Tag Archive | Ritual

Sleeping at Granny’s

 

Late at night when the moon was high I would lay in my bed, unable to sleep because of the heat, watching the teal blue sky blanketed with stars.

The moon, stars and satellites filtered only by the old screen as I listened to the sounds of the canal life just out back.

Chirping, croaking and that odd sound gators make with their throats. Now and then a splash or a rustle of reeds.

Hours I watched as the rest of the house slept. All quite and isolated until I heard, as I had many nights before, the alarming scream.

As the quietly swaying cabbage palms paid no heed, granny was waking the house! Calling us to franticly come out side.

Granny in her commanding voice of the matriarch “UFO!!! Come quickly they are right above us!”

About every two months they would come, never in the same vessel.

Sometimes disguised as advertising planes sometimes as blimps, but she knew it was them.

 

A dram or a cup

Statue of St. Patrick in Aughagower, County Mayo

Image via Wikipedia

On this gloomy and overcast Saint Patrick’s day eve, my mind travels to memories of lessons and adventures I had long ago in my childhood.

Primarily raised by the eccentric and nostalgic matriarchs of my family, my early childhood tutelage was that of generations past. As a result ,my imagination was cultivated with superstitious stories and a culture filled with earnest protocols.

As far back as I can remember, the subjects of these stories were spoken of as a matter fact. The elder women of my family would mention them several times a day. Perhaps it would not be a specific mention but one as simple as “knock on wood” and their presence was summoned.

Due to this vital education in survival, I know what to do if one needs to get rid of pixies or fairies from the pantry, if god forbid changeling is suspected, how to find a unicorn or a kelpie and to avoid Shellycoat so as not to loose my way.

Armed with this knowledge and a bravery stocked by the fire of determination I would joyfully venture into the forest in search of the beings I had been raised knowing but never seeing.

The reason for this other world, fairy guided walk down memory lane is the story that Saint Patrick (a Catholic) drove the snakes (the Druids) out of Ireland. I’ve always thought it ironic that poor St. Patrick shares his day with symbols of Druid mythology. The leprechaun being the main character.

But is this odd? My Nana, a good catholic woman, who later in life attended mass everyday, was one of my chief advisers on everything fairy and the facts of what we call superstition.

I see no reason why we cannot have saints and fairies. Superstitions tangled and entwined serve to as a thread tying us to our past – To the culture of our ancestors.

I end this post with a proposal . Pour a cup of Barry’s tea or a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey (Jameson was a Scotsman by birth) ponder on whomever you wish. God, saint or fairy.

Thanking our ancestors for the life they have given us.

Burns night

Today is one of my favorite days of the year! The birthday of the great Scots national bard Robert Burns.

Born on January 25, 1759, Robbert Burns or Robbie Burns as he is affectionately known, was an amazing poet and crusader for social reform. He was against any political or religious organization that condoned inhumanity.

Many people in the U.S. may not know his name but they know at least one of his poems. “Auld Lang Syne” sung at midnight every New Years.

One of the wonderful traditions around the world is to celebrate Burns Night. This dinner may be formal or informal depending on the Scots who are hosting. One year I was lucky enough to invite a friend who happened to also be a Military Piper. How is that for a host gift?

The other great thing about a Burns night is, you may host one anytime of year, although traditionally it is held on Robbie Burns Birthday.

Aside from pipers Burns night traditionally have a toast to the haggis in which the poem “Address to the Haggis” is recited as the Haggis is brought out on a silver tray. “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chiefftain of the puddin’ race!”

Then of course there is the reciting of another delightful poem “Scotch Drink”

“Let other poets raise a fracas

‘Bout vines an’ wines, an’ drunken Bacchus,…”

Robert Burns wrote many other poems of love and beauty as well. One of my all time favorite poems was written by Burns “My Heart’s in the Highlands”

Many cities world-wide will have a Burns suppers hosted by Burns Clubs, Freemasons and expats as well as some consulates.

Every Burns night I have had the pleasure to attend has been joyously fun.

Happy Burns Night Everyone!



My Blissful Habitude

 

After my Jack Russell alarm clock wakes me for my early morning walk,  I begin my morning with a simple ritual. A ritual done the world over by millions of people.

The women of my family have been performing this sacred ritual for multiple generations.  I dare say at the very least five generations, but I suspect more.

The ritual is centered around an elixir capable of sustaining the women of my family through an entire day, if need be, and made more powerful if accompanied by buttered carbs of some sort.  Most often in the form of toast.  Not just any toast, but I will return to the vehicle for butter and preserves later.

The elixir, my morning fixer, is of course Tea.  For me, it is the most perfect drink. Hot or cold. However,  I prefer hot.

I once had to go a month without a drop. Know that I do not exaggerate when I say if the dogs did not require my assistance in the morning I would have wished to stay in bed.  Without the ritual I had performed since childhood I did not feel my day was set.

To make a perfect cup of tea one must first be present.  Not just physically, mentally.    Each step is just as important as the final sip.   In brief for me it is as follows, fill your loved kettle with cold fresh water.  This is more important then many would know.  Then of course heat to a boil.

In my family, we have always used many different cups and mugs.  It really depends on mood and occasion.  All with their own personality and memories attached.  But even on the most simple morning, tea for one is set for the eyes as pleasingly as it is for two.

I like to use one of my antique platers, nothing too special but pleasing to me, they are the perfect size.  Other tea drinkers will agree with me when I tell you different mugs or cups brew a better tea.  The same goes for pots.  Some swear by Brown Betty others sterling silver.

 If you love tea daily, and, in copious amounts, I recommend a Brown Betty.  By the way, I have found a wonderful place to purchase Brown Betty tea pots, among other wonderful delights.www.brownbettyteapot.com

Most mornings I go the simple rout. I try to fool myself into thinking I will have one cup.   A buxom cup is placed on the plater along with a little bowl with sugar and a wee pitcher for milk.   I must insist on milk. Never cream and you may as well go to coffee if you are going to use some sort of fake creamer.

After the boiled water has wrested for at least three minutes pour into cup to steep for at least another three minutes.    If you are like me, and you like it strong then it can steep a bit longer.  Now I know other drinkers call this builders tea; and I suppose that is correct but strong women need strong tea to build their day.

All this is easily transported to my desk or kitchen table.   Once brewed I savor the first sip take a deep breath and ready my mind for the beautiful and full day ahead.

Oh, the toast!  Well to be perfect it must be toasted golden brown and buttered as soon as it is out of the toaster.  Timing is everything.

I wonder how many others in North America come from long lines of tea drinkers?