Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lughnasadh and the Sacrifice of the Corn King

As Lammas, or Lughnasadh, bears down on us (where does time go?!?) I find myself thinking about the metaphor of the God as a plant. Known as the Corn King, or John Barleycorn, in British tradition, the Sun God or "Son" God (child of the Goddess) dies a sacrificial death in order to feed all of us in the web of creation. He "dies," but it is not true death, for he has already re-seeded himself in the womb of the Goddess. As he returns to the Underworld, he is already in the process of being reborn.

It is compelling to think of the God as a plant. Like the corn he is represented by, he releases his seed naturally in the course of his life-cycle. The new corn seeds are already germinating when the parent plant dies off. Yet the corn seed is, literally, a living part of that plant. So the corn is "resurrected" in the next season of growth.

Our culture tends to see the God as warlike, or at least paternalistic and "in charge." Many stereotypes placed upon him are unfair to masculinity, in general. I think it is very healing to see the God as a nurturer and a care-giver. For that is what he does when he surrenders his life to the cycles of nature and allows all other living things to eat of his body. There is enough of him to go around, and still to reseed him in the underworld of the Goddess. This system is perfectly designed to allow for life without the cost of cruelty.

As a vegan pagan, I enjoy the metaphor of the corn because it is not species-specific. The God did not sacrifice himself only for the souls of humans. He died to "feed" (physically and spiritually) all the children of the Goddess. And even in that moment, his death had no sting. He and his adepts knew the secret...his life went on, just under the mother's soil and skin.

art by Charles Vess

Monday, July 7, 2014

fresh garlic scape pesto

I don't check in on this as often as I would like to, but I have been experimenting more with gardening. I am learning a lot from my mom and from websites. I am trying to keep it as organic as possible and veganic (vegan organic) when I can. I hope eventually to be all veganic. Organic gardening normally still relies on a lot of animal products...especially manure and even composted body parts of animals from factory farms. So veganic means getting away from all those products as much as possible.

The vegan zombie guys are also experimenting with veganic gardening so if you look around their UTube channel you should find some good stuff:

Anyway, a garlic scape is the curly little top that comes up on the plant about this time of year. Gardeners cut it off so that the energy of the plant stays in the bulb and not up top. Scapes taste like a combination between garlic and chives, I think. You can use them in a stirfry or soup to up the garlic flavor. But a friend of mine turned me on to making pesto with scapes and I've never looked back. I don't have a particular pesto recipe to recommend but maybe later I will blog my own. For now just experiment if you feel like it. Scapes are popping up in the farmer's markets now!  I would say use a half handful of scapes to two handfuls of basil so the scapes don't overpower the taste. Also I use walnuts and an equal amount of nutritional yeast instead of whatever nuts or parmesan cheese a recipe asks for. The walnuts and "nooch" together make a parmesan flavor profile.

fresh garlic scapes and basil from my garden

...a closer view

and the pesto! there is some in the freezer for this winter

Fourth of July Cookout Vegan Style

We celebrated the holiday and Gwen's son's birthday with a lovely cookout at a lake. I will let the food pics  speak for themselves...vegans don't miss out on anything, except the regret of consuming unhealthy foods that cause environmental destruction and animal suffering. So we had a happy holiday, for sure! There is plenty more Summer ahead for grilling in our neck of the woods, so hopefully you will have time to give it a try. Oh, one more note. If you are intrigued by the bbq seitan pictured below and have never made "wheat meat," here is a good recipe link:

seitan, veg-kabobs, and grilled corn

The finished product: beautiful, bbq seitan or "wheat meat"

lovely corn. soak for an hour in cold water to help it steam on the grill.

grilled red pepper, eggplant, and red onion. the red pepper is blanched (quick boil) first to make it easier to grill

the other stars of the grill...

tofurkey dogs and brats plus some gimme lean patties

a big bowl of rice and quinoa for putting under the other goodies, if desired

                                                my plate...yum!
raw, vegan key lime pie