Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Extended

It doesn't matter how many times I fix my blog preferences so that it automatically puts the right time, it keeps schizing on me and going two hours slow. *sigh*

Yesterday we went out to Autumn & Frankie's. Yay. It was fun. Frankie said we have to do, like, a weekend movie thing so he can catch up on the horror movies we've got and, ya know, hang out. (He's only seen the first Saw! O.o) It's always nice going out there and getting to see the kids and hang out and eat good food. They're, like, family you'd hang out with even if they weren't related.

You ever have those days where you just have to get away or you'll go bonkers? Today was one of those days. We went out, picked up what we had to, but left prepared! I wore my bathing suit cuz we were going to go out to the lake. Okay, so now they have a "no trespassing" sign on the barricade blocking the road. *boo* Normally this wouldn't have stopped us. We just had the bad luck of getting there at the same time as some "official" guy. *boo* So we went down to the pier since I had never been. That thing is scary! Like it's just gonna splinter apart and sink. Since we decided the lake wasn't worth getting arrested for; we moved on. We went to the river instead. ^_^ Okay, so it was kind of scary. All kinds of burnt debris . . . unknown creatures . . . . but, ya know, I HAD to get in! It was 97 degrees! I didn't venture too far out into the water. Maybe I should have cuz I ended up covered in baby snails. *ew* I definitely like the lake better. But, I love water and Aaron made sure I got it. ^_^ Such a sweetie. He also made sure I got a good shot for my comic! I hadn't even thought of it.

*ugh* How'd I get started so late. Few more things then I'm off to bed. Like you care, right? Stop reading then.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kinder Secrets Revealed

For all my buddies here in Texas who are frothing at the Kinder Eggs *sheepish grins* I am willing to reveal the secret source. *ssshhh* Don't tell anybody. I asked my mom and she said she picked them up at the 'Brick Oven' in Kempner. Now, a while's back when I asked her I could've sworn she said she found them at 'Oma's Garten Platzen' down the street, but she may have been trying to hide her trips to Lampasas? *shrugs* If I'm remembering correctly, though, the 'Brick Oven' isn't hard to find. It should be right off the highway. It's just, ya know, clear out in Kempner.

Oh, and I did an eBay search. I found the toys (even the old Smurf soccer players I used to collect!) but not the actual eggs. Hrm. That's, like, the best part!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kinder Eggs!

If you grew up in Germany (and maybe some of you that didn't?) then you may have had the pleasure of getting these delightful chocolate treasures on occassion. There are a few pics here, so while those load, let me tell you a tale. Uh . . . . onceuponatimealonglongtimeagoinalandfarfaraway . . . . kidding. ^_^ Okay, so yesterday I was watering my plants. One of the onions was sideways and when I went to straighten it up I found it was only the top of the onion! *whoops* I thought I broke it, so I dug down in the dirt to find the actual onion part and it wasn't there! I dunno if it dissolved or if something (probably stupid ants) ate it or what happened. So I checked the other onions. Two more had non-existant bottoms! So now I'm down to two onions. Also, I transplanted the tomatoes into a bigger pot. Hopefully that didn't kill them, cuz I'm not really good at transplanting. :-( The garlic is still doing well, though. And I haven't really checked on my little herb garden terrarium thingy. The directions said to water it every three months (cuz it waters itself with the evaporated water) but I'll probably check that today to be safe. Are all the pictures loaded yet? No? Hrm. Oh well, here we go anyway. ^_^

This:




is a Kinder Egg! Oh the treats this little wrapper contains! Firstly being the chocolate egg. ^_^ As you will see in the next picture the outside is milk chocolate and the inside is white chocolate. Good stuff. Good stuff. Inside this hollow egg we find:




A little yellow prize holder. How exciting! Used to be that the halves could be inverted to make, like, a little trophy. That was fun. In these ones, they're connected. I guess so's there's less pieces to lose? Which brings me to the next stage in this adventure. The one reason why they're not allowed to be imported in bulk and are so hard to come by here in the states:




Tiny little pieces! Cuz, ya know, American parents would rather bitch about small parts than supervise their children to make sure they don't swallow them. *rolls eyes* Anyway. What is it I've got here? Just put these little pieces together and I've got:




A weird little green thing with a flag that has a genie lamp on it. *shrugs* It's cute anyway. Here's what Aaron got:




A walrus soccer goalie. ^_^ Apparently they're doing some kind of site tournament thingy or something? Or maybe it's just soccer season and I don't know? Anyway, they've got all kinds of cool prizes currently available (you never know, cuz they're random!). If you want to check the site for whatever reason Click Here. No worries, I already set the language to English. And according to the site my little green man is a "Messenger" who likes to make people's dreams come true. How sweet. ^_^

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Update Stuffs

It's so hot! *pants* At least the troublesome part of the driveway has been smoothed out. For now. Rain keeps threatening so we'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully it cools enough so that when Brak comes over we can go out to the lake with nobody passing out from dehydration! *glares at the sun*

We've been coming up with some funny ideas for my comic. ^_^ Just gotta sort through 'em all, make some kind of sense from the madness then snap the pics. You have been warned.

I guess there's really not much else. Just, ya know, if anybody else was worried we're doing fine. Just busy cleaning up and getting things in order for my dad's vacation hopefully next week. He's been getting jerked around a lot, but his truck is finally fixed. Was actually fixed, like, 4 days ago. He's really not a happy camper. Hopefully we can fix that with a nice solid week of R&R. Of course . . . my mom's likely got other plans . . . . *sigh*

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some Photos

I know, you just couldn't contain the excitement and suspence of waiting for more pics of my veggies. Right? Right. There's also a nice suprise pic for those of you who make it to the bottom. First things first. My onions. They don't look like much cuz they keep getting raided for their greens. :-p But, they're not withery and they've each got a fresh sprout coming up so *shrugs* no harm.




Lovely. Next, my poor tomatoes. One of them didn't fare so well during the storms. It's got new growth, though, so with any luck it'll make it too. The other one is sprouting up some new leaves and is looking mighty fine. Mighty fine.




And now, the newest addition to my little potted veggie garden. The garlic. This has just thrived. I can't believe how big it's gotten in such a short amount of time. I'll likely have to transplant it soon.




Ta-da. While I was outside yesterday tending to my veggies; I decided to take a picture of the sun. Since it's no good to look directly into the sun, feel free to do so here. Go ahead, get it out of your system.




"I'm blind. I'm blind." ^_^ Hurray. Myspace brought back the "tell us what you're ___" thingy. And look, Brak, I was right. Castaway Stories for PC (not currently shown). Nice.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm So Bad

Not to inundate you with bloggage, but here we go again. Firstly, in my haste to bring you this morning's driveway story, my scattered brain forgot to mention the one driving force to making it through. My hubby. Aaron believed I could do it more than I did. Once again, without him at my right there's no telling what would have happened. So, hurray for Aaron!

Also, one of the perks to being married to him is that when I get the idea to open up my make-up box at 2 hours before bedtime and paint myself up like a man; not only do I not get crap about it, I get help in accomplishing my goal! ^_^ Yay. The background for my comic was all his idea and he worked so hard to get it to work.

Long Drive Home

My regular (and, likely, irregular) readers already know how bad our driveway is. The locals (and those addicted to the weather channel) know the storms that have been plowing their way through here. Well, earlier we had the choice of whether to try and beat the storm in order to pick up provisions, or to wait and hope that it lightened up enough by morning to allow us to go through. As bad as it looked on the radar we decided to race the storm! Exciting, nerve wracking, semi-successful.

We made our way through the standing water in the driveway without too much issue. While we were at Walgreens it started raining. Pretty hard, too. So we didn't exactly beat the storm. Luckily the real roads didn't flood too badly, so getting back to the driveway wasn't so bad. It was just, ya know, hard to see.

Then, the climax. *cues climactic music* At first it looked like the whole driveway was covered in water. Luckily, that wasn't the case. Actually, the 'bridge' over the ditch was in okay shape as well. It was the huge pond/puddles on either side of it that were the problem. My mom said "keep moving through the water" so that's what I did. I almost slowed down before the bridge, but punched it and made it up. *woohoo* Crossed the bridge and was faced with the exact spot I got stuck in before. *deep breath* I may have been going faster than I should have. Whether that had much bearing on the hole that I hit and where it took us, I dunno. I hit the hole. It's probably better that I did, cuz the mud was doing bad things to the tires and almost took me into the utility pole. Instead, the hole took me the complete opposite direction almost into the fence! I don't think I've ever turned a steering wheel so fast in my life, but I managed to miss the fence. *phew!* Finally I could slow down cuz we've got actual rocks (small rocks, not huge ones) on that little straight away. Then, the mud puddle right in front of our house. Rather than park in that I pulled up next to the other side of our fence. On grass, sorta under a tree. It was a longer walk in the rain, but well worth it to not be stuck in the mud. Aaron said I went all "Twisted Metal" around that corner. ^_^ I'm just glad we made it through without getting stuck. At least we should have a reprieve.

So, that's our mud/rain/puddle adventure. I'm so glad it's over. Just in case anybody remembers our flooded yard fiasco from a year ago and is wondering how that's affected Buzz's final resting spot. No worries. Aaron had the bright (seriously, not ironically) idea to put some of the big rocks on top of it. Initially it was to keep Jet from digging there. Not on purpose to upset us, of course, but cuz she's a puppy and she's dug up a few spots around the house. Those big rocks are doing their job and keeping him undisturbed. Thankfully. On a lighter note (you know I like to try and leave you on a happier side) this weather is doing wonders for the garlic bulb I planted. The onions probably need to be trimmed back, and the tomatoes are a little bruised, but the garlic is thriving! Oooh, also. We learned that cut up garlic greens is pretty tasty in a salad. It's like green onions only with a hint of garlic. ^_^

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bye Buzzy

Buzz has passed. He was such a sweet kitty. But, he is not suffering anymore and now he can play with Sasha again. I'll be making his site and I'll post the link here. I'd just rather not have to type everything twice.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Friday

Buzz is doing alright. ~ish. He's snotting now, so at least that gives us something to clean up. And it means he's getting it out of him, which is a plus. We've been trying to keep the bathroom door open as much as possible so that if he wants to move around, he can. We need to try and find some eye-gunk wipes cuz his one eye is looking really bad and I don't want him with an infected eye.

To pass the time we've been watching a pile of movies we were lent. Still have a few to go through, but here's my rundown: "Game Plan" ~ The Rock is a football player and his daughter tracks him down to live with him for a bit. Very good movie. Funny, heartfelt, and they didn't fuck up the ending by making him not really her dad or something. "Enchanted" ~ Fairy Tale Prince and Princess find themselves in New York City. If you grew up watching the original Disney movies with princesses in them, then you'll definitely get a kick out of picking out the combined traits found in this one. There are parts that get a little annoying, but overall a fun movie to watch. "Nanny McPhee" ~ Touted as the "new Mary Poppins" wherein a magical nanny comes and tames 7 unruly children. When I first saw the previews for this, I did not care to see it at all. I'm glad I did. I'd watch it again. Whether you've got kids or not; if you have the chance you should definitely watch this movie. "Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix" ~ Harry Potter movie, kids form a 'secret army' to take on the Dark Lord. Not my favorite Potter movie, but it was pretty good. Some character development going on, I'm assuming it's mostly a set up for the next ones.

For those of you who follow our crane winnings; they've got that big machine in Wal*Mart that's a buck a shot. We usually don't bother cuz it's super rigged. (prizes too big for the box/heavy for the crane, poorly set up, tightly packed) Anyway, we checked it out on our way in and they had Bart just sitting on top. On our way out, Aaron nabbed him on the first shot. ^_^ Dragged him by his pointy head. The frog pictured next to him I got from HEB. It is the normal average size of the prizes we get. If I could've found a tape measure you could have a better idea of just how big Bart is, but oh well. I think you can get the gist of it.

Right now there's a mad storm running alongside us. If we're lucky the bulk of it'll pass by. And just as the driveway became passable. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dumber Than Advertised

You know I don't like posting two blogs in one day. However, since it wasn't entirely my fault, and this one ties into the earlier one, I'll forgive myself. I hope you will too.

The lady next door got ahold of "the city" and "they" sent out a message to the construction people to fix our road. The nutty guy next door and I went down to survey the damage. I, because I knew I was going to have to go back out and wanted to find the best route; he, because his sister wanted him to take a picture of the hole she made in the mud trying to get out in case there was any damage to the car. We spent about an hour and a half constructing a rock/plank bridge across the ditch, because either side of it was bone dry. Where there wasn't a ditch was all mud. We had it likely passable when a guy showed up and surveyed the damage. Then he went and got the 'dirt guy' with a big ol' plow. This guy, in turn, drove right across (almost, he got stuck but jerked himself back out) crushing my (our, but mostly my) efforts. Now, this guy was pissed off. Not because of our bridge, but because some yahoo decided it would be a good idea to close off the creek that runs through. So, rather than draining like it should have, it went around the pile and flooded the road. He even asked us who did it! I said, "Hell, wasn't me. I don't have a shovel that big!" :-p Little smart assy, but how the hell should we know? He said he'd get it fixed up, and like morons we took him at his word. Granted, it's not muddy anymore. Is it fixed? Oh no. He basically made a big bridge of big rocks. There is a path on the south side, but the edge is crumbly and there's a mini-ditch in the middle. And I'm pretty sure the rocks are still piled up, so if they don't fix fix it before it rains again, there it goes all over again. *sigh* The one good thing to come of it all is that the 'dirt guy' clued us in to a back way out. It's trecherous, but not nearly so much as the rock bridge. It's basically following the roads they're going to put in, so it's a big ass square we have to go around that comes out at an actual street. Which, if the driveway is blocked and there are people working out there, we're still fairly well stranded. Stranded at home. Never thought I'd see the day.

Buzz is not looking so hot. He hasn't eaten in two days and I just had to clean a bunch of gunk from his eye. I tried booger sucking him and got a little bit from one nostril, the other was clear as far as I could tell. I need to get back at him and clean his mouth some more, but don't want to super stress him. I found out today that he's something like 20 years old. So we (my mom and I, at least) are looking at the possibility that it could be his time. I'm not giving up on him, but I'm not discounting the possibility. I'm not looking forward to how Aaron's going to take it. He loves that cat almost as much as Elvis.

Of Course It Was Me

Today should have been a day like any other. Went out, grabbed some smokes, food and a neat-o prop for the next installment of my comic book. Dropped Aaron off at Nate's. Went home, played Monster Rancher EVO for a bit, sat with Buzz for a bit, did some dishes. That whole drill. Then, went I went to pick Aaron up, disaster struck. I got stuck in the mud. Remember back when it flooded really bad and I was afraid I was going to get stuck and didn't? Yeah, that let's you know how bad they've screwed up the drive-way because my ass was stuck. Called Aaron, told him what was going on. Nate brought him back and tried to pull the van out to no avail. Called dad, woke him up (sorry Dad!) and got some info from him. He's gonna be upset when I call him to let him know how much the tow truck cost, but I digress. I called Geico, and I tell ya, some of the friendliest people I've ever talked with on the phone like that. Very nice people they've got working there. Unfortunately Emergency Roadside Service only applies if you're stuck within 10' of a publicaly maintained road. *boo* So they got me in touch with Wolfman's; who is apparently on their list. First time this guy came by, drove right past then went home. Aaron had to go and get the number so I could call them direct (Geico connected me before) and got them out there. Then, shock me, shock me; the guy had to go and get another truck and another guy to drive the truck. *dies* So, I got stuck around 10pm, it is now 2:40 am. At least they got me out ($75, btw); but now we're basically trapped in our little cul-de-sac. Unless there's a way around the bog. *sigh* Going to have to get in touch with the landlord and see if there's anything he can do. I'm not sure what to say about how Buzz is doing. One of the cats hacked up a hairball, but it was probably Onyx. He's still breathing hard, and I don't think he but barely touched his can. He spends most of his time in the bathroom between the litterbox and the toilet. I guess he's not as bad as poor Sampson to that degree, cuz she (yes she) would sleep in the litterbox. Eh. I'm gonna go before I reall start depressing myself.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Buzzy

Buzz is sick again. He's eating here and there and he's moving around a lot better, so he's better off than he was a couple of days ago. It's so hard to see him go through this; and worse to feel so helpless. We're doing much the same things we did last time he was sick like this, so hopefully they will be at least as helpful as they were before. It sounds so stupid as I'm thinking it; but I updated my corkboard with a well-wish to Buzz, and if you'd like to add one for him I won't hate you for it. Heh. I guess I'm just understanding how Aaron can feel so alone while I'm asleep even though I'm only about 7 feet away.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

10 Ways To Help Your Spirit Grow

Tips On Spiritual Growth


1. Embrace Your Talents

Recognize and further develop your intelligence and special gifts. Our talents are signifiers that lead us toward our unique paths. Follow your passion and you will soon discover where you fit in this world. When we squelch innate yearnings we lose our way.

2. Tie Up Loose Ends

Unresolved issues eat away at us emotionally and mentally. Tackle troubling things that need dealt with and put them to rest. In the meanwhile, learn not to allow future problems to be ignored. Our wounds fester when they are not attended to in a timely manner. Realize that buried problems always surface eventually. Dealing with difficulties as they arise rather than hiding from them is the best route.

3. Be Responsible In Your Relationships

Turn away from the "blame game" when it comes to addressing problems in your relationships. Be honest about the things that you have said or done that harmed the relationship. Own up to your own failures. Focus on changing your defeating patterns rather than expecting changes from the other person.

4. Love Sometimes Means Saying Goodbye

Not all relationships are meant to last forever. We sometimes out grow our partners, or our partner goes off in a direction which makes us struggle to stay in step with. Sometimes, the most responsible thing you can do is to offer love and compassion to the person as you release the relationship.

5. Let Go Of Useless Attachments

If a thing no longer serves a purpose in your life, it is clutter. Clutter can be a physical thing or a belief that blocks your path. Holding onto things that don't feed you will instead eat up your energy. Free your space and expand your energy by getting rid of unwanted gifts, broken or useless items, self-defeating mental images, etc.

6. Confront Your Inner Demons

Everyone makes mistakes or regrets past decisions. Exposing our frailties and recognizing that we are not perfect frees us from feeling stupid or "less than." Bring light to those things that you are not proud of and realize that through these experiences you have learned great lessons, and have likely become a better person for them. Keeping negative actions hidden can overshadow our spirits with shame or depression. We all deserve to live with joy regardless of our imperfections.

7. Accept Change - Go With The Flow

There is a fine line between caution and fear. We are meant to travel along a spiritual pathway. We are not meant to remain stunted in one place for very long. Yes, change can be scary. But, change is a path of learning, so why not follow it? When we resist change we can actually create chaos. Do you want to undertake a lesson down a path which you've chosen, or have lessons thrown at you down a path that was forced upon you?

8. Accept Delays

There are times when we need to be still. Impatience or frustration will not help any situation. Desired changes sometime take time to unfold. You may feel like you are ready to jump into a new arena... but wait. The situation or person that you are wanting to meet may not be ready for you just yet. It's okay to sit at the bus stop for a few more minutes, the bus will arrive eventually. What's the hurry?

9. Love and Honor Yourself

Are you taking good care of yourself? Your physical body is the vehicle that has been loaned to you to live out your life in and to assist growing your spirit with. Pamper your body, tend to your illnesses, exercise and give it the proper nutrients.

10. Dealing With Death and Illness

Physical life is a gift that comes with a variety of experiences. Suffering and illness are bundled in with that package of experiences. Although our bodies have expiration dates, our spirits don't expire. Choosing to look at illness and death in positive ways rather than negatively will help to give your life here on the planet deeper meaning.

Author Unknown to me.

Borrowed from MDKBIC's Blog

Friday, May 2, 2008

Beltane Info

This really should have been more than one post, but I've been busy with a sick Buzz, so it's long. (and if the font is coming up big, it's not my fault, for some reason everything is coming up huge and I can't remember how I fixed it last time) This is from witchvox.com

Beltane is the last of the three spring fertility festivals, the others being Imbolc and Ostara. Beltane is the second principal Celtic festival (the other being Samhain). Celebrated approximately halfway between Vernal (spring) equinox and the midsummer (Summer Solstice). Beltane traditionally marked the arrival if summer in ancient times.

At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning horizon, whereas winter (Samhain) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset. The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus, near his shoulder. When looking for the Pleiades with the naked eye, remember it looks like a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars (the seventh can be seen on very dark nights) in the constellation of Taurus. It stands very low in the east-northeast sky for just a few minutes before sunrise.

Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again.

Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of "no time" when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! It is the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, carefree and full of faery mischief and faery delight. On the night before Beltane, in times past, folks would place rowan branches at their windows and doors for protection, many otherworldly occurrences could transpire during this time of "no time". Traditionally on the Isle of Man, the youngest member of the family gathers primroses on the eve before Beltane and throws the flowers at the door of the home for protection. In Ireland it is believed that food left over from May Eve must not be eaten, but rather buried or left as an offering to the faery instead. Much like the tradition of leaving of whatever is not harvested from the fields on Samhain, food on the time of no time is treated with great care.

When the veils are so thin it is an extremely magical time, it is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse. Roving about on Beltane eve She will try to entice people away to the Faeryland. Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you may see the Faery Queen or hear the sound of Her horse's bells as She rides through the night. Legend says if you hide your face, She will pass you by but if you look at Her, She may choose you. There is a Scottish ballad of this called Thomas the Rhymer, in which Thomas chooses to go the Faeryland with the Queen and has not been seen since.

Beltane has been an auspicious time throughout Celtic lore, it is said that the Tuatha de Danaan landed in north-west Connacht on Beltane. The Tuatha de Danaan, it is said, came from the North through the air in a mist to Ireland. After the invasion by the Milesians, the Tuatha faded into the Otherworld, the Sidhe, Tir na nOg.

The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter's end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation.

Beltane marks that the winter's journey has passed and summer has begun, it is a festival of rapturous gaiety as it joyfully heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight. As was the way of ancient thought, the Wheel would not turn without human intervention. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Sun and His light, for the Earth will not produce without the warm love of the strong Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were an important part of the Beltane festivities, as to insure that the warmth of the Sun's light would promote the fecundity of the earth.

Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.

Beltane translated means "fire of Bel" or "bright fire" - the "bale-fire". (English - bale; Anglo-Saxon bael; Lithuanian baltas (white)) Bel (Bel, Bile, Beli, Belinus, Belenos) is the known as the bright and shinning one, a Celtic Sun God. Beli is the father, protector, and the husband of the Mother Goddess.

Beltane is the time of the yearly battle between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythur ap Greidawl for Creudylad in Welsh mythology. Gwyn ap Nudd the Wild Huntsman of Wales, he is a God of death and the Annwn. Creudylad is the daughter of Lludd (Nudd) of the Silver Hand (son of Beli). She is the most beautiful maiden of the Island of Mighty. A myth of the battle of winter and summer for the magnificent blossoming earth.

In the myth of Rhiannion and Pwyll, it is the evening of Beltane, that Rhiannon gives birth to their son. The midwives all fell asleep at the same time, as they were watching over Rhiannon and her new baby, during which he was taken. In order to protect themselves, they smeared blood (from a pup) all over Rhiannon, to which they claim she had eaten her son. The midwives were believed, and Rhiannon was forced to pay penance for seven years. She had to carrying people on her back from the outside of the gate to the palace, although rarely would any allow her to do so. The baby's whereabouts were a mystery. Oddly, every Beltane night, one of Pwyll's vassals, Teirnyon Twryv Vliant, had a mare that gave birth but the colt disappeared. One Beltane night Teirnyon Twryv Vliant awaited in the barn for the mare to foaled, when she did, he heard a tremendous noise and a clawed arm came through the window and grabbed the colt. Teirnyon cut off the arm with his sword, and then heard a wailing. He opened the door and found a baby, he brought it to his wife and they adopted Gwri Wallt Euryn (Gwri of the Golden Hair). As he grew he looked like Pwyll and they remembered they found him on the night Rhiannon's baby became lost. Teirnyon brought Gwri of the Golden Hair to the castle, told the story, and he was adopted back to his parents, Rhiannon and Pwyll, and and named by the head druid, Pryderi (trouble) from the first word his mother had said when he was restored to her. "Trouble is, indeed, at an end for me, if this be true".

This myth illustrates the precariousness of the Beltane season, at the threshold of Summer, the earth awakening, winter can still reach its long arm in and snatch the Sun away (Gwri of the Golden hair). "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out" (clout: Old English for cloth/clothing). If indeed the return of summer is true than the trouble (winter) is certainly over, however one must be vigilant.

On Beltane eve the Celts would build two large fires, Bel Fires, lit from the nine sacred woods. The Bel Fire is an invocation to Bel (Sun God) to bring His blessings and protection to the tribe. The herds were ritually driven between two needfires (fein cigin), built on a knoll. The herds were driven through to purify, bring luck and protect them as well as to insure their fertility before they were taken to summer grazing lands. An old Gaelic adage: "Eadar da theine Bhealltuinn" - "Between two Beltane fires".

The Bel fire is a sacred fire with healing and purifying powers. The fires further celebrate the return of life, fruitfulness to the earth and the burning away of winter. The ashes of the Beltane fires were smudged on faces and scattered in the fields. Household fires would be extinguished and re-lit with fresh fire from the Bel Fires.

Celebration includes frolicking throughout the countryside, maypole dancing, leaping over fires to ensure fertility, circling the fire three times (sun-wise) for good luck in the coming year, athletic tournaments feasting, music, drinking, children collecting the May: gathering flowers. children gathering flowers, hobby horses, May birching and folks go a maying". Flowers, flower wreaths and garlands are typical decorations for this holiday, as well as ribbons and streamers. Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane, they signal the victory of Summer over Winter and the blossoming of sensuality in all of nature and the bounty it will bring.

May birching or May boughing, began on Beltane Eve, it is said that young men fastened garland and boughs on the windows and doors of the young maidens upon which their sweet interest laid. Mountain ash leaves and Hawthorne branches meant indicated love whereas thorn meant disdain. This perhaps, is the forerunner of old May Day custom of hanging bouquets hooked on one's doorknob?

Young men and women wandered into the woods before daybreak of May Day morning with garlands of flowers and/or branches of trees. They would arrive; most rumpled from joyous encounters, in many areas with the maypole for the Beltane celebrations. Pre-Christian society's thoughts on human sexuality and fertility were not bound up in guilt and sin, but rather joyous in the less restraint expression of human passions. Life was not an exercise but rather a joyful dance, rich in all beauty it can afford.

In ancient Ireland there was a Sacred Tree named Bile, which was the center of the clan, or Tuatha. As the Irish Tree of Life, the Bile Pole, represents the connection between the people and the three worlds of Bith: The Skyworld (heavens), The Middleworld (our world), and The Otherworld. Although no longer the center life, the Bile pole has survived as the Beltane Maypole.

The Maypole is an important element to Beltane festivities, it is a tall pole decorated with long brightly colored ribbons, leaves, flowers and wreaths. Young maidens and lads each hold the end of a ribbon, and dance revolving around the base of the pole, interweaving the ribbons. The circle of dancers should begin, as far out from the pole as the length of ribbon allows, so the ribbons are taut. There should be an even number of boys & girls. Boys should be facing clockwise and girls counterclockwise. They each move in the direction that they are facing, weaving with the next, around to braid the ribbons over-and-under around the pole. Those passing on the inside will have to duck, those passing on the outside raise their ribbons to slide over. As the dances revolve around the pole the ribbons will weave creating a pattern, it is said that the pattern will indicate the abundance of harvest year.

In some areas there are permanent Maypoles, perhaps a recollection of ancient clan Bile Pole memory. In other areas a new Maypole is brought down on Beltane Eve out from the wood. Even the classical wood can vary according to the area tradition is pulled from, most frequently it seems to be birch as "the wood", but others are mentioned in various historical documents.

Today in some towns and villages a mummer called Jack in the Green (drawing from the Green man), wears a costume made of green leaves as he dances around the May pole. Mumming is a dramatic performance of exaggerated characters and at Beltane the characters include Jack in the Green and the Fool. The Fool, and the Fool's journey, symbolism can be understood in relation to Beltane as it is the beginning of beginnings, the emergence from the void of nothingness (winter), as one can also see the role of the green man as the re-greening of the world.

Traditionally in many areas Morris dancers can be found dancing around the Maypole. Morris dancing can be found in church records in Thame England going back to 1555. Morris dancing is thought to have originated many centuries ago as part of ancient religious ceremonies, however it seems that Morris dancing became associated with Mayday during the Tudor times, and its originating history is not all that easily traced, as is the way with many traditions.

The Maypole dance as an important aspect of encouraging the return of fertility to the earth. The pole itself is not only phallic in symbolism but also is the connector of the three worlds. Dancing the Maypole during Beltane is magical experience as it is a conduit of energy, connecting all three worlds at a time when these gateways are more easily penetrable. As people gaily dance around and around the pole holding the brightly colored ribbons, the energy it raises is sent down into the earth's womb, bringing about Her full awakening and fruitfulness.

In Padstow, Cornwall, Beltane morning a procession is led by the "obby oss" a costumed horse figure, in a large circular banded frock and mask. The procession is full of song, drums and accordions. Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University points out that the first account of the Padstow May Day 'Obby 'Oss revelries was written in 1803. He offers evidence however that, like English Morris Dancing, its origins lie in English medieval times. This does not discount the possibility that its roots lay in the foundation of the fertility rites of Beltane, a more politically correct transmutation of fertility acts.

There is also a Queen of May. She is said in many areas to have worn a gold crown with a single, gold leaf at its front, in other areas her crown was made of fresh flowers. She was typically chosen at the start of the Beltane festival, which in time past was after sundown on the eve before Beltane day. Many accounts mention both a May Queen and King being chosen, whom would reign from sundown the eve before the Beltane day to sunset on Beltane. Among their duties would be to announce the Beltane games and award the prizes to the victors. The rudimentary base of this practice can be drawn back to the roots of Beltane festivities, the union of the Goddess and Her Consort, the joining of earth and sun, the endowment of summer. The Goddess has many guises: Danu - The Great Mother, Blodeuwedd (the Flower Bride), Isolt (Iseult, Isolde) and many, many others. The consort can also take many forms including the Green Man, Cernunnos or Tristan.

As Beltane marks this handfasting (wedding) of the Goddess and God, it too marks the reawakening of the earth's fertility in its fullest. This is the union between the Great Mother and her Young Consort, this coupling brings new life on earth. It is on a Spiritual level, the unifying of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine to bring forth the third, consciousness. On the physical, it is the union of the Earth and Sun to bring about the fruitfulness of the growing season.

It is customary that trial unions, for a year and a day, occur at this time. More or less these were statements of intent between couples, which were not legally binding. The trial marriages (engagements) typically occurred between a couple before deciding to take a further step into a legally binding union. It seems ancient wisdom understood that one does not really know another until they have lived with them, and when you live together things change and we change, as well. With this understanding unions were entered upon, first as a test period, and then if desired, a further commitment could be taken. It through always knowing that it is only through the choice of both to remain, that the relationship exists favorably.

May, however, according to old folklore is not a favorable time for marriages in the legal and permanent sense. There is reference after reference in the old books of this belief, and according to my Irish grandmother, May is not the month to marry, woe is to had by those who do. I can understand the premise of this folklore, May is the Goddess and God's handfasting month, all honor would be Hers and His.

Water is another important association of Beltane, water is refreshing and rejuvenating, it is also imperative to life. It is said that if you bathe in the dew gathered before dawn on Beltane morn, your beauty will flourish throughout the year. Those who are sprinkled with May dew are insured of health and happiness. There are other folk customs such as drinking from the well before sunrise on Beltane Morn to insure good health and fortune.

The central color of Beltane is green. Green is the color of growth, abundance, plentiful harvest, abundant crops, fertility, and luck. White is another color that is customary, white brings the energies of cleansing, peace, spirituality, and the power to dispel negativity. Another color is red who brings along the qualities of energy, strength, sex, vibrancy, quickening, health, consummation and retention. Sun energy, life force and happiness are brought to Beltane by the color yellow. Blues and purples (Sagittarius energies: expansion, Good Fortune, magic, spiritual power, Success), and pinks (Venus energies). Beltane is rich in vibrant color, lighting the eyes and cheering the Spirit as we leave the dreariness of winter behind.

It is customary to bake a colorful fruit and spiced filled bread for festivals in the Celtic lands, traditionally this festival bread is sweet dough made with sweetmeat and spices. In Scotland they are the bannock - Bonnach Bealtain - for Beltane, in Wales - Bara Brith, Ireland it is Barm Brack and in Brittany Morlaix Brioche. For Beltane this bread was made the eve before Beltane day, is it said that the bread should not allow it to come into contact with steel during preparation (steel is harmful, deadly to the faery folk).

Bannocks are actually uncut scones originally cooked on a griddle. Wheat does not grow well in the Highlands, originally bannocks were made with oat or barley flour made into dough with little water and no leavening. Traditionally, a portion of the cake was burned or marked with ashes. The recipient of the burnt cake jumped over a small fire three times to purify and cleanse him or herself of any ill fortune. Offerings of bannocks and drink are traditionally left on doorsteps and roadways for the Faeries as an offering, in hope of faery blessings.

May is the month of sensuality and sexuality revitalized, the reawakening of the earth and Her Children. It is the time when we reawaken to the vivid colors, vibrant scents, tingling summer breezes, and the rapture of summer after a long dormant winter. It is a time of extraordinary expression of earth, animal, and person a time of great enchantment and celebration.

The excitement and beauty of Beltane can not be better expressed than through the gaiety and joy of our children. There is not doubt "spring fever" hits at Beltane, and hits hard. Children are full of unbridled energy charged up and ready to go! Children always amplify the seasonal energies and the thrill of their change, they bring richness and merriment wherever they go.

It is the child's unrestrained expression of bliss and delight that is what Beltane is all about. It is the sheer joy of running through fields, picking flowers, rapturing in the sunlight, delighting in the fragrance of spring, dancing in the fresh dew covered grass. Our children guide us through the natural abandonment of our adult sensibilities and show us how to take grand pleasure, warmth and bliss from the gift of Beltane.

Blessed Beltane to you and yours!