About Cure Ocha

Cure Ocha believes that deep down, everyone really is good, and that someday we will all come together in light and love and harmony.

Are Scary Stories Good?

*Is* this a good way to spend an evening?

*Is* this a good way to spend an evening?

Are horror stories or films acceptable reading or viewing for Filianists? Let us look first at what we mean by “horror”. Horror as a genre began with Gothic literature in the 18th century, at the latter end of the “Age of Enlightenment”. It could not have begun before that because it relies on the existence of the fantastical where it should not be. Before this rationalist revolution, the idea of the supernatural as separate from the natural world, and therefore of the supernatural being a great surprise, simply did not exist. Ann Radcliffe, one of the definers of the aesthetic of Gothic literature, defined horror not as a genre but as a feeling. Horror and terror are two distinct forms of fear; terror is the fear of the unknown darkness, horror is the fear and revulsion caused when the darkness is revealed in a definite form.

When literature or film uses grotesqueness to cause the sensation of horror, we know that it is not good for us, because it is by nature coarse, and will coarsen our souls. What, then of that which is chilling and frightening, without the grotesque? By describing terrifying things in art and literature and by then absorbing them, Maid gives form to the darkness. On the one hand, this is not something she can truly avoid doing. In the Gospel, when the Maid embraces the Serpent and gives it form, that is Myth – the description of a thing that cannot not be. As Myth, it does not happen in time – Maid did not embrace the Serpent once long ago and then never again. It is a thing that happens outside of time and thus Maid has done it and is doing it and will do it. The only real choice Maid is given is the form she gives the darkness. And that is where we must be very, very careful.

It isn’t only velveteen rabbits that become Real when you cuddle them close and stroke their ears.

Very recently, in the age of the Internet, someone altered a photograph to create a new monster, chilling and terrifying. They told its story as though it were a genuine urban legend, although it was only the creation of their own mind. Their audience treated it as a genuine urban legend, creating more altered photographs and tales of people in the photographs going missing, as well as a very unsettling false documentary in which it “appeared”. In other words, they took a thing they all knew was fiction and did their very best to will it into existence – and succeeded. Within the past week, two girls were induced to commit violence at its command. The details have been withheld because they are disturbing – this is absolutely factual and an example, if an extreme one, of what happens when people are not careful about what form they give the darkness.

A more manageable form.

A more manageable form.

What would be a better form? Well, one of the most fearless demon-hunters this writer knows regularly sees the demons she banishes as small and goblin-like, with the demeanor of naughty children. She wins many more battles than she loses, partially due to her skills and calling, but in no small part because she sees the darkness in a form she knows she can vanquish, and so she does.

So we see, to remain on safe ground, the scary things in our stories must not be allowed to win; they must certainly never be too big to defeat. Even if they do manage to win on the earthly plane (as in some stories they do) there must be great care taken to show that they do not and cannot win beyond it. If you will take scary stories into your soul, only take the ones that in the end show the triumph of the light over the darkness.

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Recipe: Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Cure Ocha here with a recipe!

So the wonderful co-op had its one year anniversary party with potluck, and I brought a special recipe: sweet and sour meatballs. This recipe has been in my family for half a century and comes out of a 1950s magazine – I love clever 1950s recipes like this.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs for a Party

The meatballs can be whatever meatball recipe you like best, or even storebought, but this is what I used. They’re a little tender and have to be handled gently when made this way, but pretty much anyone who eats meat can eat them safely.

1 cup dry short or medium grain rice
2 cups water
4 lbs ground beef
Italian seasoning (or thyme, oregano, basil and parsley) to taste
Garlic salt (or garlic and salt) to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cook the rice with the water in your usual way. The reason you don’t want long grain rice is because you want the rice to be sticky so that it will bind your meat together. Cool the rice down (I spread it out on a cookie sheet and fanned it with my bamboo spatula) until it’s only warm, then mix it thoroughly with the ground beef and seasonings. Take a small bit and cook it in a pan in order to taste it and make sure the seasonings are right. When it’s yummy, roll the meat mixture into 1 inch balls and place them touching but not smooshed onto a cookie sheet – you should get a little more than sixty from this amount of meat. Bake them in the oven, checking frequently after the first ten minutes, until one from the middle is cooked through when you break it open.

Now that you have meatballs, it’s time for the sauce. Are you ready? This is absurdly easy.

30 oz of cocktail sauce
30 oz of grape jelly

Mix them in a large pot (or crockpot) over low heat. Add the meatballs and stir to coat. Simmer at least 10 minutes and then keep them warm until it’s time to eat.

These travel well in a crockpot and stay safe during potlucks if you just plug the crockpot in and keep it on warm when you get there. If you have a little more or a little less of the sauce it doesn’t matter…it’s a flexible recipe.

Please enjoy!

Harvest of the Heart

(This article is written by a new author for Temple of the Home, Cure Ocha. She is pleased to meet all of you and hopes you like her humble offering.)

The sacred harvest! Time for it again already?

The sacred harvest! Time for it again already?

In my city’s buyer’s cooperative, the planning has already begun, two months out, for our country’s oddly placed Thanksgiving. A few hour’s brainstorming has already expanded the vague notion that “someone really ought to organize a group buy for these things we will all be needing” to a virtual fair of homemade delicacies, a plan for a leftovers potluck, multiple offers of hospitality to those without family to celebrate the holiday with, and shopping lists for not one, but two kinds of donation boxes to distribute to members of our community – ingredients for those who are too poor to afford them and ready-made for those who are unable to cook their own this year. The whole thing has been a natural outpouring of the enthusiasm and joy which the members of this cooperative have brought to everything this group has undertaken. It has also been a response to their natural desire for harmony.

Now, when I say harmony, I am not surprised if you think first of musical harmony – the creation of beautiful sounds from different notes produced simultaneously. However, musical harmony is just one form of harmony – there is the harmony which can exist between people and the even greater harmony of the cosmos, with which we try to align ourselves when we are being good – the very definition of rightness. The very start of the buyer’s cooperative came from one mother’s desire for this rightness – it seemed wrong to her that all the mothers she knew who wanted to buy the same things online would have to pay separate shipping when they could order together and pay to ship to one house and divide the big order up there with just a little cooperation.

Not actually a portrait of one of our members, but might as well be.

Not a portrait of one of our members, but might as well be.

Understand that in a society that praises competition, self-reliance, and individualism in all its members, it is the mothers, who are often the last to leave the home and hearth due to simple necessity, who still crave harmony the most. Home without harmony gives no rest to the heart, and even a soul-sick society still senses this.

The seed of a single coordinated online purchase has sprouted and grown into a vast enterprise bringing humanely raised meat, organic produce, and other harmoniously produced goods to hundreds of members on a weekly basis. Several of these people are pouring so much of their time and talent in that they operate at what I have heard called an economic loss – that is, their talents could be applied elsewhere for greater monetary gain. At one point I worried that these leaders would discover this and vanish – our society values money so much. However, looking over the posts on the Thanksgiving board, I am no longer afraid. They are, as I am, receiving value – a spiritual sustenance as nourishing as food – from the harmony this group is generating. The opportunity cost of their going to work for wages instead isn’t one any of us can readily afford.