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Brigit, Candlemas, Imbolc, Oimelc 2011
~ Lammas, Lughnasad in Northern Hemisphere ~

Flowers of the Australian winter.

This is the season when Australian flowers are at their best.
Wattle, Alyogyne, Hardenbergia, & Clematis make a wonderful display for passers-by.
The Grevilleas are blooming too, & the birds are having a ball!

"The Earth is capable of replenishing herself and supplying every living thing with a home and sustenance"
Sarah King

News from the RainbowWeb

One of the reasons I love winter is because I love to cook, & if I am sufficiently organised,
I can save energy by using the woodstove while it heats the house.
Please use your 'backspace' key to return here from links on this page
I find root vegetables cook better this way than in the microwave, as do pulses & grains.
So I cook lots of these, & freeze them for use in the hot weather.

I'd never used a freezer until just a few years ago, when friends offered me their mother's fridge/freezer,
which was no longer required.
It is fan-forced, defrosts automatically, & the freezer is below, not above, the refrigerator.
I was delighted to find that, in spite of these amenities, it used less energy than my old small fridge.
But I had to learn to use the freezer efficiently.
This means clear labelling, dating, regular inspections, & using the contents in rotation.
Being human, as well as distanctly elderly, I don't always do this as well as I might.

In the summer I froze cherry plums & mulberries at about the same time in similar containers,
but omitted to label one of them.
Recently I decided to use some of the plums to make plum sauce, but being in a hurry,
gave only a cursory glance at the fruit I put in the pan with the vinegar, onions, & spices.
As a result, I now have a large supply of mulberry chutney!

When I don't need the woodstove for heating, I use my recycled & repaired microwave.
The gas cooker supplied with the house is not only far too large & inconvenient,
but I more than once forgot to light the gas after turning it on!!
I've learnt to do my baking in the microwave, but it's too easy to just set the timer & walk away.
It's essential to watch some things carefully towards the end of cooking.
A couple of days ago I became absorbed in Time Team, & the result, instead of self-saucing chocolate pudding,
was chocolate volcano, aka exploding chocolate pudding!

flowering vine

Our Sustainable Communities group has established a working party to set up a programme to increase resilience.
The plan is to prepare people for the challenges that lie ahead, both economic and environmental.
I know from my own experience that resilience is something that can be developed,
even if you are not one of the fortunate people with the so-called resilience gene.
Feelings of powerlessness, depression, & despair, suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder,
are not nececessarily signs of weakness,
but natural reactions to facing the realities of our present situation, & contemplating the future.
To paraphrase Joanna Macey - it is not those who feel despairing who are crazy,
but those who retreat into denial & mindless optimism.
Joanna's seminal booklet Despairwork is now out of print, but you can download the text as an rtf file.

An important element in deveoping personal resilience is to learn useful skills.
Many of the pages on this website show practical ways in which various problems can addressed:
What Can I Do? Sitemap
Sustainable Solutions
Index of articles
but there are personal stories incorporated in others, that document difficulties I have personally experienced,
& from which I believe I have grown more resilient.
(Some may find it hard to believe, but I am naturally timid, & grew into an anxious & fearful person.
now suffering constantly from PTSD.)
A couple of stories are on other websites, those links are in upper case.

Not just survival, but another way of living
The RainbowWeb Story
A Green Childhood in WW2 London
On the CITY FARMER Website, read the story of

At the HISTORY PLACE, read firsthand memories of my childhood in

Clean your plate!
Or download the text files from my WW2 links page.

This festival is called by so many different names,
maybe just because there's a lot happening at this time of
awakening from the dark,
but maybe also because it gives so many signs of hope.

flowering vine

Imbolc means "in the belly", denoting obvious pregnancy,
Oimelc is "Ewes in milk". Candlemas is for the candles
lit to celebrate the signs of returning daylight,
Brigit because this is her festival, whether you call her saint or goddess.

The usual date for celebrating this festival in the
Southern Hemisphere is 2nd.August.
& this year, most appropriately, if the sky is clear,
the slender crescent of the New Moon
will be visible in the Western sky around sunset.

Even though it remains wintry, we feel the difference in the season.
Our bodies register the increasing daylength, & height of the sun in the sky,
even if our minds do not!
It is the acceleration of both the Sun's declination
- distance above or below, North or South, of the Celestial Equator -
and of daylength, starting around this date,
which makes the real difference.
In the 40 days since the Solstice,
daylength in Adelaide has increased by only 36 minutes,
& the Sun's rise towards the Equator by only 5°40'
but by 31st.August the day will be another 55 minutes longer,
& the Sun will have risen a further 9°06' towards the Equator,
which it crosses at the next Equinox in September.

Balance of the hemispheres

The reverse occurs in the Northern hemisphere,
where this is the festival of Lughnasad,
or Loafmass (Lammas),
named for the first loaf made from the new harvest.
The days are now drawing in sharply, & in spite of the continuing warmth,
there is a distinct feel of approaching Autumn.

See also Seasons and Calendars for more information.

Moon phases

Why observe and celebrate the interactions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun?

The Festivals, Feasts, and Fasts of most human belief systems originated in our observations of this Cosmic Dance and it's effects.
Everything is affected by the changing seasons and the rhythm of the tides.
Why not commit yourself to celebrating in tune with these natural rhythms?
You will benefit physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and it will help you to truly re-earth.

For those who dismiss such practices are mere superstition, consider that:

"We cannot know more than a fraction of what exists. We will always be a minor part of the information system"
Methods of Design - 3.10.3

and that: "Nothing we can observe is regular, partly because we ourselves are imperfect observers.
We tell fortunes, (or lose them) on the writhing of entrails, or cathode ray graphics;
on the scatters of dice or bones, or on arrays of measures.
Are the readings of tea-leaves any less reliable than the projections of pollsters?"
Pattern Understanding - 4.1
from "Permaculture - A Designer's Manual" by Bill Mollison


Seasons and Calendars
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