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Posts Tagged ‘Airmed’

Here are some highlights from Northern Rivers Protogrove’s recent Bealtaine celebration. It was magical!

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The Airmed banner I made for our ritual.  I’m very proud of how she turned out!  I really enjoy making appliqué flags.  Photo by Annette, 2016.

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Last night, I joined some of my grovies from Northern Rivers as guests for Kripalu Yoga Center’s Summer Solstice celebration. It was a very different and eclectic ritual style, but it was good-natured and fun. It’s important to the group to show support for the Yoga Center as they have been very welcoming to us. Heck, they even included us in their event by asking us to help start the bonfire. My friend Cas and I were happy to oblige. While the others continued around the trail to visit each of the landmarks on their walking trail, we built the fire, prayed to Brighid, and chanted a little. It was incredibly fulfilling to do that, even with the intense heat of the day.

I spent the actual Solstice with my family. Being Father’s Day, it seemed right. Despite the threat of rain, it’s been gorgeous, albeit humid.  We spent a lot of time outside.  Since daylight will start to decline after today, we might as well make the most of it, right?

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I harvested some of the first crops from my container garden this week. Earlier, it was some herbs – traditional to harvest at this time. Today, I plucked the first snap peas from the vines. What a blessing! And it meant I had some “first fruits” to offer the local spirits. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2015.

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I performed a small ritual on my own at my altar. I gave offerings of seeds, herbs, grain, whiskey, flowers, first fruits, and incense. I made a special offering to my Ancestral Fathers at their shrine, and another special offering to the male deities in my life – namely An Dagda, Lugh, and Manannan. The omens spoke much on my need to pay attention to my inner motivations and instincts, to accept that things are ending, but that I will be able to rise above that turbulence to embrace a higher level of nobility. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2015.

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I brought some incense outside to offer to Airmed, Goddess of herbs and tending gardens. I often honor her at Summer Solstice time. With all the rain we’ve been getting, I wasn’t very worried about putting some incense out, and I wasn’t too far away while it burned. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2015.

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Later, we went to Clayton to spend some time along the St. Lawrence River. It was there that I made an offering of yellow flowers to Manannan, a traditional way to “pay the rent” to him. I always feel close to him when near the St. Lawrence. As a major river that directly connects to the Atlantic, I feel that it’s easier to commune with him there than many of the other lakes and ponds in the area. Just my own personal UPG. I’m also mindful that the area has many connections to Native communities and their lore. I don’t feel that it’s Manannan’s river, but I do feel that he likes to visit often. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2015.

Whatever you did to celebrate the Summer Solstice, I hope you were able to enjoy some time outside. Don’t take the warmth and sun for granted. Get out there to literally smell the flowers! Maybe even eat some snap peas right of the vine!

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I’m not sure if Sarah Lawless knows just how much she inspires and influences so many of us on our various spiritual paths. When she posted this amazing photograph of her kitchen, I was struck by how beautifully natural it all was.  I’ve been living in my new apartment for a little over a year and struggling with finding a good place to dry my herbs.  In my old apartment, I used to tie everything into bundles and hang them on curtain rods in the windows.  It was just too much sun, too much dust, and it looked dreadful…  I’ve looked at various drying racks for sale but money is not something I give away easily these days.  So when Sarah shared that window into her world, I thought, “Of course!  A branch hung on a wall!”  How natural, how sensible, how affordable, and how witchy and Druidic.  What’s more, I had a dried branch in the garage.  I found it a few years ago and something about it said, “Take me home!  You’ll need me one day!”  Today was the day.

I lovingly removed as much bark as I could and made an offering to Airmed.  Bee helped me harvest some of the herbs in our garden today, as well as some chili peppers.  While she napped, I wrapped some wire at different sections on the branch so that attaching herbs would be easier.  I decided to hang the branch in my bedroom near my altar.  Not only is near near my ritual space, but it will be one of the last things I see when I go to sleep, and one of the first I see upon waking.  I’ll (hopefully) be less inclined to let herbs sit and accumulate dust like I used to when they hung in a seldom used room.

I know I still have much to learn about herbalism.  The drying branch may not be the most ideal in the long run, or I may need to just suck up and put paper bags on my herbs.  I would also like to make a drying screen for individual leaves and blossoms one day.  In the meantime, I think this is a big improvement! 

 

My new herb-drying branch, inspired by Sarah Lawless. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

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Shrine to Airmed. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

 

Last year, I felt called to begin building a shrine to honor Airmed.  For those who are unfamiliar with her, she is an Irish Goddess – one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.  Along with her brother, Miach, and her father, Dian Cecht, she helped to heal the other Tuatha Dé Danann.  The King of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Nuada, lost his arm in battle and, as a result, was seen as unfit to rule.  Dian Cecht made him a metal arm to compensate, but his son, Miach, was a more talented healer.  He made Nuada a new arm of flesh and blood so that he could once more resume his place as leader.  Dian Cecht was driven mad with jealousy; he murdered his son.  From Miach’s body grew all the healing herbs, each growing from the body part it is capable of healing.  Wise Airmed gathered them on her mantle according to their function.  Still jealous at the knowledge of his children, Dian Cecht flung the mantle and scattered the herbs so that others could not easily know the knowledge of the herbs.  Only Airmed, who so tenderly gathered and organize the plants in tribute to her brother, knew their secrets.

Because of her herbal wisdom and healing knowledge, Airmed is an excellent ally for herbalists of all levels.  I’m still very much a novice, and cultivating a relationship with her feels important.  Using a broken bit of concrete I found nearby, I painted a simple figure to represent her.  I placed this in a pot and surrounded it with some cilantro and dill that were growing wild in the mulch in my front shade/fairy garden.  Since I rent and strangers periodically come through to weed-whack anything I’m not growing in a container, I wanted to give the plants a better chance.  They look a little limp right now, but I’m hoping love from myself and Airmed will give them the strength they need to adapt and persevere.  I placed a small, leaf-shaped dish in front of her for offerings, then built a spiral of stones in front of that.

There is more I would like to do, but that will entail surrounding her with even more herbs!  I love how the shrine is taking shape.  It adds so much magic to my home, and I pray that Airmed is pleased.

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Blessing seeds at my altar. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Having moved my altar into my bedroom for improved child safety and privacy, I decided my next task would be blessing seeds prior to planting.  Gardening is one of my favorite activities.  It’s very fulfilling and feels deeply spiritual.  Growing my own herbs and what food I can is magical.  I know exactly where my plant allies come from and it deepens my relationship with the Nature Spirits and the Earth Mother.  I don’t have a huge garden, and what I do have is relegated to containers on my patio – but it’s a start, right?  Every year, my container garden grows and improves, as does my experience!

I placed the seed packets on my altar and did my usual  devotional rite, but made special offerings to Airmed, a Goddess associated with herbalism.  I asked her and the Kindreds to bless my seeds.  Although I am growing fruits and veggies as well as herbs, Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” so it seems appropriate.  My impression is that Airmed is happy to work with gardeners, and I would love to deepen my relationship with her this gardening season.

After making offerings, I prayed:

In the name of fire, well, and sacred tree,
Let these seeds grow healthy, beautiful, and fruitful.
In the name of the land, the sea, and the sky,
Let these seeds grow healthy, beautiful, and fruitful.
In the name of the Nature Spirits, Ancestors, and the Gods and Goddesses,
Let these seeds grow healthy, beautiful, and fruitful.
So be it!

I drew an omen after and the blackbird and cow jumped out of my Druid Animal Oracle deck.  My intuition tells me that this means I will have a bountiful year if I listen to my inner voice.  I’d say that’s both a promising omen and good advice!

Next I started my first round of seeds indoors.  I’m doing my best to garden according to the moon.  It’s a bit difficult to hit the time right and have a moment to do everything because of the baby and working during the week.  According to local herbalist and magical practitioner, Sue-Ryn Burns, the first quarter is a good time to plant aboveground crops like greens, flowers, and herbs.  The second quarter is a good time for starting fruits and veggies.  We’re nearly to the 2nd quarter.  Now seemed like the best time when considering the month, usual last frost date, and farming almanacs.  It’s a good compromise all around!

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