Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oh Spring, you tease. . .

 After reading Georgi Mishev's Thracian Magic, I decided two things: I was going to learn how to make sourdough bread from starter and I was going to make Martenitsi ( as threatened, there is a ribbon shoved into that section. Yes, the pretty blue one.)

I got really lucky, I think, with the sourdough starter and followed the directions given for catching wild yeast. I gave myself plenty of failing time just in case and before December 20, I had a nice starter and was able to make a ritual loaf of bread for my ancestors and family. My yeast beastie is happily brewing away in my fridge and gets pulled out weekly for feeding. If anyone asks if there is something living in there I can, in fact, say there is something alive in there and to watch out it may bite. Okay, maybe the biting part is over kill, but if Hagrid can unleash a monster book of monsters on his students, than a yeast beastie in my fridge should be nothing.

There has always been something a little different about bread I made myself. Something extra that comforted and nourish all those little life cravings that only melting butter on hot bread can soothe. What I experience while eating the sourdough bread was just that to an Xth degree. I suspect it was the difference in the genii intelligence of the yeast culture. It is the only thing that has shifted in my ritual breads. I will be using this recipe for all bloodless offerings. It's a good thing that this bread is so good, it will not keep very long so it's just best to eat it while it's hot.

Within the book, Georgi discusses a ritual that is literally days long all surrounding the making and  kneading of dough. It is a very communal thing and only participants of the rite walk away with the bread ( and any puzzle pieces from the Mysteries.) Secret herbs are poured in by the elders, the bread is serenaded and danced for, magic is definitely afoot. I may not be able to get together with the 'village' and perform the full rites, but I can have my daughter help me knead the dough while blasting out our favorite holiday Jingle Spells songs. ( as I said earlier, some traditions are going to have to be tossed out the window and seeing as how I am the only one in the family to dig up and pass on family and cultural trads, the whole grandma thing will have to take a back seat.)

Speaking of Grandma, another thing that will have to be done by myself are the Martenitsi. I liked the whole description of how the eyes were supposed to be closed during the crafting. That and a whole other list of proscriptions, reminded me of the faery tales of one eye open: one eye closed, on one leg in the door jam was where faeries could be seen in their realm. In another story, the whole one eye, one leg, in a door jam thing is done completely upside down! Immediately, you can see where one thought form is of protection and the other of sight or insight, but both can be infused upon crafting with specific conditions. Technically, anything can be infused during crafting. . . we have all heard about the One Ring business.

My first set of martenitsi, was of course, like all first draft writings. . . crap, but canon. I kept it and hung it in my office; it will be joining the others in the tree out front on Ostara. I thought about my failing with the martenitsis and a new design began to form in my head. I really liked the comfort stars shape as I was making them, they just turn right between your fingers making them perfect places to catch wishes. I stuffed them with lavender, a fresh smell during the last dark days of winter. I decided they would be best functional as zipper pulls as we would all be wearing jackets for a while yet.

 I stuck with the canon colors of red and whites and as I began making these, I saw that these things were not only familiar to me, but in ways I didn't quite expect. I looked around the web for some lore on the tradition and found several different variations. I had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions from the author and his answer at first vexed me. He said that it was more about the experience of creating and wearing them than the lore. As I was focusing on my connections with Hecate, I did so in a manner that spoke very deeply to my Feri views. When I pulled back and looked at what I had created, I put together that both the iron and pearl pentacles were involved in the whole wishing process. It had become a reminder to run both exercises as I was walking through the neighborhood.

I know the magic is not quite done and that my tree will probably not look as awesome as the one in that pic. The little zipper pulls will all dangle from the limbs of the honey mesquite tree and soak up more of the sky as spring pushes into my life. It's good to know that Hecate has a faery smile too.

I am finding it easier than I imagined to add ancestral cultural practices into my personal Feri praxis. I think that makes me sigh in relief. It is also good to know that, even though it's been a long time coming back, that war and hate cannot strip us of our heritage completely. The tracks of the beast are still in the forest.

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