Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Harvest Kitchen Rituals

A Life of Peace & Plenty - Here & Now

The frost is finally on the pumpkin as of daybreak this morning. 

It's the resplendent little Red Kuri Pumpkin that is growing at Art Song this year.  

We've just past the equinox & the song singing itself in my kitchen is the  Harvest Moon Autumn Ritual Pumpkin Lentil Stew.

2 large onions
2 cloves garlic
2 T fresh ginger
2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp cardomom seed
1/2 tsp dried hot red chilies
2 cups lentils (~12 ounces) - these can be a mixture of different kinds
6 cups broth
~3 lbs Red Kuri Pumpkin (or your  favorite winter squash)
Sea Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Quality Water (I use Kangen)
(Full Disclosure: I don't own a food processor)

Chop onions, press garlic and finely grate ginger.
Place in a wok or similar large cooking vessel.

Using a spice grinder, blender or mortar and pestle, finely crush the coriander, cumin and cardamom seeds.  Add to onions, garlic and ginger along with the chili pepper and 1/2 cup water.  Cook on top of the stove, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, a brown film forms in the pan and a lovely scent emerges.  This will take maybe 15 minutes. (Remember, this is a ritual).

Deglaze the pan by adding 1/4 cup water and stir to loosen the brown film.  Repeat previous step, cooking mixture dry and deglazing until vegetables are richly browned. (See, the food processor wouldn't have really have changed your commitment to investing yourself in this ritual).

Rinse and drain the lentils.  Add to the pan along with the broth.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer ~10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and remove seeds from the pumpkin.  Cut up into 3/4" cubes.  You should have ~ 2 quarts.

Add squash to the pan, cover and simmer until lentils and squash are soft when pressed. As I double or triple this recipe when I make it, this can take several hours. The idea is for the squash to steam.

When you feel satisfied that the whole stew is cooked, drain any remaining liquid to use as a soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.  The smell and taste is so intoxicating, I find I want very little of either.

If you choose to serve this with a little Tzaziki or sour cream, may I suggest that you add it either before or after you faint in delight.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Light is Planted at the Garden Gate

Write (these words that connect you with Me this day)...upon your gates.  DEVARIM 6:9

My great joy this year is to have a garden gate.  I created this illumination for the gate lintel as an emblem of my life as a devout gardener and keeper of the earth-connected legacy of my peoples.  The Hebrew words from TEHILIM just above the center horizontal axis are Or Zaruah - Light is Planted - pretty basic for a heart-based, earthy relationship to things Divine.

At the root are the Arabic words from the HADITH
Al jannatu tahta akdam il uma'at - Paradise (from the word for "Garden" - think Gan in Hebrew) lies under the feet of the Mothers. My Semitic cousins' expression in resonance with planted light, adding to nature the powerful Mothering Feminine Elements of nurture, watchfulness and protection.
Within the branches of  the stained glass tree is the 4-flamed Shin,a letter with known sound and no known number, named simply HaOt - the letter.  It is the letter of the world of transformative possibilities, the space behind the burning bush.  It is the sign I use in place of a signature on the copper illuminations I produce.

I would love to hear about the words that you would write upon your garden gate.

Harvest Moon Blessings and Happy Succot!

jewish art
runes art

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Primeval Forest Mother

Welcome to the Art Song Garden Sanctuary Blogspot

I'm diving in, not necessarily knowing what I am doing here yet, but my intention is to invite thoughtful exchange concerning sacred art, music, gardening, herbs, potions, recipes and the Hebraic mystical tradition!

There will be a calendar of events going on at the Art Song Garden Sanctuary along with other worthwhile and meaningful happenings in the larger community of artists and stewards. I plan to update every Tuesday.

Primeval Forest Mother

Primeval Forest Mother detail

This is a closeup of my last completed copperwork illumination which arose out of an imperative to bring into view an ancient feminine creature appearing within a circle of trees or within an opening of a single tree.  Here are the words which followed her completion when I inquired about who, exactly, she was and why she has appeared particularly at this time:

She who has always been.
Born of the stars
(weren't we all?)
But she was first.
A wild thing, part animal, part green,
She beems in merriment, Bombadil-like.

Who is this ancient one that stalks our memories,
encircled by the navel of a tree or within a circle of withes,
root, branch, leaf and swelling fruit?
Why does she now re-emerge,
the wise one who knows our deep anxieties to be transient 
as a stubbed toe or broken toy -
soon to heal or be forgotten?

An old comfort in a time of fading boundaries. 

PRIMEVAL FOREST MOTHER  - acid etched copper & oxides, mounted on ash 13"x 19" 

Anne Barber-Shams, a wonderful artist and friend in Oregon replied to the email I sent out to a circle I have updated with my new work with this extraordinary response that sparked the creation of this blog:

Hello Dearest Shahna,
I was so fascinated to open your new image. I put some time into the one I have been working on that is a sister to yours,   I think!

...The side frame is composed of images collaged on brass. The main image is inspired by the Eagle Nebula....it is in the background....Scientists have discovered that is births stars.

Love to you always,

More of Anne Shams work can be found at http://www.anneshamsart.info/

I would love to hear from any one out there for whom a resonant archetypal image has emerged.


  • CRESTONE ARTISTS STUDIO TOUR 2013, Saturday and Sunday, October 5th  & 6the from  1-5pm.  (I'm stop #9).  Check out  www.CrestoneArtists.com for tour map and links to the individual artists participating. 

  • WILDERNESS COLORS  - Watercolor and Pastel Paintings by Jo Anne Kiser & Emmy Savage through November 30th at the Pinon Real Estate Group building, 201 F. St., Salida, CO.  Reception Saturday, September 14th, 4-6pm.  Contact Jo Anne at kiserjo1946@yahoo.com or Emmy at emmysavage@yahoo.com for more information.
  • The Water Resources Review Committee will discuss the REGULATION OF GROUND WATER PUMPING IN THE SAN LUIS VALLEY starting at approximately 3 PM on Thursday, September 26. The meeting will be broadcast over the internet and will also be open to the public. It will be held in Senate Committee Room 356. To listen to committee meetings on the internet, go to:http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013A/cslFrontPages.nsf/Audio?OpenPage Click on "Interim Committees" and then click on Water Resources Review Committee.