Monday, August 20, 2012

Heal Thyself

I've always imagined my 'role' to be that of a healer.  I think I might be a little too reserved to make a proper shaman, and while I can read Tarot at something of a beginner level, it certainly doesn't come easy enough that I consider myself a seer.  I think I can have a lot of good insights, but I don't know that I am comfortable enough with imparting the more difficult truths to be a proper sage.  But one thing I do love to do is heal.  I like to make people feel better, I like to make people happy, I like to bring comfort to people.

I imagine that even a machine can create food that has nutritional value, but I like to Craft my food to not only be nourishing but stimulating and comforting, to feed the body, mind, and soul.  Beyond that, I have been told I have 'magic fingers' when I massage.  I like the idea of being a healer, and I like to think maybe I am good at it.

There is a blind spot, however.  I've also been told that, despite how well I like to take care of others, I often neglect myself.  I've been asked why I don't try to heal myself the way I try to heal others.  I've been trying to answer that question for myself recently, and so far the only answer I've come up with is, "it's just different."  I mean, sure, I can give myself comfort food just like I can for anyone else (and I do, on occasion, which is probably why I've gained so much weight).  But even that feels different.

I was doing a reading for my partner this evening, and I think it might have occurred to me.  I think, when I heal, I am using some of my own energy, sending it out to the other person, and channeling Divine energy as it goes.  When I prepare a meal, I am putting some of my own energy into it to try to bring out its nourishing, healing properties.
If I were to do that toward myself, then all of a sudden I'm not sending my energy out anymore, I'm trying to draw energy in.  It's actually totally backwards.  I'm not sure I know how to even do that.

But, maybe I should focus on the "Three-fold Rule," as Wiccans refer to it...  If I send positive, healing energy out, it should come back to me--except magnified, channeling Divine energies as it goes.  Maybe I just need to make sure I'm accepting it when it comes around.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Creeping Negativity

It feels as though I might be battling a miasma of some sort... for the past 24 hours or so it just seems like there is a powerful negativity around that has a mind of its own.  My partner and I both slept fitfully and with unsettling dreams (she dreamed I didn't want to share interests with her anymore, I dreamed my legs were crippled and I couldn't use my kitchen).  Even the puppy was acting up last night--which at the time felt like a source of the negative feelings rather than an effect, but now I am imagining the miasma could have been affecting him too.

I'm doing some minor things to try to protect myself; I'm wearing a strengthening fragrance which helps me envision the Moon and her light, and I decided to cover my head with a green headscarf for light protection.  I'm also wearing a locket for protection, and my Vampire Killer pendant as a ward for negative entities.
For the home's protection, I finished crafting some sandalwood votives that had been on the table; the fragrance should be good protection, and I do think that having them sitting unfinished may not have been good for energy flow.  Once those are ready and their fragrance subsides, I think I should get some oak going on in here.
Of course, all that is just to tide things over until I can Craft a more permanent solution.

As far as the root of things goes, it does occur to me that there might be some lingering negativity in the house related to some of the "clutter" items... I know that before I came here, my partner came into the possession of a large volume of stuff when her parents passed, and that she felt overwhelmed by the task of dealing with it all--and many of those items are still here.  In addition, I brought with me quite a few things that feel as though they are from a former life, or that I may have acquired for the wrong reasons, and having those still bound to me could be a negative force as well.

In any case, I think a good de-cluttering and cleaning--both physical and spiritual--is in order.  It might take a few days (weeks?) but I do think it needs to be done.  It may make a bigger difference than I even imagine!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Divine Gift

May I just say--at the risk of sounding like an obnoxious hopeless lovebird--that I think I have the most perfect partner in the world?

She is always so understanding, so loving, so caring... she makes it very easy to keep the positive energies flowing.  I don't think she even understands what she gives to me.  But that is part of what makes her perfect for me.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Asian Lunch FAIL

There's nothing quite like accidentally dipping one's hair into one's soy sauce, and subsequently painting soy sauce all over one's top with one's hair, to make one feel ungraceful.

Oh well, humility is a virtue that must be nurtured from time to time...

Adventures in Fried Chicken

Holy cow, I overslept this morning!  I did manage to (barely) get up in time to make breakfast for my sweetie before she went off to work, though, so I guess it's not that bad.  She tells me (in reference to our German Shepherd) that a tired dog is a good dog... I wonder what a sleepy witch is?

On to the story, though.  Starting at the beginning, for my birthday I received a Food Network Magazine subscription from a family friend.  I always like to try to appreciate gifts, and I really wanted to like the magazine, but I'm not sure many of the recipes seem like my style, honestly.  I was determined I was going to craft something from the pages of this magazine, though, and I finally settled on a fried chicken recipe, which was billed as the recipe they use at the Red Rooster Harlem restaurant.

So, starting on Saturday evening and continuing in to Sunday evening, I prepared this fried chicken.  I'm not going to go through all the steps (since the recipe you can click on does that already), except to say that I did substitute ancho for the berbere, and I used an electric deep-fryer instead of the stovetop pan of oil.  The chicken turned out well; the breading was thick and crispy and flavorful and I would say it was every bit as good as what you would get at a fried chicken restaurant (like Oprah's favorite, Ezell's Chicken, which happens to be local here).

So why did it seem so wrong?

My 'usual' fried chicken recipe is from my vintage 1969 edition Betty Crocker's Cookbook, which is also (as near as I can tell from the flavor) my grandmother's recipe--except, of course, that instead of cooking oil, she would always fry in saved bacon fat (as do I).  It's a very simple and elegant recipe; other than the chicken itself and the fat to fry it in, the only ingredients are flour, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Almost nothing need get wasted; even the little bit of extra seasoned flour that doesn't stick to the chicken can be used to make a great milk gravy with the pan drippings.  And it's slow-fried, so the chicken is incredibly tender all the way to the bone--it's all about bringing out and complementing the flavor of the meat.

Compare that to the FNM recipe, which calls for a lot of exotic and/or expensive ingredients, at least one of which is ridiculously difficult to find and purchase--there's the berbere spice (or ancho powder, since you can actually find that), coconut milk, and semolina, all of which I bought specifically to make this recipe.  It also seems extremely wasteful as printed; it has us make far more spice mix than the recipe actually uses, it uses an entire quart of buttermilk to make more marinade that seems necessary, and the flour mixture (with the expensive semolina in it) also had a lot left over.  And that's not even mentioning the large quantity of peanut oil that can't be used again after frying this.  What does all this get you?  Basically, a glorified buttermilk batter on some flash-fried chicken.  This recipe is obviously all about the coating--the chicken is hurriedly cooked in the space of less than ten minutes, effectively sacrificing it for the good of the "extra-crispy" batter.

To review:  One recipe feels traditional, elegant, and efficient, and enhances the main ingredient; the other feels industrial, over-complicated, and wasteful, and reduces the main ingredient to a vehicle for its coating.  Is it any wonder that one of them feels much more magical than the other one?

I'm still glad I tried this recipe, despite feeling absolutely no connection to the resulting meal.  I think it taught me a lot about what "my style" of cooking is, and why.  And, it gave me a new appreciation for my simple, elegant recipes.  Maybe there's some magic in that after all.