Full Moon – Bell Flower Moon Crests: Midsummer Retrospective

I guess I don’t know where to start.

Summer Solstice with slightly more than a month ago. Lammas is all of a week away, and Thunder Moon starts up not long after. It’s been a damn busy July.

Midsummer was good.

My girlfriend came to visit – first time in a year and a half – and it was so good to see her. We did Midsummer ritual together while doing the mandatory 2 weeks of quarantining. The above picture is the “guest altar” for the gods who were invoked at the group ritual she was part of.

I mean, technically that we were part of, but she was a ritual facilitator doing the official invocation, whereas I’m usually just following along on the internet.

You get the idea.

I mostly work with my own tiny pantheon. My girls who I’ve been involved with since I was… in my late teens and very early twenties. I’m also kind of a concrete bunker, meaning that I don’t pick up on a lot of Astral Activity unless it’s very unsubtle and direct.

Related side note: I didn’t write, last year, about my Lammas experience. I was – per usual – following along on the internet while my girlfriend and the rest of the folks at Two Rivers Sanctuary broadcast their ritual online. They invoked Lugh – no surprises there, it’s his Big Day – but they also invoked the Amazons.  Now, I’m a very tall lady and have been calling myself “amazon syren”, and thinking of The Amazons as ancestors, for nearly as long as I’ve been involved with my pantheon of goddesses. So it was both unexpected, and incredibly meaningful, when the Amazons showed up in my office and said Yes[1]. I felt claimed by them as kin, and that’s a hell of a thing.

To drag this back to the much-more-recent past: Because I don’t usually pick up on much, I was VERY surprised when Chernunos arrived to the tune of me feeling like I had not two, but four hooves and also a big, furry ruff.

Oh, Hai.

So that was pretty cool.

We also invited Aine – the Midsummer Sun in the prime of her power – in from Ireland, which meant I got to have a Discussion with my girlfriend about which whisky to give as an offering, and also that I got to burn mugwort as incense for the first time. (I am not (yet) great at bundling herbal twigs into incense wands, so we had to relight it a bunch of times, also… there was a drought on – which has thankfully since broken – so saining the bounds around my house was a slightly nerve-wracking experience for a nervous nelly like me.

Something else Big –  or that felt Big to me – happened during that ritual. The main Working was to become a plant soaking up that abundant midsummer sunshine. I felt a very specific tree come rocketing up through my body, as if it was going “I’ve been waiting YEARS for this! It’s my time!”

My animal self – my Fetch – is a baby black boar (“Central European Boar”, Sus scrofa scrofa).

My plant self is Salix Nigra. Ontario native Black Willow. The willows I grew up with.

Being a watery tart, probably nobody is surprised by this. But it feels good to know it, you know?

A few days after Midsummer proper, when our quarantine was successfully completed and Rose Moon was full, we went to the Summer Stone (one of my neighbourhoods seasonal public altars – yes, really) and made offerings of strawberry-rhubarb pie, rose-peony cheesecake tarts, rose-peony custard, and black raspberry gin.

More recently – much more recently – my wife and I walked down to the river. This was before the drought broke, so the water was still very, VERY low. I waded out a long way and water was still only up to my knees. I talked to the river, prayed for her, drew a sigil in the water (yes, that’s weird, you can cope), and then harvested a branch of mugwort to take home. My wife collected a couple of beer cans that somebody had decided to leave on the shore, which: I’m really glad she did that.

There were other things that happened over Midsummer, and since. Not all of them happy ones. We have another ancestor now and lavender is attached to death in a way that it wasn’t before. The past five weeks have been kind of a lot. But I’m glad there was this.

~*~

Movement: I tried skateboarding for the first time about two weeks before Midsummer. It’s tonnes of fun, but I did fall off – as one does – and have kind of messed up my knee. So Moon Salutations have been on hold pretty-much since then. I’ve started doing Laura Tempest Zakroff’s “witchual workouts” – ten-minute dance instructions that I can do by following a youtube video – and I’m enjoying them. My wife and I take walks around the neighbourhood when we can.

Attention: As always, I’m paying attention to what’s growing in the garden. It looks like a rabbit has moved in behind the retaining wall, and we have a giant evening primrose that started blooming last week. Beyond that, though, I feel like my attention is suffering. I’m feeling pretty scattered. I think I need to set aside some time to (get off the internet and) Listen.

Gratitude: Being able to see my far-away relatives for the first time in quite a bit more than a year and a half. Knowing my girlfriend will be back for another visit in just another couple of weeks. A freezer that’s filling up with vegetables. Rent we can afford. Living near the river. Living near two little woodlands. Time to read books. Park hangouts, and (zomg) indoor hangouts, with friends. Cool breezes on sunny mornings. All our little birds. Seeing the cardinals and the blue jays and the cedar sparrows on the window sill. Chipmunks who eat peanuts out of my hand. My wife and my girlfriend who love me and who care about each other.

Inspiration: Reading Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees, Laura Tempest Zakroff’s Anatomy of a Witch, and Thista Minai’s Suffering for Spirit, along with Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons. They’re all giving me lots of things to think about.

Creation: I wrote a poem for the first time in months today, and I’m so relieved. Beyond that, I finally (finally) finished the dress I’ve been making for my wife (it’s reversible) and have started on a long, flowy purple skirt for myself.

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