Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times for June 2020
(pic by AmberAvalona on pixabay.com)
Believe it or not, it will be Summer Solstice before we know it!
What warmer weather we are having that at this time a month ago! Many of us will be merrily working away at our gardens!
For me, having pulled a raised bed, I won’t be planting as much- and I learned a very ugly truth meaning I might not plant hardly anything at all.
I still live in the condos- truthfully, we may be stuck here as long as another year- if not longer. Long boring story- sigh.
Normally, I would have laid seeds in front of our building by now. I have sunflower and zinnia seeds to plant out front, but I don’t know that I am going to.
It is because I caught the landscapers dousing the grass with weed killer and the shrubbery with insect repellent. They have a bad habit of killing people’s plants because they don’t know what is a weed and what is a plant- and I got a photo of what they are using. Glufosinate ammonium is the main ingredient, and research revealed that is a neurotoxin. If swallowed, pets and people can get damned sick. They have been spraying that around my herbs in front- I have a HUGE lavender many of us have been making tea with for years. I used to grow mint there as well, and used it in a lot of recipes, and gave a ton of it away. I planted lots of annuals from seed in those beds they spray that poison into.
I don’t know if I want to lay seeds at all in that mess. Even if I wear gloves, will I stir up particles from the dust, and inhale it? Have I been doing so all these years? Have I poisoned myself with this garbage?
I realized that even when we do move, I might move next door to somebody who uses such things. It can also get into our water and contaminate it. Birds and other wildlife can eat these things and get sick or die. What is this doing to the bees? I contacted my property manager, and nothing is being done about it. I wrote to a city representative to try and get the chemicals banned in our city. I have a lot of work to do contacting the right people and writing proposals.
The dramatic, emotional side of me yelled out “HUMANITY IS A PLAGUE UPON THE EARTH, AND WHEN WE GO EXTINCT, ALL THE EARTH CAN FINALLY HEAL!!!!” Indeed, we are set to have the hottest Summer on record, and that is WITH stay home orders improving air quality due to less traffic for a couple of months.
Complaining won’t do a bit of good. Change will. Aside from trying to get chemicals banned in my condos and hometown, I am talking to people.
I know even if SOME of us make SOME changes it can help. I am in no way perfect, and I have a lot of changes to make myself to do a better job at being Earth Based.
Instead of writing up a seasonal article talking about past celebrations and suggested ritual work for Summer Solstice, I am listing five things we can do for the earth.
I want to thank all of you in advance for all that you already do to care for the earth, and all that you do that holds off destruction, and makes the land and animals heal.
Also- with the coronavirus risk still out, I have canceled hosting all Sabbat gatherings for me and my gang for the time being. I can’t demand nobody gather, but I’m not giving recommendations for it either. These are things you can do on your own.
What Chemicals Do You Use?
I was reading an article about the neurotoxin used at my condos, and a link mentioned nail polish and nail polish remover. That’s what got me to thinking about what I use, myself.
I learned that nail polish is harmful to the earth but also to humans. Formaldehyde, touline, and dhp are called the toxic trio, and pose health risks including reproductive conditions, breathing issues, and cancer. People working in the nail care industry are at high risk due to poor ventilation and inhalation all day long. There are nail polish brands that are less harmful, and can be found places like your local organic market. Acetone remover is also highly toxic, and there are less toxic products that do not contain acetone that are less harmful.
Nail polishes and nail polish removers are considered hazardous substances and should be thrown out during hazardous chemical collection day at your local refuse collectors. Furthermore, some companies test their products on animals, which is cruel and inhumane.
If you are going to do your nails, Forbes has a good article on non toxic nail polishes you can read here:
I decided to give up nail polish completely. The acetone and nail polish I already had was given away to friends.
I don’t want to be responsible for putting those fumes into the environment, supporting production of it, or pouring that down the water system or ditching it in the trash.
I started phasing out toxic cleaners years ago. I have a ways to go in making our home more environmentally friendly, but giving up ONE thing is a small step towards that.
What chemicals are you using that can be replaced with something environmentally friendly? Doing so is a very sacred way to celebrate the Solstice.
What Are You Using In Your Yard?
Inside the home is one thing, but what is being used outdoors?
Hey- I hate poison ivy, and mosquitoes, folks. I really do. But before you grab the roundup, listen- there are non-toxic alternatives. None of us are going to go out and make a salad with poison ivy, but the reality is, what you spray on things you want to kill gets into your soil and on your other plants. You could swallow residue from these toxic chemicals. Maybe YOU won’t but an animal or a child who rolled their ball in your yard could. All it takes is the ball rolling into where that was sprayed- and the kid licking their fingers later.
It’s not worth it.
I will talk about three things, bugs, poison ivy, and weeds separately.
- Weeds- I used to live out in the country- for 2.5 years and we never could battle all the weeds. One year we paid landscapers to pull them all, and they grew right back. The next door neighbor combated that by letting them naturalize in sections, and we combated by mowing. Things that grow in grass like dandelions, wild violets, and dead nettle do not need bothered with. So your grass is colorful! That’s pretty, and feeds bees. Let it happen. If you have individual weeds, the best was I saw to fight that was to put a layer of weed retardant fabric or plastic down, and then poke holes in it to just plant what you want. Individual weeds can be pulled by hand. They say gardening is just as healthy as going to the gym. Pull those weeds and leave the poison alone.
- Poison Ivy- I don’t know about you, but I can’t have it around, or I get very sick when I break out. There are things you can make at home and spray on it to kill it. The most effective way to combat it is to pull the whole thing, roots and all. I would hire somebody to do that. It might take a few pullings, but this gets it. If you wear gloves, and catch it when it’s small, you have nipped it before it gets out of hand. For sprays, The Farmer’s Almanac recommends a mix. Add one cup salt to a gallon of vinegar and heat until the salt is dissolved. Allow to cool, and add eight drops liquid dish soap. Mix and add to a spray bottle. This will kill everything, so make sure to just spray it on the poison ivy. I will be making some of this.
- Bugs- You can’t kill them ALL. Treat your pest for fleas and ticks religiously during warm months. I give our dog the pill our Vet provides, and the cats get the chemical flea drop. It kills me to give it to them, but the flea bath is not something they can stand, so it is what it is. Plant things in the garden that repels harmful insects like rosemary, lavender, and citronella. Also, introduce insects that eat mosquitoes like lady bugs and praying mantis. People swear by certain essential oils like lavender and clove oil to keep bugs from biting, but they bite me anyhow. What doctors say is the less sweets and fruits you eat the less you get bit. Bad news for me…LOL! Here is a site that sells beneficial insects. Here is their link:
Reduce and Reuse
When I was a kid the Recycle program took off. People were recycling everything they could. In those days, we stuffed trash bag with soda cans and went to the recycling center to get money for them. Years later, we were told that simply recycling was not enough- because it’s not. Recycling takes so much energy and burns so many fossil fuels. We have to use less if we want to be breathing in 20 years. A simple way to do this is simply to do what those of us who are either frugal or on a fixed income have done for forever.
I am a thrift shop and antique shop junkie. I visit resale shops for as much as possible. Don’t throw things away when you are done with them. Give them away if you can’t sell them. Anything we can keep out of the landfills is a huge help.
This is the hard part. One easy way to do this, though, is to wear your clothes until you can’t anymore. The fashion industry would LOVE for us to throw out our clothes every few months and buy all new clothes, but a lot of us won’t do it. I actually have a sweater I have been wearing for almost 20 years now, and it still looks great. It was a secondhand find too! HA! Reducing the amounts of energy you use can be helpful too. Make sure to do what our parents told us to- turn off the lights when you leave the room, don’t stand with the fridge door open for long periods, and dress for the weather. Don’t do what I wanted to as a kid and wear sweats in Summer and shorts in Winter. Small things can make a big difference.
Care of Animals
Aside from doing organic things in the yard, you can sit treats out for animals. Besides just bird feeders, treats can be left for fish, geese, squirrels, and even possums and raccoons. If you have deer nearby, sitting out a block of salt will not only draw them so you can enjoy watching them, but it can give them salt they love.
Planting things that feed pollinators like herbs, zinnias, cosmos, anise hyssop, and lantanas will go a long ways to heal the earth and her creatures.
Maybe you want to adopt an animal but going to the animal shelters breaks your heart. Spread the word you want to adopt an animal, sharing with friends, family, and neighbors. Pretty soon, you will get offers. You may get an offer of a free animal and they may even offer to drop the animal off. This would keep an animal out of the shelter system in the first place, and help out a family who is finding a home for an animal.
Maybe you can’t adopt, but want to help. Contact your local animal shelter to see what donations they need. Maybe you can’t afford a donation, but could offer a few hours of your time to walk dogs, pet cats, cuddle bunnies, or even just clean for them. If you cannot volunteer or donate, you can help spread awareness of programs your local shelter has to those who might be able to help.
There are limitless things you can do as an Earth Based Spiritual person to celebrate Summer Solstice in ways that benefit creation.
About the Author:
Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.
A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.
Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!
Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.
All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.
She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.
Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!
On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.
She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.
Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].