It’s foggy. Thicker in some places, less so in others, but foggy. The marine layer pulled up onshore early on, yesterday, and it’s likely to do something similar today. 60F, wind at 0-4mph and gusting, AQI22, UV8. 10% chance of rain today and tonight. They’re talking about the sun breaking through by 10am, and then clear, but that really depends on the beach fog/marine layer and how hot the Valley gets…. The rest of the week is typical summer: some cloud, some sun, no rain, temps in the 60’s.
We opened a bit late yesterday, not by intention, but because we had forgotten a project in mid-stream when my knee went wonky. Yes, it’s better today! …not well, but I can walk on it without having to take too much care. We got the project cleaned up and then opened and had customers in very shortly after that. We were steadily busy until about 5:30. Not crazy busy, just steady flow.
Also a fellow from across the way brought me *another* fig tree! This was huge and I don’t think we have a bucket big enough. It’s one of those volunteer plants that you get when you have a big, mature tree. It’s *beautiful*! …*They* are beautiful. There’re several! We got the biggest one planted. I have to figure pots to try to start some of the others. I also got a few veg ends into pots and Tempus watered, outside. Later I made a whacking big pasta salad. It’s been too hot for much more than that.
Tempus took his share with him for a snack between the bulk route and the Oregonian drops. I slept for several hours, then got to work on some embroidery pattern stuff again. Eventually I got up to write and finally finish a page on one of the other blogs that’s been hanging fire, before starting on this.
Today we should be open on time. Tempus needs to do laundry and I have some more cooking to do, along with more watering of plants. Yesterday we were fogged in, by the marine layer being up on shore. We’ll see whether it’s the same today. It’s supposed to be hotter today than yesterday in the Valley.
Today is the anniversary of the date of the deaths of the Russian Royal family (the Romanovs) during the Bolshevik Revolution. Anastasia is the best known of the family at this point as the details have dropped from memory during the almost-century since the murders. Anastasia was the next-to-youngest in the family and was rumored to have survived the massacre. Alas, that has been proved to not be the case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duchess_Anastasia_Nikolaevna_of_Russia There is a possibility that her older sister Maria survived (and had been rumored to be Anastasia), although it hasn’t been proved. We’ll probably never know for certain.
Today’s Plant is the Western Azalea, Rhododendron Occidentale. I talked a while back about the azaleas being a subset of the rhodys. This is the main one that grows around here. It’s hard to tell from the shape and size of the plant that it’s an azalea, or even from the flowers, although the branches are thinner and the leaves shorter and rounder than those of rhododendrons. It least it’s hard for those of us who are familiar with the showy garden hybrids, which tend to be small and compact. The other West Coast azalea is Rhododendron Albiflorum, and there’s not a whacking lot of info floating around about that one. The wiki is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhododendron_occidentale The Chinese call azaleas “thinking of home bush”. Magickal uses for azalea are to encourage light spirits, happiness and gaiety.
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 7/19 at 10:33pm. 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 7/18 at 10:33pm.
Comet NEOWISE at dusk. Comet NEOWISE still hangs in the west in late twilight. Plan to start looking about 60 to 75 minutes after sunset. The comet has been fading a little less rapidly than predicted; it was still hanging on at about 2nd magnitude as of July 16th. The comet passes closest to Earth this week, though it is receding from the Sun.
To find it, start by spotting the Big Dipper high in the northwest in late twilight as the stars come out. The Dipper is hanging down by its handle. From July 17 through 21 the comet is below the Dipper’s bowl, as shown below, by 20° to 15°. That’s about two fists to one and a half fists at arm’s length. From July 21 through 25 the comet is lower left of the Dipper’s bowl, by roughly 15°. You may or may not need binoculars to detect it, depending on how it’s performing, the state of twilight, and the clarity of your sky low in the northwest. At least the comet is gaining altitude night to night as it gradually fades.
As summer progresses, bright Arcturus is moving down the western side of the evening sky. Its pale ginger-ale tint always helps identify it. Arcturus forms the bottom point of the Kite of Bootes. The Kite, rather narrow, extends upper right from Arcturus by 23°, about two fists at arm’s length. The top of the kite is bent slightly down, as if something banged into it.
Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Aquarius) is high in the south-southeast before dawn, west of Mars.
Old Farmer’s Almanac July Sky Map – https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-map-july-summer-triangle
Goddess Month of Kerea runs from 7/11 – 8/8
Celtic Tree Month of Tinne/Holly, Jul 8 – Aug 4, Tinne (CHIN-yuh),
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
©2020 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.
F 17 Low 5:20 AM -0.1 5:48 AM Rise 2:59 AM 16
~ 17 High 11:51 AM 5.3 8:56 PM Set 6:37 PM
~ 17 Low 4:49 PM 3.1
~ 17 High 10:45 PM 7.5
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Mikey’s Thot for the Day: Keep your boss’s boss off your boss’s back.
~ Entrepreneurship is the last refuge of the trouble making individual. – Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972) US writer
~ Whatever you do, don’t do it halfway. – Bob Beamon
~ Druids recognize both the ancestors of the blood and the ancestors of the land, and they also recognize a third: the ancestors of the spirit. The ancestors of the spirit are those people who inspire you, who speak to something deep within you that recognizes the truth. They may be artists, musicians, writers, poets, priests, prophets, scientists, philosophers, kings, beggars, farmers, or hunters. They may have lived thousands of years ago, or they may be living now. You may know every detail of their lives, or perhaps all you know of them is a fragment of anonymous writings. – Heather “Say the Trees Have Ears” blog
~ Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. – Les Brown
Deep in the greens of summer sing the lives
I’ve come to love. A vireo whets its bill.
The great day balances upon the leaves;
My ears can hear the bird when all is still. –Theodore Roethke (1908–63)
Lughnassadh (pronounced “LOO-nahs-ah”) or Lammas, is one of the Greater Wiccan Sabbats and is usually celebrated on August 1st or 2nd, although occasionally on July 31st. The Celtic festival held in honor of the Sun God Lugh (pronounced “Loo”) is traditionally held on August 7th. Some Pagans celebrate this holiday on the first Full Moon in Leo. Other names for this Sabbat include the First Harvest Festival, the Sabbat of First Fruits, August Eve, Lammastide, Harvest Home, Ceresalia (Ancient Roman in honor of the Grain Goddess Ceres), Feast of Bread, Sabbat of First Fruits, Festival of Green Corn (Native American), Feast of Cardenas, Cornucopia (Strega), Thingtide and Elembiuos. Lughnassadh is named for the Irish Sun God Lugh (pronounced Loo), and variant spellings for the holiday are Lughnasadh, Lughnasad, Lughnassad, Lughnasa or Lunasa. The most commonly used name for this Sabbat is Lammas, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “loaf-mass”.
The Lughnassadh Sabbat is a time to celebrate the first of three harvest celebrations in the Craft. It marks the middle of Summer represents the start of the harvest cycle and relies on the early crops of ripening grain, and also any fruits and vegetables that are ready to be harvested. It is therefore greatly associated with bread as grain is one of the first crops to be harvested. Wiccans give thanks and honor to all Gods and Goddesses of the Harvest, as well as those who represent Death and Resurrection.
This is a time when the God mysteriously begins to weaken as the Sun rises farther in the South, each day grows shorter and the nights grow longer. The Goddess watches in sorrow as She realizes that the God is dying, and yet lives on inside Her as Her child. It is in the Celtic tradition that the Goddess, in her guise as the Queen of Abundance, is honored as the new mother who has given birth to the bounty; and the God is honored as the God of Prosperity.
Symbols to represent the Lammas Sabbat include corn, all grains, corn dollies, sun wheels, special loaves of bread, wheat, harvesting (threshing) tools and the Full Moon. Altar decorations might include corn dollies and/or kirn babies (corn cob dolls) to symbolize the Mother Goddess of the Harvest. Other appropriate decorations include Summer flowers and grains. You might also wish to have a loaf of whole cracked wheat or multigrain bread upon the altar.
Deities associated with Lughnassadh are all Grain and Agriculture Deities, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses and Father Gods. Particular emphasis is placed on Lugh, Demeter, Ceres, the Corn Mother and John Barleycorn (the personification of malt liquor). Key actions associated with Lammas are receiving and harvesting, honoring the Parent Deities, honoring the Sun Gods and Goddesses, as well as celebration of the First Harvest.
It is considered a time of Thanksgiving and the first of three Pagan Harvest Festivals, when the plants of Spring wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops. Also, first grains and fruits of the Earth are cut and stored for the dark Winter months.
Activities appropriate for this time of the year are the baking of bread and wheat weaving – such as the making of Corn Dollies, or other God & Goddess symbols. Sand candles can be made to honor the Goddess and God of the sea. You may want to string Indian corn on black thread to make a necklace, and bake corn bread sticks shaped like little ears of corn for your Sabbat cakes. The Corn Dolly may be used both as a fertility amulet and as an altar centerpiece. Some bake bread in the form of a God-figure or a Sun Wheel.
It is customary to consume bread or something from the First Harvest during the Lughnassadh Ritual. Other actions include the gathering of first fruits and the study of Astrology. Some Pagans symbolically throw pieces of bread into a fire during the Lammas ritual.
The celebration of Lammas is a pause to relax and open yourself to the change of the Season so that you may be one with its energies and accomplish what is intended. Visits to fields, orchards, lakes and wells are also traditional. It is considered taboo not to share your food with others
Traditional Pagan Foods for the Lughnassadh Festival include homemade breads (wheat, oat and especially cornbread), corn, potatoes, berry pies, barley cakes, nuts, wild berries, apples, rice, roasted lamb, acorns, crab apples, summer squash, turnips, oats, all grains and all First Harvest foods. Traditional drinks are elderberry wine, ale and meadowsweet tea.
It is also appropriate to plant the seeds from the fruit consumed in ritual. If the seeds sprout, grow the plant with love and as a symbol of your connection to the Divine. A cake is sometimes baked, and cider is used in place of wine.
As Summer passes, Wiccans remember its warmth and bounty in the food we eat. Every meal is an act of attunement with Nature.
Silliness – Silly Q&A – Question: What do you call a Jedi who misses deadlines? Panickin’ Skywalker.