Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


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On Certain Faux Outrage-a-holics

Freedom of religion means that we all have the freedom to observe whatever religion we wish. That is what has made this country great for all of the time it has been a nation. However, with ignorant displays as this will detail, to Fox News, freedom of religion means freedom for Christians to practice their traditions, not freedom of religion for everybody else, and to them, there is no freedom of religion for people who choose not to believe. This we already know.

Being tolerant doesn’t mean you have to agree. It means that you recognize that other people besides you live here in this country and that your work isn’t to convert the entire country over to your point of view.

-Dakota O’Leary, “Of Fox News, Wiccans and midwives: Tucker Carlson, witch hunter

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Fox News – Masters of Projection


I first read about this story over at The Wild Hunt (“The Mainstream News Media Dance with Wicca“) yesterday, but didn’t get around to watching the videos until today.  There’s plenty that one could comment about in the video.  It’s chock full of privileged, tone-deaf, insulting, ignorant, and unprofessional statements.  Among the things that most stuck out to me was this idea that Wiccans and Pagans should be outraged because they are “being used for a political agenda.”  I hate to break it to you, Tammy Bruce, but the only one using Wiccans and Pagans for a political agenda is the folks over at Fox News.

Note to the blond in the middle:  You can, in fact, wish anyone you want a “Merry Christmas” on your own time.  Just don’t be offended if I don’t respond or wish you a “Happy Holidays” in return.  Your right to say “Merry Christmas” is not in jeopardy.

Oh, and for the record?  Our family celebrates Imbolc, Vernal Equinox (Ostara), Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas (Lughnasadh), Autumnal Equinox (Mabon), Samhain, and the Winter Solstice (Yule).  Perhaps if you had done just the slightest bit of research you might have realized that Pagan beliefs are not a homogeneous sort of thing.

Best takedown of their “news” story? Thudfactor’s “Pagan Holidays and the Fox.”


The “nones” and what that might mean for our collective future

Jason Pitzl-Waters has been doing a fantastic job in the last few months taking a look at the “nones” and considering what that might mean for our culture – particularly for the non-Abrahamic and minority faiths – going forward. Towards the end of the most recent article, Pitzl-Waters writes:

…it’s important to keep in mind the essential “pagan-ness” of our world today, despite the best efforts of Christianity and Islam to replace all beliefs with their forms of exclusive monotheism. Polytheism, pantheism, henotheism, post-theism, and other theological variants outside the Abrahamic conceptions of divinity continue to thrive and make an impact on our world. The growth of the “nones” provides the Hindus, Buddhists, folk-religionists, and “other” faiths a chance to change the narrative of belief in this world, that Christian and Muslim one-size-fits-all salvation are not guaranteed eternal dominance, and that we can find pluralistic alternatives to the status quo.

Definitely something worth considering on the eve of what is considered a universally celebrated holiday by far too many in this country. Things certainly won’t change overnight, but it’s a start.


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Merry Solstice

IMG_0611This year has been…different.  Our usual Solstice celebrations have been cancelled in favor of preserving our energy for an upcoming trip with kids and dog and all of the usual away from home stuff.  Add to that the stress of an epic bout of gastroenteritis in my youngest and I’m not exactly in the holiday mood.  I had plans, dear reader, they just aren’t happening.

The good news is that  plans don’t expire and as long as Pinterest doesn’t go belly up before next year all of my ideas are safe and sound until then.  Oh, and next year there won’t be an traveling anywhere near the holiday which will simplify things quite a bit.  No guarantees on the illness part, though, but two out of three isn’t bad.

Since things are less than exciting over here as of late, I thought I’d share some of the many wonderful posts out there on my favorite blogs for extra Solstice goodness.

Metal Gaia shares a Yule Blessing Poem.

Works of Literata shares her Yule Blessing.

The Druid in the Swamp shares a super secret Druid tip.  Ok, it’s really not all the super secret, but it’s a wonderfully simple way to celebrate the Solstice and honor the reason for the season.

Winterviews begins over at Humanistic Paganism which also shared a Winter (Summer) Solstice specific post.

Naturalistic Pantheist Musings shares a post on Celebrating Yule in follow up to yesterday’s post.

Not to be out done, The Wild Hunt gives a great synopsis of the many traditions regarding this time of year including several quotes about the significance of our wintertime observances.

Still looking for a special libation to celebrate the return of the sun?  Frugal Feeding has a wonderful recipe for Traditional Glühwein.

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The husband had to work late again last night so I watched the traditional White Christmas (trailer) with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye on my own before hanging up the glittered pine cones we made last month and putting out the kids’ Yule gifts.  We went with simple this year since we wanted to save up enough money to buy them an outside playset.  Each of my children got a book and a movie.  It’s probably not all the surprising that there were complaints because they didn’t get any toys.  *sigh*  It was intentional, dear reader.  All I have to do is point to their bedrooms as proof for why they did not need more toys today.

I’m sure you’re even less surprised to learn that they gave up on that pretty quickly once the first disc hit the Blu-Ray player.  We also had donuts from the apple orchard that I had put in the freezer and reheated, a tasty lunch at Noodles and Company (at the request of the youngest), and lots of fun out in the snow.

Tonight we’re going to venture into new Yuletide territory and have breakfast for dinner.  I’m starting with the waffle recipe from our Strawberry Shortcake Waffles minus the strawberries and whipped cream.  We’ll cap off our evening with the last of the three movies and some popcorn with King Arthur Flour’s Vermont Cheese Powder. I will miss the bonfire this year (and sun bread and yule log, etc, etc), but sometimes quiet works just as well.

solsticeAnd now, to echo last year’s Yule Blessing:

As the Wheel of the Year spins again, may you and your family be filled with the wonder and magic of Yule.  Most of all, may your new year be filled with light and love. Blessed be!


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Cookies for Yule – #2 White Beer Cookies

There are a handful of cookies that I make every year without fail.  The others come in and fly by with whatever whim I’m entertaining while making the list.  This cookie is one of the old standbys and if you know my husband, like, at all, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Cookies.

Beer.

Yeah, that about covers it.

IMG_0428Can I just say that these are surprisingly tasty?  I don’t know that you would necessarily expect that when being told that they are a beer cookie, but look at them sitting there all sunshine-y sweet with their orange peel studded frosting and beer-y, hop-y goodness.  They remind me of the sun that’s so noticeably absent this time of year.  The perfect winter solstice cookie.

I have made them with a couple of different kinds of beer, but trust me when I say it really does need to be a white beer.  I’d also suggest not breaking the bank with your choice because one batch of cookies calls for 2 – 16 oz bottles of beer that you reduce down to 1/3 of a cup of liquid.  This year I went back to an old favorite from Blue Moon Brewing Company (yes, yes, big boy masquerading as a craft brewer).  Their Belgian White was made for this recipe.  The citrus and coriander hints already present in the bottle is the perfect match for the citrus and coriander in the recipe.

The recipe’s originally from Food Network, but the ads on Food Network’s website hate my iPad.  Seeing as I never print a recipe anymore, this isn’t a good thing (Are you listening Food Network?).  I’m going to link you to We’re Not Martha’s adaptation instead.  Their recipe format leaves something to be desired, but I can at least see the recipe which is more than I can say of Food Network.

Oh, I should also note that I made the recipe as written.  I know, I know.  You can sit down if you’re feeling light-headed with shock.  It’s perfect just as it is.

Looking for some more traditional winter holiday ideas to go with the perfect winter solstice cookie?  Traditional here meaning pagan, obviously.  You know…the reason for the season…axial tilt and all.  My favorite, hands down, is Christian Rätsch and Claudia Müller-Ebeling’s “Pagan Christmas,” although Dorothy Morrison has some good ideas in “Yule:  A Celebration of Light & Warmth.”  Between the two of them, it’s where I get the inspiration for all of my best holiday ideas, minus some of the more esoteric parts (I like ritual, but I’m not the literal sort when it comes to that kind of thing).

Next up?  I have no idea.  I inadvertently made all of the drop cookies first and left the more labor intensive ones for last.  I predict that the speed of the shipment being sent my way from King Arthur Flour will have an impact on my choice.  In the mean time, I’m off to hide these cookies in the freezer before the husband eats them all.