Tuesday, February 21, 2012

new moon ritual

for the new moon cycle beginning last night, gwen and I did a comfy little ritual at my place. we raised energy for ourselves, for creatures, and for the earth. I called to Quan Yin to assist us in sending energy to the creatures of the earth who are dying, transitioning out of death, or suffering in life due to our animal consumption patterns. it is difficult stuff to dwell on but I have to believe healing energy does help. remember, "energy follows thought." and as "she who hears the cries of the suffering," Quan Yin is a great Goddess to call to for works like these. she is a Goddess of compassion, meaning not mere "pitty" but true "empathy."

blessed be.

exciting new opportunity

I am thrilled to say that, for my birthday, I will be going to Salem MA to take a "Witchcraft 1" class from the great Laurie Cabot! It's really exciting to think of being in circle with one of the great leaders of modern witchcraft and I hope to learn a lot. I am excited to have this opportunity at this time in my life, when I am working on connecting my veganism and my paganism. Blessed be!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why Vegan and Pagan?

I can almost hear you asking “Why link Veganism and Paganism together? Can’t you have one without the other? Why go to that extreme?” Yes, you can certainly be either Vegan or Pagan/Wiccan and not also be the other. In my opinion the two fit together perfectly, just like puzzle pieces. I know it sounds weird, but hear me out.

Paganism (Or Wicca if you want to narrow down the broad field) is an earth-centered spirituality. If you are pagan, you honor the earth and all living things. Even though it’s not required, but a lot of Pagans that I have met also love animals. I know I do! If you don’t know who I am but happen to see someone over there talking to a random animal or apologizing to a group of plants for trampling them you probably found me. Don’t worry, I’m harmless. Nice to meet you! 

Anyway, I have given it a lot of thought and realized that if I eat meat or other animal products I’m really not honoring the earth or it’s living things. I won’t go into details about the commercial meat, dairy and egg industries. Instead I urge you to watch Food, Inc so you can see for yourself. But to sum it up – even though meat comes in neat, tidy little bundles that are hermetically sealed and taste good it had a face, life and a mother once. It was an animal that was raised in deplorable conditions, being fed something that it would not normally eat, and then at the end they are slaughtered (if they lived that long). By the time they reach the slaughter house, they are encrusted with feces and have alarming levels of E. Coli and other bacteria that will make us sick. And, the process of commercially raising animals causes these bacteria to run off and into the water supply and ends up in things like lettuce and other produce.

Ok, I felt you roll your eyes there. Or maybe you shrugged and thought about how you can live with that because you can’t live without steak, cheese, etc. I totally understand that because you know, I love the taste of it too. Yes, me, the vegan likes meat. But guess what I learned from watching Food, Inc? When the animals that are encrusted with feces are slaughtered, the meat gets contaminated with feces. You are eating it every time you eat meat. Oh gag, yuk, blech! You say you cook it thoroughly? I don’t care if you do, it’s still there. Think about dog poop. Would you want to mix that into your food while you’re cooking? Nope, neither would I. I actually think I’m gonna be sick.

So far we’re at exploiting innocent animals, e. coli in our produce and feces in our food. Oh that steak isn’t sounding quite as yummy right now, right? Ok, so why not be a lacto-ovo vegetarian (one who eats dairy products and eggs)? Well, I learned about that in Food, Inc too.  Chickens being commercially raised are so cramped in their living quarters that they are usually not able to move and are literally in their own waste up to their chests. They are also kept in buildings and never see the light of day. Some die of sickness, and are often left in with the live birds.

Cows that are being raised for dairy are kept in a cycle of being pregnant, and then the calfs are taken away so we can take the milk that was meant for the calf. The cows are often given hormones to increase milk production.  Also, milk contains casomorphine, which is chemically similar to morphine and causes people who drink milk or eat dairy products to become addicted to it.

Leslie and I decided to take the PETA 30 Day Vegan Challenge back in October. We were both vegetarians at the time, and had been trying a variety of vegan recipes that were all so amazingly good. It helped us to realize that food can be good without animal products in them! Before the 30 days were over, we both decided independently that we wanted to make it a permanent change in our lives. At the end of the 30 days, I was amazed just how much more energy I had and how much better I felt. I can’t say that we don’t occasionally eat something that is not vegan. It’s hard to avoid it, and we quickly realized that we had to read labels since many packaged or convenience foods contain animal products in some form. We quickly learned to not blindly trust vegetarian or soy based products, since they often contain eggs or caseins. But we both are glad that we made the change. 

You don’t have to eat animal products in order to have a delicious, filling meal. You also don’t have to give up all of your favorite meals if you decide to make the change. We’re also not trying to make anyone feel guilty for eating meat or dairy, but to urge you to use your food purchases to cast your vote for local, farm raised and free range products.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Veganist Basket at local Charity Auction

If you are ever looking for activism ideas this was fun. I work at a non-profit agency and when we had our annual silent auction fundraiser, I put in a "Getting Started Vegan" gift-basket. And it actually sold! Yay! The basket included:

"Veganist" by Kathy Freston
Sweet n Sarah mini marshmallows
a "Mahalo" candy bar from Go-Max-Go (like the "Almond Joy" only vegan)
two flavors of Primal Strips tempeh jerkey
Raw Parm vegan parm flakes (original)
an Alternative Baking Company Pumpkin Spice cookie
an Irish Daisy double chocolate whoopie pie (local)
Little Lad's herbal popcorn (local)

The basket was from a thrift store and the shredded paper was from the recycle bin at work. I hope whomever bought it enjoys!

now we're cookin'

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is not a cooking blog, but vegans spend an awful lot of time figuring out what to eat and enjoying great recipes so we do plan to do an element of food sharing here. I will always recommend a good blog or book when I do the recipe. Vegans can and do eat well! And along those lines, here are a few things I've cooked in the past week or so.

"beefless stew" using Gardein beefless tips. Gardein has a stew recipe right on their website at http://www.gardein.com/recipes.php

cheezy potato scramble inspired by Skinny Bitch in the Kitch (and toast with Earthbalance)

Mango BBQ Beans from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Her blog with many recipes at post punk kitchen: http://www.theppk.org/

Cannelini bean and Mango/Cilantro salad inspired by the cookbook companion to "Forks over Knives"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quickening Moon

February has the Quickening full moon. It is a great time to ritually plant a seedling or several and use the power built up by Imbolc and the moon cycle to begin something new. Perhaps try planting some herbs for cooking with, or herbs for making incense for ritual. Basil is great for lots of recipes, for instance, and something like sage or catnip is a component in lots of incenses. Enjoy!

Friday, February 3, 2012


Imbolc: Feb 2

Imbolc is one of those Pagan holidays that has been so transparently transferred into the mass culture as “Groundhog Day” that it always makes me laugh. Punxsutawny Phil is the descendant of hedgehogs and serpents sacred to the Celts, for example…who saw Imbolc as the time when burrowing hibernators began to awake and prepare for the blossoming of Spring. It is a hopeful time of year where we in Northern climes strain to see the warm weather that is not quite in evidence yet. Spring is just something we have to take on faith.

Often Pagans like to harness the energy of this holiday to "germinate" new energies, patterns, people, or so on in their lives. I went to a public ritual last nite and part of it was to appraoch a priestess robed like Goddess Bridgit, standing in front of an anvil. We communicated to Bridgit (verbally or silently) our intentions/vows for a new beginning in some way. The Priestess as Bridgit recieved our vows and hit the anvil with a hammer to seal the deal. It was a pretty cool visualization.
Another factor in traditional Imbolc is the lactation/breeding cycles of domestic livestock would kick in to productivity around this time. The word Imbolc is derived from a celtic reference to ewe's milk. As such we vegans can take the opportunity to send some healing energy to animals currently exploited by the factory-scale dairy industry and a culture of massive dairy consumption.
Imbolc would be a great time to support a rescue for farm animals, like Farm Sanctuary. One could also buy a book about the topic (like those supported by PETA or Farm Sanctuary) to donate to a local library. There are even children's picture books and story books on these topics. Send some energy to the creatures who suffer so that we can have their milk. I am sure the Goddess will thank you and support your wishes and vows. Take care, get ready for Spring, and blessed be.