Drive by Goddess~

Twice daily, I drive by Mary — a perpetually bored and disappointed Madonna planted in the garden, her arms eternally extended in benediction to an increasingly oblivious humanity.

Some days, I drive by unheeding, caught up in the sleepy rush of pre-caffeinated working life… an ungrateful child, indeed.

Other days, I spy her, Goddess mantled in stellar blue, bridging the worlds:
Crescent moon cradling the earth at her feet with the serpent and its apple curled around lunar horns~
Arms extended, sharing the blessings of the solar realms with us all…
perpetually hoping that we eventually (re)kindle our own divine spark.

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Change ~ or, on the occasion of spring’s impending arrival

I’m not sure what it is that I expected when the queen waved her hand, conjuring ~ or at least trying to ~ once more. For the on-lookers, thrill-seekers, & Lick-spittles to appear out of thin air?

Perhaps.

But I, the court jester, will continue to move in the shadows, weaving from pillar-to-post, dancing to my own inner songs.

Winter’s Hart~

Deep in the heart-wood that reaches upward to crown the sacred hill, Callieach’s white hart stamps the ground.

Antlered head cocks to one side as he listens to the birds speaking; sharing the best places to forage and the ones to avoid due to prowling cats and foxes seeking to put on winter fat. Once more the hart stamps the ground, steam rising from his nostrils to collect in clouds rising to crown his antlers. The conversation changes and he listens to wolves singing of winter winds and empty bellies; best to run and hunt lest winter stalk them later.

He nods in assent and his breath curls more around each point on his head. He bows his head to the ground under the growing weight. So he stands, waiting — impatiently — for the Queen of winter to gather his breath on her staff and spin out the snow-heavy clouds of winter.

Into the Long Dark~

My mother is dying.

In this season of plastic trees and LED lights artificially keeping the darkness at bay, I am turning more to the long dark that precedes the winter Solstice. I’ve known that my mother, like the sun, is journeying into this darkness since Thanksgiving. I also know, that unlike the sun, she will not pause before turning back to make the long walk into summer. Weekly, she is fading before my eyes, and in the dark small hours of the night, I silently pray to whatever powers of mercy and compassion that there may be, that she just closes her eyes soon to this cold world and slips peacefully away into the West.

But, I am still her child. Both my heart and head periodically go into dread denial of this fading, and the soft greys of winter become bleak. In those times, I look more often at photographs of Newgrange and Dowth on the winter Solstice. The people who built those passage tombs are my Ancestors. Their wisdom is in my blood, and when I see these photographs, I can hear inside myself their silent and ancient messages of hope. The spirit is eternal. The sun returns even when our loved ones do not. The sun carries them to the lands of the Blessed, and tells us that one day, she will carry our spirits too.

My mother is journeying into the long dark, but she will not reside there long… she, too, will pass beyond it and dwell on silver shores with her mother and father, and their mothers and fathers before them.

For the time that I remain behind, at the winter Solstice, I will sit in darkness illuminated by white lights on my tree and tell her stories as each ornament catches my eye.

Sun on Dark Leaves

I walk amongst the thorns that I wear upon my brow.
I clothe myself in the spun-silk of white blossoms budding out on spiked branches and smile with purple juice from berries ripe-burst upon my lips.
I dream the shadows.
I walk in candle light down mirrored corridors, where I catch hidden glimpses of my soul — waiting — in the bridal chamber between heaven and hell.

Small Stone: Time like liquid~

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Time, like liquid,
spirals down into Autumn.
One day, the sun pours over the scarlet leaves like amber;
the next, grey curtains of rain wash the brown hills & nourish them for winter.
Time, like liquid, spirals season into season.

~*~

Lately, I have been exploring art journals as another expression of creativity. I am still very much on square one with this process, but I have an idea of how I want to play with this small stone on a prepared page.  Until the page is painted and scribed, I leave you with the words I was playing with this morning.

Today…

the sun rose, though it was veiled by rain clouds and falling autumn leaves.

I went to work. I read (with pride) my daughter’s Facebook post schooling those who dared to blame yesterday’s results on people who ‘threw away their vote on a third party candidate’. (I’ve been a card carrying Green longer than her friends have been alive.)

I listened to people gloat and to those who were depressed. To both, I wanted to whisper, “Wake up and smell the Pleroma.” It is all just an illusion…

Today, I determined that I will live as I lived on Monday. I will speak my mind; support those who have fallen; say ‘no’ when it is needed and to whom needs to hear it; I will dance under sun and moonlight, whispering heresies to the trees; and I will continue to work toward humanity waking up to its birthright — no matter how much they may not deserve it. (Shades of A. Hamilton…)

Tomorrow, the sun will shine. My dog will greet me with a smile, and my cats will cozy up to me, and I will go to work and hope for more small behavioural breakthroughs with my students. And I will resist creatively… and fiercely.

I will be the witch in service to the land — though it poison some as it heals others.

On the threshold of a dream

These words have brought me comfort and no small sense of hope as I reflect on the past few years. With these words as my guide, I can see my fallow times as needed pauses in nature’s rhythmical motion and not mere idleness.

Nature is ever at work building & pulling down, creating & destroying, keeping everything whirling & flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.
~John Muir

With the (dubious) benefit of hindsight, I can also see these fallow times as treading water. For a long time, I had thought these fallow time were low-tides… all creative energy, inspiration, and desire was gone. It felt like the well was dry, and all that was stretched out before me was a barren mudflat. This summer, my view of reality shifted. In this refocusing, I saw that I was really treading water in a high tide of external demands, worries, and responsibilities. It was the act of moving that helped me start this shift in perception. Like the tide going out on the shore, hidden treasures have been uncovered and for me, rediscovered.

This season is giving me the chance to back track to myself. I can look at all the parts exposed. I can marvel at what I find; examine each thing and choose whether or not I will keep it in my life. It is a rich landscape, filled with treasures and teeming with potential to be explored.

An endless song, indeed.

Cloven Hoof (Samhain, 1919, vol. iii, no. 1)

A letter from the Editor:

To the experienced peruser of these esteemed pages, you will already know that I have made detailed studies of the arcane geometries of both London, England and Washington, D.C.; both the seats of power of two nations sharing a common heritage and spiritual fraternity. To those neophytes as yet unversed in my researches, I shall let it suffice that you may fully educate yourselves upon these discourses in archived editions of the Cloven Hoof. I call these past researches to mind as recent events have persuaded me that it might be of interest to undertake such a study of the great commercial metropolis of New York City. Before you send in enquiries of assistance and your own hypothesis to be considered, I implore you to read through this account in its entirety before committing yourself to any future endeavours.

It was a pleasant autumn morning, the chill in the air had been burnt off by the sun, and I easily meandered through Manhattan to finally emerge upon the doorstep of my great-aunt Matilda. I held the dubious distinction of being her escort for the morning’s offerings of her amateur dramatic society, a station which was to provide me the unparalleled opportunity to witness first-hand one of the most bizarre manifestations of the Invisible World.

I let myself in unannounced, the bond of family being such that the usual circumstances incumbent upon me as a visitor had long been forgotten as I spent the better part of my youth as a resident of this deceptively humble dwelling. Making my way down the well-appointed corridor, I wondered at the faint whispering issuing from under the door to the library instead of the withdrawing room where my great-aunt was accustomed to waiting for her familial escorts. Curiosity got the better of me and I opened the door.
Continue reading “Cloven Hoof (Samhain, 1919, vol. iii, no. 1)”

The Giovanni Chronicles: A Song for St Valentine’s Day

Title: A Song for St Valentine’s Day
Author: Ashtoreth Eldritch
Rating: R (violence and gore)
Word Count: 3882
Written for: Holly’s Horrorland Fifth Annual Vampire’s Day Soiree

Author’s Disclaimer: I do not own Ambrogino or Lucretia. They are characters created for the (old)World of Darkness Vampire Chronicles by White Wolf games who allow humble players such as I to bring them to life in games.

~*~
A Song for St Valentine’s Day
Casa Giovanni, Roma, A.D. 1324

Prelude~

“One must always have an objective when meting out punishment, Lucretia,” Ambrogino spoke easily, patiently even, as he enjoyed each word as it formed in his mouth. The night sky being cloudless and displaying the full canopy of the stars added to his enjoyment, they were a perfect counterpoint to the breezes blowing in from the Tiber. He didn’t particularly care for the noises of the fountain, it was a distraction at the moment, although soon it would be easily ignored. “For without an objective, it is not an effective punishment and becomes merely an indulgence in tormenting the kine.”

Lucretia looked at her sire curiously. “You are not normally so keen to abstain from a chance to torment the kine.” She looked at the courtyard and the privacy it afforded them, her eyes ignoring the night-blooming flowers in favour of focusing on the man tied to a post before them. His hair was matted with blood and his own filth, giving him the appearance of a man much older than his score and three years. Her sire’s gaolers had not been kind to their old comrade.

Ambrogino followed his childe’s gaze and smirked. “That is true, to an extent,” he agreed readily. “This night, though, this night is about punishment for trespasses incurred in my demesne and I shall ensure that the lessons are fully absorbed.” His dark grey eyes moved up to lock on a mortal man being held on a balcony by two men-at-arms. He had been chosen to replace the man Ambrogino was going to break tonight and the necromancer thought it best that he knew how swiftly and brutally he changed things which displeased him. “It will reinforce the idea that I do not like history to repeat itself upon my lands.”

Blue eyes the colour of an Alpine lake followed Ambrogino’s and Lucretia smiled as she scented the fear coming off the witness. “What if this display fails to deter him a few years down the road? What if his wit dulls and he thinks that he can outwit the master of the land?”

“Then you may have him to play with, my dearest one,” he smiled at his precocious childe. “But enough. The night will get away from us if we are not careful. I intend to saturate the night with screams and pleas, and I should hate to lose even a minute.”

Continue reading “The Giovanni Chronicles: A Song for St Valentine’s Day”