St. Patrick's Day brings popular images of leprechauns - cute, comical and dancing about ... jealously protecting their pots o' gold. They are seen as "fiercely" sweet but being oh so terribly tiny, can only trick human beings, rather than fighting a fair fight. But don't forget that leprechauns are of the same ilk as banshees (who foretell death), changelings (ancient creatures who secretly take the place of human babies) and also of béfinds? Remember fairy godmother #13 who cursed Sleeping Beauty to die? Yeah, you want to keep on the good side of a béfind. Also, what we mortals call fairies were gods and goddesses; once upon a long time ago. Most are part of the Tuatha Dé Danann, an ancient race that arrived in Ireland many eons ago, or they are at least descended from them. So in order to please a leprechaun, we need to replace the current cute image and replace it with one that garners respect. He is a very small, old and wizened fairy who makes his home under hills or in fairy mounds. He smokes his pipe for pleasure and works diligently at repairing shoes ... or at least one shoe - why only one? I think it's because it is a "smoke screen". The leprechaun is working ... but it is appearance only. He is actually waiting, observing, contemplating and if we wait long enough, this wise old fellow might remove the pipe from his mouth and let us in on a few secrets about the world.
If you would like to gain favour with a leprechaun, I suggest the following:
May you secure the good luck blessings of your local leprechaun this St. Paddy's Day!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2019
It isn't for me to say if the legendary Avalon existed literally or figuratively, but Avalon, or "the island of apples" was located for some at Glastonbury in Somerset, England. Certainly there is magic in the sight of the serene countryside, gently grazing farm animals, stone walls and weathered wooden gates - not to mention the many apple trees growing amply and fruitfully in fields alongside the path to Glastonbury Tor.
Legend tells that the numerous wild apple trees of Avalon needed no cultivating to grow and gave fruit endlessly - contributing to an easy lifestyle for its happy inhabitants! I have found that nature provides everything spontaneously for our own apple trees to flourish and thrive.
If you want to bring a little of the magic of Avalon into your own backyard - why not consider planting an apple tree or two? There are many varieties that need very little space to grow. The benefits vastly outweigh the initial modest cost and labour involved -- adding beauty and oxygen to our world, blossoms for bees, hiding spots for birds, shade, compost and most importantly -- year after year of free delicious apples!
Apple Trees in Meadow Sweet Grove
Copyright © Meadow Sweet Grove / V. Buchanan 2018/e2019
Apparently, there is a folklore tradition, in Britain and North America, wherein it is very good luck to say "white rabbits" or "rabbits" or "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits!", or any combination of these words three times, on the 1st day of any month. Three's the charm as they say and is always an important component to the success of any spell. They must be your first spoken words upon waking on the 1st day of the month. I've never heard of it before but am going to give it a go this Sunday!
How auspicious is it that the first day of our next month this year (April), is not only April's Fool's Day but also Easter Sunday. Can't get much luckier than that!
There are so many diverse symbolic meanings attached to the rabbit - and often contradictory ones. But if you think of both the prolific nature of bunnies and also the common "trickster" aspect of the rabbit - the above charm makes a lot of sense. It both invites bounty and good fortune for the month ... while at the same time stymieing the possibility of silly tricks those cunning characters might play!
Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018
Isn't it charming that many people throughout time have had or carried good luck charms? Four leaf clovers, pebbles and coins - anything really that symbolizes good fortune to the holder.
The four leaf clover is considered lucky because they grow few and far between in any bed of clover. The odds of finding one are stacked against the seeker, so it follows that the finder is inherently "lucky" to spot one.
Any stone can be considered lucky - they are too numerous to mention. But the one I remember most from childhood was the "wishing stone". Usually found by the ocean, the wishing stone is a smooth black rock, with a single white line running in a complete, unbroken circle around it - hold it in your hand and make a wish. A hag or "holey" stone (pictured above) is said to offer the wearer protection -- and sometimes offers a view to unseen worlds. Both are relatively easy to find so I think the magic is less in the finding but rather in the vast symbolism of the circle.....
And of course, lucky coins need no explanation - they are a very tangible symbol of wealth!
By the by, did you hear that Lucky Charms cereal has added a new Magical Unicorn charm to their cereal? The fairies in Meadow Sweet Grove are very excited - it is, quite understandably, their favourite cereal.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018
Want a fun way to rid yourself of a bad habit this New Year? Why not try a little bit of sympathetic magic. Cut an apple in half, and "pour" in that bad habit, worry or negative feeling right into the apple's core. Put the two halves back together tightly. Tie with string, tape, or anything that works for you. Bury the apple in your back yard.
The reason this works, is because you are consciously identifying the problem, making a choice to remove it from yourself, and then discarding it into another space. Works best for little things.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018
There's great magic on the 1st of May or May Day. The ancient Celtic people divided the year into two seasons - Winter and Summer. May 1st was the dividing point and signaled the change from the end of the dark and dead winter weather to the beginning of the warm summer and growing season. There was great joy and excitement that the warmer weather was officially here to stay for a whole season. No wonder they had a celebration!
To share in some of this magic, you need to wake up early enough to collect some of the dew on the morn of May 1st ... and gently smooth it across your face. I can attest to the truth that this beauty treatment is particularly refreshing!
No hawthorn tree? No worries. An alternate verse allows you to use dew drops from any tree, bush or even the grass.
Happy May Day!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2020
Some Mother Goose verses are real noodle-scratchers that puzzle us and beg to be deciphered ... this one, however, speaks plain and simple. Johnny would like to play outside and it would be a lot more pleasant to do so if it weren't raining.
Yet if you look closer, a spell emerges from this simple children's rhyme. I love to find the magic in the everyday around us!
A spell to charm away the rain:
"Rain, rain, go away;"
Here the wish, want or desire is clearly stated.
"Come again another day;"
Here a caveat is placed to ensure that there will be no unwanted consequences (eg drought).
"Little Johnny wants to play."
This provides the emotional charge or feeling required to make the spell work. Johnny is waiting in the garden on a bench with a "heart" motif; just as he himself puts his heart into his wish by visualizing himself at play. Bucket and spade at the ready illustrates his belief that his wish will come true.
All the elements of a successful spell are present. The whole thing rhymes which makes it easy to remember and recite. And as they say "3 times the charm". This is reflected in the amount of lines in the rhyme ... and reinforced by the number of ducklings.
Let's hope little Johnny gets his wish!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2019
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2016 / edited 2019