Moon Love Potion

 Moon Love Potion

This love potion will attract the gifts of the fairies as well as fill you with moonlight, starlight and divine delight.

You will need three handfuls of dried barley grain, hot water, a teapot, roasted barley tea, and a cup. Barley tea is great for getting your body in shape. It’s refreshing and cooling, and encourages harmony.

After dark, go outdoors and sprinkle two handfuls of the dried barley grain on the ground, one handful outside your front door and one handful outside your back door. Barley attracts fairy favors and gifts. As you sprinkle the barley in small clockwise circles, chant:

“Love, love, love, moon circles for the blessed fae.”

Go back indoors and heat the water. Pour boiling water into the teapot filled with a handful of roasted barley. Let the tea steep for about ten minutes. Pour a cup of tea, and slowly sip it. Before each sip, repeat:

“Love, love, love potion fill me with moonlight love, love, love potion fill me with starlight love, love, love potion fill me with divine delight So be it! Blessed be!”

Return any leftover tea to the earth. As you do say:

“Love, love, love blessed fae, Blessed be!”

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Calendar of the Sun for October 27th

Calendar of the Sun

27 Winterfyllith

Nekhebet’s Day

Colors: Red, Blue and Gold
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of red, blue and gold, place two red candles on either side of a figure of Nekhebet, along with a bowl of chopped meat and grain.
Offerings: Beer, barley, millet.
Daily Meal: Beer, barley, millet, lentils, flatbread.

Ancient Lady of Upper Egypt,
Wearer of the White Crown,
Great White Cow of Nekhb,
Wife of the rolling Nile river,
Vulture Goddess whose outstretched wings
Hover over the royal child,
Protecting him from harm, seeing him safe to adulthood,
Help us to know what it is to eat rot
And turn it again into nourishment,
Cleaning and purifying the earth
With the transmuting power of our bodies.
Lady who protects the rulers, the crowned ones,
Protect those of us
Who must take on responsibility
And whose hands work for the lives of many.
Nourish them with your attention
That they may not burn out like a candle.
Guide them with your wisdom
That they may always remember
The nourishment of their people,
Of the body, the mind, the soul.
Protect the sleeping infant child of our hopes
And goals, and future,
And see it safely to fruition.
Spread your wings over us, O Nekhebet,
And may your watch keep us ever safe.

Chant:
Nekhebet Shen
Nekhebet Shen
Nebty Mamissi Shen

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for September 18th

Calendar of the Sun

18 Halegmonath

Vanaheim Day

Colors: Green and Gold
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of green and gold set sheaves of grain, many woven corn dollies and straw ornaments, three green candles, a chalice of beer, harvest fruits, and a knife.
Offerings: Fruits of the harvest.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian

Vanaheim Invocation

Hail to the Green World of the Vanir!
Hail to the Realm of Growth, of Earth
Sacred and fed with blood, springing forth
Abundance and plenty to feed many worlds!
Hail to the spring flowers that bloom,
Hail to the summer fruits that globe on tree and vine,
Hail to the golden grain ripening in the fields,
Hail to the winter of peaceful slumber
And preparation for the next perfect spring!
Hail to the devouring earth that is Nerthus,
Lady of the blood-soaked soil!
Hail to the teeming seas that wash the shore,
Sailed by fine Njord of the salt winds,
Domain of Aegir and Ran of the great waves
And their nine sharp-nailed daughters!
Hail to the spring fields where flowers
Bloom in Freyja’s bare footsteps!
Hail to the grain that is cut with the sickle
As Frey’s blood nourishes the soil!
Hail to the Gods of Abundance, of green,
Of lust and death, of the mysteries of the cycle,
And may they bless us with joy and understanding
In equal measure.

(All cry out, “Hail Vanaheim!” The beer is poured out as a libation, and the grain and fruits are set outside as an offering.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for Monday, August 12th

Calendar of the Sun

12 Weodmonath

Amaranth and Quinoa Day

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a brown cloth set an armload of amaranth stalks, a basket of quinoa stalks, a jug of water, bowls of the threshed grain, amaranth flour bread and quinoa porridge.
Offering: Give food to the poor.
Daily Meal: Amaranth bread and quinoa porridge.

Amaranth and Quinoa Invocation

(The jug of water is passed and the remainder poured out as a libation.)

I sing the praises of Amaranth,
Great grain of the Mexican desert,
Sacred grain growing taller than a man
Yet with the smallest seed of all,
Abundance in the dry time
Savior in a drought,
I sing the praises of Amaranth.

(The amaranth bread is passed and the remainder scattered in the garden.)

I sing the praises of Quinoa,
Great grain of the high mountains,
Nourishment of the south continent,
Reaching closest to the sky,
Porridge and cleanser,
Ground under the gleam of gold,
I sing the praises of Quinoa.

(The quinoa porridge is passed until it is finished.)

Song: Lammas Prayer

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for October 27th

Calendar of the Sun

27 Winterfyllith

Nekhebet’s Day

Colors: Red, Blue and Gold
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of red, blue and gold, place two red candles on either side of a figure of Nekhebet, along with a bowl of chopped meat and grain.
Offerings: Beer, barley, millet.
Daily Meal: Beer, barley, millet, lentils, flatbread.

Ancient Lady of Upper Egypt,
Wearer of the White Crown,
Great White Cow of Nekhb,
Wife of the rolling Nile river,
Vulture Goddess whose outstretched wings
Hover over the royal child,
Protecting him from harm, seeing him safe to adulthood,
Help us to know what it is to eat rot
And turn it again into nourishment,
Cleaning and purifying the earth
With the transmuting power of our bodies.
Lady who protects the rulers, the crowned ones,
Protect those of us
Who must take on responsibility
And whose hands work for the lives of many.
Nourish them with your attention
That they may not burn out like a candle.
Guide them with your wisdom
That they may always remember
The nourishment of their people,
Of the body, the mind, the soul.
Protect the sleeping infant child of our hopes
And goals, and future,
And see it safely to fruition.
Spread your wings over us, O Nekhebet,
And may your watch keep us ever safe.

Chant:
Nekhebet Shen
Nekhebet Shen
Nebty Mamissi Shen

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for August 14

Calendar of the Sun

14 Weodmonath

Rice and Millet Day

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a brown cloth lay bowls of cooked rice, bowls of cooked millet, a jug of African beer and a jug of sake.
Offering: Give food to the poor.
Daily Meal: Food made with rice and millet.

Rice and Millet Invocation

(First the beer and sake is passed around, and the remainder poured out as a libation.)

I sing the praises of Rice.
Great grain of Asia,
Fruit of a million paddies,
Life of a billion people,
Grain of the rat god Daikoku,
Giver of prosperity,
I sing the praises of Rice.

(The rice porridge is passed around until it is eaten.)

I sing the praises of Millet,
Great grain of Africa,
Planted in the hot fields
Among the yams and melons
Grain of the warmest sun
Yin to buckwheat’s yang
I sing the praises of Millet.

(The millet porridge is passed around until it is eaten.)

Song: Lammas Prayer

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for August 12

Calendar of the Sun

12 Weodmonath

Amaranth and Quinoa Day

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a brown cloth set an armload of amaranth stalks, a basket of quinoa stalks, a jug of water, bowls of the threshed grain, amaranth flour bread and quinoa porridge.
Offering: Give food to the poor.
Daily Meal: Amaranth bread and quinoa porridge.

Amaranth and Quinoa Invocation

(The jug of water is passed and the remainder poured out as a libation.)

I sing the praises of Amaranth,
Great grain of the Mexican desert,
Sacred grain growing taller than a man
Yet with the smallest seed of all,
Abundance in the dry time
Savior in a drought,
I sing the praises of Amaranth.

(The amaranth bread is passed and the remainder scattered in the garden.)

I sing the praises of Quinoa,
Great grain of the high mountains,
Nourishment of the south continent,
Reaching closest to the sky,
Porridge and cleanser,
Ground under the gleam of gold,
I sing the praises of Quinoa.

(The quinoa porridge is passed until it is finished.)

Song: Lammas Prayer

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for August 4

Calendar of the Sun

4 Weodmonath

Buckwheat Day

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a brown cloth lay stalks of buckwheat in a basket, a clay cup of milk, and a bowl of buckwheat porridge.
Offerings: Give food to the poor.
Daily Meal: Buckwheat porridge or pancakes.

Buckwheat Invocation

I sing the praises of grain,
That which sustained our foremothers
That which strengthened our foremothers
That which fed all children’s hungry mouths
That which multiplies from the earth,
Giving back more than we give in turn.
I sing the praises of the sacrifice
That is cut down
That we may live.

(The milk is passed around, and the remainder poured out as a libation.)

I sing the praises of Buckwheat,
Grain of high Tibet,
Field of leaves like hearts
And delicate white flowers,
Grain shaped like the pyramids,
Beloved of bees,
I sing the praises of Buckwheat.

(The buckwheat porridge is passed around, and the remainder poured out as a libation.)

Chant:
Like bees to honey
We are drawn to the Gods.
Like honey to bees
Our nourishment give.
May we be flowers
That open to the Sun.
May we be golden
To sweetness transformed.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for August 1

Calendar of the Sun

1 Weodmonath

LAMMAS

Colors: Golden and purple
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon the cloth of golden and purple fill baskets of unthreshed grain, and bowls of threshed grain, and clay jugs of beer and wine, and grapes, and other fruits of the harvest. The wheatsheaf loaf should have pride of place, and beside it should be the corn dollie from last year’s Lammas. The new corn dollie should be carried in the arms of one participant.
Offerings: Give food to the poor.
Daily Meal: Bread. Lots of bread and grain.

Ritual Note: Like all the eight high holidays, this day should ideally be spent not enclosed and isolated, but in common with the larger pagan community. This can be done a number of ways, including spending the day elsewhere, at the Brigid’s Day ritual of another group or tradition, or by inviting in those pagans who would otherwise not be able to attend a ritual. Either way, the eight holidays should be a time of remembering the place of the house in the greater community. If the choice is made to go elsewhere, then no liturgy is needed for the day. If the choice is made to bring the greater community into the lesser one, the following ritual can be used:

(First four who have been chosen to do the work of the ritual cast the quarters with sickle, flail, basket, and pot.)

East Caller: Spirits of the East, Powers of Air!
You who are the cold steel of the scythe,
You who are the blade that separates
One from another,
Life from death,
You who are smoke on the wind
And the bringer of the new dawn,
Be with us today!
South Caller: Spirits of the South, Powers of Fire!
You who are the bright Sun above us,
You who are the unflinching light of day,
The scorching heat of the summer,
Pulling the crops toward the sky
And drying them to golden as your rays,
Be with us today!
West Caller: Spirits of the West, Powers of Water!
You who are the gentle rains that fall
To feed the plants that long ago sprang forth,
You who are the summer storms
That knock down those you nourished,
Capricious and random as you are eternal,
Be with us today!
North Caller: Spirits of the North, Power of Earth!
You who are the ground beneath our feet,
You who sustains and nourishes us,
You who brought us forth,
You to whom we shall all one day return,
We honor you especially today.
Be with us now!

Lammas Invocation

Great Lugh,
You who shine forth upon us,
Give us this day our daily bread
And serve it forth with a great helping
Of joy and mirth
Even as we watch your track in the sky
Slowly lower down from the zenith,
This is still your time,
You are still strong,
Ruler of the Earth,
Until the day we watch you fall.

(The sickle is swung in the air.)

In this time of harvest,
When the Sun begins his drop from the sky,
We shall find beauty and contentment by our hearths.
For as the Sun falls, so falls the grain,
So falls each plant life grown by those golden rays,
Fallen by our hand to nourish us,
And nourished we shall be,
By he that grew from the Mother’s womb so many moons ago.
The Sun above has become part of our memories
And we shall carry him forever,
And the grain below will become part of our bodies,
And we shall carry that memory as well.
For to be bound to the cycle of life
Though it be painful, is the truest thing
That any of us can ever do.

(The bread is passed, and torn apart, and eaten.)

Do not forget, in this time of harvest,
The power of love above and below the Earth.
At Beltane, when love flourished forth
In all directions unchained and unboundaried,
We felt it like a rushing wave of pleasure
Unadulterated with pain.
At the Solstice, when the Oak King died
We learned again, and for the first time,
That there is pain in love, and the deeper the love
The greater the pain. And now as we face
The first funeral of the year, we gain
An inkling of how deep both love and pain can be.
May this wisdom bear us up
Throughout the bright days and the darkness
And the dawning yet to come.
Taste sweetness and give thanks
That there is still sweetness in life.

(The wine and beer is passed around, and drunk.)

Follow the serpent to the end of the labyrinth,
And there you will find the door under the earth.
Slide down between the roots of all life
And there you will find the source of all life.
Follow the roots to the underground rivers
And there you will find the deepest nourishment.
Swim down the rivers through the darkest caves,
And there you will find hidden the spark of life.
Follow the spark upwards through the soil
Until it bursts out into the singing air.
Watch it shoot skyward towards the Sun its progenitor,
As gold returns to gold
And the heavens take back their own.
Do not let go of that spark!
Stretch upward with its soaring,
Risk the bright sky and the high flight
Though it will mean your death,
And then you understand the Mystery.

Song: Lammas Prayer

(Last year’s corn dollie is lifted aloft and carried to the stove or fireplace, where it is burned. Then the new corn dollie is lifted to her place on the shelf or altar, and all cheer. Great feasting comes next. Invite in as many as possible to share it.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Things To Do This Lammas……

Throughout today’s posts you will find hints on things to do this Lammas. I hope you enjoy them and find them useful.

Collect corn husks, dry and store  in shade.  “Corn” was a generic term for  cereal crops (i.e., wheat,  barley, oats), and New World corn was added after 1520.  Our non-irrigated winter wheat is harvested in June  and July where I live.  We can collect wild wheat stalks and seeds, tie, and hang in shade.   Make a corn dolly and keep  until the Yule Celebration.  We can pick fruit  (apricots, berries, figs and plums) and dry them.  Many kinds for fruit are ripe  in late July, so place some of these on your home altar.  Many garden herbs  are at their peak and ready for harvesting to make herbal remedies, air  fresheners, use in herbal magic, and for decoration.  There are hundreds of  good books and websites on the magical, sacramental, and health uses of herbs. 

Wicca Book of Days for April 25 – Banishing Blight

The Wicca Book of Days for April 25th

Banishing Blight

April 25 was the date on which the Robigalia was celebrated in ancient Rome. Although it is uncertain whether this festival was dedicated to Robigo, a Goddess, or Robigus, a God – or to both of them – because both deities were associated with mildew, or rust, its purpose was certainly propitiatory. Rituals that were thought to curry divine approval and thus ensure that vines and cereal crops remained unblighted by the rust to which they were vulnerable at this time of year included sacrificing a sheep and rust-colored dog at a sacred grove by the fifth milestone on the Via Claudia.

Offer Aid

A traditional Hungarian practice on this day is to bring a green wheat shoot in from the field to be blessed by a priest. Crop failure is a recurring problem in many countries, so consider offering help through a charitable organizations.

Calendar of the Sun for April 23rd

Calendar of the Sun
24 Eostremonath

Walpurgisnacht Day II

Color: Black
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a black cloth set the candle from the previous day plus a second one (each day of Walpurgisnacht adds another candle), a broom, a sheaf of grain, and the figure of a dog.
Offerings: The exercise for Gymnastika shall be running.
Daily Meal: Grain and greens.

Walpurgisnacht Invocation II

On this night the White Lady runs.
On this day she flees the Wild Hunt
In the guise of a white deer,
Her hoofprints flee along the track,
For she is Spring’s creature, and the Winter
Is far behind, chasing her, trying to bring her down.
But we will not let her fall,
We will not let her be caught,
We will not let ourselves be trapped
In the winter’s sadness,
For all things must come to an end,
And the green season is upon us.
Sheaf of grain in her hand,
She rides her broom like a steed,
Sweeping the winter away before her,
While the Wild Hunt bays at her heels,
Until the very dogs of the Hunt turn aside
And run instead at her side,
Whining for her attention,
Putting their noses into her hand,
And she has conquered them
As she will conquer the year.
Hail, Lady of the unknown name,
Waelbyrga, Waluburg, Holda’s child,
We who have run from our foes
And yet found that the best defense
Is to turn them into friends,
We salute you!

(The broom should be passed from person to person, and every room of the house should be swept with it, as a purification. Each chants wordlessly, or with any simple chant, during this.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for Jan. 26th

Calendar of the Sun
26 Wolfmonath

Enki’s Day

Colors: Blue and white
Elements: Air and water
Altar: Upon cloth of blue and white place many small knives, a smoking censer, a bowl of millet, a cup of wine and a cup of river water.
Offerings: Millet and wine.
Daily Meal: Millet, wine, and beef.

Invocation to Enki

Hear now the words of Enki the Great, Lord of Sweet waters!
“My father, the king of the universe, brought me into existence.
My ancestor, the king of all the lands,
Gathered together all the, me,
Placed the me in my hand.
From the Ekur, the house of Enlil,
I brought craftsmanship to my Abzu of Eridu.
I am the fecund seed engendered by the great wild ox,
I am the first born son of An,
I am the hurricane who goes forth out of the great below,
I am the gugal of the chieftains,
I am the father of all the lands,
I am the elder brother of the gods,
I am he who brings full prosperity,
I am the record keeper of heaven and earth,
I am he who directs justice with the king An on An’s dais.
At my command the stalls have been built, the sheepfolds have been enclosed,
When I approached heaven a rain of prosperity poured down from heaven,
When I approached the earth, there was a high flood,
When I approached its green meadows,
The heaps and mounds were piled up at my word.”
Hail Enki, Lord of Sweet Waters,
Keeper of all the me!

(The millet, the wine, and the river water is poured out as a libation. The remainder of the hour should be taken up with a discussion of the me of the household, that is, the proper and mindful way to do each thing.)

Goddess OF The Day: MIELIKKI

Goddess OF The Day: MIELIKKI

Tyvendedagen (Norway)

Themes: Change; Providence
Symbols: Bear; Grain; Woodland Plants

About Miellikki: The Finnish Goddess of game, hunting, and the forest,
Mielikki protects our resources during the remaining cold season by
keeping the pantry filled. As the Goddess of abundant grain, she also
encourages the return of fertility to the earth.
To Do Today: Go into your kitchen and get a small handful of any
grain-based cereal. Take this outside and release a pinch of it to the
earth, saying,
Mielikki, see this grain and bless, return to earth in fruitfulness.
Hear the prayer that fills my heart; to my home, providence impart.
Take the remaining pinch back in the house and store it in an airtight
container, symbolically preserving your resources.
Tyvendedagen means “twentieth day after Christmas.” In Norway, today
marks the official end of the Yule season. It’s celebrated with races,
sleigh rides and the storage of ornaments and by burning the Christmas
tree to drive away winter. So, when you dismantle your Yule tree, keep a
jar full of its needles handy. Burn these throughout the year to banish
frosty feelings or to warm up a chilly relationship. The pine smoke,
being from a woodland tree, also draws Mielikki’s attention to any
pressing needs you may have.
By Patricia Telesco

A Witch’s Pantry: Foods to Warm Your Samhain and Winter

A Witch’s Pantry: Foods to Warm Your Samhain and Winter

by Catherine Harper

The year has turned towards dark, and the last of the autumn harvest is in. Every year, I grieve a little more for summer — this year all the more as the squash and beets come in, the farmer’s markets roll up for the year and I contemplate the long winter without the abundance of produce that has made the bulk of my diet. The more time I spend outside, the more I regret the fading of the light. Every year, the seasons penetrate a little deeper.

But it is also a good time. The winds come back, making the cedars dance, and I hardly had realized I’d missed them. On the best days, they carry the orange leaves of big leaf maples and just a few drops of rain swirling around. The grass turns green again, and then grows, until the light becomes too scant even for that. The rooms of our house grow, at least in import, and the kitchen is cheery and warm from the oven despite the dark and rain outside.

I wonder, sometimes, if there is an inherited factor in my relationship to my pantry. (I can certainly imagine that it might carry survival advantage.) There is something very satisfying for me about deep shelves full of canisters and gallon jars of rye, split peas, rice and lentils. Some of it makes a kind of sense, even in this world: Most years, for instance, I dry several gallons’ worth of boletes for use during the rest of the year. Home-dried tomatoes from our garden or wild ginger from the woods also has an obvious place, things that cannot simply be purchased as needed. And my (in part environmentally motivated) hatred of excessive packaging, love of durable storage and a bad experience with grain moths in my last apartment has combined to make me prefer jars and canisters to cardboard boxes and plastic bags for those things I can buy in bulk.

But there is also an almost atavistic sense wherein I know that my dry goods and what I could glean from the woods even in this dark time of year could keep a family fed and healthy for many months. (When I was first on my own, I lived this way quite often, though not really by choice. And indeed, in many ways it was healthier than the richer and more varied diet I am blessed with today.) And there is something very honest in the piles of squash, onions and garlic in the downstairs pantry, and the kales and chard that hold so well in the garden.

Much of this borders on ritual use. I may grow most of our green onions and kale and stock up on local squash near the end of the season, but almost all of the storage squash from our own garden is eaten either at Samhain (pumpkin soup with chili anchos, a touch of bitter chocolate, and a dollop of cream, some years) or Thanksgiving (traditions are easily established, and I will make stuffed squash each year until my dying day, I fear). In many things, our garden doesn’t meet our needs, but the things we’ve grown and saved ourselves are special and usually hold places of significance in the meal.

Tomato vines that still bear unripe tomatoes when the cold comes can be cut and hung upside down in the garage or basement. Squash, kept somewhere cool, dry and well-ventilated, can last through the next spring (some varieties better than others, of course). It will sweeten in storage, and the flesh will become drier. The first new squash of the year is always a shock to me because in comparison to the older squash it has so little sugar. Potatoes (which I don’t grow, though I know people who do in strange wire mesh and straw contraptions that keep the tubers out of our heavy clay soil) keep well if they are dry, well-ventilated and out of the light. Onions, too, prefer the dry and dark, but one must check them frequently for rot, or a single rotted onion will taint its neighbors.

And of course the dried grains and legumes will keep almost indefinitely. Whole-grain flour will often go rancid, but the whole grain will not if you have a hand mill to grind it at need. (It is my understanding that fresh ground flour, wherein the nutrients have not had a chance to oxidize, is also more nutritious. But mostly, I like the taste and texture.) Dried beans, which must be soaked in water at least overnight and then simmered for a good portion of the day, have fallen a bit in popular favor, but the slow-cooked soups that simmer and warm your kitchen are worth remembering. Oats, whole, rolled or steel cut, can be mixed with liquid, nuts and dried fruit and left to sit in a still-warm brick oven overnight. And many whole grains can be cooked with meat, broth and sturdy vegetables rather in the manner of a risotto. There is much good food in winter that relies neither on refrigeration or transport from sunnier climes.

Barlotto-Stuffed Pumpkins

Barley is a grain too seldom used. Mild and creamy in texture, it is a good foil for many hearty winter foods. The pumpkins described here are small pie pumpkins, measuring about four inches across — pumpkins are not the best storage squash, but these little pumpkins are available each year from our local organic farmer’s stand, and make for particularly attractive presentation. If they are not available near you, halved and seeded delicata or acorn squash also works well. These should be baked at 350 degrees, cut side down, for at least half an hour or until just tender before being stuffed, for their thicker walls will not quickly bake through after stuffing.

Barlotto

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
2-4 cloves garlic
4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1&fraq12; cup hulled barley
2 cups water
Salt

A note on the mushrooms: Fresh shiitake or other strongly flavored fresh or dried mushroom can be substituted. If anything, increase the amount. Or add grocery-store button mushrooms to the shiitake.

Soak the shiitake mushrooms in a couple of cups of warm water for 20 minutes. In a medium-sized (and thick-bottomed) sauce pan, caramelize the onion in a little oil over medium heat. As the onion begins to turn a nice brown, slice the shiitake mushrooms and add them to the pot, continuing to stir gently. Add next the garlic, crushed or pressed. Let everything get a chance to brown — better browning will improve the flavor, but if you’re in a rush you can cut this down to a token browning. Then add the dry-hulled barley, stirring it to absorb the oil and letting it, too, brown lightly.

Add to this the two cups of water, and salt to taste. (The water you soaked the mushrooms in is particularly good for this, if you are careful not to pour in any sediment.) Bring to a simmer, reduce to low heat, and cover. The barley will need to simmer for at least 40 minutes. Check every 10 minutes or so, and add more water if needed. Simmer until the barley is tender.

Stuffing Your Pumpkins

To stuff the pumpkins, use a small knife or pumpkin saw to cut a large circle out around the stem of the pumpkin, as you would to make a jack-o-lantern. Remove seeds, and fill with the hot barley mixture (the heat will speed the cooking time). A little grated cheese can be added if desired. Replace the lids, and cook at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the pumpkins are tender.