Celebrating the Divine Masculine. (Litha/Summer Solstice 2021!)

The Wheel of the Year has turned again. From the wee hours of June 20, 2021, I’m here to wish you a merry Summer Solstice!

This sabbat (holiday), Litha, is one of my favorites. I love the summer, and I love observing Summer Solstice. On this holiday, the year’s longest day and shortest night, we celebrate the Divine Masculine and masculine energies, in general, as this is the God’s most powerful day. Masculine energies are at their strongest on this day!

(Just when new-agey culture had you thinking that Wicca and neo-paganism were all about the Goddess and the Divine Feminine. They’re not. In these nature-based religions, the God rules the Sun, and the Goddess rules the moon. The two hold equal importance.)

Summer Solstice is a day for giving special thanks to the Sun for his life-giving energy, for here on Earth, the Sun gives us life. The Sun is so powerful, he can give life to the inanimate, too. I’m grateful to the Sun for all that is solar-powered, all that runs on solar energy.

Speaking of giving thanks for and celebrating masculine energies and the Divine Masculine, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all of you Dads out there, including Dads of fur/feather/scale/fin kids! I love that Summer Solstice and Father’s Day fall on the same day this year.

For me, personally, there will be morning Sun salutations, the solar-charging of crystals, and the making of sun water, among other things. On the cosmic side, I’ll be working with the Summer constellation of Aquila, The Eagle (whose alpha star, Altair, is one of my favorites)!

Sharing a passage from Sandra Kynes’ Star Magic (“Aquila: The Eagle/Power of the Sun”):

As a symbol of the sun, the eagle embodies the spirit of summer. It is one of the most sacred of animals to Native Americans. In Celtic lore, the eagle is one of the oldest and wisest creatures, and it is associated with prophecy and power.

I’ve had my wreath for Litha/Summer Solstice on my door for several weeks now in anticipation of this day:

Wreath for Litha/Summer Solstice 2021

One needn’t be a follower of the Wheel of the Year to celebrate Summer Solstice. If nothing else, Litha is a wonderful call for a cook-out. It’s the longest day of the year, after all!

Blessed Be, my friends.


Beltane blessings! (May Day!)

Greetings to you on the 2nd of May!

Yesterday was a holiday. It was Beltane, the last of the spring celebrations in the wheel of the year. It’s all flowers and maypoles and passion and honeybees… and, above all, fire. Beltane is a fire festival. It is the fire festival. There’s usually a bonfire somewhere in Beltane celebrations, but any fire will do if a bonfire isn’t possible! I kept candles burning all day.

A bit of background, for anyone who’s unfamiliar: Outside of the religions of Wicca and Paganism, Beltane is celebrated as May Day on the 1st of May, just as Samhain is celebrated as Halloween on the 31st of October. Beltane and Samhain are the two times of year when the veil between worlds is the thinnest, so both holidays involve traditions around protection from spirits… the spirits of the dead at Samhain, and the spirits of nature and the Fae at Beltane. The two holidays are not only direct opposites on the wheel of the year, but they’re also opposites in essence: Beltane is about celebrating life and fertility (of all beings, and of nature), while Samhain is about honoring death.

A part of my Beltane celebration was spending time outdoors in nature with Geronimo and Salem. Another part was baking. It was while I was baking that a bird hit the living room window. Again.

I hurried out of the kitchen to look through the guilty window, and I saw the little gray bird lying on his side on the patio, struggling. I didn’t know what to do. I went back into the kitchen, then returned to the window about 15 minutes later. There was no movement that time. The bird’s spirit had left his body. Suddenly, my day of celebrating life had been punctuated by death.

I felt responsible. (Why did I ask for a picture window in that huge window space?) It wasn’t the same kind of sad as Salem’s dove kills in the backyard. I wasn’t facing the disposal of days’-old, torn-apart pieces of large bird remains. It wasn’t nature that killed the little bird in the front yard. It was my window.

At dusk, I went out to the front yard and dug a tiny grave about a foot and a half deep. I tried to collect the bird gently, but his little head was stuck to the concrete with his dried blood… I believed that he’d broken his skull. I had to slip my fingers beneath it and work a bit to loosen it. (Yes, I was wearing disposable pandemic gloves.)

When I laid him down to rest in his grave, I said a prayer before covering him up, telling Mother Earth that I was returning to her the body of one of her children.

After that, I did some (alchemy) workings in the Beltane energy, then ate a Simple Feast of (vegan) vanilla cake, fresh strawberries, and ginger ale sweetened with extract from the stevia plant. Stevia.

It was a beautiful and magickal day overall. Even though.

Now, to end on a cheery note, I want to share these pics I’ve taken recently of the flowers in my yards. I’ve got a plethora of them!

First, the ones that are not in my yard:

Gerberas – flowers in the daisy family (which is associated with Beltane) obtained at the grocery store a few days ago.

Beltane colors are fiery and botanical: reds, yellows, greens, colors that happen to be in generous bloom all over my front and backyards.

Starting with Geronimo’s hibiscus! These plants are exploding! I’ve never seen so many blooms at once on all of the hibiscus plants.

Even this one by the back gate is loaded with flowers this year. It’s always been sparsely flowered.
Prickly Pear in bloom in the front yard, which is entirely carpeted in golden Palo Verde pollen.
Back to the backyard! The red hibiscus behind the burrow of a certain desert tortoise that I know.
Desert willow
Ruella
Verbena? Lantana? One of the two. I never know which.
Mesquite
Fig tree doing nicely!
Desert rose also doing nicely!

This desert rose looks like a Dr. Seuss flower, doesn’t it? What a wonderful character it is.

Happy Beltane Season to you, my friends.

Ostara blessings! (Spring equinox joy.)

Let me start off with an apology for my absence this past week. I am sorry. No matter the reason for it, a missed post never sits well with me. Missing a post is missing you, and I greatly dislike letting you down.

Tomorrow – this whole weekend, actually – is the northern hemisphere’s Ostara, the spring equinox and spring sabbat… a joyous celebration in the Wheel of the Year! My spring flowers have dried beautifully, and I kept them to adorn my second altar. May we all revel in the season’s energy and abundance as it comes to us in various forms.

I love the spring equinox. It’s a transformative time during which nature gives us blessings of opportunities; it’s a time of renewal: new growth, new beginnings, fresh starts, and fertile ground for change. Late in the week I was suddenly overcome by the strong feeling that this weekend I should finally paint the wall I’ve been thinking about painting for months and months. I’m ready to do a thing that I don’t like to do in order to charge my space with fresh energy.

The wall in question is the kitchen side of the floating wall that separates the living space from the cooking and eating space. I chose a deep purplish-brown gray shade called Expressive Plum for this accent wall. It’s time to throw some color into that area of the house!

I’ve been in serious nesting mode lately. Spring is a time for nesting, after all.

Speaking of nesting, I didn’t see Geronimo for most of last week, as we’d been in the throes of a cold spell. Snow up in Flagstaff means nighttime Phoenix lows in the high 40’s/mid-50’s, and that, my friends, is a scenario that will return a desert tortoise underground to his cozy winter nest for a few more days. Geronimo went back to sleep and hit the snooze button.

It’s warmed up these last two days, though, and I got to see the back end of his shell when I looked into his burrow the other evening!

This is what I see when he’s deep in the back of his burrow on his way down into his subterranean palace :

 

Back end of a tortoise disappearing into his tunnels.

 

Can you see him back there?

So I missed him yesterday (and the day before), but today was Saturday, and I was home to bond with my precious scale-baby.

 

A spring tortoise is a happy tortoise!

 

And a spring tortoise with hibiscus petals stuck to his mouth is an even happier tortoise.

On that note, I’ll leave you to your spring equinox celebrations, however that looks in your worlds!