Chrimble-Litha (that Two-Headed Beastie).

How’s that for a google-dodging title SEO spammers?

It’s late Sunday afternoon, and I’m alone in the cottage, bar the furry critters, who feel absolutely no need to give me anything resembling personal space.

After 3 solid days of perpetual rain – of mythological proportions, mind*, I’ve gathered around me a fairly impressive fortress of books, journals, candles, and tarot decks. Because when it’s too torrid to leave your house, nose-diving into books is usually my moste fitting plan.

intensemerlin
Merlin sends his regards. Or at least he would if he wasn’t so intense, and otherwise engaged.

There’s a trail of herb books, recipe books, and make-your-own-preserves-wines-and-pickles books; and of course novels too, scattered about the rooms. Much of the detritus culminates on the dining table, because it seems to be where I sequester myself the most. I find myself moving between books, according to whatever shiny tidbit grabs my attention.

I’ve felt myself withdrawing from the interwebs more, even though I also feel pulled towards writing here. But I’ve had to use my time and energy in other ways. I’ve been rooting myself more deeply in the quiet, and in a sense of purpose that’s entirely, necessarily, mine. That’s all required less noise and distraction. Less input, and more focused output. More producing, less consuming, (but more on that in another post).

It may be that my stepping back has also got something to do with the rising energy of the season. For we are hard upon the heels of Chrimble-Yule.

summercourtyard

Or, in my part of the world, it’s that strange, two-headed, and somewhat discombobulating beast: Chrimble-Litha. For imagine, dearest Northern Hemmers, celebrating Yule on your 21st of June, amidst honeysuckle and bee-song.

Does that provoke a slightly out-of-sorts, topsy-turvy feeling, mayhaps?

As a not-Summer person, I’m actually surprised by my undiluted love of midsummer, (it’s only after that, generally speaking, that Summer falls to intolerably hot and sweaty pieces).

troilus
DA – ‘Troilus’, blooming now in my moonlight garden. The scent of which I compared to a “slightly creepy-sickly lolly, like aniseed crossed with old attic”. Someone more sophisticated and knowing than I summed it up properly though as DA’s characteristic myrrh scent.

Litha has such a lush and swoony loveliness. I just want to kick back and be languid, sip prosecco, nibble waterymelon, and spend twilight and dawn on a beach, chatting with friends and swimming in the sea.

This rare and specifically seasonal sociability is quite useful to engage for Chrimbly family gatherings, I find.

But Chrimblemas. This is of course the entire focus of the wider culture around me. And I feel the gentle gorgeousness of Litha gets a bit swallowed by the rabid consumerism and all-out madness of what has become (mostly for there are exceptions of course) an overtly secular and a-spiritual festival season here in Australia.

Which probably has me sounding like a grinch. But non! I adore Chrimbletime!

booksbookshop
Let this be evidence of my deep, abiding affection for The Chrimbly season. Found in an op-shop, and it lights up and flashes all over, as no PG-rated bookshop would ever. And “Book’s Book Shop” – I mean I couldn’t let that one go. Others around me are alarmed by how much I delight in this piece of chrimble-tat. I’m such a heathen.

But…being a witchypoo enamoured by seasonal rhythms, I long for a Yule under a frosty sky; hearth-drawn and fireside with the scent of pinecones and evergreens, woodsmoke and spices. With a view of sparse, witchetty trees beyond the candle-lit windowpane. For Chrimblemas is such a cozy and magical festival, and (to my mind anyway), carries its truest and best lineage of spirit and practice when it’s homed within Yule and the Winter season.

This is me shamelessly dangling for an invitation…

So, here in the great Southern land, instead of snowflakes and evergreens, I string stars (my favourite symbol) and suns around my home. I place poinsettias by the front door, and I shall make raspberry-vodka liqueur (ohmygiddyaunt!), bake lavender and lemon biscuits (in the shapes of hearts – and yep – stars), and stitch a Summer picnic quilt for a tiny niece.

And my main focus remains throughout the season, upon the handmade (mostly by others on etsy and the like), because I truly believe in how we spend our dollar/energy as consumers is one of our most powerful means of activism. And that less is often more, because there’s a peacefulness in the savouring of a few beautiful, and thoughtful things.

The Moon and I have compiled our list of films to watch, which include Love, Actually, and Little Women. We watch The Muppet’s Christmas Carol every year, (because it’s our favourite of all the Chrimbly films). And because Kermit and Dickens! (my life-long crushes). And Michael Caine fuhgoodnesssakes!**

We try to make it our own as best we can. Which means shutting out the noisy sales pitches of Big Business. Although I don’t remove myself entirely from the wider culture, despite the dissonance with the climate. But Litha is where I’m more firmly grounded in this season. After all, this is the land I’m in and on, whatever the cultural overlays.

There are so many weavings and mendings, old narratives and new, hybrids and mutants; colonisers and emigres. This place, mixed in with my spirituality, history, and ancestral paths. A funny old soup, it is.

I see all my Northern friends beginning to prepare for the season, on the instagrin and elsewhere. In truth, it makes me want to jump through the screen and join ’em, (still waiting on that invitation ; ) But I’m determined all the more this year to embrace where I am, and the beauty of that. Because it is deliriously lovely here.

I’ll spare you the whole “quel year!” thing.

But, still…quel year!

I’m very bloody tired, in truth. 2017 has been long, and arduous, and trying in a deeply Saturnine way. But there has been deep transformation, and change, and a smidgen of renewal. There’s still a long way to go. Before I sleep.

And it looks as though 2018 is going to be a big year. Indeed.

But more on that anon, sweet dears. I must go and check on my experimental (let’s emphasise the mental, here) elderflower champagne that’s brewing in a quiet corner of my kitchen. It’s intended for gifts, but I may start it all over again because I’ve been left in a great deal of confusion by a proliferation of recipes that contradict one another to an alarming degree.

elderqueen
Elderflower, from my garden. Look at this empress of flowers! It’s tricky to convey her giantess proportions here, but she is great indeed.

Most of said recipes seem to be found via The Guardian, on the blogs of middle-aged, pipe-smoking, tweed-wearing englishmen; all exclaiming “jolly-wots!” over yeasts, brewing times, moon-phases, and blossom immersions. I’m feeling cross-eyed and recalcitrant, and just a little bit sweary about it all. I do like my recipes to be a little less arcane and rarified, and with a dash of common-sense. I suspect the recipes of “old wives” may yield more satisfying results than all this pomp and theory.

The upshot is, that my efforts thus far may well end up being shampagne, that’s not elderflowery in the least, but just undrinkable. We shall see.

On that note, if anyone has had successful results making elderflower champagne, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you, and any tips/recipes/solace you may have to offer!

But for now, best of the season to you friends! Whichever you’re in. xxx

 

 

 

 

*our rainwater tank was nearly empty on Friday evening, whereas now, it’s close to overflowing. That’s a formidable amount of water, all at once. This is very exciting for me, because it means voluptuously indulgent baths in the middle of not-bath season! O happy day!

**And let us not forget Miss Piggy, and the book-keeping staff.