Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘2014’

July 2014 Garden Update

20140719-192456.jpg

Lovely bee balm has finally blossomed! It’s time to harvest some flowers for salads and tea.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014

20140719-192508.jpg

We’ve started to harvest some veggies. Along with these green onions, we also picked the first tomatoes and lettuce, and promptly devoured them! These onions became part of some delicious enchiladas. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014

Read Full Post »

Last Friday, my husband and I returned to the sacred land of our childhood – the glorious Adirondack Mountains of Upstate, NY.  Neither of us had been born there, but we spent time there as children.  As for myself, my family seemed to travel there just about every weekend in the summers.  Most often, we swam in Old Forge or Inlet.  Sometimes we would hike near Raquette Lake, Long Lake, Blue Mountain Lake.  Sometimes we climbed little mountains.  And sometimes, those rare, special times, we would take trips into the land of the high peaks – Saranac Lake and Lake Placid.  We only swam and took short walks, but always in the gaze of the taller mountains.

The day was cool and sunny, just as we had hoped.  A light pack ready to go, we made our way to the wild heart of NY State.  Along the way, we listened to the most recent Druidcast which featured some of the speeches given at OBOD’s 50th celebration.  Even though I’m not involved with that tradition, the message was perfect for the trip.  As the high peaks began to appear, like whale fins cresting in a rolling green ocean, I felt my Druid spirit rejoice. Caitlín Matthews’ words from her speech, “Authenticity and Authority in Druidry” thundered in my heart – “I don’t call myself a Druid, I AM a Druid.”  One of the many reasons I feel that way is because of the time I spent in the Adirondacks as a child.  It was where I first started to rejoice in Mother Earth’s majesty, and where I truly fell in love with, and understood the power of conservation.  In my humble opinion, Druidism is only partially about culture.  The other part is adoring and revering the natural world.  The Adirondack helped me see that at an early age.  Now I was initiating my daughter.

We planned to climb Mt. Jo, one of the smaller mountains in Lake Placid.  With an elevation of  2876′, it would be the tallest mountain I’ve climbed to date.  Others described it as suitable for a family hike with small children.  I’m not sure they had one-year-olds in mind, but we managed through teamwork, frequent stops, a decent carrier, and sheer stubbornness.  There are two trails – short and long – the former being more difficult.  We opted for the longer trail, which was rocky and difficult enough.  I can’t imagine the shorter trail with a baby.

The trek was worth it, however.  When we reached the top (which meant passing the baby back and forth as we scrambled up some steep, rocky ledges), we felt amazing.  Even the most beautiful photographs don’t quite capture the size and majesty of the surrounding landscape.  It was like a Thomas Cole painting spilling over its canvas.  In some directions, the Earth Mother seemed to crouch, all elbows and knees.  Turn your head just so, and she appeared to relax, her breasts ample mounds at rest.  Above, the Sky Father’s bright eye looked out at her beauty from behind his lacy curtains.  A troop of iridescent dragonflies danced in her breath.

It seemed out of a folk tale; there were gurus at the top.  A young woman sat with a book, her employment to sit on the mountain for hours to guide visitors.  She helped us identify the nearby High Peaks.  A bearded gentleman sat, seemingly meditating.  His wife crouched with her loyal canine friend near the trees.  She spoke to us about how beautiful it was that we persevered with our child up the mountain, about how we were giving her a gift.  She reminisced about the times she brought her now grown children up mountains, seeming to get a little choked up.  It was moving, and made our effort seem all the more significant, all the more part of a spiritual tradition.  As we approached the top, we had thought, “Surely, we are crazy to bring a baby…,” yet she validated our calling to the mountain.  Yes, we were but three small creatures clambering over the Earth Mother’s elevated beauty, but doing so grounded us in her sacred mystery and reminded us of what it truly is to live.

Before beginning our descent, I put my hands on Mt. Jo’s rock.  It was toasty hot.  I let that warmth rise into my arms.  As I did so, I was aware of the sun above me, the Earth and trees about me, the nearby lake shimmering  just beyond our view…  Visitors to the Adirondacks are asked not to take anything nor leave anything as part of their conservation efforts.  I felt that an offering had to be made, but I’m a modern Druid and respect modern conservation (an offering in and of itself).  I left my gratitude.  I poured it into that mountain and sealed it with a kiss.  I look forward to returning with Bee when she’s older, and I can’t wait to climb more mountains…

The view from Mt. Jo’s summit. Photo by Weretoad, 2014.

 

Standing in awe next to the Earth Mother’s bones. Photo by Weretoad, 2014.

Read Full Post »

This is my first year growing scarlet runner beans. They finally blossomed over the weekend and, I must say, I’m very impressed. They’re one of the most beautiful blossoms I’ve ever seen in my garden! They really add a splash of color. I wonder if they’ll grab the attention of any hummingbirds? Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Read Full Post »

The view from Grass Point State Park.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014

The view from Grass Point State Park. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014

My baby recently hit a big milestone – she’s technically no longer a baby!  She’s a toddler.  Yes, not only did she turn one, but she started to walk!  Crawling is still her modus operandi,  but she grows more competent walking (and even running a little) each day.  Furthermore, she has said a few simple words, is babbling incoherently, gesturing, using some simple sign language, and cutting teeth.  It’s adorable, remarkable, and bitter-sweet.  Like cherry blossoms, babies don’t remain so forever, and we must enjoy that innocent, transformative state as it swiftly passes by.  My first year as a mother has been so magical and yet so hectic at the same time.  With that in mind, we decided to forgo a big party.  Bee has been experiencing stranger anxiety a lot anyway, and I don’t believe in adding extra stress to her or myself.  It was her birthday and I wanted her to enjoy it as much as possible, even if she won’t remember it.

We decided to invite our most intimate family members and enjoy a picnic along the beautiful St. Lawrence River.  I wanted to bring everyone to Grass Point Park, a lovely NY State park between Clayton and Alexandria Bay.  It has a little sandy beach, plenty of picnic tables, and many trees providing much needed shade for sensitive baby skin.  No need for extra decorations or party games.  Don’t misunderstand me – I adore a party.  If it has a theme or involves costumes, it’s even better!  There will be plenty of time for whimsy and creativity, but this year has taken so much out of me.  Bee’s first birthday theme was family time outdoors and the Three Realms.  We played and ate in the shade of sacred trees.  We rejoiced in the gift of sunlight from the sky.  We waded in the river’s cooling waters.  In the few moments that I was able to sit in silence and watch my family enjoy themselves (Bee absolutely loves being outside and playing in water), I allowed myself to take in the surroundings and revel in the peace.  It was perfect.

And yes – there was even a little cake smashing.

Bee - 1 Year Old.  Photo by Weretoad, 2014

A one-year-old Bee triumphantly crawls off into the future. Photo by Weretoad, 2014

Read Full Post »

20140621-225210.jpg

Path to Black Creek. Photo by Greycatsidhe, 2014.

I watched the sun rise from my bedroom window Solstice morning, babe at breast. No drumming or whooping, just contentment and silent prayers of thanks for the sun. And what a gorgeous, sunny day it was! We had a busy time planned with family so I decided to observe the holiday simply.  Next weekend comes the big celebration with my protogrove.

My daughter, husband, and I took a short hike to Black Creek. I brought an offering of reeds, wildflowers, and woad blossoms to pay rent to Manannan Mac Lir. Standing on a wooden overlook, I first focused on the land, water, and sky. More contentment. I felt a deep peace that I worked to carry with me all weekend. More prayers of thanks and offerings while birds sang and wind rattled the leaves… It was the music of a summer afternoon.

When I prayed to Manannan for an omen, a deep-throated bullfrog belted out a cheerful call at just the right moment to feel significant. There was joy there, and a message of healing and transformation. The cards spoke of family and instincts.

I returned to my family and held the peace of that moment in my heart. Having family can be tiring, stressful, and demanding, but my tribe is important. When the going gets tough, though, Manannan calls me to the crossroads of land, sea, and sky for a brief moment with nature. Both complete me and heal me.

Blessed Summer Solstice!

20140621-225222.jpg

A bouquet of offerings for Manannan and Black Creek. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Read Full Post »

I hope everyone is enjoying their late spring/early summer.  I certainly am!  This time last year, I was the size of a blimp, waddling everywhere, and reluctant to wander far for fear of falling or making my back ache worse than it already was.  Ah, the joys of third trimester pregnancy… My self-guided foraging and herbalism studies went on hold until, well, this year!   This year, I have some more freedom to move around and explore the forest and fields around my home.  Bee is starting to find ways to entertain herself, so I have a little more time to develop my knowledge and hobbies (when I’m not preventing her from climbing onto shelves and tables…).  If only I had known last summer – there are so many edibles literally inches from my door!

A few weeks ago, I shared my positive experience cooking with dandelions in cookies and fritters.  Dandelions are very common and arguably the most easily recognizable edible you can forage, but don’t stop there!  With the help of identification/ foraging books and websites that contain excellent written descriptions and photographs, you can add more delicious and healthful plants to your diet – for free.  

A basketful of greens harvested from my garden and lawn. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014

I came up with a fun and easy option to put everything together for a light lunch: Early Summer Greens on Toast.  Along with the greens and flowers I foraged, I also include herbs from my garden, and some produce from the grocery store.  Hey, I’m not entirely self-sifficient, but this is a start!

My ingredients:

  • young, tender dandelion leaves
  • young, tender plantain leaves
  • chickweed leaves, flowers, and tender stems (I can only find the mouse ear variety near my home)
  • ground ivy leaves
  • wood sorrel
  • basil
  • pineapple sage
  • chives (including blossoms if available)
  • organic tomato
  • locally harvested fiddleheads
  • wholewheat bread, toasted

Ahhh… fiddleheads… One of the many signs of summer.  Something about their spiral adds a touch of Druidic whimsy to my cooking.  I have yet to find them on my own. For now, I buy locally harvested fiddleheads from my grocery store.

After washing everything and chopping the tomato, I sauté the lot in a shallow pan with olive oil.  Cook on medium until the fiddleheads are tender.  Greens reduce quite a bit, so if you want more, you’ll need to harvest much more than you see in my basket.  The fiddleheads add texture while the tomatoes add more flavor and color.  The basil, chives, sage, and ground ivy add quite a bit of flavor themselves!  My salt-loving husband never adds extra seasonings to this dish!  Serve on toast to give everything a nice, crunchy base.  Enjoy the taste and savor your growing knowledge of the land.

 

Thank you, Nature Spirits!  Yum! Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Read Full Post »

 

2014 Maypole – Photo by Tara Loughborough, 2014

Northern Rivers celebrated its second Bealtaine together on May 10th.  The skies, which had been full of rain clouds, became pleasant and even sunny.  Perfect Maypole weather!  What a blessing!

I’ve never found evidence that the ancient Celts celebrated the holiday with a Maypole, but it’s become such an important part of the modern celebration.  My first exposure to the living Pagan community was on a Bealtaine.  My would-be friends and teachers danced a Maypole. My first visit to Muin Mound Grove was on Bealtaine.  Again, my would-be friends and teachers danced the Maypole.  It has become a sort of personal “Pagan birthday” since I lack the memory of any other concrete day in my early years of exploration.  Dancing the Maypole awakens my inner sense of whimsy and fun.  My husband and I annually kiss each other as we dance, inspired by the flirtatious nature of the custom.  This year, my ribbon broke shortly after I started, but I still laughed and circled with the others as one of our very talented members played his bagpipes.  At the end, I tied my ribbon around the bottom with the others.  Our dance sends our wishes of fertility into the land.  It is prayer in motion.

More traditional among the Irish was jumping the Bealtaine bonfire for luck and healing.  This was our magical working during the ritual.  I also prepared a candle in a lantern for those uncomfortable jumping the actual bonfire.   As we chanted, most of the women and children jumped the candle (I held Bee while we went together).  Most of the men and one lady jumped the actual fire pit which was spectacular to watch!

Songs were sun, praise was spoken, and offerings were poured, sprinkled, and hung around the fire and the clootie tree near the stone circle.  It was our first ritual outdoors since the hard winter hit Northern NY.  My goodness, it felt wonderful to be out there at the circle again…  Welcome May!

Clootie Tree – Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »