Tag Archives: land spirits

Lammastide: Of Preparation & Dedication

My Lord & Lady of the Harvest Wheat 'Corn Dollies'
My Lord & Lady of the Harvest Wheat ‘Corn Dollies’

Friday August 31st I spent most of the day preparing my Harvest Altar. It takes up a good 1/3 of my kitchen table, and I couldn’t be happier with it. As the day waned on I rearranged, shifted, took away, and added to it until finally I was satisfied. My offerings to the Spirits included three loaves of homemade sourdough bread marked with equal-armed crosses that I had been saving in the freezer for…I didn’t know… three ripe figs from our very bountiful fig tree, blackberries picked from our un-tamable hedgerow, and an apple that fell smack in front of me while I was walking around underneath the largest of the apple trees looking for a suitable apple (since I can’t reach any of the ones actually in the tree). “I’m looking for a good, whole apple that is still fresh to feed the Spirits,” I told my son as I kicked over another half-rotten apple. As I turned to walk away, there one fell right out of the tree.

Autumn, wheat, and bee motifs fill it out in their shades of orange and brown. I blended in my kitchen Brighid altar as well, though typically celebrated at Imbolc and associated with milk-bearing animals she is also a goddess of the Harvest. In the evening once the sun began to set and the heat of the day began to abate, I returned to the far garden for more wheat. We didn’t plant it, our theory is that it grew from the straw mulching from the year before. But there it was, heads bent in their golden glory. And so I harvested a small bushel for crafting my ‘corn collies’. They are representative of the Lord & Lady of the Harvest, and of the Spirits of this Land, this home. My hope is to keep them on the altar through the Last Harvest (Samhain) and then find them a place of honor in our home until the Spring, when they will be brought out again to bless the land for the Spring planting.

Wheat from our yard, Lavender from Orcas Island, WA, and needle-felted Brighid doll
Wheat from our yard, Lavender from Orcas Island, WA, and needle-felted Brighid doll

On a fluke, I made a friend online (through Craigslist of all things) a continent away, and within two weeks she had come down from visiting her friend in Washington to meet us and talk about birth and midwifery and our work here. She brought with her a bouquet of lavender sprigs she had picked on Orcas Island, and so I placed them with some wheat as the center piece of my altar. To new friends and safe travels and The Journey~

Fires a-lit on Lammas-Eve
Fires a-lit on Lammas-Eve

In the evening I finished writing up my dedication ritual as a Priestess Midwyfe-Healer of Brighid. After midnight, the full moon having risen high over the ridge beyond our home, glowing the brightest orange in the haze of a distant forest fire, I set to my work. Candles were lit, a Sacred Flame ignited, honey stirred into warmed milk, my dedication items prepared and waiting.

Spirits and Ancestors invited, Grandmother Barker– midwife of my mother’s line– and Brighid, The Fiery One, Invoked.

Sacred Waters to anoint, honey-sweetened milk shared between Us, a red mantle to cover my head as a sign of my new role, pendant charms to be imbued with Their essences, that They may always be with me, and a leather-bound notebook to dedicate as my first Willow Book*.

Dedication Items
Dedication Items

Afterwards I meditated on the Sacred Flame, my palms tingling with Her Fire, and I saw also her flames above my head, in my belly, and atop my feet. A sense of calmness, of serenity, had overcome me after drinking in seven drafts the honey-milk. “Call on Brigh in your hour of need, She will not forsake thee.”

I then pulled cards, and am still working through their meanings…

I am Bear’s Daughter, I am Wren Bjorndottir, I am a Priestess Midwyfe-Healer of Brighid.

>>> <<< >>> <<< >>> <<<

*The term ‘Willow Book’ comes from the novel, The Birth House by Ami McKay. It references an old tome kept by the village midwife where all of her learnings regarding healing, herbalism, and women’s work (birthing and the like) are collected.

If you are interested in or already are involved with birth work, herbalism/healing, and/or Brighid and would like to collaborate with me regarding being a dedicated Priestess Midwyfe-Healer of Brighid, send me an e-mail at thetwistedtree.shoppe@gmail.com

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Shifting Tides, Time for Good-Byes

The time has come. Finally, it has come. And everything comes crashing down around me with the furry of a storm off the eastern sea. And yet it is not total destruction, it is simply the energy needed to shift the sands and shape the world anew. Our world. The sand beneath our feet. There is a tidal wave rising, swelling, pulsing within my chest, struggling to burst the seawall that it may wash over everything and cleanse it. Bringing with it new life, healing energy, and creation out of the destruction of the old it has laid waste to. Our old patterns, our old life, our old home, is being swept away. But it is being replaced by potential, new starts fresh out of the damp spring-sun warmed soil. It is being replaced by a new home, new plans (or shifting kaleidoscope images of old plans), new risks and new patterns, and new life.

Gifts from the sea~ Mermaid's Purse Skate's Egg, Crab Claw, and Sea Turtle Egg
Gifts from the sea~ Mermaid’s Purse Skate’s Egg, Crab Claw, and Sea Turtle Egg

For like the seeds stirring in the dark womb of the earth as the strength of the sun returns and the buds leap forth onto branch and limb, so to does life quicken within mine own womb. For so long I had fought it, for so long we toiled over the labor of preventing life, of keeping my dark earth barren. For so long I whispered to the dark– please, not yet. Please, not again. I made bargains and pleaded, asking for this or that to be in place first. And once the Universe finally dumped those things so unexpectedly into our laps, not a handful of days later did Universe also see fit to set life to stirring in my belly. I suppose I got what I asked for. Funny how those things go. But I am thankful. For it all. For the chaos, for the turmoil, for the sadness, for the joy, for the uncertainty, for the dreams, for life. I am grateful.

springbradfordpearsunset
Bradford Pear Spring Flowers with Sunset

 

And yet, as I look around this place that I have called my home for so many years, I realize that as much as I have fought and reached for a place beyond here… I have made roots here. They have begun to reach deeper into the earth here than I realized. Seeds had even begun to be planted and sprout here. This place is home, and yet now we must say good-bye. To Place and Land and Sea and Home and Spirits and Friend and Family… we must say good-bye. Honey and oil and milk and blood have been given here, we have awoken Spirits here who know us and love us as almost kin… and we must say good-bye. My heart aches with a pain I had not expected nor prepared myself for. My belly tightens with anticipation and fear, and uncertainty. And tears of longing and grief pour from my eyes onto sand and soil. How do you say good-bye? How do you prepare to part ways from a Spirit that has loved your child and protected house and land and has seen birth and death in your family, and stood sentinel for it all. How do you say good-bye to an ocean that has baptized you into mysteries still being unraveled, that has taken your whispers and tears and whishes to its depths, that has fed you and kept you as its own for so long… I don’t know. But it is time to say good-bye.

Drumming at the Beach
Drumming at the Beach~ Starting to Say Good-Bye