Thursday, November 29, 2012

Geothermal Invocation

Lately, I've been cold inside; its like my internal fires are starting to dim.   It might be the grief, it might be the weather, it might be the bronchitis (probably it's a combination of all three), but I don't like it.

I recently acquired a mala (Buddhist rosary) made out of lava rocks.  Here's a picture of one like mine.  I'm using it to invoke the fires deep inside the earth.  I haven't done it enough yet to really know if it's working or not, but here's the invocation I've been using.  I recite it 108 times, using the beads to keep count. (Which, after all, is what mala/rosaries are for.)  I've been wearing it much of the time.

Fire of the earth, warm my bones.
Fire of the mountains, warm my heart.
Volcano stones, remind me.

UPDATE: It's working.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


CONTEXT for new readers:  I wrote this post on Nov 21, 2012.  On October 21, 2012, my beloved parents were killed in a car accident.
Until very recently, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday.  (Except for Halloween, and Purim, which are also my favorite holidays.  Mostly I just like holidays.)  Thanksgiving was a big deal at my late parents' house.  Many years we had more than 25 people for dinner.  Most of the year, my late mother wasn't really a very good cook, but she was the Queen of Thanksgiving.  She made the most amazing turkey and stuffing.  Here is a "recipe".

Ellen Mastros's Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing

Before the Big Day:
1) Save all the ends from every loaf of bread all year in the freezer.  Raid day-old bread section of grocer.  You will require about 5 loaves bread, in total.  The more varieties, the better.  Also, the crustier the better.
2) Buy the largest turkey you can find.  In case an army should show up, you should be ready!

3) Argue with Husband about food-safety issues surrounding defrosting poultry on the counter vs. in the fridge.
3) Wed night, rip up all the bread into small pieces.  Use every bowl/platter in the house to place bread on counter to air dry overnight.  Argue with Husband concerning whether or not this will draw mice.  "On Thanksgiving, even mice should eat!"

4) Thursday morning:  Awaken "early" (ie, before 10am).  Grumble.
5) In largest sauce pan (usually reserved for spaghetti sauce), melt 3 sticks of butter.  Argue with Daughter about whether this is enough butter.  Daughter will add extra stick of butter while you weren't looking.
6) Husband, who has been up for hours, returns from the office, singing Zippity Doo Dah.  Send him to grocery store for something not needed in order to avoid people who are happy to be awake before 10am.  Grumble.
7) Chop 3 onions, 1 head celery, 6-9 apples into small pieces.  Chop extra apples because Daughter keeps filching apple pieces.
8) Sautée celery and onions in butter until translucent.
9) Debate relative merits of raisins vs dates with Husband.
10) Add apples and about 4 Tbsp McCormic poultry seasoning.  Argue with Daughter about whether this is enough poultry seasoning.
11) Turn back on pan.  Daughter adds more poultry seasoning without your approval.
12)  Add apples, onions, raisins, AND dates to butter mixture.  Sautée until onions are golden.
13) Muse on the relative merits of walnuts vs pecans.  Pro walnuts:  They are better than pecans.  Pro pecans:  Daughter and her bff used all the walnuts making baklava yesterday, and so Husband must be sent to store again to get more walnuts.  Wait...  That seems like pro-walnuts.
14) Discover Daughter was right, and melt additional 2 sticks of butter.  Mix with butter/spice mix.
15) Mix butter mixture into bread.  Use hands.  This is messy.  Pretend you hate the mess, but secretly lick butter mixture off your fingers when you think no one is looking.
16) Wait for Husband to return with walnuts.  He has also bought 4 kinds of cheese, 3 types of olives, and some weird gourmet poultry seasoning.  Hide this seasoning in the back of the pantry, and use McCormick brand poultry seasoning.
18) Add walnuts to mixture.  Wet stuffing with turkey broth until it is sticky enough to mold.  Chastise Daughter for playing with her food while praising her elaborate stuffing structures.  Husband adds more poultry seasoning while you are distracted by stuffing architecture.
19) Have Husband remove giblet sack from turkey, because raw turkey is gross.  Husband complains that turkey is still frozen inside.  Remind him that someone told him it would not thaw sufficiently in fridge.  Fill turkey with very hot water several times to defrost from within.
20) Drop turkey on floor.  Swear Daughter to secrecy concerning this.
21) Manhandle turkey into large roasting pan with cover.  Reminisce about how Son used to hide in the empty roaster and pop out to scare people when he was very little.
22) Remove turkey from roasting pan because you forgot to stuff it.  Drop turkey on floor.  Swear Daughter to secrecy concerning this.
23) Why are there two #3s and no #17?  You just always have to be right, don't you?!?!  Remember the spoons!  (*)
24) Stuff turkey.  Compact stuffing as much as possible, so that the maximum amount will fit inside. 25) Preform 6-dimension Time-Lord magics to ensure 3 gallons of stuffing fit inside 1 gallon bird.
26) Manhandle bird into roaster.  Add about 2 cups turkey broth (Daughter recommends apple cider!) to bottom of pan.
27) Have Husband put roaster in oven, because it is too heavy.  He will remark that oven door seems slightly broken.  Remind him that he's been promising to fix that for five years.
28) Bake at 200' for 6 hours.
29) During this time, occasionally remove lid to "baste" (this is a technical culinary term, which means "filch crunchy stuffing bits from the edges of the pan").  Add more broth or apple cider if dry.  Husband should cavort around the house "helping" and singing "It's beginning to smell a lot like Turkey!" (to tune of "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas")
30) Remove turkey from oven.  Drop hot roaster on floor.  Swear Daughter to secrecy.  Small burn mark on cork remains as evidence.  "That's just the natural variation in the cork!  It's a beautiful and eco-friendly material!"
31) Husband carves turkey while Daughter filches stuffing and Sisters debate relative merits of various cream-cheese to celery application strategies.

(*) It's an inside joke in our family.  Did you know that sets of silverware come with twice as many teaspoons as other things?  My mother did.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Magic Kingdom

As a result of my parents' death, my brother and I now own several apartment buildings and rental garages.  The magic below is aimed at keeping them safe, well-managed, and profitable.


At the hour of Mercury, on the day of Jupiter, I write these words, and they become true.

My estate grows bountiful, prosperous, and well-managed.
My tenants are happy, healthy, well-employed and responsible. 
They pay their rent on time, and keep their spaces in good repair.

I construct a servitor, Estalwen Manethor, who protects my properties and estates, my investments, and my business.  Estalwen Manaethor flies about Lancaster, overseeing my properties, keeping them safe from harm, harm from outside or harm from within.  He protects those who live within them; they are healthy and employed, they pay their rent without incident, their homes are safe and orderly.  All these things Estalwen Manethor does for me, in my name, and by my word.

A spirit of the air, Estalwen Manethor is clever and quick.  A spirit of the heavens, Estalwen Manethor is regal and bold.  A spirit of the earth, Estalwen Manethor is strong and solid.  A spirit of the fire, Estalwen Manethor is eager and brave.  A spirit of the waters, Estalwen Manethor is flexible and creative.  Estalwen Manethor partakes of all the elements, and brings all forces to bear to work my will.  A good and trustworthy servant, Estalwen Manethor always does what is for my best.  Estalwen Manethor eats only sunlight and drinks only rain, and from all the powers of nature does he take his strength.  He is mighty and dependable; he shelters all my properties under his vast wings.  He protects from fire and lightening, from violence and theft, from vandalism, arson, and all maliciousness.  He protects from breakage and from rust, from corrosion and decay.  All properties under his protection stay in good repair.  In all these things does Estalwen Manethor excel. 

With my breath, I give him life, in this, the hour of Mercury, this, the day of Jupiter.  I breath out, and now he takes flight!

Friday, November 9, 2012


I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long.  As some of you already know, my parents were both killed in an accident on Sunday October 21st.  They were hit by a truck full of sheep, and died instantly.  It's hard not to interpret that metaphorically.  Details here for the morbidly curious.

Things have been hard since then.  I was extremely close with both of my parents (I saw them last jut a few weeks ago at yom Kippur), but especially my mother.  My boyfriend used to tease me about how often we spoke...he used to call her "BFF Mommy", and it's true, she really was among my very best friends.  In a way, it makes it easier.  I know for so many people, when people die, there's so much guilt about "what could have been", but I don't really have any of that.  There was nothing unresolved.  I had the best parents in the world for 34 years, which is a lot more good parenting than most people get.

Some things I have learned:

1) I think I'm a polytheist now.  In an attempt to escape for a few hours, I got high with my borther and my friends after the funeral.  Turns out, I really can't do drugs recreationally.  I had a very powerful vision quest, during which many of the gods I work with, particularly Mercury, Ishtar, Tiamat/Lilith (in the vision, those are the same?), and several others showed up to tell me how much they love me, and how they're "there to help me".  The Hebrew God made a brief appearance, but then He hid His face and left.  So, fuck Him.

2) Having a pre-existing relationship with a psychopomp made this easier.  I think I understand the draw of religion now, but during none of this did I feel the impetus to worship anything.  I put Mercury dimes on my parents' eyes when we cremated them, and on more than one occasion  (particularly during aforementioned spirit journey) it has been helpful to remind myself that I paid the ferryman.

3) I'm so glad that I'd gotten back into a regular meditation practice this summer (Thanks Jason Miller!).  I'm pretty sure it's what's keeping me from totally loosing it.  I don't know how muggles deal with this sort of thing.

4) OTOH, I keep feeling a little guilty that I'm not falling apart and going mad.  My mother cried at sad movies. Hell, my mother cried at sappy Kodak commercials.  She used to always tease me about that fact that I didn't.  Probably because I'm a heartless monster.  Maybe she was right?  I mean, I am very sad, but I'm surprisingly coping.  Is that ok?

5) During the spirit journey, I climbed the Tree of Life, and made it much higher than I previously had. I made it to Tipheret with few problems, backslid some, but eventually made it to Chesed (where I've been before, but just barely). It was easier than usual...the veils were thin or whatever. I sat there for a while.  Then, I was like "fuck the abyss; I miss my Mommy", so I packed up my camel and went across.  That was brain-hurty, and I'm still processing it.  Is that the so-called "ninth gate"?  Because it was awesome and terrible and sad and joyful and confusing.  So, if anyone has some advice about that, that would be cool.

I'm going to try to get back to doing some regular working again next week, but I don't know if I'm up for it or not.  Everything seems very hard right now, and I'm tired all the time.