Half-moon 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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those below were taken at the Green Gathering festival…

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…or shortly after  :)

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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! ♥ 

Corn mother

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Image: Lammas mandala from the healing area, Green Gathering August 2014.

I can just about feel it…little hints of summer’s decline. A little cooling off; a little waning.

Most years, at Lughnasadh, I’ve focussed on the themes of sacrifice, gratitude and personal harvest. The latter two themes have been on my mind a lot this past couple of weeks, but more than anything I’ve thought of the Corn Mother figure and what she represents to me.

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In our garden, the purple sprouting broccoli I wrote about a few weeks ago is almost ready to give us its seeds (having donated a few to the birds already; we know our place!) This is what the corn mother in my mind keeps doing; she comes with a basket brimming with all the crops the land has grown abundantly this year, all ripe and whole and colourful. Then she holds out her hand, revealing a cluster of seeds. “Take them” she says, “Take them and keep them then sow them and nurture them once more, on and on.” She says “I’ll be here with you. I’ll walk with you. I’ll guide you. I am the land and know the wisdom of all its seeds that have ever been. These are your seeds; your wisdom, your truth”.

It’s something I’ve not previously thought a lot about at Lughnasadh (but, like many things that I take a while to realise, seems so very obvious now): that we not only harvest the crop we eat now but also the seeds that we plant next year. So relevant to the parallel of our garden seed-saving endeavours here chez Heart Shaped Hands (?The Heart Shaped Home?!)

For the past couple of years I’ve celebrated Lughnasadh around August’s full moon. I like to be a little geeky about corresponding seasonal festivals with lunar phases and I also tend to find this extra few days allows me to see more signs in nature that autumn is on it’s way. So today is when I celebrate this festival of the first hedgerow fruits and of the grain harvest.

This Lughnasadh, I have a really strong sense of culmination. It’s not been the easiest year for us as a family but, of course, struggles usually bring their own harvests. That learning is part of what I’m feeling has culminated; that’s my seed that I take forwards. The sense of culmination ties in nicely for me (geekily corresponds, if you like!) with my having turned thirty this year and with my Saturn return wrapping up in a few months time. When I walked my thirtieth birthday labyrinth, I had this image of the land goddess appearing and inviting me to a deeper connection with her. Here she is, as the corn mother. With many seeds for me to keep, sow and tend. ♥

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Half-moon 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! ♥ 

Tired

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I remember the day that the revelation came. I was in Sukhothai Historic Park in Thailand, walking around the impressive temple ruins, crumbling stupas and serene Buddha statues. Walking with difficulty in actually moving my limbs, and in a real grump. Oh the irony of being so grumpy in front of so many Buddhas! But it was a heavily humid 38 Celsius and, no matter how grateful I was for the privilege of being there, I was also overwhelmed by a sense of not being cut out for this; my head, heart and soul was loving the park but my body was not. What I realised, what those Buddhas helped me to realise is…

that I really just don’t cope very well with hot weather.

Particularly when there’s been a long stretch of it.

Once the “yay it’s been sunny for a while and it’s still sunny” feeling gets old, I just struggle immensely to move, think, be motivated or decisive about anything. My patience is much more limited – and my skill at trying to disguise this probably more so. Resentful, defensive, snappy feelings come to the boil much faster than their positive, rational counterparts. I’m tired, sooooooo tired. And all this combined hasn’t made for the smoothest days lately looking after a similarly tired and brittle toddler alone.

But I need this time. The land needs this time. It’s this weather that forces me into slowing down – into being still enough to be open to such gifts as just watching butterflies dance, just watching bees collect pollen, just watching the laundry flap in the breeze, just watching my little boy play. In doing so, I show him what there is to be gained from stillness and from savouring. 

At this time, the harvest is about to start; the Goddess of the Land is about to birth her creation, her fruit. Just as we may have already been harvesting some crops for a few weeks but without the full bounty (and the rush to preserve it!) flowing yet, the pregnant goddess may feel her body getting ready to let go. In the last few weeks of pregnancy the woman’s belly often appears to drop as baby engages, losing the perfect roundness I associate with the Goddess at midsummer. There may be a “show” and she will probably be very tired and itching to meet her child.

I guess we need to feel tired of something in order to release, in order to move on to the next stage. In recent years, a sense of awareness about what in my life no longer serves me has helped me start – and maintain – journeys such as getting rid of material stuff I don’t need, becoming less affected by anxiety, and leaving a career that wasn’t right for me. “What no longer serves me?” is something I usually ask myself as the moon starts to wane; the lunar phase that I correlate with Lughnasadh. As I prepare to give thanks for and begin the harvest of what I celebrated at midsummer, I’m realising what’s nearly ready to birth in my life and what I need to just let go of. This list is still coming together! But something I do know I’m thankful for is this recent time of slowness, in spite of its challenges. My difficulty with stillness has been helped by my difficulty with hot weather. Yet the lessons gained can be carried on to the next season and the next.Like the life in the seed that floats on the wind, settles on the soil and grows again. ♥

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! ♥