Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Solstice Eve

This post contains extracts from the June Raven Newsletter:
     Although the Solstices (Winter and Summer) do fall on precise days of the year, our ancestors were not as obsessed with time as we are, and in general were happy to celebrate around the right time. They recognised that a day or two either way was ok. So it is that although the (Summer) Solstice actually falls on the 20th, 21st or even 22nd of June and does vary a little from year to year, for many centuries in the UK, Midsummer's Day was celebrated on the 24th of June.
     There are many traditional spells associated with Midsummer's Eve or Midsummer's Day, and these can also be worked on the Solstice Eve or Solstice Day, and as there are only a few days between the Solstice and Midsummer's Day, I reckon you could use any of the intervening days too.
     St John's Wort flowers around midsummer and it is picked either on the Solstice or Midsummer's Day. It's Latin name is Hypericum, which means 'Having Power Over Spirits' and this herb is a demonofuge, that is a herb which banishes demons, ghosts and other spirits. It can even be made into a tea to banish demons from the body ie for exorcism.
     There is a legend on the Isle of Man that if you step on a St John's Wort plant after sunset on Midsummer's Eve, a fairy horse will appear from the Underworld and will carry you off for a wonderful, wild night's ride. However as soon as the first rays of the sun light up the eastern sky on Midsummer morning, the fairy steed will vanish and you will be dropped wherever you happen to be at that moment.
     Another plant particularly associated with Midsummer is the Fern which is said to glow on Midsummer's Eve and if you approach it with a pewter plate at midnight, you may be able to catch some of its magical seeds. These seeds confer the power of invisibility on anyone who carries them.
     Fern leaves can also be used in love magic, so make sure to gather some in the afternoon of Midsummer's Day. If you want to keep someone in love with you, put a little of this leaf in your left shoe and speak their name three times.
     Any Ash wood cut on Midsummer's Day, particularly at midday, has strong magical powers and can be used to carve a healing charm. These charms are said to be good for stopping bleeding, especially nose bleeds. This would be a good time to cut an ash branch to make a magic wand too.
     You could also try this special divination: At midday on Midsummer's Day, dig a small hole in the earth, at a place where at least three paths meet (ie a T junction or crossroads). Lie down and put your ear to the hole and listen carefully as you will hear the whisper of a secret which will help you in the future.

Monday, 10 June 2019

What Tallulah Did Next

Tallulah is just about a year old now. And has grown into a sweet, loving, entertaining, enthusiastic, funny and friendly dog.
       When Graham takes her for a walk in the morning, she is liable to be hugged and petted by any number of people. Including the man who doesn't let his own dog jump up but seems to be reduced to a mumbling 'Ooose a widdle, cuddly wuddly girl den?' as he is Tallulah'd.
      Friends often ask 'What has Tallulah been up to?' because she finds many ways to entertain herself (and us). She loves digging holes - particularly when the ground is damp and muddy.
She has various favourite places in the garden, she likes to sit on the ivy, or hide behind the coal bunker. This is usually when she has taken something out into the garden, which maybe, perhaps she didn't ought to have done.
     She is friendly with the neighbours on all sides. Which is just as well as she has tried digging under the fence into the garden at the back, and spends much time peeping over the fence at the side wagging happily at the people next door.
     The only trouble is she can't tell the difference between what is a toy, and what is not a toy.
     And likes to transport items outside, and back in - often after having been dragged around the garden a few times. She is fond of shoes, and socks, and anything she can find in the clean washing basket.
     Now it is difficult to be cross with her, because when you say 'Oh no! What have you done?' ginger dog looks at you with her ears down and her big brown eyes, and you know full well that whatever it is, she won't be able to resist doing it again, because it was such good fun!
     The latest toy-which-is-not-a-toy is my crochet yarn.
   I have a big project on (which I shall be blogging about shortly so watch this space) which involves lots of big brightly coloured balls of wool. Up to now these have been kept in two large carrier bags in the living room, so I can just grab one when I want one.
     But, unfortunately Tallulah thinks these are large squashy balls of fun.
     Our 'office' is upstairs in the house, so I very often am upstairs working, leaving the downstairs a human-free zone - and therefore a doggy playground. Last Tuesday, while Graham was out helping our son dismantle a chicken shed, I went downstairs at lunch time to see a trail of blue wool leading across the bottom of the stairs. I found the start of it in the living room and followed the trail, winding it up like Theseus in the Minotaur's den, through the kitchen, under the open bathroom door, through the dog flap and outside. And there was an unattended ball of wool on the back doorstep.
     Not a culprit in sight.
     I wound the wool back up again and put it back in the carrier bag.
     Now you would think that that was a good enough hint for me that perhaps the carrier bags were now considered a 'play' toy. But no, I am a bit thick at times.
    So, last night I went downstairs after a game of WoW* to find SEVERAL strands of wool leading across the bottom of the stairs. And a tangle of multi-coloured wool in the kitchen, and half a ball of wool. And yet more strands leading out through the dog flap and into the back garden where it had been wound round the clothes prop, dragged through various greenery, moss and leaves and finally deposited in a large, happy tangle. It looked very like Tallulah had plunged her head into the bag of wool and tried to grab as many balls at once as she could get in her mouth, then galloped outside with them, giving them a good shake every so often, and chased around the garden with them before flopping in her favourite place to pull the balls apart.
     I sighed and gathered the damp and slightly muddy armfull up and took it inside where I could remove the garden and twigs from it, untangle it and wind it back into balls.

     Today we have been out and bought two very large plastic storage boxes - with lids!

*World of Warcraft