Summer Solstice - Lughnasa.
Moons & Astrological Phases
New Moon in Cancer 2nd July
Full Moon in Capricorn, 16th July.
New Moon in Leo, 1st August.
Mercury Retrograde, 7 - 31st July.
The Wild Rose / Dog Rose Feirdhris (Rosa Canina spp., Rosaceae) is a thorny shrub producing a flower with five petals which look like little love hearts. In the centre of the flower, yellow stamens burst open like sun rays. The petals are usually pink and occasionally white varieties can also be found. The arched branches of the Wild Rose can grow quite tall if left to their own devices (ours are about 6m tall at the moment). They have pretty pinnate leaves like small feathers.
The Wild Rose is not to be confused with the ‘Japanese’ or ‘Beach Rose’ (Rosa rugosa) which is a much larger Rose variety, bearing larger deep pink petals and much larger fruit (hips), the scent of this Rose is also stronger than the Wild Rose. Whilst the Rosa Rugosa is better for culinary preparations, given it’s stronger scent and flavour, the rosa Canina is my preferred variety for medicinal, health and wellness formulas - Its subtlety works well on a deeper level.
The petals, hips and buds of the wild rose can be used for herbal preparations as well as for culinary uses. The petals have a subtle yet intoxicating scent. They are cooling, drying and a little astringent and anti-microbial.
Rose is one of my go to plants to nurture the heart space. It is also a traditional aid for women during times of challenging reproductive issues as well as being a well documented aphrodisiac/love ally.
“The flowers are often combined with lavender (Lavandula angus-tifolia) and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) blossoms to help with grief and loss. Rose is also used topically to heal sunburns, rashes and stings”. Chestnut School Herbal Medicine.
Most of the flowers of the Wild Rose had disappeared by the time Lughnasa was upon us, I noted that there were still a few left on the last new moon though, the 1st August.
Other plants during this time were:
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium spp.,Asteraceae) - growing alongside meadowsweet in many places around Baile Mheiriecá.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria spp.,Rosaceae) - In full bloom for the whole cycle.
White Clover (Trifolium repens app.,Fabaceae) - Lots of it this year.
Lavender (Lavandula spp., Lamiaceae) - Began to flower around the first new moon.
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota spp.,Apiaceae).
Heather (Calluna vulgaris app.,Ericaceae) - Began to flower around the Full Moon.
Bog Myrtle (Myrica Gale spp.,Myricaceae).
Note, seven different plant families.
The Willow trees began to change their colour during this cycle. The first trees to do so. a few leaves also began to fall during the last week before Lughnasa, that being the last week of July.
The weather was quite hot on the first new moon with pleasant sun and cloud and a bright light to the sky. It turned cooler, especially at night as we approached Lughnasa, and the shadows began to get longer.
Birds, So many birds, our house is surrounded by trees and shrubs full of nesting birds. the Swallows were still around and there was the last of the Cuckoo calls.
Butterflies - It’s a pity they don’t make a sound.
Grass - Lots of grass noises I can’t identify.
It was a time of creative change and transformation ruled by the heart. I was compelled to turn inwards and think radically. Having to make tough decisions. This meant a lot of thinking and having to make brave decisions.
It was an uneasy cycle for this reason, most of the transition was self analysis and deep thinking, moving toward an urge as we approached Lughnasa for action, ‘doing’ and ‘changing’.
Rose Tincture - For the heart
Adaptogen Elixir - Aiding sleep and alleviating stress.