Practicing Together #12

Brewer Brook Overflows

Seed thought taken from Leaning into Mystery’s “Practicing Together” weekly series.

I noticed a Cheri Huber quote that is going to be very relevant to my life over the next few months: what you practice is what you have.

This week, I invite in compassion—for myself, for my family, for my community.

Ways this could happen: I’m going to start by being kind and gentle with myself, and let things flow from there.

What went well: It’s been a while since I posted more than pictures. Several things have gone very well, including a couple of sigil commissions, some pro bono sorcery work, and figuring out what I want to do next in my career. Small stuff, really. 😉

Updates: I’m having trouble finding joy, though I am finding strength and determination. Maybe this isn’t the right season for joy right now, but I’ll keep the door open in case it wants to visit.

Back from the Ocean

When I went to your town on the wide open shore,
Oh I must confess, I was drawn, I was drawn to the ocean,
I thought it spoke to me, it said, “Look at us,
We’re not churches, not schools, not skating ponds, swimming pools,
And we have lost people, haven’t we though?”
Oh, that’s what the ocean can know of a body,
And that’s when I came back to town, this town is a song about you.
You don’t know how lucky you are, you don’t know how much I adore you,
You are a welcoming back from the ocean.

I went back to the ocean today,
With my books and my papers, I went to the rocks by the ocean,
The weather changed quickly, oh the ocean said,
“What are you trying to find, i don’t care, I’m not kind,
I have bludgeoned your sailors, I’ve spat out their keepsakes.”
Oh it’s ashes to ashes, but always the ocean,
But the ocean can’t come to this town, this town is a song about you.
You don’t know how lucky you are, you don’t know how much I adore you,
You are a welcoming back from the ocean.

And the ones that can know you so well are the ones that can swallow you whole.
I have a good and I have an evil, I thought the ocean, the ocean thought nothing,
You are the welcoming back from the ocean.

—”The Ocean” by Dar Williams

 

York beach ME

York beach ME

York beach ME

Catching Up

As happens every Spring, the outdoors start calling and I spend less and less time in front of the keyboard. But, I have been dragging my picture-taking device with me into the woods and into the garden, so I’ll share my adventures from the last few weeks visually instead.

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The biggest tree in the forest. Yeah, I’m a size queen. 🙂

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250 year-old white oak in our conservation land.

Memorial Day wildlife & weeds

Close-up of amphibian invasion forces. The Spawn head this little guy under our deck and said, “Wanna turn frog OFF!”

May apples

May Apples

 

 

Garlic mustard harvest

Garlic mustard, stripped and waiting for the blender.

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First garden harvest: radishes!

Spring greens

New tree identified: Hawthorn!

PBP plants

Lilac

PBP plants

Honeysuckle

PBP plants

Wild geranium

Memorial Day wildlife & weeds

Half a fairy ring.

Memorial Day wildlife & weeds

Lightning struck oak

Memorial Day wildlife & weeds

Fungus amongus!

Memorial Day wildlife & weeds

Raspberry blooms. These guys are going to be very tasty in a few weeks.

Practicing Together #11

Seed thought taken from Leaning into Mystery’s “Practicing Together” weekly series.

I noticed the wild geraniums are now blooming, as well as the greater celandine, lilacs, and kale. I also noticed the value of letting go, and how trust can bring peace to mind and heart.

This week, I invite in joy! I could use me some joy. 🙂

Ways this could happen: The best way for me to do this will be to take pleasure in the simple things, recognizing beauty as I find it, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

What went well: I did a several small witchcrafting projects, like making candles for the summer high days,  planting/transplanting herbs and flowers in my front bed, and renewing the whammie on my money jar with a piece of lightning-struck oak bark. Knitting and meditation went hand-in-hand, and I even got to experiment with Kool Aid yarn dyeing. The influence of the Maker and the Holy Earth were strong, and helped me get through what could have been a much harder week.

Updates: My goal of clarity didn’t really happen until this morning, but when it came it was all the more poignant.  And I did get another piece of Strategic Sorcery Homework done, though, so I should be able to finish up the course this summer.

Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet)

Meadowsweet, water-mint, and vervain were three herbs held most sacred by the Druids. —Grieve 1931

This is another one of those handy druidical herbs, particularly for those interest in incorporating European herbal traditions back into their practice. Meadowsweet, like Agrimony, is a brightening flower with a strong, sweet scent. A member of the rose family, It can be found growing in damp meadows. The history of its use is fascinating, going back to Bronze Age burials found scattered over England, Scotland, and Wales (Carr-Gomm & Carr-Gomm 2007, 74); in more recent times, meadowsweet was placed in bridal bouquets (ibid., 72). As such, many who follow a Druidic path associate this flower with transitions, be they as large as marriage, death, and puberty, or as mundane as a new car or computer.

Magically speaking, Meadowsweet was one of the three herbs Gwydion and Math used to create Blodeuwedd for Lew; thus she has been sacred to Flower Face, and later to the Virgin Mary as well (Beyerl 1984, 233). Beyerl also states that love magic performed with her aid on Walpurgisnacht will result in a romantic mate (ibid., 331). Being associated with both Gemini and Mercury (ibid., 347) would indicate a cleansing quality, something born out by its use as a strewing herb in the Elizabethan period. Meadowsweet’s scent promotes peace and cheers the heart (Hopman 1995, 98). In this was, I find her to be a decent substitute for Sweetgrass.

Meanwhile, Cunningham sees Meadowsweet as a masculine herb associated with Jupiter and Air (2003, 172). Frankly, I can see an argument being made for both Jupiterian and Airy connections, but masculine? That goes against not only my own experience of the plant, but against most of the folk wisdom surrounding her as well. However, Cunningham does give a nice little spell for determining the identity of a thief: if meadowsweet gathered on the Summer Solstice and place on water sinks, the thief is a man, but if it floats, it is a woman (ibid.).

Meadowsweet should not be underestimated. Her scent is strong, and she was quite possibly used to flavor ale in the Neolithic period (Carr-Gomm & Carr-Gomm 2007, 72), which in my mind links her with the many ecstatic practices that may or may not have surrounded alcohol in ritualized settings. It often seems as if herbs associated with sweetness and light are given short shrift by those who are attracted to the Poison Path. Meadowsweet is no lightweight: she can lift depression, bring clarity, and ease aches and pains.  Remembering the story of Blodeuwedd, this was no tame maiden who sat at Llew’s feet. She chose her own way, even though it led her to be shunned in the darkness. She became a goddess of the wild places, guarding the secretes of the deep woods and deeper night. Meadowsweet has the strength to bring joy from darkness, something for which I, for one, am grateful.