Beltane


Once again, the ritual was prepared at the last moment and unsatisfactory to me. It worked, but it could have been so much better.

I did search on the net for food and drink to have at Beltane, but I couldn’t find anything apart from nettle soup, which is traditionally made at springtime and other recipes which look invented. There were one or two books which came up on my search which I am going to have to get out of the library and see if they’re any good.

I did get a hawthorn branch in for Beltane, the only time it isn’t unlucky to have that particular tree in the house or cut branches from it. Hawthorn is one of the trees that’s traditionally a fairy tree and they don’t like humans interfering with what is theirs.

I usually do a spell to protect the cat against disease, but since she was in the cattery I will have to do that when she returns, but after I have put the flea treatment on her.

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Hawthorns, Bluebells and Forsythia


<At the weekend we walked in the old wood where the forest floor is carpeted in bluebells. It’s a magnificent sight to behold, with the sweet scent of the bluebells rising off the forest floor. I also saw garlic mustard and ground ivy plants, speckled wood and orange tip butterflies in the forest. The sun was out, the birds were calling and it was a lovely walk.

The old part of the forest is still very unfriendly to people. I did talk to it, but it distrusts people so much now that it will take time and offerings before it trusts anyone again.

We also pruned most of the forsythia in the garden. There were some nice pieces I could have dried and made a wand out of, but it’s so inimical to humans I would not have dared to use the wand. Since I want the forsythia to remain part of the garden I will have to do something about this. Pruning is part of it, as the forsythia feels uncared for as it hasn’t been pruned for years. A lot of shrubs can do well without any pruning, but forsythia really needs to be pruned or it becomes straggly.

In the new part of the forest I gave an offering to our tribal tree and picked hawthorn blossom to make a hawthorn liqueur, with the hawthorn taking its usual offering of my blood. If I like the taste of the liqueur I’ll make a batch for ritual next year. I also tried to make hawthorn chutney from hawthorns I had frozen in the freezer, but that went badly and I ended up tipping the food in the bin. I’ll give it another try when the hawthorns are next out.

Foraging


Foraging is more often called wildcrafting, but I prefer to call it foraging.  It’s the art of collecting food from the wild.

Last weekend I went into the woods to forage and to introduce my betrothed to our tribe’s tree.  The introduction went smoothly enough, as it was not a ritual, just as you would introduce one friend to another.

Then my bloke stepped back and said “first thoughts : our tree is at a crossroads, is there any significance in this?” upon which I hit my head because I should have realised that!

There will be a ritual to solemnize the relationship between our tree and us, but I’m still working on it.  I’m using a form of poetry called quatrains, which are used in the Irish texts and I’m finding it very hard going.

We found some blackberries, which I will eat for breakfast with yoghurt, hawthorns which I have a chutney recipe to try out and oak leaves.  There were only a few rose hips and a good few sloes, but I have a bottle of homemade sloe gin sitting at home.  I’ve only recently remembered that I should have taken the sloes out six months ago, so I’ll have to do that soon and tell you all if it’s drinkable…

The oak leaves are for an infused oil that I’ve started making for the wood of my stang/rod that I’m also making.  I don’t know if the leaves will infuse properly, plus I’m using olive oil as my base instead of sunflower (because olive oil comes from trees) so I’ll have to see what happens.

We also found the old part of the forest.  It has some marvellous trees – a huge hawthorn, the biggest I’ve ever seen that towers up to the sky.  I really wanted to investigate it properly, but time was getting on and we needed to forage.  It’s going to take me a lot of time to get to know this wood properly.