Happy Lughnasa 2010
January 1, 1970Happy Lammas
It is the height of summer. We’ve harvested the garlic and onions, and replanted with beans and carrots. It’s our vegetarian season, because by the time we’ve used up the zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, basil, green beans, cucumbers, peaches, and apples, we don’t have any room for meat on the plate. We’re still weeding and tending, but much time is also spent on preserving. Last weekend we made apple pies for the freezer and a dozen jars of pickles, as well as cutting up peppers and tomatoes for freezing. This weekend, it looks as though the peach tree will be giving forth its abundance, which means jams and chutneys and other preserves. It’s a wonderful time of year for us gardeners, when all the energy we’ve put forth since spring pays off.
But this summer, I feel a cloud of sadness hovering above as well. No matter how beautiful the weather, no matter how vibrant the vegetative energies pouring forth from the garden, I find myself thinking about the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the world’s most fertile seas. I have been singing in my head the sad and beautiful song, “The Summer Before the War,” about young people relishing nature’s beauties, unaware of the losses they would soon face. “Oh, what a summer, and oh, what a sun…One day at Whitsun, the sea and the shore, the summer before the war.” (Connie Dover has recorded a gorgeous version, and then there’s the classic one by Fairport Convention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5qj-kKz2No.)
There is always the potential for sadness in beautiful moments. This weekend, as we gather for our annual potato harvest ritual, I’ll be cherishing my loved ones and celebrating the beauty of the earth, as I always do, but I will also be praying that we find some ways to heal the earth and ourselves in relation to it.
Our “Darwin Path”
Last fall in Ireland, we caught a television documentary on Darwin’s life, in which it mentioned how he used to Think Great Thoughts while walking on a circular path around his house. I said to Michael, “I’d think great thoughts, too, if I had a path…” This was a bit of a joke, because our land is on a steep slope, and we don’t so much walk the land as climb around on it. However, over the winter we found that there was a way to trace a relatively easy path through the woods and across the vineyard and back through the orchard. Unfortunately, “the woods” involved were pretty well impassible with invasive honeysuckle. So, over the spring and summer, we’ve been clearing to create what we call the Darwin Path. It’s only about 2/3 done, but has opened up the land in a wonderful way. At the far end, we found an out-of-sight old pasture with some butternut trees hanging over, where we created a Wind Chamber by hanging bunches of wind chimes in the trees. Much yet to be done, but we are loving walking on our Darwin Path. Great thoughts yet to come, but I’m sure they await us!
I’m pleased to say that several of my books that have been unavailable are about to become available again. Seasons of the Witch (poems about the goddess) and Wild Girls: The Path of the Young Goddess will be available through bookstores if you direct them to New Leaf Distributing. They will also be shortly available online through Sid Reger at Goddess Mandala (http://www.goddessmandala.com/). Plus, my 1990’s title Magical Gardens: Myth, Mulch and Marigolds will be coming out next year in a revised edition from Llewellyn, which published it originally. All very happy news!
Completing big projects
Much of my writing time this summer has gone into final edits on the enormous three-volume Goddesses in World Culture, which will be published by Praeger this fall. With scores of authors on every continent but Australia, the project has been awesomely demanding. But now that I’m seeing the final proofs, I’m excited to share these many goddesses with readers. This edition is especially for libraries; I hope we’ll see a popular edition at some point in the future. Meanwhile, do ask your library to carry this:
We’re also working hard on our annual Fellows’ meeting for the Black Earth Institute (www.blackearthinstitute.org), which will focus on questions of “food and power.” In preparation, we have been reading some fascinating material about the development of urban agriculture in cities like Cleveland and Detroit. We look forward to joining our Fellows in this journey of learning next month.
Finally, I have been learning how to use my computer as something other than a really expensive typewriter. I have had all my thousands of goddess slides digitalized and am developing new lectures from them. Developing my new website has been part of this process; another part has been learning to use Facebook. I admit to still having some doubts about social media, but it seems to insinuating itself as a part of our lives, so I’m glad to have launched into that world. If you haven’t “friended” me on FB, here is the place:
In addition, we have a page for the new Association for Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM):
Thanks for joining me there!
Time for creative writing
In the past few years, I have been working so hard on my academic life that my creative side has, if not withered, at least been dormant. As I finish many big academic projects, I’ve had the energy to devote to more creative pursuits as well. One of these was to write a wedding song for my nephew Brendan, whose favorite Irish song had a lovely melody and pretty bloody words. The delightful singer Sarah Hobart did rendition of this that is available on youtube, and I could not be more thrilled with the results:
I’ve also agreed to do a book of poems for Salmon Publishing in Ireland, which will come out in fall of 2011, so I’ll be working on poems for that collection over the next year. Finally, I am enjoying writing a satirical novel that takes on some of the current events that most annoy me! More details on that as it reaches completion.
Happy harvest to you all…may we all find healing in the earth, and offer her our healing back …Patricia