Splendors of June

One of the many pleasures of summer in my city is the antiquarian book fair.  I picked up a lovely volume this go-round with gorgeous illuminated poems, The Old Garden by Margaret Deland, “decorated” by Walter Crane.  First American edition, 1894.  Here’s a little snippet of “Summer” in honor of the season!

Plus some lovely flowers from the garden and my little “special corner” setup:



Daydreams and Dryads

On Midsummer I had a rather lousy day at work, but it was a beautiful rainy evening by the time I left the office, and I decided to blow off some steam by biking down to the lakes.  I was sprinkled by a sunshower as I left the house, that dreamy rarity of rain falling from seemingly clear blue skies paired with bright sunshine, and by the time I reached the first lake, the rain had stopped and there was a glorious rainbow right over the water.

Just off the bike trail I spotted a phenomenally radiant tree with broad fan sized leaves of the brightest apple green and bursting with white trumpety flowers.  I think perhaps it was a basswood of some kind.  The bark was soft and carved with tangled grooves, and its branches twisted about in spiraling asymmetry.

I pulled over off the trail, leaned my bike against the trunk, and settled down in the crook of the tree’s meandering roots.  Above me sprawled the whispering canopy of green and white, all dappled and translucent with evening sunlight, and if I looked ahead I had a perfect view of the rainbow over the blue waves.

My limbs were mighty tired, and I cuddled into my niche in the tree with grateful comfort.  I imagined myself stretching roots deep into the earth, sinking my body into the soft damp and warmth, and I realized I felt myself protected and curled up in the trunk just like All-kinds-of-fur.  (Only instead of hiding from the incestuous proposals of a king, I was simply trying to escape a stressful workday.)

Drowsy, I began chatting amiably to the tree, and I found myself saying, on observing the abundance of flowers she had produced, “My, you’ve been a busy girl, haven’t we?”  I chuckled at the diminishing distinction between myself and my bower.  I asked if she had any advice; she said, “Bend with the wind, and don’t be afraid to lose a few leaves even when you’re growing.”

We had a lovely little conversation, and eventually the evening grew cool and dim, and I determined I ought to be returning home.  I rode past the cemetery and the band shell towards the public gardens, stopped briefly to dip a leaf in the fountain to fan myself, and (in a passionate whim) walked backwards among the roses per the old superstition of Midsummer loves.

I soon made my way back home, and settled in late in the evening, having reflected on my little communion with the tree, I felt it would be a perfect time for a bit of bibliomancy.  So I pulled my beloved Orlando down from the shelf, closed my eyes, flipped to a page and placed my finger.  When I looked, I saw one word: Daphne.

My mythology is a bit rusty, but I knew the name had significance, so I looked it up, and you can imagine my delighted surprise when I was reminded that Daphne was a nymph who, to escape the lustful pursuit of Apollo, transformed herself into a tree.

As Ovid described it (translated by A.S. Kline):

“…A heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breast, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face was lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left.”

May we all run headlong into our moment of transformation this summer.


Honey Rose Moon

Today the swollen Honey Rose Moon drifted in the sign of Sagittarius, exactly halfway through the calendar between my last and approaching birthdays.  I felt like the full moon this month was just dripping love.  A loving moon in Sagittarius — a good time for turquoise, especially if it has black veins in it (best for love, or so I’m told; solid blue for prosperity).

It had been a while since I had any rituals, so I cleared off a space, lit some myrrh and a candle, and did some readings.  A long time ago I developed my own divination card system, and although I have been using it for years through innumerable readings, this was the first time I had ever drawn the card representing the moon during a full spread.  It seemed auspicious.



The theme of the reading was one of taking first steps, giving a voice to your dreams, and overcoming fear and trepidation.  This was incredibly apt given my recent struggles with intimidating work demands and possible life-changing decisions looming in my mind.  The end result, though, was encouraging: a call to invoke the energy of the full moon, and so doing, grow gradually into a fulfillment of self in courage and confidence.

I’m throwing my lucky penny into the wishing well of June and wishing everyone the best.