Monday, May 20, 2013

The Busy Month of May

Summer is always on high speed around here, trying to schedule everything before winter comes again. I can't imagine what it is like for our friends up in Minnesota.
  We still haven't scheduled for this year all of our Esbats and Sabbats, and am trying to get everyone together to do that.  Everyone is so busy in the Summer, we need to get everything scheduled asap, or risk having no one around for ritual.
  May is particularly busy with mundane concerns on top.  Graduations, prom, birthdays and anniversaries are constant, I simply can't keep up with anything.
  The dishes and laundry are piling up, as we speed the pace of travel and socializing.
I am not really complaining but just commenting--May is busy for normal folk, but doubly so for pagan folk! Beltane is one of the most important celebrations of the year and it falls right in the middle of all of this other mundane fast-forward.
  I am feeling the need to just slow down, but the mounting house work means I really should tend to it instead.
 So I reckon today was just a short update, I have to get back to doing rather than sitting.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Phase 2 Toddler Weaning

Well, it took me awhile to get to phase 2, I decided against last week to cut out the next cherished morning nurse.  It was cold and snowy and depressing, I decided it was a bad week for us to have a battle of wills.  This week though, we don't really have any good excuses.  This morning I didn't tell him he could never nurse in the morning again, I just told him to wait till after breakfast.  If he nurses at that point, he will still be taking less milk (since he'll be full already) and we will still be on the road to weaning. He still whined and got up early etc. but he took it pretty well considering.  Proof that he is getting better at this weaning stuff.  He's been through it before, giving up the night time nursing was tough, hopefully everything after it will be familiar. 
  I dread cutting the last nurse though, I don't know how he's going to handle it.
  The reason I am leaving the naptime nurse there till last is I am hoping that it will slowly get cut out. He doesn't always have a nap during the day, or sometime it gets moved around because we are traveling or spending time with family and friends.  That will mean that sometimes the nursing would just happen every other day etc. until finally it just gets cut out (hopefully without being noticed too much).  Cutting out nursing at bed time or the morning though, is hard to make disappear without him noticing...

Beltane 2013

Another rainy day here.  I had a hunch this year might bring floods. 
  Beltane was nice, but spitting rain and cold.  We had a lovely enclosed shelter though, and a fire, despite wet wood, thanks to one of our very fire-saavy covenmates.  Left us thinking again about timing, and feeling like things were still too early.  The Hawthorne is definitely not blooming here (well maybe now, but not last weekend).  We thought about moving the date later, but complications with schedules came up and it was not possible.  Ritual was moving and meaningful despite all the roadblocks and distractions of the day.  I can only say it was the will of the Divine.
  We discovered that the Maypole isn't something to bother with unless you have plenty of adults to play with it.  Kids would have to rehearse far in advance, and many are just simply too little unless you want a tangled mess.  I've done the maypole with adults in 2009, with no practice, and it turned out great, so I know this is possible, just not with kids unfortunately! Lesson learned.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Natural Shampoo

All the MomBlogs are raving about it.  It's called "un-poo" which is perhaps a bit scary sounding to the unpoo-initiated.  It's just  one more way people are coming back into their own, casting off the need to buy Stuff, and getting their body healthier at the same time.
  I have to blog about it, because, hell, why not? I've tried it, it works, it's at least on the "natural" thread of this blog.
  It's been about a month now since I used any Shampoo or conditioner on my hair.  If you tell people what you are doing, they will think you a sick, dirty hippy, but the proof [that it works] is about to be in your hair.
  People didn't always use shampoo and conditioner and their hair was just fine.  Perhaps it started when we also put lots of products in our hair and needed something major to wash out the product? I don't know.  Once you use shampoo though, it completely washes out your hair's natural oils, since it's stripped, it produces even more oil, causing you to get really greasy hair again in fairly short order.  If you stop using the shampoo, eventually your hair gets back to normal oil production, and you can go for days without washing it and it getting greasy or gross.
  Interested yet?
I think for moms this is especially interesting since we are so damned busy, which is why this is spreading on Momblogs.
  To top it off, pretty much all the shampoos/conditioners we use just coat us in petroleum products which is undoubtedly bad for our bodies, so skipping the "poo" helps the environment and possibly our health as well, not to mention better hair quality and less shampooing.
  You could cut out the petroleum product and get a "natural" shampoo from the store to the tune of something like $8 + dollar a bottle, or you could "unpoo" and just use a little baking soda and apple cider vinegar (acv).
 Here's how you do it and here's what happened for me.

  Online recipes differ on how much baking soda or acv to use, I would try an amount then reduce it and see how much you actually need.
  1-2 T. baking soda in about 8 ounces water dissolved (increase or decrease as needed)
  2 t. acv (with one drop mild essential oil if desired) in 8 ounces water

  Rinse your hair, pour on about half the baking soda mixture and scrub your scalp for awhile, pour on the rest and keep scrubbing.  Rinse.
  Pour on acv mixture and let sit for 1-2 minutes, then rinse.

  Some people will experience a "grease-ball" phase where their hair will produce much more oil than normal for up to a month. I am unsure if I experienced this or not, because last time it seemed to go "greaseball" I simply upped the amount of baking soda I was using and now I'm back to normal again.  Especially in the beginning it seemed to look greasy at night and I would brush it a lot to distribute the oil, then, strangely enough, it would look fine the next day with no washing.  I think lots of brushing needs to be added to the routine.
  My hair has a ton more body now.  It's shiny again, and it smells good.  Which is more than I could say after using regular shampoo, which made it dull, flat, and need to wash every other day.
The acv acts as a type of conditioner, (balances the PH ?) and it does seem to make the hair softer, it definitely takes out all the crud from using regular shampoo.  The times I don't use it, I have a hard time getting a brush through my hair, I am no longer trying to cut out the acv from some of my washes.
  I just bought a vinegar rinse here at my local farmers market.  I thought those of you who really wanted something smelling yummy to put in your hair (like me) might be interested.  It wasn't that expensive and is a pre-made vinegar rinse with flower and herb essences infused already.  They don't appear to be selling it yet online, but I'll let you know how I like it.  Surely someone else is making them, or of course, you could make your own.
  So here I am about a month in to unpooing.  I just had to share my results. Hope you give it a try!
  An update here a few months later--I am now doing about two unpoos then I strip my hair with normal shampoo.  I've found if I go too long doing only unpooing I end up with a coating of sebum close to my scalp that annoys me. I think I like doing unpooing every-other-time or so, and I still think my hair is healthier this way, still ends up being shinier than it would otherwise.  Some people may get away with doing unpooing only, I imagine it depends on the person.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cold May Day Calendar Confusion

Merry Beltane Everyone!

"Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,
  Or he would call it a sin;
But--we have been out in the woods all night,
  A-conjuring Summer in!
And we bring you news by word of mouth-
  Good news for cattle and corn--
Now is the Sun come up from the South,
  With Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!"
 Excerpt from "A Tree Song" by Rudyard Kipling

I am not sure when you all celebrate, there are so many dates or times to go from besides the first of May.  Beltane O.S. (old style) comes to mind and is supposed to be May 5th (thus you would celebrate the eve. before).  There are other, more accurate, ways of determining the exact date, which you can probably find elsewhere on the net.
Our calendars are solar, and not the lunar ones of our ancestors, on top of that, the calendar dates have been switched around, so pinning down the actual date of any of the holidays can be tricky and is debated by many...

"The Julian year is, therefore, on average 365.25 days long. It was intended to approximate the tropical (solar) year.... the calendar year gained about three days every four centuries compared to observed equinox times and the seasons. This discrepancy was corrected by the Gregorian reform of 1582...The Julian calendar is currently 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar; for instance, 1 January in the Julian calendar is 14 January in the Gregorian."

 (Julian Calendar )

In case there is confusion (and there probably is), we are currently using the Gregorian calendar.  You can see why there might be discrepancies.
  So why all the fuss? Does it matter when the actual date is (and is date the appropriate term)? And what is it we are celebrating anyway? Are we anticipating Spring, or are we celebrating its arrival? I think this would be less complicated if we were a less barbaric society, and had more holidays.  We know Christmas used to be a holiday spanning at least 12 days (now whittled down to just one day off work if we are lucky).  Why not a week or more of Beltane? If we had a week or more, we could use the knowledge we have of the Sabbats plus the natural signs around us, to begin celebrating, and finish with the biggest Bang at the appropriate time.  Some traditions dictate (and this obviously depends on where you live) that the Hawthorne tree in bloom be used as a definitive sign that Beltane has arrived. 
  I'm not really interested in telling you all the tales behind the holidays. There are other websites out there that have done this job quite nicely. Try the link below if you'd like to know more about Beltane traditions.

( Beltane Traditions and Associations )

Another good place to read about Holidays below

(Mike Nichols' Witches Sabbats )
 Note: Mike explains that witches in the U.S. may call Beltane "Lady Day" but that this has traditionally been appropriate for Ostara... good to know!

  For myself, I've never had the privilege to watch and see when the hawthorne was blooming (and if it was around the same time as the violets here in the Midwest), but I suspect that the violets bloom around the same time here.
  For myself, I like the little saying "when the violets appear, Beltane is near."  Note the wording "near" because violets on a more normal year, can appear many years in early to mid April.
  One of the older times to celebrate may have been the first full moon after May first.
  In the Orthodox church (which uses an older calendar system) Easter is figured in relation to the first Sunday after the First full moon, after passover.  This year, Orthodox Easter (our Ostara equivalent) is even later than usual, this coming Sunday...Interesting to note, since Spring this year, has been so long in coming.
  With all the calendar confusion, it seems we may need to make a rethink about our holidays.  Signs like the Hawthorne will be of particular importance because of climate change.

  But back to the question...why do we care when it is? Why did our ancestors care? My apologies if this is stating the obvious for some...
Our ancestors depended on very specific timing for the planting and harvesting of crops, saving seeds, birthing and culling of herds, and hunting/fishing.  All of these things had to go by the specific rhythm of the earth.  If they missed the timing, everyone could starve.  Farmers today still have to pay more specific attention to this than the rest of us, but since most of us no longer farm, we are separated from it.
  I feel it important to be in tune with the seasons, and to assess when the most accurate time for doing that is. Our job right now in keeping the holidays is largely psychological.  After Winter, we need that day (really we need a couple weeks!) to cut loose and tell ourselves Spring has arrived.  In the far future though, who can tell what our children's children may need? The timing for agriculture, or looking for eggs in the spring could be paramount to their survival. Anything we can pass on to our offspring, any knowledge is power and survival.
love and light,