Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beltane Blog Hop: Uniting Opposites


Welcome to the 2014 Beltane Blog Hop! Please use the links at the top or bottom of this page to continue along in your reading loop, and check out the other wonderful posts in our circle.

As I was considering how I wanted to discuss "uniting opposites" - the theme chosen by our wrangler, Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose - a lot of topics crossed my mind: how much I love sweet and sour candy….the way I've always thought of my sister and I as "yin and yang"…..me and my pair of cowboy boots (so wrong but so right?)....even our move two years ago from the cool forests and lakes of Michigan-land to the palmy and balmy sands of Florida (exchanging a northern peninsula for a southern one). What I finally felt most motivated to write about, however, was my garden, because I've been ruminating on it lately and I think it works well for May Day!

My herb garden

Remember when I said "balmy sands of Florida"? I wasn't just talking about the beach, I was talking about the craptastic "soil" in my backyard, which has been a bane as I've toiled for long hours attempting to grow my own veggies and greens. Last summer I excitedly purchased top soil and seeds, and watched with glee as my husband built a raised bed for me. The seeds rapidly transformed from seedlings to plants.....but it was all very anticlimactic. The tomato plants produced about 3 little grape tomatoes all season long, the labyrinth of watermelon vines nurtured a single fruit that didn't embrace its full glory before needing to be picked due to a declining stem. The pepper plant gave me one pepper which took months to grow large enough to harvest, and even then I don't think it was completely ready. The only things that thrived were my daughter Lourdes' marigolds.

This year I decided to try a different approach. Clearly the dirt wasn't an easy partner to work with, so in a last ditch attempt to grow SOMEthing edible, I resorted to herbs. The greatest union of opposites so far this spring has been the agreement I managed to strike with my garden to allow some lovely herbs to take root, and it seems quite fitting for a May Day post!

I have a joyful cilantro plant, fragrant rosemary, and creeping thyme. Lourdes' marigolds have resprouted, marking the plot with shots of gold and orange. Aside from the glory of having finally been able to cultivate something in my raised bed, each of these plants serves a purpose. They can all be used for cooking, adding nice shades of flavor to many dishes. The rosemary and thyme also have medicinal and magical properties. Both herbs can be used in teas and other applications. Rosemary is an astringent that can treat various skin conditions, and is great for purification. Magically speaking it's said to aid in enhancing memory, so is great for dream pillows and past-life regression work. Meanwhile thyme is great for treating coughs and digestive discomfort, and also has antibacterial components. Magically, thyme is another fitting element in a dream pillow as it helps prevent nightmares. It's said to strengthen fortitude, and reduce melancholy, and as such is great for emotional healing work.

So to recap, the dirt and I melded our very different minds and produced (as all unions do) a third entity: some lovely herbs.

Now bringing divination into this fragrant, green wonderland, I considered the question: what union-of-opposites am I working on right now? I shuffled my new Thoth deck (which will have to be the subject of a future post!) and pulled a single card…

8 of Swords - Interference

Thoth Tarot - Crowley/Harris

Two swords stand straight up; a mind looking for clarity of direction and purpose, but there's a lot of "other stuff" that gets in the way - the attempt to find too many solutions, entertain too many possibilities, analyze too many potential outcomes - making it hard to organize my thoughts at times. While some things in my environment are progressing really well, others are in various stages of chaos, thoughts flying around left and right, too many threads of intellect spinning against each other counterproductively. (Incidentally, and appropriately for this post, it's in moments of over-active mental states that I like to seek out my garden for a period of meditative (and aromatic) respite!) Those two swords are two poles, bringing together clarity with chaos, working to right the remaining 6 swords so that all 8 may usher me forward rather than giving me a bumpy ride. My mind as my own worst enemy! Being aware of this is helpful in that by understanding the reality of my intellectual busy-ness I can make an effort to sort and calm my thoughts, choose the most important areas on which to focus my energy, and slowly weed my mental garden.

Happy May Day, Happy Beltane! Please see the links below to continue through the circle!

20 comments:

  1. How lovely you and your "dirt" have become coworkers.
    I like how you interpret this card from you new Thoth deck. I have this deck too but until now I get nothing from it :(

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    1. Thanks, Ellen! Sometimes you just have to give a little, I suppose… ;-) Yeah I've been enjoying the Thoth, I'll have to write about it soon…..!!

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  2. I love it!!! And I learned a new word-craptastic. Yay!!!!!

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  3. Blessed Beltane! May your herbs grow better than your fruits & veggies. :)

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    1. Thank you for the lovely blessing, a wonderful Beltane to you as well!

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  4. It was probably a good idea to switch to herbs--they tend to handle poor soil better. Or at least, that has been my experience. Do yourself a favor and start a compost pile using your kitchen scraps and lawn clippings, it will help improve your soil. Another nice thing about growing herbs, you get more bang for your buck--seriously, herbs cost an arm and a leg to buy at the grocery store.

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    1. Thanks, Morgan! I've thought about doing composting but haven't started, so I'll take your advice! And you're so right about the cost - grocery store herbs equate to robbery :)

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  5. I wish I could visit your garden - it sounds beautiful! And a really nice interpretation of the Thoth's (my fave deck) 8 of Swords. Thanks for this.

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    1. Thanks, Alison :) It is a soothing space for me, for sure. I've recently acquired the Thoth and love it so much that I wish I'd done so ages ago!

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  6. what a great compromise, herbs and the soil at hand.
    We didn't do any better with raised beds last year but they were easier on the backs!

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    1. Sorry to hear about your plants, but I'm relieved I'm not the only one! Happy May to you!

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  7. Inspired by your post, I went out to buy some oregano, sage and rosemary seeds...I think Ms Gardening Disaster here needs to get back into it again. I gave up on it when my herbs died one by one. Lets see how it goes

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    1. That's excellent! I wish you very well with your new gardening endeavor, then :)

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  8. Gardening can be frustrating... often what you'd like to grow is not what wants to grow... When I first had my garden, I had grand plans of how it would be... then plants either didn't grow or got eaten by slugs! I got fed up of buying things... so my husband started bringing home plants that people had thrown in the bins where he works... So now I have a pot luck garden... but rescued plants seem to grow really well. I guess they're glad they're not on the scrap heap!

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    1. That's wonderful! A potluck, adopted garden, sounds really cool. And you're right, I'm sure they're grateful they have a home :-D

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  9. I spent some time in an ashram in Canada several years ago and got to experience the meditativeness of planting seeds and of cleaning plant leaves. However, in general I have black thumbs when it comes to greenery, so I think I'll stick to other types of meditation :D Good luck with your herbs, they look wonderful!

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    1. Ha, aw! Black thumbs!!! Yes, I agree that growing things can be really centering, though it's certainly counterproductive when things start dying no matter what you do ;-) Thanks, the herbs have been very satisfying! :)

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  10. Meditation and gardening are excellent companions. And Morgan speaks true about herbs. I did expect you to be able to do better with food stuffs climate-wise than Michigan, but there must be some local soil issues; we've had great results here in SE Texas with veggies (and rosemary, although it doesn't like having wet feet). We did incorporate a lot of humus and composted stuff not the soil. Do try your veggies again, I think, unless you are in a high-salt area near the coast. That can be devastating.

    I do love your perspective on the Thoth card. You may find this deck works well for you. It can be a challenge, though, as Ellen pointed out. :)

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    1. Thanks for your great post, Joanne! Yes I will keep trying with veggies - the radishes seem to be doing okay this spring so far, but the broccoli apparently never had a chance. The kale seems alright too, just that it's all very slow growing. I will have to add some compost, I'm sure. I'm not near the coast (about an hour away) but our soil is very sandy and not very full of nutrients. Yeah, the Thoth is something special, and I'm really enjoying it - I've been reading through DuQuette's book and it's wonderful!

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