Saturday, April 30, 2011

Outdoor WHAT Starts Today?

What a difference a year makes. And what lessons we learn from parties and festivals!

Last year (well, early last year) I was still lamenting my age and the fact that I haven't had a mini-me. Even when I was a kid myself, I was sure giving birth was always going to be part of the plan.

As John Lennon said, 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.'

I reached my late thirties, where I am now, and started to worry. People my age have teenagers already. I could have been young and stupid (in a very different way from my actual youth and stupidity) and lived long enough not to regret it anymore. I could have devoted my life to a kid and had it back by now.

(Yeah, right.)

You especially think about these things a lot when you are in the Pagan community. So much of our lore centers around consorts and fertility. Especially fertility. It makes sense. If the plants (and possibly animals) didn't have babies, we would all die. They reproduce, and we live. It's all about babies, babies, babies, or so it seemed.

And then one night, after a few Hand Grenades, I learned to live in the moment.

It wasn't a new lesson, but I needed a reminder, a major one, and I got it.  After planning my life and my future to death, I realized anew that my life is happening right now and I might as well enjoy it.

In the months to follow, I discovered a new Maiden-related aspect of myself, to put it delicately. I made up for my frankly somber teenage years. I made a few missteps and eventually righted them.  But mostly, I met men on a more even playing field than I ever had before.

You're not supposed to learn lessons at parties, especially not happy lessons, but I did. I am thankful to my friends for being a part of it. I may not have shown up at the same shindig this year--I was too emotionally sore at the time to celebrate any official or unofficial holiday--but I still appreciate the change it made in my life. I colored eggs a little late this year, but I remembered to celebrate every day of my life.

Happy Beltane.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eggs for Beltane?

Coloring eggs with natural dyes is a little bit like learning your Pagan path. You find a lot of information that's been passed along by people who never tried it or checked it out, just found it in writing somewhere. Some of it works and makes sense. Some doesn't.

And most people make it way too complicated.

You don't need a different vegetable or herb for each color of egg. Just start with the primary colors and dip the eggs in a second dye to achieve secondary colors. Beet juice makes pink. Red cabbage makes blue (yes, really). Turmeric makes yellow (you can use curry powder). Most of the other dye suggestions either don't dye the egg (spinach) or make it a color you don't want (gray from hibiscus petals--go figure). 

Heat up the dye bath before the eggs go in. I boiled mine IN the dye baths. Also, include a little white vinegar to make the color stick. It takes a while (hours, in some cases), but it works.

Oh yeah, the calendar. The Wiccan flavored Ostara was a month ago, but today is Easter Sunday. I have a single 'Easter lily' blooming out front exactly on time, which is unheard of. I say this Easter is as Pagan as the earlier one, except that we're past the spring equinox. Bunnies, chicks, flowers, and eggs are a lot easier to associate with new life all around us than with a certain theology.

I did participate in a lovely public Beltane ritual last night, except that Beltane isn't for a couple more weeks. Late Ostara, early Beltane.

Call this a spiritual brunch.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vegetable Plants and Pizza Plants

Ever since seeing Wall-E a few months ago, I've been fascinated and horrified at the premise: a dusty, trashy world with not one plant (that humans know of). The more I think of it, the more I am comforted by how far away we are from the dystopia in the film. As much as our industry and our sheer numbers have done to Mother Earth, she still contains innumerable varieties of flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees.

And weeds.

I just go out to the yard, and I'm tickled. Never mind that the bulk of my 'lawn' is sandspur plants with the spur part mowed off. Never mind that something ate all the leaves off most of my pole bean seedlings. I think, would you just LOOK at the number and variety of green things? Some have medicinal uses I am aware of; others fit Emerson's definition of a weed: 'a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.'

The more I look, the more I realize the biggest hole in the plot of Wall-E: the amazing ability to replenish the world's biodiversity after finding one little vine growing in an old shoe. The folks on that spaceship couldn't even put back the things in my tiny yard in the trailer park. Forget about the birds here, the bees, arachnids, squirrels, different kinds of lizards, tiny crawling insects of many colors: they couldn't even put the weeds back. (Nor would they know how, considering the spaceship captain seemed to think even pizza grew out of the ground.)

You know what the best part is about weeds? They grow back. As much as we screw up, we still get flowers growing in sidewalk cracks.  We still get edible greens and mushrooms without planting them. We may not even be aware of this gift all around us, but it keeps giving for as long as we let it.

All I can say is thank you to my Creator, the mother of us all.