The Golden Apple of Mabon

Not since they were wee fairies have Juniper and Magnolia set out on the morning of Mabon to hunt for the golden apple. Santooshkan legend has it, that on the Autumn Equinox, a golden apple appears at dawn and inside the gilded fruit contains untold magical powers.

The ladies threw their cottony shawls over their shoulders and laughed as they skipped down the flower dappled forest path, away from their cottages, and attracting the attention of all the woodland creatures. The squirrels and the rabbits didn’t remember this game, but the dryads, the elves and the ravens pledged to be the ones to find the mythic apple.

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Around every tree they gazed, high and and peered low.

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They combed the meadow grasses.

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No rock was left unturned at the creekside.

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They could hear the pixies singing:

I will find out where she has gone

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among the dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.
Mabon, when the days and nights are equal lengths, it is easier for ancestor messages to travel between the past and the present.

“Do you remember when Mother Tasha spoke of the places where the forest meets the meadow?” Juniper quietly asked.

“Yes. That’s where all the blackberries grow. She’d always say: There is special magic where two worlds meet. The borders are where the gold is sweet.” Magnolia’s eyes grew teary.

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And just where they realized they might find it, on the borderlands between the forest and meadow grew a young apple tree with a golden apple growing on a dying branch.

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As soon as the apple was plucked they were transformed into Mabon Goddesses!

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Magnolia, bedecked in a golden splendor grew antlers and when she ate of the apple, an Artemis incarnation she became. Juniper, adorned with a crown of goldenrod and heather ate of the apple and Hekate she became.

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The two were only just beginning to realize the infinite magnitude of the powers they were able to wield when the sun sank low on the horizon and their powers wilted like the last petals of summer.

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“I was really looking forward to summoning a cosmic soul-army against the purblind to save Mother Earth.” Juniper sighed.

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“And I had nearly every wild animal in the world on one psychic wavelength to do my bidding!” Magnolia moaned.

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The two turned with low faces toward the cottages and their homefires.

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“At least we did think to get the woodpile chopped while we had all those powers.” Juniper grinned. They walked home laughing and talking of the Mabon feasting that awaited them and the faces of the changelings when they would tell them of the day’s adventures.

The End of Summer

  Magnolia’s Journal Entry:

(almost the) Last week of Summer,

The air this morning was a cool kiss goodbye from Summer.  She’s packing away her green trimmings, folding up warm afternoons, and making room for Autumn.  The path is already dusted in golden leaves.  This year’s last fawns have lost their spots and the red berries of the Spice Bush and Jack-in-the-Pulpits are the showiest blossoms in the forest.

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Jack-In-The-Pulpit berries growing along The Path.

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Spice Berry Bush in the late Summer

I have devoted myself entirely to the Society of Moss and Lace.  Despite the distance between us, I feel close to Ironroot when I am creating for the Great Mother Rebellion.  I can almost feel his breath against my cheek as Juni and I bend our heads over bead work and his laughter is in the whirring of the sewing machine.  Knowing my love and I are joined in the same task makes his absence more tolerable.

Juni and I spent a whole day yesterday wrapping up parcels to go beyond the Santooshkan Border and into the lands of the Purblind.  I wonder if our magical packages will be drunk up by the thirst of the civil lands.  Our enchanted labors will take root, and like weeds in a fallow pasture, the tiny seed of magic will sprout in the willing minds of the Purblind.  We pondered the destination of our enchanted articles and hoped they would bind the fate of their new owners to Santooshka and the Still Water Way.

SAM_9599Greystone was the first to see Thimble Sip and Betsy paddling upstream.  He ran down to the sandy bank, waving his arms, and hollering, with Azalea quick on his heels.  Bedecked with packages, Juni and I carefully maneuvered to the water’s edge.   By the time we made it to the shore, Betsy the spiny soft shell turtle had lumbered onto the sand.  Her long snout nosed at some vegetation in Azalea’s hand, and Greystone had climbed on top of the great shell to better speak with the small wild haired gnome.

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Betsy looking hopeful as Azalea pulled the greens out of pouch.

Thimble Sip‘s palanquin was tied to the giant turtle’s shell with thin lengths of braided pond grasses. By way of wooden wheels and leather straps, his peddling turns a small paddle at the rear of the turtle, churning the murky waters, and propelling the creature-craft forward.  Betsy and Thimble Sip are the quickest way upstream, and the best conveyance to Honey Bower’s cottage.  Thimble Sip, always kind, agreed to take our goods upstream for one of Azalea’s kisses and a joke from Greystone.

The Still Water Almanac (the last but most used pages of the Grimoire) decrees that today is for “pruning to discourage growth”. All week Azalea and Greystone caught saw-nosed pixies down by Beaver’s Dam.  Funny little fae, they fall fast asleep when they are trapped inside a bell jar.  Because the creatures are hatched in the heart wood of Ancient Oaks, they are stubbornly tenacious and known through out the wood for their hunger.  If you place an open jar against a tree limb they will munch their way through in little time.  Juniper and I finished all the fruit tree trimming, and there were even a few left over , so I managed to cut back a little more bramble to expand the garden.pepsgoose

Juni and I have been so busy with the Society that I have been in the vegetable garden only in the early mornings.  It is so peaceful among the buzzing of bees and dewy leaves.   I spend most of my time harvesting produce.   The mulch we put down has done a good job of keeping the weeds out.  The last of the squash is swollen on the vine and the toms and peps are in their radiant climax.  Ironweed, tucked between the beds, smells sweet and is the current beauty of the patch.

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pepIn the late afternoons we have been cleaning, sorting, storing, and canning our bountiful fruits.  We have begun to set aside the best to be served on Mabon.  It is true, that I love all the spokes of the wheel, but Autumn equinox is my favorite!

We expect several of the wood’s inhabitants to attend.  Many travel across Santooshka with small wains to exchange bumper crops.  I am looking forward to the cranberries from the Bog.   The heady smell of the bonfire smoke mingles with the crushed leaves beneath our feet as we dance around the fire.  It is a reminder that Winter will be riding Autumn’s coat tails. It is comforting to know we have full pantries and a well stacked wood house.

Mabon is almost a week away, and by then our enchanted packages should have made it to the Western Enclave of the Silicon Elves.  They are well versed in the Purblind Ways, and have secret plans to distribute The Society of Moss and Lace magicked goods.  It will be our first true act in the rebellion, and the beginning to a journey we can not yet imagine!

M.M.

Excerpt from the Still Water Grimoire:

How to save Tomato Seeds:

548587_374213255986929_1967206707_n It is necessary to save the seeds from the best plants if you want to continue to have a good crop of Tomatoes.

  1. Gently scrape the innards of the best tomatoes into a glass jar.
  2. Cover jar in cheese cloth and mark the variety
  3. leave out in the sun until a white scum is on the top
  4. Skim the top and then rinse the seeds in water486798_374213219320266_1017809147_n
  5. All the good seeds will fall to the bottom
  6. Place wet seeds on cloth until dry
  7. Store in a dark dry place until next spring

Juniper and the First Fall

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I followed the music after the ceremony. I left Magnolia gleefully wrapped in Ironroot’s arms just after the handfasting. It was a low thudding, much like the steady heartbeat of a large animal. There were golden mid-tones, and glittering- almost metallic high notes rippling through like water flowing; an endlessly cycling, yet never exactly repeating, song. I studied the faces of the guests at the wedding- no one else seemed to be hearing the music. After a time, I made my way to the outskirts of the soiree and found myself in the forest again.

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I could almost hear the trees sighing and swaying to the rhythms that rippled through the dendritic canopy over the worn footpath. The heat that clung to my dress and skin began to fall away behind me as I moved deeper into the woods. The bright Lughnasadh sunshine splashed across my face, and as the tunes became sweeter, and I found the corners of my mouth turned up involuntarily.

What a gift music is to the soul. It touches places where words cannot reach, and cleanses and realigns the spirit in the most gentle of ways. Like the wind wears away the mountain, music wipes clean the arenaceous sediment of sadness from the heart. As the moments dissolved into a singular liquid presence, I began to run through the forest as though in a rapturous chase.

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A snapping turtle crossed the path as I drew near the creekside. “Turtle! Do you hear that music?” I was almost giggling.
“You speak much too fast for me to understand. Slow down!” He snapped and with determination and focus, kept striding determined toward his destination.

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The woodland darkened and the light became the divine even green, as it does when it is ready to tell you it’s secrets. The music played on and it drew me deeper and away from the hard packed game trails through a thicket. Stinging Nettle hissed and lapped at my ankles and calves as I wove in and out of vines and low hanging branches.

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I tripped over a large root and landed squarely in front of a mother Turkey and her clutch, at once upsetting their afternoon tea. “I’m sorry for the intrusion But, do you hear that sound?” I queried like a madwoman.
“Dear me! Come and brush the dirt from your knees and have some seed cake and blackberry tea. We have more than enough to go around.” Her voice warbled the invitation. “Please, sit, rest, you have everything you need here with us. Rest. Sit in our circle. Share our food. Heal.” Her kind black eyes revealed nothing but unconditional concern.

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The music played on and I felt now compelled to find it’s source. I would not be deterred by turtles, turkeys or tea. And on I tramped through briar and boughs toward the unknown.

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Slowly the soft, moist forest floor gave way to smooth sandstone. The trees began to shift and space themselves between root-impenetrable rocky outcroppings. Instead of the moss and mycelium majesty of the inner forest, grass and the occasional prickly pear cactus grew in between boulders.

A rather large timber rattler sidled up next to me and shook his scaley segmented tale. “Ssssay, ssssissster. Where you headed?” He wound around in front of me to meet my face.
“Don’t you hear the music? I’m going to find out where it’s coming from.” I trudged forward but was met with a coil and a warning.
“I will grant no sssuch passsage through my kingdom. I know your sssort. Alwaysss russshing about on some fool’sss errand- never sssatisssfied with what you’ve got, and ssseverely lacking in ssspiritual qualitiesss. I ssshall bite you and make you sssuffer.” He coiled and licked at me.

“Perhaps you would like a taste of my pemmican, instead?” I was always taught to keep a secret stash of pemmican in a pocket, for time is a beast that does not dwell in the forest as hunger does. When I reached into my pocket, I realized that the snake would strike me and that there was no fear that would change a destiny that was already written, and so I closed my eyes and held out my open hand.
“I sssmell your fear.” he hissed.
“I wish I could say the same for your mercy!” My breathing became shallow and I braced for the needle toothed attack.
As I stood there hand outstretched and trembling, the music quickened and a blustery wind blew up through the boulders. A shadow fell across my face. In an instant, the snake was snapped up in the clutches of an eagle, and I heard the head being severed as the bird landed mere feet away to devour it’s dinner. Not another second was spent to gape at the serpent’s body in sharp-taloned grasp. I was gone in an instant.

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Bright and baking in the sunlight, I stepped out onto a large sandstone bluff overlooking the green enchanted forest of Santooshka. The music became a bell-like ringing in my ears as I searched for the source.

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I stopped, chewed my pemmican, and then, after some time, stood open-armed in complete gratitude for the sweet sounds. I started to dance; whirling atop the bluffs in joy. The music began to fade, and slowly turning in time with the aria, a single Autumn-painted Maple leaf descended from the sky. As soon as I grasped the golden thing, the music stopped.

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“It was the chiming of the trees!” Magnolia clasped her hand over her heart. I was able to sneak back to the gardens before the cake was sliced.
“Yes, and to hear it on such an auspicious day, must only mean glad tidings!” I smiled at my friend who now wore the same toothy grin, having been reassured from my afternoon adventure. We locked arms and re-joined the wedding feasting aglow with renewed hope for the future.

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The Hand fasting of Magnolia and Ironroot

Magnolia’s Journal:Sabbath,

imagesLike the silver workings of the spider’s web, my life seems to be remade over night.  Ironwood received a message late last night.  He must leave Santooshka and travel to the eastern Civil Lands.  He does not need to say the words, but I know he fears he will not return.  He has asked my hand in marriage, a small token to hold dear to my heart in face of the impending emptiness.

MM

Woddenday,

Featured imageIt is a fine thing that our Santooshkan Vale revels in impromptu festivals! Our Lughnasadh celebrations are usually quite small with only the valley’s inhabitants attending.  Once again this cycle, I give thanks for our bountiful gardens and prosperous woodland gleanings.

Juniper’s cottage was  filled with the sweet chirruping of sparrows, as they alight on the sills to take  the freshly inked invitations from GreyStone’s hand.    Azalea wandered around the meadow picking wild flowers.  Juniper has left her spinning wheel to help me sew my gown. Featured image The cavern weavers sadly refused my desire for new cloth, quoting the wrong season and lack of time.  It is just so, I have mountains of small scraps, and we will sew them together.  A perfect symbol for my past transforming into my future.

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Thorsday,

Two great things are occurring. It is no surprise that I feel as if my soul is shining and spilling out into the ether.   My wedding, and Juni’s and my decision to reach out to the Purblinds.   In a dream, Juniper saw our “other selves” and it planted the seed, which we have nurtured into a realized action.   We will create the secret Society of Moss and Lace.   Moss for Santooshka and the Still Water Way and Lace to symbolize the interconnectedness of not just the fay folk but of all peoples who wander the earth.

It is not necessary to emphasize our need for secrecy.  If even the slightest hint of our rebellion reaches the Queen, I have no doubt that Titania will follow through with her threat of banishment.  Despite the heavy consequences, Juniper and I must do what we feel is right.  I can not deny the Still Water prophecies.  It has become our obligation to open the eyes of as many Purblinds as we can, even if it is only one.  They deserve to know magic is real, and that the Earth Mother is alive.

After my dear Ironroot leaves, I will be able to give myself completely to this new cause.  Juniper and I know what we want to accomplish, but the exact means still evade us.  Despite the worry in Ironroot’s eyes, he knows he can’t keep me from this task.  The three of us have spent many evenings this week discussing the Society.  Juniper and I have decided to keep this from the changelings at the moment.  We are truly an odd assortment of people, preparing for a wedding by day, and making furtive battle plans by night.

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Blue Moon,

My Husband (even though that will not really be true until tomorrow),

I know when you read this you will be far outside the protective veil of my Santooshka.  I have secreted this small package into your belongings, if only to gladden your heart, and bring a smile to your beautiful face.  And perhaps too, because it is difficult for me to speak of separation when we are just about to be joined.

It will be an easy task to bind the two of us, because I know we are already one. The universe brought us together and neither of us expected to be to be so intertwined, especially at this moment. We are like knotted macrame, so many different ropes fasten us together, but also take us in different directions.  You outward on your clandestine sojourns while I must stay grounded in Santooshka to begin the Society with Juniper.  Even though our paths will take us different places, our cause is the same.SAM_0772

Place this enchanted locket in the light of the full moon.  The rays of Luna will connect us no matter where are we are. Words that are spoken into the open locket at midnight will be written in moon beams for me to read.  I will not be able to respond, but I will know that you are safe.

Juniper sends this Moss Amulet.  We believe whole heartily that it played an essential role in reviving her after her entanglement with the trolls this spring.  It is a small part of Santooshka and thus a small part of me.

Travel safe, my other half. I know your commitment to spread the Mother Earth Rebellion is as strong as your love for me.  If you sense the path ahead of you is is diverging into two futures, I beg you, please, choose the way that will bring you back to me.

Eternally Yours,

Mags

The Wedding of Magnolia & IronRoot

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“Love is the language of two.”

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Fay Folk flew in from all over Santooshka to witness the cemermony

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Trading of Rings

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Magnolia and Ironwood

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Queen Mab made a special appearance

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Ironroot drinks from the quaich

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OakLeaf the Wizard and the Elven Lady Evermore

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Three Fairy Maids:  Sunshine, Sparkle, and Glisten

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An Ancient Rock Spirit wishes Iron Root Good luck on his journey

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After IronRoot and Magnolias Lips met, the sky opened up and rain poured down

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Magnolia’s Journal: MidSummer Reflection, Past Recollections, and possible True Love

Thunder Full Moon

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Oh great Ebbing tides, what a turbulent time this is!  How can the best and the worst moment in this long life happen on the same day?  Such occurrence only proves the balance of Nature.

I have seen Titania on one other occasion before this Midsummer, but I did not share this with Juniper or the other inhabitants of our small valley.  I was quite small and my mother was a favorite of the court.  Her herb garden was renowned for its rare and medicinal plants.  She spent much time traveling from one magical enclave to the next, dispensing herbal health potions, and Still Water remedies.   This was a different time; the Purblinds had just begun to adopt their foul smelling, poison belching conveyance.  Most traveled slower, lived smaller and so it was safer for the fae folk to roam among them.

Featured imageOn a night so dark, it seemed to seep into our cottage and swallow the illumination from our own lanterns, a great storm broiled over the horizon.  The shutters rattled and tea cups clattered on their saucers every time the great thunder elements called out to each other.  We thought the storm was upon us when there was a great knocking on the door.

My mother hurried to throw open the latch.  From the window, I glimpsed a golden chariot, pulled by three aurulent griffins.  A crimson cloaked figure stood in the doorway, a dark silhouette in the lightening ravaged sky.  My mother bade them come in, and as the individual pulled back her cowl, her face glowed in our meager domicile.  Her unmistakable likeness left no question as to who this royal personage was, it was Queen Titania.

I was banished to the loft-no business for a child, but peered through the floor boards and heard bits of words as they wafted up the stairs.  The Queen’s appearance was no consequential happenstance, her paramour had fallen ill, poisoned by water flowing from a large Purblind settlement. The Queen was equally as fierce in my memory as she was this Midsummer.  imageShe stalked great circles around our small parlor, while my mother ground carefully selected herbs into a fine powder with her mortar and pestle.  As my mother offered Titania a vial full of swirling silver liquid, it makes me shiver now to think of it, the Queen warned, “This had better work, Tasha, or I will curse the Purblind, and make them suffer threefold.”

Weeks later, news reached us that the Queen’s paramour had succumbed, dying before the Queen could return to her bower.  The Fae took this very seriously, although our spirits travel to the next dimension, our useless bodies returned to our Mother, an immortal life spent without the ones you love, can be a fate worse than death.

It was at this time when my mother began instructing me in the ways of the Still Water.  She believed in the prophecy.  A day would come, when our duty of keeping the secrets of magic would end. We would become more than mere care takes, but would usher in a new era, where humans would no longer be blinded from the natural world.   My mother taught that it was arrogant to blame all the Purblinds.  In every garden, were there not weeds?  You did not turn over the whole patch just because there was Horse Nettle in the Feverfew.  But it seems Titania has not forgiven the Purblinds for their unintentional transgression.

Featured imageAfter Titania’s polemic, she turned to me, glancing down at her talon sharp nails, she hissed “I see your mother in you, but just as she was unable to help me all those many years ago, I will not show you any favors, if you disobey me.”  Flicking her hands, she dismissed me as she might shoo a fly. Facing the others, she declared Midsummer festivities to begin.  Her temper quick to flare, now dissipated beneath an awesome calm, like that of a windless lake.

As on Titiania’s first visit, the sky opened up and rain began to fall onto our valley.  As the others rushed to the shelter of Juni’s cottage, I lifted up my face to the falling drops.  Letting the water wash over me as the Queen’s warning swept through my mind.  Before I could become completely lost in my bewilderment, a calloused hand rested upon my wrist.

Iron Root stood with his arm out stretched.  “Magnolia,” he whispered. My previous melancholy was gone in an instant, replaced by steaming anger.  I demanded Iron Root’s allegiances, and accused him of falsehoods.  I urged him to tell me why he had come one moment promising hope, only to arrive the next with Titania’s entourage damning all we had planned.  I raved until I could not tell if it was rain or tears wetting my cheeks.  Only then did I ask him the true bitterness that lay closest to my heart.

Why did he leave? His large blue eyes grew larger still, and his face wrinkled up causing lines engraved by laughter, to gather at his mouth, but he was not laughing now.  He wrapped his fingers tight on my arms and pulled me to his chest.  Jasmine and hints of May Apple blossom encircled my head, and for a moment our breath intertwined before he pressed his lips to mine.  Outrage drained from my body, and I yielded to his soft lips, tasting like raspberries.

“I have loved you from the very moment we met,” he spoke softly, nestling his face into my Featured imagehair.  These words slid into all the other thoughts in my mind, tossing and churning like a raft on the distant sea.  But they sank deep into my bones and settled into my heart.  He laughed then, shaking his curls loose in the misting rain.  He held me away from him, searching my face with his deep azure eyes, smiling he said, “Well?”

Furling my brow, weary of the warmth that threatened to engulf me, I merely replied “Well, then you have some explaining to do.”

Once again his smile dropped from his face.  “I cannot tell you many things.  In part, because my past is a tangled mire with my future and I play small roles in many games across the land, but mostly it is my desire to keep you safe from the Queen’s wrath.  There is much that your small haven has been fortunate enough to evade, and is it my deepest desire to keep you innocent of such perils.

“I implore you to trust me.  I am the same man who was here not a fortnight ago.  You must trust me in this.  Above all else I am loyal to you, Magnolia.   I am loyal to Santooshka.  There may be times in the future where my motivation for certain actions may be called into question,  but please believe me when I tell you I love you more than any creature has loved another.  I will protect the Still Water way of life even if I must give my last breath in doing so.”

“Well…I suppose there is little harm in mystery, if your intentions are true.  I will try to keep my curiosity at bay.  However, one day you must empty all that you keep locked inside that handsome head of yours, and I hope to be there.  For now, I will only ask one thing of you.  Tell me again.”

“I love you Mistress Magnolia Magpie.”  He hoisted me up and we spun in lazy circles beneath a dark gray sky.  His strong hands clung to my arms as we embraced.

Featured image“And that will have to suffice me on this strangest of MidSummers.  Let us join the others to celebrate this season and your proclamation.”  I pulled him towards Juni’s cottage. I do not know all there is to know about the one named Iron Root, but I believe him when he says he loves me, and Santooska.   I may not trust him on all things, but I do not fear giving him my love.  A chance to be happy with another, is worth the risk of a broken heart.

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Mid Summer night was magical. Juni’s cottage  was lit by tallows on every shelf, table or surface that was not covered by food platters or drink cups.  Her humble dwelling was transformed into a great royal hall.  The musicians played many reels, sprites and nymphs held hands, dancing and spinning between the chairs.  At some point early in the evening Juniper’s Cottage Brownies took over the labor of serving, so Juni and I were allowed to join in the comfortable chaos.

Featured imageThe Queen completely assured of our acquiescence, played the role of honored guest graciously.   She tittered over meadow wine with some young dryads discussing this century’s courtly fae fashion.  She gave belated royal blessings to many woodland folk.  She graciously accepted gifts and goodwill.  Once, Titania  even declared  an acorn from one of the Old Oaks,  the fairest she had ever encountered.

Featured imageAs the new sun’s rays began to peek through the slender trees the Queen readied to return to her bower.

She did not remind uFeatured images of her will, but gave us a steely

glare.  “I will leave Iron Root here, as he wishes but, know that I may again be in need of his services.  I bid you Good Summer.”  At that she  stepped inside a large blue flame and was gone, just  as the last of her caravan rounded a corner and was out of sight.

Juniper and I looked at each other in deadly serious silence.  Then my eye twitched and her lips quivered.  A smile grew on my face and was matched by hers.

“Holy Still Water, Did that just happen?” Juniper asked around a widening grin.

“I am not quite sure I can say.”  And I started to giggle.

Iron Root looked between us, shaking his head.  “Do you ladies take last eve’s warning as jest?”

“No, but oft times, laughter is better than any other options.”  Juniper tittered.

“I think it may be too late for the likes of you two.”  Iron Root’s face cracked into something that almost resembled a smile.

“Come on in, let’s have ourselves the last of this year’s Ambrosia, I saved back one bottle of honey suckle Cordial just for us.”  Juniper smiled, but this time it did not reach her eyes.  “We have many things to think on.”

It is hard to comprehend that Mid Summer was nigh a fortnight ago. My days are so queer now, with laughter and happiness, but always a nagging of uneasiness.  Iron Root and I have spent every moment together.  It is almost as if we are the only ones in existence and all else is faded like an unreal dream. It is no wonder Juniper and I have only touched on the subject of Titania and the Purblinds. It has been too easy to forget the troubles that lay beyond my love’s embrace.  I must make time to speak with her.

I do not know what the future holds, but for now I am content in my mother’s teachings. I know in my heart there is hope for the Purblinds.  That is not just our duty but our right to share the wealth of magic with them.  But I cannot yet reconcile this inner knowledge with Queen Titaina’s warning.  I think I would surely perish outside the enchanted veil of Santooshka.

Mid Summer Santooshkan Hand Pies

For unexpected entourages

Featured imageThe Still Water Grimoire for Crust and  Honey Basil Berry Jam Recipes

1.  Mix an ounce of goat cheese (from your best Nanny) with freshly chopped basil and rosemary.

2.  Remove chilled crust from larder, roll out to 1/8″ thick

3.  Use Granny’s large biscuit cutter to make as many mini crusts as will fit.

4.  With a small fairy spoon, dip a teaspoon of berry jam into center of “bottom” crust

5.  Add a dollop of goat cheese mix on top of jam

6.  Place a second crust on top of entire pile

7.  Using a fork, press around the edges, squishing the two layers

8. Don’t forget to poke some holes on the top, so it can vent steam

9. Place in jelly roll pan

10. Cook in hot oven for eighteen  minutes or until center crust is a golden brown

Juniper’s Journal: Midsummer Celebrating and Warning from the Old Guard

I must write this down so that I can remember without fault, this eventful Midsummer.

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“ Ladies of Santooshka, keepers of Stillwater, it would serve you to listen to reason and abandon your ambitions of spreading our way of life to the Purblinds. Your ideals are madness, and your priorities should be to tend to this enchanted space. Purblinds are named such, as they are unable to see magic when it is growing green in front of them!”

Queen Titania and Ironroot

Queen Titania and Ironroot

Magnolia and I made darting eye contact with each other when the Queen began to speak.  Ironroot surprised us by arriving in the royal entourage for our Midsummer celebration and was standing behind Queen Titania avoiding our questioning gazes. Was she aware of the faerie uprising stirring in the north? Tiny buds of panic took root in my confusion. Was that why she was here, in our forest, this Midsummer? image

“Purblind and Faerie were once the same people. Or have you forgotten? What separates us are our thought vibrations and way of life. The Purblind chose to break the hoops in which we live. They removed themselves from the sacred circle of life. Our mother gives freely everything we will ever need, and only asks of our breath when we are breathing, and our bodies when we are done with them in return. Yet, the Purblind pillage, hoard, discard,    waste, and slither across this land like unchecked disease. Tell me, do you see them continuing in this manner for another mere 100 years? Those wanton children have drained the magic from our lands and I for one, will be happy to see them all vanish!”

Custom Magickal Dresses available through magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

Custom Magickal Dresses available through magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

Titania lighted atop a log pile and continued with her sermon. A ruckus of thoughts were racing through my head and crashing into the words that were flowing out of her mouth and into my ears.  Colorful memories flashed of my recent travels away from Santooshka and they shone through the shards of Titania’s speech. I may have uttered a “but..” or some other small protest, but  try as I might, my voice was rendered useless by the collisions in my head. There was a natural logic to what Titania was telling, no doubt. Swept up by her charisma hidden fairies and birds, and frogs, and swarms of insects began to agitate and sing down from the treetops and chirp up from the moss “Hear, Hear!” and “Purblind will vanish!”

Magnolia and Juniper's spirits are dampened.

Magnolia and Juniper’s spirits are dampened.

“Now is the time to let the Mother’s fever take it’s course, she is yearning to cleanse her pores. Let us make merry and be happy of it on this Midsummer!” Clouds formed at her feet, and Titania began to slowly twirl and change, and soon, magnificent glowing hair sprouted from atop her head and as the sun set on the longest day of the year, rain began to trickle from the sky.

Titania Twirls 1 Titania Twirls 2

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As I stepped slowly back into the cottage, from the corner of my eye, I saw Ironroot pull Magnolia aside in the moongarden. I have found his countenance much changed since our last meeting, and an intensity shadowed his face as he rushed to be by Magnolia’s side.

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{Glorious by MaMuse}

This has certainly been the most exciting midsummer’s eve in my memory even now it is cast with a melancholic patina. Within the minute of the queen’s arrival, the air the wood took on a rapturous glow, and the choreographed chaos Santooshka was thrown into, was like a folk dance your feet remember before your head does. Our humble cottages have never contained finery fit for royalty, and so it was the lighthearted appeal of simpleness we used to charm Queen Titania. I feel in my heart,  Midsummer was a great success, despite our folded paper hearts, cottage garden flowers, rough hewn furniture, and rustic cuisine.

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We did make merry that eve, and wished for a long, slow, summer with every candle we lit inside the cottage. Ambrosia was flowing, and the larders of spring that were overflowing into every nook and cranny were gobbled down with joyful recklessness. The changelings performed a delightful shadow puppet show of “The Cat and the Three Little Mice” that had our guests laughing and giggling through the night.

Midsummer Shadow puppet theatre

Midsummer Shadow puppet theatre

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The pain of doubt began to creep inside the hollows of my shoulders and I felt myself shrink smaller as the celebration continued.

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I must find a solitary place and sort this through.

I must reconcile my head and my heart.

Juniper flys

{Switchcraft – Chilly Gonzales}

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In Which Magnolia and Juniper Receive Tidings from the Fay Court, and Prepare for MidSummer

Midsummers Eve,

Four days ago, we received a sparrow post from the Fae Court. Over the years we have added our own voice to the other magical enclaves in requesting a parousia of the royal court to our Midsummer Celebration, though she has customarily declined politely, sending lower Elven aristocracy in her stead. This Midsummer, Queen Titaina is coming to Santooshka.

Her arrival adds frenzy to our preparations. The valley hums with activity. We spent that first afternoon airing out all the linens.Featured image The way side Thistle Pixie triplets; Iota, Speck, and Jot (it is impossible to tell them apart, and so I think of them as a single chaotic force), appeared just as Juniper and I were hanging them out. Crooning a quiet flaxen tune, they flitted among the flapping cloths. Diving in and out, causing a tiny wind storm. Now, and until long after Midsummer, the sweetness of the meadow wind will diffuse from all the linens.

Thank goodness for small eddies, the larder is full, our garden bountiful, and Ripple only just delivered four more parcels of flour, milled at the beaver’s dam. Azalea has been diligent in her foraging and we have good store of wild berries in the cellar. Greystone took a few jars of honey and traded with the Water Sprites for several large crayfish and a handful of salt.

Featured imageIt’s as if the very forest is jubilant, giddy for the Queen, composing symphonies. The myriad of cicada’s tidal buzz washes over us in near tangible waves. The tree frogs song weave in and out, trilling out the chorus. The deep resonating thrumming of the bull frogs makes a slow percussion, whilst woodland warblers carry arias from branch to branch. They are spreading the news.

Featured imageAnd news from the royal court spreads quickly, all manner of forest folk are arriving daily to lend a hand. The Willow Nymphs brought strands of pebbles and Robin eggs. Their long slender bodies easily strung them in the Oak bows just above the common. An earth of foxes spent an afternoon weeding in the flower beds. Garden spiders have spun lacy spirals, with dew pearls in along the fences.

At least a single member of every community has appeared with contributions, both in labor and supplies. A cave troll, Long Tooth, has shored up some old and neglected stone work along the path. A magnificent stag left a packet of powder on Juni’s doorstep. A rare root concoction, from the high plain at the very edge of Santooshka, it is said to lighten the spirit and will be added to guests’ cups. Our humble vale is done up in ribbon slender, looking better than it has in many seasons. Even, a flock of woodland birds collected all the debris from off the paths,weaving the small twigs and leafs into intricate works of art. I’ve noticed the few Magpies have tucked pieces of shiny mica and bits of quartz into the crevices.Featured image

All these days of shared labors have had an undertone of magical revelry. It delights me to see our friends and fellow denizens work in such perfect unison. I feel it is this spark of unity that will ignite us in the future. I cannot be alone in this thought. In the coming days our mission to quell the darkness, will need to be mortared with fellowship.

Featured imageAfter day lit hours our work concludes, but our guests stay and share the hearth. Meade and Elder Berry Blossom Tea is passed around and stories woven. Never able to be idle, I’ve been embroidering during these happy evenings. The silk from Iron Root is truly radiant, glinting in the dim light of dusk.

One day, I desire to look upon the Rainbow River where the silk was dyed. I can hear Iron Root, speaking softly, his deep voice vibrating my hollows and sending tingles down my spine. He told of an old river meandering slowly across a golden stalked plain. At every long bend, a different mineral spring effervesces pigment into the ox bow. From afar it appears as a brilliant scaled dragon slithering through the grass.

The most renowned Elven Guild of dyers has a Hall on the banks of the river. All day there is perpetual motion, every stage of production occurring simultaneously. Women with dyed legs are said to stand in the slow current with long staffs, stirring the steeping textiles. Their long, lazy, strokes send brilliant ripples downstream. Other workers are a literal blur as they heft the wet fiber to the drying racks. There is a constant stream of wagons, hauling plain bolts of cloth, mohair, yarn, silk, every fiber imaginable in and leaving with stacks of brightly hued bundles.

I wonder if Iron Root has passed safely onto the next leg of his journey, wherever that damn torrent of a man is.

Featured imageToday, the first of the Fairy Court has begun to filter in through the wood. They seem eager as a lark to take some leave of responsibilities before their monarch graces us with her presence. Dice and card games are scattered along the commons. My favorite early attendants are the queen’s own musicians. They have set up off the side, allowing their music to flow down the valley, but remain tucked out the way of the bustle.

Featured imageGossamer gowns swirl in ever expanding and collapsing circles like billowing sails along the forest paths.

Everyone has begun celebrating already! I think Juniper, Azalea and Greystone have done all we can in the kitchen, that needs prepping before tomorrow. The practical details of feeding so many mouths has lead us to preparing berry and cheese- filled hand pies. A recipe from the Still Water Grimoire.  An enchanted Crust that is known to fill even the largest of appetites.  However, they are taken from the ovens as soon as we can bake them! Despite our pleas to allow the pies to cool, they disappear so quickly, the baking seems a Sisyphean endeavor.

The Queen arrives tomorrow, a merry concept I can barely contain!

MM

Still Water Grimoire Recipe:

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In Which Juniper is Injured by Trolls:

Dear Magnolia,

With any luck, I shall return to the Santooshka before this letter reaches you. I felt I must write down everything that has transpired in the past week! We were warned not to venture far from the forest, and those warnings have proven full of intentions of loving protection.

Shortly after I dispatched my previous letter, I found myself stumbling down a red gravel road- utterly depleted, and longing for the lush woodlands of home. I heard a rumbling from behind and instinctively moved toward the edge of the narrow and rutted roadway, just in time to save myself from being run down by an ambling diesel sputtering truck driven by trolls cast with a human glamor! The canvas covered back looked suspiciously inconspicuous and as fate would have it, the truck sputtered to a stop just ahead of me. Though I was cloaked, there was no hiding the scent of the Santooshka clinging to my hair and I suspect those trolls caught a whiff of it as they passed. I darted up the embankment and sidled next to the truck just as the trolls opened their doors, stepped out, and turned their noses up to the air.

I heard a faint murmuring from under the covered canvas and all at once it became clear to me that these trolls were trafficking changelings! With my last bit of strength, I clawed at the canvas and the ties, frantic to loose any changelings that could be hidden inside. With a mighty, preternatural heave, I unhinged the back clasp of tail gate and out tumbled a bevy of changelings! The trolls were quick to hear the bolt slide from the gate, and so they were there in a split second. “Scatter!!” I screamed to those poor changelings as they all ran in different directions into the wooded hillside. I quickly uncloaked to distract the trolls and before I could cover myself again, one of the nasty trolls caught my foot and on my back I fell.

From here the memories get fuzzy. I remember fighting and clawing and stones flying through the air. The changelings were throwing rocks from the edge of the woods! Their poor, thin, little arms were hurling gravel from the roadway as fast as they could pick up the small red stones. A large boulder began rolling down the hill toward the truck and that’s when I made my way to the edge of the woods. I remember crawling on all fours… an audible crash… and then in my desperate state, resting my back against the trunk of a cedar tree as the sun sank low behind the forest. Just as the fever was beginning to overtake me, I heard some spring peepers… were they singing?

In my delirium, I dreamt of our beautiful Beltane celebration…

We gathered our sacred wood bundle- Cedar for death and rebirth, Cypress for love and family, Dogwood for joy and happiness, Holly for the masculine, Magnolia for the feminine, Oak for knowledge and wisdom, Pine for life and home, Sweetgum for the Faeries, and Sycamore for health and longevity.

And you, Magnolia, you gathered some Mayapple, and Phlox, and we put it on the table and we set out to prepare our feast!

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We thumbed through our Beltane recipes in the Stillwater Grimoire and out fell a recipe for eternal spring beauty- Violet Fizz!

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Recipe must be followed exactly to achieve desired results. Order a high-quality print for your recipe collection: Juniper@societyofmossandlace.com

We were able to make our drink under the exact prescribed conditions. Certain in the knowledge that eternal spring beauty was ours, we sipped and smiled and the real festivities began.

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We drink responsibly. Only when conditions are safe!

Drink responsibly. Only when conditions are magical & safe!

We rolled the Victrola out into the middle of the house and opened all the windows, and started our Danse du Fae…

Have Magnolia Magpie sew you a Beltane gown: magnoliamagpie@societyofmossandlace.com

Have Magnolia Magpie (right) create a Beltane gown for you: magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

twirling two-steps

twirling two-steps

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Juniper GinFairy

Juniper GinFairy wearing a vintage fairy-embellished dress.

Juniper GinFairy

Magnolia Magpie recites poems in a hand sewn Beltane gown: magnoliamagpie@societyofmossandlace.com

Magnolia Magpie recites poems in a hand sewn Beltane gown: magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

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And then the cicadas began singing a little jig, and we whispered to each other it was time to jump the fire…

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Magnolia Magpie flutters to the ground on the other side of the fire.

Magnolia Magpie flutters to the ground on the other side of the fire.

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Ask Magnolia Magpie to create this dress for you: Magnoliamagpie@societyofmossandlace.com

Ask Magnolia Magpie to create this dress for you: Magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

It was as if I could feel the warmth of that Beltane fire as I lay motionless on the Ozark forest floor. And every now and again, a cool hand on my brow….To be continued in my next letter….

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Warmly,

Juniper

RECIPE FOR VIOLET FIZZ:

Serves Two

3 Shots of Hendrick’s Gin

1/2 Shot Triple Sec

8 Ounces of Tonic Water

4 Ounces of Violet Syrup

2 Cups of Ice

Blend all ingredients in High Speed Blender, pour into chilled coupe glasses and garnish with flowers.

violet fizz