Yule Soul Cakes and Poetry

Greetings, Gentle Readers,

The inch or two of snow has melted again and temperatures have just popped into the 40s.  The two weekend WinterMart I vended at went smashingly the first weekend and I was rather pleased. The second weekend was 22 degrees before windchill, our tables were blowing over, and with only three hours for sales and an hour already spent fighting the wind and losing feeling in our feet, I said to my Hubby “Im calling it.”  Thus are the small trials of vending in the outside during winter and not having solid walls.

I do, at times get the courage to write poetry and to actually share it.  I’ve even had those not related or married to me say that it is good. ( Not my normal fluffy rocks, fluffy kittens and fluffy moonlight: Just call me complex.)

Abandon all hope ye who enter here:

Then, Oh God, why do we perceiver?

To feel a fog, the burn, a strain,

The Stress of the Body,

The Pain of the Heart,

And not give in, to quit or stop,

But continue on despite the fear.


Need turns into Desire

Desire into Thought,

Thought into Planning

Planning into Action and 

Action into Oblivion


How long in aimless desperation

Within a vacuum of deeds and moress:

Alone and still needing and

Desperately seeking

One shining moment

Proving that Hope was worth the Pain.


Explain to me nothing.

It is the path that we walk,

That we journey,

That we create

Which forms our Desires and Fate.

Last night was Winter Solstice and I decided to try and make the Medieval recipe for Soul Cakes.  For those who are familiar with my trials at baking from anything other than Betty Crocker this sounds like the pablemic “nice idea.”  The recipe for Soul Cakes is rather obscure and the oldest authentic recipes is as follows:  “Take flower & sugar & nutmeg & cloves & mace & sweet butter & sack & a little ale barm, beat your spice & put in your butter & your sack, cold, then work it well all together & make it in little cakes & so bake them, if you will you may put in some saffron into them or fruit.”  The purpose of these cakes on Solstice was different from All Souls and I decided to make something special for the Longest Night.  The above recipe is from the 1600s and the most mysterious thing was ‘What in the world is sack?’  Well… research on Google says two things 1) Sack is like a sherry or spiced sherry from the 1700s or 2) sack is in reference to the Medieval drink coddle. I chose the older version. Coddle varied from farm to farm and castle to castle but appears to be a warmed Nog type drink made with alcohol.  Since most farmstead wine would be super sweet, made from whatever berry bush was available, and fermented in the root cellar I chose Cassis to help create my coddle.  I guessed at everything and was aiming for biscuit consistency but ended up pouring it into muffin tins.  After the first ten minutes I was able to cut the cross into the tops and slide them back into the oven.  THEY WERE EXCELLENT!!:  a true Christmas miracle.  My husband is convincing me that anything older that 1600s is golden when I cook it and seeing as how every recipe inspired by Ancient Rome or obscure folk lore turns out lovely I am inclined to believe him.  One Day I will have to tell you about the famous Black Forest Cherry Cake and Sugar Plum Fairy Pie.

Once again I have gone over board on gifting for family and am prepared to wrap gifts until I fall over napping on the rolls of wrapping paper.  I just couldn’t resist an early gift for myself and above and beyond the books from the Goodwill down the street I won an auction on slabbed agates and petrified wood, even a slab of tiger’s eye in the mix.  I am very gratified and grateful that folks actually ask me for pictures of the stones and slabs I find or buy, so here it is.5k5rheE0QF+kdtnXCLwemA

The neighbors could hear me ‘Squeeee’ with rock hound joy all the way down the street when the box arrived. Please ignore the fur laden rug, Sorcha can not resist sharing her own version of glitter.

So many of my crafting friends show pictures of their original art, wire wrapping, wood working, polished geodes, and beading; talking of family, music playing, food cooking, traveling places, and the next adventure.  The very insecure part of me, that still sees the frightened wall-flower nerd from my youth, fears that I will never compare and pale into nothing beside them.  Yet I look around and see that my Library is finally organized with cleaned shelves, our guest room is guest-able should there be guests, Irish music is pouring off of Pandora, and I’m loudly crooning old dirges over the sound of the cabochon machine as I shape and polish stones. “Darlin, Night-Child,'” I tell myself “You are a strange breed, in the rarest and best of ways.”

During the cold months when people are more closeted in home and of course the Holidays foist amiability on us; depression and loneliness is a pain right to the gut for some people.  I give you all my sympathy. I am socially isolated here in my new town no matter how friendly are strangers.  Despite my emerging identity and adoring dog, the  aloneness was wearing on my shoulders today and with few answers to my dilemma.  Lonely Readers out there, while you may be solitary and crying the same tears I have shed; you are not the only one out there:  I send sincere warmth to perhaps break through your own cold comfort.

The weather here in SW Illinois has been unseasonably warm despite intermittent snow showers.  The Longest Night of The year also had a full moon this December and there were silver and red tinged clouds in a near bowl shape around the luminous moon, separated from the rippling clouds by a nimbus of  pure colors.   I laid out pieces of the cake at the corners of our property with a prayer and enjoyed the hopeful creation of a new tradition.  We won’t get real Winter snow until the first or second week in January so I can flit about in the house in my beloved’s over sized T-shirts and go barefoot during the day.  I am still reworking my web sites to improve things as I learn more about this whole online sales adventure. Let us remember the less fortunate, the cold, and those without hope:  If we can do nothing else then let us send our thoughts and essence into the bareness of Reality to fill the void and create A Great Beauty.

With every lovely Crystal of Frost, may God hold you,

Be Well

2 thoughts on “Yule Soul Cakes and Poetry

  1. Bob Jordan

    Beautiful Nancy, simply beautiful. May your blessings be many and your days filled with the love, laughter & beauty of not only the things that are readily apparent, but also the things that aren’t. Sometimes the greatest of treasures pass right before us unnoticed. Stop & smell the roses, each and every of them if you can… while you can.

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