Yesterday was a busy day. Despite getting up late, once we were moving, we were really moving! We got our chores done, mostly laundry and taking out the trash, but also picking things up and moving some things around in the sunroom. Tempus had some chores upstairs, too, and while he was doing that I sewed a little.
By not long after 5 we had everything in the car and decided to go to the park to watch the sunset and talk for a bit. It was lovely. There was a heron standing in the water, and folks walking on the beach and others in the parking lot watching too, as the sun set into clouds, and the lights of the fishing boats popped out in the gathering twilight.
Once we were at the shop Tempus started on some more dishes while I got “set-ups” done. Those are things like the mushroom & onion for the beef getting prepped, the cherry juice for the cherry tea spiced and sugared….that kind of thing. He pulled things down for me and put things away. After that I got a couple of flavored butters done and pulled the pickle fridge stuff so that Tempus could put that away on his way to Newport and he took off. He was done bagging and on the road before midnight.
Next up for me was a recipe of schiz. That’s the Italian cheese I’ve been making that fries up well. I had that heating by 10:30. It takes a long time of stirring to get it right. I worked on newsletter set-up while I was doing that. By 1am that was draining and I was making ricotta with what was left in the pot. By 2 the ricotta was draining.
By 2:30 the tvarog was set up to culture overnight. I also managed to get the whey taken care of and squeezed the schiz one more time before putting it into the fridge. …and when I got back to my desk I saw that I was out of time. Gosh, he was moving fast!
He picked me up at 3 and we had a good run. It was clouded up with a scattered layer of fast low clouds that were picking up the lights from town. Some of the time it was raining, in Bayshore, and particularly right at the last as we were doing the last drops along highway 101 south of Waldport, and blowing a little, as well. We did run out to the spring, which always makes it a bit longer. We got done just after 5:30, came home and went to sleep, right away. I dropped off with a smile on my face, listening to the rain on the solarium roof.
Today we have some chores to finish, then we’ll go to the shop for more cookery and this evening Tempus is making a run to the Valley to pick up a friend of Jay’s who’s coming out for a visit and to help with the feast.
Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium), which grows mostly at low to middle elevations in soil enriched by decaying wood and on rotten logs, all over the coast range. It is a deciduous shrub growing to 13 ft tall with a small, edible red to blue-black berry. The local peoples ate, dried, stewed and made sauces from this berry which was one of their staple foods. The bark is a cold remedy. The leaves make a good tea. I make jam of the berries, which also make a tasty tea. Both berries and leaves are good for sore throats, aching teeth and inflamed gums. It’s sometimes used as an ornamental, but it doesn’t take well to getting the roots disturbed. Gender, Feminine – Planet, Venus – Element, Water – Carry for luck, health (especially teeth/throat), to keep away evil and break hexes, Burn to make dreams come true. Dried berries can be used for prosperity magicks. More info and links here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinium_parvifolium
Today’s Feast, Juno Februata, may be a mangled re-telling of the Lupercalia Feast that we’re going to talk about tomorrow. This goddess was of the home, hearth and married women and has a name that may be a borrowed word from another language. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_Februa Some interesting stuff about Juno’s tree: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficus_Ruminalis and more about figs in general: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficus
The shop is open 11-5pm Thursday through Monday, although we’re there a lot later most nights. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light, or call the shop.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 2/15 at 6:42pm. Waning Crescent Moon – Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 2/11 at 1:05am. Hecate’s Brooch – 3-5 days before New Moon – Best time for Releasing Rituals. It’s the last few days before the new moon, the time of Hecate’s Brooch. This is the time that if you’re going to throw something out, or sweep the floors, or take stuff to Good Will, do it! Rid yourself of negativity and work on the letting go process. Release the old, removing unwanted negative energies, addictions, or illness. Do physical and psychic cleansings. Good for wisdom & psychic ability. Goddess Aspect: Crone – Associated God/desses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal, Thoth. Phase ends at the Dark on 2/14 at 1:05am. Dark of the Moon, End of the cycle – In the time leading up to the “New Moon” you may do banishings and other baneful magicks and healings that require blasting a disease away, as well as using the time for introspection and self-work. Do scrying, now. Good for reversing circumstances. God/dess Aspect: The One Beyond, the Watchers in the Outer Dark, psychopomps – Associated God/desses: Hecate, Kali, Arianhrod, Anja, Kore in the Underworld, Ereshkigal who was Inanna, Set/Seth, Hades, Osiris. Phase ends at 1:05pm on 2/15.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot remains prominent and colorful in this January 26th image. Interesting stuff is happening in the turbulent wake to its following (celestial east) side; south here is up. Blue festoons mark the bright Equatorial Zone. Christopher Go in the Philippines took this image before dawn using a 14-inch scope and video stacking.
Right after dark the W of Cassiopeia shines high in the northwest, standing almost on end. The brightest star between Cassiopeia and the zenith, at that time for the world’s mid-northern latitudes, is Alpha Persei (Mirfak) >>>. Around and upper left of it is the Perseus OB1 Association: a loose swarm of modest stars about the size of your thumbtip at arm’s length. They show well in binoculars. A stellar association is a group of stars born around the same place and time but too large and loose to hold together gravitationally as a star cluster.
Saturn (magnitude +0.5, in Sagittarius) glows with a steady light low in the southeast in early dawn. Draw a line from Jupiter through Mars, extend the line farther by a little more than the Jupiter-Mars separation, and there’s Saturn.
Goddess Month of Bridhe, runs from 1/23 – 2/19
Goddess Month of Moura, runs from 2/20-3/19
Celtic Tree Month of Luis/Rowan, Jan 21-Feb 17
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin/Nion/Ash, Feb 18 – Mar 17
Runic half-month of Sowulo/ Sigel, 2/12-26 It represents the power of the force of good throughout the world and is the harbinger of victory and ascendancy over darkness.
©2018 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Luis/Rowan, Jan 21-Feb 17, Luis (LWEESH)/rowan – The rowan, or mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia L.) is related to servceberries. The red berries were historically used to lure birds into traps, and the specific epithet aucuparia comes from words meaning “to catch a bird”. Birds are also responsible for dispersing the seeds. Rowans thrive in poor soils and colonize disturbed areas. In some parts of Europe they are most common around ancient settlements, either because of their weedy nature or because they were planted. Rowans flower in May. They grow to 15 m (50 feet) and are members of the Rose family (Rosaceae). They are cultivated in North America, especially in the northeast.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
W 14 High 12:07 AM 6.7 7:17 AM Rise 6:45 AM 3
~ 14 Low 5:33 AM 2.9 5:44 PM Set 4:48 PM
~ 14 High 11:19 AM 8.0
~ 14 Low 6:14 PM -0.1
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
~ All thoughts, all passions, all delights Whatever stirs this mortal frame All are but ministers of Love And feed His sacred flame. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) English writer
~ Do, or do not. There is no try – Yoda.
~ Fame is a fickle food – Upon a shifting plate. – Emily Dickinson
~ Figure out what images and signs are in the storehouse of your mind and make sense of them. – Kerr Cuhulain
Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security. – William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
Magick – 7 cultural concepts we don’t have in the U.S. – Perhaps one of these ideas will inspire you to think differently in your day-to-day life. – Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 06:16 PM – http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/7-cultural-concepts-we-dont-have-in-the-us
Exploring other cultures helps us learn more about ourselves — and perhaps find a new celebration or concept that speaks to us. (Photo: Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock)
From the end of October through the New Year and onto Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to forget that the holidays we celebrate are simply cultural constructs that we can choose to engage in — or not. The concepts and ideas we celebrate — like our spiritual beliefs and daily habits — are a choice, though sometimes it feels like we “have” to celebrate them, even if we don’t feel like it.
Culture is ours to do with as we choose, and that means that we can add, subtract, or edit celebrations or holidays as we see fit — because you and me and everyone reading this makes up our culture, and it is defined by us, for us, after all.
If you want to add a new and different perspective to your life, there are plenty of other ways to recognize joy and beauty outside American traditions. From Scandinavia to Japan, India and Germany, the concepts below may strike a nerve with you and inspire your own personal or familial celebration or — as is the case with a couple of these for me — sound like an acknowledgement of something you have long felt, but didn’t have a word for.
Friluftsliv translates directly from Norwegian as “free air life,” which doesn’t quite do it justice. Coined relatively recently, in 1859, it is the concept that being outside is good for human beings’ mind and spirit. “It is a term in Norway that is used often to describe a way of life that is spent exploring and appreciating nature,” Anna Stoltenberg, culture coordinator for Sons of Norway, a U.S.-based Norwegian heritage group, told MNN. Other than that, it’s not a strict definition: it can include sleeping outside, hiking, taking photographs or meditating, playing or dancing outside, for adults or kids. It doesn’t require any special equipment, includes all four seasons, and needn’t cost much money. Practicing friluftsliv could be as simple as making a commitment to walking in a natural area five days a week, or doing a day-long hike once a month.
Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that means “forest bathing” and unlike the Norwegian translation above, this one seems a perfect language fit (though a pretty similar idea). The idea being that spending time in the forest and natural areas is good preventative medicine, since it lowers stress, which causes or exacerbates some of our most intractable health issues. As MNN’s Catie Leary details, this isn’t just a nice idea — there’s science behind it: “The “magic” behind forest bathing boils down to the naturally produced allelochemic substances known as phytoncides, which are kind of like pheromones for plants. Their job is to help ward off pesky insects and slow the growth of fungi and bacteria. When humans are exposed to phytoncides, these chemicals are scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, relieve stress and boost the growth of cancer-fighting white blood cells. Some common examples of plants that give off phytoncides include garlic, onion, pine, tea tree and oak, which makes sense considering their potent aromas.”
Hygge is the idea that helps Denmark regularly rate as one of the happiest countries in the world — Danes have regularly been some of the most joyful in the world for over 40 years that the U.S. has been studying them — despite long, dark winters. Loosely translated at “togetherness,” and “coziness,” though it’s not a physical state, it’s a mental one. According to VisitDenmark (the country’s official tourism site): “The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family — that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking — preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.” Hygge’s high season is winter, and Christmas lights, candles galore, and other manifestations of warmth and light, including warm alcoholic beverages, are key to the concept.
Still a little confused and wondering how you could cultivate hygge in your life? This Danish NPR commenter sums up some specifics: “Hygge is a deep sense of cozy that can originate from many different sources. Here is a good example from my life : a cloudy winter Sunday morning at the country house, fire in the stove and 20 candles lit to dispel the gloom. My husband, puppy and I curled up on our sheepskins wearing felt slippers, warm snuggly clothes and hands clasped around hot mugs of tea. A full day ahead with long walks on the cold beach, back for pancake lunch, reading, more snuggling, etc. This is a very hyggligt day.” Now that sounds do-able, doesn’t it?
Wabi-sabi is the Japanese idea of embracing the imperfect, of celebrating the worn, the cracked, the patinaed, both as a decorative concept and a spiritual one — it’s an acceptance of the toll that life takes on us all. As I wrote about it earlier this year, “If we can learn to love the things that already exist, for all their chips and cracks, their patinas, their crooked lines or tactile evidence of being made by someone’s hands instead of a machine, from being made from natural materials that vary rather than perfect plastic, we wouldn’t need to make new stuff, reducing our consumption (and its concurrent energy use and inevitable waste), cutting our budgets, and saving some great stories for future generations.” We might also be less stressed, and more attentive to the details, which are the keys to mindfulness.
Kaizen is another Japanese concept, one that means “continuous improvement,” and could be taken to mean the opposite of wabi-sabi (though as you’ll see, it depends on the interpretation). It’s a very new idea, only coined in 1986, and generally used in business circumstances. As this tutorial details, “Kaizen is a system that involves every employee, from upper management to the cleaning crew. Everyone is encouraged to come up with small improvement suggestions on a regular basis. This is not a once a month or once a year activity. It is continuous. Japanese companies, such as Toyota and Canon, a total of 60 to 70 suggestions per employee per year are written down, shared and implemented.” These are regular, small improvements, not major changes. Applied to your own life, it could mean daily or weekly check-ins about goals, as opposed to making New Year’s resolutions, or a more organized path based on small changes toward weight loss, a personal project or a hobby.
Gemütlichkeit is a German word that means almost the same thing as hygge, and also has its peak usage during the winter. In fact, some linguists posit that the word (and concept) of hygge likely came from the German idea. Blogger Constanze’s entry on the German Language Blog for “Untranslatable German Words” describes how the word means more than just cozy: “A soft chair in a coffee shop might be considered ‘cozy’. But sit in that chair surrounded by close friends and a hot cup of tea, while soft music plays in the background, and that sort of scene is what you’d call gemütlich.”
Jugaad is a Hindi word that means “an innovative fix” or a “repair derived from ingenuity,” — think a jury-rigged sled for snowy fun, or a bicycle chain repaired with some duct tape. It’s a frequently used word in India where frugal fixes are revered. But the idea has further merit beyond figuring out solutions to get by with less. It also encapsulates the spirit of doing something innovative. As the authors of Jugaad Innovation write in Forbes, they see jugaad in many other places than the repair shop: “In Kenya, for instance, entrepreneurs have invented a device that enables bicycle riders to charge their cellphones while pedaling. In the Philippines, Illac Diaz has deployed A Litre of Light — a recycled plastic bottle containing bleach-processed water that refracts sunlight, producing the equivalent of a 55-watt light bulb — in thousands of makeshift houses in off-the-grid shantytowns. And in Lima, Peru (with high humidity and only 1 inch of rain per year), an engineering college has designed advertising billboards that can convert humid air into potable water.”
Jugaad’s idea of frugal innovation can definitely be applied in the individual life — what about setting aside a half a day twice a year where everyone in your family fixes something that needs repair? You’ll save money, spend time together, test problem-solving skills, and get a sense of accomplishment from repairing instead of buying new.
I’d like to integrate some of these ideas into my own life. Over the last few years I have dropped Christmas and Easter (I’ve been an atheist for over 25 years now) and replaced them with a Solstice celebrations; I have remade New Year’s into a quiet, reflective time (the antithesis of a party); and have incorporated an appreciation and gratefulness aspect into my almost-daily meditation routine. I’ve kept Thanksgiving, though mine is vegetarian, so the focus is on the harvest and thanks and not killing a turkey. And I celebrate Halloween some years, when I feel into it, and not if I don’t. And forget Valentine’s Day!
Because I don’t love some of our existing holidays, I’d like to add celebrations to my list — luckily I need not come up with them by myself, but can look to other cultures for inspiration. I actually started practicing hygge last winter and I felt it really helped me through the darkest days of the year. I may formalize it a bit by creating a “start” and “end” date to the practice. Wabi-sabi is also very appealing to me, as I tend towards perfectionism (which also tends to make me miserable), and it’s an idea that seems like it might become part of my seasonal cleaning and organizing time (along with Jugaad).
Have any of the above ideas inspired you to try something different or add a new celebration day to your life?