Sunday, October 30, 2005

One Year Ago Today

One Year Ago on October 31, 2004 I posted my first story over at the Soul Food Cafe.

Since then I've done something I've always wanted to do which was write honest to goodness ( hee hee ) tales of the Weird and Supernatural.

More then anything I wanted to write stories like Rod Serling and Stephen King. I wanted people to gets glimpses of Vincent Price and Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. in my little stories.

This you know is all I've ever wanted to do, and you know being great or good at it doesn't matter anymore. I'm doing exactly what I should be doing.

And that's something a lot of people can go through their lives and never come close to.

I can't tell you how grateful I am for that.

So thanks to my friend Heather Blakey for giving me this chance and thanks to people who have said nice things and I even have a thanks to people who wanted to say something nasty and didn't.

Happy Halloween and don't let the bed-bugs bite...unless you're into that sort of

Anita Marie

A story of ...

Today we are to post stories of ghosts,
and magick and enchantment an dreams.

Well, I don't know what this is. On our hall
at the Manor House of Sakin'el,
there is a small vial made of ivory,
hanging from a thong within an open
wooden cage. We never say anything about it
to guests, but if something strange happens, I say,
"You didn't touch that did you?" and they instantly
know to what I refer.

I hung it there after writing this story.


Tear Circle

The wait had been interminable but the Shaman was finally spotted in the distance. The troubled father glanced again at his son, trembling, sweating, moaning. A malady unknown, but everyone knew it would be fatal unless the old man could help. The ancient form swayed and stroked with feather and smelled the labored breath. The he took the father aside.

The tearful man was named Sobda, but everyone affectionately called him the 'Hawk', partially because of his hooked nose and dark brows that spoke of some Turkic heritage, but also for his hunting skill. Now his only son lay near death and everyone mourned.

"This will be difficult, my son," the Shaman said, "But it is the only way. You must go to the Tear of Abdu!" The Hawk was able to disguise his fear. He prepared.

With two horses ridden in the Mongol way he rode for a day and a half. Then in a meadow he hobbled the horses near a stream and threw his horse blanket over a bush. He crawled beneath and slept in a curled ball. Later he hunted and gathered -- nuts, berries, a rabbit. He waited half a day in prayer and casual rest. Then they charged forth again. Five days from the start he arrived, more than 400 miles from home. He recognized the spot from a distance, up a slight slope beneath a ridge of rock. The color of the foliage was different and the trees grew at strange twisted angles from the ground. He stopped at a goodly space and crawled forward as he had been instructed.

Some claimed that there were energy lines around Mother Earth, and where they intersected nature was disturbed. Perhaps. But local myth told of a time that the Tengry were saddened by how man was defiling the land and wept, causing a time of great storms. One giant tear fell through to the ground and the spot was born. The name was ancient and no one knew that Abdu meant sorrow. As Sobda crawled carefully forth his mind reeled with confused thoughts of despair and joy, or birth and death, of doubt and trust. He had to continue on.

He wrapped his face in a silk cloth filled with fragrant fern and inched up to the spot. Hidden in its ring of dreadful trees the Tear was a carpet of pale green, perhaps five paces across. Perfectly round and smooth as a pond. He dare not tread upon it as the tiny dark leaves, five in number and overlapped would waft up a perfume from which he would not escape; so poisonous that there were no insects or birds above. The pale blush came from tiny clusters of white blossoms in the center -- no larger than the snowflakes children catch on their tongues. For these he had come.

He lay with his protective mask pressed into the dark earth and reached forth to pluck the flowers and place them in a silver tray. It took six hours to gather enough, inching around the circle and reaching out as far as he dared. Then he crept back and poured the stream of blossoms into a leather pouch that had been cured with honey. At a distance he washed repeatedly in a waterfall, plunging his fingers into the sand. The horses were close when he collapsed beneath a towering fir and slept. Later he gave prayerful thanks for his safety and began the terrible drive home.

The Shaman prepared an infusion of the flowers, mixed with other herbs to remove the bitterness. Then Sobda forced tiny sips into his son's quivering lips. Twelve hours later the fever broke and the child slept in peace. The Shaman gathered up his things and prepared to leave and placed a hand on the Hawk's shoulder with pride. "Your life will be changed forever," he said. The beaming father handed the old man the leather pouch as gift which still contained a measure of the seeds of life. The old man bowed and strode off into the dawn.

He had said that since time began the flower had been named in a language long forgotten. 'Shuletang'. It was a gift of Tears found in one spot on earth alone.

You can know that the name means 'Dust of Angels'.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Party At The Chamber of Horrors Has Begun!

Halloween is upon us and to start off the fest-er-tivities you could toddle over to these sites for a little bit of fun

Then grab your lantern and say a prayer and head ( off...cackle cackle ) on over to the Chamber of Horrors and see what the Writers, Artists and Poets of the Soul Food Cafe have cooked up for you:

Friday, October 28, 2005

My portraits to share





Calling The Muses

Baba's Spirit Servant and the Medusa are simply no match when I am with 'The Nine' and their beloved Pegasus. A simple call on my flute and the rustle of gowns may be heard all over the realm. Baba really should know when she is out classed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Spirit Servant and Medusa

Baba Yaga has brought in her Spirit Servant and the Medusa to avenge herself. Le Enchanteur can run but she will have trouble hiding from these two. Let's see how she gets herself out of this pickle. The Spirit Servant's plan is to capture her in a bottle and let her be a servant, at everyone's beck and call for awhile.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brief Glory for le Enchanteur

Baba said it 'would all end in tears' and right now she is far from happy. Le Enchanteur will need to watch her back because Baba is not someone to toy with. Turning Baba into a purple dragon is not one of le Enchanteur's better ideas, especially when Augustus and Moonbeam are playing out their hero archetypes. Could be interesting come Halloween!

Tree of Lost Letters - Hermitage

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

This is a tree of lost letters. Seeing Halloween is coming up, the Hermitage is welcoming lost letters, so if you have a letter that was lost, this tree has caught them all. Feel free to write that letter and make it breathe new life. Even if you just think the letter, it might come to pass. The tree is for lost wishes that are captured by nature, and may come true one day.....

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gnomes and Goose-Bumps

There was a good lot of squabbling out on my balcony last night. Yet, every time I was out there trying to find the source of disgruntlement I could find no one. I slept fitfully, my subconscious still trying to work out who might be jabbering out there and why.

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Finally at about seven I could take no more. This time they were caught. Three unclothed gnomes with goose-bumps complaining about the night and "when are we getting those clothes we were promised anyway?" I was ten past tired and not willing to get into it right then right there. I would do something about it.

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After grabbing another couple of hours of "lie down" and rest up, i grabbed the three naked gnomes and the one suited up and planted them inside where it was quite warm. Before I could paint them the goose-bumps would have to disappear.

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I am in some part to blame for having ignored the balcony pretty much since the weather got colder. The continued blooming of the flowers, however kept me from thinking about impending winter. It really is quite amazing how much is still in full bloom and it is almost November.

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After taking the dog for a walk I took out my paints. Gwendolyn had been the most vocal about being cold, something to the effect of "I'm freezing my tits off". In keeping with her temperament I dressed her in red. She practically jumped up and down with excitement when I held the mirror up so she could see. "Can I have red flowers in my hair? Pretty please." Well, how could I refuse, and off course shoes to match were next. Red was absolutely right for her. A white furry colour would keep her "tits" from freezing off.

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Missy wanted a blue dress and purple fur trim. I was about to paint a matching set of blue shoes when she screamed at me "Stop, Aletta, mine should be red shoes too, I've always wanted red shoes." I could understand that, I've never met a girl or woman who did not want one pair of sparkling red shoes "just because". We rarely get them as little girls because red does not match enough of our daily wardrobes, it is frivolous and parents favour the sensible brown, navy or even white shoe. So Missy had her red shoes even though she hasn't any red clothes on. Her bright green hat is now trimmed in lilac fur to match the dress coat.

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Paully had waited patiently for the girls to be dressed. He and Petey were enjoying the view of the two ladies dressing up. The girls seemed to appreciate the attention and it certainly wasn't rude so I kept myself to task and did not bring it up. "I like the white, could I keep the white hat?" I did my best to please and gave him what might best be described as a blend of reverse Santa and classic "commedia del arte" clowns. Looking bright eyed and warm he asked, "White shoes please." "No problem Paully."

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"Ready to go back outside now?" All four replied in chorus "yes, please." Gnomes are very polite. I carried the four outside and sprayed them with a warm coat of glossy finish. "now you are rainproof as well." The little sparrows who live on my balcony chirped their admiration for the new duds. Not wanting to leave them behind in my attentions I remarked that their winter feathers were looking beautiful and extra fluffy this year.

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I took another look a little while ago, their little shiny faces looked very happy and not one of them had goose bumps any more. "You won't be making noisy conversation tonight will you?" There was giggling and a resounding "No marm." So now I can contently put up my feet and know that I have not neglected those who depend on me.

Spells Abound

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Le Enchanteur and The Amazon Queen are down at the Archipelago practicing some spells for Halloween. Baba has flown away saying that 'it is all going to end in tears'. You would think she'd be happy to be turned into a purple dragon and not a common and garden green frog. Some people just cannot be pleased.

Little Brother

A friend found a tiny baby rabbit,
abandoned -- hand small,
and tried to save it,
held against her chest and fed
with a milk dipped cloth --
but it was not to be ...

Her grief is disproportionate, perhaps,
but I wrote her this song --

Little Brother

Hoo - lee Hoo - le - ee
My bunnie gone no hunting.
Little brother nestle dear,
Heart to heart now pining.

Hoo - lee Hoo - le - ee
My spirit wanders with thee.
Hush -- hush furry brother;
Serpent-Sphere protects you.

Hoo - lee Hoo - le - ee
We are one and one again.
Fire bright, sing the night
Tears and years remember.

Hoo - lee Hoo - le - ee
Hoo -- hoo -- le - leee


Toadstools and tall birches,

In all I see around me I sense another world full of delight and games I simply am too much of a grownup to see. I shall have to keep at it until I can see it too.

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The tall birch stands in my sister's front yard and the toadstools in her shade, the shade of the tree of course, not my sister.

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I am certain there are pixies giggling and making faces at me, because they can easily get away with it. Just wait, one day I shall catch them at it!

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Golden Bone Chair

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Baba Yaga brings out this designer, hand crafted, chair especially for Halloween and All Soul's Night. The idea is that travellers can take turns to sit on the chair and have five minutes in the spotlight as they perform for the crowd. Come October 30th - through to November 2 Baba is hoping that one by one travellers will take the golden seat and make a special presentation. Costumes and wigs are available in Pandora's Costume Box. Excuse drunken Silenus who can never miss a party. Hopefully the donkey is taking him away.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Spirit Tree

This tree spottod on my way to the pharmacy looked as though there were a person or maybe two trapped inside.

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Years End

Some friends here of 'earth based' persuasion
are celebrating a new year;
and in a sense those 'down under'
are enjoying a rebirth Spring
of begining as well ...

Some thoughts to ponder, then --


Harvest Lament

Year past … in death

Let the bitter stalks of winter's nakedness
pierce the bubble of love's memories,
where joyful brushes of a blind pallet
scattered many carelessly lost leaves.

Cry -- cry -- yearn for me no longer,
nor rescue my crumpled form from
this discarded heap of broken laughter.
Leave to me this last dignity of
self-abusing spiritual dismay.

New year born …

Come again when lines writ on a new born moon
tell more of yearning than past regrets.
I will be waiting here, most quietly.
tracing longing in the timeless sand.

In ever growing dawn of Goddess wisdom,
where the promise of Spring's rebirth,
draws new friends and love abounding
to caress the past year's fading tears.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is Mine

Strange --
I never considered the 'voice' in "Not Mine"
to be other than female, with the writer
therefore being male. But then, I see
faerie goddesses everywhere.

When I posted this poem earlier on a Yahoo Group,
many felt it must have been written by a woman.
I never though passion for life was the province
of sexuality.


View from Beneath the Flow

I lay beneath the trembling waters of Shea,
caressed by the ever purifying cateracts
and dreams of creation caught in silent pools.

Find my 'memried toes tickled in the Goddess Sea,
with bold fingers of lighning's guiding Mistress tears,
down -- down to the golden sands of humanity.

Find me now in the whispered mists of dawn's delight
and silvered dew drops of love's yearning pain and joy
in which all life is reflected by the Father's gleam.

Pulse with me in roots and veins of this vibration;
send messages of Light to every particle
of flesh and mind and soul in life by right beheld.

And know that my spirit rests beneath the spring,
where everflows the song and laughter of birth --
or just a leaf swirling in an eddy of faith.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pied Piper Archetype

When le Enchanteur is in Pied Piper mode there is electricity in the air and Pegasus cannot resist coming to take someone with her, on the wings of imagination. Le Enchanteur is playing a tune that the hardiest of travellers will find hard to resist. Follow her and go for a night ride, beyond that Harvest Moon, with Pegasus. Pegasus will take you anywhere in the world. He is yours for the night.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Not Mine

I saved it though ...



Meadow Song

You brought dainty blossoms from the meadow--

tinged lavenders, white laces,
sun drops.

"Let's run to the meadow," you tempted.

"Let's stroll through the sweet fragrant field.
We'll roll in a bed of pink clover.

We'll frolic in patches of sun.
We'll flit flower to flower.
The bees will adore us....
O come!"

At first I held back, but you beckoned.

I reached for your hand; we were gone.
We danced on a carpet of sunshine.

We skipped through the tall meadow grass.
Our life was a lyric till night came.

And then you were gone....

You were gone.

Author unknown

Great Golden Oak

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A small piece of fall

The video version of this is too large to paste here, but I will have it on my website by later this coming week. Minus the Chopin and multiples of colour, but still and all fairly representative. As dancer you just always want movement.

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Harvest cheer dance

I dance for the sheer joy of being alive, for the blue skies of the Indian summer we are currently enjoying and for the abundance of the hedgerows

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Journalling archetypes

Enjoying a cool change today. Went surfing and found this wonderful site where artist Linda Abbot has created cards based on Caroline Myss' book Sacred Contracts.

Inspired me to visit Caroline's site and learn about Sacred Contacts and the archetypes.

So I am creating my archetypes in my visual journal - above is the Crone. Wise older women have been a recurring archetype in my life, and the collage shows (my) aging hands holding the threads I have woven into what I still think of as a very rough piece of cloth (the yellow silk paper). But the hands are folded in the faithful belief that if I stand back far enough I can see what a beautiful tapestry it all makes.

The journalling reads: Crone - the fabric of a life.

Try it! It's fascinating - once you have discovered your archetypes you can journal them, make them into cards or paintings or whatever.

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Clutch of Hedgehogs

I had a particularly stressful day dealing with the powers that be, and are, and sadly evermore shall be. so when I got home I really needed to unwind in the worst sort of way. Well, at the end of it I found I had created this clutch of hedgehogs and thought I would share.

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To look just over and see what had occured when my consciousness was allowed to wander off the path and over to the side, well apparently my subconscious is just chock full of hedgehogs.


The Amazon Queen showed off her riding skills at the Gypsy Camp.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Raven Guards Report to Amazon Queen

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Ravens have alerted the Amazon Queen, who is in her Summer Palace near the lake, that many travellers are on the road and that the Gypsies are camped quite close by. They have reported that le Enchanteur keeps opening the door to her realm and that the roads of the realm are busy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Perfect Halloween Gifts

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Travellers who made their way to the House of the Serpents in August might well be interested in acquiring a serpent lamp stand, with three designer shades from Baba's Warehouse. Perfect gifts for Halloween and All Soul's Day. The foot, retrieved by one of Baba's knights, belongs to a traveller who didn't make it to the House of Serpents.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A different reality

Whenever Two or More

There was a "grundle of people", or so my father would have said, `ceptin' he didn't much like milling throngs – and I do. Not that I enjoy the mindless shoving, smelly cloths, raucous laughteror pick-pockets, but there is a magick moment when a throng of friends – strangers becomes something more than what a headcount would offer. A crowd takes on a life and spirit of its own sometimes, and I watch for it – from afar – sitting in a tree or window sill. So I am well disposed to observe this particular gathering of silly folk come to see and hear Visone – you know, the wizard. Personally I wouldn't give a farthing for any expected magick or profound words or trembling predictions. I've seen `emall – Priests, and Princes, and Augers and Shaman. Never yet been disappointed – they all fail to live up to the myths that precede them. Enjoy the spectacle though! And the magick of the people –always that – real power and energy. Too bad there is always someone around to take credit, instead of two strangers meeting and saying, "I see you friend – want to make some magick?"

Now this Visone d-Ambrey might be different. He doesn't claim to be anything. Doesn't promise there will be any mystery or healing or magick at all! Yet these people have come from villages away to be here – for they know that something mystical will be happening – always does apparently. Guess if enough people believe in something it will happen – be created out of whole cloth perhaps. Down below I see a boy with but one leg – came quite a distance I would venture. Now that is magick I guess – and Visone isn't even here! I know others are attending hoping for some miracle too. Must place a lot of burden on a wizard though – wonder what he gets out of it? Maybe he steals magickal stuff from one group and gives it to another. Be all right, I imagine. Certainly if noise be a measure there is a lot of excess energy hereabouts. Oops! Something happening.

I had expected something more spectacular as means of transportation for this "man of our times and wonder!" Just a simple vegetable cart – one swayback horse – one slender girl leading it through the gesturing throng. There he sits – might as well be another turnip on the pile – dark grey woolen cloak, straw hat – sandals. Beside him I think I can make out a plain wooden staff and a leather rucksack. Would have thought him just another weary traveler – except! …

Without a word the crowd opened before the ambling child and closed immediately behind – might have been a flower floating in a pond –aimlessly – effortlessly. Surly the crowd decided the route the cart must follow -- understanding somehow the destination and speed – design or chance? The small parade wound across and about –through and back, and gradually silence replaced the mayhem and confusion. Some common will directed that each person of the hundreds there were close enough to touch the cart at some point –to help guide the wizard to the unknown but providential spot beneath the Hawthorne tree. No one spoke – yet the tall fell back and the small were lifted and all were in position to see Visone stand – nay rise such that all could see and sense and feel – the wizard had come!

I could feel the music too – but it came from the crowd, not he – and the tree branch filtered light danced loudly onthe faces of children – all were children. I was drawn to go down and walk amongst them – absorb their peace and faith, but …– then I saw her. Only a stooped, frail crone, shuffling throughout the crowd –unnoticed – of no importance at all. Yet her movement was a mirror of Vizone – a reverse parody of motion and posture. When he turned left, she drifted right. When the wizard raised his arm, she stooped low. When he moved, she stopped – or perhaps it was the other way around! Which was the puppet – which pulled the strings? Or was there more – or less than I could perceive? Three hundred eyes followed each gesture and sway of the wizard – save mine. Only I saw – beheld the magick! As the enigmatic woman passed every sick or frail child she dropped herbs into their cups or hands. She touched shoulder-drooped travelers and they stood straight. She whispered words into distracted ears and tears changed into smiles.I closed my eyes and attempted to enclose the ripple of energy that washed over and through and because of the gathered dreams and hopes and prayers. I could sense that this tiny lady was but the wand through which power and goodness flowed – yet not from the dynamic wizard so splendid there. What – where?-- then she saw me!-- the girl, I mean.

She was scarcely visible against the trunk of the tree, blending naturally into the shrubs and scattered leaves – and she was watching me – only me. Our eyes met –held --- embraced. Mine were surely wide with surprise. Hers were laughing – ancient – kind. I doubted that the crone could have such entrancing, embracing – all knowing pools of wisdom – golden eyes like a faun. But then …perhaps the shriveled old woman had the eyes of a maiden –learning – yearning! Finally the swirling pulse of kindness, passion and goodwill overcame me – I am lost!

Much later many stories of the day would confirm what I alone had seen. Tales were shared of the words the great Visone had spoken –but I am not sure he uttered a sound. More stories of small miracles – of awe and wonder filled the streets and taverns –everyone knew of someone healed, helped – encouraged by the wizard. Only I knew who the real wizard was – unseen – unknown – profound. Visone is very special, I suppose, to be able to gather and hold their attention that way – to allow their hearts and minds and souls to open – to get their attention – to prompt each person's magick into a flow of creation. But of her, the nameless one – oh I tremble! To be able to gather all that energy and love and direct it to the very essence of each person's needs. To be a beloved of the Gods and their instrument most assuredly – for man alone could not endure this awesome gift – and she – she is withering away – I know – I weep. Oh, that the girl had stayed!

As I looked across the empty meadow where what was is now done and well, I saw a faint trail of new flowers – growing to mark the way of the crone's passing. Deep furrows now betray where the cart had passed afterwards – perhaps burdened with the weight of the sorrows they had taken from the crowd. I followed. Outside the village the two traces joined – no three! The solid tracks of Visone – the flowered shuffling trail of the crone – and the dancing footsteps of the child.

The Staff, the Pouch and the Scroll as foretold.

Then they became one …

or so it seemed in the moonlight.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Soul Hand Servant

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By night this designer, Soul Hand Candle Holder, in Red Boots, will illuminate your manuscripts and art work. By day they will do the bidding of their owner and guide them safely to the Gypsy Camp. They will be a match for any of the indentured hands in Baba's house and will make sure their owner is protected from any unreasonable demands.

These hands will go to the highest bidder. Make the best, non monetary offer, to the Amazon Queen and she will command these hands become your servant.

Enchanted Realm - Lemurian Journeying

When I first came by the Lemurian Abbey, and indeed the realm of Lemuria via the many patterned roads, I could see it in the distance, towering and full of dreams.

Since then, this place has gained mind pictures to its vistas, and experiences have been indelibly stamped in the various corners and turns of the roads. I see a smile in words from a fellow traveller, a word of advice from the elders, a helping hand from a raven, plants and flowers caressing the path wherever I go.

Wise words say we build our own reality. These days of strife test us to make a new book, to paint a new picture, to try out a new thought. To think deeply about places we have never been but are bidden by instinct to go.

Travel on, and build a new reality, one that values the finer things in life, sharing your dreams with all you meet on the road. Then Lemurian Realms will always be towering and beautiful, filled with dreams and adventures on the roads of the journey around the self.

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I asked Kiyan if he had an invocation
or affirmation that might help those
embracing self-appraisal of the Duuran
or other process ...

he said, "this is akin to the oath
of the Angels of Sidon -- it should serve."


I invoke the breath of Universality
and the whispered Current of Ancients,
that my actions this day be a mirror
for what a person is meant to be,
that in kind shall I grow unto eternity.

Hear now the bold intent of (name),
servant to the task of (title),
and master of naught but self and soul.

Let my intent be crystal clear and visible,
that I may be accountable so in bond,
as INTEGRITY is a commitment and call.

Let me be ever known for VALOR true,
found in simple presence and compassion
not bound by projection or claimed judgment.

Grant that I bravely HONOR those
whose challenge cast light into the shadows
of my dread hubris and self-dilutions.

May I find such FORBEARANCE
as will hold my hand and tongue and ire
in balance with fine reasoned plan and spirit.

Engender WISDOM in my thoughts and speech,
distilled from the ripe grapes of knowledge
and the water of experienced sweat and tears.

As I be know by my heartfelt dance with others,
grace me with mirth and wit and laughter,
for to embrace HUMOR in all of humanity.

Above all, command that I gift selfless love,
expecting nothing in return for deed or boon
save respect for the attributes of creation.

Episode 9. Leaving Lemuria.

For many moons I had lived in idyllic surroundings on my own island in the Lemurian Archipelago. I was blissfully unaware of any world other than the one which revolved around my own hard won and, in my own opinion anyhow,long overdue self indulgence. After all , wasn't that the way of things? Sophia my guide had intimated as much. ie first the fast then the feast ! and not the other way around.I had had a difficult jouney to reach here, had paid my respects to the White Owl! Now was well-earned payback time! My soul was soaring in its freedom like the eagles riding the summery thermals above.

The last day I spent on what I felt to be "my" island, started with the puzzling appearance on the horizon of a cloud very similar to the one which had hovered on the edge of the lake at Duwamish when I arrived with Sophia. It had been accompanied then by a chilly wind which whipped the waves and created crests on the lake. Now it seemed to be edging towards the island, ever so slowly, and again I wondered if the occasional flash was sunlight bouncing off the waves or perhaps, a streak of lightning.

Nevertheless I still revelled in my surroundings, its simplicity yet richness, enjoying a lifestyle available to only the very poor or the very rich. As evening came the moon rose. A full moon casting shadows through the trees and reflected in a silver stream across the lake. As for the past few months I fell into a deep and untroubled sleep.

It seemed only minutes when I was startled awake by a strong wind lashing the trees and accompanied by a banshee-like howl.The front door, or what passed for it, was flapping madly and I was afraid it would come off its hinges. Gathering a robe around me, I padded along the hall to the verandah trying to secure the door as I went. There on the verandah, rocking in my chair, and keening in a low and continual chant, was my old guide Sophia!Her eyes were closed and she seemed oblivious to my presence until I tentatively tapped her on the shoulder. Even then, the expression she greeted me with was one of glazed apprehension and fear.

" It's time to go home" she moaned, and rocked and would not listen to my protestations that I still had much to do. To see. Friends waiting at the Gypsy Camp. Banquets at..

" Adventures don't last forever" she admonished. " And" she whispered " there is evil afoot!"
Even as she spoke her gentle features dissolved and my dear friend morphed into a haggard harradine whose long bony arms reached towards me. A crone who was grey fom her lank hair flapping in the increasing wind,through the old coat pulled across her skeletal shoulders, to the gumboots on her feet. It was as if the ashes of the entire winter had been tossed over her. I screamed and pulled back in horror at this transformation.

" I am Sybil!' she uttered menacingly. " I have come to take you to a cave, a far far place where the sun is hidden and the daemons are gathering.They are waiting for you!" She cackled in anticipation. It was then I noticed two black ravens perched beside her.

Gathering my wits I tore off into the bracken, racing faster than I had ever thought possible. Along paths I had not noticed before as clouds scudded across the now setting moon and dimmed my way. The banshee howls seemed close behind, and I wondered how long before I would be overtaken and subdued.

On and on I ran, stumbled, plodded, and as dawn started to break the howls receded behind me and the wind appeared to be calming. Encouraged I pushed on until I entered a forest where a thick mist shrouded the landscape. The path became impenetrable and unnavigable. I was lost.

So it was that I sat and leant against a big tree to have a good cry and to try and sort out this dilemma. As I started to drift into an exhausted but hesitant sleep, again there was that hint of gum leaves in the air. The mist started to drift and then lift, and suddenly I recognised my surroundings. I was back where I had started, in my own garage, leaning against that wretched in - need- of-a-paint Roller Door!It was still early morning and sobbing with relief I found my way back into the still quiet house. The dog merely opened one eye to greet my reappearance. The computer screen was sign of that dancing beam of light which had led me to a land and a life in some parallel universe. My only momento was the pixie cap stuffed in my robe.

I crept into bed beside my seemingly still sleeping partner and pondered over all that had happened. If indeed it had happened. It was such a relief to be back in my own predictable but satisfying and comfortable spot.To love and enjoy and....when the terrifying thought hit would I ever know when I was safe again!

visit to the Lemurian archipelago

The enchantress has waved her magic wand again and each of us now has an island in the Lemurian archipelago. Mine is called Laroc.

Yesterday I went to visit it. Alec, who had taken me to White Owl Island, very kindly agreed to take me there. As it happened it's close to where he had left some of his lobster pots so he was happy to take me as it gave him a chance to see if he had caught anything. The island is close to the mainland but not close enough to swim across to it nor to walk across the strand at low tide. It's small - you can walk round it in a couple of hours - but is home to a host of seabirds, a particularly rare vole and masses of wild flowers. There is only one small pebbly cove and a single white painted cottage with blue window frames sits huddled up under the cliff for protection from the occasional spells of bad weather.

Alec dropped me off and said he would return for me, after having checked his pots. The pebbles scrunched under my feet and brought back childhood memories of one particular Easter seaside holiday.

My parents had rented a holiday cottage at a place called Bee Sands on the North Devon Coast. We were quite a houseful with my parents, my younger sister and brother, three of our cousins and myself. I must have been about 12. The cottage was right on the beach, which was a shingle beach. I remember that the weather was not particularly kind to us but that didn't stop us from spending hours on the beach collecting shells, coloured pebbles and sea glass and returning to the cottage with our wellington boots full of water. They never had time to dry out before the next soaking and there was always a row of boots with newspaper stuck in them by the door. The cousins showed us endless card tricks and we spent a lot of time sketching. Cousin Robin went on to become a graphics artist and my sister is now a well-known watercolour and mixed media artist in the US. My brother and I, whilst we could both draw and paint, didn't possess the skill of our sister or of our cousin.

I looked down at my feet as I crossed the shingle and knew I could spend hours here, beachcombing, too. Coloured bits of glass caught my eye and I bent down to pick some of them up and tucked them away in one of my pockets. If I wrapped each piece in wire I could fashion a sort of necklace with them. I walked up the beach to the cottage and went in.

It was warm and dry inside. White painted walls and cheerful red and white checked curtains greeted me. There was a fireplace with a fire already laid in it, a table, a chair, a bed with a colourful patchwork quilt on it and a small cooking range. Someone must have been expecting me for the kettle was singing merrily on the hob and a china mug had been set out nearby. A stone jar, with a handwritten label marked "inspiration tea", contained a number of muslin bags with crushed dried leaves inside. I sniffed one but couldn't identify the smell. Even when I poured the boiling water over the little bag I didn't immediately recognise it. It was only when I had taken a couple of mouthfuls that I realised that it reminded me of cinammon and chocolate.

A driftwood sculpture - a sort of figure I guessed to be a representation of the spirit of the place with seaweed for its "hair" - hung on the wall and there was a pile of driftwood in a basket near the hearth.

I carried the mug of "inspiration tea" outside and sat on the bench, leaning back against the cottage wall. It was warm in the sunshine and I nearly dozed off. I would endeavour to return here to spend a couple of days in writing and contemplation, if I could, before we moved off to the camp of the Amazon queen.

High above me the gulls carried on an incessant chattering and squabbling, the black and white guillemots were lined up against the cliffs facing each other in serried ranks and I caught the occasional glimpse of a puffin - or sea parrot as it is affectionately known because of its huge multi-coloured beak. The island was mined with rabbit holes which were also home to the puffins and you had to tread carefully if you did not want to end up with a twisted ankle from catching your foot in one of these holes. Sea pinks covered the cliffs in their green pincushion tufts and the coconutty smell of the yellow gorse wafted over me.

I could hardly believe it when I heard Alec's shout announcing his arrival. I rinsed the mug out and replaced it in the kitchen, closed the door behind me and walked down the beach to the little boat. Alec had two glossy blue lobsters in the bottom of the boat and was pleased with his catch. I too was pleased with my catch and the inspiration tea was already bubbling away inside me.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Kiyan’s second Sounding

Kiyan begins by saying `` The re-Casting of Second Sounding within the refined Lantern Matrix supports the impression of others that you are independent and can offer ‘pure’ advice, but that they will often fear your confidence - Actually, the danger they sense is that you may become consumed by an idea or dogma, which can lead to self-delusion. .”
I have often been consumed in this way, caught in the grip of obsession from which I have finally freed myself more because it became `old’ rather than a conscious, sensible decision on my part. I saw it for an illusion long before it lost its hold on me, but continued to cling to it. Why? Because I could not admit to myself that I had thrown away my time and energy.
Am I wiser now, and past that obsessional trait? I hope that I can recognise the signs of it, and step back before I get lost in the maze of my own emotions, but like a recovering alcoholic, one can never say one is truly free of it. It does make you question the certainty that `fate’ has a hand in it, and that you are at the mercy of forces greater than yourself, because that proves not to be the case. In the end, it is by your own motivation that you step back from the edge.

Of great interest is that the perceived qualities mentioned above are grounded in the INNATE plane rather than the more common CONCEPTUAL level. This could indicate that the ‘uneasiness’ others feel around you is because your thoughts appear to relate to unknown and even spiritual concepts, but are in fact based in ‘tribal memory’ and knowledge of ‘universal rules’.

Ah, now I feel completely at home with this piece of information. As I am required to examine what I would call my personal `code’ here, I would say `tribal memory’ has a lot to do with. I feel as if I am carrying some knowledge within me that comes as part of my basic equipment, and that it is this knowledge I draw on to know how to act or react in certain situations. It works in many ways – if you present a tribal person with some technology they have never seen before, they react as if it is magic – but it is only out of their experience. Confront the techie with some of the things the tribal person deals with calmly every day and you would see the same reaction.
So I feel instinctively as if this knowledge I draw on doesn’t always fit the situation – because much of it is out of my experience, or out of the experience of where the knowledge comes from. I used to think I was alone in this – but now I realise there are far more of us than I thought.

As I have worked through this extraordinary process I have been called upon to examine what I really feel, not what I believed I should feel, and to say what I mean, not what I think people would like to hear from me.
One of the most important discoveries, to me, is that I am not this thoughtful, measured, responsible person I hoped to become – I am an impulsive hothead who has dived in where angels fear to sink, who draws on something inside that even I do not fully comprehend, and no shining example to my children, but instead the instigator of their rebellion.
Of course, they have already told me that several times, but I ducked the responsibility of owning up to it. I pointed to a long line of rebellious souls in their lineage – I, I believed, was the one to bring order out of the chaos. Instead I have been one of its disciples.
Maybe now I am beginning to understand that it is not up to me to create this perfect hideaway from the world that I have envisaged. I offered myself as a channel to bring these people into the world to change things in their own way, not in my way. As I watch them scatter and go about their lives, I hurt inside, but I have to understand that I cannot keep them forever in the protection of the nest. Just a couple of nights ago I stood with my daughter and her family and said goodbye as they started the trip back home. I hugged my grandchildren and I felt as if my heart was being torn out of me. With the night sky above, and the diesel engine of their vehicle chugging, I was reminded of my youth, and the many night journeys we took as travellers. Always moving on, always saying goodbye to friends and family – but always carrying ties that have never broken in spite of the distances.
Just a day or so before, my own mother discovered she has a brother – she was adopted as a child and never knew him. Their joy at being reunited has opened my eyes and my heart to hope again – she will never meet her own mother (the adoption was not the fault of that poor lady) but from what my newly discovered uncle has said I think I know at last the identity of the angel who looks after this family. I have always felt there was an angel `riding on our shoulders’, a loving presence around us.
Faith has always been the bedrock of my existence – not a faith that relies on temples, churches or paraphernalia, but a simple belief in the rightness of things and the beauty of nature (all beauty, all love, has a wellspring, whatever name we give it). But it has been a shabby little thing trying to wave its ragged flag at half mast lately.

Kiyan in the second sounding points to a choice of outcomes -

Surprise! Nothing is static – there is no, “just sit and do nothing.” Within this range of comfort, you can either work to accentuate existing beliefs and skills; or work to shift from a belief base to a knowledge base.

The first offers a greater sense of soul and beauty, including discoveries of hidden beauties, sensitivity and power. However, the gain in `happiness’ may be balanced by a loss of `contentment’ and some relationships.

In the second case you are actually seeking ‘wisdom’. This will require you to re-evaluate your goals, value systems and ‘gut feelings’ on which you rely. The purpose is not to change them, but to put them in proper perspective as ‘working tools’ in your arsenal.

The major obstacle is the you were taught (and still believe) that spiritual solutions must be found in either greater belief in the ethereal or divine, or gaining some control of the Conceptual zone of magick, prayer, clairvoyance , etc. In truth, such spiritual answers can also be found in searching your 'tribal knowledge' and the basic Covenant between God and Humanity.
You must find WISDOM, which can only come from applied knowledge to PRACTICAL situations. As long as you remain grounded in believing instead of knowledge, such a shift cannot happen.

In truth, I had some time back realised the futility of trying to control the unknown through such applications as astrology and tarot and other forms of divination. However I still felt that my real problem is that I don’t believe enough, or have enough faith. I have always had conflict with the concept of manifesting, or asking the universe to deliver something specific – to my way of thinking its like the kids only turning up to see you when they want money. Aha, I thought, it doesn’t work for me because I don’t believe it enough.
But perhaps that is my innate knowledge making itself known – that way is not for me. My own simple faith is the way for me, with no strings attached, and no conditions of gain (give me this and I’ll believe in you) and evaluating again my skills of endurance, problem solving and acceptance.
I have not come to the end. What Kiyan has opened up is possible roads, not just one, and what he has done is remind me of who I am and why I do the things I do. I hope others who meet this wise man in the glade will feel encouraged to talk of the experience as well.
I feel the wind at my back. I know who I am, and I will ride the wind.


For Gail

Everyone needs comfort occationally.

Friday, October 07, 2005


I am posting more of my experiences with the first part of Kiyan's Sounding here. I have found this to be an extraordinary experience - it is like looking down past the layers into my own soul - I am asking truthful questions of myself and waiting for truthful answers. Sometimes my thoughts seem to be wandering in all directions, but I am responding to what I feel and letting odd memories bubble to the surface. I am in a labyrinth again, but one of my own making now, and I am beginning to see how I have I made it and why I made the choices I did, even if I felt later that they were wrong. I was being true to myself, but choices and outcomes become warped when you view them through a distorted reflection of what you think you should be rather than the pure reflection of who you really are.


This observation by Kiyan is quite startling in its truth and clarity:

Yet you do not trust your abilities in this 'magickal/prayer' level, and have lost your trust in PRACTICAL methods that used to work. You used to enjoy gentle competition and even 'battling wits' with friends and enemies. Now you are not sure it is worth the effort. Generally, you 'like' yourself, but do not like what you may have to become to deal with 'reality'.

The comment on `battling wits’ with friends and enemies and feeling that now it is `not worth the effort’ really resonated with me. Quite often, I feel that way now, and yes, at base, the reason for most of my unease is that I have reshaped myself to `fit in’ to be able to deal with the world the way it is – what I perceive, or have come to perceive, as `reality’.

How will I deal with this insight? What can I draw from it?

When my children were very young I made the decision to send them to regular school rather than home school. I had been home schooled and felt that, while I had learned to read and write better than any regular school student, I moved into the adult world with no real experience of what it would be like – lacking social skills, I believe is the phrase. Not lacking social skills in my own traveller world, you understand, but in the settled world, where I was to spend the rest of my life. I brought a traveller’s consciousness to the settled world, and it was very much like trying to fit a piece from a different jig saw puzzle. I remember once visiting the house of one of my daughter’s school friends. It was completely devoid of furniture. The family had a huge loan for the house and had no money left to furnish it. So they were waiting for the bank to agree to lend them more money so they could buy furniture.

More than anything, this was descriptive of the difference between my world and theirs. My father built our homes – our first home was an ex army ambulance that he converted into a motor home. Travellers didn’t deal with banks. They made things themselves. My husband was no carpenter, but he managed to craft up a pretty decent set of shelves and a coffee table when we needed them.

We taught this self sufficiency to the children, but we also needed they needed to understand the world they were growing up in. Our world was gone – they needed to learn to live in the world the way it is.

Another snapshot flash – my son at school sports day, talking to his teacher. Mothers in sneakers were running alongside their children, screaming encouragement or abuse, depending on whether the kid was in the lead or not.
``Where’s your mother?”
My son: ``Oh, she can’t run, she’s the one in high heels.”
My son loves this story, he laughs with affection at his crazy mother who turned up to sports day in high heels. This is the same son who likened me to a wild horse – with the same pride and love. A wild horse in high heels – how well he knows me!

Thinking back on all this now, I realize how worried I was that I `fit in’, that we all `fit in’ – just turning up to sports day at all was indicative of that. And I realize that it never worked. Today my kids say they are thankful for the self sufficiency lessons, not the algebra – for our encouragement – nay, our insistence – that they be accepting of all cultures and people who are `different’. Those are the friendships they still treasure.

For all my talk, I have never accepted the world `the way it is’ if the way it is is loaded with racism, violence and facist control of creativity. What I was actually doing was saying to my kids, `this is the world the way it is, we are here to change it’, something they clearly understood better than I did.

So thank you, Kiyan – I here and now firmly state that I have never, will never, don’t WANT to `fit in’, it’s not me and I don’t like the person I have to be to do it. All my problems about life are `fitting in’ with it, not understanding that I have to like who I am and what I do and have faith in my ability to make the right choices. I set that moment aside until I am pushed up against the edge and have to jump – and why is that? Not because I am an unfortunate soul who gets pushed around, but because I LIKE it – I like the reckless leap into the unknown, I continually put myself in situations where I have to do it. I have to know that about myself, embrace it and work with it.

Kiyan goes on to discuss the way I am perceived by others – as more powerful than I see myself. As I said before, that relates to the way I was brought up. We did solve our own problems, we did come up with solutions. That was how the people I come from lived their lives. It never occurred to me that people might see this as some strange `power’ and I was always disconcerted by the reactions – years ago, when I was doing astrology charts for people, I had one woman ringing me up all the time, saying things like, ``I’ve been invited out by someone, what sign’s the moon in, will it work out?” Oh for Heaven’s sake, just GO to the movies! I would tell them over and again that it was all in their own hands, that all I did was `speak’ astrology, like translating something from another language, and that it wouldn’t always make sense or be what they wanted to hear, and in the end I stopped. The woman I spoke of studied astrology herself and interpreted her findings the way she wanted them. That’s the problem – wanting a certain outcome and manipulating the information to fit. That again, is setting aside the responsibility for your own choices - `fate made me do it’.

Then, as they perceive (hope) for more that you can provide, they are sometimes disappointed and become withdrawn -- often for extended periods.

My pride may also be a factor here – when I was younger and more energetic, I tackled everything head on and refused to give in. Now I am older and often feel fed up with the fact that life is still unfair and I still have to pick up my cudgels against injustice, I also find it harder to come up with solutions. I am becoming, I fear, one of those annoying older people who think the young can’t figure it out for themselves. I must take a moment to stand back and let them take up the baton as well. Some of them have already done it and their frustration may be due to the fact that I don’t see how much they are doing on their own. Ouch, Kiyan, that one stings. But wasn’t that my mission all along – to pass it along. I laughed at my husband because he is an old lion grumbling about the younger ones not heeding his advice. It’s their world, I said. But I must stop sucking on my own paws.

FOLLOW -- the main thought to be gathered at this point from these Casters is that you will have a far greater impact on people than now and in the past.

I am a great fan of David Suzuki – I am taken with his concept of eldership and hope to attain that in my third age – there is so much to learn from animals and nature, I feel as if I am beginning again to appreciate and respect the natural world. Today I watched a white and a yellow butterfly dancing on the breeze – The elder tree outside is in full bloom and covered in white butterflies. When I was young my father would take me fishing and point out things in nature that I hadn’t noticed – a rabbit in the grass, a broken thrush’s egg. I did the same thing with my children, and now with my grandchildren – pointing out to them the small miracles around us every day.

I seem to be rambling but this is the train of thought this first sounding has set me on – that as an elder I have more to offer than advice, that it doesn’t matter if the kids know better how this thing works than I do, because I still have the ability to open their eyes to the small miracles. I sense a purpose and a mission here, maybe one I have had all along, and didn’t know it, but followed it anyway, by instinct.

Kiyan, I am going back outside to watch the butterflies. I will be thinking of you.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Silk Road Tour

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At the moment we have quite a crowd who have come through the doorway into the world of the Soul Food Silk Road. The door to the cave is shutting and brambles are beginning to hide it from view again. Now only those who are on blogger lists will be able to participate (a few people are still listed to be signed in.)

Once you come through the door and are sent on your way you will find yourself in a labyrinth and people are at different points of the labyrinth. Only le Enchanteur and Baba Yaga have been to the centre and visited the Amazon Queen but eventually everyone will find their way to her summer palace on the lake overlooking Nemi. They will do this in their own time frame and not on a tour bus.

It is totally up to the individual to explore this realm but le Enchanteur does provide a guided tour which you can follow. Experienced travellers are unlikely to go back to the same spots all over again but they may want to revisit places. Gail Kavanagh is welcoming everyone at the Gypsy Camp. This does not mean she does the journey again any more than Fran, the Donkey Secretary will tread more leather down all the pathways. These early travellers found places to call home within the Silk Road and that is the primary object. You are not all meant to walk in continuous circles. The joureney is an organic thing that keeps evolving and changing. It is not static.

If experienced travellers can lend a hand and help new travellers find places and post their work so that they are archived this would be wonderful. Everyone is currently enroute to Baba's house but not everyone will make it there by the most direct route. We have so many blogs because many are acting as archives once visitors have gone. White Owl Island is a lovely place to visit and you will find the original instructions at the beginning of the blogger.

At the moment I am trying to complile a sequential journey at Soul Food Silk Way Tours so that if people get lost and need to orientate themselves they can go and check what the outline is.

Faerie Enlarged

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Traditional Irish Wake at the Gypsy Camp

All the travellers on their way to the Gypsy Camp are invited to take part in a traditional Irish Wake to celebrate the life of Megan's mother.The dear lady will be celebrated with song, story and poems. The Gypsy Chief will sing the traditional Wake song The Parting Glass.

Fairy Dress

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Stanley - Le Enchanteur's Ventriloquist Doll

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le Enchanteur is not a ventriloquist of any note. Stanley is her companion as she heads off to see her old friend Baba Yaga. Knowing Stanley there could be a few detours on this trip. Meanwhile everyone in the Gypsy Camp is enjoying Stanley and the Chief is currently reading 'Ventriloquism for Dummies' which he picked up at a second hand bookshop on the road.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Found Something

My young friend Bradley found something while we were raking leaves.


To Baba Yaga's House

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Baba sits waiting in front of her house on chicken legs, hands out reached, beseeching travellers to come and help make this year's All Saints Day and Halloween a real success.

Everyone gathers, expectant inside the Cave of the Enchantress.

The Enchantress comes and announces that we have to go to the House of Baba Yaga and help prepare for Halloween and All Saint's Day. She says that to reach the House of Baba Yaga we will have to pass through the Mountains of Myrrh, which the writer of the Song of Solomon (1V6) said he wanted to retreat to.

The Enchantress provides each person with a small bag. Each bag contains spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a compass, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. However, the bag also contains something that has been chosen specifically for the recipient. It also contains a map showing where the Gypsies are currently camped

This bag is very important. Should you become separated from the group these things will become essential. You may choose to wear the spectacles for they are purported to have fairy like qualities which reveal wonders to those who wear them.

The Enchantress also gives you a doll. (Find a doll or make one) Her final words are to use the things we have in our bags and that if we should lose our way, or be in need of help, all we have to do is ask the doll what to do. She says that the doll will assist, that we must keep her with us at all times, that we must not tell anyone we meet about her and that we must feed her when she is hungry and give her drinks if she is thirsty. She tells us that we must travel by donkey and that it will take many days before we reach the house of Baba Yaga

You greet your doll and introduce yourself and when you look up again everyone has gone.

What is it with everyone rushing off like this? The doll says that you have to go through the woods. She assures you that she will know how to get there. Having read all your fairy stories you realise that going to Baba Yaga's could prove interesting.

Baba Yaga is the fearsome creature, the crooked woman whose nose is hooked like a bird of prey. Her name means 'to know, to see, to forsee' and she is the seer associated with the moon crescent. The Baba Yaga has the power to transform herself into a myriad of shapes, often a toad, sometimes a hedgehog, frequently a bird. The Baba Yaga is often depicted as an evil old hag who eats humans, especially children, but she is known by many to be a wise, prophetic old woman. In appearance she is tall, bony legged, pointy headed and has dishevelled hair.

Worse the doll informs you that the hut she lives in has a fence around it made of human bones and topped with human skulls and eyes intact. The gate is fastened with human legs and arms instead of bolts and a mouth with sharp teeth serves as the lock.

According to the doll, who seems to be a font of information, one person who lived to tell the story said that "she commands the sun and it obeys her, she changes the stars in their course, she causes clouds to form in the air and makes it possible to walk on them and travel the country. She can turn herself into a young woman and then, in a twinkling of an eye turn herself back into an old woman. She has to the power to turn a man into an animal and she likes to move freely along roads and valleys and over mountains. Her business is to cast spells, gather herbs and stones, make pacts and agreements."

Bravely you head out from the Cave on the back of a donkey that insisted you ride upon her. (Make sure to check with Donkey's Incorporated to see that the donkey is registered).

The donkey tells you her name and talks to you about the coming journey. Within moments you find yourself within a heavily wooded forest. Gnarled branches spread their long arms across the path, whispering as you pass.

The words of the Enchantress ring in your ears and you touch your bag to make sure it is still with you. Everyone is quiet and contemplative and the hooves of the donkey seem to be beating a tune as you travel on the well worn path.

Suddenly the quiet is shattered. A group of hooded riders surround you. Chaos breaks out. Before you know it you are being whisked away by hooded riders who do not reveal their identity.

All you know is that there is purported to be a Gypsy Camp in the vicinity and you hope you will find it. Maybe your doll can help you. One thing is certain! There will be hell to play if you don't arrive at Baba's house in time to make yourself useful as she prepares for the festival.

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The Amazon Queen has arrived at Baba's to plan for All Soul's Night on November 2nd. It may be a month away but all hands will need to be on deck to make sure it is a success. Baba's Soul Hands, upon hearing this, appear to listen to what the Queen and Baba are planning.

Maybe if you can reach the Gypsy Camp you will be able to encourage the Gypsies to take you to the House of Baba Yaga.

Find a way to the Gypsy Camp and sit by the camp fire and tell the Gypsy Chief about your journey. It would be a good idea to prepare so that you can provide a song or dance or tarot reading for the Gypsies who are gathered there. If you need some costumes remember to check out Pandora's Wardrobe for useful items.

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The Gypsy Camp is on full alert. Travellers are coming on donkey back along the Silk Road, headed towards Baba Yaga's. The Gypsy Chief has suggested we ask the Hooded Riders to snatch the unsuspecting ones and bring them to the camp for an 'initiation' into the ways of the Romanyi.

Enigma of Leaves

It is fall here -- time to rake leaves.
This story has a touch of my grandfather ...




Overnight the few scattered fall leaves had turned into a golden carpet, almost hiding the still lush green lawns. It was too soon to think of raking, of course, since most of the giant cottonwoods still held two-thirds of their treasures. It seemed strange, then, to see old Don out amongst the drifting, spinning leaves; arranging them slowly, but steadily into small piles.

He surely was pushing 90, yet only the ill-fitting clothes betrayed any change to a massive frame. Straight shoulders pulled tightly at the straps of his ancient overalls. Brown forearms thrust contentedly from the rolled up sleeves of his flannel shirt and rippled with lean muscles in tune with the mechanical rhythm of the rake. His full head of snowy, wavy hair was only partially hidden by a billed cap with pull-down earflaps. His gnarled hands gripped the tool handle firmly and did not reveal the creeping arthritis that only now was beginning to give him concern. Were he a carved statue of stone -- see there a testament to a life of hard work, early hours and simple living. But the statue moved, out of place here in the city perhaps, but naturally rooted to the earth wherever he stood. Don whistled loudly a melody none of the passersby recognized. Hurry -- scurry. Tall buildings were distantly faint and masked by the hedgerows. Steadily the piles of leaves settled, calmed, grew. “The kids think I’m losing my grip,” he mumbled out loud.

The old man had moved in with his great-grand daughter, Ann, two years earlier when his beloved Mary had been placed to rest. There was certainly room in the overlarge, restored mansion where he kept his own rooms clean and tidy. Yet he felt out of place, and the neighbors that morning would certainly agree he looked out of place - out of time.

He thought of his wife often, recalling now how much she had loved the fall. How she couldn’t wait to dash in the woods and kick up the leaves, marveling at the rusty rainbow hues and newfound aromas of the harvest. Many times it was still warm enough for a little frolicking in the trees. "What would Paul say if he knew he had been conceived in a pile of leaves?” he mumbled inwardly. Then he caught himself in mid thought. “I hear the word ‘senile’ now from the corners of the room. Isn’t it amazing? They think because I can’t always hear well - that I never hear well. ‘Senile?’ That just means they don’t want to hear what I have to say! Wisdom is wasted on the young.”

Don chuckled for a while and a passing jogger glared haughtily as she ducked to dodge the end of the erratic rake handle. A smallish boy looked wistfully at a golden pile near the walk and thought of kicking through it, then glanced at the figure looming threateningly above him and thought again. This giant only laughed, rested his chin on the tool handle, and nodded. It took little time to gather up the leaves once more. No one saw or shared this brief joining of young and old; but years later the giggling lad, now himself a business giant, would remember, again and again. And the soft golden leaves continued to rain down. Endless! Do leaves bounce, or merely resist the end of a brief, joyful life?

“I wasn’t much bigger than that,” mused the whistling worker, “when Mom jobbed me out to rake up Dr. Samson’s back yard. It looked half the size of a football field, beautiful in its golden spread. Why me? Very intimidating - awed. I remember just standing for a space, trying to decide how to attack this challenge. Obviously the leaves couldn’t just be gathered into one huge pile, and a brief experiment showed that drawing the leaves along for only 5 feet became impossible. It was fun, actually, to try different methods of raking the problem into small piles. Do you stand in the middle and bring the leaves to your feet? Or walk in a circle and rake to the center? Or divide the leaves into small rows first, then sweep them into piles? Oh, how surprised I was when I had attempted every imaginable variation, looked back, and discovered that the job was done!"

Don’s progress had reached to beneath a spreading sycamore where the feather lightness of the slightly darker offerings caused them to fly high in the air. Escape was not possible! The experienced farmer changed his pace and the rhythm of his tune without a conscious thought. But also came a conscious decision to change his grip and reach out with a greater span. Scrape - whisk - step.

A flash of color! “You’ll just have to do it again next week,” panted a mark-time jogger at the corner. Don amusedly watched the parting figure slog across the street.

“If you didn’t live on fast-food and three Martini lunches you wouldn’t have to run that fat ass around the park again next week,” muttered Don to himself. Then he thought, “They complain about my mumbling. What would they say if I spoke out loud? What a ridiculous outfit! Maroon sweatshirt, yellow pants, enormous black and green running shoes. He looks like Granny Goose! No, I will not have to rake these leaves again next week, you fool. I get to come out and rake up new leaves next Sunday.”

His neatly arranged mounds had brought him to the peach tree and the small, slender leaves began to gall the tines of the rake. A small flash of irritation was balance by the memory of the delicious fruit he had enjoyed each morning on his daily “constitutional.”

“Each tree’s leaves are like my children. They look about the same yet their nature is very different. Their effect on me over the years has certainly been different. Oh, that I could have helped arrange their lives in such ordered rows,” he sighed. “But then, I guess it was necessary for them to learn how to solve the golden field problem in their own way.”

“You should get a leaf blower, Don. Be a lot easier,” called Sam as he passed to his home down the block. Trudge-trudge.

Don stared after the pudgy figure and thought, “You would be more of a rake if you used a rake,” then laughed out loud at his own wit. With his head thrown back he noticed the grouping of branches forty feet above in the towering tree. “Boy what a tree house Martin and I could have built up there. In such a fortress from the world I could just dream and plan and write. What of today? What would I create?”

The pace of the flashing tines did not slow, but the whistling ceased as the aging mind flashed back a score of years. The lips moved silently while trying out difficult phrases. He stopped for a while and struck a pose. With a smile, he called out in a sure voice, not caring who he disturbed,

“The tree weeps golden dreams,
together they drift and fall;
each a prayer or song.”

By then he had coursed and coaxed the smaller piles into a great collection in the corner of the yard and leaned back against a trunk to rest. A middle aged man - thick glasses - rumpled suit - paused on his way to the bus stop and unkindly announced, “I hope I never grow old.” Don only smiled inwardly, silently watching the neighbor scurry off to his job as assistant accountant for the great law firm of Groden, Klink & Winkle.

Grandpa Don eyed his completed golden heap for a moment. Then, suddenly, with a short dash he spun about and collapsed in the completed pile. Leaves scattered and pranced across the grass. Again they had a chance to escape! Roll childishly about. Toss golden messages toward the waiting, beaconing sky. Lay still beneath a spinning cloud. Down -- down.

“Heavens,” exclaimed a passing woman. “Did people act this way in your day?”

As Don lay back in the ruined pile to watch new leaves shower golden splendor on the cleanly swept grass, a loud cry erupted. “This is my day, you idiot!” And he laughed, and laughed and laughed.

Enigma of Trees - Photo Take 2

Posted this on Lemurian Mysteries in July this year and didn't have a pic; now there is one to show the growth that was going on, and is continuing, a great team!

We saw today, toward the end of our walk in the Botanic Gardens, something that surprised us. It was an old cypress pine, one of the original ones from the mid nineteenth century, and its trunk was old and stiff. Yet its growth was still green. Last year in summer there had been a storm, knocking down some older trees whose roots had done their work, and since then new ones were planted amongst the many surviving ones. But this one was very old and had appeared to have found a mate.

In David Suzuki and Wayne Grady's latest book called simply "Tree", there are many facts that indicate trees in forests "commune", not just in groups, but communicate, in order to preserve the good of the whole. They share root space and nutrients, across large areas of land, for they know they protect the life that depends on them for survival, the birds, insects, animals and also the understory from the ravages of too much sun. Trees actually link through their root systems, swap nutrients, and grow to accommodate each other.

This old cypress had a brand new growth, and we wondered what it was. It curved its smooth trunk up close, from the earth, right up the knarly older trunk, as if it were a ballast. The top of it was green with fresh Moreton Bay Fig leaves, nestled in a cheek to cheek dance with the older tree, quarter way up its tall height. These trees share space with the Cypress Trees and have done so for over a century. It seemed a courteous arrangement for the younger shoot to oblige the older one, lending a hand to the trunk which we saw, on closer examination, had been damaged where a branch had broken off, perhaps from the summer storms. The tree had been in danger of falling over completely because of the missing branch.

Seemed to us this is what life is all about -- and the enigma of trees.

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Glory of the morning

Though now 'full growed',
I still can roll on the grass
and look up at the flowers.

Writ last weekend


The Morning Glories

There are places on the earth where men are not welcome.
Some are too auster -- forbidding,
shaped of claw and tooth, bare bones or dragon scales,
such that life cannot sustain there.
Others are too sacred -- hallowed,
kissed by faerie lights, knowing breeze or birthing dew,
such that most men never find them.

Then there are those rare smiling spots,
dimples in the laughing face of God,
where words like snuggle, amble and “bye ‘n bye”
sit easy like welcome shade on a bright spirit afternoon.

You will rightly know such a place when you chance by,
for man’s gentle touch does but carress
the open invitation of ole lady nature.
Rough cut boards are weathered gray,
and vines allowed to hold up angles fences,
while tiny flowers of natural found,
smile up at asure morning-glories.

Show me the man who will allow the weed
and the woman who would plant the flower --
each with a right to praise life and all,
and you will find laughter by the stream,
and prayers rising with the bluish smoke,
and trails that remember lover’s walking hand in hand.

Go there, rest there --
be now one with peace and simple wonder.
Find ye a hollow with hemlock and maple,
scramble grass and forever berries,
and crickit dreams and flutter-byes --
and the blue eyes of glory in the morning.