Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Celebrating Litha 2011

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!


AliceKay said...

Thank you for sharing your Litha celebration with us. I found it all very interesting. I'm glad everything worked out for you. And it was nice you were able to make a dream pillow for your grandma as well. :)

(a thank you to Iggy from me for sorting your pictures so we could see them)

Anonymous said...

These photos are wonderful! I'm glad you had such a lovely ritual, and I LOVE those pillows that you made. :)

Very sweet! Blessed Litha!

Intense Guy said...

I just wish there was a "smell-o-vision" monitor so I could smell that lavender syrup and those dream pillows.

Can you use lavender syrup on foods you would eat?

Rita said...

Well, everything went very nicely. Even if Kero was a little freaked out for a bit--hehe! Once he gets used to you guys doing strange things he's not used to, he'll probably settle down. Funny how animals get so used to whatever our normal routine is.

I'm so glad something had a taste of the fairy offering. Sounds like it was a special night for all of you--even strawberries for Mr. Weakers--hehe! Nice!!

Thanks to Iggy for going thru the pics so fast, too. :)

Toriz said...

I'm glad you found it interesting. A little over a month and the next holiday comes around, so there will be more to come in the not too distant future! :)

Thank you; and a blessed Litha to you too! I hope your day went well also!

You can really smell the lavender in it; wish there was a way to share that!

As for using it on foods we would eat... Yes, we can. Only if you - like we did - make sure to buy food grade lavender to make it with though. I've so far tried it on pancakes (this morning's breakfast) and in herbal teas (to sweeten them a little).

Yes; they get used to routines, and if something strange happens they often struggle to deal with it. That's why I wanted to keep him on his harness and lead... For his safety. I figured that way if he got scared I could stop him doing something stupid and dangerous (like knocking the candle over or something). Poor thing was probably really confused as to why we were doing such strange things.

It was a good day! :)

Anonymous said...

I think it is all interesting too from the syrup making to the little pillows, thanks for sharing Tori and Im glad all went well :o)

Toriz said...

I'm glad you found it interesting too. :)

Intense Guy said...

:) When I first saw those plastic bags with the lavender in them, I thought, "Oh my, they got some marijuana..."

Toriz said...

LOL! Good thing I'd told you in the e-mail what they were then, or you'd have probably labeled them "bags of drugs" or something. LOL!

Deanna said...

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to check this post out. What an interesting celebration! I can tell you from experience that lavender keeps very well. If you keep it out of the sunlight, it will keep better.

Toriz said...

Glad you found the post interesting. And, it's OK about it taking a bit to get to it; you got there in the end! :)

Also, thanks (about the lavender). We don't have it in sunlight, so it should keep well for us.