Beltane Newsletter 30 April 2021
Beltane: fun festival: Fire Festival: Fertility festival: Frivolity festival: and this year, the final stretch of cabin fever, as lockdown eases and we can begin to light our fire again! If all goes to plan, this month will see things opening up in time for Beltane and we can breathe a sigh of relief and let our hair ‘dangle’ a little rather than letting it down fully…just yet! It has been a tough winter, but finally, some let-up from lockdown!! Oh, to be able to go out and have a drink somewhere other than my garden, my kitchen or my summerhouse, and oh to be back on the road and be able to travel and see more than the journey walking from my house to my shop and back again.
Beltane begins at dusk, and tradition says that the fire should be lit before the sun goes down and burn through the night, partying till dawn. Yep, I think I can do that…social distancing with a maximum of 6 outdoors of course! Beltane begins as the Hawthorne flowers but I think it will be a lengthy celebration as we come out of lockdown… opening hospitality is timed with a 2-day Super Moon (closest angle to Earth) followed by Beltane the weekend after and Bank Holiday Monday – 8-days of carnage I suspect, but I too will be waiting for the beer garden to open Monday lunch…oh yeah…let the fun begin!!
The Art of Perfume…
I love aromas of essential oils and perfume, and I don’t feel dressed unless I have perfume on, and I think I get this from my mum who never went out without her bit of ‘lippy’ and a spray of Chanel No5. One of our 5 senses, the sense of smell, can trigger memories from childhood or a past love affair or summer holidays. It can make us sad or happy, can affect our well-bring and we don’t realise its importance until we lose it i.e. when we have a cold, and then our sense of taste dissipates too. It is primarily there to defend us against danger…without it, we couldn’t detect the danger of fire or gas, or food that’s off and will make us sick if we eat it! Like I mentioned, most of our taste sensations are actually from the olfactory system which controls our sense of smell which sends signals to the brain. Smell works on those signals and is part of our primitive brain, hence why perfume can trigger emotions and bring a blast from the past: lose that sense and it can lead to lack of enjoyment in life.
Aromatics have been used since time began…scented wood burned on the fire, incense in prayer, and anointing with infused perfumed oils to please the Gods in Egyptian times. Aromatic resins such as Frankincense are part of the incense route and cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and black pepper part of the Spice trail, such was the demand even back during the Roman Empire. Perfumes probably came about during the times of the Alchemist in their desire to turn metal into gold, they learned to distil and are maybe regarded as the 1st chemists! The art of the Perfumier was recognised back in the 12th century but it was Louis 16th that promoted perfume and its art from 1643. Charles 1 then put tax on soap, which encouraged the use of perfume in England to cover the lack of personal hygiene!! From then on, the perfume houses were launched and grew from strength to strength. However, they really found their value in the roaring 20’s, as women came out the corset to shorter dresses and bobbed hair and Coco Chanel gave us her No5. The popularity of the French perfume houses became history around the world, and since then, have reflected the world of fashion, their place in the world and any changes in the world.
I for one have devolved my love of perfume as I have grown. From Kiku, Tramp and Charlie as a teenager to Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Rive Gauche and ‘Anais Anais’ in the mid 70’s – 80’s, Opium and Poison in the mid- late 80’s, Channel No5 (like mum) and then began my relationship with Tom Ford: a friend gave me Black Orchid and have been a Tom girl ever since. This sound familiar? What memories do perfumes from the past bring to mind? My friend and I had great fun reminiscing back to the past…and all those different perfumes and what memories they brought back. Poison was a favourite, but after never used it again after my ex sent a bottle for my birthday with the note – “This is the last present you will ever get from me…and how apt the name!” Funnily, he moved further and further away from where I stayed until he was out of Scotland where he deserved to be after that!!
The fabulousness of Honeysuckle
As the trees begin to turn green with leaves, and the aroma of blossom fills the air, we can look forward to the aromatic plants we love appearing for another season. I mostly grow plants for their uses and their aromas… growing roses that don’t have scent is a complete waste of time as far as I am concerned!! One plant that I love is Honeysuckle. The smell is amazing and I have a seat next to my front door to sit to view the Moon…on one side I grow night blooming Jasmine, and on the other, Honeysuckle, which tends to release more aroma at dusk to attract pollinators, so sitting in the moon surrounded by these evening aromas is pure magick! In the past, kids would have enjoyed seeking out the wild plant and sucking the sweetness at the base of the flower, which grew in hedgerows, and that’s how it got its folk name of ”honey suckle”.
Magickally, it attracts wealth and prosperity to the home whilst ensuring protection from illness too, if grown around the doorway…mine isn’t round it, but is in the near the front door…and has always been lucky for me!
In folk medicine, Honeysuckle flowers are good for asthma, whilst the leaves are rich in salicylic acid (active ingredient in Aspirin), so good for aches and pains, colds and headaches.
A good old-fashioned cupboard folk remedy was ‘Honeysuckle Honey’ – here’s how to make your own!
Fill a jar with honeysuckle flowers and buds, pressing them down as you go, and fill the jar with local runny honey, giving it a stir to make sure the air is out and all the flowers are submerged. Put the lid on and place in a dark cupboard for about a month. After the infusion has taken place, slightly warm the honey to allow it to be strained to remove the flowers, re-jar it and take a spoonful whenever you need it for coughs, sore throats and you feel a cold coming on. Very useful cupboard remedy for your ‘hot honey and lemon’ in the winter. Use within 12 months.
A new fancy stone…
You’ll all remember I named my daughter-in-law’s bump ‘Bumble’ based on his black and yellow pram…and it stuck. I have even a gift from him of a silver bee to mark my 60th birthday. Last year I discovered the random stone that is Bumble bee Jasper…a bright yellow/orange and black striped stone…who knew! I just had to get some for us in jewellery…and now I finally have it! It is a striking stone though they’re not sure exactly what its composition is, but they suspect the colour is from a red stone called Realger and the yellow Orpiment, but what it isn’t is Jasper!
That aside, this striking orange-yellow & black striped stone is an energizer, and helps you to grasp changes (something enforced on all of us this last year) …even I have to figure how to move my shop forward in our new normal that works for both me and the customers! It encourages you to go out and discover what’s out there, get creative and make things happen in your life without those rash emotional thoughts influencing you… again, good for post-Covid as we try to get our lives back! It helps remove objects, whether self-made blocks or fears, and helps you move forward with positivity and confidence, leaving anxiety behind and emotions out of the way to make the relevant decisions …rather apt timing don’t you think? Enough now
New Moon for New Beginnings…
Sometimes, when things have been quite still, I will close my eyes and grab a book from my magickal shelf above my altar, asking for them to give me fresh inspiration, then I randomly open the book or books and see what opens up. It was Llewellyn’s Little Book Moon Spells that came forward, a new book, and randomly opened towards the end. Et voila…a New Moon spell for New beginnings! ’Thank you’ I whispered as it seemed so very apt for Beltane.
I usually head out on a clear evening at Dusk to see the New Moon show itself in the direction of the setting Sun. It lasts about 30 minutes on the 3rd night after the New Moon itself, which is invisible to the naked eye. Firstly, don’t look out the window to see if it is there…the 1st glimpse of the New Moon should never be through glass!! The times I have driven with my window down in case I accidently catch a glimpse of it as it appears! Usually, I go out with silver coins in pocket and turn them over x3 whilst keeping eyes on the Moon, following my first glimpse of her. However, this spell, you need to know where to look and keep your back to her direction so as not to see her. As you stand with the Moon behind you, think about your new beginning and what steps you want to take. See you taking them, (new job, new relationship, resuming a social life - whatever it is you need to do to combat your fears) and feel the joy this fresh new start in your life will bring you. What do you want to happen as normality returns? Embrace that happiness as you feel it happening. With a heart full of hope, look over your left shoulder to see the Moon, then with her in view, take a large swooping step to turn your body around to face her and know this was your 1st step towards your new journey!! With a confident smile and a heart full of joy, say 3 times over in rhyme:
Never too early, never too late, the Moon is the key to open the gate,
I choose a new path, I choose a new fate, New roads & new doorways the Moon will create
As ‘singing’ this little spell, turn the silver in your pocket each time, then state “So mote it be” before withdrawing from her gaze and get ready for the new journey with the Moon. May she bring peace, joy and happiness to you.
Your post-Covid Shop:
On 24 April, I am closing to go off for a break. It has been a trying year for me and I need a rest to determine where to go from here. So far, the shop has been by appointment only once we returned after the flood in March, so you could collect your ‘essential’ shopping and had 15 mins to add to your shopping basket in peace. Now the world is opening up, what would you like to see happening? Do you want it as a free-for-all to turn up when you want or would you like it keep it by appointment, or a mix – maybe 2 days appointment only and the rest by queue? How many in the shop would be ok and how many would make you feel uncomfortable? I await the thoughts of those who use the shop on a regular basis, so let me know how you would prefer it to exist in our new world. I don’t think we’ll ever see a packed shop again but I want you all to feel safe and at home in my new-look magickal emporium.
Full Moon: Tue 27 April @ 04.32 hrs New Moon: Tue 11 May @ 20.00 hrsmegsmatey
Full Moon: Wed 26 May @ 12.19 hrs New Moon: Thu 10 Jun @ 11.43 hrs
Sending you all Brightest Beltane blessings
from Chris (alias the Green Witch)