Grandmother Moon

I know that the traditional names for the August Moon are Barley Moon, Corn Moon, Red Moon and such. As of yesterday I titled this post ‘Corn Moon’ after a little protection charm I made. However, today, as J and I set off to buy a chest freezer and I had just finished a batch of jam I knew that I really celebrated my grandmother during this esbat.

Last night, I did a small ritual. I blended up some Solar Protection Oil (is that weird on a Full Moon…eh? Whatever) and had a sheaf of corn that I had dried and wanted to charm for the house/as a harvest decoration. I plan to find a place for it to hang, perhaps at the beginning of September.

Solar Protection Oil: Orange, Pine, Rosemary and Patchouli blended with Sweet Almond Oil

Dried Corn Sheaf Blessed with Protection Oil

The above isn’t the best picture–many apologies, my corn sheaf isn’t photogenic 😉 (That sentence made me laugh.)

Anyway…I woke up this morning and prepared to make my first jam, ever! I’ve never canned before and was extremely nervous. The whole idea of botulism kind of freaked me out. I didn’t want to shell out money for the equipment before I knew if I even liked it, so I took some pointers from this website about how to can without the equipment. I did buy jars, though (she recommends reusing jars). When I pulled them out of the package, much to my delight, they were the same quilted pattern my grandmother had used when she canned.  I hadn’t noticed when I put them in the shopping cart earlier that week.

Mixed Berry Jam with Allspice, Clove, Nutmeg and Ginger

Mmmm. Jam. Lots of finger swiping.

After I set the jam to seal and cool, J and I decided to make a purchase we’ve talked about for a long time: a chest freezer. We have visions of buying a side of grass-fed beef (anyone want to split one if I can find a provider this late in the season…anyone?) and preserving our garden harvest. So, today, we decided to do that.

Not to get sentimental about an appliance, but one of the things I remember most vividly about my grandmother’s house was her chest freezer in the garage. It held all sorts of yummy things, like a plethora of half gallons of Blue Bell ice cream (Tin Roof, Rocky Road, Pecan Praline and the best…Homemade Vanilla). Blue metal utility shelves lined the back wall of the garage, filled to the brim with preserved veggies from their garden, jam and, most importantly, apple butter.

Oh, gods, the apple butter. That will definitely be happening this year.

Anyway, as I set about doing all of these harvest-y, homey type tasks I felt so, so close to my grandmother. She hasn’t passed over yet, but she turned 90 this year and lives under the care of my parents. It’s hard to see her age as she was the matriarch of the family, the rope that bound our family together during some truly harrowing times. Honoring her this moon, remembering her, acting as she taught me to act: to preserve, to be frugal, to make a home, to tell stories, to laugh—is truly a blessing I won’t soon forget.

First Public Ritual

So, I went to my first ever public ritual. It was an esbat held by the local CUUPS in a Methodist church. How is that for mind-boggling? Kind of weird to be doing a circle invoking a goddess under a cross. However, the church is a ‘reconciling’ congregation, and very other-faith and gay friendly.

It was nice. I was surprised by how much older everyone else was—I’d say the average age was 50.

The ritual itself was contemplative, focusing on Aphrodite. The ritualist seemed nervous, but during the guided meditation she really hit her stride. Her voice turned suddenly rich and soft and the meditation itself was incredibly evocative. What disrupted it was people coming in late. I like the yoga take on that–five minutes late, don’t even bother coming in. The energy is set, and it only serves to disrupt.

I felt nervous before going, so nervous that I did a small Tarot spread before hand. It was a three card spread. First card reflecting the nature of the group, second card being the implication if I did go, third card being the implication if I didn’t.

First: Three of Cups

Second: The Tower

Third: Six of Swords

Having the Tower card show up was…interesting. With the group seeming to be genial and 6/S evoking a certain listlessness if I stayed home…well…I decided to go. While the ritual didn’t exactly shake me to my core, it did remove a certain hesitancy I’ve had about attending pagan gatherings. You know…like…wow. Everyone’s so normal. Who knew?