Midsummer Mead

I racked my first batch of midsummer mead at the same time I did the Beltane. The black cherry flavor was somewhat spontaneous, and the recipe would work as well with any summer fruit substituted. The flavor was potent, but definitely needed more time to meld and harmonize. Aradia – whose palate is much more refined than my own – described it as having two entirely separate flavors, which didn’t quite get along yet. By the time it’s bottled and drank, though, I think it will be beautiful.

Midsummer Mead – Black Cherry Melomel

Materials
1 empty 4L jug
1 air lock
2.5 lbs raw honey honey
32 oz. bottled black cherry juice
1 pkt dry wine yeast
yeast nutrient
pectic enzyme
acid blend
tannen
water
Process
sanitize jug & airlock as described in manuals
fill jug with water, honey, nutrients. shake well
add yeast, shake again
insert air lock
incorporate bottle-shaking into midsummer ritual
rack after 2 weeks
rack again after 1 month, topping off as necessary
rack again after 6 weeks, topping off as necessary
takes about three months to clear from first fermentation
bottle at 6 months
drink at midsummer, year after year.

Beltane Mead

I just racked and sampled my Beltane mead the other day, so I thought I’d share the recipe. This was my first attempt at incorporating meadmaking into a sabbat ceremony, and I think it’s gone pretty well. Our Beltane celebration took place out at Camp Gaea, which made the operation just a little tricky: packing and prepping everything I could possibly need. Since it was, of course, a bonfire ritual I did all the prep work in the morning – measuring and mixing everything into the honey and water in the jug I used as a primary fermentation vessel- and, because it was a bit chilly this year, kept it near the fire. We did our ritual, and shortly before the culmination (my first cone of power ever), passed the jug around and had everybody dance with it as we danced around the fire, raising power.

I could still feel that power as I racked and sampled (making the appropriate offering to Dionysus, of course) the product, to make sure it was progressing as planned. (Ho, boy could I feel that power. Zing!) Also, very tasty.

Beltane Mead
A recipe refined from experiments with Jug Mead, designed to be made during the sabbat ritual and drunk when the wheel of the year has completed another rotation.

Materials
1 empty 4L jug
1 air lock
3 lbs raw honey honey
1 pkt Lavlin brand EC-1118 wine yeast
yeast nutrient
pectic enzyme
acid blend
tannen
water

Process
sanitize jug & airlock as described in manuals
fill jug with water, honey, nutrients. shake well
add yeast, shake again
insert air lock
incorporate bottle-shaking into beltane ritual dance
rack after 2 weeks
rack again after 1 month, topping off as necessary
rack again after 6 weeks, topping off as necessary
takes about three months to clear from first fermentation
bottle at 6 months
drink at beltane, year after year.

Art as Magic

Early this month Aradia and I went to a lovely Kansas City event Known as First Friday. We looked at lots and lots of awesome art, although a great deal of it was not something anyone would actually want in their living room. Onesuch piece – which I would, in fact, not let within 100 feet of my home, no mater how gorgeous it was – also tied in with the evening’s other topic of conversation: using art to work magic.

The particular piece in question was an image of a woman. It was a blue figure on a black field, curled up in the corner of the frame. The frame itself was exaggerated, coming two or three inches from the canvas toward the viewer. A half-dozen chains were stretched across the canvas, mounted to the inside of the frame.

“See,” I said, turning to Aradia. “You paint someone inside of that, and they’re FUCKED.”

“Yeah,” she agreed, aghast. “And so are you.”

“Well, yeah. You’re never going to get anything accomplished until you let them out.”

Anyone who is, themselves, an artist knows how much time, energy, and soul goes into the creation of a piece. You recover, learn, and grow … but you never actually get those parts of you back. Much like big magic.

I recently drew a warding-glyph to protect my car: mechanical pencil overlaid with Sharpee and colored pencil, set off with a little candle magic. I still need to trim and mount it, so it’s still in my altar, but the ward matrix is already laid over my car. You can see it.

A while ago, I drew a meditation on fire: a pencil sketch covered with lots and lots of colored pencils. Some people have trouble touching it.

The interesting thing to me about using art to create magic is the depth and complexity of the intent that can be conveyed through an image, and the amount of refining that you can do over the course of the process. Layers upon layers upon layers of color and focus and power.

Has anyone out there ever tried this? Art as magic?