Sunday, January 24, 2016

Working with the earth element; or, getting my hands dirty

Plants have always eluded me when it comes to having a relationship with them. Admittedly, I have not had many plants in the past with which to work on that relationship and to learn their ways and needs. I once had a cactus plant that I bought from a grocery store as a teenager and, several weeks later, was alerted to it when I heard a crinkly sound coming from the plant. I immediately took it outside in time to see thousands of tiny little spiders emerge from it. Considering my fear of spiders (another thing I have been trying to work on), my experience was soured toward plants for a while.

This has changed in the past few years. I have been strongly drawn to the element of earth and her flora realm. The hitch is that I am severely allergic to grass pollen which aggravates my asthma, too. A push and a pull from the earth. Touch me if you dare. Entheogens have become particularly fascinating to me and have lured me back towards greening my thumb on Earth's flora. Bees were another source of connection I seek. Last February, I took a basic beekeeping course from my local county beekeeper society. It was absolutely fantastic and highly informative! I have fallen in love with bees and my path towards eventually having a hive (or two) of my own to build practical, working knowledge and further understanding is something I am continually striving towards.

I recognize that I am still a newbie when it comes to Mother Nature's abundant mantle and the Green Man's lush beard, and that before I started in with plants I knew to be dangerous and harmful to me and my loved ones, I wanted to build up my abilities with less deadly plants (though, ones I am still drawn towards).

I started out with lavender. A wonderful bee-friendly flowering plant. Partial to the flowers and scent, too, I thought that would be a lively plant to grow and have the opportunity to harvest later on. It thrived wonderfully for a while. I would keep the plant indoors, but set it outside during the day most of the week when the weather was nice. It filled the pot in no time and then things took a turn. It began to get very brown and die. When it stopped growing new sprouts and looked very much dead, it was consigned to the wastes.

My next plant was cat mint from seeds that were lingering away in my to-plant container, but never made it into soil. There was a chance that they would not sprout, but at the time, I was only interested in seeing if they would take. The plant did very well indoors and grew wonderfully. However, when I began taking it outside, it acquired powder mold and, after trying numerous remedies, had to be dumped and burned to prevent the mold from spreading to other plants and the pot thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. A second attempt became home to the eggs of an insect and it, too, had to be consigned to the wastes.

Almost simultaneously, I was trying my hand at aloe. Another important plant to have in one's arsenal. Again, my plant thrived at first. From the little 5-inch sprite to the massive, mother dragon who has bore many daughters that I have now. Alas, she, too, looks much more droopy and browning. But I have been fighting fiercely to make her healthy again.

All of these failures are felt. I deeply lament the lack of understanding I have and constantly seek to remedy and improve my knowledge. I seek a deep conversation with the silent living. I seek to learn them better. To care for them better. To serve them better.

And I think I am starting to really listen, look, and learn with my hands. I can feel the unspoken conversation building up to form an understanding.

A few days after buying a healthy looking mint plant this summer, she suddenly began to express brownish-grey spots on her leaves. Scouring the internet, I found nothing that seemed, to my still untrained eye, to exactly identify it. Her new sprouts would develop fine, but then began showing signs of the blight shortly after. Pruning the affected leaves did not help. Pruning stems did not either. My last ditch effort was to prune the stems breaking the surface to nubs about a half-inch tall. To my ecstatic amazement, not only did the plant bounce back, all of the leaves and stems were free of the blight that had haunted it.

I am still learning from my mint mistress. I believe she has accepted me and is willing to work with my unskilled hand to train me. And she is, to which I am very grateful. I am more vigilant to watering schedules. The importance of soil composition and nutrients. She received her first heavy pruning today--something she expects much more often. And when the ground thaws, she will be divided and allowed to conquer a small portion of our acreage. I'm sure she has larger, grander plans than that, though.

I am still a novice, but the bounty of mint that has been yielded to me is incredibly rewarding and encouraging.

Plants need more than just water and sunlight--and even these vary from plant to plant. They are living beings that have nutritional needs, personalities, and requirements. Some desire constant attention, pruning, watering, splitting, or feeding. Others prefer less contact and handling. I am starting to pay more attention to these requirements and needs. I mourn the ones that have died in my poor care, but I am trying, more and more, to learn the language and world of our plant spirits. While getting my hands dirty outside comes with a severe physical reactions, I am learning to listen and, hopefully, forge connections with the land around me and the plants I am seeking relationships with.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hermead excerpt

via Wisdom of Athena Episode I in Hermead Epic of Philosophers Volume 1 by Surazeus (Simon Seamount)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year 2013

"The practice of making New Year’s resolutions is said to have begun with the Babylonians as early as 2600 B.C. The Roman god Janus—who gave January its name—was pictured as two-faced so that one face took a retrospective view and the other looked forward to new beginnings and renewed commitments." -The Old Farmer's Almanac [email blurb]

Janus Bifrons from the Vatican Museums

Have a wonderful, blessed, and prosperous New Year! Welcome 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chasing a little ghost

For the past few nights, there have been little footprints at the back door. They appeared to be from the young bunny that resides in our tall grass mound. So last night, I placed an appeasing offering as bait to catch a glimpse of it, as I am quite fond of cute little bunny rabbits. My aim was to befriend it and even try and bring it in from the cold. To welcome and incorporate it into our home if, of course, it seemed reciprocal to the invitation (came in on it's own). I cut up a delicious apple into small chunks and tossed a few of them in a path leading to the door. All night I kept checking back for a sign only to find the pieces still there. The next morning, however, fresh prints appeared and the slices were gone.

I repeated my little gift of apple slices tonight and was surprised to find that the footprints that I had been seeing were actually the markings of a mouse.

 Footprints in the snow

 More by the door

 The mouse comes out of the bottom of his little snow tunnel and walks to the top hole.

He then proceeds to shallowly tunnel under the snow every now and then.

He alluded me in getting a picture of him running around and making footprints in the snow, though.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Apple Ritual

It is the first time in quite a while that I have done a ritual. My life has been quite busy. I feel the call of the Gods. Athena. Ma'at. Thoth. But I feel too tired, too busy, not prepared, not presentable. These are excuses and I know it.

So tonight, on Halloween, Samhain, Witch's New Year, whatever title you prefer, I come to them unprepared, dingy, ashamed. I light my white candle. I think and speak to my ancestors and loved ones. I bear my apology to the Gods and ask for wisdom, strength, and resolution in my path. I thank Them for what I have and for the blessing of knowing my husband. I love him and thank Them for bringing our paths together.

I rub clean my apple on my shirt. Imprinting a piece of me onto it. Imperfectly, I cut it in half horizontally. Revealing the star within. The star--a most sacred symbol. Air, Water, Fire, Earth, Spirit. The culmination of life found within. To nourish oneself, mentally, spiritually, and physically, we must eventually come to the core. Life is taken by consuming the flesh, but the core provides the seeds for new life.

As the Gods take their offering, I ask for nourishment of the mind, body, and soul. I ask for wisdom, strength, and balance. As the offering is consumed, I ask that my shortcomings are taken away. Consume my procrastination. Consume my languid tendencies. And in their place, plant the seeds of energy, healthful dedication, determination, and wisdom.

Sophia, Agape, Eros.