Category Archives: Sorceress

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.

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.

Yule… The Winter Solstice

 

yule

 

As the holiday season is upon us, I thought I would share how Clio, heroine of SORCERESS RISING, would observe traditional celebrations this time of year. On the Wiccan calendar, this season is known as Yule. It is also called the Winter Solstice and is one of the eight Sabbats, or major Sabbaths, of Wicca.

 Because Yule is associated with a period of great darkness, primarily due to it being the shortest day of the year, the celebration is frequently begun just before dawn, with sunrise marking the end of the actual ceremony. There is often talk of a Yule log at this time of year. This is primarily a custom of Germanic Wiccans, and, as a result, not something Clio would observe. However, as a true Wiccan being both tolerant and accepting of other religious beliefs, she would certainly participate in the use of one, were it available. Many Wiccans also include a Yule tree (sound familiar?) in their celebrations.

 The Wiccan Yule is also reflective e of new birth, for it was at Yule that the Goddess gave birth to a son, the God. It is interesting to see the parallels of this holiday with the Christian holiday of Christmas and the birth of Christ. Christianity, in fact, adopted the holiday of Yule some 300 years after the birth of Christ as their faith expanded into regions with large Pagan, Druid and Wiccan populations.

 Wiccans consider the birth of the God as the rebirth of the sun. As a result, they use candles and fire to welcome the return of the sun. Remember, it is after the Winter Solstice that our daylight begins to get longer. Interestingly a simple synopsis of the holiday of Yule is that to Wiccans, it is an affirmation of return or resurrection from the dead.

During this holiday Clio, like most Wiccans, would participate in many feasts to celebrate this rebirth. During these feasts, a good deal of drinking is done. A very common drink is wassail, a hot mulled cider, which lends itself to the toast “All Hail” and the response “Wassail.” Wiccans enjoy food like any other group and a great many Yule recipes exist to help make this festival a wonderful event.

 Wassail is usually an alcoholic drink. The following recipe is non-alcoholic and you can always add, if you wish, your own spirits. I generally add a good brandy, to taste. This is a very simple recipe and while more traditional recipes include raw eggs, whole apples and, of course, alcohol, this recipe works well for multi-age groups. It is easily doubled, too.

 

Simple Non-Alcoholic Wassail

6 cups of apple juice

4 1/2 cups of orange juice

1 cup of lemon juice

¾ cup of sugar

2-3 cinnamon sticks

1 TBS whole cloves

 Put all of these ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for around 20 – 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for another 20-30 minutes. Strain out cinnamon sticks and cloves. Serve this hot.
Yuletide greetings to you and yours!

 

Harvey Plaushek

Plaushek truck2

 

One of the characters in SORCERESS RISING is Harvey Plaushek, an elderly farmer living in Johnson County. Unintentionally he has become beloved by readers.

Harvey Plaushek, local farmer in Lake Melts, is a character many found to be a key figure in Clio’s story , SORCERESS RISING. A minor character originally, Harvey begins to have a greater presence in the second book in the series, SORCERESS REVEALED .

Harvey lives on a dairy farm east of the Ledge in Lake Melts. A pioneer family of the area, Harvey’s family has farmed the same land since his family immigrated there in the late 1840s. Originally from the Baden region of Germany, the Plaushek family came to Wisconsin through Manitowoc, Wisconsin, following a period of revolution in Germany. The Plaushek family found their way to what is now Johnson County and began to farm the homestead that Harvey lives on today.

He is popular and noticeable in the community of Lake Melts because of his outspoken but friendly mannerisms. He is frequently seen in town driving his old red and rusty Ford pickup truck. Usually dressed in Carhart bib overalls, Harvey often comes into town to wander the local farm supply store and enjoy a cup of coffee at a diner along Highway 51 in Lake Melts .

Harvey’s farm is most famous for the large red barn that sits in the middle of his pasture. Built originally by his great-grandfather in the late 1800s, it became popular with young people in the county in the early 1960s as a party place. Beloved by the young people of Lake Melts, mostly because he never seems to notice their parties in his barn, Harvey also enjoys attending football and basketball games at Lake Nicollet High School. With a loud and booming voice that can be heard above the other crowd noise, he had been honored by the athletic teams of the school for his thunderous support..

His history with Clio Boru began during the Gavaudan episode. Suffering the destruction of his dairy herd, presumably at the hands of Jack Gavaudan, Harvey became less amicable regarding the use of his barn as a place for anything other than the operation of his farm.

Harvey will continue to play a small role in Clio’s adventures and while not an insignificant figure in the community, he will make his presence known.