Apr 29, 2013

Busy Beltane

It has been a whirlwind week!  I took a quick trip to Seattle a week ago, for a women's business seminar, and then had two brief office days before I rushed out again for a weekend at a Spring Festival.

April has been a strange mix of weather and energy.  The full moon last week threw me off a bit and I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep.  The above pic was taken last Sunday.  Fresh snow fell on the hills just above where I live.  I was fortunate to have great weather while I traveled to both events, but today one weather system after another came rushing through the valley.  Rain, hail, snow, sunshine, wind - we've had it all.  I stood beneath the cherry tree this morning, while a snowstorm of blossoms came down around me.  They are so fleeting - I'm glad I enjoyed them when I had the chance.

We are also half-way through a week long Beltane celebration.  The lunar Beltane was on Thursday, Walpurgisnaucht or May eve is tomorrow, and the astrological Beltane is on the 4th I believe.  That's a good week of frolicking!  We are hitting that lovely in-between time again, across the calendar from Samhain, when 'thinness' between the worlds allows for us to witness or indulge in spirit play.  Read your cards tomorrow night, try some fire scrying at your bonfire, connect with meditation.  Just don't drink the faery wine!

A Chant For Beltane - Doreen Valiente

Friends that in the circle stand,
Heart to heart and hand to hand,
Bringing Beltane to the land,
Let the sleeper wake!
Let the flames of Beltane burn,
May the Old Ones now return,
May we of their magic learn,
Let the sleeper wake!
Let the streams and fields be pure,
Earth and sky be clean once more,
Love and laughter long endure,
Let the sleeper wake!
Forests spreading, peace returning,
Where the pagan fire’s burning,
Now the inner light discerning,
Let the sleeper wake!
May the Lady’s touch again
Rest upon the barren plain,
With the sunshine and the rain,
Let the sleeper wake!
Beltane magic here we sing,
Chant the rune and dance the ring,
Joy and blessing shall it bring.
Let the sleeper wake!

Poem found here.

Apr 21, 2013

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Winners

Alright lovelies - here we go....

The two fab folks who will each receive one of these journals are:




Could you both please pop me a note at: rueandhyssopblog AT hotmail DOT com and let me know where to mail your journal.

Thanks so much to all who dropped by!  I should have known I wasn't the only journal-crazed person out there.  I know these books will be well used, rather than collect dust on my shelf.  I'll let you all know if I find any more wonderful goodies while spring cleaning!

Apr 13, 2013

Let It Rain

The warmth and sunshine have given way to the showers of April and some rather chilly weather. Nevertheless, the hills and lowlands are greening and the early blossoms are giving a good go of it, despite the rain.

I'm forever in love with the valley clouds.  In the spring and autumn, they seem to put on the best show.  I've seen ten thousand pretty sunsets, but the clear summer sky can't boast the depth and imagination of a cloud-dotted spring evening.  Watching the rains come down the hills and dance through the valley is soul-moving for me.

I've been forgetting to collect rainwater, but I have a jar out now. I still have a small amount of storm water from last summer, but I'd like to get some 'softer' water.  With the moon waxing and the lush spring growth, this is the perfect time to collect water to add to prosperity sprays and other blessing or holy waters. You could even collect a bit of spring morning dew with your rain water and add it to a mister bottle with some rose hydrosol for a "fountain of youth" mist.

Whether you use the rain or save the water for your gardens, or simply crack the window open and listen to it fall, I hope your wet-season is bringing you much green (or muddy) joy!

The best thing one can do when it is raining, its let it rain. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Apr 11, 2013

Spring Cleaning Giveaway

I cleaned out the junk drawer last night.  It had become a state of anxiety for me - that drawer, where all the things go and so many things never come out again.  When it was done I felt like I'd lost ten pounds.

In moving some things that I didn't want to get rid of to another location, I noticed the handmade journals I had purchased a year ago.  These pretties were meant to be journals or possibly books of secrets or some such thing, but they were a bit smaller than I had anticipated when I ordered them.  Now they are just sitting here, sadly unused.

Instead of leave them to collect dust for another year, I thought that a couple of you lovely readers would like to get your hands on one.  They are really quite pretty.  A Celtic cross adorns the front, a flock of geese fly over the cover flap, and a triskele shields the back of the book.  The paper inside is handmade.  They are truly lovely, but as I mentioned, a bit small for me.  They are 7 inches tall and 5 1/4 inches wide.  They have a long leather strap attached that winds around the journal for closure.

I have two pristine, never-used journals to give away.  One each to two, lucky readers.  I quick-snapped some pics this morning - so you can see the journals below.  Both are identical.

All you have to do, if you want one of these beauties, is leave a comment below.  I'll draw a name in just over a week's time on Sunday, April 21st.

This year I'm saving up my giveaway budget for October, so definitely get in on these goodies if they perk your interest.  Two years ago I had my first Great October Book Giveaway, and gave away one book each week.  Last year, I managed to give away 2 books each week, and this year I'm hoping to double or triple that number.  All the books will be magical or herbal in topic and autographed by their authors.  It's a bit of an undertaking that I will be starting to arrange at the end of this month when my trips and festival are completed.  

As always, please ensure that if you don't have a Google ID that shows up on your comment, that there is a way for me to contact you should you win a journal.  I will ship internationally, but those shipments will have to go at the cheapest rate as international post is a bit outrageous.  It will get to you...eventually!

Apr 4, 2013

Of Wind and Violets

I went to visit the witch on the hill this week.  She will soon be the witch on the farm.  It is a dream come true for her, but also a bittersweet time as she leaves her home on the hill and the trees and land she has nurtured for so many years.

She walked me around her property, telling me stories about the trees she planted and where they came from.  How very little they were when she put them in on the edge of the hill over looking vast meadows.  The meadows are now a subdivision, and the trees grew tall enough to mostly shield her from the now cemented and landscaped land below.

She has more windchimes than I could count. Hung all over and each seeming to move of its own accord.  He little piece of land isn't just a haven for birds and flora - there are others here too. You can tell the moment you walk through the gate.  We chatted about how she may relate her re-location to these spirits.  I tossed out an idea of burying a paper bearing her new address on it, to quite literally leave a forwarding address for those that may want to follow.  She's hoping that some will want to join her elsewhere.

The spirit of the land there, will remain. And this is probably what leaves her looking a little blue, even while her dreams are being realized.  The people who own the land are not going to rent it out again.  Being retired and not up to keeping such a bustling property, she feels they will simply leave it to fade. Nature will reclaim it.  After the grass and some of the trees die in the fierce summer heat.  After the few plants that she can't take fade back into the earth for the last time. The hill will take it all back in.

 But she will take whatever she can.  She planted in containers mostly.  Partially because it hurts her to bend over too much.  Because of this, all the pots and vintage barrels and washtubs brimming with plants will come with her.  A row of potted sweetgrass is coming, as well as strawberries dug up last season, and grape vines trained into containers to root so she can take a bit of her beloved grape with her.

She'll dig up some violets too.  They grow all over her yard and are putting on a lovely show right now.  I took a jar-full home to infuse in oil, along with a large bouquet of garden sage that had grown happily in her raised bed all winter, and some honeysuckle cuttings that I hope to root.

She'll take her father's tractor, and her grandfather's cauldron.  The cauldron needs some care and not a small amount of elbow grease to remove the rust, but the 100 year old iron giant that was once used for canning pork, will find a special place for itself at the farm.

The wind will be there, at her new home, to dance with her chimes and perhaps to welcome any of her other 'friends' that come.  She'll build a new haven on the farm, and have the home she always wanted.  But I suspect that she'll never forget the house on the hill, with the trees that she grew from little seedlings and the violets that ran wild through the land.

Apr 1, 2013

Compost Magic

Whether you have been participating in Easter or Passover, or simply reveling in chocolate bunnies, I hope your long weekend has been marvelous!  And suddenly April is upon us.  Last year we were knee-deep in April showers, long before April even arrived.  This year, we are riding a heat wave that looks to last long into the week.  Taking advantage of the balmy weather, I'm trimming perennials and re-potting herbs.  I've got a few plants to move around yet, and I'm still amending a few of the beds with the gorgeous compost from my little beehive bin.

I'm working on ideas to keep myself more aware and "in the now" while out in the gardens.  Last year, my goal was to appreciate the summer, even though I'm not a fan of the intense heat that we get in The Valley.  I was pleased that I was able to concentrate more on how thankful I was for the sunlight that was growing my garden, rather than whining about the temperature.  This year, my project is "slow gardening."  The focus is on taking time with each plant or crop.  Appreciating their growth process and the journey toward my table, medicine cabinet or becoming a magical ingredient.

Here's an idea that came to me while whispering compliments to my compost bin.  (Don't you compliment your compost? )  If you are starting up a compost pile, or adding your weekly bucket of veggie scraps and yard clippings to your bin. Choose one item, or your kitchen bucket (if it isn't smelly and you are able to hold it for a time,) and find a place to sit and hold it comfortably.  

Think about something in your life you would like to transform.  Perhaps there is a habit you have that is not conducive to your well-being.  Is there is a relationship that has become complicated or neglected, and needs some "getting back to basics" energy?  The idea here, is to take the breaking down and re-forming process of composting, and apply that to your situation.

For example - I'm having a bit of a re-lapse of late with negative self-talk.  Nothing too serious - but I'm being reminded that I'm not treating myself with love and respect.  So what I'm doing is this:  I'm taking some time to sit with my compost item of choice.  (A nice long root, pulled from one of the veggie beds.)  I'm addressing the issue that I want to release - thinking about how negative self-talk feels and snowballs into treating myself poorly.  

I then think about seeing this situation decompose and become something more useful.  Instead of instantly turning to cruel words, I see myself taking a breath and having patience with myself when I do/say something that seems wrong or silly.  I see myself not cringing whenever I spy a candid photo taken of me.  I imagine that I am laughing-off something that would otherwise frustrate me.  Pour these thoughts/feelings into the item that you are holding.  See/feel/imagine the item taking on your concerns and how you see them transforming.  Keep in mind, that things will not always transform as you want them to.  If you are trying to "fix" a relationship, you can only change yourself and your contribution to it - not the other person.

When you are finished setting your intention for this process, release your compost to the bin.  Walk away knowing that while millions of micro-organisms work on the physical plane in your composter, your goals are being realized on an energetic level as well.  Keep track of your process as the season continues, adding to your compost pile, and doing your own work on breaking down and re-forming.

Composting is a way of re-imagining items we feel we don't need anymore.  What do you want to re-imaging in your life?  What can you let go of, so that it can become something rich and fertile?

(I don't really need to add a caveat here that this sort of thing doesn't replace medical assistance for serious physical or mental conditions, right?)