It looks like it’s going to be a pretty day, if windy. The sky is very blue, with little white lumps around the edges. 58F, wind at 7mph and gusting, AQI8, UV8, pollen high. There’s no rain in the forecast.
Yesterday I was really, really tired in the morning. I consulted with the Herb Bunch and we decided not to have the workshop, after all, since I was being totally brain-dead. I did manage to get more bags ordered, since we have a lot more to package. I went back to working on cleaning up the office space.
Tempus was hunting all over for some things he had purchased at Fred Meyer’s. He couldn’t find them anywhere, although they were on the receipt, so he called to ask if someone had found the bag of stuff left at the register or something. The told him to come by and they’d be replaced!
Tempus got back a bit after Sewing workshop was over and chased me off for a nap while he worked on sorting more papers. When I got back up I got back to work on the Spoonflower designs and kept going until my eyes were going buggy. After that I did some patterning of some tiny motifs that I’m going to use in Sioned’s sampler, until my eyes just quit… <sigh> Happens when I get tired. I just stop being able to focus.
I actually got enough sleep last night, so I’m hoping to really whomp things out today. The only problem with that is that I woke with an asthma attack. Some days you just can’t win for losing…. but I’m going to try, anyway.
Whoo! Tempus just startled me by turning the lights on! I’ve been at my desk for an hour while he was working in back. It’s already 11am!
Today ‘s feast is that of Saint Columba (Irish: Colm Cille, ‘church dove’; 7 December 521 – 9 June 597) was an Irish abbot and missionary credited with spreading Christianity in present-day Scotland. He founded the important abbey on Iona, which became a dominant religious and political institution in the region for centuries. He was highly regarded by both the Gaels of Dál Riata and the Picts, and is remembered today as a Christian saint and one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. Columba reportedly studied under some of Ireland’s most prominent church figures and founded several monasteries in the country. Around 563 he and his twelve companions sailed to Iona in Scotland, then part of the Irish kingdom of Dál Riata, where they founded a new abbey as a base for spreading Christianity among the pagan Picts. He remained active in Irish politics, though he spent most of the remainder of his life in Scotland. Three surviving early medieval Latin hymns may be attributed to him. Of course, from our angle he dealt the death-blow to Druidry…. to be fair, the native faiths had gotten pretty corrupt by that time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columba
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
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Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 6/17 at 1:31am. Waxing Crescent phase – Keywords for the Crescent phase are: expansion, growth, struggle, opportunity. It is the time in a cycle that you gather the wisdom learned in the new phase and communicate your intention to move forward. Light a candle. Write or read an affirmation. LISTEN & ABSORB. Commit to your goal. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, energy and enthusiasm – Associated God/dess: Artemis & Apollo, Mayet/Djehuti, Freya/Frey. Phase ends at the Quarter on 6/9 at 10:59pm. Waxing Gibbous Moon – From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. For spells that need concentrated work over a ¼ moon cycle this is the best time for constructive workings. Aim to do the last working on the day of the Full moon, before the turn. Keywords for the Gibbous phase are: analyze, prepare, trust. It is the time in a cycle to process the results of the actions taken during the First Quarter. During this phase you are gathering information. Give up making judgments; it will only lead to worry. Your knowledge is incomplete. Laugh. Analyze and filter. LOOK WITHIN. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, but in the uncommitted phase, the Warriors – Associated God/desses: Dion, Dionysius, Venus, Thor. Phase ends at the Full on 6/15 at 1:31pm.
The First Quarter Moon hangs high in the southwest as darkness falls, then sinks steadily toward the western horizon throughout the evening hours. Our satellite officially reaches First Quarter phase at 1:59 a.m. EDT tomorrow morning (10:59 p.m. PDT tonight). The Moon shines in the hind feet of Leo. Look 10° above it (about a fist at arm’s length) for Denebola, the tip of Leo’s tail. Almost twice as far to the Moon’s lower right is Regulus, Leo’s forefoot.
The conspicuous Summer Triangle asterism dominates the eastern sky in late evening. Vega, the triangle’s brightest member, shines at magnitude 0.0 and stands highest of the three stars. To its lower left lies Deneb; at magnitude 1.3, it is the trio’s faintest member. Magnitude 0.8 Altair resides at the bottom right and completes the bright asterism. Despite its name, the Summer Triangle appears prominent from late spring until winter begins
Mercury (in Gemini) glimmers low in evening twilight. Look for it in the west-northwest about 45 to 60 minutes after sunset. This week it fades by almost half, from magnitude –0.6 to –0.1. Don’t confuse Mercury with twinklier Procyon some 25° to its left, or Capella about the same distance to its right. Mercury and Mars will appear closest together, a mere ½° apart or less, on June 17th and 18th.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky map for June – https://www.almanac.com/content/sky-map-june-2019
Goddess Month of Hera runs from 5/16 – 6/12
Celtic Tree Month of Huath/Hawthorn, May 13 – Jun 9
Celtic Tree Month of Duir/Oak, Jun 10 – Jul 7
Runic Half-month of Othala/ Odal/Odel 5/29-6/13- The rune Odel signifies ancestral property, the homestead, and all those things that are “one’s own”.
©2019 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Huath/Hawthorn, May 13 – Jun 9 – I am fair among flowers – Color: Purple – Class: Peasant – Letter: H – Meaning: Being held back for a period of time – Hawthorn – Like willows, hawthorns have many species in Europe, and they are not always easy to tell apart. All are thorny shrubs in the Rose family (Rosaceae), and most have whitish or pinkish flowers. The common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.) and midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata (Poiret) DC.) are both widespread. They are common in abandoned fields and along the edges of forests. Both are cultivated in North America, as are several native and Asiatic hawthorns. Curtis Clark
to study this month – Ur – Heather and Mistletoe Ogam letter correspondences
Class: Heather is Peasant; Mistletoe is Chieftain
Meaning: Healing and development on the spiritual level.
Celtic Tree Month of Duir/Oak, Jun 10 – Jul 7 – The oak of myth and legend is the common oak (Quercus robur L.). It is sometimes called the great oak, which is a translation of its Latin name (robur is the root of the English word “robust”). It grows with ash and beech in the lowland forests, and can reach a height of 150 feet and age of 800 years. Along with ashes, oaks were heavily logged throughout recent millennia, so that the remaining giant oaks in many parts of Europe are but a remnant of forests past. Like most other central and northern European trees, common oaks are deciduous, losing their leaves before Samhain and growing new leaves in the spring so that the trees are fully clothed by Bealltaine. Common oaks are occasionally cultivated in North America, as are the similar native white oak, valley oak, and Oregon oak. Oaks are members of the Beech family (Fagaceae). Curtis Clark
Duir – Oak Ogam letter correspondences
Color: Black and Dark Brown
Meaning: Security; Strength
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Su 9 High 5:23 AM 6.7 5:32 AM Set 1:35 AM 33
~ 9 Low 12:19 PM -0.6 8:59 PM Rise 12:26 PM
~ 9 High 7:08 PM 6.8
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – My intuition works like a trustworthy friend.
~ Everywhere in life, the true question is not what we gain, but what we do. – Thomas Carlyle
~ To conquer without risk is to triumph without glory. – El Cid
~ Deity is a reflection of the divine within you. – Kerr Cuhulain
~ Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it. – Robertson Davies
Sing a song of seasons,
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall. –Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94)
Here we are at Midsummer, we have arrived at the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Goddess is now full and pregnant with Child, and the Sun God is at the height of His virility. This is the peak of the Solar year and the Sun is at the height of its life-giving power. The Earth is awash with fertility and fulfillment and this is a time of joy and celebration, of expansiveness and the celebration of achievements.
Yet within this climax is the whisper and promise of a return to the Dark. As the Light reaches its peak so this is also the moment when the power of the Sun begins to wane. From now on the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer and we are drawn back into the Dark to complete the Wheel of the Year.
At this time the God, as Oak King, is rich in abundance, but he too surrenders his reign to his brother twin, the Holly King, and the descent begins. But before we welcome the return to the Dark side of the year, and acknowledge this great turning point of the Wheel, we celebrate!
Traditions and Symbols of Midsummer
Traditionally people stayed up all night on Midsummer’s Eve to welcome and watch the sunrise. Bonfires were lit on tops of hills, by holy wells, at places held sacred, to honour the fullness of the Sun. At Litha the bonfire really represents a reflection of the Sun at the peak of its strength. The chosen wood would often be Oak and aromatic herbs were scattered into the fire. People danced around the fires and leap through them. Blazing herbs from the sacred bonfire were used to bless the animals. Blazing torches were carried sunwise around homes and fields. Coals from the Midsummer fire were scattered on fields to ensure a good harvest.
Tree worship has always played a large role in Midsummer festivities and trees near wells and fountains were decorated with coloured cloths. The Oak King who has ruled the waxing of the year represents strength, courage and endurance, and the Oak has always been particularly significant at Litha. The Celtic name for Oak is ‘Duir’ which means ‘doorway’ – we are crossing the threshold, entering the doorway into the second, waning part of the year.
Mistletoe was and is, highly revered by the Druids. It is regarded as particularly potent when it grows on Oak, the noblest of trees, growing between the worlds of Heaven and Earth. Although it is more commonly associated with Yule and the Winter Solstice, it was often gathered ceremonially at Midsummer when it is regarded as being at the height of its power.
All herbs are reaching their peak at this time of year and thus the fullness of their healing and nurturing potency. Giving a bunch of herbs as a gift on Midsummer Day is wonderful.
All of the flower kingdom is reaching its peak, wide open, full of colour, surrendering their perfume.
Our lovely bees are now making honey. Midsummer full moon is known as the ‘Honey Moon’ for the mead made from honey now available. This is often part of handfastings performed at the Summer Solstice. Mead is regarded as the divine solar drink, with magical and life-restoring properties. Drink to celebrate and toast the life-giving abundance of the Sun.
Colours of Midsummer.
Well, take your pick! The natural world is full of colour at this time. Choose blue for the sky, green for the grass, yellow for the Sun. Or red, orange and purple to honour all the blooming flowers. Or choose the colours of the four elements – red, blue, green and yellow. We’ve been discussing this one amongst ourselves and generally agree that what matters is that you choose and work with the colours that speak to you at each Festival – what matters a little more is that you then work with those colours consistently every year.
Ideas for Your Altar
Oak leaves, oak leaves and more oak leaves. All the abundance of all the herbs, flowers and grasses that are so very available at this time. Candles in Sun colours. This is a shrine to honour the Sun – Sunflowers!
Things to Do
Buttermilk Bread Charm
This is a Midsummer Charm to help bring abundance to your kitchen. The sunflower seeds represent the light half of the year and the poppy seeds represent the dark half of the year.
You will need:
- 3 mugs of strong white flour
- 500 ml of Buttermilk (available from the supermarket)
- I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda
- Sunflower and poppy seeds for sprinking
- Red ribbon
- A sprig of rosemary
Place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy. If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Sprinkle half of the loaf with poppy seeds and the other half with sunflower seeds.
Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep and eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, place your sprig of rosemary on top and tie the red ribbon across the middle.
Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying “From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Midsummer Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”
Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this bright and bountiful festival. Eat it fresh, as soon as it is made if you can. Nettle soup goes well with this bread.
Recipe donated by our Counter Enchantress.
A traditional favourite, Elderflowers peak at Midsummer. Pick them in the fullness of a sunny day, ideally on Midsummer’s Day. The Elder is sacred to the Mother Goddess and is often called the Witch’s Tree, the Elder Mother, or Queen of the Trees. It is protective with wonderful healing properties. It aids transformation, change and renewal, and we are at a major turning point in the Wheel of the Year, so the gift of Elderflowers is welcome.
- 8 litres water
- 25 kg sugar
- 8 large elderflower heads
- 4 lemons
- 4 tablespoons mild white wine vinegar
Do use screw top bottles – large plastic bottles used for squash etc are perfect. This stuff will fizz and if not bottled tightly it can explode! I keep mine in the garden so should the worst occur it isn’t going to make a mess all over the kitchen or larder… Before you begin make sure the elderflowers are clean – no little wandering insects or bugs.
Boil the water and dissolve the sugar into it (Fairtrade is good)
When the water is cool, add the elderflowers, juice of two of the lemons and slices of the other two, plus the vinegar.
Cover with a clean cloth and leave for a day.
Strain through a fine sieve or piece of muslin, carefully squeezing the flowers to extract as much flavour as possible.
Store in clean screw top bottles.
Leave well alone for 10 days or so. Drink within a month. Enjoy and give thanks to the Spirit of Elder.
Bees are so special, and make that golden nectar we know as honey – a reflection of the life-giving Sun. Honey itself is full of life-giving properties, and a Honey Cake is a perfect way to celebrate Midsummer, or to give as a gift. Make it with locally produced honey if you can. But wherever the honey has come from, think of the land and blossoms and bees that made it.
225 gms Butter
250 gms Honey
100 gms Dark Muscovado Sugar
3 Eggs, beaten
300 gms Self-Raising Flour
Cut the butter into pieces and heat slowly, adding the honey and the sugar. When fully melted, turn up the heart and boil the mixture for one minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Add the beaten eggs to the cooled honey mixture. Sift the flour into a large bowl and beat the liquid honey mixture into it until you have a smooth batter.
Pour the mixture into a round lined sponge tin and bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 50 mins – or until the cake is well-risen and springs back to the touch.
Cool on a rack and glaze with a few tablespoons of warm honey.
Moon Bowl Charm
A full moon charm to enhance your natural radiance to celebrate the beauty of Midsummer.
You will need: A glass or china bowl, a glass or china jug and a small white candle. Remember the candle needs to burn away completely so choose a small one.
Draw your water into the jug – rainwater is best, but fresh water from the tap is fine. Take the jug of water, the bowl and the small white candle outside and place them on the ground. Light the candle in a suitable holder and place it at the top of the bowl – at the midnight/noon point of a clock face. Pour the water into the centre of the bowl and say:
“Renewing water shining bright
Weave your charm in my bowl of Light”
Place your Moon Bowl in the moonlight so the light of the full moon is reflected in the water and leave the candle to burn down.
When this is complete take your bowl and dip your hands into the water and as you gently splash the moon water onto your face say
“By Full Moon charm,
By Full Moon light,
May inner beauty shine through tonight.
Brightest Blessings of the Goddess shine through me.”
When you have finished, return the water to the Earth. I always pour it on my favourite Holly Tree.
Charm donated by our lovely Counter Enchantress.
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Any information displayed on our web site(s) or other printed matter from the shop is not regarded to be authoritative or certified as the best practice and is only considered to be useful supplementary advice to other certified codes of practice. All information on our web site is updated regularly.
Silliness – NASA’s Ballpoint Pen
During the heat of the space race in the 1960’s, NASA decided it needed a ball point pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules.
After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of $1 million U.S. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on earth.
The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.