Lá Bealtaine

Yesterday, Ramses and I rescued a bee. It was smallish and had the same markings as a honey bee. Somehow it had fallen into a pile of empty pots. Ramses evidently heard it because he would NOT leave that area alone. Upon closer inspection I saw the bee with a tiny spider (by size comparison) attempting to encase her. Although the poor thing was probably dying (either naturally or from spider venom) I still wanted to save her. So I scooped her up very gently with a trowel and deposited her in my Datura’s pot where she could get some sun if she wanted. She was trying valiantly to rouse herself. Ramses could still hear her buzzing her wings and made a bee-line (!) to the pot. That’s when we called it an afternoon and went back into the house. Unfortunately, when I checked on the bee this morning I found she had perished. We do what we can do, leaving the rest to Mother Nature. R.I.P. little one.

So today saw the last of 2022’s Black Moons: A New Moon/Partial Solar Eclipse occurred at 1:28pm here on the West Coast. Like the other three Black Moons this year, it marks the day before either a holiday (Imbolc, Beltane) or other day of significance (Ash Wednesday, April 1st). This New Moon takes place in the sign of Taurus. New Moons kick my ass. I have plenty of energy and positivity surrounding Full Moons, but just the opposite a few days before each New Moon. (Hmm…)

Tomorrow is May 1st. May Day. Beltane. In Irish the name for this festival day is Lá Bealtaine (la bel-te-nah) and represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Rituals to ensure prosperity, health, fertility, and the well-being of one’s livestock and other assets were performed, as this was a time to tune in to Nature’s tides of strength, growth, and abundance.

Beltane (“Bright Fire”) is a FIRE festival so it was customary to build a huge bonfire and then dance around it; however, if one doesn’t have the luxury to build a bonfire (Safety first!), substitute a red candle in a firesafe bowl. Light the candle and let it burn down completely. Dancing around it is purely optional – but fun!

White and yellow flowers are used traditionally. In 19th century Ireland flowers such as primrose, rowan, hawthorn, gorse, hazel, and marsh marigold were placed at doorways and windows in the form of bouquets and/or garlands.

All Springtime veggies and meats are eaten on Beltane. I’m going to cook a batch of Bannock tomorrow (Unleavened breads shaped into round, flat cakes which are then fried or baked). Mead was often drunk at Beltane but the traditional drink is May Wine which is customarily served as a punch with strawberries and Sweet Woodruff leaves.

I picked-up some Sweet Woodruff from the nursery last year with the specific purpose of using it to make my own May Wine. In fact, I am steeping some in my favorite white wine (Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling) right now!

The wine is plenty sweet without adding honey and I infused the herb with Magickal intent before using. Cannot wait to try it.

Let me leave you with a blast from the (70s) past – A song written and performed by Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex (of “Bang A Gong” fame) which contains the line: “Ride a white Swan like the people of the Beltane”. (Gorgeous man who died way too young. Actually, now that I see the band again most of them were drop-dead gorgeous.)

Have a bitchin’ Beltane!!

ℳ –

Can You Dig It?

Spring is in the air. Yes, I know. The OFFICIAL start of Spring was March 20th but many folks feel it begins with the Christian holiday of Easter. I grew up in a very relaxed Christian household. Episcopalian, to be precise and Easter was a big to-do. Easter basket decked-out with chocolate bunny and eggs (both chocolate and jelly bean), the tradition of dying hard-boiled eggs with food coloring, and a new Easter outfit (complete with hat and gloves) which I wore to church that day. Most years Easter occurred right around April 4th, which is my birthday, so I got a new outfit AND birthday presents. Score! A little fashionista’s delight.

Days and nights have been mild although we had a small squall travel through here yesterday (♫ April showers bring May flowers… ♫) Today the sun is shining and the birds are singing. The robins are once again tearing my coco fiber planter boxes to shreds – they apparently LOVE the material for their nests; and a pair of really cute birds have made a nest in the hole where a rainspout used to be. All day they fly back and forth with insects and worms in their beaks. (These little guys give Ramses and I HELL whenever we’re in the Concrete Jungle. Protective parents.)

Speaking of Ramses, the neighborhood Canada Geese have chosen the rooftops of our complex on which to conduct their Spring courtships. Ramses was in the dining room window when one of them flew upward. Scared the shit out of him. He went into full “halloween cat mode” while nervously looking up to where the goose had flown. Another was perched on the roof of the townhouse straight across from us and he was equally afraid of it. Ramses had seen these geese parade past our apartment before but they were always on the ground. When one is reminded that small felines are both predator AND prey, this behavior makes perfect sense as he didn’t know if that huge flying bird was going to eat him. Took him an hour (and the birds leaving) before he calmed down.

In the Concrete Jungle all three hellebores bloomed this year – for the very first time! I also coaxed some bedding (annuals) plants to overwinter and they are all blooming: impatiens and purple alyssum. The brunfelsia is full of buds and one has already opened. I’ve got to re-pot the feverfew as it’s root-bound already and my precious datura is due for a pot upgrade, as well. My “green dragon” (aka pinellia tripartita) has awoken from its corm-slumber like Sleeping Beauty and seems to grow fluffier day-by-day. Likewise the aristolochia fimbriata is putting out new vines and I’m expecting to see its unusual flowers soon. In fact, everything is doing very well. Picked up some small black planters to hang on the fenceline so I’ll be making a trip to the nurseries for more plants very soon…This year I’m carving out a niche in the corner for two acacia wood folding chairs and a small table – someplace I can relax with a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at night. (♫ Hot summer nights that’s my time of the year… ♫)

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention another amazing occurrence last Friday: Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn were aligned in the skies. Amateur astronomer Alexander Krivenyshev snapped a gorgeous shot this morning (April 15) of four planets aligned over Manhattan’s Upper West Side. April’s Pink Full Moon materialized yesterday in the sign of Libra. Next Friday is Earth Day and there will be a New Moon Solar Eclipse on the last day of the month. Whew!

Speaking of the moon, how do you like my new freshwater pearl & half-moon earrings?

I know there’s a lot of insane stuff going on in the world right now, too. I mentioned back in February that the only shortages I’ve seen here is canned cat food – especially the higher-end brands (Which, of course, is what the Prince demands…) I had contacted the company, Fussie Cat, directly and was told it was a transportation issue. Fussie Cat is produced right here in the states. They assured me that I should see more stock in March and sure enough I did. Pet Club is still not as stocked-up as they usually are, but their main warehouse has been sending them more of the flavors Ramses likes. (Been doctoring the ones he picks at with canned tuna. They don’t call it “Fussie Cat” for nothing! LOL.)

Additionally, the FEAR-factor regarding so-called “food shortages” is being pushed hard. Although I cannot speak for other parts of the world, it doesn’t take a blind person to see the enormous amount of food we waste here in the United States. Again, I cannot speak for other parts of this country but here in California there’s no shortage of fresh produce to be had, considering all our Farmers Markets. We’re seeing more and more folks shopping every Saturday at the one here in Sunnyvale. Please support the efforts of small and family-owned farms. Not only does it put good food on YOUR table but it also helps keep these businesses operational – a WIN-WIN!! Note: Since you are cutting out the middle man the prices you pay for quality food (especially organic) is considerably lower than you’ll find in the grocer stores – AND it’s fresher.

The food shortage [is] not due to short supply, CV-19, or shipping delays. Processed foods meant to sicken you have resulted from farmers who [are] paid to grow [or not grow] GMO vegetables and fruit.
Judy Byington

Amen to that! And please, try not to make this manufactured shortage a self-fulfilling prophecy by hoarding essential items. That’s what THEY are counting on. Our selfishness. Let’s not panic. Instead let’s help each other out and practice consideration and thoughtfulness. Whatever trickery THEY have planned for us will not last more than a month or two. They don’t want starved and ARMED masses coming for them – for we are LEGION.

Be light of heart, dear Readers. THEY feed on our fear and despair. Open your heart to the possibilities life holds. To the MAGICK that fills every inch of this beautiful planet and all that live herein. Focus on the positive and the possibilities each day brings. Let go of fear, embrace change (even unwanted change), and move toward JOY.

Each morning Ramses and I awake to the sun shining and the birds singing and I turn to him and ask: “Are you ready to start a new day? Are you ready for a new adventure?”

Spoiler alert: He’s ALWAYS ready!

ℳ –