Featured photo by Ken Gagne.
It’s marvelously sunny here in Everett, but at home it’s quite clouded up, even if it should stay dry into Wednesday. 43F, Wind at 1mph, AQI23, UV33. We did get over an 1/8 of an inch of rain, since midnight after less than a tenth, yesterday.
Yesterday was very long and tiring. Tempus went over to the bank to make the deposit while I was finishing the newsletter. The next task was to get my ticket and to my surprise there was only one train available, since the trains coming from the south were all cancelled. It meant I had to take the bus from Albany into Portland, and we had to leave *right* *then* to catch it! I messaged Arthur to warn him to look for a call from Tempus. We scrambled everything into the car and got going, fussing at each other (just a little) in panic.
Once we were on the road we calmed down. I was a little sleepy, the way I get in the car, but not enough to doze, so we talked, off an on, mostly about what all we were going to need to be doing over the next day or so. The roads were all dry, but the closer we got to the Valley, the more snow there was beside the road and on the trees and as we were over Dudlee Hill, I started exclaiming about the snow on the trees. It was picture-postcard-perfect! Off and on it was snowing a little, too…. Well, it started as rain at home, but gradually shifted over.
We rolled into Albany at about 15 minutes before I had been told that I needed to get there, to find that the agent was wrong and there was an hour to wait. That was ok by me. I needed to use the bathroom and after my bags were checked in we sat down to wait.
The Albany Transit Station has a beautiful clock tower and is actually quite comfortable to wait in. As we sat there we saw the occasional snowflake drift pass the windows, and then more and then more until it was really coming down. I was reminded of the time when Baba went to stir up the featherbed at the shore house and gave it a brisk snap to settle it….and the seam popped. We were picking feathers out of the strangest places for a decade….
A guy came in to the station about 5 minutes before the bus was due, reeking of cigarette byproducts so I headed outside and Tempus followed. I was catching snowflakes on my scarf and gazing at them before they melted. They were coming down in huge clumps, but one or two would always be on top, so the forms were plain. One that sticks in my mind was going on 1/4 inch across and the “classic” snowflake shape.
The bus was…. 7 huge steps up. That was distinctly unfunny, since I had been promised that I wouldn’t have to climb…. 1/2 the reason for taking the train, actually. I dozed all the way into Portland, opening my eyes to watch the snow, and then dozing back off.
When we rolled into Union Station, our train was already boarding. A Redcap was *right* there to help me down and the driver fetched my walker. We got into one of the little carts and he went to nab the other disabled lady to take us over to the train. She got dropped off first, and then he helped my to my seat. I had a solo seat with plenty of leg room that was intended for wheelchairs, but accommodated my walker quite well.
We rolled on time with me avidly watching out the windows. There was a screen about 1/2-way down the car that I realized within a few minutes was showing the GPS of our locations. That was really cool! It was just rather grey at that point, no snow, but it made for great seeing as we crossed the Willamette and the various small streams and then the Columbia. I watched for places that I knew until we were through Vancouver and rolling through the farmland north of there.
Trying to get pictures was a challenge. I know there are about 100 shots on the camera, but I doubt that more than a handful will actual turn out to be usable. I tried some of the craft stuff that I brought with me, some reading, etc.during the afternoon, but I didn’t accomplish much. I kept getting distracted. When I’m doing handwork or reading I have to take my glasses off, so I was putting them on and taking them off, repeatedly. Eventually, too much of that and I have a headache.
I needed to use the bathroom, but some woman decided to hog it for most of an hour, despite it being for the handicapped/disabled. They finally put her off the train after she got belligerent with the attendants. That was the first stop after Vancouver…. Kelso/Longview, maybe?
I spent quite a lot of the time watching the scenery, particularly waterbirds, in the sloughs around the Columbia. The tracks run closer to the water than I-5 does. I saw a lot of herons, two flying, one of them *very* close to the train. There were several egrets, scads of ducks of many varieties and lots of geese. One of the ducks that I have a distinct mental picture of was a bufflehead that was about 10 feet from the edge of the rail-bed in a small pond. His black and white plumage was striking and he was just at the perfect angle to show it off. There were some of the long-legged waterbirds of many varieties. I ought to remember the name of one that walks like a heron, but is more horizontal to the water surface and speckled.
There was a flock of what I am pretty certain were white swans near some of the concrete and catwalk industrial installations. They were just far enough away to not be certain and not in the “traditional” swan pose, since many were sitting on the bank or huddled up together and the ones on the water were facing away from me. Raven also thinks they were probably swans.
We rolled on through farmland, and lots of trees, older forests and younger clumps, after we (sortof) left the water behind…. left the river, anyway. The landscape is wildly varied from there to the beginning of the Sound area. Sometimes we traveled high above the rest of the ground, sometimes went through tunnels or through long cuts. In some of those the invasive ivy was hanging nearly to the ground in along strands that blew in the wind of our passage.
I tried to head back to the “Bistro” car, but didn’t make it. I couldn’t get the walker through. The space was just about 2 inches too narrow. I was unwilling to try to grab along the seat backs because how would I carry anything? I finally asked the attendant, a small, sweet lady who must have some oriental ancestry from her lovely eyes and tiny stature, if should get nab something for me. I had a ginger ale and a turkey club sandwich, which was tasty, if a bit soggy. I nibbled on it until about the time I started seeing the lakes and sloughs at the south end of Puget Sound.
As soon as we could see across the Sound, the Olympic Range came into sight. Those are an *awesome* sight. I watched the water and the various structures, lots of houses built up on cliffs that don’t look all that stable. There’s a long curve around the end of the Sound where we were curving around an island. Dunno what the name of it is,,,. I haven’t looked at a map, yet, but not long after that the sunset started and the Olympics became even more spectacular as the sunset reddened the snow, then the sky and then even the gilded edges finally began to fade into night.
I dozed after that as the twilight faded until we were pulling into Seattle. The Redcaps weren’t right there, the way they had been at the start of the trip and a couple of the other passengers pulled my walker down the steps while I got a good hold on the grab bars and backed down. I thanked them and as they started on their way a Redcaps trotted up, also thanked them and then helped me into the station.
Arthur was waiting right at the door. He went to get his car into the loading zone and the Redcap fetched my bags and helped me out to the loading zone. Arthur and I had a nice drive to Everett, although I was a little foggy with fatigue by then. We went straight to one of their favorite Vietnamese restaurants and had supper with Raven, Kimberly and Billy. I had bubble tea for the first time and I really like it. I also had a lemongrass/ginger chicken stir-fry with pickled veg that were quite tasty if not as “loud” as I make mine. It was more like they were marinated than pickled.
Afterwards he got me settled at the motel. I’m at the Days Inn in Everett which is within 5 miles of everything we’re likely to do on this visit. …and I had a good night’s sleep, waking to the news that Raven was in labor!
Today’s Plant is Sword fern, Polystichum munitum. It grows all winter on the coast, getting greener and lovelier every year as the new fiddles come up out of the center of the plant and develop into fronds. I’ve been enjoying those, watching them for months, now. they can get to be 6 feet tall and some of the ones down in the park where the stream crosses through are that size! The indigenes used the rhizome as a poverty food (baked and peeled), and the fronds are one of the best remedies for relieving the pain from the sting of a Stinging Nettle. It is also commonly used by florists as an ornamental plant. – Masculine, Air, The God, the Puck. –This is an herb of masculine power, protection and luck. Use in spells to guide to treasure. Burn to drive away pests.…and as any fern, burn for rain…. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sword_fern
The Matronalia, the feast of Juno Lucina, (another festival of the family of Mars) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucina_%28goddess%29 was the Roman version of Mothers’ Day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matronalia
Navii’s Day (Vjunitci) – Suhii (March) 1 – On this first of four days, slavic pagans remember their ancestors in prayer. Today, Navii’s Day is the “Day of the Dead”. People bring sacrifices and invite their ancestors to attend their feast with them.
It’s also St. David’s Day. Quoting Old Farmer’s Almanac – “St. David’s Day – This day commemorates the patron saint of Wales, St. David, who was born in the sixth century at Henfynw, Cardigan. St. David’s Day also celebrates the Welsh victory over the Saxons in 640. Legend has it that the clever Welsh farmers pinned leeks to their coats so they could recognize one another in the melee; the Saxons killed many of their own kind, not having such a sign to tell friend from foe. Today, St. David’s symbol is the leek. In honor of St. David, plant a bulb of aromatic leek as soon as the ground can be worked. See our page on planting onions and leeks. An old adage suggests eating leeks all month to keep the doctor away all year. So, try Cock-a-Leekie Soup.
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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 3/6 at 8:04am. 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 3/1 at 11:04pm. 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 3/4 at 11:04pm.
Look east after dusk this week for the constellation Leo already climbing well up the sky. Its brightest star is Regulus, and the Sickle of Leo extends upper left from there.
The variable star Algol in Perseus reaches minimum brightness at 7:19 p.m. EST, when it shines at magnitude 3.4, instead of its usual 2.1, for about two hours centered on 7:19 p.m. EST. If you start viewing as soon as darkness falls, you can watch it more than triple in brightness (to magnitude 2.1) over the course of about five hours. This eclipsing binary star runs through a cycle from minimum to maximum and back every 2.87 days. Algol appears high in the west after sunset and sinks slowly toward the northwestern horizon after midnight.Whenever you glance up at Algol at a random time, you have only a 1 in 30 chance of catching it at least a magnitude fainter than normal.
Venus (magnitude –4.1), Jupiter(magnitude –2.0), and Saturn(magnitude +0.6) all rise well before dawn begins. As dawn gets under way Venus shines in the low southeast, and Jupiter is the bright dot three or four fists at arm’s length to its upper right. Look for Saturn, much fainter, about sixth to a third of the way from Venus to Jupiter. The line is lengthening; all three planets move a little farther away from each other each morning. To Jupiter’s right look for fainter, orange Antares. They’re 13° apart. In a telescope Venus is dazzling white and gibbous. Jupiter appears twice as large in apparent diameter, but its surface brightness is some 50 times dimmer. That’s mostly due to Jupiter’s 7-times-greater distance from the illuminating Sun. You may be surprised to learn that both Venus and Jupiter have similarly bright albedos (reflectivity). Jupiter’s cloudtops reflect an average 52% of the sunlight that hits them, while the clouds of Venus reflect 65%. Pictures of Jupiter are rarely displayed in a way that shows this similarity; imagers (and websites and magazines) usually prefer to increase the darkness and contrast of Jupiter to emphasize details in its clouds.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky Map for February
Goddess Month of of Moura, runs from 2/20-3/19
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin/Nion/Ash, Feb 18 – Mar 17, Nion (NEE-uhn)
Runic half-month of Teiwaz/Tyr, 2/27-3/13 This is a time of positive regulation, sacrifice and hard work in order to progress.
©2019 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin/Nion/Ash, Feb 18 – Mar 17, Nion (NEE-uhn), ash – the common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) is a major tree of lowland forests in much of Europe, along with oaks and beeches. It grows to 40 m (130 feet) in open sites, with a broad crown reminiscent of American elm trees. Ash was and still is an important timber tree, and is a traditional material for the handle of a besom. The common ash is occasionally cultivated in North America, and similar native ash species are widely grown as street trees. Ashes are members of the Olive family (Oleaceae).
Ogam letter correspondences to study this month Oir – Spindle Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: TH, OI
Meaning: Finish obligations and tasks or your life cannot move forward.******
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
F 1 Low 2:40 AM 3.6 6:54 AM Rise 4:15 AM 28
~ 1 High 8:32 AM 7.2 6:04 PM Set 1:31 PM
~ 1 Low 3:48 PM 0.7
~ 1 High 10:29 PM 6.1
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – I rescind obsolete vows of struggle.
~ Consider every day that you are then for the first time – as it were – beginning; and always act with the same fervour as on the first day you began. – Saint Antony of Padua
~ Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union. – Samuel Goldwyn (attrib.)
~ Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. – Napoleon Bonaparte
~ The whole universe is completely insane!! – Robert Crumb
There’s a path that leads to Nowhere
in a meadow that I know
Where an island river rises
And the stream is still and slow. – Corinne Roosevelt Robinson (1861–1933)
Easter egg hunts were first popularized in the United States in the spring of 1862, when America was in the middle of its hideous Civil War in which young men were dying daily of injuries and disease, and famine was starting to appear in many areas of the ravaged South. First Lady Dolly Madison was the first dignitary to host an egg roll on the lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812 in an attempt to garner public support for her unpopular husband. But it was President Abraham Lincoln who tapped into the archetypal importance of the egg as a symbol of hope and new life. He ordered decorated eggs and other popular treats to be hidden on the White House lawn. He then issued a public invitation to the children of Washington, D.C., to come and search for them on Easter morning. With few exceptions, American presidents have kept up the practice, and it has since become a cherished national Easter custom mimicked around the nation.
Many people are unaware that the egg-hunting custom predates President Lincoln by at least two thousand years. In Asia and India, the practice of hunting hidden eggs in spring was symbolic of the belief that we are fully responsible for our actions and reactions, and that we must each find our own way to life renewed. Because this incorporated reincarnation themes, the egg hunt was a time to reflect on the balance of rights and wrongs and how to improve ones position in the next life.
In German and Scandinavian lands, [Anja’s note – In all of Central Europe!] the tradition of offering eggs to the Goddess in exchange for blessings or wishes was a common spring practice. With the rise of Christianity in Europe making Pagan practices a capital offense, those offerings had to be hidden where only the Goddess could find them. Thus the egg hunt by the authorities ensued, and was eventually made into a game for children.
The search for eggs also has a deeper metaphysical meaning in many cultures, in particular in the East. The hunt represents the souls eternal quest for life renewed so that it may have the opportunity to perfect itself and reach a union with the deities.
The Teutons buried eggs under barns and animal dwellings to increase the fecundity of livestock, or placed eggs beneath beds to encourage human fertility. Eggs were also buried by the Teutons and Anglo-Saxons in spring to make gardens and fields fertile. They were believed to bless gardens and farmland with fertility and abundance. This is a practice still used by many modern Pagans who enjoy planting and tending magickal gardens. – Excerpt: Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring by Edain McCoy
Silliness – Good Advice – Military Style – Basic Flying Rules: Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there.