Jul 30, 2009

Sunflowers



“Light-enchanted sunflower, thou
Who gazest ever true and tender
On the sun's revolving splendour.”
- Pedro Calderon de la Barca




My sunflowers have bloomed this week (some of them) and they make me so happy every time I go out to water the garden! Seeing their nodding faces, happily following the sun just makes me smile.

A few fun facts about sunflowers:

Sunflowers belong to the genus “helianthus” - a name that refers to the sun god Helios.

Images of sunflowers have been found in the Andes mountains, in temples. As well, priestesses of the Incan people used to place large sunflower disks of gold on their clothing. Native Americans used sunflower seeds as offerings, and these were placed on the graves on their ancestors. They also used the seeds for blue or black dye, and the petals for yellow dye.

Sunflower seeds are full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Magical uses are said to include happiness, fertility, health, wisdom, confidence, and the elemental correspondence is fire.


 
 
 

Jul 27, 2009

Garden Party



Just before the weekend got started, the general manager of the store I bookkeep for, hosted a garden party. The only stipulation was that, in order to gain entrance to the party, you needed to create/bring your own garden party-hat.

So, I grabbed one of my floppy sun hats and rummaged around in my storage area, until I found my Autumn boxes, and threw on some berry-bling and a pumpkin topper - giggle!

It was a blast seeing what all the other ladies had invented. My favourite was a hat with grapes, a corkscrew, and wine glasses attached. Unfortunately the storm that had blown in, stayed, and so the party was moved inside. There were plenty of appetizers, the magaritas were flowing, and the white tealights made the room look like a fairyland. A very successful evening!

For those of you that have some garden space - I highly recommend putting out a table, and calling over some friends for some icy drinks! Don't forget the party hats!

Jul 23, 2009

Summer Storm


We are having a rather dramatic storm today. The thunder has been crashing for an hour now, and the lightning has hit in a few places and sparked fires. Thankfully, they have been put out promptly by the rain, and the water bombers that are still around fighting a fire North of here.

Wikipedia says:

“Lightning is an electrical discharge that occurs in a thunderstorm. It can be seen in the form of a bright streak (or bolt) from the sky. Lightning occurs when an electric charge is built up within a cloud due to static electricity…
The loud bang that is heard is the super heated air around the lightning bolt expanding at the speed of sound. Because sound travels much more slowly than light the flash is seen before the bang, although both occur at the same moment.”

I know that when a storm is raging, my energy increases and my sensitivity is heightened. Apparently, our ancestors thought thunderstorms were a time of action as well. The Romans believed that thunderstorms were the god Jupiter, hurling lightening bolts in battle. The Nordic people thought thunder was the sound of Thor’s hammer, and that he also had the ability to throw lightening.

It’s not easy to take advantage of a storm for a magical purpose. Often it’s difficult to predict when, or if (regardless of the promise of the local Weatherman) the storm will hit and how long it might last. Weather systems generally move quickly through our Valley, so trying to put together a ritual or set an intention and hope you get through everything before the storm passes, isn’t practical for me. I suppose taking this time to write a ritual, to have in place for the next summer storm, may be a good exercise.

A storm could be a good time for a protection ritual. Or perhaps just a great time to put a little ‘oomph’ in your intention setting. Nothing like a big “boom” to get your point across, and state your will. Today, I’ve just lit my altar candle and some calming incense (the kittens are hiding under the bed - poor babes) and have channelled my energy into some personal time with the Elements - saying a few words, and soaking in the sights and sounds of the storm.

Do you have a specific ritual/spell/activity you do during a storm?


 
 
 

Jul 17, 2009

Sugar Scrub Day




My wonderful, wild, wacky nieces came over yesterday for some "Auntie time." We usually swim in the pool or at the beach, or rummage through the veggie garden for something to nibble on - but it was too hot in the afternoon to spend much time outside. So we decided to get crafty.

When my nieces were little I was very crafty. I was the craft queen. Okay, lets be honest. I was the queen of kid-safe scissors, construction paper, and a glue stick. Now that the girls are tweens, I am craft-handicapped.

Thank Goddess for a love of all things bath-related, and a soul sister who is a wonderful soap-maker and keeps telling me how easy making your own bath products can be. I decided that I would take my practice of bringing sugar and fresh ground coffee into the shower with me, and expand on it for the girls.

We used white granulated sugar, Himalayan salt, sweet almond oil, and assorted essential oils to make our scrubs. We made a lemon/lavender scrub that smelled amazing. We also made a "Latte" scrub with sugar, fresh ground coffee, sweet almond oil and clove essential oil that made me want to run down to the coffee shop for a pumpkin spice latte!


Jul 14, 2009

Last Quarter Dilema



I started thinking about the moon yesterday (as we all tend to do) and I realized that I don’t pay much attention to the 3rd or Last Quarter.

I meditate quite a bit during the New Moon, sending my energy inward to mirror the new energy building as the moon begins to wax.

During the waxing moon, I think of my desires, set out goals and enjoy the energy building as Luna grows stronger each night. By the time the full moon has arrived, I may be planning a spell to send out my intention to the universe, or designing a ritual of offerings to a specific goddess I work with as a petition, or of gratitude.

But by the time the moon is waning….I seem to find myself waning, and my path working falls by the wayside. I don’t feel ‘connected’ to the 3rd Quarter, and the last quarter seems like a blank space in my practice. It doesn’t move me the way the rest of the cycle does. I’m trying to figure out why.

The first clue I’ve found is that this part of the cycle of the moon, is harder to see. I’m a visual girl. You can talk in my ear as much as you like, but if you show me something - I can do it right away. I get it. The moon in the 3rd and Last Quarter doesn’t rise until midnight, and sets at noon. That means, unless you are up in the middle of the night - or look West in the morning before the sun blazes too brightly - you will miss it.

The waning moon is also the time for banishing, which doesn’t particularly resonate with me. I’d rather draw things to me or, when the situation is appropriate, do a protection spell for a situation or to guard myself from my own (or outside) negativity. I don’t personally feel the need for a lot of banishing.

Upon further reflection, using this cycle for a little letting go as far as habits and unwanted energies/situations are concerned, might be worth looking into. I like the idea of letting go of stuff - as I tend to drag my baggage around with me, until it gets too heavy and I need a big purge. Perhaps I should be using this time to ‘check in’ and see where I’m at. What worked. What didn’t. And realizing that I’ve done the best I could thus far, and offer myself a break. A little forgiveness. Some thank-you’s.

Maybe this cycle is a bit more about ‘moving beyond’ than it is about heavy-duty cleaning (which I’m not a fan of - is anyone?) I for one, need much more opportunity to nix the ridiculous guilt that finds me like cat hair finds its way onto my black pants. I think that concentrating on reflection, while keeping the proper perspective is important. Realizing I may have made an error in judgement - and acknowledging that - and then giving myself a break, allows me to look forward to my plans for the new cycle ahead with more positive outlook.

I think I’m beginning to like the Waning Moon …..
 
 
(The moon enters it’s Last Quarter on Wed. July 15th. Enjoy!)

*Picture from Creative Commons

Jul 1, 2009

Garden Hands



I used to have beautiful hands. Perfect fingernails, not too long, not too short. A nice pink tone with striking white tips that everyone thought were French, but were natural. Soft skin, with no lines, spots or scars. I could have been a hand model. But that was before gardening.

Now I have Garden Hands.

As of this morning, a nail is chipped from banging it on the edge of the stone water feature. The dirt I gathered while weeding, is stuck so far under my nails I may never get it out. I have sun spots that look like constellations, floating across the back of my hands. The wrinkles only go away for a brief moment after I slather on my cure-all handcream, and then return to taunt me. I have three scratches from the hydrangea, and a nick in my pinky from trying to pull out a stubborn weed, and catching a rock instead.

I used to have perfect hands. But they didn't know the feeling of the early morning earth. They didn't know how basil smelled, rubbed between their fingers. They didn't know the shadows of soil beneath nails and the satisfaction of a weed-free plot of veggies. They hadn't played in the water and dirt since early childhood. They were beautiful hands. But they were lifeless.

Now I have Garden Hands.

And I wouldn't trade them for anything.