Half moon

I’ve been a little slack on the heart photos this past fortnight; I tend to just melt and cease to function in hot weather! Cease to remember to take my camera out and about with me (and my phone’s camera really cannot cope with the idea of taking a picture in such very bright daylight) – and sometimes I cease to actually go out!

However, I do have a Pinterest board full of lovely hearts, and a board of lovely half-moon images too ♥

Pitta

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Ayurveda teaches that the pitta dosha rises during late spring and through the summer; in this season we’re now at in the northern hemisphere, it’s easy to see that the long warm days increase heat and light. These increase the pitta energy in nature around us and in our bodies too:in nature within us. Formed of the elements fire and water, Pitta is generally described as being hot, fast, sharp, liquid, oily and fiery. Irritability, anger, passion, and competitiveness are considered pitta characteristics and those with pitta as their dominant dosha are said to be prone to being critical, driven, short-fused, charismatic, analytical, argumentative and sharp-minded too. They tend to be of average height and build with fair skin and hair (or red hair), sharp eyes and often freckles or moles. In physical health, they have a tendency towards inflammation-related conditions, rashes, heartburn, acidity but good energy levels. The pitta time of life is considered to be early adulthood to late middle-age (50-ish). Pitta tastes are sour, salty and pungent. Its colours are red, yellow and orange.

Balancing pitta

In summer, the elevated pitta energy can make us more prone to some of the pitta-associated problems. This may be particularly so for pitta-dominant types and during the middle of the day (and middle of the night) – when pitta energy is more abundant still. However, we can take steps to balance this. Some are things that we’re probably naturally drawn to doing out of common sense, such as staying out the sun in the middle of the day, eating salads and fruit, and drinking cool drinks. Ayurveda advises avoiding or at least reducing things that are heating in the body – for example, alcohol and red meat (if we partake of them anyway), salty, sour and pungent flavours and very hot spices.

Sweetness balances pitta by increasing kapha. I also see it that at this time of year our bodies and digestions are likely to be strong (if we are generally looking after them!) and so a little more tolerant of a bit of sugar – although unrefined sugars such as honey, dried fruit and maple syrup are best. Other sweet tastes like red lentils, almonds, coconut, sweet potatoes and similar sweet vegetables are also good. Coconut oil is cooling when used both inside the body and on it; try a foot massage with it, particularly in the evening. Aaaahh….

Sebastian Pole of Pukka Herbs recommends peppermint, liquorice and fennel as being beneficial herbs for summer. He also advises rose for its cooling, calming properties; it’s a flower that I associate with midsummer, and also full moon (the corresponding point in the lunar cycle when, like summer, things can get a little heady and over-powering) and therefore the mother aspect of the goddess. I’m currently enjoying wearing a little dab of rose oil on my third eye area each day. IMG_2211

Staying grounded and making time for stillness also balances pitta by increasing kapha, as does being by water. Right now I’m drawn to floor-based yoga asanas, (particularly the mermaid pose, probably to assist me in pretending that really I’m at the seaside!). The heat actually helps me with making time for stillness as I feel like doing very little in hot weather. Lately, my toddler and I have often spent the early afternoon indoors with the curtains partly drawn, then later ventured outside for  knitting and water play, or gently pottering in the garden sniffing the calming lavender and valerian that we’ve got in flower right now….mmmm yes please.

Yet as well as balancing pitta so that it doesn’t get all out of hand reek havoc, we might want to harness and utilise it too: to stoke our creativity and our passions, to bring into our hearts the warmth of the social gatherings and celebrations that the long days facilitate, to energise, to direct, to radiate love into ourselves and out to the world. to take some time to analyse, evaluate and gently critique where we are and what we’re doing in our lives. To just bask and enjoy. ♥

PS I wrote more about balancing pitta in this post last year.

This half-moon’s hearts

Natural hearts, accidental hearts, deliberately created hearts, hearts that resemble a recent gratitude, hearts that I saw whilst having fun – or in need of some fun. Share the love and post any that have come your way and made you smile ♥

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When the moon reaches the brief point of her light and darkness being balanced, I feel invited to rebalance myself, to make room for pause, to get a sense of perspective. Like stopping a few minutes on a long walk to look back on the distance covered before admiring the view ahead. These hearts remind me of that journey – of my story of my past 2 weeks. And they increase the number of images of hearts on the internet, which is surely no bad thing! ♥ 

July

To me, July is…

  • sunshine! And being outdoors.
  • slowness. It feels as though most of nature’s growing is done and life stands still before the waning sun starts to tug the harvest from the land and the leaves from the trees, pulling everything towards sleep. In the garden, most of the planting is done: the main work now is in nurturing the plants and keeping them watered. I think of the goddess as being very pregnant at this time of the year and late pregnancy generally makes for slowness! (especially in hot weather!) July days at school were difficult too – the heat brought lethargy, the impending end of term brought apathy. I still get this feeling now of not wanting to do a lot in hot weather (except go to the beach!).

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  • beaching. I was lucky to grow up in Cornwall and spent a lot of the school holiday at the beach. I’m not quite sure why I associate July so much with these seaside days of body-boarding, rock-pools and picnics; the bulk of the summer break is in August. I probably spent the first part of July daydreaming about the beach in preparation for the days ahead actually there!
  • related to this: I think of July in seaside colours (blues, red and white stripes, and the golden-light brown – also the colour that the thirsty grass often is in July!).
  • soft fruit. I LOVE berries, peaches, nectarines…nearly all soft fruit. Loving having strawberries, blueberries and raspberries from our garden right now.

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  •  water – being by the sea or river, watering the plants, preferring to drink plain water over hot drinks as I usually do. The water connotations of the full moon and impending birth which I correlate with this time of the year.
  • rest. Honouring that call to slowness. Savouring this peak of the year and the sun’s energy and light. Savouring it as I taste it captured in a very-fresh blueberry, savouring it as I play outdoors with flower pots and a bowl of water with my son. Honouring the opportunity to go for a 10pm walk under a beautiful sunset and crescent moon. Pouring love and gratitude into my garden along with the dishwater I thirst their quench with – and savouring the littleness of the pair of hands joining mine on the watering-can handle. For another July will come round quick, and another, and another and another again. ♥

Summer stillness

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I’ve been thinking a lot about stillness in this past week since the summer solstice. The word solstice comes from Latin: sol being sun and sistere being to stand still. This has echoed in my head all week – in the way that words, phrases or lessons have a habit of doing when I really should pay attention to them. I feel it so relevant to the call I feel at midsummer to take stock and celebrate, yet I find the message so easy to ignore.

It seems wise to make room for stillness in these long, hot, busy, busy days. Busy with garden tasks and other works, with going out on adventures to enjoy the weather, with social gatherings, with celebrations at home and away and always busy with family life and the normal day-to-day tasks. Busy in my head with numerous half-finished projects and ideas for more, with the headiness of the heat and the nagging sense of urgency to do it all before whatever (often self-imposed) deadline.

Sure, there are planting times and other deadlines that sometimes do need prioritising or the opportunity – or obligation – will be missed. But I’m not very good at prioritising being still. I know the benefits and reap them when I do make time to just be – indoors or out – or when I meditate. When I just let myself be present in that space. When I stand still.

It’s an important space to acknowledge and honour, the day between the year’s waxing and waning halves; the day the sun stands still. I know it’s important too to find and hold that same peaceful space in my everyday life. In the transition from morning to afternoon, from waking to sleeping, between activities, between thoughts, between breaths. This stillness is not only important for me (and those around me who benefit from a calmer Mo!) but important for me to model and teach to my son; to help him know and find stillness within and without. The more stillness and peace that we as individuals can create, the more that can ripple out into this busy, busy world. I just have to prioritise. ♥

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Health, happiness, abundance and celebration; Midsummer solstice themes

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For me, the summer solstice represents:

  • Strength (the strength of the sun being at its highest point)
  • Happiness and physical health (both being quite “solar” things for me. The sun and the land are strong, vibrant and bursting with energy right now. As we are part of nature, I see that this is a good time to attend to those aspects of ourselves.
  • Abundance – of daylight, of crops. of warmth, of colour, of projects, of creative energy, of power, of so, so much right now. Celebrate and enjoy!
  • Celebration – of all this abundance, of everything at its peak, of our own creativity and, well,our very being. I see this as a time for standing as and individual or community, looking at all the “crops” before you – be they agricultural or metaphorical – and celebrating. Celebrating your work, attention, energy and resources that you’ve put in to make and nurture what you see. To celebrate its strength, beauty and almost-ripeness before the harvest time arrives. This is party time!
  • Honey - in celebration of the bees and all the hard work they’re doing at the moment! I saw an interesting idea the other day to make a bee bath for them in hot weather – just marbles in a shallow dish filled with water. It could also be a lovely gift to the earth to plant bee-friendly plants.
  • Seasonal food - salads, early soft fruit and peas and beans, herbs, elderflower.
  • The round, pregnant belly of the goddess, not quite ready to give birth, not quite at that super-exhausted time that the third trimester brings. I see this celebration as her blessingway, where her friends gather to celebrate the life created and nurtured inside her that will soon be birthed.
  • Fullness - those growing food are busy, busy, busy at this time. I feel the general energy too to be full; the headiness from the heat, the long days, the parties and gatherings, the strength of the sun. I wrote more about this – and counterbalancing it – last midsummer, here and here.
  • Fatherhood - The prime of life, creativity, productiveness and the support that is needed for that to happen.
  • Masculine energy - although I don’t believe that the sun has to be masculine (and the moon feminine), that’s how I connect with them in my spiritual perspective and practice.
  • Preparation to let go - to let go of the sun and its warmth. light and the fertility of the land. Of those ideas, projects, creations and adventures nearly ripe and ready for the world The words “enjoy it while it’s here” come to mind, for the cycle continues and the time of turning inward and indoors will soon come round.

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Tonight, I’ll gather things together for our family altar space and bake a honey cake to share tomorrow with neighbours and friends. I’m having a day to myself to enjoy some child-free outdoors time walking or meditating in the morning, honouring my health through some yoga, and then honouring my creativity through some craft time (probably beeswax candlemaking) in the afternoon. I may get up for sunrise: I’d like to but if it just clashes with the needs of my family then I feel it’s lovely enough to give a special greeting to the sun whenever I do wake up. (And if I have to ply myself with lots of caffeine that kind of loses the magical headspace for me). There’ll be a simple ritual in there somewhere and, in the evening, I’ll share celebrations with my husband and son – with yummy food and maybe a fire.

Happy solstice ♥

At the top is the sunburst I made today, inspired by The Crafty Crow () – loved the quite meditative experience of the weaving.

This half-moon’s hearts

Natural hearts, accidental hearts, deliberately created hearts, hearts that resemble a recent gratitude, hearts that I saw whilst having fun – or in need of some fun. Share the love and post any that have come your way and made you smile ♥

 

I’ve spent a lot of the last two weeks in the garden – and that’s where most of these are from! Happy half moon. 

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When the moon reaches the brief point of her light and darkness being balanced, I feel invited to rebalance myself, to make room for pause, to get a sense of perspective. Like stopping a few minutes on a long walk to look back on the distance covered before admiring the view ahead. These hearts remind me of that journey – of my story of my past 2 weeks. And they increase the number of images of hearts on the internet, which is surely no bad thing! ♥