Welcome fellow seekers to the monthly newsletter of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition. A collaboration of the elders, clergy and members of our tradition. Sometimes, we have entries from the extended tribe of the Pagan community here too. If you would like to have something of yours featured, please let us know! We accept newsletter submissions at the email address newsletter [at] spiritofthesycamore [dot] org any time.

If you missed the previous Sycamore Spirit newsletter you can still see it here: Sycamore Spirit Newsletter #6.

Editor's Desk - By Cianaodh Óg

Are we reaching people how and where we want to reach them? Recently, I answered a musician friend's invitation to a multi-band local rock show at a nearby establishment. The music was great and the bands all supported one another. The energy was marvelous and everyone seemed to have a rockin' good time. But, some of the musicians asked me for my thoughts on the music and I had to be honest about what I observed going on around me at the tables within the bar. People were playing on their phones (as I am unfortunately prone to do myself all too often), chatting but not really getting in to the groove of the music. Not really listening. I thought about that and considered what makes great musicians great and others just the kind that people go and listen to but not REALLY listen to. I have an admission to make. When Stevie Ray Vaughn was still alive I was never all that in to him and attributed a great deal of his popularity then on the fact that he was local. Then, after he died and seemed to become wildly popular I just thought, well, people have an affinity for musicians cut down in their prime. It wasn't until many years later, that I really gave his music a listen and learned what a genius he truly was. A great musician, story teller or artist of any sort can take a song, story or other work that maybe we've seen or heard a million times before and breathe new life into it; make it their own in a way and touch others with their interpretation of it. How do they do that? They touch a deep part within us that is connected to the spiritual ether. Something essentially divine that we can all feel connected to. Something that makes us feel connected to them and to one another in the grande experience of being human. But, how do they get there? By reaching that place within themselves and pulling out a piece of that magickal potion within the cauldron. By getting a drop of the awen and sharing it with others.

Whatever our particular work is...whether it is in crafting a ritual or a working, or a craft item or even music, are we reaching deep within ourselves and touching that part which made us choose that particular song, those particular words, that particular craft item to put into our work. Can we make others feel it the way we feel it? I think that is what we should all strive for if we want to effect change. Just a little something to think about.

Footnotes: The musician friend was Dale Russell of the band Outrider and the establishment was Diamond Jim's Saloon in Grand Prairie. Some of the bands I heard that night were Blackout, Texez Mudd and of course Outrider among others. I highly recommend checking them all out if you're in to rock music.

The following wise quote is shared by request from Ta'li Seabhac, 2nd Degree Priest and Guardian of Temple Of the Standing Stones.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. Mahatma Gandhi

LAMMAS BREAD
By Kelley Stang

Shared here by Arachne Crowsinger, High Priestess of Mystic Willow Coven and an Elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition

If you're using a bread machine for dough-making, add the ingredients in this order. If mixing by hand, I think you reverse the order, but I'm not entirely sure. You've been warned.

Bread Machine will take 1.5 hours to run this, doing the Bridget’s Cross SolarWheel and the final back with use up about another hour. So this is about a 2.5 hour project.

1 cup water
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS honey
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon pepper
3 cups flour (wheat, oat, barley if you can find it, or some combination)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, shelled
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp tarragon
2 TBS yeast

Once the dough is ready, I heat the oven to it's lowest setting, then divide the dough into 14 balls. After greasing and flouring an 8"-9" round cake pan, I roll out six of the balls into ropes that fit across the pan, and lay them three horizontally & three vertically woven basket-style. You'll want to space them about 1/2 inch or so apart. Then I roll out the remaining 8 balls into ropes, twist them together in pairs, and lay the result around the edge of the pan to cover the quarters. When that's done, I turn the oven off and place the pan in for about 10-15 minutes for one last rise. When it's done rising, it will have filled in the whole pan to make a lovely Brigit's-cross-like solar wheel. Brush the top with a lightly beaten egg yolk, turn the oven back on and bake for 20 minutes at 400.

Prayer & Blessing Requests

We receive requests throughout each month for prayers and blessings as members of our tribe and extended spiritual family struggle through the challenges of life as well as share in their triumphs and new journeys on their paths. Here, we ask that you add a candle to your altar or otherwise send energies to the following people who have requested prayers and blessings:

Cianaodh, an elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition and HP of Temple Of the Standing Stones shares this prayer from Ceisiwr Serith's 'A Book Of Pagan Prayer':

Here in the center of the turmoil of the city,
I turn my thoughts to her.
Beneath the buildings, deep beneath them,
lies the Earth that is our Mother,
the very body of the Goddess.
She cannot be hidden;
wherever life is found, there she is.
Great Lady, keep me mindful of you
as I walk through the city.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

TOSS = Temple Of the Standing Stones hosted events
MWC = Mystic Willow Coven hosted events
SOS = Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition events

TOSS - Clergy Day - Saturday,  August, 6th

Temple Of the Standing Stones clergy takes the weekend nearest the New Moon off to spend time with their families and friends beyond their spiritual family as we see these bonds as very important to our growth on our path and we seek to maintain these connections.  Last week was the actual one nearest the New Moon but we were working for Lughnasadh so we're taking this weekend off. Looking forward to seeing you next open event!

MWC - Dallas bead Show, dinner & New Moon ritual - Saturday, August 6th at 9am

Well, this one is a little more complicated than most.  We're going to the Dallas Bead show first, have dinner and then a New moon ritual.

Address will be sent privately to attendees.

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/events/232041144/

TOSS - Temple Day - Musical Experimentation - Saturday, August 13th from 6:00pm til 10:00pm

Our temple days are days of crafts, lessons, board games, music and general communing with our tribe. Sometimes we watch a movie together, other times we play board games, sometimes we have impromptu music jam sessions, poetry reading or story telling. The point is to have an opportunity to get to know one another and build the bonds of spiritual family. Won't you come join in with us?

This Temple Day will be held at Cianaodh's home in Arlington, Texas. The address will be given upon request to those who plan to attend. The focal point at this Temple Day gathering will be Musical Experimentation - Please Bring Instruments, Voices and/or Ideas that you would like to share or just some appreciative ears to listen, hands to clap and feet to tap or dance. :-)

What to bring: (Optional)

Camping chair
Craft Items (Varies per event, feel free to inquire)
Your favorite game that you might like to share with the tribe
Instrument For Music and Dance
Item For Potluck Dinner
Cash Donations for Cancer Care Services and/or Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition

TOSS - August Esbat - Herb Moon - Saturday, August 20th from 6:00pm til 10:00pm

This is a good time to give thought to the abundance of magickal and medicinal herbs as well as  reverence for the cycles that produce them. Better still, tending plant life helps us stay touch with the kindred and their bounty.

Our apologies, but Esbats are open to Initiated Clergy, Spouses and Candidates ONLY as these are the times we do our personal magickal workings and hold temple business meetings. Please feel free to attend our next open event though!

MWC - Full Moon Ritual For August - Sunday, August 21st at 5:00pm

Getting together for a Full Moon Ritual. Must have prior approval from the HPS to attend.

Address will be sent privately to attendees.

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/events/232041364/

TOSS - Temple Day Tie Dye!! - Saturday, August 27th from 6:00pm til 10:00pm

We had so much fun doing tie dye last year before the Hippie Lammas event that we're going to do it again this year just for fun. Come join us for Tie Dye! More details to come...This will be held at Cianaodh's home in Arlington, Texas. Address given upon request to those who wish to attend and do not already have it.


Please be sure to watch our Meetup Group (Mystic Willow CovenFacebook pages and website calendars (Temple Of the Standing Stones Calendar), (Tradition Calendar) as more open events are planned.

If you would like to help support our efforts please consider donating at one of our gathering where donation jars are always available or you may use Mystic Willow Coven's Chip In feature on Meetup:

Mystic Willow Coven: https://secure.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/contribute/

What are we up to? Find out each month (Usually first Saturday morning) by signing up to receive our newsletter by email:

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May the kindred bless and keep you,

The tribe of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition