Litha 2019

Litha 23 June 2019 UUFM
Litha, an Anglo-Saxon word for the month of June. It was also used by JRR Tolkien and thereby gained favor in the Wiccan community. Pagans adopted the term for the Summer Solstice holiday.
At this Solstice, the Earth’s axis tilts the north pole as close as it will come to the Sun’s position. This creates the longest day of the year, and the shortest night for people in the northern half of our world. This is the beginning of Summer.
Astronomical observatories around the world, including Old Stone Fort Archeological Park in Manchester, TN and the world famous Stonehenge in southern England, observe this event. The Sun rises at the farthest point north on the horizon. The following day, it begins to rise further south on the horizon each day. Poetically, returning to its “home” in the Southern quadrant of “fire”.
Astrologically, this holiday begins the sign of Cancer, the crab, the lobster, the pinching hard-shelled, sweet-inside creatures. I used M&M’s to demonstrate cancerian energies in an Astrology class I taught.
The Astrological cycle is the solar, agricultural calendar. It is about 5,000 years old, developed by Babylonians. Babylonians, you see, did not have a Walgreens from which to buy your annual wall calendar. Farming communities needed a device, a mnemonic, to keep people attuned to the intense work of farming. Farming is not a natural way; agriculture coerces the world into giving you what you need, often with excess. Humans grew up as hunter-gatherers, getting what they need from the natural world. Agriculture is artificial, so you need devices like calendars and holidays to keep people engaged.
Cancer is the sign of mothering: nurture, protect, care and feeding. This is the time of year to nurture growing crops. Tend to them, water them, fuss over them as the heat grow intense.
This is the best time of year to harvest and dry medicinal herbs. The leaves are full grown and still contain theri effective compounds and essential oils. Those get used up dealing with heat, and also with developing seeds. Cut, bundle and hang them to dry out of direct sun and rain. Usually they are dry enough to store after 3 days.
Water your animals, too. They also need care in summer’s heat. In fact, this is a good time of year to nurture your own self. Relax, enjoy nature in its fullest growth. Rest, take vacation (perhaps to the beach!) Watch butterflies, lightning bugs, dragonflies and birds.
If you cannot stand hot weather, try eating spicy food every day. It can help you build your heat tolerance. Thai, Indian, Mexican cuisines are meant to help people deal with hot weather.
To best grasp the essence of this holiday, I want you to imagine sunlight sparkling on water. *~*~*~*
Wiccans know that at this holiday, the Oak King is defeated by the Holly King, in their eternal struggle for dominance. Oak rules as daylight grows, and sees to the budding of springtime. Holly, who rules when daylight wanes, will lose again at Yule, the Winter Solstice.
This is the time of year to honor your wells, your water source. Humans are fascinated by sparkling things – glitter, jewelry, suncatchers – because in the wild we have a real need to find and recognize water sources.
This is a time of year to honor the fae, your land spirits. They are heady with joy at this height of wilderness growth.
This is the time of year to honor the Sun, by whatever name you call it. Lugh, Apollo, Ukko, Ra, Nyame, Surya, Amaterasu, Enulanuhi, Xi He, just a few names. Also keep in mind that most pantheons have more than one deity associated with the Sun: the orb itself, its controller, its admirer, its primary magician or astronomer, its positions thru out the day.
How does one honor a well, a water source? Traditionally with flowers, branches that demonstrate growth, ribbons or rags (perhaps washing rags?), pins and jewelry. Create a water source for wildlife, if you can: a birdbath, rain garden, or small pond.
I wonder, tho, if the jewelry was a gift begging the well to produce during drought. Wells are treasure troves for archaeologists, and I think the archeologists are correct in this case, when they surmise an act to be religious.
How does one honor the fae? First, show respect. They are ancient and have long memories. If you wish to visit them, visit during the “between” times of day: dawn, sunset, midnight. Take good care of your gardens, trees, and property; the best care you can give. The fae know if you are doing your best. Do not cause unnecessary harm to insects or small animals. Plant things that attract those bees, butterflies and birds I suggested you watch, earlier. Bless your own land with offerings of cream, honey, shiny or bright-colored beads or candies. I am told they love jelly beans.
How does one honor the Sun? Watch the sunrise, use suncatchers, dance in spirals, spin, set out pinwheels, dress in yellow and orange. At Yule, we keep watch during the long night to see the Sun rise again. At Litha, spend the day outside if we can, and watch the sun set as well. Eat round, yellow cookies like vanilla cremes or lemon cookies, drink herb tea, set out a bowl of water to reflect the sunlight.
How do Americans celebrate? Did you know that Americans celebrate this holiday? We are a Cancerian nation, our national birthdate is the 4th of July. Our culture values motherhood, protectiveness, home life. We like to celebrate this time of year with cookouts, reunions, music, bright colored clothes, fireworks, swimming.
Other cultures celebrate, too. Many build bonfires, but to me it seems that nearly every festival involves a bonfire. One tradition is for young people to jump over the fire to capture the prosperity of this time of year. (Mostly, only the young people will do this.) Catholics honor St John the Baptist – again, water and light.
Litha is a time of prosperity and abundance. I recommend you bundle up your good things, and enjoy them.

Notes on School as I would Have It

4 quarters of the year, 10 weeks each
3 weeks off beginning of each season (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
Child begins Kindergarten the season after they turn 5 years

K thru 12 campuses include gardens, trails, sport arena, greenhouse, zoo and/or small farm
Breakfast, Lunch & afternoon snack (balanced, good nutrition) free

Fluent in ASL by 6th grade
Fluent in a foreign language by 12th grade
Latin K-12

Comprehensive Physical Education:
Line dance K-3, Contra dance 4-7, Square dance 8-12
Yoga, martial arts, Gymnatstics in Winter & Summer
Team Sports in Spring, Autumn
Missiles & targets: stones K-3, archery 4-6, pellet 7-8, BB 9-10, handguns 11-12
First aid K-6
CPR 7-12
Marching and queueing K-3
Hiking and Orienteering 4-12

Debate and public speaking taught from 2nd grade
Memorize the Preamble by 3rd grade
Memorize the Constitution by 6th grade
Memorize the Bill of Rights by 12th grade

Singing and drumming K – 3
Singing and keyboard or recorder 3 – 6
Singing and another instrument 7 – 12

Science
Astronomy K-12, beginning with Moon phases
Biology includes horticulture, animal husbandry
Physics includes hand missile sports

Reading includes reading for fun, recitation, writing, and book clubs

Home Economics taught in Mathematics class 1 – 12
Horticulture taught in Science class K – 12
History includes drama, art, and language
Geography includes culinary, horticulture
Sewing is taught in Geometry 6-10
Drafting is taught in Shop 11-12
Scorekeeping is taught in Mathematics

Failure is acceptable part of process
Strengths enhanced, weaknesses mitigated
Every person registered to vote when they turn 18
Every person serves 2 military or civil service upon graduating
2 years of College or Trade School is free

 

 

Gardening, May 2017

Waxing Moon May 2017

Pulled a lot of poison ivy. Bought a 16 pack each of pink and white begonias are mostly in the ground as of Saturday the 6th. They are in shady, easily visible locations near the driveway to cheer the driver.

Sunday, pulled lots of weeds out of the spiral garden, cut the turf with the leaf-shaped cultivator which both cuts weeds and plows a furrow.

Bought tomato, pepper, and squash from Corinne at Twin Creeks Farm. Got tomatoes and peppers into the ground in the second north tier, put squash into the second east tier corners and planted beans on either side.

Under the Waning Moon:
Seeded sunflowers on the southern outer tier alongside giant marigold. Seeded lovage along the second east tier, between the beans and squash.

Then came rain, just as the Moon entered its fourth quarter. Hooray for rain on the garden!

I still have a few geraniums to put in; plan to put them around Mama Dori’s grave, which will take preparations against ticks and mosquitoes. Also have half a dozen moonflower seeds soaking. Should be able to put these in at the new Moon on Friday.