It’s been quite cloudy, although there’s blue coming through and shadows, now. Considering how hot it’s supposed to be in the Valley, we might get the catabatic winds that drag the fog in off the beach in the afternoon. 64F, wind at 4mph, AQI16, UV8. Sun in the forecast, maybe with clouds. Summer…..
The morning yesterday started with a rush, but by 2pm it had petered out. I spent Herbs time doing headers, then entered things into the computer, then got Tempus to help (he’d been watering plants) hanging things onto the hooks and putting away the extras.
I kept complaining about my feet, yesterday. For some reason they were twitching and cramping and making me just generally cranky as all get out. A bunch of other folks with arthritis were complaining, too.
Mary stopped by for some supplies. It was good to see her out and about. She heralded another spate of customers.
Tempus went up to storage late in the afternoon to get the big blue bucket so we could soak the dehydrator trays to get them clean. It had a bunch of herbs in it. Some got tossed because they’re been sitting too long, but I spent several hours snipping holly leaves from stems and there are more to do.
I did some embroidery later in the evening. I’m almost done with the bath mitt that matches the towel I finished earlier.
Tempus went to tend the birds this morning and now that he’s back we’re going to do some small projects that have been waiting, mostly putting up hooks for equipment that needs to be out of the way, but accessible, like the cutting mat for my sewing. Tempus has to scrub the dehydrator, so that I can get that going on the mushroom stuff that’s been sitting and then we need to start some of the cooking for the House Capuchin potluck.
We’re mostly done on that, already, just needing to thaw things, although I’m going to add some barley to the too-salty stew. If Jay comes down from Newport, I promised to teach him how to make girdle cakes, as well, and Tempus promised egg bread, and we have projects to work on during the afternoon.
Today’s Feast is that of Damo, daughter of Pythagoras. The story goes that he willed her all his writings and knowing their worth, she taught from them instead of selling them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damo_(philosopher) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoreanism
Today’s plant is Wild ginger, Asarum caudatum – This is a different plant from the one usually used in magick, but has only slightly different properties. This is related to black pepper, kava and birthwort. –Masculine, Mars, Fire – This is used for “heating up” spells. While standard ginger is used in money, love, success and power spells, Wild Ginger is mostly used to add power, rather than on its own.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asarum_caudatum
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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 7/31 at 8:12pm. Waning Gibbous Moon – Best time for draining the energy behind illness, habits or addictions. Magicks of this sort, started now, should be ended before the phase change to the New Moon. – Associated God/dess: Hera/Hero, Cybele, Zeus the Conqueror, Mars/Martius, Anansi, Prometheus. Phase ends at the Quarter on 7/24 at 6:18pm.
Mercury reaches inferior conjunction, passing between the Sun and Earth, at 9 a.m. EDT. The innermost planet will return to view before dawn in about two weeks.
After nightfall, <<<< Altair shines in the east-southeast. It’s the second-brightest star on the eastern side of the sky, after Vega very high to its upper left. Above Altair by a finger-width at arm’s length is little orange Tarazed.
A bit more than a fist-width to Altair’s left or lower left is little Delphinus >>>> , the Dolphin, leaping leftward.
Magnificent Saturn reached its peak a couple of weeks ago, when it appeared opposite the Sun in the sky, and our view of the ringed planet remains spectacular. It is on display nearly all night among the background stars of Sagittarius the Archer, hanging in the southeastern sky as darkness falls and climbing high in the south by midnight local daylight time. Saturn continues to shine brightly, too, at magnitude 0.1. When viewed through a telescope, the dramatic ring system spans 42″ and tilts 25° to our line of sight, while the planet’s family of modestly bright moons appears next to the gorgeous world.
Jupiter (magnitude –2.5, in southern Ophiuchus) is the white point glaring in the south during and after dusk. Orange Antares, much fainter at magnitude +1.0, twinkles 7° to Jupiter’s lower right. Jupiter and Antares >>> form a wide, shallow, isosceles triangle with Delta Scorpii (Dschubba) >>> to their right. Delta, a long-term eruptive variable of the Gamma Cassiopeiae type, has been not much fainter than Antares for most of the last 19 years — after it brightened by some 50%, without warning, in July 2000. In a telescope Jupiter is shrinking just a little, from 44 to 43.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky map for July – https://www.almanac.com/content/sky-map-july-2019
Goddess Month of Kerea runs from 7/11 – 8/8
Celtic Tree Month of Tinne/Holly, Jul 8 – Aug 4
Runic half-month of Uruz/ Ur, 7/14-28 According to Pennick Ur represents primal strength, a time of collective action. A good time for beginnings! Pennick, Nigel, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992
©2019 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Tinne/Holly, Jul 8 – Aug 4, Tinne (CHIN-yuh), holly – The holly (Ilex aquifolium L.) is a shrub growing to 10 m (35 feet) in open woodlands and along clearings in forests. Hollies are evergreen, and stand out in winter among the bare branches of the deciduous forest trees that surround them. Hollies form red berries before Samhain which last until the birds finish eating them, often after Imbolc. The typical “holly leaf” is found on smaller plants, but toward the tops of taller plants the leaves have fewer spiny teeth. Hollies are members of the Holly family (Aquifoliaceae). The common holly is often cultivated in North America, as are hybrids between it and Asiatic holly species.
Graves (1966) and others are of the opinion that the original tinne was not the holly, but rather the holm oak, or holly oak (Quercus ilex L.). This is an evergreen oak of southern Europe that grows as a shrub, or as a tree to 25 m (80 feet). Like the holly, the holm oak has spiny-edged leaves on young growth. It does not have red berries, but it does have red leaf “galls” caused by the kermes scale insect; these are the source of natural scarlet dye. Holm oaks are occasionally cultivated in North America.
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Su 21 High 3:28 AM 6.6 5:52 AM Set 10:26 AM 86
~ 21 Low 10:16 AM -0.1 8:53 PM Rise 11:40 PM
~ 21 High 4:50 PM 6.3
~ 21 Low 10:39 PM 2.4
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – When you are forgiving you do not become a doormat. You become the door.
~ Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. – Arnold H. Glasow
~ By a lie, a man… annihilates his dignity as a man. – Kant
~ Melodious is the closed mouth. – Irish Proverb
~ I bear solemn witness to the fact that NATO heads of state and of government meet only to go through the tedious motions of reading speeches, drafted by others, with the principal objective of not rocking the boat. – Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1919-2000) Canadian Prime Minister
My emblem is the Lion, and I breathe
The breath of Libyan deserts o’er the land;
My sickle as a sabre I unsheathe,
And bent before me the pale harvests stand.
The lakes and rivers shrink at my command,
And there is thirst and fever in the air;
The sky is changed to brass, the earth to sand;
I am the Emperor whose name I bear. – HW Longfellow (1807 – ‘82); The Poet’s Calendar for July
Our Lady of the Harvest – School for the Seasons 8/13/04
I believe the Full Moon Festival of August is one of the oldest Goddess holidays that has been continually celebrated. At this turning point in the year, between the yang energy of summer solstice and the turning inward of the autumn, the Goddess comes into her own as protector, provider and mediator between the worlds.
Known by many names, at this time of the year she is revered as Artemis, Hecate and the Blessed Virgin Mary. All three are associated with the moon. All three are invoked for protection of the grain and the fruit which is so vulnerable to storms in these weeks before harvest. And all three are mediators between the worlds: Artemis in her origin as Goddess of the shamanistic cultures of the North, Hecate as the one who stands at the crossroads between life and death, and Mary as the mediator between Earth and Heaven.
This feast of the goddess was first celebrated in Greece at the full moon of Metageitnion (August 29th this year). In Erkhia, Artemis (as Hecate) was invoked, along with Kourotrophos, and beseeched for protection summer storms, which could flatten and destroy the crops.
In Rome, the Greek lunar festival honoring Artemis-Hecate was placed on the fixed solar calendar on August 13th and called the Nemoralia, also known as Diana’s Feast of the Torches. Roman women made torchlight processions to the temples of Diana and Hecate or visited the groves of Diana with their hunting dogs leashed. Hair-washing was an important ritual activity.
The story of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption (as she was dying, her body was lifted up into Heaven) was first recorded at the start of the 3rd century (about 150 years after the incident it relates). At the time, Mary was living at Ephesus, where she was living under the care of the apostle, John. Ephesus was one of the most famous sanctuaries of Artemis, the home of the famous statue of Artemis with many breasts, symbolizing the productive and nurturing powers of the earth. Mary, is also well known for her nurturing and protecting qualities (she is so tender-hearted she cannot deny any sincere request for help).
After witnessing her miraculous assumption, the story goes that the apostles declared this event should be commemorated on the thirteenth of Ab (the full moon of the Jewish lunar month that usually falls in August) “on account of the vines bearing bunches of grapes and on account of the trees bearing fruit, that clouds of hail, bearing stones of wrath, might not come, and the trees be broken, and the vines with their clusters.” Clearly Mary was seen as a protector of the crops and a mediator between the worlds.
As early as the tenth century, the aroma of herbs and flowers was associated with Mary’s victory over death, and people brought medicinal herbs and plants to church (periwinkle, verbena, thyme) to be incensed and blessed, bound into a sheaf and kept all year to ward off illness, disaster and death. In central Europe, August 15 was called Our Lady’s Herb Day. Gertrud Mueller Nelson’s mother kept this holiday alive by taking her daughters on walks, gathering wild grasses, a custom I’ve adopted in Seattle. It’s amazing how many kinds of wild grass grow on my city block.
This is the start of Our Lady’s Thirty Days, a tide which lasts until Harvest or Michaelmas and coincides with the astrological sign of Virgo, when animals and plants lose their harmful qualities and all food is considered wholesome. This period of benevolence also coincides with the seven weeks following the full moon of the Jewish month of Av, which are sometimes called the Weeks of Comfort. The readings for these weeks are comforting, promising peace and prosperity.
- On the Nemoralia, August 13th, make washing your hair a ritual. This seems to be an act that was seen as a luxury after a period of fast and deprivation, perhaps even lack of water. So embellish your usual grooming rituals by adding perfume, candles, whatever seems indulgent to you.
- To celebrate the Assumption, go for a walk on Sunday, August 15th. Observe and gather the abundance of the earth mother: the wild herbs, grains and edible plants that you find growing.
- The full moon of Artemis-Hecate falls on August 29th this year. Celebrate by eating garlic or leaving an offering for Hecate at a crossroads.
Nelson, Gertrud Mueller, To Dance With God: Family Ritual and Community Celebration, Paulist Press 1986
Urlin, Ethel L, Festivals, Holy Days and Saints’ Days: A Study in Origins and Survivals in Church Ceremonies and Secular Customs, republished by Gale Research 1979
Warner, Marina, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary, Vintage 1983
Waskow, Arthur, Seasons of Our Joy: A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays, Beacon 1982
In the Library: Books on Bread
Bread for All Seasons, Beth Hensperger, Chronicle 1995
Although I haven’t tried any of the recipes in this book, I love to feast on the gorgeous color pictures and I appreciate the way Hensperger incorporates other fruits of the season into the bread, along with history and folklore about the way bread is featured in seasonal celebrations.
The Italian Baker, Carol Field, Harper Collins 1985
Carol Field is one of my favorite cookbook writers, particularly because she’s as knowledgeable about folklore as she about cooking. I’ve found her recipes (except for the one above) intimidating and complex, but the folklore is outstanding. This book is dense with recipes and with information about the role bread has played in Italian culture over time.
On the Web: Great Links
One of my readers, Jennifer, sent me a link to a reproduction of a beautiful old Book of Days from the 1800’s which has been posted on the website of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s library.
I particularly appreciated this link because I spent many happy hours in the college library (at Reed College) poring over the pages of a similar edition of Chamber’s Book of Days, which definitely sparked my passion for these calendar customs.
Jennifer notes that the only way she’s found to print the pages is to import them one at a time into Microsoft Digital Imaging Software and size them to fit one page.
Another reader, Carmine, sent me a link to a great article called “For the Summer of It” by Ellen Goodman.
Flower of the Month: Dallying with Dahlias
The Flower of August is the dahlia. Click here to read more about the dahlia’s connection with the Aztec hummingbird-war god, Huitzilopochtli.
If you’d rather read my grumblings about the sorry state of flower folklore scholarship and ideas on creating your own floral calendar go to this page first.