It’s Lughnasadh tomorrow, making it Lammas Eve today, to mix my cultural references. ‘Lammas Eve’ isn’t particularly a thing unless you’re hanging up rowan (which I don’t have) and unless you’re Juliet Capulet, and then it’s Happy Birthday!
So for today’s folklore, and bear with me on this, Juliet + Romeo + Juliet’s birthday/Lammas Eve + Star Crossed Lovers = Lughnasadh stellar meditation. Obviously. It’s tenuous, but if you follow the steps. Plus we’re in the midst of the Dog Days, a time ruled by the dog star rising with the sun, said to bring heat and evil. And it’s thought Shakespeare used the Dog Days to explain away some of the bad behaviour in Romeo and Juliet. Crossed stars and cross stars definitely need some meditative time out.
I found this meditation in the Lughnasadh section of The Magical Year by Danu Forest and it centres on the constellation of Cygnus, or the Swan, with the intention of celebrating ‘the vast power within’ me and helping me ‘tune into the natural and sacred dramas of Lughnasadh’ (p.167). The only problem is it’s a book, not an audio tape. And with my memory, there’s not a chance I’d actually remember what I was supposed to do. So I whipped out my Dictaphone and started recording.
The first instruction was to find somewhere comfortable to sit. As a fidgeter, this is mostly impossible. But finally I decided on the bed in my spare room. And then moved after the first three lines of the meditation as the bed faces the window and the light was leaching through my lids and didn’t feel very calming at all. My second spot was lying on my bed bolstered by several pillows which was better. I settled in and started again.
Three quarters of the way through, I heard a plaintive mew by the side of me. I ignored it. A whimper followed, and despite being in the middle of soaring through the night sky about to tumble into a vortex full of light, my mouth twitched and I was a goner.
Having fed the cat, I returned to my nest, and for the third time, started the tape. The meditation story reminded me of a hypnosis technique an old teacher very foolishly once taught me. And hearing myself narrate the exercise was a bit like listening to my conscience telling me what to do. Which was slightly disturbing. Plus despite me trying to read really slowly and leaving pauses on the recording, the whole thing felt a bit rushed, and consequently I didn’t have time to visualise hills and flocks and giant shining swans properly. So I don’t think I ever quite turned on, tuned in, or dropped out. But I was quite relaxed by the end of it, and now I’m yawning, which I’m taking to be a good sign.
Barometer Watch: No warning whatsoever of this Dog Days #heatwave. I forgot to take pictures during the day but they’ve literally not moved since I made them at the beginning of the month.
Wearing St John’s wort throughout July: I managed it! I remembered my locket full of powdered St John’s wort every day, even if sometimes just for a moment. And despite the locket’s seal not being up to much and forgetting to take it off that one time in the shower, I never had to replenish. I’m not entirely sure it had much effect, but there was something quite comforting about wearing it, and it still smells lovely.
So onwards to August. And month eight.
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Forest, D. (2016) The Magical Year, Seasonal Celebrations To Honour Nature’s Ever-Turning Wheel, London, Watkins
Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books
Shakespeare, W. (2000) Romeo and Juliet, Ware, Wordsworth Editions