Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Merry Lughnasadh!

photo by jenny downing

The brilliant poppy flaunts her head
Amidst the ripening grain,
And adds her voice to sell the song
That August's here again.
- Helen Winslow

May you all have a wonderful bounty to celebrate!



Monday, July 30, 2012

On Lughnasadh & Lammas

altered royalty free photo

With Lughnasadh & Lammas just around the corner, I thought that I would share some links that folks might find useful. Here are a few to give you ideas on how to celebrate, as well as some history and lore:

Funeral Games & the First Harvest {a post I did a few years back on the nefaeria blog}
Lùnastal & Celebrating Lùnastal {from the Tairis website}
Horse Racing at Lughnasadh {from Heathens & Pagans for the Horses}
Lughnasadh Ritual 2009 {from the Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans of the Delaware Valley}



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Smudge Sticks, Dream Catchers, Etc.

I have had a few people request that I make smudge sticks and dream catchers for them, so I figured that I would post this publicly to curb any future disappointments. Both of these are part of traditional cultures of some Indigenous North American peoples, and given that I am not one myself, I will not be making them and certainly not selling them.

For those who work with and honour local spirits, I will be making a loose incense available that I use to make offerings in my own practice. Some will be available once all of the ingredients are ready.

In regards to cultural appropriation I have some pretty strong opinions, but I will leave that for another day.



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Midsummer Herb Harvests

after a morning in the garden
Some folks have asked me what rituals I do when I harvest herbs and have requested that I share some photos of those harvests. This is just a post sharing a bit about that.

Just like pretty much every other activity around here, rituals for herb harvesting are often of an offertory nature. In this case offerings are left for land spirits and for one of my household deities. Since the bigger herb harvests begin around the end of June, my seasonal altar will be dedicated to Airmid from Midsummer until around the end of July, when it will then be set up for Lughnasadh. 

During this period regular offerings such as herbal tea, incense, herb bread and butter, salads, and fresh cut flowers are left to Her on the altar. Frequent offerings of honey and tobacco to land spirits are left out in a place in our garden dedicated to them, which is done year round.

A part of the altar is also dedicated to pollinators, with offerings of thanks for all the work they do in the garden.

Just like when I harvest plants from the wild, I will make offerings to the plants I am harvesting, usually that will be a nourishing powder mixture that I make {more about those will be talked about in the future} and I will let the plants know what I intend to use the harvests for. Sometimes when being harvested for a particular purpose, I will harvest them at a certain time of day and at a certain phase of the moon. These harvests are usually accompanied with spoken charms.

The photos below were taken during one of the days that I did a general harvest during the time of the full moon.


Lemon Balm
Perriwinkle, Motherwort, Lady's Mantle, Peppermint, and Sweet Woodruff
Common Comfrey
Throughout the rest of the season I will still harvest herbs right up until the frosts, although the yields tend to be quite less.

For those who are interested, I post more often about our garden on the nefaeria blog.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Drying & Preparing Graveyard Dirt

{Please note: I am not endorsing for folks to go raiding some random cemetery to take graveyard dirt from. To me this is a sensitive process, one that needs to be done with the utmost respect. I will likely write about this in greater detail in the future, something similar to the post I did on wildcrafting etiquette.} 


I spent a bit of this morning preparing graveyard dirt for packaging. It was gathered from some graves of my Ancestors in the wee village cemetery, after digging some holes for rose and cedar transplants. I thought that I would share some of the process in case other folks were looking to do this themselves.

I hung the dirt in old t-shirts out in the sun for a few days to dry out. I brought the hangings in each evening so they wouldn't be covered in dew or be caught out in the rain.

I then sifted it to separate the finer dirt from roots, stones and balls of clay.

Even though separated, both batches will be put to use. I like to use the bulkier bits in charms and such and the finer dirt is used in various magical concoctions.

I will be making some of the finer dirt available for purchase for folks who are not able to ethically acquire some for themselves. More information about this will be posted shortly.