I was going to post this another day, but since Iggy was able to sort the photos quicker than expected - thanks for that Iggy - I figured I'd post it now. So, for those interested, here's the post about our Litha celebrations yesterday:
The first activity we'd planned to do was making the lavender syrup. So, we grabbed our bags of lavender:
And our other ingredients. Measured out what we needed for a batch of the stuff, and put it in the saucepan to cook. Here are the ingredients cooking in the pan:
I took these photos of Kelly while he was cooking the syrup:
(We decided it was best for him to be the one in charge of the part involving the cooker).
It turned out pretty good... As far as I can tell anyway. We did 4 batches (2 cups of lavender, 4 cups each of sugar and water) and it filled four of the five jars we had available to use. And here it is in the jars:
A jar for my Dad and Nan, a jar for my Mam, and it turned out to be 2 jars for us.
Then we got our pouches of herbs ready for our ritual:
And collected some Summer flowers for our altar:
(Being sure to thank the plants for giving up some flowers for us).
After which we got our altar fully set up:
We went with a simple altar. Part of this was because we don't have all the tools we should have; they never got replaced after being given up for, in my case, going to Canada, in Kelly's coming here from Canada. That's something we should have seen to sooner and plan to see to as soon as financially possible. You may notice though that my altar tile is on our altar; at least that gave us representations of some of the things (like a goddess symbol, a God symbol, and a couple of elemental symbols). We really do need to replace our ritual tools though.
And did our ritual (sorry, no photos were taken during the actual ritual).
Kero was pretty good during the ritual, though he got a bit anxious from the moment we started to cast the circle, and when we lit the candle I had to hold him tightly to stop him running right out of the circle and breaking it. I'd suspected something like that might happen - though I hadn't thought the anxiety would start with the start of circle casting... Guess he felt the energy in the air or something? - that's why I'd walked him before the ritual and neglected to remove his harness and lead when we came home so as to have some control over him.
The ritual ended with burying the pouches, so we placed the flowers we had taken from the garden with them so as to give them back to the Earth.
After that we set to work on the dream pillows.
I had knitted the pieces for the pillows before hand:
And made them in to pouches, so Kelly stuffed them with teddy bear stuffing and lavender and I sewed up the end that had been left open for this purpose. Leaving us with four little dream pillows:
The purple one is mine, the yellow one is Kelly's, the red one with the pinky coloured stripe is Nan's, and the pink one is my Mam's. No, Mam and Nan didn't come and join in, but I knew they would like a pillow each, so I made one each for them.
I'd told my Grandma (the one who some of you knew who used to come on the blogs) that if we had lavender left to do so I would make her a dream pillow too, and we still had loads left, so I spent the rest of the afternoon making this pillow for her:
We still have just over 2 bags of lavender; I guess 100g would have been enough to make syrup and dream pillows after all. I hope lavender keeps well. ;)
By the time I'd done that it was time for our "Solstice Feast" of cheese pizza and strawberries and cream. We shared a bit of the pizza with Kero, and some of the strawberries with Gwydion, so everyone had some of the feast.
A little while later we rounded off the celebrations by getting the bowls of offerings for the fairies ready:
And putting them outside:
One has a mixture of honey and lavender syrup in it, the other milk.
When we fetched the bowls today some of the contents of each bowl were missing, and it was obvious someone had been eating/drinking from them. Whether it was fairies, cats, or wild animals of some sort, I have no idea. But someone liked our offerings anyway!