Lawn Foraging

The snowbanks melted away in the soft rains, and after plenty of raking, the yard is finally in shades of green rather than brown.  We don’t have a big yard, and most of it is lawn, but I’ve noticed a few herbs to get acquainted with. I dug a few dozen dandelion roots on a sunny day last week, and will continue to dig roots until they start to bloom. My mom doesn’t want them in the lawn – so it’s a win-win. The dandelions will prevail anyway, there is no way I’ll be able to dig them all up! I’ll start collecting greens for eating as soon as they’re large enough too. If I’m lucky, I’ll get lots of blooms and make infused oil!

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Dandelion rosette, with yarrow hiding underneath

The herb I’m going to try for tonight’s dinner is a type of cress – winter cress, I believe. I think I’ll boil it first, then cook it up with eggs as a frittata. I found a few patches of sorrel I’ll try later in the week. My mom thinks I’m crazy, but she’s happy to have the “weeds” go. I’ve saved a few patches of St. John’s Wort I found on the fringes of the flower gardens, and some yarrow, and instructed her that native plants are good for pollinators and they are now part of the garden. As long as I can keep everything looking nice, they’ll get to stay.

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Some sort of cress, a broccoli relative

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St. John’s Wort

I’m also excited to have found both narrow and broad leaf plantain, and many tiny mullein rosettes! The mullein will have to go, sadly, as they are located in the middle of the lawn, but I’ll try to salvage the roots, and let the leaves grow as much as possible before I dig them up! Even our small lawn is a wealth of health ❤

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Broad-leaf plantain, yarrow, and white clover

Quest for the Oak

This January I moved across the country from the mountains of Northern California to the frozen north of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s not my first time here, my family roots are here, and I spent time each summer as a child visiting my grandma and playing in the lakes. I fed chipmunks and knew a bunch of different fish, but I wasn’t very tuned in to the natural world. During my past three years in California however, I was able to align myself with the seasons and to get to know many different species of plants. I even tried my hand at drying a few herbs and making a couple tinctures. Though I’m thousands of miles to the east, I’m currently not much farther north than I was in California, and due to my former mountain locale, many of the same plants can be found here as well (perhaps different varieties). The trees are smaller, I’m definitely missing the giant oaks I regularly sat under.

Last week when I was cleaning a flower bed and raking leaves, I found a single oak leaf. I hadn’t thought any were near, for lack of acorns in the yard. Upon finding the leaf, I scanned the skyline and voila! I realized that the biggest tree around, across the street a ways off is likely my mighty oak. There is still too much snow for me to comfortably hike over to it, but in a week or two I’m going to go visit him and bring an offering. I feel almost silly for not recognizing him earlier, as I’ve often gazed upon that tree, which rises far above its neighbors. Especially at sunset, this tree (to my east) gets illuminated with a beautiful ruddy light.

There’s so much to be excited about in this springtime, and so much to do!

Seasonal Changes

Happy Beltane! I opened the curtains this morning to a bit of a surprise, instead of birds feeding and tulips blossoming, I find a scene from a different holiday…

A beautiful sight to be certain, but a touch too cold to go frolicking, and dancing around a Maypole could be a bit slippery!

This will probably be the last snow of the year, so the timing does feel pretty good. The bears have been awake for a few weeks by now, the trees have (or had…) buds, the annual bulbs have sprouted up and will bloom soon, and I’ve spotted six new types of birds on the feeders in the past week. This crazy weather is another sign of spring, maybe a certain playfulness of the planet, keeping us on our toes. I’ll watch and enjoy it, with my coffee and oatcakes, and be grateful to be warm and cozy.

The Hinge of Summer

Beltane is almost here, and finally, the snow is almost gone. After six months of winter, I am very happy to spend time outdoors without my snow gear. This May Day will mark the beginning of a few new projects. First, I’m going to make a sincere effort to discover and develop my own paganism, in whatever form it may take. Before, I didn’t feel that I had enough knowledge to be comfortable working ritual, or to talk to any other pagans besides my partner.

I mentioned the ADF in previous posts, but a revelation last night leads me in a different direction. I’m not a polytheist and can’t pretend to myself that I am. I have no problem working with people who are, but I can’t deny my intuitions of the gods as archetypes, and our own psyches that take part in the same system. I still think the ADF is a good organization, and I still intend to use their training guide as an outline for my own spiritual growth. Specifically I’ll be using The ADF Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year guide, by Rev. Michael J Dangler. At the end, I should have a good base of ritual knowledge, and have figured out my own personal views much more clearly.

Second, I had the fortune to hear about the 30-Day Plant Spirit Ally Challenge before it began, and I’m excited to participate along with a bunch of other like-minded folk! It will be a great opportunity to enhance my herbal knowledge and to deeply connect with the natural world. I’m already psyched up about it, and may have chosen my ally yesterday when I was cleaning up a flower bed.

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South side flower garden – before spring cleaning

My grandfather built this house about fifty years ago, and my grandma has had flowers in this bed since then. For the last decade, my mother has been taking care of things in the garden, and now that care-taking responsibilities have fallen to me I’m excited to be working the same plots as they did.

I uncovered tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, a few different types of lilies, Chinese Lanterns, and Glory of the Snow. There were also some unplanned invaders: strawberry plants, dandelions, and yarrow! I’ll probably move the strawberries, and I hope to convince my mother that dandelions and yarrow ARE NOT weeds. While I was clearing the leaves, a chipmunk ran along the base of the house. Next time I go out, I’ll have a pocket full of peanuts to offer him, it’s tradition to feed them by hand in our family.

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South side flower garden – after spring cleaning

It looks more like spring already! Just ignore the lingering snow bank.

Welcome

Greetings! Namaste!

You can call me Siri, and this site is meant to be the place where I will talk about my experiences walking the Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) Dedicant Path (and perhaps beyond). I’ll fill in this site with links and explanatory info as I progress, especially if I gain any followers. Mostly, I created this site so that I can gain confidence in myself, to put my words out into the world. I know that I will better engage in the material if I make it real, if I write it out, rather than keeping everything in my head. Plus, if I ever want to really participate in ADF training, there is required documentation. Maybe with this site I’ll even make some pagan friends! I apologize in advance for any writing mistakes that may appear, it’s been some time since I’ve done any writing besides a personal journal and text messaging.

A little about me: I hold a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and I nearly completed a major in anthropology as well (I ran out of money to continue my studies for another semester). I’ve been exposed to ADF Neopagan Druidry for almost six years now, and have made stops and starts along the path, but always got distracted. I am very much influenced by Buddhism, and it will definitely color my druidry, but that’s what I like about the ADF – its structure is flexible enough to allow for individuals to make their practice personal.  I’ve been studying Buddhism (mostly Mahayana and Vajrayana) for only a little longer than paganism, and will continue to study both, and to merge them together in a way that works for me. I will try to be mindful of when I am introducing Buddhist concepts into my druidry, and explain my reasons and sources.

A few other things I’m studying at the same time are psychology and herbalism, as well as general gardening. Hobbies of mine include reading and watching material in the science fiction and fantasy genres, from Star Trek: The Original Series, to Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, to the current smash hit Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. History is important to me as well – what I’m really doing is trying to understand my place in the universe.

Thanks for being here, and best wishes for your own journey.

Creating Confidence

The time has arrived to fill this empty container. In order to grow in confidence, I must put myself out there, share my ideas, and learn from my fellows. This is impossible without action! So now, I will share parts of the spiraling path I take. I imagine I will muse about the cycle of nature around me, post photos of beautiful sights that I see, and share about my quest for knowledge and competency in my life.

Ice on the beach

Taken 4/20/19, on the shores of Lake Superior, the ice is almost gone for the year.