Even though summer drags on in Texas, it feels like August always comes as a surprise. Especially when I was in school, August always hastened the end of relaxation and the beginning of preparing for the busy time of year. This has becomes less true now that I am working—essentially I just keep going to work except I sweat more—and honestly summer is a pretty busy time. Mother's Day, Father's Day, my moms birthday, my dads birthday, and my brothers birthday all follow each other in two week increments, so I travel home a lot more, buy or make presents, and just simply have to remember a lot of dates!
The beginning of August is especially important as a witch, because August 1st marks the first harvest festival of the pagan calendar, known as Lammas or Lughnasadh. The wheat harvest festival is one of abundance, self-reflection, and winding down for the long, cold winter...or, as I call it in Texas, "sweet relief." Literally, we reap what we have sown and collect the fruits of our summer labors. Many people use summer as a time to take on meaty creative projects, or do a lot of traveling, or catch up with family. Inevitably, we get tired from expending so much energy, and Lammas marks the time that we begin to wind down, slow down, and start preparing for a season that emphasizes inward reflection, nostalgia, and wisdom. I love the arrival of Lammas and autumn because I thrive in winter—I was born in January, and my body and mind are primed for bearing the cold winter months. Often, I get very stressed out in summer because there is a social expectation that everyone is out doing lots of Instagram-worthy things, and really all I want to do is hide inside in the air conditioning. Summer ends up being a time of huge personal growth for me as I push my boundaries to try new things and get out there in a way that I don't feel pressured to do in the winter time. This summer has been particularly fruitful: I've seen growth in my blog traffic, I've signed on to help with a new project, and I've met several other witches and grown my friendship with them. I hosted two witch-friends for a Lammas feast on Lammas Eve—we shared summer dishes, made cornhusk dolls to dry out and be offered up during Samhain, and shared our greatest triumphs and wishes for protection as the weather turns colder. It was a beautiful evening with two beautiful women brimming with magickal energy, and it was the perfect send-off from summer into the autumn season.
Besides celebrating Lammas, I have been busy developing products, learning product photography, and tying up loose ends in preparation for opening my own etsy shop! The shop will be a combined effort between my mother and I, and I hope to launch before the beginning of the holiday season. It has been a long, slow process, but I have learned a lot along the way. I would much rather take my time and be able to launch the store on my own terms and feel good about the quality of my (rudimentary) design work rather than throwing a slip shod product into the atmosphere. Stay tuned for updates!
I've been refocusing on my self care lately, which means I've been revamping my hair and skin routines. Some people think it's superficial to care so much about how you look, but looking my best really contributes to feeling my best! I've been exploring Korean beauty products which is an extremely fun rabbit hole to fall down! It has renewed my love of YouTube and introduced me to a lot of awesome women leading awesome lives across the world. Besides skin and hair, I've also been reading a lot of young adult literature! I sort of abandoned YA awhile ago because I figured that, as an educated and cultured woman in my mid 20s, I should read things that are more meaty and meaningful. While I have read some great memoirs and tarot books, I read VERY little compared to how much I used to read when I was reading YA. I can feel my mind dulling and becoming more drawn to the instant gratification of television, and I feel strongly about not letting television dominate my entertainment time. So...I started reading YA again! Right now, I am burning through a book called The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It's a fun book told through multiple perspectives that draws on a lot of traditional YA tropes in a fresh way. I especially love it because of its ties to the Arthurian legend. Ever since I took a class on medievalism when I studied abroad in Oxford, I have been fascinated by the retelling of the King Arthur myth in modern culture, and the main conflict of the book centers on a group of boys trying to find the final resting place of an Arthurian figure. It also has a female protagonist who is the daughter and niece of a household of tarot readers, diviners, and magickal women, so basically all of my interests are represented! It's a long book (400 pages) but it's a very fast read, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a magickal mystery that also feels like if Ouran High School Host Club took place in Virgina.
That's what I've been up to this week! Do any of you have YA recommendations for me? Next up on my list is Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins!