Spreading the Ashes

wood-ashes-xIt has long been a dream of mine to have a nice fire pit in the yard, this weekend the dream was finally realized and we were able to burn the wooden archway from our handfasting ceremony. It has long since fallen over and crashed so I was happy to see it put to further use. But, this brought up the topic of what to do with the ashes…. I know Belfire ashes get spread in the garden and smudged on faces. The ashes would be sprinkled over the crops to promote growth and continue the full circle of life… but it made me wonder…how good can it be? Am I growing the right kind of crops? So I did a little research to share…

Wood ash, as oppose to coal ash, contains potassium / potash which is a vital nutrient for rich crops. The pot ash regulates the plants water balance (much as it does in humans) and makes the fruit or veggies firm and juicy. Without enough in the soil plants are susceptible to drought, frost, pests (like snails or slugs) and other diseases.

Pot ash can also be spread in the home compost (but not in green bins by HRM law) the ash is Alkaline and will raise the PH levels in your soil so sprinkle it gently rather than heaping it in. It is best used dry to maintain its potency and value.

Potash is great for crops like root vegetables, peas, beans, apple trees and soft fruit bushes. Acid loving produce like potatoes or berries do not thrive with too much potash. If you plan to use pot ash and are not sure what effect it will have it is best to test the PH of your garden and make reference to what you are growing. The see packet will have a recommended PH right alongside the sun, water and planting requirements.

 

Happy growing and bright blessings on your garden!

Current Blessing of the Kindreds

During our recent Beltane celebration the blessing Omen received was:

YEW

(keywords: Transitions, transformation, renewal, rebirth. An opening, a new element approaching.)

Yew is a tree of transition.  It represents on the one hand things passing, ending, or dying.  One aspect of your life is fading away. This is often difficult or painful to accept.  yet is also signifies that which is about to be reborn. it ushers in the new and draws our attention to the continuous cycle of endings and beginnings.

(excerpt taken from “OGAM – The Celtic oracle of the trees by Paul Rhys Mountfort)

The Green Man

The other day I found myself trying to describe the Green Man to someone and it dawned on me that though many people have seen him, most don’t know his significance so I thought I might talk a little about that…

For many, the Green man is an old British character from folklore; a myth; a decoration and a popular name for pubs. For me however, he is a God of Growing, life, decay and death. He is the embodiment and life force behind all vegetation. He is the energy of the plant world and its continuous cycle. He is the intention behind all growth and the result of it.

 

The Green Man is not a compassionate god. He lives to live. In the Spring he is renewed and happy, growing and progressing. Come Summer, he becomes cautiously optimistic and at full potential but, Fall is coming and he knows the struggle that lies ahead with Winter respite. It is easy to see how the Green Man can influence and guide us in our every day life. All things are cyclical and there is comfort in that.

 

The topic had come up because I was commissioning a sketch for our family Grimoire and the artist had genuine interest in making this personal to us. While trying to find inspirational images for him I came across this fantastic tutorial (http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/10739/1/1/how-to-draw-the-green-man,-green-man.htm ) and it occurred to me that it would be a fun craft to draw you own and include some of the plants local to your area or yard. This could be a fun way to make him special to you.

Beltane Fun

May 02 2015, marked the Grove’s first Beltane fair, and what a fun day was had.  The air was cool, but the sun came out and warmed us all.  It began with friends and family gathering for a wonderful ritual, in which all in attendance both the very wee, and the not-so-wee, were invited to jump the ritual fire.  Some made it over the main fire, while others leaps the small pile of ashes that accidentally made it to the ground.  Even the little ones got in the act as we swung them over the fire pit.  It was great to get everyone involved.

After wards two grove members had a battle of words while personifying the Seasons of Winter and Summer.  Rest assured that though Winter put up quite the fight, summer proved triumphant.  This was much in evidence as the day following temperatures rose to a sunny 15 degrees.

We retired indoors briefly for warm cider, and great chats, before the muchly awaited Beltain pole dance.  We added a modern twist to this tradition by adding our wishes and hopes for the year to the pole, and as the dancers wrapped the pole (with much energy and laughter as they danced around) the wishes were held tightly.  (At the end of the day the pole was taken and wrapped where it will be stored for a year with wished and ribbons intact)

With the formal activities all taken care of, the potluck meal was begun, and more rousing conversation.  Some chose to stay by the fire and enjoy the first flames of the season, while others preferred the modern hearth and honored the kitchen party.

As the day winded down, guests and grove members alike were invited to light a candle from the fire, and take it home to rekindle the energies in their homes.  All in all.. a wonderful day that will hopefully grow and be repeated.

 

Other activities for the Beltane minded:

Take flowers and place them above each window and door to the outside in your home to invite new life, growth, and inspiration.  If you have a bramble bush on your property, place a few flowers here as well.

On the morning of Beltane turn out all the lights and put out all fires in the home, and with the candle from the ritual fire, light a candle in each room.  This will bring the prosperity, fertility, and creative energies back into the home after the long winter cold.