Friday, September 30, 2005

Diwali lights for Vi

The next traveller's celebration day at the Gypsy Camp will be Vi's birthday on November 1.
I have just been down to the Gypsy Camp for a cup of tea, and they tell me that as November 1 is also Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, they will be hanging up lights through the trees and the caravans in honor of the Goddess Lakshmi, who brings good fortune.

The Gypsy King has decreed that Vi will be a Goddess for her birthday and that it will be celebrated with lights - doesn't matter what kind, candles, stars, sunshine, sparkling gems, lanterns, campfires - Vi will be bathed in the light of our love and respect for her.

It sounds like it will be a lovely night and though I know October31/November 1 will be a busy time with all the activities planned, I do hope you can make it.

If you want to know more about Diwali, try

Kiyan’s first sounding part 1

Here is some more on the Duuran process I have been through with Kiyan. This is part of the first sounding, when some points raised by Kiyan resonated strongly with me and got me thinking about my responses. There is much more to the first sounding but this is what I have written so far - it is a very in depth process and encourages you to dig deep.


Kiyan’s first sounding contained a number of things that `pinged’ with me. For example, this sentence:

Changes in the world around you have forced your PRACTICAL alignment from one of belief to knowledge -- and you do not like this.

One of the difficulties I have is figuring `how it works’ – when it comes to trying to fit in and work with the system, I’m like Ozzie Osborne with a remote control. I call for help from one of my kids, who grew up in this different world and know the secret is knowing which button does what.

When I was a kid I believed absolutely in the world I knew – the changing of the seasons, living close to the patterns of nature, using your instinct to find your way. None of this works now. In fact, I have come to distrust my instinct and `signs’ so strongly that I avoid them if possible. Simply because they are old technology, old `magick’ if you will, and don’t work well in the world I find myself in now.

Now I have to read the manual, and Kiyan is right – I do NOT like it.

I am having a little trouble with the terms as I read on – Kiyan speaks of the Conceptual Plane and the Practical Plane. The former I am interpreting as the `idea’ of a thing (or as the dictionary says `idea of the attributes common to a class of things’ – not making it much clearer); the latter I see as the `hands on’ doing aspect, and suggests I shift some beliefs from the conceptual to the practical, an alchemical process. This I take to mean I attempt to transmute some of the leaden ideas lying around my psyche into creative gold (although I am well aware alchemy is more than that, this analogy seems to fit here.)

One of those leaden ideas, I think, is that it is all about ME – yet, as I work on my Frida Kahlo retablo, I realise that she did actually achieve this alchemy, turning it into the gold of her paintings. ``I paint self portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.'

Thus I am reminded that, whether I avoid it or not, synchronicity and signs still make themselves felt, like an insistent shoe brush salesman who pops up at your window after you’ve chased him off the doorstep.

Kiyan went on to make a critical point about my craving for a `cleared path’ while still desiring a high degree of `free spirit’. This relates directly to how I was raised, and brings my father into the picture. I have inherited a lot of his traits, and freedom was his religion. Like him, I chafe if restricted to a routine, yet, like my mother, I fall easily into a routine and enjoy comforts. She missed the comforts of the settled life when she joined the travelling life – things settled people take for granted, like bathrooms and toilets. Like my parents arguing over freedom versus convenience, there are two people at war in me – one who wants to say `sod it’ and seek total freedom, and one who constantly reminds me how much I enjoy having a hot shower.

Social obligations and routine chafe the free spirit, but she goes remarkably silent on the subject of giving up her comforts.

As Kiyan says: One representation of this Casting is that of the 'fireside cat'. You are in a comfort zone embracing your sensual, artistic side, and fear losing this comfort if your 'get up and stretch' in the practical world. While you should be able to observe situations without judgment and make good decisions, you force yourself into indecision and then have to rely on others -- often with unhappy results.

One of those uncomfortable observations that I have to reluctantly admit is true – and I must ask myself, at this point, if I am the author of my own story or if I am letting other people write the chapters because I have lost the plot – or perhaps because I am dimly trying to follow a plot familiar to me, but unapplicable in my current circumstances?

Lots of food for thought here, lots to digest.

Sorta Magick

It was October and the Indians on a remote reservation asked their new Chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a Chief in a modern society he had never been taught the old secrets.

When he looked at the sky he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of thevillage should collect firewood to be prepared. But being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?"

"It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,"the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared. A week later he called the National Weather Service again. "Does it still look like it is going to be avery cold winter?"

"Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter.

"The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.Two weeks later the Chief called the National Weather Service again."Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?"

"Absolutely," the man replied. "It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters ever."

"How can you be so sure?" the Chief asked.

The weatherman replied, "The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Just When You Thought It Was Safe....

Guess what I've been doing?

Oh yes indeedy, I'm back....see you all very, very soon
Anita Marie

L'Enchanteur et la Muse

I saw some fortune teller cards today and the image seems to fit in with Gail's discussion of symbols.
I'll share it with you here.

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The Secretary and Baba Yaga with Donkeys

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Some thoughts on the Duuran process

I still want time to thoroughly read and digest Kiyan's soundings, but here are my experiences of the process so far:

Kiyan asked me to list six symbols of importance to me. This took some doing as I don't wear symbols or carry talismans. I had to look around my environment, my writings, my everyday life to see what recurred - the first thing that I noticed was the wheel. This is a recurring theme, particularly in writing - I once wrote a long philosophical poem called the Wheel, but I won't inflict it on you here.

The Wheel is also a powerful symbol in the earliest Tarot I ever saw, not the familiar tarot, but a set of Gypsy fortune cards owned by my grandmother. I designed a saet of Romany cards based on the symbols I remembered from that set, and included the wheel - and of course, the Wheel of Fortune is a Major Arcana card as well, and one I often turn up in readings. So it seemed to me that the Wheel was a strong symbol in my life, I felt an affinity with it, and I listed it.

The next symbol came to me very quickly - the Horse. Horses have always been a big part of my life, but what clinched it was remembering something my son said years ago - he likened me to a wild horse and said the horse was my spirit animal, something I understood immediately was the simple truth.

Colour is important to me, since I have loved art since I was a small child - but the one colour I love most is the colour of the ocean, that deep jade blue green gemlike colour. I use it often, try to reproduce it, wear it - it recurs in my life and qualified as a symbol.

Then it got hard - finally I chose lavender for the next symbol because like the others, it is a common recurring theme for me. I specifed wild lavender - not sure why, but that's how it came out so I left it.

Looking around, I saw some religious symbols in my life - a statue of Buddha given to me by my daughter, a small brass Buddha my son gave me, a picture of my favourite Indian God, Ganesh - but only one - how shall I put this - gives me an emotional reaction. I have a small statue of Kwan Yin, and I love her dearly. Her counterpart in Indian mythology, Lakshmi, is currently one of my projects as I remake an Indian doll into a shrine for Duwali, the Festival of Lights. I showed my children this celebration when they were small and they loved lighting the candles and leaving gifts for the Goddess. So it seemed this Goddess is a recurring theme as well, and I included her.

Finally the Celtic Knot - simply because it is a symbol of who I am, a Celt and a traveller, Irish born and still steeped in the lore I heard as a child.It wasn't easy to make this list - as a young woman I surrounded myself with symbols and would have had difficulty choosing, but lately I haven't given it much thought.

Yet when I did look, I was surprised to see that some symbols still so persist.I wrote them down pretty much as I thought of them, in an instinctual way, and did not at that time, add any details or thoughts on why or how I chose them. I'm not sure now if I should have done that for Kiyan, but it seemed the proper way at the time.

Hermitage Publications - Create, Create...

Create, Create....the journey is all...
copyright word and image Monika Roleff 2005.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Amazon Queen Alchemy

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I am not sure if anyone else found the Amazon Queen's Alchemy table at the Sunday Market. I was sitting opposite, watching her, captivated as people came and went with her spells and potions. I had heard she was here but this is the first time that we managed to catch up with one another. We have been friends for a very long time but she can be elusive and is much quieter and shyer than most people expect.

Episode 8. The Lemurian Archipelago.

My visit with Gail and Lois at the Gypsy Camp had renewed my spirit. The warm welcome of fellow travellers and the sharing of their stories had affirmed for me the common essence of humanity and my place in it: the tales of everyone who faces the demons and come out the other side exultant to see the stars again. Somewhow, we had all managed to put Sybil in a relatively inaccessible corner of our consciousness. Something we would deal with later, if the unlikely necessity ever arose.

Day turned to dusk and dark. We stoked the fire and our conversation lapsed as we lay back to take in the magnificence sparkling overhead. A shooting start scudded and fell earthwards, and we all closed our eyes, wishing, wishing. Finally sleeping.

When I awoke, Orion had shifted to the far horizon. Gail and Lois were still peacefully asleep, their relaxed countenances testifying to satisfying dreams. Dancing in the air around me was my old "guide", the pinprick of luminescence. I knew from past experience that where she beckoned, I followed. Wistfully, regretfully, I gathered my scattered belongings. In my heart I knew that Gail and Lois had many friends and activities planned and were keen to participate in the morning's revelries. I was just grateful that they had so willingly spent the time with me.

The birds were starting into their morning chorus and I knew dawn was not far behind. At last I would see the sunrise I had envisaged when I packed my ever reliant Polartec so many days ago. Finally Appollo burst out of the ocean in a blaze of undoubtable energy and optimism which swept me with it. My guiding light had vanished on the first sunbeam. The sea was still and calm and a translucent aqua with deeper azure hints indicating submerged reefs. An archipelago of small islands was coming into prominence as the sun intensified.

Slipping my clothes into my thankfully waterproof pack, I waded in and pushed off aiming for a particularly small island lying about 500 yards offshore. A combination of side-stroke and dog paddle plus a receding tide made for a relatively short journey. I cannot deny that the buoyancy of the pack was as important as my flagging overarm.

You would be forgiven for thinking I had fabricated this entire story, but the white beaches which surrounded this island were the introduction to my wildest dreams come true. I lost track of time....what is time anyhow when one can dream a whole life in the passing of a few minutes?
Days passed, and weeks and months as I revelled in this magical place. Not magical because of mermaids or dolphins or such imaginings....magical because of its simplicity. Because of its ordinariness. And the beauty in that ordinariness.

I lived in a small hut, not far from the beach. Sandy and simple. With a banging front door and a stylised mermaid the sole ornament. A white poster bed, deep and downy, ensured I slept on a cloud. A pile of books and a comfy chair nearby, which I slipped into after my morning swim in a sea which rolled in and bubbled like champagne as the waves broke. Afternoons would see me exploring the island and delighting in each discovery. Myriads of tiny shells, secretive coves, flocks of colourful parrots which swooped past my deck each evening. Wildflowers underfoot.

Many moons would pass before my guiding light would reappear and lead me back to the rollicking, tumultuous, vibrant and unpredictable world I had retreated from.

Lemuria - Artists Without Borders

Dear Stamping friends,
Thank you to all the wonderful emails from you who are supporting the We Care
Card Art Kitsproject. I am encouraged and eager to see your cards, and I'm
sure those who receive the card-filled boxes will be so grateful. Our
copy-room at USArtQuest is nearly impassable with the 3396 cards and goodie boxes
already received. I can't imagine what 14,400 will look like! (However, I'm open
to finding out!) Next we plan on filling the break room.

The amazing store, Mississippi Paper Arts pledged 1/2 of the cards, or 14,400
of the 38,000+ , and even pulled a 24 hour marathon to meet their challenge.
Jennifer, a stamp club member and AMAZINGLY terrific lady, did 2000 cards BY
HERSELF! Needless to say, she was really hurting the next day. My last call
from Carrie said that they did 7,500 in one night, and sent the balance of the
cards home with stamp club members. She was telling me, they are planning to go
to hospital cafeterias, teacher's lunchrooms and other areas where adults
gather, and have someone help teach nurses, teachers and others to stamp and
assist in meeting the goal. (What a gal!) As a side-benefit to fulfilling the
project, it is also a great way to teach basic stamping to those who have never
stamped. (That will certainly help the stamp industry!) During lunch, anyone can
stamp 5 or 10 cards, themselves enjoying a bit of art therapy which I'm sure
they could use.

Our plan is to ship 1/2 of the cartons directly to Mississippi Paper Arts.
They'll already be filled with the art materials, and await the cards they've
made. Then the club members plan on distributing them directly to the
community centers, churches, etc. themselves, again helping those folks to make their
cards and teach them a bit of card making techniques. A Louisiana VFW women's
auxilliary in Union, Lincoln, Ouachita and Morehouse Parrishes will be
hand-delivering several hundred boxes, as well. We're still in tuned to ther smaller
groups who want to help - and I will be glad to make any phone calls, if
there are recommendations. Please just email me privately. In particular, we need
distribution in Alabama. We'll send boxes to other remote areas directly, if
there is a group or auxilliary that will do the distribution.

Until next week.
Most kindly,
Susan Pickering Rothamel
USArtQuest, Inc.
7800 Ann Arbor Road
Grass Lake, Michigan 49240 USA

Sunday, September 25, 2005

passing the time in Duwamish

passing the time in Duwamish

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hermitage Publications Seeking Submissions

Invitations soon to be sent out, or email if you would like guidelines....golden opportunity to have your original ideas recognised.....Imogen Crest, Hermitage Publications, Hermitage Regions.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Lemurian Archipelago

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Just down from Duwamish lies the Lemurian Archipelago. The ocean here is a living place where everything is governed by the laws of magic. The coastline is dotted with archipelagos and deserted islands. Every resident of Lemuria, including Heather, Baba Yaga, The Gorgons and the Amazon Queen have their own personal island or archipelego which they must maintain through the use of magic.

The truth is that most of us like to spend a lot of time, weather permitting, on these islands and some time ago I set up a market which is frequented by lots of peddlers who come to show and sell their wares.

After years of being happy to just come and look at the curiosities on display I decided to set up a place where artists could dip their toes in the waters and see if magic would happen. They show their work at my island on the Archipelago first. The gathering has become so popular that these days hawkers come looking to see what new work I am offering. Imogen Crest, Ashley Shea, Eternally Luna, Anita Marie, Karen Roberts each like to see if there are new artists whose work might be suited to their galleries.

Boats leave regularly from the Duwamish pier so give one of the Ferry Women a call and they will bring you out here. The Archipelago is a bustling, thriving market but there are still plenty of quiet places to retreat to if you want to escape the crowd and just enjoy the surroundings. And there are islands available for those who want to set up places where they can enjoy a sea change.

I understand Heather is planning a collection of sketches on life on the Archipelago. Could be interesting.

Famous undead rock band to play Duwamish

Entertainment organisers of the All Hallows Eve/Day of the Dead festivities at Duwamish have announced that rock band the Skiving Dead will top the bill at a free concert in Duwamish Cemetary on October 31 at midnight.
Skiving Dead frontman Slasher Poe said the band was looking forward to the gig.
``The crowds at Duwamish really go off," he said. ``Especially if you leave `em out too long."
Poe was silent on rumours that the Skiving Dead would unveil its new lead singer at the gig. But word is that the new vocalist has a voice that would wake the dead. Extra seating will be supplied at the cemetary just in case.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Party at the Gypsy Camp - September 27

Don’t forget there is a celebration on September 27 for Carol’s 30th wedding anniversary at the Gypsy Camp.The theme is pearls, obviously, and I am hoping everyone will send a greeting, a poem or a picture with a pearly theme. How about dressing up as pearly Kings and Queens? I am sure I spotted some costumes growing at Pandora’s wardrobe.If you want to know more about Pearly Kings and Queens, go to

snakegoddess meditation

Tried Magick

Since the invite for the Archepelago
relates to magick, I thought you might enjoy
this ....


NOTE: for me, MAGIC is of the performing
kind that I do rather well -- slight-of-hand,
prestidigitation and such. So 'that other stuff',
I call MAGICK, just not to confuse.


Tried Magick

I tried to do magick through spells found in a dusty book,
but my glasses kept falling from my nose,
and the grammar was so terrible
I don't think I got it right. But …
you made some coffee anyway, like you always do.

I attempted to see wonders in a copper scrying bowl,
yet I only saw my gristled image
and laughed outright in comedy
and spilt the future certainty. But …
you sang a song at sunrise, though you were away.

I prayed in each ritual direction guided by the clock,
but sneezed some during the smudging rite
and stepped on the Priestess' trailing cloak,
and had to hide 'till after dark. But …
you still hugged me closely, as only you can do.

I got jelly on the Tarot cards and dropped the pendulum,
and stirred paint with this old twisted stick
and can hear Dorkus shrieking still,
and can't stand the third degree. But …
you said that you would marry me, such a special gift.

I think I'll give up on magick and take a walk instead,
where strangers wave at me in passing
and I can see moonlight on the lake,
and perhaps skip a rock or two. But …
you will come and laugh beside me, just because I do.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Gone To Croatan

At the beginning of this year I came up with an idea about a town inhabited by Werewolves, Ghosts, Witches, Demons and Ghouls and other wonderful Characters...Including some named for members of my own family and put them in a little place we now visit here at the Soul Food Cafe.

I called it Duwamish and with Heather's encouragement it's grown to the extent that I'm now writing my first novel based on this short story.

I've been amazed and awed by the visions Duwamish has inspired in all of you...So I thought I'd re-post this for you to read.

Enjoy your stay and the rest of your journey...
Anita Marie


Years ago, before they walked into oblivion someone turned back and left this message carved on a tree, " gone to Croatan ".

Now it's my turn, tonight I'm going to Croatan; I'm going to Croatan to avenge my own murder.

My name Is Livia Cotard and once I owned a little bookshop at the Marina on the Duwamish Bay.

In the front of my shop you would find books sought after by collectors from all over the world. Rare first editions, bound sets, atlases, maps, and a variety of other books that were prized by collectors for their illustrations.

The front of my store is separated from the back by a large imposing oak door. Its hinges are leather and its locks and tumblers are made of wood.

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The Imposing Oak Door by Heather Blakey

This is where my real store is; this is where I conduct my real trade.

The room behind this door is a very comfortable library. The walls lined ceiling to floor bookcases. One case has a glass door, the second had an iron gate and others were left open.

Each case held over 100 volumes.

The books were crafted by an unusual group of Authors and had been written for a very exotic group of clients. These were famous one of a kind horror stories among this group of readers and they would spare no expense in collecting them.

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The Authors by Heather Blakey

This is how these little treasures were created.

If the Authors were to arrive at a home for a story they always came hours before a funeral and they were never turned away. After a small ceremony involving salt and scented oils they were left alone with the Dead and their work would begin. The Authors would take blank sheets of parchment; sometimes strips of linen or thin sheets of copper, gold and in later years paper and place them over the chest of a dead person. Then the Author would place their hand over the corpse's stilled heart and the story would be recorded.

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Authors at Work by Heather Blakey

It was said you could hear the scratching sounds of what was assumed to be pen to parchment and that no matter how much you were tempted that you should never try to catch one of these Authors at work. Not unless you wanted to end up bound in one of those books too.

When they were finished what was recorded on these pages were all the sins and evil that the dead person ever committed. Page after page would hold horrible dark stories and horrific illustrations. Brought forward by the Author's skilled hand, images and words and flashes of smell and sound would be captured then interpreted by the Author and burned onto the pages.

The Authors always left a gift for the stories. Sometimes they left gold or jewels, potions in bottles and sometimes money.

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The Croatan Treasury by Heather Blakey

After they left these homes the Authors would take these pages and bind them, and place them in libraries in homes not fit for human habitation.

These books were not written to be read by human eyes.

Eyes accustomed to the dark and held by hands that pushed open caskets from the inside read them. They were cherished and prized by families whose bodies and very nature could be altered by the full Moon, by men and women whose bloodlines and family histories had been altered by curses and magic.

Owning these books and selling them wasn't where my trouble started, as you might assume. My family has been dealing in this trade since the Authors first turned up centuries ago. My problems started with a woman named Cynthia Kern.

I let her into my back room the day of my Murder, even though she was very much of this world because the book she held was already in her possession.

Cynthia was from the East Side and owned a large very traditional over priced antique shop. Her clients were as unique and demanding as my own and a few of them were well known art collectors. One of them, she told me had somehow gotten a hold of this most unusual book written about a woman who killed her own children and blamed the crime on a neighbor.

The neighbor was executed and the true murderess lived to a ripe old age and died childless because one tragedy after another struck at her new family. Her babies (five of them) who were born years after the death of her first family all met sad ends...unexplained illnesses, fires and another was drowned.

Instead of living under a dark cloud she was wrapped in the warmth of sympathy and kindness of her entire community.

There was of course no way to actually read this book because it was written in the language of a family named Benandanti. So, it was the artwork, the pictures that made these books famous and prized by the non-reader. Each illustration was a memory, which had been burned onto the pages

The stronger the memory the more vibrant and active the picture. It was like watching a movie.

The murdering woman in this story lovingly relived her crimes almost every moment of her day. Each memory had been captured on those pages with stunning detail and clarity. It was quite a find. I still don't know how this Kern woman came across the book but she brought it to me and asked if I could find more of them.

I told her this was an extremely rare series of books, created by request of the Benandanti family. Now days you'd call them true crime fans. At the time, I think the idea of infanticide intrigued a family who's children, poor little things, usually didn't live past the age of six.

Children were extremely important to them and the thought of killing one was, to the Benandanti, a true horror.

I didn't have any books from the Benandanti Collection.

The Venda Family I knew were avid collectors of the Benandanti book collections. If there had been any of these left to be found, the Vendas had no doubt acquired them ages ago.

Cynthia went through some of the other books on the shelves...and then she came to the Naemoor Collection, As she reached out and rested her hand against the glass case she asked me, would it be alright for her to look at these?

I saw no reason to say no. They weren't for sale though; they were part of my private collection. " They're blank " she said, confused as she turned the pages.

" They were for one of the Naemoor to use, when she became an Author, but she left the family and disappeared. Kids you know, they have minds of their own. "

" Why weren't they passed on? "

"It doesn't work that way, " I said taking the book and gently replacing it on the shelf and closing the door. " These pages were specially created for the Author, they won' right for anyone else."

Cynthia placed her hand with their long bony fingers, which had been over decorated with frosty dark pink nail polish, and many diamond rings against the glass. I recognized that look on her face. That volume was calling to her very soul...asking to be placed upon her heart. Begging to be allowed to capture her darkest secrets on its pages.

Strange to do that to a living person. Her heart I knew must be black and her soul darker yet. I must say I was intrigued by the way the book called to her.

No, not intrigued...mystified.

She tried again to persuade me to sell her the blank book bound in soft red leather and decorated with silver threads that are as delicate as a spider's web and I refused.

She tried to smile, make small talk and then she handed me her card. When her fingertips brushed the side of my hand my lip curled and I tried to not look repulsed. This woman was a husk; she was as decayed and foul as a corpse rotting in the hot sun.

It's not often you meet such a corrupted soul and her story would be valuable to any Author.

But that's not my trade, my trade is bookseller and for all these years I've been content to do that.

Until my Shop was robbed...and I was murdered.

It was my friend Ignancia Guzman who owns the Curio Shop six doors down from me who discovered my store had been broken into. She came down to my houseboat and got me, reassuring me that whatever happened, she would help me.

The shelf with the blank Naemoor Volumes had been struck at the side with an axe and one of the blank volumes... a black book decorated with gold leaf and edged with small blue stones, had been nearly hacked in half. The books don't like to be separated and the hack job was needed to get to the Red Volume out of the case and away from the other books.

Ignancia pulled the broken axe out of the shelf and threw it across the room. She carefully examined each book and found that it had bee the black one that had not been as damaged as the others and she asked me for a towel and some salt.

" It's gonna be alright, here sit down. " Then she carefully set the book down, and shook the towel open and held it up to the light. She laid the towel flat and sprinkled the salt on it and set the book in the middle. Then as careful as a surgeon she started to fold the towel around the book.

" It's the best I can do " Ignancia voice was angry but her eyes were bright...she wasn't the type of woman who cried or showed her feelings easily and I was moved, honored to know I mattered so much to her.

" I know, and I appreciate everything you've done. " I assured her.

She nodded and looked away and pushed the bound book into my hands. " Go, go ' she told me very crisp and businesslike.

I reached for the book and it crashed to the floor, I hadn't dropped it. It had passed through my fingers. I tried to concentrate harder and this time I was able to grasp the book and lift it.

I didn't look into Ignancia' s face. She was as I've said, a dignified person and I wanted to spare her the embarrassment of my seeing the pain on her face that I knew was there and she couldn't help but to feel.

I don't know what possessed me to leave the message on my door that I wrote on the back of my closed sign. It was very important for me to leave something behind, something personal and all I could think to say was " Gone to Croatan "

Croatan is home of the lost, safe harbor to ships that sail in permanent twilight and the place where people like me return to in the end.

The train that left the station just outside of Leaning Birch Cemetery was a special train. It only ran once a day and it didn't cost anything to ride. The Conductor was a tall thin cadaverous looking gentleman and when he saw me waiting at the stop he looked very surprised.

" I almost didn't see you there Mrs. Cotard, " he said.

" I'm glad to say it's not your eyes Mr. Inverness, I'm afraid it's me. I've...I've had a misfortune. I haven't much time. I was wondering if you could help me. "

" Certainly Mrs. Cotard. What can I do for you? "

" I can't travel in my, well, condition. I need a ride and I thought that perhaps your train would work for me. "

He looked at my poor fading hands and smiled, then he stepped aside.

As I boarded I handed him a very old gold coin. It was Roman and the design would mean something to Mr. Inverness who had spent a lot of time in that part of the world. It was a gift not a token and he accepted it.

The train turned out to be more animal then machine and the engine sounded more like a heart beat then anything mechanical. It felt as if it were breathing. I took a window seat as the train lurched and moved forward. Nothing I saw through the windows looked familiar, the landscape at times was foreign the seasons changed in seconds and the sun and moon sailed across the sky.

The train reared back and stopped and we were in front of a house in the suburbs. The house was Tudor in design with bright yellow roses lining the drive up to the house.

Mr. Inverness smiled as I stepped down, " Take your time Mrs. Cotard, we'll hold the train. "

" That's not necessary " I replied

Then he said almost under his breath " Just saving myself the trip Mrs. Cotard. "

I enjoyed my walk up to the door, I enjoyed turning my plan over and over in my head, walking around it and admiring it from different angles in my mind's eye.

It was going to be a work of art.

When I arrived I didn't knock at the door, it wasn't there for me anymore. Entire parts of my world seemed to be disappearing. I saw the floor in the hall but not the walls on one side of the room, I saw paintings but within the paintings little images were gone, I saw people walk by with no faces, missing limbs, some looked as if they had been neatly split down the middle.

What I saw looked like an incomplete puzzle...almost there but missing pieces in odd shapes and sizes. Making things more difficult for me to find my way was my failing vision. I felt as if I were looking down a long tunnel with fog banks creeping towards me...or perhaps from me.

Regardless, somehow I found Cynthia's room and my Red Book.

My last surviving book held all that was left of my soul. It was desperately calling out to what was left of me and it's sister, my poor damaged book. Which I had been holding close to my heart since my journey began.

It was now almost full.

That book I placed under her bed and I heard it thump as it opened itself. A dark fog crept cautiously from under the bed and then my anger and grief swarmed out like angry bees from the book and clung to my fading image before they flew from the room and burrowed into every dark soul they could find...and in this house there were many of those.

My nightmares would become their reality and soon they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two.

I crept to Cynthia's bedside and watched her sleeping, my red book on her nightstand in agony because what it wanted most was just out of reach.

I had lied to Cynthia about the red book because it was my own and I had authored it myself years ago. It wasn't a blank book; it was full, bursting with dark terrible tales. The only person who could have actually seen the printed pages was a Naemoor, our language was the language of Authors and you don't learn our language you are born to it.

Those pages were full of words and images that only my family could decipher.

This was my proudest possession because I had turned the world upside down for this story and what I did to get it would be, how would you term it, be considered justifiable homicide.

That's what I told myself and my family after the deed was done.

We Authors only took stories from the dead...except for myself. Which was why I ended up selling books instead of writing them. My family was horrified I would take a story from a living soul because by taking a story from a living person you trapped them in paper and ink for all eternity.

You see in my younger days certain topics fascinated me, and one in particular fascinated me most of all. Cannibals...I collected story after story about Cannibals...and 200 of those dark tales paled in comparison to my Gentleman.

He was a butcher and a fiend and he called himself Jack.

I placed the red book on Cynthia's chest and held it down over her heart and because it was full I knew what it wanted was to speak to was romantic in a morbid way. This dark book caged in a hidden room had called out to this woman's dark heart and she had answered.

So I gave them to each other and they became one for a moment. Then she was no more and someone else opened her eyes and blinked and squinted and sat up.

She was so hungry she couldn't stand it.

Then from down the hall came voices, relaxed unassuming voices and Cynthia rose delicately from her bed and went down to the kitchen to see about breakfast.
© text anita moscoso 2005

Lemurian Archipelago

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Just down from Duwamish lies the Lemurian Archipelago. The ocean here is a living place where everything is governed by the laws of magic. The coastline here is dotted with archipelagos and deserted islands. Everyone who comes to Lemuria has their own personal island or archipelego which they must maintain through the use of magic.

A trip is being arranged for guests to visit the Archipelago with Pegasus and choose an island to maintain through the use of magic.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Journey to Duwamish and White Owl Island

I was sitting in the garden at Baba Yaga’s when a raven brought me the invitation to spend a couple of days in Duwamish. My last visit there had been so short, hardly a visit at all as I was in a hurry to catch up with the rest of my group. In factI had had no chance to visit the Isle of Ancestors or even have a look round. I had also heard that there was a wonderful bookshop there and an art gallery.

It didn’t take me long to pack up my things and as they weren’t heavy and I knew that Duwamish wasn’t too far away I decided I would walk. I needed the exercise after sitting over my spinning and weaving for many hours at a time. There was an autumnal feel to the air as I set off. Fire tipped the leaves of the trees and cobwebs strung between the trees were hung with crystals, sparkling in the early morning sunlight, from the heavy dew. I saluted the spiders in their webs as I passed, now conscious of the invaluable work they do.

Eventually I came to the stream that I knew would lead me down into Duwamish Bay. The water chuckled and gurgled as it splashed down the rocky bed causing rainbows to dance in the spray. Altogether it felt good to be alive. Even the birds in the thickets along my way were singing their hearts out.

At length I reached the village and looked curiously around me, for it was the first time I would have had the chance to look around. Immediately ahead of me was a sign announcing the presence of 'Ye Olde Tea Shoppe' with the most enticing smells wafting out from it. I went in and chose a corner table near the window, from where I could view the comings and goings of people. After sitting down and ordering a pot of Earl Grey tea. I picked up several of the leaflets that had been left on the table. The first was a guide to the more interesting shops in Duwamish. The North Star Studios immediately caught my eye as did Madame Livia's Bookshop of Chaos. There was also something called the Enchanter's Wunderkabinett. I would certainly try to visit all three of these. The second leaflet bore a picture of a mangnificent snowy owl and advertised private boat trips to White Owl Island, by special arrangement with the Enchantress. The third one advertised boat trips to the Isle of Ancestors. Duwamish was obviously a fascinating place and I wasn't sure I would be able to fit everything in. The White Owl Island trips only started in the early evening so I would have plenty of time to explore to my heart's content.

Visit to North Star Studios
I decided to visit the North Star Studios first. The blurb said that it was governed by Providence and that you had to make a wish. I was so busy wondering what I could wish that I bumped into the rickety garden gate knocking it right of its hinges. I immediately knew what my wish would be - I had the perfect gate at home sitting unused in a corner of the garden. I could wish its immediate transfer here, only after checking with the gallery owner of course, that such a gift would be welcomed.

I walked up the path through a truly exuberant garden and stopped to look in the window which was filled with mouth watering treasures - some raku sculptures, a magnificent ceramic torso and a Japanese doll. I couldn't wait to get inside.

The magic was upon me already. I stepped in to find a veritable Aladdin's cave of goodies ranging from wooden sculptures through glassware to jewellery, each piece more beautiful than the last. In a corner I found a silver horse prancing on a bed of uncut amethyst crystals. I just had to have that and duly asked the gallery owner if she would be kind enough to keep it for my return. It was only with difficulty that I tore myself away but I did want to visit the bookshop and the Wunderkabinett (the Old Curiosity Shop).

Madame Livia's Bookshop of Chaos was only a couple of blocks away. The doorway was very small and it was quite a squeeze to get in. Was the owner trying to discourage visitors from entering or leaving? Inside there were books everywhere, not just on the shelves but in tottering piles on the floors, a small table was completely hidden under a mountain of books and magazines and revues appeared to be in imminent danger of sliding off the chair on which they had been temporarily piled.

Madame Livia's appearance was as chaotic as her name. There was more than a hint of gypsy in her I thought. Her hair flowed around her in wild abandon and she was wearing the most exotic collection of jewellry - huge earrings, a veritable cascade of necklaces and bangles on both arms. In fact, she was wearing so much that the various bits of jewellry clinked against each other and tinkled like a myriad of bells whenever she moved. She wore layer upon layer of tiered skirts in a bewildering patchwork of colours and textures. I felt sure she must be related to Madame Eclectica in some way.

She scanned me shrewdly as I carefully made my way into the shop. "Greetings Traveller. Welcome to my little world of literary chaos". How was it that everyone in this land seemed to know my name? "Hello" I said and "thank you. Please tell me, how do you know my name?" "I can read it in your face" was her slightly unnerving reply. "You have been travelling for quite a while now and your adventures are leaving indelible traces on your face but only the aware can read them". I was beginning to think she must be related to Madame Rosa, the fortune teller, as well as Baba Yaga and all the rest and to suspect some sort of conspiracy. Were they all one and the same person but appearing in different manifestations in the different places we went to? I think I might have to have a quiet word with the Enchantress when I can finally nail her down. She seems to be so elusive these days.

I explained about the jigsaw puzzle map and asked her if she had any books on cartography. She told me to go and look under a dusty aspidistra plant in the back of the shop. "Would you like a cup of herbal nonsense while you are looking around?" she enquired. I replied that I would be delighted to taste a cup of herbal nonsense. She disappeared out to the back of the shop. When she returned a little later, Madame Livia was carrying a tray with two cups of herbal nonsense on it and a plate of fairy cakes. When I went to take one, the fairy sitting on the top of the cake flew off leaving a trail of fairy dust in the form of multi-coloured hundreds and thousands sprinkled on the top of the cake.

The cake and the drink were delicious. "Do you know anything about White Owl island?" I enquired casually as I drained my cup of herbal nonsense. "Indeed I do. Why, would you be interested in visiting it?" I told her what my research had turned up and explained that I was fascinated by these old rituals and would very much like to meet the Magiratha if that could be arranged. She told me she would see what she could do.

I continued browsing through the shelves which contained many interesting volumes. I picked up a book of beautiful floral illustrations and hastily put it back again when a picture of nettles stung me where I had been foolish enough to touch the page. I was lost in contemplation of some of the illustrations in another book when she came bustling back into the shop. "It's all arranged" she beamed, "you can go to White Owl Island this afternoon. Alec will pick you up at the quay at 4 o'clock." I thanked her and headed off to the Duwamish Inn as I still hadn't checked in, which I thought I ought to do if I was likely to be out all night. The Innkeeper recognised me from my very brief previous visit and showed me to my room on the first floor in the turret from where I had a wonderful view over the harbour.

Shortly before 4 I picked up my swansdown cape and my little pouch and set off for the quay.

White Owl island

It turned out that Madame Livia had been in communication with the Enchantress while I was in her bookshop and, by some special arrangement between the Enchantress and the Magiratha, had managed to organise a trip for me to White Owl Island to meet the Magiratha. She had told me to be at the harbour at 4 o'clock and to look for a boat with a white owl painted on it. So here I was, punctual to the minute, looking around for the boat.

The little boat was easy to spot and I walked eagerly to the edge of the quay and announced my presence to the young fisherman in the boat. He told me his name was Alec and that he would take me out to the island. His mop of brown curly hair lifted slightly in the breeze and a huge smile lit his sun-burned face when he talked. I handed him 5 owlets - special coins with a picture of an owl on them - the price of my trip.

He pushed the boat away from the quay and we were off. I installed myself in the bow of the boat and wrapped my swansdown cape around me to keep me warm and dry. Although it had been warm enough on shore, now out at sea there was a distinct chill. The water was a deep blue with little crests of white. Tall cliffs loomed on our left and sea birds called to us as we passed.

We were in open water now and headed towards a small dot on the horizon. Alec increased the speed of the boat and we soon reached the cliffs of White Owl Island. He took the boat into a small cove with a small rocky quay at which he anchored and helped me to climb out of the boat. He told me to make my way up the cliff path and I would be met. He told me that he would be waiting for me when I returned.

I slowly walked up the path, not really knowing what to expect. I soon became aware of a whisper of wings in the air and looked up to see first one and then two and then three snowy owls hanging in the air above me. They greeted me with soft tuwit tuwhoos and their big yellow eyes gleamed like lamps in the now setting sun. As I neared the top of the path I could see the outline of a woman silhouetted against the sky.

She waited until I had reached the top and then took my hands in hers. "Welcome to White Owl island. I am here to take you to meet the Magiratha (or Owl as she is also known). Please come with me." By now the sun had gone down completely and the sky was lit with the most fabulous sunset.

Glow worms started to light up along our path and the moon slowly rose in the sky, a bright orange harvest moon. I hadn't realised until now that there would be a full moon this night. I could still hear the whisper of wings and knew that the owls were keeping us company. We were walking along a path of springy turf, which I guessed would be home to a multitude of rabbits by day. The sky was beginning to light up as the stars came out. It was going to be an exceptionally clear night. The woman's warm hand squeezed my own as she urged me on. My heartbeat quickened.

At length we came to an elevation with a single stone in the middle and a rowan tree. Four priestesses were waiting. After a short ceremony during which the stone wass annointed with honey and a star sapphire touched to my forehead I was led to the entrance of the labyrinth. I passed between the stones that form the entrance. I bore in my mind that a labyrinth is not a maze. It's more of a spiral. A journey with no false passages. No blind alleys. Walking in a maze we could be lost. Walking a spiral path requires only the knowledge that it is a path and not a maze. The road may curve. Directions may change. Sometimes we'll be walking the opposite direction for a while. After only a few minutes I emerged in the centre.

The White Owl was standing before me. I bowed before her holding my hands, palms upwards, towards her. The question I wished to ask her is hovering at the back of my mind. She said softly "I am a mirror to those who come through the winding way. I vow to be the sealer as well as the revealer. What is your question?"

"How can I make the most of this journey?" The owl gave me this blessing: "travel with your eyes and ears open. Listen to the wind. Be aware. Speak not only with your mouth but your heart. You will see much and you should spread the word of what you have experienced. Go in peace with the wind oh daughter".

I thanked her with all my heart and left her a handful of seed pearls in reconaissance. Unnoticed, the priestesses had followed me through the labyrinth and now led me out, along the turf path and back to the small stone jetty where Alec was waiting for me. As he took me back to Duwamish the sun was just rising, streaking the sky with crimson, pink and gold.

"I will go where the wild goose goes, on wings of joy, winging ever south to my heart's desire."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The House I Heard

Anyone who associates with me in cyberspace probably knows about my love of bright, bold colour and pattern and would therefore tag me "a visual person". I am. I am a visual learner. All attempts to teach me verbally are wasted. I must see you do 'it', I must see a picture of 'it' being done, or I must read the explaination. Anyone who knows me in person knows that doesn't make a whit of sense. My eyesight is terrible, but my hearing is painfully, strangefully acute.

Soul Food's Box of Chocolates contained an article about abandoned buildings and some corresponding descriptive exercises. I was hesitant at first to consider going back home again; it wasn't usually a fun place. But then I 'saw' my brother as a young boy, when he was still my best friend instead of a resentful stranger. And it wasn't the activities and events that I remember today, but the sounds. All my contented memories of home are sounds. When I think of playing with my brother, I hear the sound of the checkers clicking on the board. I hear the sound of the plastic game wheel clicking and whizzing on the board of Life. The whooshing hiss of the Sorry! gamepieces sliding back a gagillion heartbreaking 'moves'. I hear the thud and sharp echo of the soccer ball bouncing back and forth on the linoleum-on-concrete hallway in the basement. I hear the toy cars rattling down the upstairs linoleumed hallway between my bedroom at the end and his bedroom by the living room.

Those were the day sounds. I miss them. But even more, I miss the night sounds. I was born with a sleep disorder characterized primarily by chronic insomnia and night terrors. We children were put to bed at appropriate bedtimes for children our age and my siblings quickly drifted off to a restful slumber. I learned very young to consider lying in bed listening to the puttering of my parents a form of comforting entertainment. The sound of mother reading the paper in the living room. Her green mug of decaffeinated coffee clicking on the coaster as she set it down. The ice clinking in dad's glass as he read Mickey Spillane and sipped a scotch whiskey. By listening for hours on end, I came to know my parents more intimately than my siblings. I knew what they read, what they drank, what they ate and when they ate it, what they talked about, the tones of voices reserved for each other in private, their endearances never made public.

But those were the sounds of life. No one in that house knew the house itself more intimately than I. I listened to my parents after my brother and sister went to bed, and I listened to the house after my parents went to bed. Throughout the night there was always an intermittant creak and pop in the floor under the carpet in the living room. The sound of the furnace turning on and off. The boom and then the whoosh of heat forced through the vent. I listened to it and envisioned myself being enveloped by warmth, by the love and loyalty of a home that knew I knew it well. I knew its rythm like I knew my own breath. And I knew every minute that clicked past on my brother's clock with its flip-style numbers. I knew who was rolling over in which room by the peculiar creak of each boxspring. I knew the position each one lay in by the different sounds of his or her snoring. I knew them when they weren't aware of themselves. The house and I. We listened and we cared even though no one knew but us.

When I was twenty-one, we all moved out and my parents sold the house. I was bereft. I cried and cried. My sister guffawed at this and shouted incredulously, "But you HATED it there!" Yes. My hell was in that house, but the house itself was a haven. That's a difficult one for others to understand. The behaviour of the people in the house was something to be endured, but I took solace in the house itself. The hurt of angry, unkind words was soothed every night by the house I heard. Never since have I known such sound solace.

Today, I sleep with earplugs in to shut out the distractions of the traffic and the fishtank pump and my husband's snoring. During the day, I wear earplugs to shut out the distractions of cartoons and music and kitchen spills and workshop tinkering. The only sound there is no stopping is the sound of "then" scraping up against "now".


Friday, September 16, 2005

Cartography of Silk Road

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To view an enlarged view of one cartographers perspective of the Soul Food Silk Way click here.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

In Duwamish

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I have been in Duwamish for a few days now, waiting for folk to arrive from various parts of the realm. Some travellers have been at the House of Serpents while others were in servitude at the House of Baba Yaga. Mercifully Baba agreed that the spindles could lay idle for a few days and decided that evenn she would take a break and join the gathering in Duwamish. By all accounts the Gypsies are now camped just outside the town.

The Inn at Duwamish is filling and later there will be a potlash dinner supplied by the innkeeper to traditionally mark the arrival of the salmon. Visitors will no doubt be keen to explore the Marina, visit Livia's bookshop and take a bath at the bath-house frequented by the Ferry Women who have wonderful stories to tell.

Two excursions are planned while we are here. One will be a visit to White Owl Island which Fran discovered during her wanderings and another will be to the Isle of Ancestors for those who have not been there yet. If you go to White Owl Island you will find (later today) a special activity and the Isle of Ancestors is still open for visitors.

After a day or two we will be moving out and heading to the Lemurian Abbey where the Gorgons, Baba Yaga, the Amazon Queen and Abbess will be in audience to watch a special performance in the Great Banquet Hall. You may want to dip into Pandora's Box of Costumes for ideas. Everyone is welcome to go on stage and be in the spotlight during this wonderful festival.

We will stay at the Abbey for a few nights and then find our way to Baba Yaga's House.

Breath of Ancestors

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By Ysaye Barnwell

Poem is placed on the bridge over the creek at

Esalen where water rushes from the mountains

To the ocean.

We invite you to enter a place between worlds. It is the space that lives at the end of one breath before the beginning of the next. The base of this canyon is a portal between the mountains and vast ocean. It is one place surrendering itself into the next. The silent crossing of this bridge invites you to step out of the past and into the future. With each holy step you are becoming a part of the history of this land. If you are tired of who comes with words, words but no language, come to this bridge and listen. Listen to the tree branches dancing in the wind, the sweet sound of the creek water laughing, and the rhythm of your own heart beating. The spirit of the forest calling you in a language with no words.

Listen more often to things than to beings.

Listen more often to things than to beings.

‘Tis the ancestors’ breath when the fire’s voice is heard

‘Tis the ancestors’ breath in the voice of the water



Those who have died have never left

The dead are not under the earth

They are in the rustling trees

They are in the groaning woods

They are in the crying grass

They are in the moaning rocks

The dead are not under the earth

Those who have died have never, never left

The dead have a pact with the living.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Wyse wymen of the White Owl

The priestess oracles of Lemuria and Atlantis, as well as some other early sacred sites, were known as ‘Magiratha’, or ‘Wyse Wymen of the White Owl’. Other than the White Owl, their sacred symbols were the Rowan and Oak trees, the honeybee, the blue star sapphire, and the labyrinth (often in the form of a labyrinth-cave). The labyrinth was their symbol as it represented the spiral path one must take in order to receive true wisdom.

A Magiratha was ‘sworn to the Stone’; that is, she took vows before a large white stone in the centre of a ceremonial pool, which represented the isle of ‘Ava’ in the lake of ‘An’. A labyrinth of dark stone was set into the bottom of the pool, encircling the Stone underwater. There was a mythical legend in which a large honeybee bore a young maiden to the centre of a sacred lake. He told her that he would create a ‘land of honey’ in the waters for her if she would keep watch over the sacred lake and sing it into the ‘New Creation’. She agreed, and he made an island for her of spun honey where she dwelt, and there she sang her song of creation. As she sang, so her isle of honey became a white cube stone, the foundation of the New Creation, and the lake of An became the cosmic sea, filled with star fish of the New Heaven. The Goddess Ashara, who had sent her honeybee to carry the maiden to the lake, threw her necklace of sea pearls into the lake and it coiled into a labyrinth about the Stone. So long as the maiden chanted the holy song, only those who carried the mark of the New Creation upon their foreheads would make their way through the labyrinth of Ashara to the Sacred Stone. The Foundation Stone contained the imprint or template of the New Heaven and Earth. This myth is part of a greater Creation Myth. We only excerpt a small portion of it in order than you may feel the sacredness of the vows the oracles swore upon the Stone.

As a Magiratha entered the lake on a golden barge, rowed by four priestesses and accompanied by another Magiratha or Mage, she began to chant the Creation Song. The words of this song were highly cryptic and meant to be comprehended only by the initiated. Once she reached the Stone, she dipped some water from the lake into a small crystal amphora (vase) and poured it over the stone, saying: “I cover thee with the veil of An. Thou art anointed with my vow to thee. Henceforth shall I keep my way in thy Light, for I am that which you are, the Way of Creation through the labyrinth of Ptah.” Then the priestess oracle would reach into a small golden bowl of honey held by the other Magiratha accompanying her, and place the silken amber upon her hands. She would ‘wash her hands’ with the honey, which came from the most sacred of hives, and then from her hands, she would coat the Stone ( token portion of it) with the honey, saying: “I return to the hive of my fortune. I guardian the sweetness of the wisdom of Past, Present and Future.” Then the other Magiratha held a blue star sapphire to the new priestess-oracle’s forehead and spoke, “Behold, she who guardians the labyrinth of Ashara, she comes in the night, she sleeps in the day. She holds the star before her, she gives birth to the sun.” The Magiratha taking her vows would then bend to gaze upon her reflection in the lake, and speak these words: “I am a mirror to those who come through the winding way. I vow to be the sealer as well as the revealer. I guard that which is for those who taste the sweetness of the fruit of the tree. I therefore set the serpent upon the path and the bee above the throne.” Through this cryptic vow, the Magiratha had sworn to impart the knowledge she was opened to receive in a way that only those who were true adepts of the wisdom therein could understand.

The underlying principle of this act as concealed in the vow is thus: knowledge of the Greater Akashic must be truly valued by the soul and commanded through wisdom and integrity in the mind. To accomplish this, one who receives this knowledge has to be an initiate of the Labyrinthine Path leading to the Stone of Wisdom, and ordained to the Light within the Word. Such truths made plain for the lesser mind do not raise the seeker into his / her spiritualized Mind-Heart, where the wisdom of the knowledge is suffused into every fibre of the being. This is the most profound intention within the communication of the knowledge from the Greater Akashic translated through the priestess oracle, to the adept-initiate.

Wyse Wymen of the White Owl and the Lunar Mysteries

The Women gather around the Moonstone. Their eyes shine with the light of the stars. Their bodies are filled with star light. Their hair pours from the font of the sun in strands of gold, red, brown and black. It is flame licking their shoulders. Their skin gleams like the petals of lotus tongues. Their faces are moonlight caught in pools of the earth, flinging their images back into the sky. The Women are bold yet not concerned with boldness. They are at peace, yet do not seek peace. They are LOVE, but their mouths know not the formation of the words of love. They become one with the Moonstone, baring its single white tooth to the heavens. It marks the distance from nothing to nowhere. As the Women hold the note of Love among them, so the Moonstone glows brighter and seems to take on a living, human form. She Becomes...her limbs outstretch, her face tilts upward, and her eyes are planets in the starry firmament. Out of every soul of the Women, so SHE is given her nature...and that nature is divine.

info from

The Great White Owls Prayer

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world - hear me.
I come before you, one of your children.
I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever
Behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
My ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may know
The things you have taught my people,
"And Let Me Learn With Wisdom
The Things You Wish Me To Know From Nightingale
To Understand That Which Is My Task
And That Which Is The Duty of Others
To Measure A Spirit With No Bigotry
To Do All These Tasks Led By Your Hand
To Complete These Tasks For Thy Purpose
And let me know"
The lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers,
But to be able to fight my greatest enemy,
Make me ever ready to come to you,
With clean hands and straight eyes,
So when life fades as a fading sunset,
My spirit may come to you without shame.
"Let Me Cross Over To The Meadow
To Greet My Ancestors With Tears Of Joy"

Equa Unega Wahuhi, The Great White Owl

Adapted from The Native American Prayer of : Yellow Hawk, Sioux Chief


In Romania, it is said that the souls of repentant sinners fly to heaven as Snowy Owls.
In Scottish Cailleach-oidhche gheal means White Owl or lit. White Old Wife/Crone Of The Night and Cailleach-bhàn means White Owl or lit. White hag (also used for Snowy Owl)

May you always hear the whisper of wings

The prayer of the donkey

O God, who made me
to trudge along the road
to carry heavy loads
and to be beaten
Give me great courage and gentleness.
One day let somebody understand me -
that I may no longer want to weep
because I can never say what I mean
and they make fun of me.
Let me find a juicy thistle -
and make them give me time to pick it.
And, Lord, one day, let me find again
my little brother of the Christmas crib.

From "Prayers from the Ark " by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold and translated by Rumer Godden


My calling at the Abbey has me chained to the dawn,
and my slight crippled form belies much travel;
but I am graced with news from afar as friends
transport me to distant lands.

Yet, know me as a Myrddin Falcon,
shape shifter by natural gift --
and I will drop messages here and there
as I am touched by their hearts and tears.

Come home when you can --
claim a quest as you must,
and smile at the ripple above the pines
as my wings catch the morning light.

papa faucon

Isle of the White Owl

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Check out the Island of the White Owl while you are at Duwamish. An excursion to this island is planned, so long as we can procure the services of the Ferry Women

"Good Mornink!"

"Good mornink!"

It's an odd experience to have a doll who's been sitting on your hutch for years suddenly speak to you. "That," I said, "is a matter of opinion."

"You are not happy?" Matushka exclaimed, the circles on her cheeks turning pinker at this shocking revelation.

"Sorry. It's not you, I'm just having a bad day."

"Hmm--we are--how you say--havink confidential!" she said, clearly believing she'd recalled an appropriate phrase. The little Russian nesting doll in her peasant dress and babushka was definitely enjoying herself.

"When I get up at dawn, I want to experience a beautiful sunrise, not hike into a creepy forest where I'll meet someone who gave me nightmares as a child.."

"Is adventure and learnink experience!" she said with great enthusiam. Matushka had been riding in my tummy pack facing forward, but now she swivelled around to look me in the face.

"Going to meet Baba Yaga is--disconcerting," I said, not adding that it had creeped me out when in the blink of an eye our entire tour group had disappeared leaving us alone.

"You are afraid of her?" the bow lips pursed, as she tried to suppress an amused smile, and her eyes twinkled.

"She scared the chicken soup out of me when I was a kid--pinching Hansel's finger to see if he was plump enough to eat, poisoning Snow White with that apple!"

"You are grown woman, surely you know the difference beteen real fear and fairy tales," she chided.

"Her fence is made of bones."

"A reminder of death, that is all."

"Her hut sits on chicken legs!"

"Is funny, no?" she chortled.

"She zooms around in a morter pounding on anything that gets in her way with a pestle."

The doll shivered. "Be careful!"

"Another thing. Don't you think it's a bit much for the Enchantress to make us walk all the way? It's fine for the young ones, but some of us are getting too old for this kind of thing. We deserve some respect, a little kindness and understanding."

"Good point!" she exclaimed. "Remember it. Now, we are gettink close, is time for me to hide." She wiggled and squirmed until she was lying down inside my pouch and then whispered, "Zip quickly."

Matushka was right, we'd walked and talked the morning away and Crypt Lake was clearly visible through each gap in the trees. "I wish they'd named it something else," I muttered, but all I heard in return was a muffled,"Shhh!"

Despite Matushka's former assurances, I found myself walking more and more slowly as a feeling of dread began to build. Earlier the birds had been singing and a cool morning breeze had ruffled through the leaves, but now the heat was oppresive and as it approached noon, the only sounds I heard were my labored breathing and my lagging footsteps crunching the twig-littered dirt path.


I nearly stumbled over something snagged in a circlet of plastic from a soda six-pack. It went mute and froze in terror as I bent down to have a closer look. Puffed up like a blow fish, its spines extended, a tiny hedgehog lay on his back with his little legs poking straight out. I took a pair of manicure scissors from my pack and held my breath as I snipped, praying I wouldn't cut anything vital. After I put it right side up, it hesitated a moment as though I'd frightened it to death, then scurried off into the underbrush.

For some reason the opportunity of doing a small kindness cheered me but my courage nearly failed again, when a few minutes later I came upon a small clearing in the woods and saw Baba Yaga's hut with its bone fence surrounding it.

"Thinks are not always what the seem," I heard Matushka whisper.

"Riiight. . . . . ."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Boat Fruit Tree

Tinker and I went for a trip upstream along the Duwamish river and we found this - one of the rarest trees in Lemuria. It's a boat fruit tree, and the natives of Duwamish Bay used to chop the fruit down like coconuts, scoop out the seeds and use the fruit for fishing boats. The fruits have a hard fibrous shell like a coconut that is completely watertight. This is nhow the boat fruit tree distributes its seed - the `boats' break off and float downstream where the seed scatters.
This may be the last boat fruit tree standing - it was surrounded by debris from the recent floods, so the boats couldn't break off from the trunk and launch. I cleared most of the debris and took some of the seeds downstream to scatter them. Hopefully this rare find will survive.

letter home

Letter home
Dear Mum and Dad,
you will remember that I talked to you of Lemuria when we last met. Well, a number of travellers, including myself, set off at the end of July from the Lemurian Abbey with Heather as our enchanting leader, on a creative journey. So far we have been to the Sybilla's grotto in Umbria, to the House of Serpents where we saw the fountain of forgiveness and performed for the Gorgon. She was so pleased with our performances that she gave each of us a snake to be our guides for the week that we were staying there.
From there we went on the most exciting night ride imaginable. I went to the tree of crystal souls.

We were then encouraged to go and visit Baba Yaga who lives in an extraordinary cottage perched on chicken's legs and surrounded by a fence of human bones, topped with skulls. Unfortunately, while we were staying with her we were all kidnapped and carried off to Koshchey's lair from whence we were rescued by 3 knights. We're now back at Baba Yaga's where we will probably stay until the rest of the travellers have caught up with us. In the meantime we are busy working on a tapestry along the lines of the Bayeux tapestry.

Rumour has it that a Shakespearian troupe will be setting up tomorrow so hopefully we'll get some good entertainment.

So far the trip has been quite extraordinary. The other travellers have had a wide variety of experiences - some delightful, some not so pleasant. Heather is an excellent guide and the enchantress is something of a hard taskmistress.
That's all for now,
PS I hope to be trying out my skills as a cartographer

article for the Duwamish Post

Much interest has been aroused in the corridors of academia by the recent discovery, in the Hermitage art museum, of a hitherto unknown manuscript. The precise nature of which is not known at this stage. There is no text but illustrations in a series of interlocking tiles reminiscent of a jigsaw puzzle. The central tiles, against a background streaked in silver, covered in intricate blue patterns appear to be Islamic but they are immediately juxtaposed to a section of a Christian stained glass window. Furthermore the inclusion of a tarot card from the notorious Alastair Crowley set (he was a renowned warlock) make this even more curious. What is the significance of the snake, a donkey unseating its rider, the woman in the boat and the old woman with bunches of flowers in her hands against a background of what appear to be bones?

The eminent fictional art historian, Dr Carol Abel, has been called in to conduct investigations on the document but she is unwilling to make any comment at this juncture. It is hoped that carbon dating may at least prove whether the document is genuine or an elaborate modern hoax.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Road to Duwamish

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On the road to Duwamish I happened upon a farm and the farmer and his family have made me welcome for a few days rest. Some home style cooking and tender loving care is bound to do me good. While I was here I noticed a party of the Gypsies pull in. Maybe they will set up in the barn tonight and I will get to dance. On the other hand I might just enjoy a quiet night, soaking in the clear air.

jigsaw puzzle or magic map

Just before I set out from Baba Yaga's to walk to Duwamish, Baba Yaga presented me with this map. "It's a magic map", she explained, "if the map falls into the wrong hands nobody will be able to read it for, as you can see, it is made up like a jigsaw puzzle and the pieces will move of their own accord into the wrong place. The blue pieces represent Memnosyne Stream which will make anybody other than yourself forget they have seen it afterwards. Of course, when in your hands the pieces will always be in the right place. From the stream you will always be able to find your way". I thanked her profusely for this unexpected gift and tucked it away carefully. I wasn't expecting to have to use it, but you never know .....

Side Trip to Kansas

I am feeling rather homesick for Kansas right now, as this journey is more arduous than I had thought. I believe darling Agnes sensed my mood, because she used her unicorn powers to fly us magically to the Tallgrass Prairie of my home state. One moment we were on the road to Duwamish, the next, we touched down at Spring Hill Ranch. Agnes set to grazing on the rich prairie grass, and I took a rejuvenating solitary walk on the prairie. I walked for miles, my eyes resting on the gently dramatic contours of the unspoiled prairie. A few miles into my hike, I turned, looking 360° to see nothing but prairie—not a person, not a structure—and only a few large and noble cottonwood trees.

As I reached a small oasis of water, signaled by a clustered stand of cottonwood giants, the breeze picked up. A perfect place to stop for a snack, I though, and settled myself on a huge dead log. The wind continued to rise, and the cottonwood leaves made a rushing sound like a river in flood. I was perfectly relaxed, staring off into the distance, when a figure appeared on the horizon. Striding purposefully toward me, I noted that she had on a long dark gown and was carrying a bucket. She stepped into the grove and bent to her task—filling the bucket from the nearby spring. I watched her, noticing the stark gray hair pulled back into a bun, the white apron, the high-button shoes, the stern features focused on her labor. I spoke.
“Hello, how are you today?” She did not respond, merely completed her task, turned, and strode past me, slightly bent to counterbalance the weight of the water-filled bucket. She disappeared over the hill. I was astonished. I expected the historical re-enactors they had at this place to be a bit friendlier. But, shrugging it off, I filled my bottle from the spring and walked on. In three hours time I was back at the stone barn, finding things in a bit of an uproar because apparently Madame Eclectica and her wagon had apparated behind me, and she was now causing quite a bit of chaos in the cistern and spring house, throwing off her robes and insisting on a bath. Those Prairie rangers, farm boys all, had never seen such a woman. They were fairly bewitched, leaving a couple of female rangers to tend to the gift shop and exhibits, which I browsed while Eclectica sorted them out. I was nearly ready to leave, when I spied a book, “Prairie Women:True Live of Women on the Frontier,” about prairie women in Kansas. The woman on the cover, standing chest deep in Big Bluestem, toddler on her hip, circa 1860, was the woman I had seen at the springs. A shiver ran through me.

I purchased the book and left. I collected Eclectica and had a word with Agnes, who spirited us all back into Lemuria, where we touched down at Duwamish Bay. I sipped from my prairie spring water as I flipped through the book. Periodically, I gazed at the cover, where the face of Emmeline Chase stared out at me, shy, proud, hardworking, beautiful. She died at forty, my own age. Once again, I shivered. I kissed Agnes goodbye, and complimented her on her mastery of unicorn-power and now relatively infrequent spells of hysterics, and set off with Eclectica in tow to the Ferry House.

Riding a Steed

Whether you plan to depart on a donkey,
horse or 'shanks mare', such travels requires
training and experience of which I have but little.

But, for what its worth, here is an excerpt
from my just published book
"Songs of the Gusari" that may be of help ---

"We were a contrast of temperament and ability.
He rode easily, as if strolling down a sandy beach. He strummed his strange instrument of five blocked strings and sang songs to blend with the call of birds and the shattering roar of the cataract to our left. His reins lay in his lap, yet his small Scythian pony made a choice of splitting path without apparent hesitation. As his feet hung almost to the ground, I watch for the time his leg wrappings might catch in the brush and pull him from his jaunty perch. Alas, he always drew his legs up high when risk chanced by while he continued to pronounce on cliffs, clouds, flowers and forest bird.

Jamic, on the other hand - that is myself, rode like a farm bumpkin on his first trip to market. Every twist and rocky impediment of the ever-climbing trail seemed a challenge to my otherwise trustworthy Alsatian steed. My back ached from constant shifting and adjustment of rump and hand and knee. Branches reached out to grasp at my cloak. Burrs found their way under my chain-mail, and small tree cones even fell on my head. Was I being punished for some unknown offense? Did the Gusari's mysterious bond with the forest extent to commanding its abuse and torment? Ah, were it so. Then I might plead for release or insight. It is something else...

Jamic was jolted from his reverie by the realization that they were now descending into the valley. Where had the time gone? He had been asleep upon his horse - impossible! He had enough trouble with full effort and muscle. "Oh, now I recall," he mused. At the last rest stop next to a bank of residual snow, Kiyan had shown him the Alani Rings tied to his thighs. Simple thongs of leather tied separately to each leg above the knee with a brass ring attached. While riding, these two rings were laced to the horse's main. This was the secret of the famous Scythian horseman who could fire arrows from their horses at full gallop. Likewise, the natural movement of the horse's head in ascent or turn would warn of possible peril. With practice, man and steed became woven into one smooth gliding drift of beauty, confidence and strength. Both gained from the exchange. "But what if you fall, or need quickly to dismount?" I foolishly asked. With mirthful eyes the Gusari placed his thumbs within the Rings and pulled sharply upward. The thongs released from his legs and he spun the freed device around his head. With a snap, it spun through the air to wrap around a tree at the height of a man's throat. Once again, I felt a chill run down my spine. The Gusari was such a man of peace - and yet!"


writing as Jamic von Drudenstein, 1261 AD

L'Enchanteur et la Muse

I decided to walk through the woods and take in details of types of plants and wild flowers as I go along. I'm also thinking ahead about a costume for our performance at Duwamish Bay. I didn't bring anything in my back pack. Suddenly, I see something hanging on a tree in the distance. Could it be that I will be provided with something?
This is what I saw.
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<br />This dress was covered with tiny white beads, but the fabric was delicate and torn. It may have been left behind by a fairy or a queen.
<br />  Further along the path, I find still another dress hanging on a tree.  Is this for me? Who would leave it there?
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I took the dress off the bush and rolled it up to carry along on my journey. It will take me longer on foot, but I might have missed finding my dress if I'd gone faster.

Planning to Visit White Owl Island

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When I finally reach Duwamish I will make sure to come and visit Owl Island, which from memory is quite close to the Isle of Ancestors. My recollection of it is that it is like Iona, off the coast of Scotland. Very beautiful. Iona is not inhabited by Owls but White Owl Island has a colony of birds. This is just one of them, with one of the ravens from our rookery.