Wednesday, May 2, 2018

queen of swords

With spring in full force, I've either been researching or experiencing spring tonics nearly every day. By definition, a tonic is simply something that restores or refreshes one's being...a tonic could affect someone on mental, physical or spiritual levels and by various means. Activities, exercises, nourishment, art forms and even ritual practices could all be subtle magical tonics.


I think I have the nose of a dog. Inhaling spring blossom fragrance daily is a favorite restorative of mine and there are many items on that menu -- apple trees, plum trees; golden currants, lilacs, sand cherries, grape hyacinth and Oregon grape holly bushes for starters. The beautiful iris was accidentally snapped off a few days ago and is developing her fragrance even without sunlight and birdsong.


I've begun a sort of art journal practice in a new handmade journal -- the first section of the book is dedicated to the Queen of Swords with a focus on the element of air and its corresponding attributes. It begins with the language of name and place...thinking about where I come from brought both people and sweet memories back to life. I loved doing this.


Every spring I look forward to collecting and cooking wild weeds from right outside the back door...tonic foods. My weedy stalwarts are always steamed nettles with onion and garlic, nettle pesto and dandelion Italiano on toasted sour dough bread.


I yearn to connect to the ways of my grandmothers, I tell myself that surely they cooked these same greens in the spring. The bowl of nettles is placed on my grandmother's table, now my dining table. She lived and died many years before I was born. When I feel sad that I have nothing to know or remember her by other than a few old photos, I remind myself that she rested her hands on this very table, maybe even in the exact same places that I rest mine.


A tiny prayer flag became a book mark on the full moon -- the chain-stitched spiral symbolizes air and wind.
 

We removed two dead trees this past week -- a pear tree and a juniper tree, both from which I kept mementos. The little bundle is a tiny pear twig tied together with some nearby plants. From the juniper trunk, Jan sawed me a small section revealing rings and colors and fragrance that surprised and delighted us. I'm finding that saving and holding natural objects like these as sacred is one way for me to express gratitude, no matter what the season.


The Queen of Swords has clear, piercing vision which the likeness of Frida Kahlo epitomizes for me on the bit of collage (the back of a greeting card). The handmade journal to the right, which I adore, was made by Kate Jackson.


In case you're wondering, the Queen of Spades is the equivalent of the Queen of Swords.


I'm ending this post with yet another photo of our many-years-old bee house holding a brand new colony of Italian honeybees. This house was vacant all last summer due to colony failure and I am so happy to have a full house again. At present, we have one wild bee colony in a tree trunk to the west and the new bees live on the east side of our back yard. At last it feels like things are back to normal around here.

My spring tonic practices have felt short-lived, almost elusive -- there is still so much I want to read and make and think about. But as we approach the threshold of summer, it will soon be time to begin focusing on the element of fire and the Queen of Wands. I am excited to see how they will show up in my life.

Late spring/early summer blessings of nettles and iris to you. xx

18 comments:

Liz A said...

Such a thoughtful post ... words and images both. Your reverie on your grandmother's hands and her table especially touched me ...

taiqi said...

I am so glad you are blogging again. Wish it were more often. I am going to look up Queen of Swords.
I have a whole yard of Miner's Lettuce and am enjoying a salad a day before they fade. I am also going to make a tincture of root of Oregon Grape--for Fall use. Have you tried it? Just like Golden Seal. the more stressed out the plant--from drought--the stronger the yellow color of the root and the more powerful the tincture. Happy Spring!

Joanne S said...

So happy to see a new post--and one filled with so many things for me to consider......I have been thinking about a handmade book of fabric pages. Now...I see yours and have the "courage " to follow the path I had in mind. So pleased the bees--Italian at that....are back. I think I may have been as sad as you were when the last group died.

I am making "moon" squares--well, I returned to making them after about 10 years of not finishing what I began. Your posts and pictures speak directly to my heart and I am grateful.

Ms. said...

Lovely BEES! Blessed be the bees and thee.

Rhonda Buss said...

I so enjoyed your thoughts on your grandmother’s table.

Anonymous said...

You life stands as inspiration. thank you for sharing your vision, rites, and memories. Which of the Queens would you use as a signifier if you had to? I am an Aquarius with a Gemini Moon, but because of Leo on the Ascendant, I usually pick the Queen of Wands.

Peggy said...

Hi Liz, thank you so much. I was in my 20s when my parents gave me the table but didn't think of the grandmother connection until about a year ago. Time flew.

Peggy said...

Hi Janet, thank you. I love envisioning your spread of miner's lettuce, how lucky you are. I've tried to grow it but it doesn't take off for me. I've only made Oregon Grape root tincture once -- when we had to dig some out for a project, and it's still in my little pharmacy -- but didn't think of using the roots for their color. Of course! I'll remember that for sure because they like it here. Have you used the berries? I keep meaning to try a recipe with them.

Peggy said...

Hi Joanne, thank you so much --we inspire each other. I am getting back into blog reading & writing more, it's just more meaningful to me -- feels like Facebook and Instagram take too much time to keep up with. See you!

Peggy said...

Hi Michelle, yes, blessed be the bees and thee!

Peggy said...

Thank you, Rhonda...invisible threads of connection.

Peggy said...

Hi Dee, thanks so much. I don't use significators hardly at all...but after these past three months with the Queen of Swords, I would choose her. I'm a Cancer w/Cancer rising, Libra moon. Before, I would have chosen the Queen of Pentacles, maybe because I don't have any earth signs in my entire chart. But I do have a lot of air. Just from knowing you from afar, I could see you with either swords because of your academic background and current writing project or wands because of your creative, energetic, spicy side! So I'm not surprised by your chart, it fits you! I think it would depend on your questions, which one you might be drawn to use. Love the tarot.

Nancy said...

My place of calm and delight, your blog! I was just at the bookstore and saw inspirational books that could well be your photos! Have you ever considered a book? You have such a way with the photos of your makings, doings, inspirations, rituals and so on. I'd buy it for sure!
xo

Anonymous said...

me too (would buy the book).

Hazel said...

Peggy, your journal project is inspiring, as are all of your photos and reflections, as always. Love for your bees in motion. I know nothing about the tarot, but you make me want to learn!

Patty said...

Your tree bundles inspire me. Bee folk are especially welcome
with colony collapse. Take care.

taiqi said...

Hope you blog again soon--once every month or two isn't enough. I miss your insights.

ARTISUN said...

I'm always so inspired by your posts, and the foods you prepare from your garden. I'm new to learning about the native plants around me here in Southern Cal., especially up at my cabin where we have the 4 seasons. My son is a plant scientist and is teaching me. I've located lots of miner's lettuce growing right now and I believe I have a stinging nettle in my water run off brook. Do you collect and work with it in the kitchen with gloves on?? My neighbor said it makes you itch so I haven't gotten near it yet. Any advice?