What do you get when you have two people madly in love, 7 children, THREE giant dogs and heaps of fun? Many Hands House! Check back often and watch us cook vegan food, home school, catch babies, belly dance and practice that Old Time religion, all in a log cabin in Iowa.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Brigid Story

Queen of Four Fires

taken from:
The Storyteller's Goddess, Carolyn McVickar Edwards, Marlowe &
Company, 2000.

A long time ago, near the beginning, at the first crack of pink in a
young morning, near the waters of the magic well, the goddess Bridget
slipped into the world and the waiting hands of the nine sisters who
swayed and crooned in a great circle around her. The waters of the
magic well burbled their joy.

Up rose a column of fire out of the new goddess's head that burned to
the very sky. Bridget reached up her two hands and broke away a
flaming plume from her crown of fire and dropped it on the ground
before her. There it leapt and shone, making the hearth of the house
of the goddess.

Then from the fire of her hearth, Bridget used both hands to draw out
a leaping tongue of heat, swallowed it, and felt the fire burn
straight to her heart. There stood the goddess, fire crowning her
head, licking up inside her heart, glowing and shooting from her
hands, and dancing on the hearth before her.

The nine sisters hummed and the waters of the magic well trembled as
Bridget built a chimney of brick about her hearth. Then about the
chimney, she built a roof of thatch and walls of stone. And so it was
that by the waters of the magic well the goddess finished the house
in which she keeps the four fires which have served her people

Out of the fire on Bridget's hands baked the craft of bending iron.
Out of the fire on Bridget's hearth and the waters of her magic well
came the healing teas. Out of the fire on Bridget's head flared out
writing and poetry. Out of the fire in Bridget's heart spread the
heat of compassion.

Word of the gifts of Bridget's fires traveled wide. People flocked to
learn from Bridget the secret of using fire to soften iron and bend
it to the shapes of their desires. The people called bending iron
smithcraft, and they made wheels, pots, and tools that did not break.

All the medicine plants of the earth gathered in the house of the
goddess. With their leaves, flowers, barks, and roots, and the waters
of her magic well, Bridget made the healing teas. She gave a boy with
weak teeth the tea of the dandelion root. She gave a young woman the
tea of the raspberry leaf to help her womb carry its child. An old
man, a cane in each hand to help him walk, took from Bridget
wintergreen bark for his pain and black cherry juice for the
rheumatism. She gave comfrey to a girl with a broken leg and blue
cohosh to bring her bloods without cramps. Bridget brewed motherwort,
licorice root, and dried parsley for a woman who was coming to the
end of her monthly bleeding. "Cup a day," said Bridget, "that you
stay supple and strong."

The people wanted Bridget's recipes. "But we can't remember which
plants for which healings, where to gather them or how long to steep
them," they told Bridget.

The fire on Bridget's head blazed bright. She took up a blackened
stick and made marks with it on a flat piece of bark."These are the
talking marks," She said. "They are the way to remember what you
don't want to forget."

The talking marks also let the people write down the stories of her

Once two men with terrible stories of leprosy came to Bridget.

"Bathe yourself in my well." said Bridget to the first man. At every
place Bridget's waters touched, the man's skin turned whole again.

"Now bathe your friend," said Bridget.

Repulsed, the man backed away from his friend. "I cannot touch him,"
he said.

"Then you are not truly healed," said the goddess. And she gave the
first man back his leprosy and healed the second man. "Return to me
with compassion," she said to the first man. "There find your

Every year at midwinter the people thank Bridget for her well of
wisdom and her fires of hand, hearth, head and heart. "Thank you,
Bridget, for the simthcraft, for the healing teas, the talking marks,
and compassion. May you dwell with your fires in your house by the
waters of your magic well forever."

Sunday, November 24, 2013

An enlightening quote

"We believe in the Horned God and in the Goddess of the Moon.  Now this doesn't mean that we're silly enough to think that the Moon in the sky is a goddess.  I don't think any educated pagan ever did think that.  What this means to us is that the masculine and feminine powers of nature were symbols; magical images, and by means of our imaginations, we can make a real contact with these cosmic forces: the forces of nature, the forces of life."                    -Doreen Valiente

Listen to Auntie Doreen herself at about 4:00.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Homeschool Fall 2013

 Planning this year's homeschool. This year both Rhiannon (17) and Morgan Finn (12) have decided to do public school, so I'm down to three children at home - Méabh (4); Wolfie (7): and Archer (15).

 Méabh is way to young for any formal schooling. I would like to get her some language resources for her special needs.

  Wolfie is ready for homeschool Waldorf kindergarten. So delightful. I have all the Oak Meadow curriculum so we'll be using that (although I frequently fantasize about buying Live Ed!).
Alphabet stories
form drawing
book making
shoe tying
outside time

  I am excited to do high school with Archer. He'll be using compass on line for core subjects, and we'll be adding some of our own. I really enjoy working with my highschoolers because I learn along with them!
Compass (on line)
To Kill A Mockingbird

  What are your homeschool plans?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Melanie's Witch Book List UPDATED!

There are so many great Pagan and Wiccan books out there. And some really awful shit. These are the books that shaped me. And that I recommend. My list is completely different from yours. So feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey

Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer by Kramer and Wolkstein

Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler

 The Spiral Dance by Starhawk

The Witches Bible Complete by the Ferrars

Circle Round by Starhawk

 The Complete Book of Witchcraft by Buckland  (yes, I went there...)

 Women's Rites, Women's Mysteries by Ruth Barrett

Ariadne's Thread by Mountainwater 

Medicinal Plants and Herbs - Peterson Field Guide

Hatful of Sky by Terry Prachett (pretty much everything by Terry Prachett. I would say he and the Ferrars shaped me the most!)

 Read, listen, watch everything you can get your hands on by Steven Posch:  

Radio Paganistan 

Steven Posch youtube 

And this woman's blog is a constant inspiration: http://sarahannelawless.com/ 

I have just purchased the following books - I'll let you know when I finish them:


This list is a work in progress. These are the books that came to mind just this afternoon. Check back soon to see my additions, and the suggestions in the comments! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

PSG 2012 Planning (2 days to go)

 Chris' birthday is Friday, so he received his gifts a bit early:

And we went grocery shopping:

We came home to some pretty awesome creations:

And the pile at the end of the day. I'm not taking the fishtank. But yes to the tiger.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

PSG 2012 Planning (5 days to go)

     Frebur, here.
     I attended my first PSG in 1995, accompanying the one and only Sparky T. Rabbit.  That innocent trip to Eagle Cave in Wisconsin my life changed forever.
I was, at the time, engaged to a religiously tolerant Catholic woman (!).  We were getting ready to settle into a quiet suburban life with no kids (!!!!!!!), and with my altar tucked away in a dresser drawer.
     PSG was a huge culture shock at first.  It did not feel like "coming home"; it felt like landing on Mars.  But after getting to know the wonderful people there, and after living in a culture of such kindness, freedom, and creativity, PSG had me under its spell.  I remember one evening, lounging in the grass at an outdoor feast, music wafting in the air, watching women dance ballet at the edge of the trees (I think one of them was named Melanie, maybe...).  After moments like this, I knew that my body could go home, but my heart would always stay.
   And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

PSG 2012 Planning (7 days to go......)

  In the late 80's I went to Disney World. I saw a beautiful girl alone in line for Space Mountain and invited her to ride with me. Her name was Jana, and a friendship was born.
  A few years later she sent me a newspaper all about a gathering in Wisconsin called Pagan Spirit Gathering. My hands shook as I read the paper. She was going. Did I want to go with her? I lived at home and had a small baby, but she would pick me up and we could camp together.
  My first PSG changed my life forever. I met beautiful Pagan families, (even moms with nose rings!) took part in rituals, and danced naked under the moon. I met Selena Fox, Circe Queen Slacker, Otter G'Zell, Robin Grimm, and very importantly, Steven Posch. He told me stories that would forever shape my life, and even introduced me to Mother Berchta!

 I had planned to upload a zillion pictures from that year, but a quick search of the basement was unproductive. Except for this one. I'd recognize that spin anywhere.