekend and it was great!

 Gwen's husband Chris with his vegan stuffed pumpkin
 Leslie's mom Mary Jane enjoys the bounty!
 beautiful spread
 Autumn and Azize get ready to fill up!
 Gwen and Chris
 Leslie and Mary Jane
 Tofurkey wishbones also function as a handy crucifix
Leslie brought the sliced tofurkey, Mary Jane did the turnip and squash

Friday, November 16, 2012

Talking Turkey (Compassionately)

These are rescued turkeys at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. I took the pics on my visit there this past June. Now that the holiday which takes hundreds of thousands of these birds' lives each year is upon us, I am reflecting upon my visit with them.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that our culture has made almost entriely into a celebration of the eating of a turkey's flesh as a symbol of affluence and a celebration of family values. As such, it is a annual challenge for vegans. Many of us sit down to have a meal with family -- sometimes for the only time of the year. It can be a great opportunity as vegans for us to help those around us to learn about the reasons behind our choices, though it is also a time when some of us earn lifelong scars from bullying by our companions.

Let's just remember to hold onto our gratitude for what veganism gives us, and seek support from our fellow vegans (especially if our families or other friends are not supportive).

Our local vegan meetup has two thanksgiving potlucks so far - one in Portland and one here in my area (nearer Bangor). Hopefully these events will grow not only locally by nationally. If you don't have a vegan meetup in your area, maybe you could start one thru

And let's stand up for the turkeys! For those of us who are animal rights vegans, the holiday is not just about our plates.

We in Maine may be used to seeing free, wild turkeys flocking up and eating in the fields and roadsides this time of year. Unfortunately, turkeys bred for consumption are as unethically genetically modified and as cruelly treated as chickens. If you ever wondered why they are white unlike their wild ancestors, it is because consumers like white meat. The pigment in turkey feathers colors their flesh and therefore breeders had to leech it out. And this is nothing compared to how they are treated. You can check the recent Butterball cruelty scandal for an example if you have the stomach (the concept of "having the stomach" is an interesting link between our compassion and our diet, by the way). PETA and Mercy for Animals have recently exposed undercover abuse footage which is so horrible I won't go into it here. But considering that Butterball alone slaughters an average of 50 000 turkeys a day to feed our cultural appetite, it seems fair to report turkey's day to day experience (as found at

"Butterball turkeys are killed using a process that involves hanging live birds by their legs, shocking them in electrified water so that they become paralyzed (though they still feel pain), slitting their throats, and then running them through a tank of scalding-hot water for defeathering.

Because Butterball's current slaughter method gives workers access to live birds, the animals often suffer when desensitized workers become frustrated or bored, as was the case at this Butterball plant and the other plants that PETA has investigated.

Even though they constitute more than 98 percent of the land animals eaten in the United States, birds are excluded from coverage under the only federal law designed to protect animals during slaughter, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA). "

Please note that these practices are standard and not the "abuses" recently uncovered. I know these aren't fun facts to have in our skulls. Yet they are the truth and may help us to remember why we are vegans when we are challenged by those around us. Hopefully we can be role models by finding peaceful, factual ways to educate them and to hold that balance when faced by defensiveness or aggression.

Farm Sanctuary holds an annual Celebration for the Turkeys, where rescued birds on the farm are given dinner by visitors instead of being dinner. The sanctuary also has an "adopt a turkey" fundraiser this time of year that is a great way to engage in activism.

Let this be our vegan battlecry: Thanksgiving is for the birds! 

Have a happy and peaceful holiday season

Our Samhain Salem Trip (Vegan Style)

So team vegan pagan just returned from our Samhain trip to Salem Mass! I try to go at least once a year (though sometimes there is a draught) but it was Gwen’s first trip. It was totally exciting for me to get to show her all my favorite attractions and shops. It was kind of like being there for the first time again myself!

As vegans traveling we had no trouble whatsoever. As a special treat we did get a few soy lattes from Starbucks and from local coffee shops like Jaho in Salem. We took a cooler with a few items in it, like Gwen’s tempeh tuna and eggless salad. I had quite a few bulk-bags of nut mixes and some primal strips as well. We had peanut butter, instant oatmeal, freeze-dried miso packets, and bread. All in all we didn’t pack a ton of vegan survival items, though.

From my past excursions, I knew we would have a mini fridge in our hotel and that there was a well stocked grocery store near the hotel (selling tofu, gardein, fresh produce, and quite a few vegan specialty items as well as mainstream non-animal fare). So we went to the store and both spent about $30 on grocery items we both agreed on, and that was it. We didn’t have to spend tons of money eating out on the whole trip. The last vegan restaurant standing in the Salem/Danvers area appeared to be Life Alive (rest in peace, Coven and Each Peach). We didn’t even eat there, however. That was our goal because we wanted to spend what mad money we had in Salem’s dozens of cool pagan shops or tourist attractions.

We were delighted to find that we had our own microwave in the large room we had booked. In the past I had used the microwave in the hotel breakfast area whenever I needed one. We had instant brown rice (those microwaved individual portions) with mandarin chick’n gardein one day in the hotel. We made some killer queso with fresh salsa and daiya solid cheddar also. We each shared a large cup of miso about once a day just for a little supplement. We had tofurkey sandwiches and sandwiches from the salads Gwen had made (along with the nut mixes, fruit and jerky) to pack into Salem with us during our days of touring. We took advantage of the hotel breakfast each day, though I found I had to supplement it with my own instant oatmeal and more fruit (grapes, apples, and bananas) and whole wheat bread from the store.

Now for Salem! We took the informational trolley tour around town first so Gwen could hear a lot of local lore and history all at once and get her bearings on what was where. I had never been to town so close to Halloween before and I definitely noticed the crowds. We had to wait a while to get on the trolley but it wasn’t too bad.

After the trolley we did the witch museum that has been open in Salem the longest. It is a bit kitschy but we figured Gwen had to be able to say she’d been there. It used to be very exploitative of witchcraft but for the past decade or more the museum has tried to redress this – even adding an exhibit about the “changing perceptions” of witchcraft and what it really is (or isn’t).

We visited some of the awesome pagan shops, of course…most of them more than once over the course of the three days. Nu Aeon, the Broom Closet, Pyramid, Artemis Botanicals, and Hex. I had a lot of fun in the Goth clothing and memorabilia store, The Fool’s Mansion. My personal broom closet of witch’s supplies and ritual ingredients is fairly well-stocked so I enjoyed the novelty of Fool’s Mansion rather than buying a lot at the other stores. I have bought plenty from them over the years, you can be sure.

Of course we went several times to the remaining Cabot store, the Crow Haven Corner. We took a tour about modern witchcraft that they offered there which included an opening ritual out behind the store, then a walking tour of some of the common attractions, which ended at Hex so people could shop.

One of the cool Halloween things we did was to attend an evening of ghost stories told at the House of Seven Gables. That was kind of a novel way for Gwen to experience that great colonial home and museum (though their normal tour is extensive and very interesting). What we attended was a series of ghost stories told by actors portraying characters in Hawthorn’s book about Seven Gables. It was pretty cool.

One of the big things we planned to do on the trip was to attend Laurie’s Cabot’s Witch’s Ball (done by the Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple). That was happening the night before we left. We were getting a little worn out by that day so we slept in and took things a bit slow during the day. We decided to tour some of the historical attractions in Danvers, where our hotel was, and only go into Salem that evening before the ball.

Danvers and some other nearby towns like Peabody were originally part of the rural sprawl that was Salem. During the times of the witch trials, modern Danvers was actually the location of the Salem Parish House, where the first accusers lived, and the Meeting house where the accusations of the witch craze victims actually occurred.

We toured the Nurse Farm museum, which is run by Revolutionary War re-enactors as a non-profit organization and memorializes the life of famous witch trial victim, Rebecca Nurse. The tour of the Nurse farm included a replica of the old Salem Meeting house, which was built at the Nurse property for the filming of historical documentary “Three Sovereigns for Sarah.” The family cemetery at the museum is one of the only known gravesites of a witch craze victim, since most victims were buried in unconsecrated, unmarked graves or were hidden by their families.

While still in Danvers we viewed the site of the old meeting house, which is near another witch trial memorial. This is different from the more popularized one in modern Salem, but in a way feels more powerful due to its location near the place that holds the energetic memory of the accusations themselves, and the place that many witch trial victims saw as their spiritual home prior to being attacked.

Later that evening we made our way into Salem to do some last minute walking around before heading to the events hall where the witch’s ball would be. We found getting into downtown and finding a parking place to take a full hour longer than normal and be fraught with terrors that had nothing to do with ghosts or goblins. It was more about all the semi-sober adults swarming around everywhere in their costumes! But we did find a parking spot thanks to some real witchcraft and took our last look around town before knowing we would leave the next morning. One hurried tour of a few shops, one last soy latte from Jaho at the wharf, sitting there looking at the historical ship the Friendship with a nearly full moon shining above the water.

Then came the witch’s ball. This was not the event that the mainstream Halloween partiers attend at the Hawthorn hotel, by the way. This was a smaller affair done by Laurie Cabot’s Temple and held at a Moose Lodge a mile or two from the craziness of downtown. We did have to go in costume however, though anyone going as a Green Faced Hag would be turned away at the door. Gwen and I wore matching lavender colored dresses we got off ebay a few years ago.

The ball began with a brief Samhain ritual. I wished it had been longer, since that was my primary reason for attending. Afterwards, however, there was a nice buffet and we had no problem finding vegan fare (which pleasantly surprised us). There was a nice green salad and one of the hot dishes was Israeli cous cous salad. It may have been partly because I had been sure to have a big lunch in preparation but either way, I was full after supper.

Dancing was (not surprisingly) the primary entertainment of the evening, but early on there was a belly dancer who performed with one of her eleven pet snakes, who was a python. After they were done dancing Gwen went to meet the snake, since she and her husband have three of them as well.

So that was the bulk of the trip! The ball was a great climax. We managed to get up and out of the hotel by about ten the next morning. We stopped in Portland on the way home for one last soy latte and one last pass at Lush, which is the only location that franchise has in Maine. It was our only chance to get the fresh facials and items that they don’t sell online. In case you don’t know, Lush is a cosmetics company making all natural, non-animal tested products and many of them are vegan. They sell make up, henna hair dyes, facials, foot scrubs, shampoos, bath bombs, lip scrubs, deodorants, and more. It is exciting to go through a store and see so many items clearly labeled “V” for vegan and to know that you are shopping with a clear conscience due to that company’s great values.

So home we came and here we are! We got home in time to attend the actual Samhain circle held in Bangor by Temple of the Feminine Divine. We both renewed our Temple membership for the coming year and look forward to doing many great, magical and ethical things here at home! So happy Samhain and blessed be.

Salem Trip Pics

 The witch trial memorial in Danvers
 plaque at former site of Salem meeting house (where the accusations began)
 side view of Danvers memorial
 Rebecca Nurse Homestead
 herb garden outside
 hearth in Nurse Homestead
 Some green transportation becoming more popular in downtown Salem!
 Bridget Bishop's bench in the Salem Memorial (she was the first victim executed)
 Gwen at the Salem Witch trial Memorial
 A Maine descendant left flowers at the bench of Sarah Wilde (at the Salem Memorial)
 Our tourguide for the Salem Witches' Walking tour began with a ritual to show people not familiar with the faith what we actually do
 close up of the altar. we all got to take one of those stones after infusing them with peace energy.
 The "bewitched" tribute. The filming of several episodes in Salem kicked off the tourism that we know of today.
Gwen and Samantha!

Cabot Kent Witches' Ball Pics (Salem)

A belly dancer and her python provided entertainment at the ball, and Gwen got to say hello....
 Then the snake said hello back!
 We finally got to break out our matching dresses!

 The table decorations were great (though the candy wasn't vegan)
 Since we call our small business "Triple Crow Creations," we were gratified by the backdrop art!
 The altar for the Cabot Kent Samhain ritual was great.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, even with winter looming in the distance. The trees show off their beautiful colors and apples are getting ready to pick. The kids are back at school, so we're starting to fall into a different rhythm. I tend to get so busy that I forget to stop and open my eyes to the world around me. To enjoy the sunlight on my face, the wind in my hair and the sound of the ocean, river or even pond that is nearby.

Now is the time to enjoy the rewards of the summer's work. Of course, it may not be OUR work, but we can join in by going to the farmers market and eat some of the fresh locally grown food that is so delicious because it is full of the earth's energy. Time to prepare for Mabon and another turn of the wheel of the year.

I'm starting to take this time to learn about herbal healing and nurturing your bodies with plants and "weeds" that grow everywhere around us. I plan on making salves, tinctures, infusions, and dried herbs for teas, and other things to keep me going through the winter when the earth is resting for spring. I'm eager to get out and connect with Mother Nature and gain more knowledge about her many gifts.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Kaeng Raeng Cleanse

It hardly seems possible but Gwen and I took the veg plege a year ago next month! Time has flown and I don't miss eggs or dairy at all (I had been vegetarian for fifteen years and I never missed meat once I decided to stop eating it).

I had seen info on the Kaeng Raeng vegan cleanse on Alicia Silverstone's blog ( and then forgotten all about it for a while. But recently I decided to do it. I thought a cleanse would be a nice "reset button" for my body as I celebrate one year vegan. Hopefully it will help me clean out the old toxins and junk still left in my system and start fresh eating even more whole foods and good stuff. Oh, I used to be known for my coffee bingeing and I've also been coffee free since Februrary! I did it out of concern for my blood pressure. Sometimes I miss the coffee but not much. Too bad most of the people who know me still give me bags of gourmet coffee anytime a present is called for. ;0)

Anyhow, I took the Kaeng Raeng quiz and they suggested I do the six day master cleanse. Of course I wondered if they tell everyone to take that one, or at least everyone who is vegan, but a friend took the quiz and got a three day answer. I wound up getting the 6 day master cleanse and I'm in the afternoon of day four.

Bottom line: it's great. The cleanse is not a "fast" or anything. You drink three very filling shakes a day, which are filled with nutrients. Between the fiber and the nutrients you really aren't physically hungry at all. You are also "allowed" to eat as much fresh, raw, fruit and veg as you wish. So it isn't deprivation. Any sense of that is primarily psychological and perhaps to do with some food addictions. So breaking that cycle is exactly what I signed on for.

There are some detox symptoms, which kaeng raeng explains and tries to prepare us for. I had gone off caffienated tea three days before the cleanse to get that withdrawal out of the way. But I did have some headaches and cramping in the first three days. It wasn't bad...mostly it was psychological because I was at work and afraid that withdrawal would affect my ability to get things done but that wasn't the case. I did meditations on my lunchbreaks and those helped with any headaches or fatique.

Day three was the hardest so far. It wasn't bad, mind you. Just the hardest. Part of this may have been that I was at a very intense, draining day-long work meeting so that may have given me a headache anyway! But I did have a bad one and overall flushed face, shaky felt like drinking too much coffee and then suddenly stopping. Also not being able to eat lunch with my peers bothered me more that day but I went out to my car and did a meditation, which totally turned it around. Then that evening I was meeting a friend for a walk and I felt a little run down so I regretted setting myself up for a lot of running around. Also I felt bad about the social aspect of not eating with her, but bless her heart she showed up toting her own green juice. Solidarity! :0)

Today I have had no symptoms, no hunger, and despite a pretty busy workday I feel really good. Maybe I've rounded the detox corner? We'll see. Two more days to go! 

-- Addition: Here I am the following week. I successfully completed the cleanse! Yay! Days four and five were fairly easy but day six was a bit tough. I think part of it was psychological because I felt I had to do some meal planning for the next week to get off to a good start, and thinking about food made me hungry. Plus I think I was entering a deeper level of detox on day 6 - I had another bad headache that actually lingered for a couple days, tho meditating helped. I also had a really bad aftertaste in my mouth all day (which I have heard may be due to detox). But I got thru it and I was so proud afterwards!

The next day I only had vegetable soups and a salad to try to bring my system back to regular food easily. Since the cleanse I am eating better, don't crave sweets or fat (as much), and get full much faster. I lost 3 1/2 pounds on the cleanse, which sounds about average from other testimonials. My blood pressure is still pre-hypertensive but a tad lower. I hope to keep the good improvements up now! I definitely recommend kaeng raeng and plan to do it again...probably a three day cleanse after New Year's.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hermetic Teachings and how they can inform vegan paganism

Laurie Cabot, one of my teachers (and a great one), uses the Kybalion as a text to educate her students on the laws of nature/the universe/magick. The language is arcane and the authorship is controversial, but what I like about the Kybalion is that is has the potential to serve as a framework to discuss spirituality, magick and religion from a perspective outside any of our current religious "labels." The texts are attributed to and/or inspired by the original teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes Trismegistus himself is a mysterious figure...who may have been a great teacher/adept or was a personification of the messenger God, Hermes (and also often assimilated with the Egyption God, Thoth).

The core of the Kybalion is what the authors called the seven laws or principles. Here they are in a summary:

The Law of Mentalism: the Universe is mental, or of the mind. It is “a mental creation of the ALL” – everything is thought into existence by God/dess the ALL or in scientific terms, “the objective intelligence.”

The Law of Correspondence: “As above, So below. As below, so above.”

New physics = every particle of matter contains all others. Same with our concept of time: “as then, so now” posits this may explain many “hauntings.”

Herbs, gems, etc. for spells and rituals have specific energies and qualities to draw in what we seek, also colors, etc. – all of this is to do with the Law of Correspondence.

The Law of Vibration: Nothing is at rest. Energy moves. Matter is never inert. Different rates of vibration = different texture, temperature, etc. Same with brain waves – alpha, beta, theta, etc are different rates of vibration.

Kirilian Photography measures vibration (aura photographs)

Our aura is part of our vibrational quality. We send messages thru the vibrational quality of energy and work magick by sending vibrational messages that participate in creation.

Law of Polarity: polarity is the key to power in the hermetic system. Kybalion = everything is dual – everything contains its opposite. Opposites are really two extremes of the same thing.

All objects, moods, and states have positive and negative poles, like circuits, thru which energy passes. You need never be stuck in one spot. Magick works with this polarized energy circuit.

Being centered is powerful because it taps both poles.

“In the middle is virtue.” – Roman proverb.

Einstein said: “Time and space are modes by which we think, not conditions in which we live.”

Law of Rhythm: How polarized, ever vibrating energy moves is a rhythmic dance. Energy moves in circles. Like ripples in water. There is an ebb and flow movement in spirals.

Rhythm = the measured motion between extremes. Everything is continually becoming its opposite. We are in constant change of “becoming” (Heraclitus)

The Kybalion says “the pendulum or rhythm swings ever toward first one pole and then the other.” And, “the pendulum ever swings, but we may escape being carried along with it.”

Self mastery = directing our own energy. Yet still working with the rhythms of nature. The great wheel of life. Birth/death/rebirth of all things – moon cycles, tides, seasons – are all the natural expressions of rhythm. We need to find a way to integrate our rhythms into the larger rhythms while still achieving our goals.

Law of Gender: everything has masculine and feminine components. Tied to polarity. Use of gendered terms to explain polarized qualities of energy (yin/yang).

Feminine = receptive

Masculine = projective

This is not about locking us into gendered roles of our culture – actually the opposite because it suggests all people contain both qualities/genders.

Due to the value of balance a certain androgyny is valued in lots of magicks and magical systems/cultures.

Look at many creation myths – how the goddess contained the god within herself, etc.

Law of Cause and Effect: everything causes everything else. Not always directly but thru the ripple effect of how energy moves and because ALL is connected.

The Universe is a web – not separate but all connected and part of a whole. Magicks seek to utilize this cause and effect intentionally.

So thru magick we seek to solve our own problems, reach our own goals – but we are also held in check by the greater whole of which we are a part and regulated by ethics. The Rede, which is an expression of cause and effect, says what we send out we get back threefold.

  I think the Kybalion and its principles speak to veganism when we look at cause and effect. The concept of the whole System as connected (in fact inherently One) speaks to how we treat each other, other animals, plants, and the earth itself.  

Laurie Cabot comments on the lessons of the Kybalion in her early book, "The Power of the Witch," in a way that seems to me to draw a clear link to veganism:  

“As witches we believe we are meant to know how everything works – earth, air, fire, water, stars, planets, spirits. This knowledge is available to us. Furthermore, we are responsible for knowing how everything in the universe works because we are responsible for the universe.

“Our mission is ecological; we are here to balance energies, reconcile opposites, and right wrongs by mentally projecting that all things be corrected. It is our responsibility and yours to promote health and life in all its forms.” (pg 176)

My idea of how to pull all this together is to say we are here to learn, to evolve spiritually, and to raise vibrations of good/spirit for all. Of course they all overlap because of the ways we are all connected. This includes:

Healing for earth: sustainability, repair, reduce environmental impact

Healing for creatures: veganism/reduction, animal welfare with the goal of animal abolition

Healing for people: equality, rights, sexual education/reproductive rights, sustainable food markets/environmentalism, veganism to increase the global food accessibility (to grains, other plants), education to spread healthy and sustainable practices

Healing for spirit: helping damaged spirits cross over, doing ritual to create balance and raise vibrations, support other entities in their work

Healing for ALL: do the best we can to correct imbalances, which all ties together to benefit the ALL, which of course includes ourselves and our loved ones

Veganism is a great path to all this because it:

Makes us healthier personally (feel better, have more energy and ability to do all the work, also more well being, etc)

Makes us “cleaner” channels for spirit to work with and help us do the work

Reduces environmental impact on the earth, other creatures, and other people

Is a major part of the solution for world hunger, climate change, animal cruelty/exploitation, & health crises in many populations

I will probably talk about magick, activism, and veganism more in connection to the Kybalion so I just wanted to put some of this out there.   So, the the words of that work, "As above, So below."   blessed be!

Kitchen Witchery: Food Blessing

Like the mainstream tradition of “saying grace,” this is about blessing our food and being thankful for it. Blessing food can be done at all stages of preparation – even harvest. Some kitchen witches perform blessings over their crops as the grow, bless bulk ingredients (like flour, sugar, spices) before putting them in the pantry, or etc. Yet anyone can bless their plate before eating at least.

Here is a simple pentacle invocation and food blessing. You can use it over ingredients while you cook and/or over the plate before you eat.

Draw a pentacle in the air over the food with your finger or a cooking implement:

Say a few words of your choice. You may develop a set kind of little saying which you repeat automatically before each meal or you could wing it based on the day (or a bit of both). Here is an example:

“I bless this food and I thank the God and Goddess for the nourishment I am being given. Bless the earth for feeding me and for caring for us all. In the correct way and for the good of all, blessed be.”

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lammas Blessings (taking stock of the bounty in our lives)

I'm a bit late posting about Lammas, but it is because I have been kind of taking the holiday season in and contemplating what to write. I looked around at what lots of other pagans online wrote about their holidays and a certain theme resonated with me.

It has to do with the bounty of the harvest...not only material, which is great (I'm a badass farm-stand stalker this time of year)...but also spiritual bounty.

At Imbolc especially, I attended a ritual where we stood before a priestess invoking Brede and said aloud my goals for the coming seasons. I can see how taking stock of the bounty my ritual and lived - workings has given so many gifts to me.

I became vegan after years of being vegetarian last October (as you will know if you have read Gwen's and my earlier posts). At Lammas I can be thankful for all the blessings the vegan path has given to me. I feel healthier, my allergies are improved, I have better focus and less stress. I feel that I am more in tune with my conscience in terms of my personal relationship with animals and my consumer patterns. My vegan journey has been a huge blessing to my paganism. That's why I blog about vegan paganism in the first place, and there is so much rich bounty still to be harvested.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ideas for vegan-pagan activism and a note on kitchen witchery

• Clean up a beach then do a ritual to connect with the elemental spirits and animal spirits of the area. Follow this with a yummy vegan potluck.

• Do a volunteer workday at an animal sanctuary, followed by a ritual to connect to the spirits of farmed animals, and then of course also follow this with a yummy vegan potluck!

• Do a local clothing-swap so that members of your community get what they need in a greener way. Spread the word about veganism with pamphlets, a vegan bake sale, etc.

• Have a pet food drive at public rituals and donate it to local food pantries and/or animal shelters and sanctuaries in the name of your group. This builds your community relations as pagans.

I was laughing as I made this list about how central food is to paganism, which of course fits right into a vegan dietary and activist lifestyle. This made me think about the concept of the kitchen witch.

There's a big trend toward "kitchen witchery" right now and it couldn't fit better with vegan paganism if we tried. Cooking and meal planning are such huge necessities for vegans, especially in rural areas. Seeing food prep as "alchemy" and a magickal practice can really enrich our path.

I think we tend to devalue kitchen work as "mundane" instead of least I sometimes have. Yet when you think about it, most of the craft has always been making use of mundane tools and daily realities with a deliberate, magickal intent. The broom and cauldron, the knife were common household items but became symbols of craft.

"Alchemy" is defined as:

a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination (Oxford Dictionary online)

So as vegan pagans it can be fun to explore how our making of a healthy recipe that sustains ourselves and our friends/family is actual "magick" - no different than following a recipe in a book of shadows to make a potion or perform a spell.

The current (Spring 2012) issue of Circle Sanctuary Magazine (from which I borrowed this notion of alchemy) is all about Kitchen Witchery and I found it a fun read. It can be downloaded for $5 if you are interested:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Green Witch Reading List

I hope everyone is having a great Summer now that the Solstice has passed us and we are trying to make the most of this warm, joyous time before slipping into Fall. I love Halloween more than any other time of year but let's not rush!

Speaking of Halloween (Samhain), Gwen and I plan to go to Salem for a week in October. I also plan to take Witchcraft II from Laurie Cabot as soon as I can. It will probably be next year. Check out her website for info on her great classes at or her Salem Temple at

I just thought it was time to put up a small book list for Green Witchcraft and related studies. Paganism is a very personal journey and lots of ecclectic study is the norm. Yet if you go to a bookstore or website and start searching the topic it can be a little overwhelming. That's why I'm putting up a small reading list here...only books I own and have help narrow it down. I will try to do so every now and then. This list is books I feel relate most strongly to my vegan path as well as my spiritual one. Although most paganism involves elements of embodied spirituality and ecological ethics, I think these books are very strongly connected to environmental and animal rights lifestyle.

Earth Centered Spirituality (Joyce and River Higginbotham): this is a great place to start if you are totally new to paganism and may not even be sure if it is the path for you. The book is deliberately ecclectic and uses "paganism" as umbrella term for many trads without getting into the specifics of any one. For example, I tend to use "paganism" as a general term also but I personally am a witch, initiated in the Cabot-Kent Trad and also fairly ecclectic in my personal journey. The Higginbotham book mentions several different trads that people might want to look into but stays very general about magic, ethics, deities, and so on. It is also a great book to refer your curious friends and family to if you come out of the broom closet and they have a lot of questions (and/or misconceptions) about paganism.

Earth Magic: This is a audio CD by Starhawk, which is also a very basic primer but focuses on what I would call ecclectic Wicca. It has several chapters of basic informaiton and a couple of guided meditations. It is slightly less general than the Higginbotham book because it is grounded in one trad (Wicca) but it is also very general in the sense that it is basic info that would apply to most more localized trads within Wicca. The term Wicca is often used as if it was a general term for all pagans but this is not really the case. Wicca is a specific path that differs from say Asatru (Norse) or Druidry (Celtic).

The Earth Path (Starhawk): This is one of many great Wicca primers by Starhawk and it deals with ecology, ethics, permaculture, etc. Starhawk tries to write from a fairly general Wicca standpoint in order to make her writing meaningful to many readers. She is also a leader in the trad of Reclaiming Witchcraft.

I also recommend Starhawk's books Spiral Dance and Twelve Wild Swans or -- let's face it -- anything with her name on it. These two books are primers in a very Reclaiming Witch style of Wicca that focuses on magical empowerment, activism, and ethics.

Circle Round is a Reclaiming-grounded book of ritual songs with an accompanying CD if you want to learn some songs for your first trip to a public ritual.

Grimoire for the Green Witch (Ann Moura) is a thick how-to full of fun info like Theban and Futhark runes, spells, ways to celebrate Sabbats (the big pagan holidays) and Esbats (full moons), incense recipes, and teas.

Druidry (Emma Restall Orr) this is a short, glossy hardcover that serves as a good basic intro to Druidry. I suggest this one as a first stop because Druidry is a huge trad with tons of books and it can be hard to choose material until you have some basic idea of what the trad is all about. Druidry has a especially European personality and can be a bit hard for Americans to get hold of at first but it is a very, very "green" trad with deep roots.

The Deva Handbook: How to Work with Nature's Subtle Energies (Nathaniel Altman): This book introduces the reader to the concept of Elemental Spirits or Energies and how pagans can relate to them. Ever heard of the Findhorn community in Scotland? The Deva handbook is an intro to that kind of stuff. The Elementals are basically what we often refer to as "fairies," but without the sparkle and wings. Without the fluff, actually. Work with Elementals is a very interesting path to explore and touches on some very primal magical work. It is also very easy to connect Elemental work with veganism/animal rights.

While we're on the subject of fairies, there are plenty of other pagan practices that work with Earth Spirits/Elementals/the Fey. One of the most intriquing is the trad of Feri Witchcraft, which is notoriously secretive about its inner workings and definitely has nothing to do with Tinkerbell. T. Thorn Coyle has written an excellent primer for public-consumption called "Evolutionary Witchcraft."

Well, that's what I have for now. Enjoy! :0)

Monday, June 25, 2012

VegFest 2012

Gwen, Autumn and I (Leslie) had a "girls day out" at the 2012 VegFest in Portland (Maine) this weekend. The workshops were great and it was excellent networking with vegans and animal rights activists from all around the state. Plus, who doesn't like a gag photo opp?! :^D