Monday, June 29, 2009

Chatty Planets

Last week saw the Solstice, Fathers Day and the New Moon, and while the Solstice might be Mid-Summer in the Celtic lands on the other side of the Atlantic, here in the North East of the United States, it is the start of the summer season. Life is slowing down, even as it is burgeoning. The summer gardens are delayed, because of all the cool weather and rain we've had, but the lavender is busy with bees, and nearly ready for harvest.

The week also saw completion in the making of the Mercury tincture. The salts were intensely fine grained, like sanding sugar and had no apparent pattern in the pan where they were formed. They scraped into a fine powder, without adhering to the glass, and were moved easily (eagerly?) into the menstruum. This Wednesday I will use the tincture for the first time. Four completed, three to go.

The Mars tincture had (and has) an amazing "You need Me" sense to it. The Mercury tincture has been very communicative almost from the moment it was first jarred. It told me when any step was finished and it was time to move on. Monday night, after the New Moon in Cancer, during the Lunar hour, I started work on the Moon tincture. Camphor. And again, I got a very clear message. This one was: Don't Touch Me.

Saps and distillates from Camphor can be poisonous, but I am working with the leaves. It was the leaves that were basically saying "hands off." They did not want to be ground, or mashed or torn or cut up, but once I acquiesced and started placing the whole leaves in the jar, the atmosphere lightened somewhat. I suspect at this point, that this will be a tincture of Artemis (and not She of Ephesus), of Circe, of Medea, rather than any of the more "generous" full Moon deities. Time will tell.

So, strong messages from Moon, Mars and Mercury, but not from Jupiter or Saturn. My first thought with Mars was that I really needed the Mars energy to balance out my sphere. And then, well, what else could you expect from the planet of the Messenger but conversation? I supposed it could be argued that I have been working with the Moon for so long, that Of Course, She would come through loud and clear. But when you add all that to the lack of any specific message from either Jupiter or Saturn, I think something else comes into play. The further out planets, and their specific energies just do not relate as easily to day to day humanity. Bigger, further away and slower (from our point of view) our issues just may not be seen in the same way to their spirits as the spirits of the planets that we are more intimate with.

On the other hand, it is possible that as I go along, I just get better at what I am doing. That with each tincture, I find it easier to attune myself earlier in the project. It that is the case, then the Venus project should prove very interesting indeed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why I love my fellow Jewitches

Since the beginning of the year, I have been resigning from various Yahoo discussion groups. Before doing so, I post on each group that I am leaving; not because I am unhappy with the group, or any of its members (if that is actually the case), but because it has come to that point in my life, when I no longer wish to deal with Yahoo. In case any members of those groups wish to stay in contact with me, I leave contact information and I have been pleased, and my ego stroked, by the number of people who showed interest in maintaining contact.

Only members of the Jewitchery group (and you know who you are, you wonderful people) have contacted me off list to ask if I were taking a moral stand against some position or behaviour of Yahoo, and if so, what is it?

This is one group of people who are making it difficult to leave Yahoo behind!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fast! Salad!

(repeat refrain) With each tincture, I am amazed at how different each one is from the others and how they each reflect the planetary powers of which they partake. (end refrain)

So the words for Mercury seem to be fast and salad.

Fast makes sense. The planet moves quickly. Hermes/Mercury is the Divine Messenger, it wouldn't do for him to dawdle. This tincture was quick work (well, its still quick work, not being entirely done). The herb is home grown oregano, carefully harvested and dried for this specific purpose. It pulverized easily in the granite mortar, in fact, I had to be careful to not grind it into a powder. Upon pouring the Everclear over it, it was bleached of its color almost entirely. Jar sealed, wrapped in foil and labeled, it "talked" to me, reminding me of its presence several times a day. Unlike the previous tinctures, I never felt the need to unwrap it to check fluid levels, I knew it was fine. I also knew that yesterday would be the day for calcinating-even before I saw the weather report. (it was the only day it hasn't rained this month). The oregano only macerated for 22 days, but it was ready. (for those wondering, from May 27 to June 17). The calcination was fast. The fumes from the alcohol caught the flame from the torch and the leaves burned to pale grey ash immediately. I only finished it up on the stove because the wind had some up and I was afraid of the ash blowing away. But it only took another 5 minutes on the stove top for the pale grey ash to turn white. The whole step of calcination took a total of 10 minutes. When the ash was cool, I mixed it with distilled water, filtered it and put it aside. Already, this morning, I could see little clouds of crystal floating in the dish.

Salad. That is what the liquid smells like, a green mixed salad. The menstruum is a deep blue-green and has the smell of a bowl of assorted lettuces. I'm still working this part out, but I think it may have more to do with Greek Hermes, than Roman Mercury. I've come across references to the "fluid sexuality" of Hermes, and for reasons, I am not sure of, the metaphor of the mixed salad seems "right" for that. As for the lettuce...we have here the power of (and over) commerce and trade, could it be as blunt as that? Lettuce, greenbacks, money? Or, is it more fluid (that word again)? We have the God of law and thieves, psychopomp and fluid (ok, now I am using the word just to make myself grin) sexuality. Lettuce has been used as both an aphrodisiac and an anaphrodisiac. Depending on the body chemistry of the person imbibing, the sap can be used as a mild sedative or a mild intoxicant. Swings both ways, as it were.

It may be that I will get more information when the tincture is ready for use. I hope so. I have to wait for the rest of the water to evaporate, leaving me the salts to return to the menstruum. Considering the speed of this project to this point, I suspect that it won't be long before I will be able to do so. Should be interesting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

T'is the Season

I've noticed that life gets more hectic, the calendar more full, the to-do list longer, right before the solstices. Whether this is a direct result of the influence of the changing position of the earth in relation to the sun, and its effect on the human psyche, or a result or millennia of sun related holidays, and farming community school calendars, I can't say. I just know that life has been very busy and can see that it will slow dramatically in just a few weeks. Speaking as someone who tries to fully experience what my life contains, this ebb and flow is what keeps everything manageable. Speaking as someone who tries to keep a blog regularly updated, it can make life on line (or at least the updating) difficult.

In the last month, we moved our older daughter out of her college dorm. Although it only took 1 trip to move her in last September, moving her out took 2 days, and 2 trips. (It must be some law of physics unknown to me; each year, she moves into the dorm with less stuff than the year before, but then moves out with more.) The same day we were also expected at a birthday party and a graduation party.

The following weekend was that of the New Moon. DH and I were invited by an almost-neighbor to his Theodish New Moon rite. Since the New Moon was at (very conveniently!) 8:11am on Sunday, Joe was able to hold his rite on Saturday evening, and I was still able to observe mine on Sunday evening. So we spent Saturday night with an interesting crowd of Heathen and Pagan, talking before the ritual, and talking and passing the mead horn, afterwards. Sunday night, it was me, in the circle.

Mothers Day. End of School Year concerts. Time seems to telescope until you are faced with the question: tend to the outside, or tend to the inside? It is all very well to say "balance" but sometimes the need for balance needs to be...well, balanced against other needs.

This past weekend may have been the apex of this busy time, even though we still have 2 weeks to the solstice. It was the birthday weekend (DH's birthday is the day before mine). It was the weekend that a group that we belong to, did its group ritual. It was the weekend of the annual Reiki Master wine and cheese gathering. It was the Full Moon. It was a weekend (bleeding into the week) when DH and I had to plant and transplant 50 trees.

It was wonderful and fun, but exhausting.

Aren't those words used to describe the Winter Solstice Season?