Lammastide. The harvest of what we planted at summer solstice is beginning to come in. We may still feel at the height of summer, but the whisper of fall is on the wind and there is a subtle shift in the light. We celebrate the turning of the wheel in a circle of stones, made from my rock friends, from all of my travels, recent and long ago. Each carries a story; each seems to belong to one of the elements. Crystal clear quartz, moonstone and citrine for the Air quarter; carnelian, lava, and sharp stones in the Fire quarter; flow-smoothed stones and turquoise in the Water quarter; hematite, serpentine and granite in the Earth quarter. In the center is a corn dolly made by my daughter long ago, to represent the grain harvest at this turn of the wheel.
In the garden, the vitex tree is blooming profusely. Also called vitex agnus-castus, chaste-tree, its berries are a tonic herb and general hormonal regulator. Its use as a medicine dates back to Pliny’s Historia Naturalis in 77 CE. I planted this as a sprig years ago and it has grown into a fine young many-branched tree covered with purple blooms in August. The bees love it, as evidenced below. This fat black bee was enjoying this flower cluster in the afternoon sun.