The day is warm and sunny – the sky is baby blue in colour. Not a cloud in sight. My Monday morning takes me here to a lake, fishing again. Except I spend most of the time looking at my surroundings. The wild flowers that are very much in abundance now. Iris, water lilies and red campion. I sit and watch the dragonflies and damselflies – the damselflies like blue neon matchsticks, the bees and water boatman. As I watch the swirls on the water in front of me, I spot a shimmering blue out of the corner of my eye and turn to see a kingfisher less than 6 feet away from me. As I turned my head, off he flew across the lake, his beautiful colours glinting in the warm morning sun. Sometime later, a grass snake zigzags across the water in front of me. A definite day for wildlife spotting.
Sunday 7th - The temperature has dropped a bit the past few days but I welcome it. A few clouds now dotted in the blue sky and there is a cool breeze. I’ve spent the past few days identifying grasses and wild flowers – all familiar to look at but nameless. It’s been quite fun and interesting to do. Even those that we call ‘weeds’ - they all have a name. It’s very soothing to wander amongst the many shades of green – everything seems very tall – almost like each plant is clamouring for attention. Nettles, cow parsley and grasses taller than me! The wheat in the fields is growing fast but still very green and, in another field, barley sways in the summer breeze. Chamomile pokes its sunny face from between the stalks.
June 11th - This afternoon brings wind and rain. I’m sitting indoors watching the trees sway in the wind, the rain forming puddles on the patio. The ground needs the rain – it's been so dry –cracks have begun to appear in the parched earth and the fields have been dusty. Connecting with the energy of the plants in my garden – I can almost hear a sigh of relief! I water my garden, of course, but a good soaking from the rain is really what it needs!
Chamomile and Mugwort Dream Pillow
Chamomile is in abundance in the fields near where I live, so I harvested some on a warm sunny day and dried it on a tray on my garden table during the day and on a sunny windowsill when it wasn’t so nice outside. Chamomile is connected very much to the warm sunny days of June, it has a masculine energy and is linked to many Sun Gods like Cernunnos, Ra and Helios. Chamomile has lots of wonderful properties – purification and protection, as an aid in sleep and enhancing relaxation and meditation. It is useful in warding off psychic attacks. It is also worn to attract love and to promote good fortune.
I thought I’d make a dream pillow with chamomile, lavender – also used to promote a restful night's sleep – and mugwort. Mugwort also brings peaceful sleep and will aid in lucid dreaming. I used a small organza bag and put in equal amounts of chamomile and lavender, and half the amount of mugwort and drew the strings together. Place it under your pillowcase or on your bedside table.
My lovely talented friend and author Rachel has just had published her own cookbook which is amazing! Each month has its own bunch of recipes all corresponding to the energies of that particular month, so having purchased the book, I flicked straight through to ‘June’, to see what delicious recipes were on offer. I had noticed that a few people had shared on social media the recipe for lemon and thyme cookies and given them a big ‘thumbs up!’, so I decided to try them for myself... And I wasn’t disappointed! They are delicious!!
Thyme is another herb that can be used to promote a good night's sleep. Other magical properties include – healing, health, peace, purification and courage.
Lemon magical properties are purification, happiness, uplifting, love, protection and friendship.
If you fancy trying them yourself, here is the recipe. But I would highly recommend buying the book, then you can try the many other wonderful recipes within...
Lemon Thyme Cookies (vegan option)
300g/10 ½ oz plain flour (all-purpose flour)
80g/2 ¾ oz icing sugar (powdered sugar)
170g/6 oz margarine (vegan option)
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
Zest from 4 lemons
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4
Grease an 8” square baking tin and line with baking parchment. Leave an overhang so you can use the edges to lift the cookies out.
Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, thyme and lemon zest. Add the margarine and mix until combined, it will be a crumbly mixture. Press the dough into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Allow it to cool in the tin. Once cool, lift the parchment paper to release the cookies from the tin. Cut into squares and enjoy!!
Recipe by kind permission from Rachel Patterson. 'Practically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Cooking' by Rachel Patterson is out now from all the usual book stores