The Goddess of Chaos
Meet the Goddess of Strife, learn more about Mabon, plus here comes The Wheel of the Year Recipe deck, News from the Library & a gorgeous elixir for MOONFLOWER, NIGHTSHADE, ALL THE HOURS OF THE DAY!
Welcome back to The Cauldron! (Golden leaf and foxglove, puff puff poof!)
It’s September, witches! Let’s begin with a little-known and not much-liked goddess, shall we?
The Greek goddess Eris is the personification of strife and chaos. Her Roman name is Discordia, which—surprise!—means “discord.” Eris plays only a bit part in the ancient myths, though her time to shine comes at the onset of the Trojan War. If you were awake for this part in high school English, you may remember the kerfuffle that leads to bloodshed begins over a golden apple, delivered at the marriage feast of Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles, a star so big Brad Pitt took the role). The apple is inscribed with a message declaring it a gift for the most beautiful among the party, which of course indicates the fruit is meant for a goddess, right? The ensuing squabble among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite supposedly launches the war. It goes down like this: Paris delivers the apple to Aphrodite, who promises him in return the most beautiful mortal woman—Helen of Troy. Problem is, Helen is already married to Menelaus, who doesn’t take kindly to his bride’s abduction/escape. So maybe it isn’t so much Helen’s face that launches a thousand ships, but a minor deity’s shit-stirring?
Eris is a trouble-making party pooper who revels in conflict, (The New Yorker published a satirical piece reporting on the goddess’s delight in Trump’s presidency. I recommend reading it while enjoying crustless finger sandwiches and tea, har har). To be touched by her is to become possessed: the goddess can invade the body and mind, resulting in disease and madness taking over. Only when the physical and emotional selves are aligned can one find contentment. Therefore, it’s impossible for Harmonia (Harmony) and Eris to be in the same place at the same time. In this case, cosmic balance requires peace, or chaos. There is no in between.
Personally, I am obsessed with the liminal and believe most of us actually live in the in-between: triumphs and joys are always punctuated by strife and struggle. In fact, Eris’s one possibly benevolent trait is motivating the lazy, which you could argue thereby relieves the suffering caused my procrastination and self-doubt, as most of us aren’t lazy, we’re emotionally paralyzed.
Suffering requires a certain surrender, an acceptance of what is, vs what was wished for. I’ve found this to be true in wide-ranging situations, from chronic pain to the pitfalls of publishing.
As we approach the new year, (Rosh Hashanah is around the corner and the pagan new year/Samhain is at the end of October!) it feels like the right moment to reflect not only on future goals, but the struggles and obstacles of the past year and all the lessons, wounds, and triumphs that have come about as a result. As one of my favorite Peloton instructors likes to say, struggle will become strength.
Speaking of reaping what you sow…
Get ready, witches: Mabon is September 21-29!
The name Mabon comes from that of a Welsh God, the child of light and son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron.
With the ritual death of the Green Man comes a second harvest celebration that marks the autumn equinox, when night and day are of equal length. Mabon is also a day of Thanksgiving. As such, this sabbat is a time to sit back and enjoy reaping what you’ve sown, with hope towards a fruitful future.
To celebrate, we pick apples, plants bulbs, go for walks and meditate on harmony and balance, while displaying apples, grapes, and other fruits of the harvest at the altar. Most deliciously of all, we feast with family and friends.
The Wheel of the Year recipe deck is available for pre-order!
Ten months and 35 recipes later, (three didn’t make the cut. Sorry, potions!) I’ve finally come full circle on this project crafting four original cocktail recipes to pair with each of the year’s eight sabbats, from Samhain (pagan new year, aka Halloween) to Mabon, the second harvest festival. The decks will arrive in October, with hard copies and digital downloads available. Cheers, witches!
Speaking of sabbats, I talked about all kinds of witchy stuff in this interview with Aromatica Poetica, including the real story behind the booktails:
I always had an interest in visual arts and areas of craft, like clay work. But I didn’t begin to connect art to comestibles until I was 28 and got my first job in San Francisco as a live-in raw food chef and personal assistant. I am not a raw foodist, nor was I then, much to my employers’ disappointment, as they assumed I would convert. The job itself was a disaster of boundary clashes and instability, but I was fascinated by the practice of replicating textures, tastes, and culinary experiences through limited ingredients and restrictive methods. This was the seed of alchemical cocktails, where I attempt to turn a dessert or a book or a friend’s vibe into a drink.
Thank you to Jess deCourcy Hinds for facilitating this opportunity!
News from the Library
Featuring news and updates on authors and their booktail-ized books!
Mike Errico, author of MUSIC, LYRICS, AND LIFE: A FIELD GUIDE FOR THE ADVANCED SONGWRITER, has been tapped to teach the Grammy® Museum’s NYC Songwriting Sessions. How cool is that?!
Congratulations to Mia P. Manansala whose novel ARSENIC AND ADOBO won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel! Cheers!
Jaye Viner’s JANE OF BATTERY PARK is now available on Audible! Woohoo!
And now… an Intoxicating Booktail!
In one story, a perfumer keeps his boyfriend close by dosing him with poison. In another, a domestic drama hinges upon the life and death of an ancient chinchilla. A drowned twin returns from the sea, and a gym bunny chops down a tree in the Garden of Eden, only to shape the wood into a cross for himself. JD Scott’s sly fabulism in their collection MOONFLOWER, NIGHTSHADE, ALL THE HOURS OF THE DAY casts its own peculiar spell upon the reader, while toying with the line between literary and genre, fairy tale, and parable.
As if that weren’t enough, the collection ends with an epic novella in which a heroic teenager comes of age inside an otherworldly shopping mall that spans the entire globe. Visceral, dreamlike, and full of dazzling prose, MOONFLOWER announces the arrival of a distinctive talent who challenges us to seek luminescence within and beyond the shadows.
MOONFLOWER, NIGHTSHADE, ALL THE HOURS OF THE DAY
1 oz gin
4 tsp absinthe
0.5 oz lavender syrup (see recipe)
0.5 oz elderflower (I prefer D’Arbo brand, or see recipe)
0.5 lemon juice
Combine gin, absinthe, lavender and elderflower syrups, and lemon in a shaker with a large cube or chunk of ice. Agitate vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain into a champagne flute or coupe glass and top with champagne.
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup dried organic lavender
Stir all ingredients together in a small pot, then bring to a boil. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Once cool, strain into a clean glass or jar. Keep refrigerated.
¼ cup dried elderflower
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
½ lemon, sliced
First, bring the water and sugar to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then pour the warm syrup into a jar. Stir in the dried elderflower and lemon. Allow the mixture to cool completely, then seal and set in the fridge for 24 hours. Strain the syrup and press any remaining liquid from the fruit and flowers. Keep refrigerated.
Ready for more booktails? FROM THE CAVES by Thea Prieto is coming out tomorrow in Electric Literature! #booktailsfromthepotionslibrary
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