21 Summer Memories
1. The smell of hot pavement damp with rain.
2. Cool green grass beneath my grandmother’s apple trees.
3. Chocolate ice-cream cones from the little shop around the corner.
4. Short pixie haircuts and matching short outfits.
5. Panting dogs, lazy cats.
6. Summer storms coming– black angry skies, rumbling thunder, and those first large hesitant drops of rain.
8. Grandma’s large old picnic basket with a complete set of brightly colored plates, cups, and utensils.
9. Kool-Aid in a large clear pitcher, with enough sugar to kill a horse; and iced-tea.
10. Fans humming at night.
11. A cool pillowcase turning warm, till you turn it over to another cool side.
12. Hot cement on bare feet.
13. The smell of tomato vines.
14. Early morning sunshine falling across the flower beds.
15. The fishy smell of Lake Mitchell and the winding tree-lined gravel roads around it.
16. Cool linoleum floors.
17. Silver nail polish
18. Bicycling everywhere, on a new girls’ blue bike (circa 1968).
19. Silver moonlight falling on my grandmother’s pear tree, so bright it was hard to believe it was night.
20. My grandmother’s turquoise & white checked table cloth used for family dinners.
21. Laying lazily on my bed on hot afternoons, in front of an open window, with the elm tree right outside, reading old copies of Nancy Drew mysteries, Ann Sheridan in the ‘Sign of the Sphinx‘, Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Eight Cousins’, and the adventures of flight nurse Cherry Ames.
I don’t know how Laura Ingalls Wilder survived the pioneer age through summer heat and humidity with no air-conditioning and not even one lousy electric fan. I would’ve died. I took my camera outside to capture some of our flowers and stuff this week and was amazed when the lens fogged over. I guess you can tell how cool we keep our house.
This is my new birdbath. I wanted something large enough for the larger birds to be able to get in and really enjoy– and they do! I make sure that I empty, rinse, and refill all birdbaths at least every other day, so that the birds always have fresh clean water and so that mosquito larvae will not thrive in this standing water.
My Virginia Creeper is running amok in this small garden space at the east side of the house, and I let it have it’s way– love it! The Day Lilies and the Echinachea are still blooming. Everything seems a bit later than usual this year, I suppose because May was so darn cold, everything got a late start.
Lily: The gender is feminine (receptive), the planet– Moon; the element– Water; deities include Venus, Juno, Nepthys, Kwan Yin. It’s magickal powers include protection, especially against the evil eye, ghosts, and unwanted visitors. (And I’d have to say that they’ve done an exceptional job on a couple of these points!)
Lilies are also used magically to break love spells (keep a note of this!) and to help bring clues to light in criminal cases.
Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower): This plant was used by American Indians to ensure and strengthen spells. It’s also used medicinally to treat infections. It’s an extraordinarily popular flower, and it grows like gangbusters here in Nebraska. I started years ago planting it in my virgin flowerbeds and it has since spread on it’s own, coming up in some rather unusual places; and me being me, I let it stay where it wishes to go.
Summer wouldn’t be summer without a pot of petunias sitting around somewhere. They bring to mind childhood memories, when my Aunt would buy large boxes of a lavender petunia they called “Sugar Daddy”, and my sister and I would each be given our own little spot of ground to plant them.
My daughters enjoy these vibrant blossoms just as much as my sister and I did.
The treehouse deck is very cozy and private this year, the tree limbs have grown down around the front of it so that you feel very hidden and protected, magickal and empowered, when you sit up there. It’s also very peaceful, and if it weren’t for the large swarms of mosquitoes that we have right now, or the stifling humidity, you’d find me up there more often. But that will change with fall and the color of the leaves.
I have a birdbath and feed platter, as well as the cats’ water bowl and food dishes up here. I know that those two things don’t sound like they go together, but so far, everyone has gotten along. (It must be a special place, where nature can call a truce.)
The girls, and some of the cats, have enjoyed the carpeted treehouse this year– the entrance is above the chair, to the right side of the photo.
My sunflowers surrounding a bird feeding station in the front yard are tall, waaaay above my head, and they’re blooming now! Sunflowers (and lilacs) are my favorite flowers, so I’m always tickled to see these large cheerful blossoms. I leave all plants stand until spring, so during the winter birds enjoy the natural food of seeds, right from the stem. It’s taken me a while to convince my ex-farmer husband to let everything just sit and do it’s normal and natural thing in the autumn and winter, but I think I’ve won him over.
Mother Nature knows best. There’s a rhyme and reason for everything.
Sunflower: the energy is masculine (projective); the planet is the Sun; the element Fire. The seeds of the sunflower are said to enhance fertility, and women wishing to get pregnant would benefit by eating the seeds. (That’s easy– they taste good!) Sunflowers make wishes come true, reveal the truth, guard against pests (all varieties), keep you virtuous ( if you wish to be :), and give good luck to their gardener. What more could you want?
This is the remnants of my Elemental candles. Skry the wax and tell me if you see anything. We have fun doing this at our house, and some of the unusual observations have really hit the mark, more often than not. Some people are actually very gifted with this type of magick. I don’t always allow my candles to burn down this way, most of the time I burn the votive candles in glass candle holders; but once in a while, I’ll just let them pool. I burned these candles over the course of several evenings, a week or two ago.
Online tarot classes: http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/onlineclasses.htm
Another Summer Solstice is almost upon us. This is a quiet holiday at our house. When my son was a little boy, he used to like to stay up through the ‘witching hour’ and watch for fairies. He’d get comfy in his pj’s and robe; I’d gather up a lawn chair and place it beneath the large apple tree in our yard; and I’d prepare a special candle, placing it in a cauldron along with some herbs to offer the fairies. It was his time to sit quietly outside in the dark and watch for fairies, the only light being that of the candle.
Most of the time, these evenings were uneventful, but one Mid-Summer’s Eve, my son’s patience was rewarded.
From across the lawn, he saw what he said looked like three very small blue lights dancing along the top of the fence. Eventually these three tiny lights dropped from the fence to the lawn beneath, where they bounced around in the grass for several seconds, and then they disappeared. My son came back to the house breathless and wide-eyed to tell me what he had seen.
The next morning, we went out to investigate the grass where the lights had been. Overnight, three mushrooms had popped up to create a perfectly formed triangle in this area, and the grass in the middle of this formation was whithered and yellowed.
I can’t tell you with 100% accuracy whether what my son saw were fairies or not, but that really doesn’t matter. All that really matters is that one little boy had a very magickal and memorable night.
At my website, you’ll find more information on Pagan holidays, including rituals and videoes. I have this link set to take you directly to “Wheel Of the Year”:
On Mid-Summer’s Eve, 1980, my step-grandfather died after enduring a long and tortorous bout with throat cancer. I’ve always thought that perhaps, when people pass on this magickal date, the fairies that are about will help these souls cross into the Summerland.
Following are correspondences for the month of June, including correspondences and other information for the pagan holiday of Litha. This information is an excerpt from my books, “The Gray Witch’s Grimoire” & “The Book of Magick”, and is copyrighted material.
© The Gray Witch’s Grimoire/The Book of Magick
Amythyst Raine 2011
Named for: “Juno”, chief Roman goddess and female counterpart
Birthstone: pearl, alexandrite, moonstone
June Moon Magick:
Herbs: almond, dill, lily, lemongrass, clover
Stones: citrine herkimer, alexandrite,
blue lace agate
Scents: lily of the valley, lavender
Colors: orange, yellow-green
Deities: Isis, Green Man, Cerridwen
Astrological Influences for June
Gemini: ruled by Mercury, projective/masculine, mutable/air
Cancer: ruled by the Moon, receptive/feminine, cardinal/water
This is the longest period of daylight in the year, a time of magick, fairies, and the immortalized Mid-Summer’s Eve. Fairy contact is generally easier to achieve on this day, for those of you who are brave enough to invoke the mischievous little folk, that is. But don’t be surprised if soon after you can’t find your favorite earrings, or the car keys, or any other shiny inviting objects you may have left laying around.
This is a popular month for weddings, though few in the Christianized world realize why…The Druid’s celebrated the Summer Solstice as the ‘marriage between heaven & earth’, and thus the popular belief that June is a ‘lucky’ month for marriage ceremonies.
There will be Pagan spirit gatherings all around the world at this time, the most famous and the most notable at Stone Henge, where large groups of people will light bonfires and stay up all night in order to welcome the dawn.
fennel, lavender, chamomile, cinquefoil, mugwort, thyme
larkspur, rose, wisteria, St. Johns Wort
apples, citrus, fruits, ale, mead, honey cakes
butterflies, frogs, toads, wrens
ylang ylang, thyme, rose, sandalwood, chamomile
all night fairy vigils, candle magick, dream work, familiar blessings, herb gathering, self-dedication, sun magick
Crafting Your Magick:
Fairy magic will be powerful and their presence could herald both the mystical and the mischievous. Work on magic now that clarifies communication and highlights the element of Air. Use magic of the wee folk to tap into the fairy realms. Magic now is all about movement– movement of ideas, creations, people, and places. This is the perfect time to cast spells of transformation, spells to increase/decrease, to banish/manifest. Think about where it is you want to be, either from a mental or physical perspective, and cast the magic needed to move you along to this destination.
The solar plexus is the chakras to focus on. Learn to assert yourself, or to tone down an overbearing attitude. And which energy applies to you? If you don’t know, I’ll bet the people around you do.