Category Archives: Clio Boru

Samhain

 

Probably the most recognizable of the Wiccan Sabbats, or Sabbaths, Samhain, (pronounced “sow-win”) is considered the most important Sabbats of the Wiccan Wheel of the year. It is one of the two spirit nights each year, the other being Beltane. At Samhain, the laws of time and space are suspended and the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is lifted. It is at Samhain that we communicate with ancestors and departed loved ones as it is the easiest time to do so. At this time of the year, the recently departed make their journey to the Summerlands to meet old family and friends while waiting to be joined by those they left behind.

It is a time to reflect on the past and consider the future. To put away the old and prepare to welcome the new. Most commonly celebrated around October 31st, to coincide with the end of the harvest, in the Southern Hemisphere it is commonly celebrated around May 31st, to coincide with the end of the harvest there.

Most modern people recognize Samhain as Halloween. Known more formally as all Hallows eve, Halloween absorbed the practice of honoring the dead from Samhain and then evolved it into a remembrance of those Saints canonized in the past year.

Samhain is celebrated with many different rituals, some of which provide unique challenges for those not living in or near rural areas. The most common is pumpkin carving, but many today would be surprised to learn that originally turnips were carved and lighted in celebration. The next most common is the bonfire or even two bonfires. This is to awaken the spirits and to attract them. It is customary for Wiccans to leap over the fire to help with the attraction.

Samhain is also a time for Fairies or Elementals. This is when they play pranks on the unsuspecting. In order to distract them from these pranks, they were offered treats. Sound familiar? Think “Trick or Treat.”

A great Treat Recipe are Fairy Cakes

While intended to be left in your garden for the elementals, they are also a great treat for your little ones, and even big ones, as well.

½ cup wine, red or white depending on your taste

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 egg

2/3 cup of flour1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch of salt

½ cup honey

Mix egg and wine in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Then stir this mix into the egg and wine mix. Let this stand for about 30 minutes. While waiting, mix the honey and nutmeg in another bowl, until well blended. Set this aside for later.

Heat about ½ inch of cooking oil, I use vegetable but whatever type you like to use will work, in a frying pan. Make sure it is hot, about 325 – 350 degrees (a good trick is to put a single popcorn kernel in the oil and then cover the pan. When the kernel pops, the oil is at the right temperature) Drop your cake batter, one large spoonful at a time, into the batter and fry until golden on one side. Turn over and fry until golden. Remove the cakes and place on a paper towel to drain. Then, just dip them into the honey mix and enjoy. 

IMBOLC – The Coming of Spring

 

There are 8 Sabbat’s, or Sabbaths, in the Wiccan Year. Imbolc, pronounced “Im-Bolk” is the 3rd of the year.

Imbolc occurs around February 2nd and is essentially the half way mark between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara). It celebrates the transition of the Crone of Winter into the Maiden of Spring. This holiday has been celebrated not only throughout antiquity by many different cultures, but also today in many different forms. In Wiccan custom iut celebrates the Celtic Goddess, Brigid, of fire, fertility, midwifery and the young. ‘Imbolc’ literally means “in the belly” in the old Irish language. “In the belly” is a reference to birth with Spring symbolizing the rebirth of the land and all of nature. Brigid is often refered to as the Goddess of fertility and as such is closely connected with Imbolc.

When Christianity was expanding in Ireland in the 5th Century CE, attempts to convert the Celts and other tribes to Christianity often faced conflict with these ancient traditions. Through a process called syncretism the Church simply combined the ancient beliefs and traditions with another Irish Saint, Saint Brigid of Kildare. This allowed both rituals to be observed without conflict. Many Christian Churches now celebrate Saint Brigid’s day on February 1st. It is customary at this time of year to make a Saint Brigid’s cross out of straw or reeds. The display of these symbols is very common in Ireland today.

saint_brigids_cross

Imbolc is an observation of the ending of winter. Wiccans use fire and other means of light to extend the day. There is also the use of seeds and buds of trees and flowers to suggest the development of new life and birth. Food is an important part of the festival with seeds or other foods that are nearing the end of their storage life being used in the creation of foods. A simple but tasty recipe for scones would be appropriate on this day.  It would be very easy to picture Clio baking these in her kitchen as John and Roger waited hungrily nearby.

IMBOLC SCONES

1 cup raw potato’s, peeled and diced

2 cups flour

1 tbsp yeast

¼ tsp of salt & pepper each

1 tbsp of flax seed (or other seed such as sunflower)

3 tbsp softened but not melted butter

3 tbsp milk Boil and mash the potato’s then set aside to cool. Add salt and pepper, seed and yeast with the flour. Then blend in the butter. Add the potato’s and the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until a soft and manageable dough is formed. Put the dough on a floured surface and roll out until about ½ inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a floured glass, cut into circles of about 3 inches. Place of a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-23 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

In modern times Imbolc is most closely associated with Groundhog’s Day. The intent is the same, celebrate the beginning of the end of winter and look forward to the warm fertile months of Spring.

Dire Wolve’s

Dire wold skeleton

 

The Dire Wolf plays an important role in SORCERESS RISING and is an ancient wolf species that ranged throughout North America. While long extinct there are groups actively involved in “rebreeding” and as a result, reintroducing, the Dire Wolf back into our population. SORCERESS RISING takes place in Lake Melts Wisconsin which is located in the East Central part of the state. The ancient remains of Dire Wolves have been found near there.

 

The Physical description of the Dire Wolf is quite impressive, some may say even intimidating. These are not the German Shepherd sized Grey Wolf or Timber Wolf that you are familiar with. While in some instance they were larger than these wolves, historic mythology has described them as the size of small horses. Whichever description you choose to believe they were and remain the largest of the wolf species.

 

These were fierce and powerful animals. They hunted not by speed but in packs and their primary food source was larger animals. Dire Wolf remains have been found all over the United States. The Dire Wolf Project is working diligently to return these magnificent animals. Starting with a crossbreed between an German Shepherd and a Alaskan malamute. Over time this breed has earned its own identity and is now officially known as the American Alsation. Their temperament is far from wolf like as they are primarily family companion dogs, less than 3 feet tall and weighing up to 120 pounds. They have a very wolf like appearance and I suspect confusion at the Dog Park could be interesting.

While the picture below is of a modern American Alsation, it is very easy to imagine a ferocity based upon its wolf like appearance.

 

Modern Dire Wolf

John Slocum – Deputy Sheriff, Johnson County

Deputy Sheriff

John Slocum is a central figure in SORCERESS RISING and the upcoming sequel, SORCERESS REVEALED. He is a native of lake Melts Wisconsin, having lived there all of his life, except for the 3 years he spent in the Army with his lifelong friend Karl Grabinski.

John’s time in the Army, as you might expect, was as a Military Policeman. He joined with Karl directly out of High School. Eventually the two friends found themselves about as far away from Wisconsin as they thought they would ever get…Fort Polk Louisiana. At first disappointed the two avid outdoorsmen discovered the rich hunting and fishing around the area and neighboring Texas.

Until he became close to Clio Boru you could often find him hunting or fishing throughout the State of Wisconsin, unless he was with his children. John is divorced and has 2 children who live with his mother. It is because of this that he chose to work the 3rd shift as a Sheriff’s Deputy for Johnson County. That shift allowed him the time for his kids’ school and extra-curricular activities.

As a mischievous child, John and his friend Karl were always involved in some kind of prank. While he never did anything truly bad, he did enjoy antics customarily found in rural or semi-rural schools of Wisconsin. The occasional loose chickens inside the gymnasium or cows in the football field, while never directly tied to John were usually linked to someone he knew and knew well. Summer and fall Saturday nights were occasionally spent in Harvey Plausheks’ Barn, listening to music and drinking beer. John’s knowledge of the barn would eventually help him in SORCERESS RISING.

John and Clio have continued to grow their relationship. In SORCERESS REVEALED, Book 2 of the Clio Boru series, their closeness continues to grow into more than simple friendship. Both Characters are typical of stereotypical Midwestern people and as such exhibit an openness and honesty that epitomizes stereotypical values not frequently found in modern America.

John Slocum is just beginning his adventures with Clio, Karl and new found friend Roger Marquette. Follow the journey of this group in the soon to be released Sorceress Revealed and in the fall of 2015, SORCERESS RESURRECTED.