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Flying in the Face of the Lammas Season…

***Excerpts from my Blog Post “Lammas and the Autumn Season“***

The Feast of Lammas is upon us!

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Wait, what?  What is this silly Hobbit talking about? Last year, I wanted to go into a new series installment called The Wheel of the Year.  I’d like to think I hit every holiday, but I don’t know right now, I have to go back and check on my past blogs!

Lammas (in Christian/Catholic context meaning “Loaf Mass”), is also called Lughnasadh. (pronounced Loo Nah Sah).  It is a Celtic Sabbat/Holiday that begins the first of the 3 major Harvest Festivals.  Oh, by the way, I wanted to educate those who say Celtic wrong.  Celtic is pronounced *KELL-TICK*.  NOT *Sell-Tick*. Okay, I admit, that rubs me the wrong way in so many ways.  It’s like someone called the Amish with the pronunciation *AY-MISH* or Italian like *EYE-TAL-YUN*.  To me, it’s a bit insulting, and it can truly drive many enthusiasts like myself, mental.  For some reason, many sports teams that have the word Celtic pronounce it Sell-tick, but I can assure you, the proper right way to say it is how I mentioned it above.  Okay, moving on….

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Lammas! Ohhhh I how love me some Harvest holidays! It’s probably one of the reasons why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays!  There is something about the word “comfort” that drives all of us to find our own sense of the word.  For me, comfort means my home.  And it’s going to be extra special since this will be our first FULL autumn in our new home!  It means all the stuff I love around me.  It means listening to music I love, smelling aromatic candles, drinking an amazing tea, reading a good book, a nice casserole in the oven, my husband and children around me.  That’s comfort.  Comfort is a rainy day in the autumn, when you wake up and realize you don’t want to get out of your pajamas.  And you don’t.  Whoever said  you have to get up every morning and get dressed like in your Sunday best everyday is for the birds!  People are going to accept you, whether you have makeup on, or going au natural.

Comfort is taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon on that said rainy day, smelling the rain and feeling the cool air coming in.  I love days like that.  But comfort is different for each person.  What is your form of comfort?  Think about it and write a list out.  When you realize what things make you feel comforting, then do what you can to make it happen!

Lammas is the beginning of the Harvest.  The first seeds planted in Spring are now ready to be picked of their ripened fruit.  Many will start to see the hay barrels in the fields from farmers picking their crops.  This is a good time to start thinking about what you are going to plant in the Autumn for next year!  Spring bulbs may be on sale in grocery stores or produce markets, so this is a great time to make a list of what you want to see pop up in Spring of next year!  Sadly, my garden has taken an INCREDIBLE beating this year with the heat and humidity of the Summer.  So much has died and withered, and I just wasn’t home enough to tend to them, OR I was home and the heat was too hard to bare, I couldn’t even get outside or my lungs would have flared up tremendously from how weak they get during this time of year.  So, I stay indoors and work on my dried herbs I already was able to harvest, as well as work with my tinctures and teas, and even today, I baked Soda Bread!!!!  YUM!

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August 1st is the Feast Day of the Celtic deity, Lugh (hence the name Lughnasadh).  Lugh was revered by many as the man who sacrificed himself to give people the comfort of a good harvest.  He was in ancient times known as the Corn God.  Understandably why corn is usually harvested this time of year.  Nevertheless, this is a time of turning inward.  Just the beginning of it, though.  We are still in the throes of hot and humid weather, with lots of sunny days and warm nights ahead of us.  But the air is changing, and many can feel it right now.  Some associate it with the beginning of school, and whatever you need to do to understand why we are in the process of a season change, go with what feels good.

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Right now, in my home, we are continuing our path to organization by preparing ourselves for what we hope to be an annual yard sale!  I promised myself come hell or high water we were going to get this house situated for living, and although we’ve been here for 9 months, we still have boxes to go through (yeah, I know).  Living with people who have a hard time purging old things, rooms can get pretty crowded in here quickly.  So, my daily talks about how good we feel when we are uncluttered I am hoping are getting into their heads!  I hope to be starting the autumn season with lighting some fall candles, and I don’t know about you, but it just feels right to do this now.  I love going to places like AC Moore and looking at all the Autumn/Halloween goodies that are already out on display.  I love planning on how I’m going to decorate this year.  I think its good to change it up every year.  It always gives off a fresh energy when you change things around, even with decor that only stays up a few weeks.

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If you are interested in learning more about this upcoming season and how you can incorporate rituals in your life to make yourself more spiritually grounded with our Earth, keep coming back here, as I will have different ideas you can do to make this next season inspiring and fun!  Autumn is always easy, because there is SO much to do!  But remember: do what makes YOU feel good, instead of what everyone else is telling you how things should be.  You will be surprised how good it feels when you walk into this next Season doing things YOU love to do!

Next Saturday, my beloved Circle is getting together to celebrate this wonderful Season with great food and great drink, campfire and swimming, and crafts galore, and we continue as we always do, in perfect love and perfect trust.

As above so below, as within so without.

As the Universe, so the soul.  Blessings to you all!

Love, Peace and Macaroni and Cheese,

Bridget

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The Demon Within…

One of the biggest things I deal with during this particular time of the year is the big D.  Most people know what I speak of, and I’m sure many of you are sitting on the other side of your computer nodding in complete and utter understanding.

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Depression, as many know, is when a chemical imbalance in our brains result in a disruption of some-sort, creating a sort of chaos in our bodies that causes hopelessness. Most times, depression is the result of a tragedy a person experiences, whether it be a death, break-up, or any of loss of “something”….Sometimes, in my case, it could be just a simple explanation of the weather 5 feet from me.  It is one of my biggest struggles I face with in life, and every year I pray and pray that somewhere, somehow, this feeling of sadness would end.

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So, let’s talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)….

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It goes without saying that everyone, both of human and animal alike, NEED sunlight.  The vitamins coming from the sun gives off so much energy and a pulse of life itself, there is no wonder why people love to “Sun bathe”.  Sadly, for me, I’m a Celt by blood.  A mixture of Irish, English, Scottish, and German.  So, putting my pasty self outside for more than a few moments will cause my skin to scream.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t love to be out in the sun.  It’s why I am a morning person, so to speak…(I say that because during the Monday-Friday deal, I’m not really worth talking to in the morning, but that’s a whole other story LOL)

In the Northern Hemisphere, at the time of Litha, otherwise known as Midsummer or the Summer Solstice, the Sun is at his prime, beaming down with such veracity, it even finds the shadiest of places.  But sadly, after that prime day of days, the Sun begins its fall.  And within 6 months, the Sun, although still shining, does not have the luster and awe that we had just a few months before.  For many people, this time is the beginning of Winter.  And we start our slow climb back to the manifestation of the gifts the Sun gives us in the Spring and Summer.

So, during the time after the holiday and New Year season ends, there is a period of silence.  Nothing really happens until the next little break, which is Valentine’s Day.  And then, after that, is the Spring Equinox, Ostara, or as many know it to be, Easter.

What do we do during this period?  Well, for me, I kind of go crazy and start cleaning and regrouping my life, creating goals for the warmer weather to come, all while taking care of my mind, body and soul, who is sadly ill-at-ease over the lack of warm sunlight, growth and overall life.

It’s why I love living myself according to the Celtic Seasonal Calendar.  It makes sense for me, because I always was like a month early to prepare for each season/holiday.  In just a few weeks, MY Winter will be over.  On February 1st, I celebrate the feast day of St. Bridget, who holds the keys of the kingdom for my favorite Season: Spring.

February 1st in the Celtic Calendar is the Season of Imbolc (Pronounced IMM-OLCK).  It is the beginning of the Springtime, the time where our Mother Earth is stirring and beginning her slow process of “waking up”.  Just as we, each morning, open our eyes, stretch our arms and legs, and get reacquainted with the morning and the light, so does Mother Earth.  The soil, through its Winter hibernation, begins to warm up, allowing the seeds within the soil to take heed and blossom.  One of the greatest gifts we can get in the Early Springtime are Crocuses.  They are Mother Nature’s quiet little trumpets, usually peeking up within the snow and cold ground, alerting us all that warm weather IS coming back.  That is the beauty of this planet.  Of where I live.  We know Spring follows Winter.  It’s how life is.

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So, what do I do in the meantime?  Even as I type this out, on this lazy Sunday morning, I feel sad.  Sad because going outside would require me to bundle up because the air is SO cold, it would actually hurt my skin.  Make my eyes water.  Even the “smell” of life, is not there.

What makes me gaga over being outside?  Feeling the grass beneath my bare feet.  Smelling the seasonal flowers breezing through the air.  Seeing the magnificent trees, shrubs and bushes blossom with beautiful green leaves…In the Celtic myths, Autumn and Winter meant Jack Frost was out and about, dropping hints of frost and ice among everything alive, telling them it’s time to die or go to sleep….In the Spring and Summer Months, Jack in the Green is our go-to guy.  He is the one who warms the skies and the Earth, and instead of frost, we have beautiful droppings of dew.

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(one of MANY Jack in the Green Parades held every year in Europe)

This is what makes my pulse quicken, my heart smile and my soul beam.  Warmth, light….like Persephone feeling so out of touch down in the Underworld, where she could not use her Gift with the Living World, and patiently waited until it was time for her to go back up, and be among the Living again, to feel the warmth of the Sun on her skin…Yes, I feel the exact same way.

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Since going off all Depression and Anxiety medicine, and opting for my Kratom intake, I can honestly say it hasn’t been TOO smooth sailing.  Of course it would be easy for me to put some chemicals into my body and numb myself…but it would be a disservice to me to do so.  I know not everyone agrees with me on that.  I always welcome other’s opinions and ideas…it’s just…it’s not for me.  I’ve been very careful over the last several years to deal with my addiction to pain killers…and for someone like me who is always in some kind of pain, it’s an easy excuse for me to pop a pill and call it a day.

No, as much as times like these where I wish I had something to numb my physical and emotional pain of the Winter, I know that in the end, it helps me SEE who I really am, because I am completely bare and open to the senses entirely.  I feel things now more than I ever have.  So, yes, the depression sucks.  But I also know, that there are times I feel such immense joy, that knowing I wouldn’t even feel an inch of that when trying to control my depression with medicine, gives me the honest knowing that I’m doing the right thing.

Don’t get me wrong:  I think about taking something every day.  Even right now, I feel incredibly blue (Get it?  Winter “blues”?) and staring at the walls may be what I need right now to numb the sadness of the lack of life outside….

This depression began in 2001.  And slowly progressed as the years went on…Now that I am in the beginning stages of my body slowing down and turning into the Crone, I feel this even more.

How do I deal with it?  It’s a demon inside of me I deal with every day between Thanksgiving and about Mid-March.  For some people it’s less time, and for others, it’s more.  It feels like the Postpartum depression I had for the first 4 weeks after my son’s birth.  It begins as a nagging feeling, that turns into a feeling of dread.  Dread?  Yup, dread.  It overtakes me like a demon overtakes a human…I cry at everything and anything, I sleep more, I stare more, and I tend to lash out more.  My husband, sons, parents, sisters and closest friends know it the depression talking.  The know this silly little hobbit doesn’t usually act like this, and know how to approach me during my times of struggle.  They know and respect the fact I don’t want chemicals in my body.  They are patient and kind, and allow me the time and patience I need for myself to understand how my body reacts to this rough season.

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(seriously, whoever created these are a GENIUS)

Kratom certainly helps, but, it is just a band aid.  It does NOT take away the full feelings.  But it does lessen the load.  And the best part?  It does not numb me.  If there could be anything that I hate, it is the numbness of my body, mind and soul.  To lose the essence of your life just because there’s a period of time each year where I feel sad, it’s just not enough for me to make that kind of decision.  That’s not for me to judge anyone who DOES.

So, for the next few weeks, I will be quietly tinkering away at my new home.  Putting things in their place, and dealing with the sadness I not only feel for the cold months, but for other things I cannot control.  It’s a continued lesson in humility, and I love that I’m always up for the challenge, no matter how tired and sad I’m feeling at the moment.

What makes me happy during the colder months?

  • Music – Usually Celtic/Irish/Scottish music, 80’s Pop, and some Sacred World music, from either Lisa Thiel, Snatnam Kaur, or Spiral Dance
  • Painting – I am still trying to find my easle, but the moment I do, I’m off!
  • Festivals – There is an amazing Scottish and Irish Festival that happens in February, and it truly lifts up my spirits EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
  • Garden Planning – For the first time since 2007, I will have my own garden again.  Planning it has definitely helped tremendously during this time.
  • Snuggles – My boys know all these need to do is snuggle up to me, it will bring a big smile.  I love my family.
  • Cleaning – I tend to light A LOT of incense that smells of lavender, jasmine, and other springy smells…as well as light lots of candles…and the smell of Pine Sol?  OMG Don’t go there with me…it’s like heaven haha!
  • Ritual – if there is anything I love to do, is to be in ritual with myself.  That time you give to yourself, whether it is meditating, chanting, praying, or even something simple like taking a nice, warm bath…yes, it helps a great deal.

I know there are probably more, but these are the big ones.  Tell me about what you do!  I am always looking for suggestions.

Lots of Hobbit Love,

Bridget

 

Sunday Ramblings of a Tired Hobbit….

It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve accomplished SO much, and yet I feel I haven’t even broken a dent in my day.  Summer can be truly glorifying when your home is at a state of organization.  But I am sure most of you would agree with me that rare do we have an organized home.  Still, I am grateful that I got up this morning, that I got to the store, made 3 ½ pounds of homemade meatballs, and picked up a bag of clothes from my sister.  All in all, a productive day so far.  My darling husband, sweet man that he is, has been domesticated bliss and I cannot appreciate him any more than I do right now.  While I was out gallivanting around to get the unordinary chores completed, he was at home doing laundry, dishes, and taking the trash and recycling out.  How amazing is he?  And yet, I come home from my chores, incredibly stressed out and irritated, and still manages to be romantic and sweet, even though I wasn’t able to reciprocate it back to him immediately.  It’s how we complement each other that makes me so blessed.

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My sweetie, isn’t he dishy?

When I am down, he balances me back up, and when he is down, I do the same.  As humans, it is impossible to be 100% of the time.  We are bound to make mistakes and mess up.  And it had been so long since I had a partner in my life who actually GROUNDED me.  His love shows me every day I still have so much to learn not only about myself, but how much I can truly give if I just try harder.  So, I’m doing my best to be less irritated, and spend more time at being happy my boys are spending some downtime to themselves, something we ALL need.

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This summer has been at the very least, semi-challenging.  Most weekends have been spent busy at parties and events that required our presence, and although I love being around my friends and family, the lack of quiet time that many of us actually do get in the late autumn pre and post-holiday chaos is significantly felt, which no doubt, aids in my tension.  As I am preparing my journey from the Mother to the Crone stage of life, I have found my love for Spring, although still very strong, is beginning to wane, while my love for Autumn is beginning to grow.  Spring and Autumn have always been my two favorite seasons, but Spring has been without a doubt my favorite.  Easter/Ostara has always been my favorite holiday, however my love for Samhain has definitely curbed my Spring appeal.  Something about quieting down, going within, that makes my stomach warm with butterflies.  My longing for October and November gets stronger every morning I wake up.  I feel the seasons changing as we speak, and my desire for the following things is seriously heeding my call:

  • Bon/Camp Fires
  • Hot Apple/Mulled Cider
  • Caramel Apples
  • Burning Leaves
  • Everything in their orange, red and yellow glory
  • Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes
  • Hayrides
  • Mums
  • My apartment being adorned with orange lights and leaves

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Beautiful enchanted forest during fall or autumn, great fairy tale background, hdr

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I am sitting here, enjoying a nice warm cup of Kratom tea, and the butterflies are fluttering like crazy in my belly.  My headset is currently listening to “Embraced” by Paul Cardall, and realizing I need to start making my Autumn 2015 playlist!  What shall I put on it this year??????  Last year, I had Ingrid Michelson start my playlist with “Girls Chase Boys” with a follow up of All About That Bass by Post Modern Jukebox featuring Kate Smith and Adele’s Set Fire To the Rain.  Would love to know your thoughts, as a musician, I am ALWAYS looking for new music to listen to.  Right now I am straight head-on listening to mostly New Age/Dark Celtic music such as Enya, Clannad, Loreena McKennit, Gandalf, 2002 and Secret Garden.  Really, this music is sort of my go-to music when I am turning inward, so it only goes to understand why I would be listening to this kind right now.  But I do like a twist during my Autumn-time, as I always see Autumn as the romantic season.  There is something about cloudy, dark, rainy, cold days that puts me in that “mood”.  Maybe it’s the cuddling!  Some other artists that have made an Autumn playlist in the past include:

  • Omnia
  • Nox Arcana
  • Faun
  • Damn the Bard
  • Emerald Rose
  • Spiral Rhythm
  • Coyote Run (now respectfully called Picti)
  • Albannach
  • Dead Can Dance
  • Qntal

I love using these artists above because they make SUCH AMAZING music!!!!!!  Please let me know if there is a specific band you want to hear more about, because I will definitely blog about them!  I am a singer, writer and pianist and sacred drummer, so I’m always looking out for new stuff!

So, I know this was a hodge podge of information today, but I wanted to get it out there, so we can talk more about things!  I still have to get back to my 40 days of Spirit, I promise this week I will get a new post on that!  In the meantime, I leave you with my new favorite band, I’ve been in love with these ladies since I found them last year on a Woman Tribal Facebook page I am a member of.  It’s my new theme song (you know how I feel we all need one), as it truly speaks of who I am.  As a Northern Appalachian Shamanka/Hedge Witch, whatever you want to call me, being able to help heal people through the Earth is something that lives within me and truly gets me out of the bed every day.  I hope you like them…They are Rising Appalachia:

Theme Songs…

1238018_498629840212271_970819050_nA few years ago, I came across a musician and artist named Tret Fure, who truly changed the way I looked at music and life in general. Her outlook on life, whether through her eyes or the eyes of those around her, is on the cusp of being this magical reality I thought I was the only one that saw life this way. I have not found one song she has ever recorded that I haven’t like. I am touched beyond words myself with some of her writings, and how she brings them into her music. Whether she is talking about her wife, mother, an old school mate, or her hometown, so much of how she feels is how I see myself half the time. I suggest you take a look at her. She’s been in the music business longer than I can even say, and I almost feel slighted that at 40 years old, I am just finding her. But then, I am finding myself, so I guess all this cool stuff comes with the territory.

Other really great artists to mention:

Alice DiMicele
Heidi Talbot
Doug MacClean
Trinity DeMask

Below is one of Tret’s songs that I believe may be my new “theme” song. Although I am sure it means a specific meaning for her, to me, I see this song as to how life looks at me, and how I look right back. Unfortunately I could not find a video of the recording of this song anywhere, but below are the words. If you can, go to Pandora and look her up – or just save my Tret Fure radio station on your PC. My Profile is listed as Ms. Fae 

Leap of Faith: Tret Fure

Tomboy Records

It was a long road
It was a long time
It was a long way around this stuck mind
It was the way that I was looking
And the things I couldn’t see
And it was the way that you were looking at me

It was a late night
It was the late fall
It was a late hour to make a late call
It was the things that I was hearing
And the things I couldn’t see
And it was the way that you were looking at me

Sometimes it takes a miracle
Sometimes it takes a stand
Sometimes it’s quite empirical
And sometimes it’s so grand
But most of all it needs to be
A sudden leap of faith
It’s a leap of faith

It was a new dream
It was an old car
It was a back road
And a bright star
It was the things that I was feeling
And the things I couldn’t see
And it was the way that you were looking at me

Sometimes it’s rude awakenings
Sometimes…it’s about time
Sometimes the earth is shaking
Sometimes the world is mine
But most of all it needs to be
A sudden leap of faith
It’s a leap of faith

It was a lifeline
It was a long rest
It was a life long dream
And a hard test
It was the things that I was bearing
And the things I couldn’t see
And it was the way that you were looking at me

Sometimes it takes a miracle
Sometimes it takes a stand
Sometimes it’s quite empirical
And sometimes it’s so grand
But most of all it needs to be
A sudden leap of faith
It’s a leap of faith

And this is what I know
And this is what I see
It was the way that I was looking at me