Junk Food Past and Present; The Diet of Our Ancient Irish Ancestors

aliisaacstoryteller

junk food“The menu for this evening is pasta or chicken nuggets and chips,” I announced, smiling smugly to myself. Two ten year old boys in the house; it was obvious what they’d choose.

“Pasta!” they both chorused, much to my surprise. Dammit, I thought. That means I actually have to make a real pasta sauce. Whoever heard of kids who didn’t love junk food?

Not that that was a problem. We don’t tend to eat much junk food in our family. In fact, I never ate junk food as a child myself, perhaps due to the fact that much of my childhood was spent abroad. I don’t think I even stepped into a MacDonalds until I was nineteen.

Nowadays, after Carys’s Troubles, we tend to eat according to our blood type. Which, as we are ‘O’s, is very similar to the paleo diet. And that got me thinking…

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Eating Like the Ancestors; An Experiment in Irish Iron-Age Cuisine

aliisaacstoryteller

The things I make my family do, and all in the name of research for my books and blog! Fortunately for me, they tolerate my whims and fancies quite well, even humour me a little, thinking I don’t notice their exchanged glances and rolled eyes.

Not so long ago, I discussed the diet of the ancients, which aroused much interest. So, I decided to try it out for myself. Here are my results.

Butter

This was the first thing that I made, and it was so easy, and so delicious, that I decided I was going to make it more often. All you need is some double cream (I think in US it’s called heavy cream), and something to shake it in. I used 150mls of cream, because that’s all I had left, and shook it for about 15 minutes. It made a small amount of butter, which we…

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Two Powers Meditation (ADF DP Week 11)

The Two Powers Meditation is something that I’ve been doing for years.  I originally began my journey with the DP and ADF in 2007.  At that time, they did have the recording of the 2P meditation online.  I downloaded it onto my phone, and I used it quite frequently.  Honestly, I find that I liked it better in 2007 than I do now.  But, perhaps that will come with time.  I still remember the first time I really was able to block out the distractions and focus on the words of the guided meditation.  I was shocked by how cold the waters from the earth felt.  My body began to chill and the urge to grab a blanket almost knocked me out of my focus.  Even when I wasn’t actively working on the DP, I still liked to use the 2P meditation every now and again.  I prefer it for a grounding and centering visualization than a meditation session, but it all works out.  As I work with it more, it will be interesting to see how my preferences change (or stay the same).

Walking the Waterfront

Tonight my husband and children took me out for my Mother’s Day dinner.  Yes, it is a few days late, but Sunday night we were all so busy and tired from the weekend, we decided to just get take out and relax at home.  This past weekend, we rented a giant inflatable water slide for my daughter’s birthday party, plus we camped out in tents, so we had a lot of cleaning up to do on Sunday.  We were all exhausted.

Anyway, we decided to postpone the dinner until Tuesday (today).  We went to a seafood restaurant right on the waterfront.  It was a nice family meal, and afterwards we walked along the waterfront.  The kids played at the park for a bit.  I took them onto the different piers.  We watched for fish and bugs and boats.  It was pretty special.  I love having moments with them outdoors.  Children are so full of wonder and curiosity.  They notice things that (even when I’m trying to be observant about nature) I miss.  They’re more willing to get wet and dirty.  I feel like tonight I learned as much about being one with nature from watching them be with nature than I would have without them.

I took some pictures that I’ll have to upload in a bit.  They’re on my phone and I’ll have to transfer them before I can put them on here.  But I wanted to get the words down while they were still fresh in my mind.  The moon is almost full, and it’s beautiful.

Update:  look who got off her butt and transferred the pictures!

On the water

On the water

I tried to get fairly close.

I tried to get fairly close.

A fountain near the park.

A fountain near the park.

From the park out to the water.

From the park out to the water.

The playground.

The playground.

I just thought this was cool.

I just thought this was cool.

View of the water.

View of the water.

Our feet, on a bench swing.

Our feet, on a bench swing.

The moon was amazing.

The moon was amazing.

Another view of the moon.

Another view of the moon.

More moon.

More moon.

 

 

Modern day problems

So when I signed up for the OBOD course (again), I chose to receive the audio CDs.  When I started the course before, in 2008, I loved them.  So I chose them again.  I liked that I could put headphones in and listen to them in bed, while falling asleep.  I would usually listen to them a few times awake and take notes, but every night I’d fall asleep to the various Gwersi.  So I order the audio version of the course.  I still have some of the audio CDs, but not all.  I am missing, for example, the introductory package, Gwers 1-4 and 9-12 I think.  For some reason I have two sets of 13-16, but not the next set after that.  And I think I have a couple in the twenties, but I forget which ones.  Anyway…

My introductory package arrived in the mail today.  And yes, I did check the mail like five times a day for the past week.  It’s sad, pathetic really.  But the introductory package arrived.  YAY!

Here’s the problem:  I did not think this CD thing through.  So I bring in the intro package and I’m reading the material, and I go to insert the audio CD into my computer.  I’m looking.  And looking.  Apparently my pretty new desktop does not have a CD-ROM drive.  It seems those things are becoming obsolete.  Grrr.  Well, I have a laptop.  My kind sweet husband bought me an external CD/DVD drive for it like a year ago.  Unfortunately I haven’t ever used it.  When I tried to use it today, my laptop did not want to install the software.  At this point, I start thinking maybe I’m going to have to take the entire OBOD course sitting in my truck.  I can put SIX cds in that thing.

So now I’m sitting here with the introductory package (which of course I could just read), and a perpetual order for audio CDs from OBOD… and no freaking CD player.  I’m sure this will be funny in a few days… or weeks.  Too soon, bro.

I will not be deterred.  Tomorrow I’m going to buy a portable CD player (you know like the old school Walkman things for CDs?).  I know they still sell those suckers at Wal-Mart.  Then I can listen to my audio course happily in bed or wherever I want, as long as I don’t run out of batteries.

Good grief.

Beltane Ritual (ADF DP Week 10: Second High Day Recap)

My ritual text: 

 The High Day Ritual

 

Stand before your altar. Relax, and begin.

Feel the earth below you, the firm ground. Experience the earth as upholding you, as maintaining your weight. Feel the earth holding you, rather than you pushing against the earth.

 Earth Mother, I stand upon you today and recognize that we begin with you and we will end with you. Uphold me now as I give praise, and support me as I receive blessing.

 Statement of Purpose: As my ancestors did before me, so I do now, and so may my children do in the future. I come into this space today to celebrate the feast of Beltaine, the beginning of the Celtic summer and the bright days ahead. Today I will make offerings to the Ancestors, the Spirits of Nature, and the Shining Ones. Especially, I honor Belenos, the bright god of fire, and Sirona, the healing well.

I now begin, as a member of the pious folk, to make my offerings in joy and reverence.

 The waters support and surround me.

The land extends about me.

The sky stretches out above me.

At the center burns a living flame.

I call out to the Crane, Keeper of the Gates.

Though I walk on uncertain paths,

Though I travel on unmapped ground,

Guide me, ward me, and relay my voice

As I offer prayers and praise.

In your mind’s eye, see the sacred center open before you: watch the mists part, see the door to the Otherworld open, or watch the spiral of the magic from between the worlds reveal the Otherworld. The Gates are now open, and the true work can begin. Know that you are guarded by the Crane, a being of all three realms: land, sea, and sky.

 I call out to my ancestors, those who came before me, you of my blood and you of my heart. I seek to give you praise, to remember you now, and to honor you.

Think on your ancestors: see their faces, smile with joy at their presence. If you have praise or offerings to give them, do so now.

 I call out to the spirits of this place, the spirits of nature who are the soul of this land. I seek to give you praise, to call out to you now, and to honor you.

Think on the nature spirits: the faeries of the wood, the spirits of the land. If you have praise or offerings to give them, do so now.

I call out to the deities, first children, eldest and wisest. It is you to whom we look for guidance, and you who grant the greatest blessings. I seek to give you praise, to honor you now, to give you due worship.

Think on the deities: the great ones who bless our lives, who watch over us and show us that unconditional love. If you have praise or offerings to give them, do so now.

 Key Offerings:

Belenos

Belenos, Sun King!

Hear my words as they arise on the fire!

From your fire comes my internal flame!

From you comes warmth and love!

Belenos, whose starry mantle shines in darkest night,

Bring forth within me the hidden inspiration I seek:

Draw the inspiration out.

Order it with your shining light; Belenos, give me Inspiration! Belenos, who is the sun, draw your bright chariot across the sky Warm me with the bright glow of fellowship: Bring me together with others to revel in your brilliant light;

Belenos, give me Fellowship!

Belenos, whose divinity is blinding, whose gifts cannot be fathomed

Show me your generosity, born from our long relationship:

From old bargains kept. Shine your blessings upon me!

Belenos, give me Blessings!

Belenos, give me your light!

 

Sirona

Sirona, Lady of Healing Waters!

Hear my words as they resound in the well!

From your waters comes my own internal inspiration!

From you comes passion and healing!

Sirona, to look upon you is to see stars upon the water,

To know the subtle light of joy and song.

Light me softly, touch me with intuition and deep knowlege.

Sirona, give me inspiration!

Sirona, who is the firey light of sun on the waters,

Bright and powerful, lustrous and joyful,

A beauty to behold and a passionate sight.

Sirona, give me fellowship!

Sirona, who wells from the mother earth herself,

Bring forth the healing and blessings of the land.

Drench me in the blessings of the All-Mother.

Sirona, give me Blessings!

Sirona, give me your light!

 

[Make any Praise Offerings to the key deities]

 

Today, I have given of my praise and myself.

With love in my heart and devotion on my tongue

I call out now, with all my soul:

Accept my sacrifice!

Take a moment to visualize, as you shout this last statement, all of your blessings, praise, and intent flowing up to the gods, out to the spirits of nature, and down to the ancestors. Hold yourself in that moment, watching your praises flow from you, and prepare yourself for what may be offered in return.

Now, take your divination tool up.

 As I have given praise to the Powers, I open to them. If there are blessings to be had, what might the nature of those blessings be?

Draw three symbols: one for the Ancestors, one for the Nature Spirits, and one for the Deities. Examine each one, think about the omen offered, and consider how it might translate into blessings. See Appendix 1 for some common symbol meanings.

Now, take these omens and concentrate on their meanings, holding forth a cup of water or other beverage, saying:

 Indeed, the Powers offer me blessings. Now I seek the manifestation of those blessings, the outpouring from the Powers that offer them. To those who enter this exchange, pour forth your blessings into my cup!

Envision the blessings before you, either as a mist, or a vortex of energy, or as pictographic representations of individual blessings. Watch them pour into the cup, mixing and infusing with the liquid already inside.

This in my hands is a holy cup of magic, the great blessings offered to me as joyful return of my praises to the Kindreds. Here are the deep waters that flow within the earth and that rain from the sky. These are the waters of life!

I accept this blessing, and I drink it with love and knowledge of the Powers!

(drink)

 Working: No specific recommendation. This is a good time for spells of healing and vigor.

 Now, with joy in my heart, I give thanks: To the beings of this occasion, thank you for your blessings. To the Deities, thank you for your blessings. To the Nature Spirits, thank you for your blessings. To the Ancestors, thank you for your blessings. To all those Powers who have aided me, thank you for your blessings.

 To the Crane, the Keeper of the Gates:

For guiding me and warding me

Thank you for your protection.

In your mind’s eye, see the sacred center close before you: watch the mists gather, see the door to the Otherworld close, or watch the spiral of the magic from between the worlds close in on the Otherworld. The Gates are now closed, and this rite is ending.

 Mother of all, to you I will return all things I have left unused. For supporting and upholding me in this rite, I thank you!

This rite is ended!

You should take all your unused offerings and empty them out, and remember that cleaning the altar and space is as impo

Discovering the Ruins (ADF DP Week 5: Nature Awareness 1)

Near my home, there is a little parking area on the side of the road marking the Tabby Ruins.  I’ve been meaning to go for a while, to see what type of “ruins” these may be.  Today, I went.  I was not disappointed.  The Tabby Ruins are the ruins of an old sugar works building.  In the grand scheme of things, I suppose they aren’t that old, but it suits my purposes.  The Ruins are set fairly far back from the road, so there is quiet and solitude.  There are nature trails branching off of the main ruins where one can walk into the surrounding woods.  Here are some pictures I took of the area:

The sign describing the history of Tabby Sugar Works.

The sign describing the history of Tabby Sugar Works.

As you approach the ruins from the parking area

As you approach the ruins from the parking area

Approaching the ruins

Directly at the front of the old building.

Directly at the front of the old building.

View from the front door

View from the front door

One of the side rooms

One of the side rooms

Another side view

Another side view

The middle room, side

The middle room, side

View toward front door from back of building

View toward front door from back of building

A tree stump inside the ruins :(

A tree stump inside the ruins 😦

One of the trails from the ruins

One of the trails from the ruins

I walked down this one a little ways, but I got attacked by bugs after about ten feet.  I’ll come back later with bug spray to explore this more.

At the parking area

At the parking area

I like this place a lot.  It never seems crowded, though I do see cars parked there sometimes. I’m not sure how much privacy I’d have in the ruins themselves, but I think I could definitely find some moments with nature down the trails.