Bunny Chow & Pinch Punch

Saying “Pinch punch” and spitefully poking somebody or just saying “White rabbits!” before midday on every 1st of the month is a popular folk tradition whose origins have become hazy with the passing of time.

Almost nobody remembers now that the “pinch punch” was a symbolic blow to cast out evil spirits from people around you, and that “White rabbits” is a call to good spirits for protection. I suppose it’s one of the things you don’t consider until you start having spirit issues.

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As the 1st of August is the festival of Lammas, I have created a menu for a Lammas meal which combines all the elements you need for an evil-free and good-omened August.

 Pinch Punch – an inexpensive sangria punch with wine & fruit

Double Bunny Chow – rabbit shaped Lammas Loaves stuffed with curried rabbit

Chocolate Bunny Cake – yes, it’s a bunny themed meal, what of it?

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And remember to say “White rabbits” but don’t try to poke me or I’ll poke you right back, “no returns” or not.

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Blood & Chocolate – The Ancient Sacrificial Drink of the Aztecs

Back, way back, way back in time, the ancient Aztecs used cacao seeds for spiritual and ceremonial purposes, as when sacrificial victims were given cacao drinks mixed with human blood in order to prepare them to have their heart cut out and held up, still beating, to the Sun.

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 For thousands of years cacao was considered their most valuable food, especially as they associated chocolate with Quetzalcoatl the feathered serpent god who, according to legend, was cast away by the other gods for sharing chocolate with humans.

 Also used as currency, 30 cacao beans would buy you a rabbit or 70 beans, a turkey.

 Actually in those times, having your heart removed forcibly from your chest was not the worst thing that could happen to you by any means, but we needn’t go into the Rain Creation Rituals here. This is meant to be a happy place. Don’t Google them unless you’re in a gruesome kind of mood.

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A Flaming Fête With Flowers

Midsummer bonfire
Flowers of flame flare out bright
Live on as embers

As the Sun passes over the Tropic of Cancer and hangs directly overhead, we celebrate with flowers which represent the Earth’s energies, water to represent the water sign Cancer, and fire which represents the Sun.

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  While the mystical hordes gather at Stonehenge and other sacred and ancient sites, some of us must make do with the materials available to us and instead have a Midsummer party in a garden or park.

You can always create your own sacred circle at home, as here.

  If the fire was a pyre built from the Nine Sacred Woods of the Bonfire: rowan, birch, ash, alder, willow, hawthorne, oak, holly and hazel, that would be ideal – “Nine woods ‘neath the cauldron go, burn them quick and burn them slow”, but if you are pressed for time and wood variety, you can make do with a disposable barbeque tray, just sprinkling dried herbs over the coals to create a fragrant smoke.

 This will attract air elementals to your gathering, who may be pleased at your respect for the Old Ways and bestow good luck to those present.

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 It is traditional to cook your food over the Midsummer fire, and an ideal option for this is Snobrød, for which we are using sticks gathered from the forest.  This way everybody can toast their own, and stick their own sausage in afterwards.

 Yes, it’s a sausage party. So mote it be!

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Speaking with Spirits via EVP

 If I could talk to the other side, just imagine it?
Chatting with a haunt in words ghostly

 Imagine speaking to a shadow, discoursing with a daemon
What a neat achievement it would be!

 If we could talk to the other side, learn all their languages
I’d take a PHD in EVP

 I’d study poltergeist and zombie, revenant and kelpie
Specter, apparition, and banshee

 If I visited with visions
Think what fun we’d have, asking the incorporeals for tea

 Or maybe lunch with two or three wraiths, supper with a few shades
What a lovely place the world would be!

 Let me elucidate ethereally
I feel that it would be, the only time I’d really speak freely

 And I would move among the atoms and talk with the phantasms
Laugh and sing and stalk the ectoplasms
And they could talk to me!

 The world of spirits and phantoms is available to you. Understanding the methods of connecting with the other side using recording technology can allow you to communicate with the dead.

If you have a smartphone, you can start immediately.

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Trollï? Yes indeedï! Scandï, mostlï

Look at them, troll mother said. Look at my sons! You won’t find more beautiful trolls on this side of the moon.” – Traditional

 In these enlightened days of science and technology and that, most people associate trolls with spiteful and/or mischievous people who anonymously trouble online folk.

Hiding under a bridge of secret identity, they wait until they hear the trip trap, trip trap of one of their triggers approaching, and start to send out messages that have only one intention – to make themselves feel strong.

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Every time they provoke a reaction, especially a hurt emotional one  from somebody, they feel for a moment a spike of bright joy.

They imagine themselves for that second to be powerful and beautiful, but of course, anybody else will see them for what they are- great lumpen ugly trolls with eyes as big as saucers and a nose as long as a poker.

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In Scandinavian folklore these existed long before the internet was dreamed of, living far from human habitation and sometimes appearing as grotesque monsters, sometimes as normal people with only pale dry skin and a reddish cast to their eyes to identify them by.

 The humanoid trolls were by far the most dangerous, of course, lulling people into a false sense of security before eating them up, snap snap snap.

 These were also able to shape-shift into domestic cats when it suited their purpose but, like all their kind, had the fatal weakness of an allergy to sunlight.

As bothered as you can be by trolls during the hours of darkness, when the sun comes up they will be exposed and frozen in place, completely helpless to your whim, whether you choose to destroy them with a few well-placed blows or leave them as they are as an example to other trolls.

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Suitable refreshment for Walpurgis Night according to Comrade Bulgakov

“We know that our forefathers very generally kept the beginning of May as a great festival, and it is still regarded as the trysting time of witches – i.e. once of wise-women and fays; who can doubt that heathen sacrifices blazed on that day?” – Jacob Grimm ‘Teutonic Mythology’

 The ultimate Walpurgis Night party was the one described in the book The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – with walls of flowers, champagne fountains, ape jazz band and a guest list of naked, dead murderers.

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 I will be traversing the tundra in Sweden this Walpurgis Night, one of the few countries where it is still celebrated with fireworks and bonfire parties, hoping to visit the Vampire Lounge and the Tiki Room for some pagan cocktail magic. A flaming shot certainly counts as a form of bonfire and I like to be respectful of the old customs.

 If you are at home, I have thoughtfully invented some Walpurgis cocktails based on the Bulgakov book, which if you haven’t read – lucky you! You have a wonderful treat ahead. Curl up with the novel and theme your drinks to the section you are currently reading.

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Sapping Energy? Bring Back The Birch

Tír na nÓg are the islands of everlasting youth and beauty, not unlike Peter Pan’s fictional Neverland.

Magic_island

 Populated by gods and spirits who no longer have any connection to our world, it is possible for humans to visit, although returning is not usually easy due to the different way in which time passes there. The stories passed down to us about past visitors usually relate that anybody returning from Tír na nÓg will find that it is later than they thought, with all their friends and family long dead of old age.

 Tír na nÓg

Pliny The Elder warns us that it is not a flawless paradise either as “These islands are greatly annoyed by the putrefying bodies of monsters, which are constantly thrown up by the sea”.

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 Although the islands can be glimpsed shrouded with mist in the sea, they cannot be reached by water, despite occasional sightings of them in the distance, distinguished by the large black rabbits populating their shores.

 Despite the instructions given of “Second on the right, and straight on until morning”, the usual route is via groves of birch trees in the forest.

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