Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Beyond Belief


I useta believe in the Golden Rule
as something I oughta do by choice;
but now I know that to act any other way
is to deny humanity and self.

I useta believe in man's institutions
of religion, law and education;
but today I know they are illusions
based on fear, control, greed and power.

I useta believe in heaven's fine promise
as reward for doing good work and all;
but now I know more of the Spirit within
and that I can choose something better yet.

I useta believe in scholarly writings
by sanctified men of cloth and iron;
but now I know they are just opinions
of a single person's view of creation.

I useta believe in ecology
as a natural and obvious path;
but now I know that abusing Mother Earth
is a only slow, painful genocide.

I useta believe in allowing others
to be 'of life' for me and guide my path;
but now I know that 'believing' is death,
and that I am eternal in 'knowing'.

Aye …

I useta believe in what others call faith,
which is unwillingness seek the truth;
and because I know that I am of Creation
I can find innocence and peace at last.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Parson Walk

We'all talk 'bout the Parson some, (don't know fer the women folk)
'specially when some frien' gets a lookin'
off in space and thinkin' deep. (eyes closed tight fer distractin')

"D'ja ever notice how he walks flat?" (Jeb chewin' on a twig a spruce)

"Yeh, like he was still climin' down the ridge,
weight still on the hind foot 'till he be knowin'
what lies ahead -- heel dug in secure."

"Never in a hurry but ready to get there, sure." (Willy never get no place fast)

"Nope! I was thinkin' more how his legs
move regular without his thinkin' 'bout em a'tall.
He don't even look ta ground much, I recon --
'cept maybe by plan hatched at the meadow edge"

"Yeh -- yer right thar. He be lookin' at tree tops wavin'
and clouds a fumblin' around fer rain -- and whistlin'" (which Jeb couldn't)

"Ya'd think he was practicin' up a sermon, 'cept he
don't work that way. Leastwise I never hirt one" (his brother was a preacher)

"Well, he tells some stories though,
and sometimes I feel later that I've been …" (we knew Willy meant church)

"He tells the best stories to the kids, ya know" (that's me speakin' soft)

"I be thinkin' they was just fishin' down there ta hole"

"That too -- but maybe like the Lord done used fishin'
fer to get people relaxed -- then throw a net over'em"

"Now Chester, don't be atalkin' like that. Jessie'll
whup you long side t'head with her bible sure."

"I've been ponderin' 'bout a story o'heard last week,
when I was snuzzin' in the loft o'r Ranny's place. (now we get down to it)

"So that's … (Willy get the hush sign from the Squire)

"Ranny's youngin' asked the Parson 'bout believin' --
said he was confused about what folk were s'posed
to believe in -- lot o' what yer hear di'n't make sense."

"Right smart kid, thar … (Willy gets poke in the arm)

"So the Parson don't answer direct like --
he just tell a yarn about predictin' the weather."

Just then, Jess's mom shouts down 'bout how
the vittles goin' to the hogs ifin we don't fetch
up to the porch right quick … (widow mean, but shor kin cook)

so that story's gotta wait a spell …


Monday, November 21, 2005


This milky haze pulls together the discordant vision of the trees and the transformer towers in such a hauntingly beautiful way.
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One can almost forget that the towers are not organic, but one will not forget which is the Creator's work.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Soulfood chocolate - dragon

I chose my chocolate because it was wrapped in metal foil with an oriental design on it and this is what I found inside:

'"Colouring dragons
To enter simply click the image of the beautiful Chinese Dragon and print out an enlarged copy. Colour it. Write the phrase "Once upon a time in a faraway village..." and then put some action words in your draft book." Actually my dragon is one which I embroidered on a dressing gown I made for my husband,

Once upon a time in a faraway village on the other side of the world there lived a little boy called Yan. He lived in a small fishing village on the banks of the river.

One day Yan was sitting on the riverbank fishing. It was a warm, sunny afternoon. The fish didn't seem to be biting much that day and he was beginning to doze. So he wasn't surprised to hear the sound of sobbing coming from close at hand. In his dreams he thought it must be his little sister, who had fallen and hurt herself but the sound became so persistent that he completely woke up again. It seemed to be coming from behind a pile of rocks. He crept closer until he could peer round them.

Sitting on the river beach was a small, brightly coloured dragon; sobbing as if its heart would break. Yan was a kind boy who hated to see anyone in trouble and he didn't seem the least bit surprised to see a dragon. He climbed over the rocks and went down on to the beach.

"Hello" he said to the dragon which lifted its head mournfully, looked at him with huge, tear-filled eyes and carried on crying all the harder. "Who are you?" asked Yan, and then "what's the matter?" The dragon wiped a five clawed foot across its nose and whimpered "I've lost it. They're all so angry". "Lost what and who will be angry?" asked Yan, deeply perplexed. "Why, the flaming pearl, of course. What else do you think I'm talking about?"
Yan realised that this was going to take a while and sat down on a sun-warmed rock. "Please start from the beginning and tell me who you are and what's happened, otherwise I can't possibly help you". The dragon sniffed and appeared relieved that someone was willing to listen to it and it started to recount its tale of woe.

His name was Rang Chu and he was an imperial dragon - as anyone could see who knew anything about these things because he had five toes. He lived in a celestial palace, decorated with all the colours of the rainbow, with his imperial parents, brothers and sisters. It turned out that, just for a lark, he and two of his brothers had "borrowed" the flaming pearl and had been having a game of football with it. In a fit of enthusiasm he had kicked it too hard and it had flown out of the window and had now disappeared. In everyone's bad books, he had been temporarily banished from the heavens until he found it. This was how he came to be sitting on the riverbank.

Yan knew enough about rivers to know that anything that fell into the river would eventually find its way to the sea.

"My father has a boat which we could sail down to the sea. Come with me and I'll help you look for the pearl". Rang Chu gratefully accepted his offer. "But you must promise not to breathe any fire while you're in the boat or it will catch fire and we'll both be drowned". The dragon agreed to this condition.
Together they got into the boat, which leaned dangerously to one side with the weight of the young dragon prince. As an afterthought Yan said "wait a minute, I'm just going to fetch my cormorant. He might be very useful". So saying, he climbed out of the boat, ran up the beach, untied the cormorant from the piling on which it was perched and carried it back triumphantly to the boat. "If the pearl has fallen to the bottom of the sea he will be able to dive for it", he explained to the dragon.

The current took them swiftly down river, through the flat marshy estuary and finally to a beach of fine white sand. They tied the boat to an old tree and set off to look along the tide line to see if the pearl had been washed up. As they kicked the piles of seaweed to see if it was hidden underneath, Yan found bits of coloured sea glass, shards of broken porcelain and brightly coloured shells. Soon his pockets bulged with his trophies. Rang Chu had no pockets but he had good eyesight and eagerly scanned the beach for anything he thought Yan might like.

After several hours of fruitless search they began to feel hungry. Yan's cormorant caught them some fish which Rang Chu carefully grilled with a blast of fiery breath, so as not to scorch it. In the meantime Yan explained the problem to the cormorant. It asked Yan leave to go and consult the shore-dwelling cormorants.

It was quite excited when it eventually returned. The mermaids have got your flaming pearl. Except that it's not flaming anymore", it added. Yan was aghast to hear this for he knew how difficult it was to get back anything lost to the mer-people. "Do you have any ideas?" he asked the cormorant. It thought for a while and then said that the mer-people would return it if they were given something in exchange. Yan racked his brains to think of something. "Why don't you fashion a necklace?" asked Rang Chu at length. "with what?" "Well, you've got pockets full of stuff" replied the dragon, whose eyes had just fallen on a piece of slivery wire. "Use the wire to wrap round some pieces of sea glass and put the wire through the holes in the shells. Then you'll have a wonderful necklace". Yan thought this was a great idea and found a large, flat stone to use as a work surface. He selected bits of green glass and pink shells and, in no time, had assembled a necklace fit for a queen. He proudly showed it to the dragon and the cormorant. The cormorant agreed to act as go-between and flew off with the necklace safely wedged in its beak.

Yan and the dragon eagerly scanned the horizon for the cormorant's return. They waited and waited. The sun was just beginning to go down and the beach was flooded with pink and gold when the bird returned. He flew down to join them and carefully put the pearl on the sand before them. The dragon was so pleased he could hardly restrain himself from breathing a veritable fire ball. "Careful" warned Yan. "It's all very well to dry the pearl but you don't want to incinerate it". The dragon agreed this that this would not be a good idea and asked Yan to look after it for him. He would return to the celestial palace next morning but, for now, he wanted to spend some more time with his new-found friends. They had another meal of fish and then settled down for the night, with Yan leaning against the dragon's side to keep warm.

At dawn the next day Rang Chu took his leave and flew into the sky. Yan and the cormorant stared after him until their eyes hurt and he was no more than a speck in the sky. "Do you think we'll ever see him again?" asked Yan. "Depends on whether he plays football again, I suppose" smirked the cormorant who was feeling very pleased with its role in the story.

Although Yan and the cormorant watched for him, all they ever saw, or thought they saw, was a dragon shaped cloud apparently chasing the sinking sun from time to time.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The cherubim's tale

On my journey to the House of Serpents you will recall that I was removed from my donkey Ariel by a hooded rider and that I only discovered its identity when its hood slipped off as it was leaving me. Well, while we were flying, my cherubim decided it wanted to talk. In fact it proved to be a very talkative cherubim, what with having a captive audience and all that. I’m always eager to hear other people’s stories so this way I was killing two birds with one stone.

The cherubim told me that when it is not helping out lost strangers in the outlands of Duwamish, it normally resides in a fresco in a church that goes by the odd name of St Nicholas of the roofs on the island of Cythara. I’d heard of this island and of this particular church. In fact there is another curiously named church on the island called St Nicholas of the cats. Apparently St Nicholas kept cats to keep the serpents away. Does the House of Serpents have a resident cat, by any chance?

St Nicholas of the roofs is so called because the church has two roofs, one on top of the other but nobody seems to know why this is and the church is full of frescoes peopled by all sorts of creatures, many of whom are employed in a similar fashion to the cherubim, who was currently acting as my flying taxi. Unfortunately the contributions from the tourists were not enough to keep them all in the pristine condition they could wish. My cherubim pointed out that the price of armour oil being what it was, it was no wonder its amour was starting to go rusty and that this was why a number of them had sought employment elsewhere – being a pretty face just didn’t hack it. Although I had my trusty digital camera with me the cherubim wouldn’t allow me to take a photo of it, as the bright light from a flash was harmful to frescoes and it was already looking a bit faded around the edges.

It recounted to me all the marvellous things it had seen, it had been present when Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified and had ascended into Heaven. It had seen the arrival of many of the other frescoes over the decades. I asked it if it had a favourite fresco and it replied that its favourite was the Tree of Jesse. It passed the time of day by inventing histories for all the people depicted there. I asked it to describe the church for me. It explained that this particular church was considered so special that the people from Unesco had declared it to be worthy of being nominated to cultural heritage status and that there were a total of ten such churches on the island. It personally had not visited any of the other churches, not wishing to know what the competition was, but it assured me that hearsay had it that the others were pretty good too, although of course, not in the same league as St Nicholas of the roofs. St Nicks had the added advantage of being situated in a woodland spot, not in the middle of some baking hot village in the middle of nowhere, although St John’s did benefit from the river running by. St John’s was also inhabited so there was a constant to-ing and fro-ing of resident monks, priests and visitors, which made life all the more interesting.

St Nicks, as it affectionately described its home, was also home to a large collection of icons. The icons were housed on an iconostasis (posh name for a wooden screen), but they were an arrogant lot – too much gold – and didn’t have much to do with the frescoes. The icons were actually convinced that they were the sole reason tourists visited the church. The cherubim sniffed in disgust at this. I could see its point. All that glitters is not gold. The icons were also considerably smaller than the frescoes and from their lofty perches looked down upon the frescoes. Poison comes in small packages they say and the cherubim didn’t have a good word to say for the icons, snooty lot that they were. They disregarded the frescoes, who were afraid of the light and lived in the dimmer recesses of the church. They didn’t wear rich clothes either, for their clothes, such as they were, were distinctly threadbare. No bright colours either, their colours having faded in successive washes as misguided restorers had sought to renew their colours. Nor were the frescoes decorated with silver or gold. What they did have however, was the detail with which their clothes had been painted and the liveliness of their facial expressions, particularly those who dwelt in Hell. The angelic ones, on the other hand looked stiff and uncomfortable. Who was to say which were the better off. My cherubim explained that it was perfectly happy where it was, on one of the columns just inside the entrance to the church so that it had a good vantage point from which to observe all the visitors to the church. On a good day, you might get half a dozen. The individual visitors were by far the best contributors, the coach tours were just rabble. All they wanted was to be able to boast about how many churches they’d visited and to buy a T-shirt. Sniff.

I asked why it was wearing a hooded cape. Oh that’s just a gimmick it replied handing me a business card on which I read the logo “Black Cape Enterprises. Flying Taxi Service. We take you beyond”. Beyond what, I wondered but thought “well I have already gone beyond my normal boundaries, so why not?”

Friday, November 18, 2005

Silky Oak Spirit Whispering

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I wandered out hoping to find a Silky Oak to talk to and lo and behold the Silky Oak Spirit came out, beckoning me to go inside her tree dwelling to unravel a mystery. Anyone else want to come to tea with the Silky Oak Spirit?

Silky Oak Calling

As I sit in my room, taking some quiet time, I look out my window to see a huge Grevillea Robusta - a Silky Oak as it is called in Australia. For a few mornings it has been inviting me to put something on paper.

Oh silky oak, you've grown so tall.
As I sit here pondering,
I think of my neighbour Kris,
A forrester from Latvia.
In Australia, as a refugee
He left family - 2 daughters,
Not to hear of them
For many years.
Fear ruled his life,
Understandably so.
He loved his garden
And surrounded himself with trees.
He has long gone to rest,
And the legacy is left
For others to enjoy.
For most of the year
this tree stands rather dull,
Spikey rough branches
And leaves of a dull olive green.
It is not a deciduous tree,
But similar to the Eucalypt,
It sheds many leaves.
In early spring, our back yard has a carpet
Of dead leaves which mulch the garden.
With strong gusts of wind,
The rich dark brown seed pods
Also fly into our garden.
Then amazingly in late spring
This tree bursts into colour,
It is covered with blossom
Of such a rich vibrant golden orange.
Today is rather a dull day
And it's colour appears irridescent.
Soon our back yard will have a
Carpet of soft golden yellow down.
Oh Silky Oak what are you whispering to me?

For Questing


There is basket (some might call it that)
resting discarded (don't think abandoned)
woven of branches pruned (never windfalls)
from every tree I passed (and climbed a few)
in search of life and all. (thought I was just having fun)

It is safe from thee (and hopefully me)
and molding fears and tears (and other things unspoken)
that mingling with others (no offence)
might oft endure and gift (difficult to decide)
to my questing soul. (more heart than mind)

My inner light and spirit warmth (same as you and all)
used to hide out there (lift the edge a bit)
in a misty wooded glade (thanks for that )
so far from being found ( "to be" profound)
that lost had no meaning. (except by other's claim)

Now I just wander purposefully (questing mind akimbo)
open hand and heart on sleeve (perhaps should be reversed)
and whistle and sing and prance (just because I can)
for what I am need not hide (certainly not from me)
nor care what folks might think. (but listen close to feelings)

Vi's Birthday at the Gypsy Camp

Lavengro is inviting one and all to attend the Gypsy Camp on Tuesday, November 22 for the culminating Festival of Lights event, Goddess Vi's birthday. Bring your offering of a poem, a picture or well wishes to the camp and join in the fun. There will be music and dancing and lights strung from tree to tree, from caravan to caravan. Let there be light!

Koschey and his Hench Allies

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Koschey the Immortal is on the prowl with his hench allies. He is on the look out for hapless slaves to work the Golden Spindle.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Oh I wish to to be that "Wise One"

I am that aging crone
I do seek peace
I have been wise
I have been brave
I have been foolish
I now listen to the heart,my heart.

I was the Mother
Of the children
who cried for attention
No book gave me the answers
One gave,as a man now 43, but perhaps
not fully grown.
One gave only what she could,that was as
it had to be.

Being a Mother
Pressure to have siblings
Who delivered only results
I did none of this
But loving and acceptance is this not enough ?

When looking back life brings
joys untold
Untold till now
But worth a book of advice
At peace I be.
I am that woman I want and need to be
I would change little of my life now.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 18/11/05

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Wise One

The child cries out for attention,
bound in a world of self and awe,
a need to touch and learn anew;
but watch the wise one, little friend,
who often speaks through silence
and hears what was never said.

The young man vainly struts his stuff,
bouncing from peer to fear and lost,
craving acceptance -- giving none;
yet watch the wise one, reckless lad,
who seeks no fine praise nor acclaim
and cares not ‘cept the Work is done.

The feckless maiden primps and preens,
forever changing clothes and mind,
sewing confusion – breaking hearts;
behold the wise one, simpering lass,
who draws no attention to self
and wears li’le but laughter and Light.

The mother laments her child’s dreams,
drawing them away from her home,
seeking other answers – doubting love;
finding the wise one, evernow,
who is but a mirror of truth
in which most will find only fear.

The aging crone regrets nothing,
each face line and scar a triumph,
defying the gods -- innocence;
sensing the wise one from afar,
spirits touching and caressing
for each remembers tomorrow.

The wise one hears between the notes,
each person a live melody,
ever rejoicing -- creation;
being what no one else can be,
doing what no other will choose,
and holds nothing – nothing at all.

The caring soul need not be wise,
nor brave nor strong nor profound,
gifting harmony – ever peace;

for the grand secret to wisdom
is already within your heart
and knowing who you really are.


November Afternoon

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The city is looking much colder, stern and unforgiving. gone the careful more cheering days of summer. I can scarcely wait for spring. Please no-one tell me about the number of shopping days until Christmas. I'd sooner keep track of the number of days until spring.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Koschey Alchemy

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Koschey the Immortal has elixar's for every sitution.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Masques and masks

"MASQUE" courtly form of dramatic spectacle, popular in England in the first half of the 17th cent. The masque developed from the early 16th-century disguising, or mummery, in which disguised guests bearing presents would break into a festival and then join with their hosts in a ceremonial dance. As the form evolved, the important elements retained were the use of the mask and the mingling of actors and spectators. Reaching its height in the early 17th cent., the masque became a magnificent and colorful spectacle, presented in public theaters and, with more splendor, in the royal courts. The actors personified pastoral and mythological figures, with great emphasis placed on music and dance. The foremost writer of the masque was Ben Jonson. However, it was his collaborator Inigo Jones, the theatrical architect, famous for his elaborate costume designs, settings, and scenic effects, who gave the masque its greatest popularity. Some of their more successful masques include The Masque of Blackness (1605) and Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1618).
from www.bartleby.com - the Colombia Encyclopaedia

Pandora is hoping to have some very special masks delivered in time for Baba's Bal Masqué.
Please put a picture of your mask and your costume into Pandora's Costume Box of Performances, together with anything you might wish to perform

The Candles Glow

The candles glow.

They light my way
around the camp.

I walk from one to another
to another to another
and think and say a little prayer
for all who hurt this night.

The candles glow
and like a map
they show me where to go
to find my rest this night.

The candles glow.

They light my way
around the camp.

The candles glow.
I thank the Goddess for Her healing.
Now it's my turn to pray
for all those who hurt this night.

The candles glow.

©November 11, 2005

Up Early


I have often quoted,
"a man cannot learn what he does not know.
His mind has no room for which he is not prepared."
Now I can add another,
"a person will take away from any performance
whatever they most need or are most ready to receive."

Thus all 'teaching' is folly, and society's dictates
as to what a teacher, writer, manager is
is based on a false view of learning.

The best that one can do in such a role is create
the conditions (environment) in which one can teach themselves,
or at least explore the reach of their beliefs.

Perhaps, occasionally, one can 'plant the seed' of a new experience --
create a 'need' where one did not previously exist -- nudge spiritual growth.

Can it be that when a stranger comes to me and says, "why are you so happy?",
that I have accomplished more than all the classes I have ever taught?

That instead of speaking (teaching), if I just let a person know that they have truly been 'heard' that I can change their life? (correction - nurture their choice to change)


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Among Anemones

Sometime magic just happens, in a garden or in a box of pencils.
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Ready for Baba's Masque Ball

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Koschey knows I hate clowns with a passion. So, of course, the wretch has insisted upon coming as a clown to the Masque Ball. Well you won't get me anywhere near him and I'd advise the rest of you to avoid him and that Party Punch he is in the habit of distributing all over the world. No wonder everyone is suffering from increased anxiety.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Eventide At Duwamish Bay

This was one of the first stories I wrote for the Soul Food Cafe and I'm partial to this tale for several reasons: but like The Amazing Benandanti and Gone To Croatan you'll see the beginning shades of Duwamish Bay. Also I've done some editing on it so I thought I'd re-post it. Enjoy! AMM

Well, good evening to you and welcome! Come in, come in. Yes, that fog did come in fast tonight didn't it? Sometimes it just creeps up the bluff from the beach below and other times it moves as fast as a freight train, doesn't it?

As you can see I've added some things here at the Cafe, officially I'm a Curio Shop now and I'll be open each night at Eventide. That's twilight to you I guess.

So what shall it be tonight? A ghost story? Maybe a twisted tale of revenge or longing or greed? What? My story. Why not? It's a good one, if I don't say so myself.

Have a seat...I have to talk to the Management about those doors... they won't stay open and they're forever slamming themselves closed. Anyway, this is my story and why I'm here today...

When I was a girl, my grandfather owned a Curio Shop down at the Duwamish Bay Marina. You've probably heard of it. He had a genuine Egyptian Mummy, an electric chair and an old time embalming machine that's over six feet tall.

My favorite things were the shrunken heads he billed as genuine fake shrunken heads. He didn't feel like explaining where his sister in law got them. I'd sure be glad to tell you. She got them from her bush pilot days.

I always thought it was cool that I had the only grandmother on the block whose sister flew airplanes and could land them anywhere the ground was level. But it wasn't so cool when I found out exactly what she was flying. Mostly booze, some drugs, guns. Stuff you couldn't very well send through the mail.

One day she started flying around these little Islands in the Pacific. She never sent post cards from these trips. But she always brought back the coolest presents and once she brought back this little chest full of shrunken heads. Some were obviously very old and the hair on those little heads where jet-black. She had just come back from the Central Asia as well as the Pacific, so that wasn't surprising.

Then I saw some with red, blonde and light brown hair. Some even had traces of beards and mustaches. The looked almost brand new and smelled sort of funny. Like Lemons.

She saw me lift one and hold it up to the light and she said somewhat darkly, " See what happens when someone warns you to keep your head or else? "

I dangled the little head around, "or else " I whispered back.

My Grandfather, Cypriano, came into the room then and looked over our shoulders to see what Auntie had brought back. He was starting to expand his curio shop to what it is now and Auntie could be counted on to bring back some very interesting treasures. He looked down into the chest and pulled out about eight of the heads. Then he gently plucked the one from my fingers and dropped it into the chest. "

Bury it you fool, " he told her and then he left the room muttering to himself about being glad stupidity wasn't catchy, or hereditary.

" Auntie, " I asked " do you know how to make shrunken heads now? "

" You bet honey bunny. "

" Is it hard? " "

Nah, once you can stop the body from running around its super easy. "


So the Curio Shop grew, mostly the patrons in those early days were the people who lived around China Town. Then with the new Marina families started coming in from the suburbs on the weekends for a taste of life by shore. With that my Grandfather's shop grew from a dark old boathouse to a bigger darkened boat house with lots and lots of weird treasures lining the walls, dangling from the ceiling and set out on tables.

Then my Grandather expanded the ice cream shop out front. That use to be my favorite place because it was your traditional 1950's malt shop with a juke box and wonder of wonders, we owned it. He loved rock and roll and those funny songs from the 20's. So it was a nice place to eat and talk and make plans. Then you could walk through this little doorway (the frame itself as well as the door was once used in a court house where an infamous serial killer was held and he was suppose to have been shot trying to escape through this very door, you could still see the bullet holes) and there was the Curiosity Shop wrapped in shadows and filleted sunlight waiting to be explored.

It was exciting at the Marina in those early days because there were all sorts of fun places opening almost every day. There was even an amusement park owned by the Arima family that had a famous carousel with horses and mermaids and other fanciful creatures to ride. Each one was unique, each was original and Mrs. Arima and her brothers handcrafted them all. That's where I spent my childhood, and then the Mummy of the Priestess came to us.

That's really when things changed for everyone at the Marina.


Auntie Akela drove up late one night, it was almost Midnight and she smelled very pleasant. Sort of a mix of Lavender and those thin Cuban cigars that she used to like to smoke. Plus, she smelled of gin.

"You've got to see what I've got Pualani, " she slurred as my Mother opened the door " it'll put hair on your chest."

I guess it's because my Mother had no desire to see hair on her chest that she called over her shoulder " Papa, it's for you. " She invited my Auntie in and discreetly guided her to a chair in the hall. " Where have you been Auntie? Everyone's been looking for you. "

"Oh? " she looked startled and a bit scared. " Look in the truck bed Cypriano."

"It's okay, it's the good every bodies, you know? " my Mother said before my Auntie could make for the back door.

Then my Grandfather came through the door with a body; at least I could see the outline of a body under a thin red shroud edged with gold embroidery.

Auntie Akela got up and pushed her thick black hair back behind her ears. She straightened her shirt and tucked it into blue jeans. Then she went to my grandfather and motioned for him to put the figure in his arms down on the couch. She pulled the shroud back from the face and motioned me forward.

"This is a Priestess and she was buried in the Temple of Bast. You can see where she was stabbed...it's a horrible wound in her back. Then they sewed her mouth so she couldn't talk in the next world shut and they tried to take her heart. They did these things to her when she was alive. See the cuts on her hands? She tried to fight them off. But the city she lived in is gone, the people are gone and all that is left of them is she. But look at her Sarah. She's still the most beautiful woman in the world. They couldn't take that from her."

It was very clear the Priestess had respect from my Auntie that she hardly, if ever gave to the living.

"How did you get her?" I asked in a whisper.

" Won her in a card game," Auntie Akela slurred in my ear" she told me too."

"That's how the Priestess of Bast came to Mountlake Terrace and found her place at the Marina.


The Priestess soon replaced the Soda Fountain as my favorite part of the shop.

She had a very nice place in a glass case made of teak from a tree my grandfather cut down himself in the Philippines. He told me that a horrible demon had taken refuge in the tree and in order to get rid of it he cut the tree down to force the demon out. That's how he got the bite marks on his hand and back and that's how my Grandmother lost her eye.

The teak had remained in his garage until the Priestess came to us. It was a symbol of bravery to my Grandfather and he wanted to give at least that much to the Priestess.

My Grandfather even put a guest book by the Priestess where you could read signatures and messages from people who came from among the States and Canada, the Orient, Europe, Transylvania (my favorite) and just about every exotic place you could imagine. The guest book was back there so the Priestess would know that people were paying her respect thousands of years after her death. My family gave her that because after she came to us the Shop wasn't just successful; it had become a major tourist stop. The only one owned by a Filipino family, the only one that always seemed to be opened. No matter what time of the year or time of the day.


This part of my story about the Curiosity Shop is always the hardest part to tell. It is hard because it is the part where I have to explain how my family lost the Shop. It is about the day many of our friends and the people who had come to the Marina, with nothing more on their minds then looking forward to riding the Arima's Carousel or a trip to the Guzman's Ice Cream Shop to see the Mummy, never went home again.

The Fire at the Marina was supposed to have been started by a cigarette in a trashcan. That's how the legend went anyway. It burned down everything on the Marina that day.

It was just me and my Mom at the Shop the evening the fire broke out. I was stationed by the Priestess explaining the pros and cons of various candy bars, telling her the newest stories circulating about Auntie Akela (something about an angry wife with an ax) when all of the sudden the window behind us flooded with bright orange light. Then I heard my Mom scream my name from the parking lot at the side of the building. There was a terrible crash and the front of the building caved in and was replaced by a wall of flames.

The heat from the firewall in front of me singed my eyelashes and bangs right away. And I think my skin was beginning to blister when I heard the Priestess's glass case crack behind me. In fact, glass all over the shop was cracking and exploding. My little two headed calf disappeared behind running yellow flames that were racing along shelves and the rafters and the dangling shrunken heads burst into flames and looked exactly like little stars glowing along the ceiling.

Then the Priestess's case exploded behind me and before I was buried under a burning rafter, which had crashed at that point someone grabbed me by the hair on top of my head and snatched me back. It was a foreign voice I heard, it said my name and gentle, cool hands pulled me back and held me fast as the building burned and crashed around us. The voice was chanting something, part song, part incantation that I think was a prayer as the ceiling collapsed and the floor caved in and we both fell into the black water below the boathouse.

My Auntie Akela found the Princess and me across the street where the memorial plaque to the 800 people that died on the Marina that day is now. It's a pretty little park with chestnut trees and flowers and benches. There's even a little fishpond stocked with koi.

She found me, minus most of my hair sleeping under a tree. The Princess was leaning against the tree and somehow her ancient arms had unfolded and where now bent upwards, as if she had been carrying something. Her head was bowed and Auntie Akela saw that the dignity and even pride the ancient woman took to her tomb had been replaced with something else.

My Auntie found she couldn't face the Priestess, it seemed wrong to look her in the face at what was such a private moment.


I woke up a week later and when I did my Grandmother asked me where I had been and I solemnly replied, " I was with the Priestess " and she nodded and left it at that. No one asked me about my Journey and it's not a story I'm ready to tell. Of all the stories here, the Priestess story haunts me the most.

My Grandfather rebuilt the Shop and my Auntie Akela once again took to the sky and went to the darkened jungles and secret alleyways that every town, no matter how normal and respectable it may look on the outside has. She brought back new treasures and new secrets and stories and in our new Shop we dutifully told each and displayed each and every one.

When my Grandfather died my Mother took over the Shop and you can go there to this day and buy your own shrunken heads, you can see pictures of a female pilot named Akela Guzman who was said to have fought a demon in hand to hand combat in the jungles of the Philippines and you can see her trophy from that adventure in a glass jar...a head of a man with horns and eyes like a snake. Some people swear you can see his eyes follow you as you cross the store.

But as a courtesy I can tell you the true story.

Auntie did take that head with her own two hands.

She got the head after my Grandmother somehow knew to be in an alley a few blocks away from the Marina one evening after the fire. Somehow she found the person responsible for all those deaths would be there, and that that no matter how loud he yelled no one would hear him.

The head was once attached to the body of a man named Lars Cranfield and he was a stranger. When they found his headless, un-robbed body with his ID still in his wallet no one came forward to claim him.

They ran his picture from the license and his last known address at the hotel for over a year in the papers and then his story faded away.

He's the man who never existed and you can hear stories about him around Terrace to this day. Apparently the money in his wallet, even the change in his pocket was minted with the same date. His ID was new and his wallet and clothes on his back and hanging in the closet of his hotel room were brand new. Most of the stuff still had sales tags on them.

"It's like he never existed until the day he was found in the Alley " the story goes.

My Grandmother, she was avenging the death of her friends and all of those people, when her sister took the head...it changed to what you can see now. She keeps it, she says, as a warning. It's near the main door on a pedestal, and you'd think it would be in a place where people couldn't touch it or tap on the glass. Only nobody does.


And my Priestess, she's back in her case at the rear of the store. Educated people from all over the world visit her and have tried to learn her secrets. She is still quite beautiful and I like the way her head tilts down a little as if she's acknowledging you. Her hair, courtesy of my Grandmother and Mother is still bright and shinning because they put coconut oil in it at least once a month. They carefully dust her and keep the ornaments my Mother and Auntie Akela brought back from one of their rare trips together into Egypt where they discovered together the true identity of the Priestess polished and carefully arranged on her chest and arms.

When they came back they even put in a little indoor pond right near the Priestess and filled it with water lilies and other exotic water plants from places Auntie Akela traveled too. Some of those plants drive the botanist up the wall because they can't figure out where they came from. Or what they are.

Forensics experts who have studied the Princess, even x-rayed and done ultrasound's on her mummified remains can't explain why she's so well preserved. Being that she's held by human hands on a constant basis and is exposed to sea air 24 hours a day.

I still visit the Shop of course, but like my Aunt Akela I followed many strange and dark paths.

I've been to the Carpathian Mountains and I've seen the ruins of Pompeii and have heard the cries and whispers and pleas that some people mistake for the sounds of wind or echoes from the voices of tourists who visit this necropolis. I've seen the Pyramids and caves in South America where there is almost no air to breath, but there are the ruins of cities down there and I've learned those stories too. I've been stuck on roads in Africa and had to wait for a pride of lions to cross the road, I have seen dark places and light places and they all are here with me now.

And now I have my own little Shop here at the Cafe. I have my exotic books written in forgotten languages and the pictures in those books never look the same when you come back to them later. I have treasures that tell them stories. This is my own little Curio Shop and I'm glad you could visit.

Come back anytime and I'll be glad to tell you a story.

But it will have to be at Eventide.
© anita moscoso 2005

Can't build a carousel

But I can build a swing ...


The tree may now stand silently at peace,
marking years in growth of strangling vine
and mem'ries of children's lost laughter,
pulsed with glee and fear upon the swing.

Sweep forward with reach of toes and yearning
to tickle pillowed clouds or winking star;
then back -- back with tight curled legs
in quick cycled loss of a youthful dream.

Aye, I found a limb at Sakin'el
that once had clutched long tether ropes
to anchor a young soul to Mother Earth,
yet still allow the spirit to fly.

I could build another, I suppose;
a wee bit sturdier perhaps
to allow for -- well -- age and all,
and weary feet closer to the ground.

Then again, I could share this past thrill
in many tales of the child within,
for memory needs no second chance
to create and nurture everbe.

The ever silent breeze will whisper
of the swing from 'till to yesteryear,
whenever I laugh in innocence,
and reach beyond my limits and fears.

Emotions fit to bottle

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Candles of hope at the Gypsy Camp...

Nine days into Vi’s Festival of Lights, and every night the camp glowss with strings lanterns hung from wagon to wagon.

Not far from the camp there is an ancient well dedicated to the Magna Mater, the Great Mother. On a low stone wall overlooking the grotto, many candles have been lit. Pilgrims come every day to light candles for peace, for hope, for light in the world.

During this most special month, many of the candles have been dedicated to our Silk Road travellers, and candles have been lit for:

Vi, a sweet rose candle of thankfulness for her continued good health
For Heather and Darryl, a prayer candle lit constantly with love and hope
For AshleyShea and her brother Stan, a candle that lights the way for all who are in darkness
For Megan and her mother, a candle of healing memories
For Nessie and the girls, heart shaped candles from Lavengro, nestling in a bed of rosebuds

There are also candles for those who have been called away from the Silk Road by the pressures of the real world, a rainbow of candles for the artists…and so many more…everyone is welcome to light a candle here and place a dedication with it.

Musings of the Enchanting Carousel

The Fitzgerald Carousel
(55 words each)

There are three ponies we may ride
when we choose the carousel --
or so we are taught to believe,
and thereby trust,
and cannot perceive
else but these as limits
of the universe --

but I'll play the game a bit
and explore the carousel
before the music
or the conductor asks
for a ticket.


Our three steeds are androgynous
in sculpted form and cultural demand;
but we know differently --
that one is a stallion,
one a mare,
and the other not
of creation.

Their names were cast by ancients,
which we accept as
Spirit, Soul and Mind …
and may choose which steed is which --
which journey we may fly.


If one were to look from without,
or perhaps from deep within;
the frozen legs in cycled prance
form a galloping race in thrine.
Yet all are locked in place
else steed and thee
would spin off to parts unknown
leaving, perhaps,
a ripple of discordance
in your wake.

Hang on tight!
Enjoy the ride.


It may be wisdom or folly,
but I have a different view,
born of falling off a time or two …
the companions of the ride are
Spirit, Heart and Mind,
while Soul is the silver shaft
that hold us safe in balance --

but which is which …
a mystery to unravel,
or reality to then define??


We may choose to ride the outer course
and yearn for the ring of dreams,
or dwell on the slower path
of contemplation and reflection --
closer to the pulsing engine.
a calliope unseen but known.

Yet the yearning Heart
must surely be in the center,
such that any impatient shift
must dwell there a while.

Carousel Memories

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Today I spent hours sitting with Darryl in the Oncology day ward as they dripped chemotherapy into his veins. As I sat I drew and we remembered the days when we were young and went to Luna Park together. The Carousel bought back memories of carefree days, of the giggle palace, mirror maze, river boat ride and old ghost train. These days we ride a far different carousel and wonder when the ride will end.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wintra And Summra On The Silk Road

Two of my friends insisted on leaving their home in Duwamish Bay because they're desperately searching for a cure to help a sick friend...this is the first of their adventures over the Silk Road. .

The two women wore a bright yellow dress and stood under a sign, hand painted by the finest painters from the Sideshow back home that read:

" We Buy, Sell and Trade in The Unique and Curious...please inquire within "

Jesse The Cyclops had designed it and his friend Caliban had painted it and the Twins were very proud of it for that reason alone.

" I wish the Benandanti was working here with us...She'd know how to liven things up " Wintra said to her conjoined twin Summra.

" Well, we’re not here to pull any theatrics, we're here to drum up some business for the Curiosity Shop back home. Things haven't been the same since Akela went looking for Livia...Akela’ s poor Mother just doesn't have the heart to run the place proper anymore. So it's up to us to find some inventory until things are back to normal. "

Summra looked up and down the Market Place stalls and she shook her head. " I don't think we're in the right place...Plus I'm not sure this is how you're suppose to stock the shop..."

Just then a woman with an armful of brightly colored fabrics folded neatly and smelling faintly of oranges raced by and then stopped dead in her tracks. The pile of cloth fell to the ground and she pointed a long bony finger at the shrunken head hanging from tents entranceway.

" Is that what I think it is? "

" I don't know, what do you think it is? " Summra asked.

Actually the Twins knew exactly what the woman was thinking, but unless you crossed their palms with silver they'd keep it to themselves.

The woman leaned over grabbed the fabrics and raced away, her face as dark and murderous looking as any vampire or ghoul that the twins had ever seen in their entire lives.

The Twins looked at each other and winced. " We didn't handle that well..." Summra whispered.

They turned to their table of wares and Wintra tapped on the Fiji Mermaids Jar but her eyes remained shut and the Twins knew the little Mermaid didn't like being so far away from home. They didn't either, but the Mermaid would always react to danger and the Twins had never been away from Duwamish Bay in their lives.

She was all they had to watch out for them here.

It surprised Wintra and Summra that no one stopped to ask about the little Mermaid in the jar. She had a wonderful story to tell...Couldn't all these people see that? And look, her little monkey face was sweet and kind. Didn't they see that either?

This Lumurian Archipelago was a strange place. That's what they'd heard...That's why they'd come here.

A little while later an older man walked back and forth in front of their stall before he finally walked in. " Is that a severed head in that jar? "

Summra told him, " No, its a peeled off face. We're willing to trade him for..."

But the man was gone.

" This isn't going well at all Wintra. What on earth are we going to do? If the Curiosity Shop doesn't get stock soon...Its going to die. Isn't it? "

Wintra reached for her Sister's hand and squeezed and they stood there...They stood there all day.


© anita moscoso text 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

Signs of Peace and Love

Signs & Symptoms of Peace & Love

1. Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fear based on past experiences.
2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
3. Loss of interest in judging other people.4. Loss of interest in judging self.
5. Loss of interest in interpreting the action of others
6. Loss of interest in conflict.
7. Loss of ability to worry (a very serious symptoms)
8. Contented feeling with others & nature.
9. Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes from the heart
10. Increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
11. Increased susceptibility to love extended by others, as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
Please be advised that if you suffer from all or even one of the above symptoms,
your condition may be too far advanced to turn back.

Pegasus Views

After considerations of comments, on and off blog
I stylized the one for the back cover and will use
the others as BW images inside.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sparrow Girl - The Great Ape

I must have been just shy of four years old. We lived in a modest apartment, in a very working class neighbourhood. You could tell a Dutch working class neighbourhood because the buildings were devoid of any character. Built just post war to quickly house the citizenry made homeless by the second world war. The nation was still poor from putting all collective resources into rebuilding it's cities and infrastructure. Wen by then, a decade or so after the war, certain goods were rationed. I would stand in line with my mother while she haggled with other women exchanging tobacco and sugar for coffee etc. It was nothing I was an part of. It was often cold, it rains a lot where I cam from.

We lived in a polder. Disconcertingly below sea level. Ours was one of the older apartment block, Bahrain Street. Much of this outlying area of Rotterdam was built in partnership with Shell Oil one of the larger employers. My father worked for Shell, first as a bottle washer in the labs, and at this time as a lab technician. He attended classes in Leiden. My dad was a tall lanky Dutchman. He suffered from baldness. This was not a natural baldness but one he had as a result of a refinery explosion at Shell. I did not know that or need to when I was only four. I thought that all fathers were bald, that how you could tell fathers from other men.

Other than Robbie Ringeling, the little boy who lived downstairs I had no contact with other kids. I lived my own little life close by the adults, I observed. I suppose I always felt removed. My dog was my good close friend. Cerbie was half chow, half wolf. He was noble and fiercely loyal. My father most especially loved animals, he was a farm boy and stayed a farm boy at heart. After the war he had maintained a volunteer status at the Rotterdam Zoo. The zoo was bed and needed foster homes for some of their inhabitants as well as the manual labour and fund raising. Dad occasionally brought one exotic creature or another home and I had almost limitless access to visits (as determined by my parents). I'd played with animals most kids only read about. Large tortoises, strange birds, meerkats (love those).

It must have been early spring or late winter. I was wearing a new pair of mittens. Red mittens with kittens on them and real bells that made a lovely cling-ting sound as I walked. My mother had put them on an idiot chord. She was phenomenal when it came to sewing, her stitches could hold a battleship together. My mother had handcrafted bras from old clothes at the end of the war, for herself and sold some others for food money. You have to admire the resourcefulness. My dad was always in charge of sewing on buttons, something he became very adept at while in the army, he'd done a two year stint as an army medic.

My father had talked excitedly about this zoo trip, the ape exhibit was opening and the zoo now had a resident Mandril. He had shown me pictures. I understood that these "apes" were very large and came from the jungle, in Africa. I was happy to hear that these awfully large fearsome looking beasts were not native to where I lived, otherwise I doubt I'd have been able to sleep, ever again.

It was one of those guided tours, the insider gala to open the exhibit. It all looked very barren, painted freshly white not at all like a jungle. It smelled a lot like my grandmother's chicken coop. I wondered naively if anyone every cleaned the place. I buried my face in mother's coat.
"Kijk Aletta (Look Aletta)", my father pointed at a very large cage on the right hand side. I sighed, this meant I had to look, even though I'd rather stay looking at the five or six meerkats playing "now you see me" behind a pane of glass. I thought I recognize one of them as a house guest we'd had.

It was hideous, I'd no idea why my parents would be so damn thrilled to see this big, albeit colourful beast. Its nostrils flared, it paced about nervously, knuckle dragging. Occasionally it would storm towards the cage wall and glare at the VIP crowd. The crowd was thrilled, nervous laughter, and big pompous men giving explanation. I was utterly bored. I hopped at bit foot to foot. Standing still is very hard on little children. I could have stood still, if I had meerkats to watch, but I'd as soon not look at the mandrill. My mind was quite made up that all such animals should stay in Africa and for my side of the bargain I intended never to venture into a jungle.

I'd made no note of the cage next to the mandrill. Many of the cages were still empty or animals were back in the private rooms at the back where they were fed, out of the public eye. So it neither came to my notice or anyone else's. The large red ape had sidled right up to the cage wall virtually next to the small crowd, still sharply focused on the noisy, larger than life antics of the mandril. It says something that it did not set off my fear alarm at all. My face was buried in my mother's coat, it filtered out the stink, and the mandril could not see me. My little fingers played with the bells on my mitten, I found the sound soothing, helped tune out the snarling ape.

There was the moment I was safely tucked into the coat, and then the next moment where I found myself righting myself, by myself, in the cage. The dirty stinking rotten ape had hold of my mitten, and managed with great force to pull me into the cage. I reached back. The crowd was gasping and shouting. My mom had managed to reach my hand, she held onto it firmly. She was brilliant. "She likes your mitten", she told me. Here you see the value of growing up in the midst of a war. She knew there was no ignoring this, and it was counter productive to raise my fear above what it already was.

I could see, looking at the great ape's eyes, that she did, in fact, want the mitten and not me. Unlike the mandril, this primate had kind eyes, and except for harshly pulling me into the cage with her, she meant no harm. lovely mitten.

"It is my mitten", the ape tilted it's head, trying I suppose, to understand. It stopped for a second. Then gave the mitten another tug. My mother was ready, she had my arm up high enough that the mitten could fly straight through, idiot chord and all. It was a good plan, but I was not having it. It was my damn mitten and she could not have it. My mother pleaded with "She wants it for her babies". Well, I could see she might have babies, she had breasts alright, so she was a mommy ape. With all my might I held on to the second mitten, the ape was walking away with the first one. Finally the chord snapped. I jumped back to my footing. I can quite recall exactly how it felt. My feet firmly planted, my little hands on my hips. I now yelled "that's my mitten, I want it back....NOW!"

I think I could have got the beast to comply, I was absolutely certain of it. I could have, but a zoo keeper cam in and snapped me off my feet and carried me out. Just one mitten left. I spent some considerable time in front of the orangutan cage, a safer distance away, both parents trying to make me feel safe. Actually I was not feeling unsafe at all. This ape was a sweet animal, a mommy, who wanted something nice. I'd noticed none of the zoo animals had toys and thought that was sad. The Orangutan was contentedly taking apart my mitten.

My mom couldn't find another mitten with bells on it. Mom also never put idiot chords on my mittens. I always have bells in my sewing kit. Every once in a while, some child dear to my heart receives a pair of mittens at Christmas, with little bells securely sewn on. I love the sound they make.

A handful of light

A handful of light
Guides me through the darkness
To radiant dawn

Dream of Lights

I awoke this morning, unsure if last evenings festivities were just a dream or if in some magic realm, they were reality. The music still resonated in my head and the swirling mass of colorful dancers passed before my eyes again and again, a twirling potpourri of light and shape. But there, neatly folded on the chair, was the silk shirt and pants that I had worn ... so it was true. I recalled dancing with the handsome Lavengro and my feet twitched in anticipation of more dancing. I stretched out on the bed, knowing it was time for me to get up but not ready yet to disrupt the memory.

A knock on the caravan door brought me into the moment. It was Jolina bringing me my breakfast. The tray was elegantly laid out with a colorful placemat and matching serviette. A beautifully brown egg sat in a china eggcup decorated with bunches of bluebells. Butter melted into the dark brown toast and a container of orange marmalade waited to release its rich flavor and set my taste buds to dancing. The aroma wafting from the silver coffee pot was enough to awaken even the sleepiest of revelers. If this is what they mean by the morning after, I thought. I could get used to it in a minute.

Jolina stacked the riotously colored pillows behind me so I could sit comfortably propped to enjoy my morning repast.

The festival was, they had told me, to last until my birthday on the twenty-second day of November. How did I come to be the one so honored? I was being treated as royalty despite being birthed a peasant.

After enjoying my breakfast I put the tray aside and got up and went to the door of the caravan. Holding my bluebell adorned coffee cup in both hands, I surveyed the central clearing. It was quiet now. The flames had been extinguished in the beautifully carved pumpkins … no jack-o- lanterns here … these were works of art exquisitely carved. They told stories of the universe and of fairy tales, princes and princesses, and magic creatures such as unicorns.

The main fire, I noticed, smoldered … its coals still alive, ready to be fanned into flame later. Although the camp had been crowded with revelers last night, there were few around this morning. Most, I assumed, were resting after such a night of frivolity.

I retreated into the interior of the caravan to dress and get ready to take my morning walk. This was just the beginning of a celebration, my celebration, and I was so honored.


More Lights for Vi

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

postcards home

Dear Mum and Dad,
just to let you know that I’m still travelling. I’ve been staying in a place called Duwamish for the last couple of weeks and last night a whole group of us met up to go to Vi’s festival of lights. We danced the night away. I don’t think I’ll be able to walk again for a couple of days. We should be moving off to the Amazon Queen’s camp in a week or so.

Dear husband of mine,
I m writing to tell you how much I am enjoying this creative adventure I’m on. I am rediscovering the joy of writing and cannot get the images in my head on to paper fast enough. There just aren’t enough hours in my day. Suffice to say I now carry a notebook with me all the time to write down my adventures and jot down ideas for pictures. I hope one day you will enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

Duwamish chronicle

Last night saw the annual celebration of the festival of lights, this time in the gypsy camp. Travellers from all points of the compass had assembled and Vi was the guest of honour to celebrate her recovery to good health.
Residents of Duwamish commented that this particular festival had produced some of the best music that had been heard for years. The local food suppliers complained that the shelves had been swept clear as if a horde of locusts had descended on the town but they happily jingled the resultant coins in their pockets. No arrests had been made although there were reports of very curious smells emanating from the woods. Sales of violins had apparently also increased.

Vi's festival of lights

A hunter’s moon had risen earlier in the evening. Initially a deep orange as it appeared over the horizon, it was now the colour of clotted cream with indistinct patterns on it that could have been celestial landmasses. Moonlight flooded the woods and the autumn trees stood in silhouette, their leafless branches making a lacy tracery against the moon.

Lights of all descriptions had been hung in the trees round the glade. Huge pumpkins that had been hollowed out were placed in a large circle. These ones didn’t have the garish Halloween faces carved in them but lots of round holes in symmetric patterns, which allowed the light to spill out. Gourds, which had been hollowed out too and had patterns pierced in them, hung from branches.

A large trestle table had been set up in the centre. Covered in a white cloth, it was already groaning under the weight of the food that had been piled on it. All the gypsies in the camp had been busy cooking for days in preparation and a sharp spicy smell hung in the air.

In the camp the fires burned brightly casting shadows over the coloured wagons. At Lavengro’s suggestion, one of the gypsy women had gone with Vi to Pandora’s Wardrobe to help her choose something to wear for the evening. It had been a difficult choice and she was just putting the final touches to her costume. She now appeared at the top of the steps of the wagon. She was wearing long heavy silk pants, a long sleeved silk shirt, a jewelled waistcoat and jewelled slippers. A kerchief covered her hair edged with little golden coins and she also wore a large cape, which billowed as she moved.

She came carefully down the steps and immediately four children seemed to appear from nowhere. Each of them carried a lantern. A woman behind them carried a glass pitcher of water, which would be sprinkled in libation before the meal began. Other figures now drifted into the firelight and sounds of laughter filled the air together with a multitude of different accents. The firelight lit their faces and their gaily-coloured costumes for everyone had rummaged to the bottom of their clothes chests to get out their finery for this festival. The air was still and the fires burned with steady flames.

When everyone had assembled Lavengro called for silence and as the last chatter died down his strong voice resounded round the camp “welcome travellers one and all to this festival of lights for Vi”. Loud applause greeted this announcement. “We will proceed to the glade of enlightenment where we will make the blessing and give thanks. The meal will be followed by music and dancing. Michael will now play the proceeding song” and a man standing on his left shouldered his violin and bowed out the first notes. As the last notes faded away the crowd processed towards the glade and in the silence that followed only the night birds could be heard.

There was a gasp of awe from the children as they entered the glade and saw all the lights. They fanned out in a large circle around the table. The woman carrying the glass pitcher walked into the centre of the circle. She poured water first on the ground and then on her hands and threw the water up into the air, droplets spinning out in all directions. “For and with this water we give thanks for our food and for our lives”. Lavengro, taking Vi’s hands in his own and holding them up in the air, added “and for Vi." He clapped his hands and said, “let the feasting begin”.

There were purple figs, with their masses of red seeds gaping through slits in the skins, golden persimmons glowing in the light and fat dark dates. Stews flavoured with wild mushrooms, wild duck eggs, and a hot dry goat stew flavoured with red chillies vied with each other in the aromas they gave off. The Indian gypsies had provided mounds of sweetmeats, wrapped in the fine edible silver foil. There were baked apples with walnuts and cinnamon, desserts of wild damsons and jugs of ruby wine. The crowd fell to with a will and for a while, only the sound of people eating broke the silence that had descended over the glade.

At length, when all the food had been cleared away the crowd moved back to the camp for the music and dancing. As the feast was in Vi’s honour, Lavengro led her in the first dance – a slow, graceful dance involving lots of swirls, which showed off Vi’s costume. After that the dancing and music began to speed up and would get wilder later on. Carpets had been dragged out of the wagons and colourful cushions were piled up so that the non-dancers could sit and watch the fun.

The Enchantress was one of the first to get up and dance and looked stunning in her blue dress from Pandora’s wardrobe. Anita Marie had decided to wear her skin-tight black leather “Avengers” cat suit with black high-heeled boots, which unfortunately hindered her dancing as they stuck in the earth. Gail was wearing a flowing multi-tiered red skirt, a black top, gold hoop earrings and soft black shoes that seemed to be moulded to her feet. Karen was dressed in wood green and had garlands of wild flowers twisted in her hair. Monika, the hermitess, wore a pumpkin coloured gown with necklaces of seeds and Traveller wore a dress of green and purple, echoing the fluorite necklace she wore.

The musicians played their assortment of pipes, drums and stringed instruments until people could dance no more and their voices had grown hoarse from singing. Many hours later when the fires had burned down to embers the last musician wiped his violin and, wrapping it up in a soft cloth, walked slowly back to his wagon. A dog barked once and it, too, lay down to sleep.

Story from the golden bone chair - the woodcutter

Once upon a time there was a village of woodcutters. It wasn't a large village but it was close to several forests and the inhabitants had naturally become woodcutters and had cut down trees for centuries. In the fullness of time, due to an increase in demand for wood, they had cleared the forest and replanted but the new trees had not grown well and now the woodcutters were all out of work. Only one forest remained untouched and legend had it that it was enchanted and therefore dangerous to go into; so nobody ever did. Some of the woodmen sought work elsewhere and some stayed and did other things and the village became very poor.

One day, a woodcutter travelling from another area, arrived in the village and saw the enchanted forest and did not understand why it was still there. The villagers patiently explained that the forest was enchanted and nobody dared enter it. The new arrival scoffed at this and thought he would have a bit of a laugh. He didn’t believe in enchanted forests so he made himself a grotesque mask and declared to the villagers that he would show them that he could go and cut down some trees and that nothing would happen to him. So he strode off to the forest. At the edge he put on his mask and walked in among the trees and, a short while later, strode out again. All the villagers, seeing his grotesque face, fled in terror. He thought this was hilarious and made his way into the village.

By now his face was getting sweaty from the heat of the mask so he walked up to the water fountain in the middle of the village and took off the mask to wash his face. When he looked in the water to wash his face, his face under the mask was exactly the same as the mask he had just removed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Thank You To Our Guests...

I would like to thank everyone who attended the 2005 Chamber of Horrors Halloween Party.

Now it's time to shut the doors for a little while...but you know, this place does have a life of its own...I would not forget that if I were you.

See you next year

Anita Marie
November 2, 2005

Pegasus Vote

For those following the Pegasus Saga,
I am trying to select a backcover for the book.

Will any of these work??


Amazon Queen Arriving at Baba's

The Amazon Queen has heard that Baba is organising the Advent Calendar this year and has 'all hands on deck'. So she has made haste to be at Baba's and help with the preperations. The Golden Spinning Wheel will be heard whirling late into the night.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I know not the meaning of this Samhain Prayer
But it is of no matter
I can and will honour ancient ones
Ancestors whose names I
know not
Those whose path in life is part of my path
As Mother Earth and Father Sun wish it so
I am one of their children.
I am a sibling of the universe
To thank the seasons that grow the crops
Planted to feed the universe
Will these prayers be of use?
In future times, when crops will fail!
And the earth as we know it,
Will come to be in darkness forever.
I fear the veil is already too thin
To enhance our lives
We must learn from the past
"So it has been said"
"So it has been ignored"
We must not say.." So may it be".
For Faucon - Friend of this ,our precious earth.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 2/11/005


In the woods

At Sakin'el, we encourage all forms of ritual practice
and spiritual exploration. Someone may hold a
sunrise Christian service in Court, or a wedding in Henge,
or a Bahi discussion group in our parlour, or ...

There is a small clearing in the woods out back --
sometimes guests will camp their, or a couple wish
a moment of quite escape.

Last night, a group called Serpent Stone
held a gathering there, with a later bonfire in our
Joining Circle. So that we were not 'spooked out' they
gave us this copy of a prayer they would offer.

(written by MedicineHawk)

Holy Ones, Guardians, Sacred Ancestors:
Spirits of the Four Winds, Powers of the Seven Directions,
Hear Me!

For on this night, and in this place, We…We…We Are SerpentStone!

They who honor the Ancient Ones from whence they came,
By whatever names they might be known to us.

As the Earth is our Mother and our Father the Sun,
So we are their children; the children of the stars;
The siblings of the universe.

We gather here tonight to celebrate Samhain;
To celebrate the last harvest and to give thanks
to the Lord and Lady for the bounty they have
bestowed upon us, which will carry us through
the darkness of the winter shadowlands yet to come.

We gather here tonight, to honor the passing of the
old year and the beginning of the new. To discard
those things which no longer serve us and to embrace
those things which will enhance our growth.

We gather here tonight to pay special homage; to offer
tribute to those who have gone before us.

As the veil becomes thin, may they see by our deeds, as they know by our thoughts, that neither they nor their teachings have been forgotten.

So It Is Spoken; So Mote It Be!