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Irish Toasts for St. Patrick´s Day

Irish Toasts for St. Patrick´s Day

March 7, 2013 –


Happy St. Patrick's Day Or in Gaelic - Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Or in Gaelic – Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

Toasts are an essential role for any St. Patrick’s Day celebration. They serve as a link amidst the formal ceremony and a less formal atmosphere of the coming celebration. The St. Patrick’s Day toast allows family members and friends to talk their hearts out. Remember Abraham Lincoln’s words from his inaugural address, and you will never go wrong, “With malice toward none; with charity for all.” A toast is a wish, and whether you believe in karma or not, it is always better to wish good than ill; far better to follow Shakespeare and “drink down all unkindness.”

That said, we’ve found it helps us when offering toasts to use the standard pattern that Colonial-era drinkers used. It’s a simple, two-part format in which you first propose the object of the toast and then either explain why it’s worth toasting or offer a wish on its behalf. This will then lead into the toast at which point you should finish by fully drinking your beverage which is hopefully some hearty Guinness!

And now for some time weathered St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Toasts to impress your family and friends during your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Cheers!

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.

May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out.

A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.

As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.

A friend’s eye is a good mirror.

May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses more; He who loses faith, loses all.

May the Lord keep you in His hand and never close His fist too tight.

May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.

May the sound of happy music, and the lilt of laughter, fill your heart with gladness, that stays forever after.

May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty. And our ale never turn musty.

St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time — a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.

Saint Patrick was a gentleman, Who through strategy and stealth, Drove all the snakes from Ireland, Here’s a toasting to his health. But not too many toastings Lest you lose yourself and then Forget the good Saint Patrick And see all those snakes again.

A bird with one wing can’t fly. —said to encourage someone to take a second drink It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money!

That the tap may be open when it rusts!

My friends are the best friends Loyal, willing and able. Now let’s get to drinking! All glasses off the table!

Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint– and another one!

Here’s to a temperance supper, With water in glasses tall, And coffee and tea to end with– And me not there at all!

When money’s tight and hard to get, and your horse is also ran, When all you have is a heap of debt, a pint of plain is your only man.

Here’s to being single… Drinking doubles… And seeing triple!

I drink to your health when I’m with you, I drink to your health when I’m alone, I drink to your health so often, I’m starting to worry about my own!

Here’s to women’s kisses, and to whiskey, amber clear; Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss, but a darn sight more sincere!

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.

There are good ships, and there are wood ships, The ships that sail the sea. But the best ships, are friendships, And may they always be.

Here’s to you and yours, And to mine and ours, And if mine and ours ever come Across you and yours, I hope you and yours will do As much for mine and ours, As mine and ours have done For you and yours!

To live above with the Saints we love, Ah, that is the purest glory. To live below with the Saints we know, Ah, that is another story!

May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load. May the mist of Irish magic shorten every road… And may all your friends remember all the favours you are owed!

Here’s to the land of the shamrock so green, Here’s to each lad and his darlin colleen, Here’s to the ones we love dearest and most. May God bless old Ireland, that’s this Irishman’s toast!

I have known many, and liked not a few, but loved only one and this toast is to you.

May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows your dead. May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

May your heart be light and happy, May your smile be big and wide, And may your pockets always have a coin or two inside!

Always remember to forget The troubles that passed away. But never forget to remember The blessings that come each day.

May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!

May the face of every good news and the back of every bad news be towards us.

May neighbours respect you, Trouble neglect you, The angels protect you, And heaven accept you.

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, The foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

May those that love us, love us. And those that don’t love us, May God turn their hearts. And if he doesn’t turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles, So we’ll know them by their limping.

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up.

May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head. May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead.

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace… May your troubles grow less as your blessings increase!

May you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for!

May the luck of the Irish Lead to happiest heights And the highway you travel Be lined with green lights. Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

If you’re enough lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough!

May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold— And at the end of all your rainbows may you find a pot of gold.

May your pockets be heavy— Your heart be light, And may good luck pursue you Each morning and night.


The Parting Glass by Celtic Woman



Skip the Corned Beef and Cook Up an Authentic St. Patrick’s Day Feast

Skip the Corned Beef and Cook Up an Authentic St. Patrick’s Day Feast

rachel tepperRachel Tepper
Mar 14, 2014

Prepare for your mind to be blown: No one in Ireland eats corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. Or ever, really, according to Cathal Armstrong, the James Beard Awardnominated chef and owner of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Virginia. Armstrong should know—he grew up on the Emerald Isle.

“How many times can I say it? We never ate corned beef. It’s not really eaten in Ireland,” Armstrong told us, his brogue softened by more than two decades of living in the states. Rather, Irish families traditionally ate lamb, and that’s what they’ll likely be serving on March 17.

“I bet at least 80 percent of households are going to have leg of lamb,” Armstrong predicted. After all, it’s nearly springtime; lambs are ready for slaughter and peas and carrots are in season. “A leg of lamb feeds a good-sized Catholic family, which almost everyone in Ireland [has],” he said, although it might be a smaller “rack of lamb if they weren’t listening at the pulpit when they said, ‘Have as many kids as possible.’”

Armstrong estimated the remaining 20 percent might enjoy a whole Atlantic salmon, which has a long history in Ireland and is richly featured in the country’s folklore. One Celtic legend tells of a druid named Finegas, who for years waited by the banks of a river for the arrival of the “Salmon of Knowledge.” When he finally traps the fish, he hands it to his pupil Fionn to cook. But Fionn accidentally burns himself on the hot fish and sucks his thumb, thus gaining the salmon’s immense knowledge for himself.

If all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with a good Irish stew. But just make sure to use lamb rather than beef, and braise the stew for a few hours instead of simply bringing it to boil.

“[Boiled foods] aren’t really a fair representation of the food of the peasant people of Ireland,” Armstrong said. “They had braised hearty dishes that matched the climate.”

Below, enjoy three recipes from Armstrong’s new cookbook, “My Irish Table.” As Armstrong says, these “aren’t your typical diddle-idle-doo dishes.”

Photo credit: Scott Suchman

Photo credit: Scott Suchman

Irish Stew with Piccalilli

from “My Irish Table” by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn

Serves 4

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (8-ounce) lamb shoulder chops
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 yellow onions, quartered lengthwise
2 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large fresh bay leaf
2 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 cups water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1. Brown the chops: Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally over both sides of the lamb chops. In a flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat
the oil until it shimmers. Brown both sides of the lamb chops well (2 to 3 minutes per side), working in 2 batches so the pot is not crowded. Transfer the browned lamb to a plate and set aside.

2. Cook the stew: Blot the oil from the pot with a wad of paper towels. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf. Top the vegetables with the chops and any collected juices on their plate. Add the potatoes and water. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and let the chops simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender. Adjust the salt and pepper seasoning to taste. Stir in the chopped thyme and serve immediately, with piccalilli on the side. The stew can be made the day before and gently reheated on the stove or in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

Photo credit: Scott Suchman

Photo credit: Scott Suchman

Roast Leg of Lamb au Jus with Herb Pesto

from “My Irish Table” by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn

Serves 8 to 10

1 (9-pound) bone-in leg of lamb (H-bone removed by your butcher)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup lamb demi-glace
herb pesto
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Roast the lamb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the leg fat side up in a flameproof roasting pan. Rub it with the oil and season with the salt. Roast for 11/2 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the lamb (but not touching the bone) registers 135°F for medium rare.

2. Make the pesto: Meanwhile, place the oil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse briefly. Add the basil and process until a coarse purée forms. Add the thyme, rosemary, and salt and process briefly, until incorporated.

3. Add the pesto to the lamb: Transfer the lamb leg to a cutting board and spread 4 tablespoons of herb pesto over it. Cover the leg loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

4. Make the jus: Meanwhile, skim and discard the fat from the roasting pan. Add the demi-glace to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Use a flat-edged wooden spatula to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

5. Present the dish: Pour the jus into a small pitcher or gravy boat. Spoon the remaining pesto into a small serving bowl. Transfer the lamb to a serving platter and carve it at table. At about the middle of the leg, use a carving knife to cut a horizontal wedge the width of the leg and about 2 inches wide, cutting at a 45° angle from both sides until you hit bone. Then cut thin slices from both sides of the wedge. Once you’ve carved as much meat that way as you can, grasp the bone and stand it on its end with one hand, using your other hand to cut slices off the leg. Spoon some jus over each serving and place a little pesto on the side. Serve with your chosen side dishes.

baked salmon

Baked Whole Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce

from “My Irish Table” by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn

Serves 12 to 14

3 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
1 (10- to 12-pound) eviscerated whole North Atlantic salmon, scaled
2 large bunches fresh thyme, separated into sprigs
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed

1. Prepare the foil wrapper: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lay a sheet of 18-inch-wide aluminum foil slightly longer than your salmon on your work surface. Spread the butter evenly over it.

2. Prepare the salmon for baking: Towel dry the fish on both sides and lay it in the center of the buttered foil. Spread the thyme and lemon slices inside the cavity. Tightly wrap the foil around the fish, covering it completely. Lay it on a rimmed baking sheet (the sheet will probably be smaller than the fish).

3. Bake the salmon: Place the salmon, on the baking sheet, in the oven, curling up the tail to make it fit if necessary. (Put foil on the rack underneath the salmon to catch possible drips and keep your oven from becoming a mess.) Bake for 90 minutes, or until the tip of a knife poked through the foil and inserted into the center to the bone is warm.

4. Unwrap the salmon: Remove the salmon from the oven, place it on a large platter, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Use scissors to slice the foil open (watch out for steam) and then peel the foil away, rolling it up and tucking it under the sides of the fish. Peel away the skin between the gills and the tail, using a dinner knife (you don’t want a sharp edge). When you peel back the skin, you will reveal the bloodline. Scrape it away, along with any brown fat beneath it. There should now only be pink flesh visible.

5. Serve: Slice down the center of the fish to the bone horizontally and then cut portions however thick you want down the sides. They will lift easily off the bones. Once you cut away all the top portions, lift off and discard the fish’s spine. Cut portions from the bottom half, scraping away any skin and fat from them. Serve with hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise Sauce

from “My Irish Table” by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn

Makes 2 cups

6 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups warm clarified butter
Juice of 1 lemon, at room temperature
A few dashes of Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt

1. Beat the egg yolks: Using a large whisk, beat the yolks and water in a large stainless steel bowl until well combined. Then place the bowl directly over low heat and whisk vigorously until the yolks become frothy and very pale, resembling beat egg whites, about 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to cook and whisk until the yolks are completely cooked and thickened and the whisk makes visible furrows in the foam.

2. Add the butter: Remove the bowl from the heat and anchor it on a rolled towel on your work surface. With one hand, continue to whisk the yolks while with the other hand you slowly ladle the warm clarified butter into them. Add the butter in a continuous stream, incorporating it completely into the yolks with your whisk as you go along. After you add about half of the butter, add half of the lemon juice. Continue adding butter until the sauce is the texture of mayonnaise and tastes buttery, not eggy. (You may not need all of the butter. Freeze whatever remains for future use.) Add a few dashes of Tabasco, some salt, and the rest of the lemon juice if the sauce needs it. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl that has been warmed with hot tap water and towel dried. Serve immediately.

All recipes reprinted with permission from My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.



Top ten Irish superstitions for St. Patrick’s Day

Jay Sia | @irishcentral | March 14,2014


blackbirdOne for sorrow!

The Irish are a notoriously superstitious lot, especially during certain times of the year.
Here are the top ten best, ‘old’ superstitions.

animated magpie
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1. If a fisherman sees a red-haired lady he should not put out to sea because ill will befall him.

animated ariel
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2.   If you see only one magpie quickly look for the second.
animated magpie 2“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy.”

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3.   To kill a robin is very bad luck as they were considered to be Jesus’ friends while on Earth.

animated robin
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4.   The fairies will often take away an unattended child and leave a changeling in its place.
Yeats wrote the poem “Come Away O Human Child” along that theme.

animated child
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5.   Never skip giving money to a beggar as he will inflict the beggar man’s curse upon you.

animated put that evil on me
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6.   On a leap year day, February 29, the woman must ask for the man’s hand or the marriage will be unhappy.

animated proposal
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7.   The wail of the banshee will be followed by a death in the family.

animated banshee
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8.   A fisherman must give back to the sea the first caught salmon of the year or he will only have bad luck.

animated bear catches salmon
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9. If you trip and fall in a graveyard you will most likely die by the end of the year.

animated open grave
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10. If you pass a funeral and don’t bless yourself, ill will befall you.

animated skeleton rising from grave

Shine On: Photos of Dazzling Mineral Specimens

Shine On: Photos of Dazzling Mineral Specimens

LiveScience Staff   |   May 14, 2013

Credit: Heritage Auctions

minerals - snow angelThe Snow Angel

This mineral beauty, dubbed the “snow angel,” was discovered during the digging of a well in India. The specimen is a silicate mineral called apophyllite-(KF), which appears in volcanic rocks. The snow angel is one of dozens of gorgeous minerals up for auction June 2, 2013.

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minerals - gold sculptureGold Sculpture

The opening bid on this natural gold “sculpture” is $15,000. This specimen comes from the Eagle’s Nest Mine in Placer Co., Calif.

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minerals - Linarite


A specimen of a copper mineral called linarite contains unusual large crystals and could, conceivably, fetch more than $100,000 at auction, according to the auction house. All of the proceeds from the sale go to benefit Dallas’s new Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

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minerals - tourmaline


This 16-inch (40 cm) tourmaline goes up for auction June 2, 2013 with a starting bid of $30,000. Tourmalines are boron silicate minerals that get their rainbow-like colors from various elements such as iron, sodium or magnesium. This specimen comes from Brazil.

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minerals - cumengeite crystal

Cumengeite Crystal

Tiny but super-rare, this cumengeite crystal perches on a throne of brecca, or broken-up rock and mineral naturally cemented together. Cumengeite is closely related to boleite, which forms cubes of a similar blue hue and is found in lead and copper deposits. This cumengeite measures just a centimeter across and comes from Mexico.

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minerals - stibnite swordsStibnite Swords

These stibnite “swords,” made of the elements antimony and sulfur, were up for auction on June 2, 2013, with an opening bid of $32,500. This frozen firework of a mineral was found in the Lushi Mine in Henan, China and measures 9 by 10 by 4 inches (23 by 25 by 10 cm).

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minerals - rhodochrosite


These stunning red rhodochrosite crystals are made of manganese carbonate. The largest of the crystals measure about an inch (2.5 cm) in length.

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minerals - opal egg

Opal Egg

The smooth egg shape of this specimen isn’t natural, but the rainbow-colored opal vein inside is. This specimen was mined in 1985 in Oregon. The brown areas are rhyolite, a volcanic, igneous rock. Opals are made from silica (the same stuff as sand or quartz), but are infused with water molecules. The arrangement of the silica diffracts light, causing opal’s multicolored sheen.

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minerals - cubanite


Copper, iron and sulfur combine to make cubanite. This specimen, up for auction June 2, 2013, may be the largest cubanite crystal on record at 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) across. This cubanite was discovered in a copper mine in Quebec, Canada.

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minerals - wulfenite


The buyer of this wulfenite crystal (starting bid: $10,000) will also get a complete history of the specimen since discovery. Found in Mexico and first bought for $40, the chunk of wulfenite was owned by some of the early luminaries of the mineral business, according to Heritage Auctions. These crystals are made from lead, molybdenum and oxygen.

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minerals - Strontianite


Delicate strontianite crystals top a Sphalerite (zinc ore) in this specimen from Hardin Co., Ill. Strontianite is made of the element strontium mixed with carbon and oxygen. Yellow and blue cubes of fluorite add a flourish to this otherwise black-and-white bit of geological art.

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minerals - la madona rosa

La Madona Rosa

“La Madona Rosa,” a rose quartz specimen from Brazil, gets its name from a supposed resemblance to the Virgin Mary. Mary’s body is formed out of smoky quartz with a halo of pink rose quartz outlining her. This sparkling beauty stands 15.5 inches (39 cm) tall, taller than other known rose quartz specimens. Quarz is made from silica, and titanium, manganese or iron lend rose quartz its pink hue. Smoky quartz’s color comes from free silicon in the mineral. The starting bid for La Madona Rosa is $100,000.

President John Tyler’s Grandsons Are Still Alive

President John Tyler’s Grandsons Are Still Alive

by Jason English / Mental Floss


Here’s the most amazing thing you’ll ever read about our 10th president:

John Tyler was born in 1790. He took office in 1841, after William Henry Harrison died. And he has two living grandchildren.

Not great-great-great-grandchildren. Their dad was Tyler’s son.

How is this possible?

The Tyler men have a habit of having kids very late in life. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, one of President Tyler’s 15 kids, was born in 1853. He fathered Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. in 1924, and Harrison Ruffin Tyler in 1928.

After we shared this fact in 2012, Dan Amira interviewed Harrison Tyler for New York Magazine. Lyon Tyler recently spoke to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Snopes is also in on the fact.

The Dark Origins of 11 Classic Nursery Rhymes

The Dark Origins of 11 Classic Nursery Rhymes

by Jennifer M WoodMental Floss


In the canon of great horror writing, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley tend to dominate the craft. But Mother Goose isn’t too far behind. Yes, that fictional grande dame of kiddie poems has got a bit of a dark streak, as evidenced by the unexpectedly sinister theories surrounding the origins of these 11 well-known nursery rhymes.

1. BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP (1731): Though most scholars agree that “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is about the Great Custom, a tax on wool that was introduced in 1275, its use of the color black and the word “master” led some to wonder whether there was a racial message at its center. Its political correctness was called into question yet again in the latter part of the 20th century, with some schools banning it from being repeated in classrooms, and others simply switching out the word “black” for something deemed less offensive. In 2011, reported on the proliferation of “Baa, Baa Rainbow Sheep” as an alternative.

2. GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER (1784): It’s hard to imagine that any rhyme with the phrase “goosey goosey” in its title could be described as anything but feelgood. But it’s actually a tale of religious persecution, during the days when Catholic priests would hide themselves in order to say their Latin-based prayers, a major no-no at the time—not even in the privacy of one’s own home. In the original version, the narrator comes upon an old man “who wouldn’t say his prayers. So I took him by his left leg. And threw him down the stairs.” Ouch!

3. JACK AND JILL (1765): Admit it, you fooled around with the lyrics to “Jack and Jill” a bit yourself when you were younger, turning what you thought was an innocent poem into something a little bit naughty. But its origins aren’t as clean-cut as you probably imagined. One of the most common theories surrounding the story’s origin is that it’s about France’s Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, who were both found guilty of treason and subsequently beheaded. The only problem is that those events occurred nearly 30 years after “Jack and Jill” was first written. The more likely possibility is that it’s an account of King Charles I’s attempt to reform the tax on liquid measures. When Parliament rejected his suggestion, he instead made sure that the volume was reduced on half- and quarter-pints, known as jacks and gills, respectively.

4. LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN (1744): In 2006, Fergie got saucy with some of this classic kid tune’s lyrics. But the original song wasn’t much better. Depending on whom you ask, “London Bridge is Falling Down” could be about a 1014 Viking attack, child sacrifice, or the normal deterioration of an old bridge. But the most popular theory seems to be that first one. More specifically: the alleged destruction of London Bridge at the hands of Olaf II of Norway some time in the early 1000s. (“Alleged” because some historians don’t believe that attack ever took place.) The song’s popularity around the world is often cited as further proof that it was the Vikings who created it, believing that they brought the tune to the many places they traveled. Oh, and that whole child sacrifice thing? That’s an idea that is also often debated (there’s no archaeological evidence to support it), but the theory goes that in order to keep London Bridge upright, its builders believed that it must be built on a foundation of human sacrifice, and that those same humans—mostly children—would help to watch over the bridge and maintain its sturdiness. Which we’re pretty sure isn’t a practice they teach you in architecture school.

5. MARY, MARY, QUITE CONTRARY (1744): “Contrary” is one way to describe a murderous psychopath. This popular English nursery rhyme, which reads like a solicitation for gardening advice, is actually a recounting of the homicidal nature of Queen Mary I of England, a.k.a. Bloody Mary. A fierce believer in Catholicism, her reign as queen—from 1553 to 1558—was marked by the execution of hundreds of Protestants. (Silver bells and cockle shells are torture devices, not garden accouterments.)

6. THREE BLIND MICE (1805): “Three Blind Mice” is supposedly yet another ode to Bloody Mary’s reign, with the trio in question believed to be a group of Protestant bishops—Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Radley, and The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer—who (unsuccessfully) conspired to overthrow the queen and were burned at the stake for their heresy. Critics suggest that the blindness in the title refers to their religious beliefs.

7. EENY, MEENY, MINY, MO: No, there’s nothing particularly inflammatory about the lines “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo, Catch a tiger by his toe.” But there is when you consider that the word “tiger” is a relatively new development in this counting rhyme, as a replacement for the n-word. Even with the lyrical switch-out, any reference to the poem still has the ability to offend. In 2004, two passengers sued Southwest Airlines was for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress, following an incident where a flight attendant used the rhyme in a humorous fashion during takeoff when she told passengers: “Eeny meeny miny mo, Please sit down it’s time to go.” (The court sided with the airline.)

8. HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH (1840): Like “Ring Around the Rosie,” “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” is often sung as part of a children’s game. According to historian R. S. Duncan, a former governor of England’s Wakefield Prison, the song originated with that 420-year-old institution’s female prisoners, who were exercised around a mulberry tree. Which is probably not the connotation your six-year-old self had in mind.

9. ROCK-A-BYE BABY (1765): One interpretation of this famous lullaby is that it is about the son of King James II of England and Mary of Modena. It is widely believed that the boy was not their son at all, but a child who was brought into the birthing room and passed off as their own in order to ensure a Roman Catholic heir to the throne.

10. RING AROUND THE ROSIE (1881): Considering that some of today’s classic nursery rhymes are more than two centuries old, there are often several theories surrounding their origins—and not a lot of sound proof about which argument is correct. But of all the alleged nursery rhyme backstories, “Ring Around the Rosie” is probably the most infamous. Though its lyrics and even its title have gone through some changes over the years, the most popular contention is that the sing-songy verse refers to the 1665 Great Plague of London.“The rosie” is the rash that covered the afflicted, the smell from which they attempted to cover up with “a pocket full of posies.” The plague killed nearly 15 percent of the country’s population, which makes the final verse—“Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down”—rather self-explanatory.

But Snopes labels this reading false, and quotes folklorist Philip Hiscock with a more likely suggestion: That the nursery rhyme probably has its origins “in the religious ban on dancing among many Protestants in the nineteenth century, in Britain as well as here in North America. Adolescents found a way around the dancing ban with what was called in the United States the ‘play-party.’ Play-parties consisted of ring games which differed from square dances only in their name and their lack of musical accompaniment. They were hugely popular, and younger children got into the act, too.”

11. OLD MOTHER HUBBARD (1805): To many, “Old Mother Hubbard” is not a mother at all—nor a woman. The poem is speculated to have been written as a mockery of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, whose refusal to grant an annulment to King Henry VIII, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, led to his political downfall.

17 Signs That You’d Qualify as a Witch in 1692

17 Signs That You’d Qualify as a Witch in 1692

by Leah Beckmann /Mental Floss


Discover whether you are guilty of maleficium and/or would have been accused of practicing witchcraft according to the laws and evidence used during the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.

1. You are female:  Are you a woman of any kind? If so, you are probably one of the devil’s many hellbrides. Since the medieval period, “an aspect of the female has been associated with the witch.” For thousands of years, people have believed women to be more susceptible to sins than men, and sinning is a clear indication of devil worship. In Salem, 13 women and five men were convicted of practicing witchcraft, though historically the numbers dramatically favor accused women over men.

2. You are poor/cannot support yourself financially: The poor, homeless, and those forced to rely on the community for support were among the most vulnerable and often accused of witchcraft. Sarah Good, hanged in 1692, was extremely disliked and distrusted by neighbors because she wandered from house to house begging for food.

3. You are rich/financially independent: If you’re a grown woman living this life without any additional support, you probably also have a jar of eye of newt in your pantry. Any indication that a woman could live without the help or supervision of a man raised alarm. She would likely have been isolated from the community—until, of course, she was arrested and put on trial. Between 1620 and 1725, women without brothers or sons to share their inheritance comprised 89 percent of the women executed for witchcraft in New England.

4. You have one or more female friends: A note to all popular teens and the cast of Sex and the City: A group of women congregating without a male chaperone was deemed a “coven meeting to worship the Devil.” Ladies be communing with flirty cosmos and the devil.

5. You have had an argument with one or more of your female friends: Infamous witchfinders like Matthew Hopkins and John Searne inspired such terror in the community that it didn’t take long for women to accuse other women of witchcraft as a way of deflecting their own indictments. According to author Elizabeth Reis, “women were more likely than men to be convinced of this complicity with the devil, and given such convictions about themselves, they could more easily imagine that other women were equally damned.”

Take the case of Rachel Clinton: “Women of worth and quality accused [her] of hunching them with her elbow” when she walked by them at church. Rachel, herself a former woman of “worth and quality,” had a mentally disturbed mother and a late-in-life marriage that caused her to slip to the bottom rung of the class system. Add to that some finger-wagging biddies screaming about an elbow jab and, double double toil and trouble, Rebecca was convicted of witchcraft.

6. You have had an argument or disagreement with someone: The important thing to remember is that anyone could accuse anyone. And they did. If you found yourself accused of practicing witchcraft of any kind by any kind of person, you might as well have been seen flying naked over the moon on a broomstick made out of a cursed lover’s ears.

7. You are very old: Older women, both married and unmarried, were extremely susceptible to accusations. Rebecca Nurse was a 70-year-old invalid when she was accused by disputing neighbors. At 71, she became the oldest woman tried, convicted, and put to death for being a witch.

8. You are very young: Dorothy Goode was only 4 years old when she confessed to being a witch (simultaneously implicating her mother, Sarah, who was hanged in 1692). Dorothy was imprisoned for nine months before her release. The experience left her permanently insane.

9. You are a midwife: Put simply by writer Joel Southern, a midwife’s “age, social and marital status, autonomy, pagan influences, secret knowledge of herbs and most importantly, the vilification of her profession as unclean and demeaning served to demonize the midwife. In short, the midwife represented everything the Church feared.”

10. You are married with too many children: You have an unnaturally fertile womb that can only be the result of a dark magic. Add to that a young couple nearby having a difficult time conceiving, and you are almost certainly stealing would-be babies from them. Because you are a witch.

11. You are married with too few (or no) children: The devil cursed your unholy womb with infertility. Plus, if your neighbors and their six children are suffering in any way, they almost certainly believe the jealous crone living next to them has hexed their home.

12. You have exhibited “stubborn,” “strange,” or “forward behavior”: Let loose any kind of sass or backtalk and ye be a witch, probably. Again, in the trial of Rachel Clinton, her accusers solidified the case against her with the following: “Did she not show the character of an embittered, meddlesome, demanding woman—perhaps in short, the character of a witch? Did she not scold, rail, threaten and fight?”

13. You have a mole, birthmark, or third nipple: Any of these found on the body could be interpreted as the Devil’s mark. This is also where the witch’s familiar—usually a dog, cat, or snake—would attach itself to her to drink her blood. The accused were completely rid of their body hair until some kind of marking was found. Now imagine a tiny puppy guzzling from Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark.

14. Butter or milk has spoiled in your fridge: Several testimonials during the Salem Trials mention spoiled dairy products in connection with the accused. Be honest about the condition of your fridge before you continue.

15. You have had sex out of wedlock: Throw yourself directly into a blue hellfire if this one applies to you. In 1651, Alice Lake of Dorchester was tried as a witch for having “played the harlot, and being with Child.” Her guilt was so intense that she eventually confessed to convening with the devil “through the commission of her sin.” She was hanged that same year.

16. You have attempted to predict the identity of your future husband: Ever daydreamed about your soulmate? Written his name in cursive in your notebook? Then, like Tituba, a slave woman living in Salem, your activities could be construed as witchcraft. Tituba encouraged young girls to predict the identities of their future husbands and became the first woman in Salem accused of practicing the craft. And thanks to dreamy succubi like you, she won’t be the last.

17. You have broken virtually any rule in the Bible and thus entered into a pact with the devil: Here are a handful of rules the Puritans observed. Breaking any could lead to a witchcraft accusation:
-The strict observance of Sabbath, “the training day of military discipline.” This includes no fire, no trading, no traveling, and something called “new showbread In the holy place.” That last one is punishable by death.
-No adultery
-No leading people to other Gods by prophecy or dreams
-No getting raped
-No planting more than one type of seed in a field
-No touching a pig carcass
-No wearing clothing made of more than one kind of cloth or fabric
-No round haircuts
-No braided hair
-And definitely no suffering a witch to live

Did you do any of these things? Then congratulations, you are guilty of practicing witchcraft. You are hellbound, and will likely be hanged, burned, or left to rot in a filthy prison until you die. May the dark shadows cloak you in their wretched embrace. Hail Satan.

We Expect Respect

We Expect Respect

A Manifesto for Parents of Children With Special Needs

By Children With Special Needs

As parents of children with special needs, we deal with a wide variety of disabilities that raise a wide variety of concerns and require a wide variety of accommodations. We do not speak with one voice on many of the things our children specifically need to be safe and secure and included in the life of their community and the wider world.

But there’s one thing we can all agree on: our children deserve respect.

They are not nuisances. They are not inconvenient. They are not impediments put in your way by troublemaking parents. They have a right to live and to learn and to play and to worship and to dine and to travel and to participate, by virtue of being human beings and citizens of their communities. We recognize that this may not always be easy, and we take responsibility for helping make inclusion happen instead of expecting it to be done for us. But the very first step, always, regardless of the situation, is respect. Respect our children. Respect our families. Or don’t expect us to respect you.

What does respect look like? It does not mean acceding to our every demand and accommodating every problem. (Though that would be fine.) It means taking our children’s needs seriously, and working in a conscientious way to find an acceptable solution. It means stepping out in front and presenting a coherent and compassionate policy rather than waiting for a problem and reacting defensively. It means treating children with special needs and their families as you would any other customer, any other worshiper, any other taxpayer, any other voter, any other community member. It means not sending out a message that says, “You know, we don’t really serve your kind here.”

Because there are a lot of “our kind,” and we are growing. We have been fragmented by our specific challenges and conflicting needs, but we now resolve to be united by our common expectation of respect. When you place an inflight snack choice above the life of an allergic child, you anger us all. When you care more about rude complaining diners than the family of a child with autism, you eject us all. When you value worshipful silence over compassion for worshipers with disabilities, you wound us all. Whether or not our children share those same disabilities, whether or not we would have made the same decisions as those parents, we still know what lack of respect looks like, and we will recognize it in your actions.

And we will act. We will remember. We will find our voice as a special-needs community, and we will stand together. We will demand respect for our children and our families, and for the adults with disabilities our children will become. You will find us to be fierce advocates. We would rather get respect without fear, but we’ll take it any way we can get it. Do the math. And do the right thing.

*   *   *

If you’re the parent of a child with special needs (or a family member, friend, or well-wisher), and you feel ready to stand up for the rights of children with disabilities regardless of their specific needs, add your name to this manifesto, along with your own message, by replying to the Readers Respond page below. Can we band together for our kids?

Readers Respond: Add Your Name to the ‘We Expect Respect’ Manifesto

March 2014


by Melanie Marquis

(From Llewellyn’s Witches’ Calendar 2014)

March 2014March Correspondences

Stone: Aquamarine, Jade, Bloodstone   •   Animal: Wolf or Cougar, Whale

Flower: Jonquil (aka daffodil, narcissus)   •   Ruling Planet: Neptune, Jupiter

Saint Patrick’s Day draws mixed reviews from modern Pagans.  While some see it as a harmless celebration of Irish culture and possibly a good excuse to let loose and party, others see it as an offensive nod to aggressive Christianization and the violent oppression of Paganism.  After all, Saint Patrick is known for his aggressive, evangelicizing-with-a-sword ways — so he’s not exactly the coven’s little darling.  Not by a long shot!  Perhaps exacerbating this feeling is the fact that many people also believe that the legend of Saint Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland is actually an allegory for his alleged destruction of Celtic and Druid culture, with its prevalent serpent symbolism.  This theory is widely disputed, however, and it’s generally accepted by today’s scholars that the snakes of the legend were meant to be either real-life snakes or a metaphor for the staff of Moses or Aaron.

Whether the snakes of Saint Patrick’s legend were Pagans, actual snakes, or Yahweh’s own magick wand does nothing to change the indisputable fact that post-Ice Age Ireland has never had a single snake, or the other indisputable fact that Paganism continued to thrive in Ireland despite the efforts of Patrick and those who came before him and after him.  Sure, we Pagans have been backed into the shadows, beaten down, and trodden on, but nevertheless, we survive.  This survival gives us a cause to celebrate, and Saint Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to do so.

The late and great Pagan author and Archdruid Isaac Bonewits jokingly created a new holiday to substitute for Saint Patrick’s Day — the holiday All Snakes Day, encapsulated in Isaac’s slogan, “Bring Back the Snakes!”  I, for one, believe we should carry on this tradition.

If you’d like to celebrate All Snakes Day this March 17, consider performing this ritual dance in honor of the tenacity and inextinguishable pride of snakes and Pagans everywhere.

Snakes Ritual Dance

Begin with participants standing in a circle, hand in hand.  Designate someone to act as the leader of the dance, and have them stand in the east quarter, or three-o’clock position.  Place musicians around the outside perimeter.  As the musicians start to play, the circle begins to rotate clockwise to the melody.  After three complete rotations are made, returning the leader of the dance to their original position at the three-o’clock point — let’s call this position the “midpoint” — the leader should then let go of the hand of the person to their left.  This breaks the circle, the dance continues on around in a now counterclockwise rotation, back to the midpoint and then on around in a new, now clockwise rotation, guiding the dancers movements in the form on an infinity symbol, or horizontal figure 8.  The rotations are repeated as the music continues to build and the energy of the ritualists continues to rise.  When the leader of the dance feels that the time is right, instead of changing directions at the midpoint, the circle is instead continued around clockwise, in a large circumference that brings the leader back to hold the hand of the person originally to their left, returning the circle to its original form.  Intentions are set, and the magickal energy is then released toward the aim of bringing continued strength to Pagans and snakes around the world.

February 2014


by Susan Pesznecker

(From Llewellyn’s Witches’ Calendar 2014)

February 2014February Correspondences

Stone: Amethyst   •   Animal: Otter

Flower: Violet, Primrose   •   Ruling Planet: Uranus

In his Carmina Gadelica, folklorist Alexander Carmichael captured the traditions of the highland Scots, recording their stories, charms, and incantations and numbering the collected items.  Incantations 82 to 87 are about building and smooring fire.  To smoor is to “smother, put out, or extinguish.”  But in the folklore context, the point wasn’t to extinguish the fire but to bank it with ashes so a few coals would survive, making it easy to rekindle in the morning.  For the hearth dwellers of old Scotland, fire was life, and managing fire was central to survival.  When smoored, embers were spread out in a circle and divided into three sections, leaving a sturdy piece called the “boss” in the center.  Pieces of peat were laid between and touching each pile, with each piece of peat also touching the central boss.  The peat and embers were covered with ash, protecting the fire without snuffing it.  At the same time, blessings were murmured — usually by the mother figure.  In this simple but profound ritual, a routine bit of housekeeping became sacred and holy and demonstrated the value perceived in the life-sustaining smooring of the fire.

February is deep winter.  We sense the promise of spring, but weeks of darkness and cold must yet be endured before spring rekindles life in the world.  In metaphoric terms, we “smoor” our internal pilot lights during this time, guarding that inner spark and keeping our magickal intentions and inspirations alive and well through the quiet, dark sleep of late winter.  February is an excellent time to find inspiration through readings and Craft work, nurturing your own life-spark.  If you have a fireplace or fire pit, try your hand at smooring some actual live embers.  In the morning, poke away at the ashes, add a bit of shredded paper or laundry lint, and see if you can coax the coals back into flame.

A Ritual of Smooring

Carry out this ritual at night, just before bed.  Have your evening ablutions complete so you can turn in immediately following the ritual.

Begin in a well-lit room.  Place a small candle in a canning jar and light it.  Sit quietly, experiencing the light and warmth of the room.  When you’re ready, turn the lights off, leaving the room in complete darkness with the candle serving as the only light.  Return to your seat by the candle.  Concentrate on how the tiny light is the only thing holding the darkness at bay.  Wrap a blanket around your shoulders and over your head, and envision yourself smooring your own internal light against winter’s darkness.

Speak Carmina Gadelica (“Smooring the Fire”) No. 84 aloud:

The sacred Three
To save, to shield, to surround
The heart, the house, the household,
This eve, this night, Oh! This eve,
This night, and everynight, each single night.

Meditate on the words and their meaning.  When you’re ready, either leave the candle burning in a safe location (e.g., within the fireplace) or extinguish the flame.  Go quietly to bed, contemplating the idea of smooring as you fall asleep.

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