Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Winter Solstice has been profound for me this year. After sharing a delicious vegetarian Yule dinner, cooked expertly by Miss Lily, we celebrated in her garden under the stars, enjoying a cold, misty, evening surrounded by stunning views & a bright moon. We were warmed by good company, fairy cakes & some magical mulled wine. We lit a Yule log, with prayers, wishes & intentions attached, & if the way it whooshed hotly up the chimney is an indication of the coming year, I expect we will all be rather busy! How grateful I am for good friends with similar ways to my own.
I enjoyed the apparent stillness that surrounds Solstice time. I allowed myself to dream & drift, & made no great demands upon my life, but listened, waiting, for clues as to what I should do in the coming months. This inactivity, I think, is very important. It is a chance to to accept that I am not in control of the world, don't know what the future holds, and can allow my life to unfold without interfering with the process. It lasts only a few days, but it is a time of deep reflection, meditation, of being close with my own company, & being myself in most gentle & uncomplicated way.
Now that the longest night of the year has passed, I notice the light of morning arrives a little earlier, so it's becoming easier to get out of bed. I am ready to begin a new year's work. Preparation is the key for me at this time. The image above shows what I see as I contemplate.

The Earth's energies are expanding to generate surface growth once more. It's as if She's breathing out, & dawn is nearly here. It is still too cold for seed planting outside, but tender things are beginning to show themselves, & my "inner seeds" are beginning to sprout. Naturally, I will keep them well sheltered until they are ready to go out into the world.

The weather has been spectacular. Weak sparkling sunlight post Solstice gave way to hail, driving rain, gale-force winds off the snowfields. Now it is just plain cold - no wonderful wildness, only drizzling, bone-chilling, blood freezing cold. My hairy assistant hates to go outside to do what a dog's got to do. The mist will not lift today. And yet, all is peaceful. I hear the liquid singing of the lyrebird, & the dripping of moisture from leaves. The bush smells of eucalypt & leaf mould, & Luculia in the garden smells like a lady. See above how the garden beckons through the rain.....

There was a partial Lunar eclipse last Saturday evening. I saw the Moon with the Earth's shadow across her face. The atmosphere was damp & cold, so there was a large ring of light surrounding her that glowed faintly purple & green in the frosty air. I have no image for this page, but the one you have made in your mind. I wonder who else saw this graceful movement of celestial orbs. Did you see it? I wonder if anyone has noticed the impact of this event upon their life.

And hey, isn't it great we finally have a woman prime minister? GO JULIA! The Moon's effect is surely being felt somewhere....... Kevin, my heart really goes out to you. I was very pleased when you were elected, but my heart tells me the world is not only ready, but is crying out for the old, feminine way of taking care of business. When I saw a female governor general swearing in a female prime minister, I must admit, Old Marigold's glasses misted up for a few seconds, so moving was the occasion......

I have been recently been introduced to "hyperbolic crochet". Apparently, the mathematics of coral growth correspond with this method of knotting yarn. It's amazing that crochet ends up looking exactly like coral. There is a worldwide project at the moment to bring people's attention to the beauty & plight their local reefs & the marine life therein by establishing interested groups of crocheters, & having a public exhibition to raise awareness of the reefs around the world. Dublin has just has a fine one. There will be an exhibition at Burrinja Gallery in Upwey soon, & the Melbourne Museum may be doing something too. I think it a most wonderful project - there are quite a few groups around town crocheting marine life out of anything appropriate that they can twist with a hook!

Don't you love this sort of community activity? It brings people closer together in a very personal way. At this level, I truly believe we can achieve a better world, without waiting for bureaucracies & governments to decide if it's worth their while to get involved. We may not agree with each other on all issues, but I believe if we make personal connection with others, we can create a respectful, compassionate, understanding, tolerant & kind society.

Well, here is my garden on Solstice morning. With a new year of activity about to begin, I draw inspiration from the growth of the plants that nourish much more than my body. I am about to embark upon another course of study, & a new chapter in the story of my life. How about you? I truly wonder what will inspire, encourage & support people over the coming months.

Blessings of the Tender Growth,
With love, Your Marigold

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marigold's musings

This weekend I was lucky enough to visit an enchanted garden high above the sea. I hope you enjoy working out the 3 faces in the image above.

Oak, Ash, Birch, Willow & an assortment of Conifers were very welcoming,
& I was fortunate indeed to make the acquaintance of Scottish Elms, which are the subject of the image below. They are so elegantly twisted & spooky that I'm pretty sure Brian Froud or Arthur Rackham would make beautiful paintings of them, which would include the mysterious Fey beings they seem to attract. They have me to make their portraits this week though, & I hope I can do them justice. Er....the trees, I mean, not the gentlemen.

Winter Solstice next Monday night looms large in my world. After this time, the days get longer, the Spring is closer, & I will begin to put in place the ideas that have come to me over the dark of Winter.
Naturally, I will celebrate this celestial event with great optimism. It's good to have a cut-off point, where I can farewell the old year with the passing of the dark half, & welcome the new as the sun gains strength. This week seems like a no-man's land, leading up to the tipping of the balance of dark into light, but not quite being either at present. Things are shuffling themselves into place. I suppose I will know what needs attention once they are sorted

I see signs of Spring in buds, swelling in tips of bare branches, but fungi associated with Autumn are still to be seen everywhere...........cheerful early camellias & jonquils trick me every year into believing Winter is nearly over, but I know, after the Solstice, in these parts, things get seriously cold, & hopefully we will have lots of rain as well.

This tiny gossamer nest was revealed one morning last week after Magnolia dropped her foliage. It is much smaller than a tea cup & very fragile, yet has supported a whole family of busy little birds. I want to bring it inside to preserve it, but wonder if it is best left to be reabsorbed into the garden..........

My vegetable garden is bare, the seeds of broad beans & bulbs of garlic are slow to show their tender green shoots. Only wild Rocket & Jerusalem Artichokes are plentiful. Next year, I will need to plan more carefully if I'm to feed myself from my plot. It seems a responsibility to eat the yield of one's garden if one is lucky enough to have one to cultivate.

This week a hungry wallaby popped in to see what he could forage, & reminded me how fortunate I am that these gentle creatures are so close. You may see him more clearly on the left side of the image if you zoom in. It's best to take their pictures from afar so as not to frighten them. I want to put food out for these shy creatures, but wonder if that is really a kindness, as they may become too tame, too dependent, & so more vulnerable to attack from domestic animals or injury from cars. It is very hard to watch them slowly diminishing.

Well, the sun is shining weakly today, & it calls me to come outside to investigate. My assistant is groaning again - he wants to go for a little stroll in the garden.

Blessings of the Winter Solstice,
or Summer Solstice if you're upside-down!

And I hope your Yule is cool..........

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mostly Misty Mornings at Marigold's

The outrageously brilliant Copper Beech in last week's entry is now naked, thanks to some rather strong winds earlier in the week. Each night is cold, each morning misty, & the days are cool. Yesterday we were enveloped in a cloud, & the temperature stayed between 4 & 7 deg. Celsius - perfect for cosy fireside living, warm kitchen cooking, & internet plotting & planning with friends.
Just before the Winter Solstice, I begin to start pulling together all the new ideas upon which I have been musing..... it's not a conscious effort, I simply feel a stirring. Soon the darkest night will be over for another year, so I'd better see which things I really want to put my energy into, & what seems ready to come to light. Also, I must decide which ideas I'll let go. Sometimes it's hard to put an idea to rest if it's not strong enough to manifest, but it must be done so that the stronger ones will flourish. This is the way of my world.
With the return of the sun's strength, I like to recognise the past year & begin anew. For me, it's New Year, & what a relief it is to begin again! I will release any negativity within & without, take deep breath of clean, cold air, & begin again. In the Southern Hemisphere, New Year is not after Christmas, but definitely follows Winter Solstice & the Wheel of the Year turns again.

I'm rather excited. My dear friend Lily has invited me, along with some other dear friends to celebrate the Winter Solstice in her recently awakened garden. She has lately been spending more time there, watching, listening, nurturing, & generally forming a relationship with her land & all that lives within it. I expect it will be wonderful, as it is on the edge of the forest, & very magical. I am planning to bake some fairy cakes & make some Jerusalem artichoke soup, as this particular group of friends like to share the produce of our gardens when we meet.

It's a rather fundamental, but often overlooked principal, that you become what you ingest. So, by partaking of each other's produce, we share in becoming a bit of each other's gardens, & so become a bit closer to being made of the same substance as each other. It's not just physical, it's energetic, elemental, spiritual, or whatever you want to name it - by doing this we form a special bond. It really gives another dimension to the idea of thanksgiving, & to husbanding the land.

The Old Celts believed that the land was the perennial Queen, & that a King should firstly be married to the land. If he was a good husband, & cared for her properly, his wife, the "Earth Mother" would be fertile & bountiful, but if he was negligent or incompetent, she would withhold her bounty. Hmmmm, does this sound familiar? Well, these days, we who are blessed with land to care for need to take responsibility, as sovereigns. We need to remember we are not to reign over it, but to husband it! Yes, husbandry means caring for it so it can bear fruit. And so it goes.

Having said that, the current environmental crises happening around the world seem to have the same effect as they did in ancient times. They destabIlise politics! Obama is not the only political leader who might be concerned his popularity is waning due to the inability to protect his assigned piece of the Earth. The oil spill has really shown the world governments, our new "sovereigns", even the most powerful ones, still need to husband their land properly. This means protect it.

This week I haven't done much in the garden. I put in some broad beans & weeded a bit, but the soil is damp & cold, & I'm a bit sick of being muddy. I am knitting yet another pair of stripey socks, & will have a go at a Greek slipper pattern after that. It's the Belgrave Lantern Festival next week, so I will make a new lantern for that. I haven't been to the last 2, but intend to attend this year. Winter Solstice is such a great time to share.

I've been contemplating how "the Goddess" (whatever that actually means) may manifest in a visual art piece. I don't know where it's going, but I think the ideas around this subject are as much for my own contemplation as anyone else's, so I won't disclose details until the work is made. Enough to say I'm already feeling challenged technically, & I haven't even lifted a pencil!

Well that's quite a long post. Perhaps I should blog more frequently.

Blessings of the Silver Bark,
Blessings of the Misty Morning,
Blessings of the Glowing Fire.