Litha Crew Post from March 21, 2023 (Catching up from January 2023)

This January, I finally got the tattoos that I’ve been wanting for years.  I’m going through a major life cycle transit called the Uranus Opposition.  It’s the “midlife crisis” that we all go through, wanting to be unique and free.  

I got a sea turtle on my foot to commemorate the marathon I did in Hawaii in 2015.  It is also a memorial piece for my stepmom Robin.  She loved turtles (we even had one engraved on her headstone).  She joked that she should get a tattoo of one on her toe so she could have a “toe-tuga”.  (My sister got a “toe-tuga” with a breast cancer ribbon on the shell.)  I did that marathon at quite the turtle’s pace, but I freaking did it, and it was a huge accomplishment for me.  I saw images of turtles the whole way and I knew that Robin was cheering me on.  I started cycling and running because cancer prevented her from being active and I wanted to celebrate my own ability to use my healthy body.  

And one week later I got my swallow for sailing my first 5,000 nautical miles. (I’m less than 2,000nm from having TWO swallows, but I think one will be fine.) A swallow is a traditional sailor tattoo.  They have the longest migration pattern of any bird and they always find their way home. Blue represents the ocean and the orange represents the sunset. I sent my tattoo artist a photo of my friend Julianne’s swallow tattoo and she added her own special details and made it my own.  I met Julianne while sailing those miles and buddy-boating with friends was such a huge part of our journey.

A few weeks before I got these tattoos, I drove 1.5 hours up to Portland, ME to have my dreads professionally touched up and added a bunch of colors and fun pieces.  For the first time in my life, I feel like me. Like, this is who I’ve always wanted to be.  20 years married, 2 kids, 2 cats, a business in Salem, MA doing what I love, meaningful tattoos to celebrate my accomplishments… and amazing hair that’s super easy to take care of.

So, maybe it’s a small change, or maybe it’s something big, but what can you do to feel free, soar, and feel truly like you? 

I’m still working on this.

Emerge from the depths

Emerge from the depths

Litha Crew Post from March 21, 2023 (Catching up from December 2022)

“The future itself, appears as a mysterious and unknowable figure, literally shrouded in darkness.” -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol  

December is dark.  

Long ago, the telling of ghost stories didn’t stop on Halloween, but would continue during the dark, cold winter months of Northern Europe.  Disguises and costumes didn’t expire in October either, but would be worn until at least January.  Harvest time was over which began a time of feasting, debauchery, and libations.  At the same time, stories began all over the world about monsters, demons, and goblins (Most famously, Krampus) told to scare children into being on their best behavior during the boring winter months when they were most likely to get into mischief.

In an effort to quiet the rowdy evenings, trees were brought inside by candlelight to bring nature indoors, and wreaths were made as a symbol of the spring yet to come. Bonfires were lit to bring in the light, and Yule logs were burned as a ritual to cleanse the past year and welcome the new.

Telling ghost stories around these winter fires is a tradition that dates at least as far back as Elizabethan England.  This folk custom is even mentioned in William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale: “A sad tale’s best for winter, I have one. Of sprites and goblins.” And also in Christopher Marlowe’s Jew of Malta: “Now I remember those old women’s words, Who in my wealth would tell me winter’s tales, And speak of spirits and ghosts by night.”

The most famous of all Christmas ghost stories is of course Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.  It is the famous story of the selfish, greedy Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by the ghosts of his past, present and future on Christmas Eve.  (Photo from A Christmas Carol Trolley Ride in Salem in December.) What was most genius about Dickens’ particular ghost story is that it brought morals and values to the otherwise rambunctious drunken holiday season.

The Winter Solstice (Yule) on December 21st marks the darkest day of the year, and the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.  But it also marks the moment the light begins to return, and the days slowly become longer.  Modern Pagans spend the entire evening around a blazing fire, telling stories, and singing to make certain that the light will return and the sun will once again rise.  “After the longest night, sing up the dawn.”

All modern religious celebrations of the holidays have the common theme of bringing in the light.  Remembering and recreating our family and cultural traditions are most important this time of year.  And we are always thinking of, and missing the loved ones that are not here with us to celebrate. I believe the veil stays thin throughout these darks months, and I believe our loved ones and ancestors are most near to us.

In the dark of December, I encourage you to bring back the age old tradition of telling ghost stories.  Light a candle, tell your children stories of your ancestors, and share memories of your loved ones on the other side.  Emerge from the depths.

Walk Your Talk

Walk Your Talk

Litha Crew Post March 21, 2023 (Catching up from November 2022)

As a Pisces sun, Cancer rising, with my Moon in the 12th house, and Neptune in my 6th… anyway… it all means that I’m a little bit… out there?  Floaty? Spacey?  Not grounded, and a very anxious person.  When I asked my therapist for advice, she said, “Well, what would you tell your clients to do?”  I thought about it and said, “I’d tell them to do grounding exercises.  Breath work, yoga, meditation, and taking their shoes off and putting them on the Earth.”  Do I do any of those things?  Definitely not as much as I should.  I should be walking my talk.  That’s the expression, right?  “Walk the talk”.

So, after the tourist season was over, I knew that I would need some much needed grounding and relaxation.  Months earlier, I booked an AirBnb in New Hampshire for the first week of November with our friends.  I knew that we would all need some peace, quiet, and fresh air in the mountains.  And wow, just a few days helped tremendously.

This photo is my feet in the chilly water of Diana’s Baths in North Conway, NH after a short hike.  Putting my feet in the water in a place filled with stories of native people and faeries was pretty magical.  At that moment, I made myself a little promise to follow more of my own advice.

So, self care…  Positive self talk.  Affirmations.  Love.  What do you tell your friends to do when they’re feeling anxious, stuck, or depressed?  When you feel that way yourself, do you do those things?  Take care of yourself the way you take care of others.  Healers need healing too.

When you’re overwhelmed

When you’re overwhelmed

Litha Crew Post from March 21, 2023

This lesson, is all about what I’ve learned about myself when I become overwhelmed.  I mean, seriously…  I got so overwhelmed that I’m writing up the Lesson From Litha Newsletter 6 months late.  It’s freaking March, and I have a lot of catching up to do.  Luckily, I do somewhat write these up in my journal each month, so it just requires a lot of digging and thought-forming for me.  Here we go…

Well, apologies…  To you all, but mostly to myself.  I’ve been writing up a monthly newsletter for 3 years and, yes, sometimes I wrote them a couple weeks late, but SIX MONTHS LATE?  Yikes.  Let me explain…

For one thing, October came early in Salem last year.  We had record-breaking crowds and it was super stressful.  When October hit, I just didn’t have time to write up a September lesson.  (But to be honest, I was stressed and overwhelmed starting weeks before October ever began.)

In October 2021, I experienced major burn-out.  So much so that I was dreading the next October all year long.  Really, as soon as October was finished, I hated looking at the calendar because I was dreading October coming closer and closer again with each passing month.  

This was how I spent each day in Oct 2021- Get up at 6am to get ready and take my kids to school.  Then I’d see clients in my office until it was time to pick them up at 2:30.  Then I’d drop them off at home and head out to give walking tours.  I’d give a 3:30, 5:00, 6:00. 7:00, and 8:30 tour.  And then I’d host my ghost hunt at Gallows Hill Theatre starting at 10:00pm.  I’d get home past midnight and do it all again the next day.

So, after that craziness, I told my friend that I wasn’t going to give walking tours for her company for October 2022.  And I scheduled my ghost hunt for 9pm instead of 10pm.  So I knew that going into the season would be much, much less stressful.  My own clients, and then a ghost hunt every night.  I could handle that.  (I also ended up helping in the Schooner Fame ticket booth when their crew got covid, but, again, I could handle that.)

Anyway, as September (and the last bit of my freedom) slowly faded day by day, and the dread set in, I was invited to a friend’s house for a witchy celebratory meal for Mabon (The photo I’ve attached here was her table decorated beautifully.)  I needed that evening so, so much.  

It was the pause and balance of the Autumn Equinox, a breath before October began.  How incredibly interesting and synchronistic that yesterday was the Spring Equinox as I’m writing this.  That’s so significant.  So meant to be that I begin catching up with these again.  It’s the time of year that is our next chance to pause as the scales tip seasons again.

So, that’s my lesson.  Take a breath.  Pause.  Meditate. Have a meal with some witchy friends to remind you that we’re all connected and there for each other when we’re feeling overwhelmed. 

There were so many other stressful things that began to happen in my life during this time.  Someday maybe I’ll write about them.

Glaciers and Coral

Glaciers and Coral

Litha Crew Post from September 9, 2022

I actually don’t have some big lesson for July.  Much of the month was spent on vacation.  We spent 4th of July weekend sailing around the Boston Harbor Islands with our friends.  And then the last couple weeks in July was spent on vacation for our 20th wedding anniversary.  We visited friends and family in Seattle (the first time we had been home in 4 years since sailing away… except for a short sneaky trip I took alone in April to surprise my best friend for her bday.), and then we went on a cruise to Alaska… without the kids!

I could probably go into this long spiel about the environment and glaciers melting, etc… just like I could go on about coral bleaching and dying all over the world… but I’ll just say that we enjoy every moment and every bit of nature we get to see when we see it.  You never know how much it’ll continue to change.  Maybe that’s a lesson…. to run out and see nature before it disappears.  Sad and pessimistic maybe, but it’s true.

Alaska was beautiful.  Coffee, salmon, evergreen trees, hoodies and jeans in the summer.  It was a wonderful trip and I’d love to go again sometime.  And it sounds silly for us to leave our boat just to go on another boat, but a cruise was a really amazing way to see Alaska. And it was neat for us watching our speed and location using our Navionics app.  We also have a knack for spotting sea life that other passengers don’t have.

So there you have it folks.  We went on vacation.  We celebrated our marriage, just the two of us.  I took time off and completely unplugged.  That could be a lesson for you too.  I hope you all had a wonderful summer with your own vacation.  <3

Ouch.  This one hurts.  I think this was truly the last time my husband and I connected… while we enjoyed nature… that is also disappearing.

Happy Litha!

Happy Litha!

Litha Crew Post from July 13, 2022

I would hope you all know by now that Litha is the Pagan/Celtic celebration of the Summer Solstice.  Every year on Litha, I see the name of our home afloat all over social media.  A friend tagged me in a post on Instagram because a girl in Salem was making flower hair bands to celebrate the day on the wharf, and she looked down and saw the name of our sailboat.  She said it was the perfect sign.  How cool is that?  We were someone’s sign that day!

Litha is the longest, brightest day of the year. The word “Solstice” comes from the latin word “Solstitium” meaning “sun stands still”. Ancient Celts used to celebrate Litha by traveling to the hilltops and lighting bonfires to honor the space between the earth and the heavens, land and sky.

Other ancient rituals included lighting a large wheel on fire and rolling it down a hill into the water. Litha is the most powerful day for the sun, but it also marks the days becoming shorter again. The water and fiery wheel may have represented soothing the sun’s strong fire, and was an offering to the gods to prevent drought for their crops.

Litha has been known as an important day for ritual. From the Romans honoring Juno, the Goddess of women, childbirth, and marriage, by naming the month of June after her as crops and nature thrive in summer; to offering cinders from bonfires to crops as a blessing. Even William Shakespeare associated ritual and witchcraft with the Summer Solstice in at least three of his plays. It’s a powerful day. Earth and Air, Fire and Water, Day and Night. The sun leaves Gemini with such duality, and enters Cancer, the sign of warmth, home, and comfort.

I hope you all had a beautiful warm solstice, and continue to have a happy summer.  ☀️