Juniper’s Journal: Waking Dreams, familiar faces, and Surprise Lughnasadh Plans

That night, my belly full of Blue Moon Mush and tender from laughing, I lay in my quilt-covered bed and let my eyelids slide slowly down just a little. I thought back on the day and smiled. As I settled into the featherdown a sliver of silver waxing moonlight lit my cheek.

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I awoke to a loud siren and felt a general sense of anxiety and worry. As my eyes adjusted to the early morning light, I found myself in completely foreign surroundings. Instead of my round, cozy, cottage bedroom, I was inside of a square box of a room with windows that overlooked a busy street. Adorned in the synthetic and crude clothing of the Purblind, and smelling of sulfate based shampoos, I walked gingerly into the larger part of the dwelling. There in the center of the room was a shrine that contained a magical glowing talking picture box. I averted my eyes as quickly as I could and prayed I was fast enough to avoid being spellbound by it’s luminance.

Groping and stumbling, I found my way inside a glossy, shiny kitchen space with dangling overhead lighting, metal and glass surfaces and humming machines. I was able to open the tap and fill a tumbler with clear water which induced a searing chlorinated burning as it slid down my esophagus. Behind me a plastic machine beeped and brown steaming liquid poured into a glass pitcher. Once the smell hit my nose, I recognized it as coffee and hoped it would help my newly raw throat. Catching a glimpse of my face in the mirrored surface of a toasting machine after tasting the brew, I mused it was curled and furled as one would naturally do if they had just ingested liquified paper paste.

I set the mug down and scanned the counter top…there were gossamer plastic bags, brightly colored boxes and cylinders, and a bowl of very shiny apples displayed in the center. Marveling at the uniform shapes and color of the apples, I remembered it would be several weeks yet for our apples to ripen on the trees. Wait… Apple trees? I stepped to the nearest window. A black street cut through an otherwise gray and sand colored sea of concrete and glass. A man walked by with a dog on a tether and lifted a hand to me in the window. I waved with a little too much enthusiasm and the man turned his head and quickened his step. My gaze drifted down closer to the structure I was inhabiting, and I noticed a small, sweet patch of viney flower garden looping heart shaped leaves like tiny alien arms reaching out to hold someone. Next to the vine patch garden was a small chair, a cushion and a small reading lamp.

A small rectangle on the counter top repeatedly buzzed and glowed with light. I thought I saw a familiar face on the vibrating screen with the name “MAGGIE” written atop of it before it darkened again. I don’t know how long I stood there in the dreamy indigo shadowed kitchen, spellbound with amazement, when there was a knock at the door. Fear and panic welled from my feet and I prepared to launch away from any intruders.

“Helloooo?” a familiar voice came closer and into the doorway stepped a flame-haired, purple lipsticked, version of Magnolia.

“Magggg…” my voice trailed off in disbelief.

“Jessica, what are you doing? We’re going to be late!…. You know, for our Society of Moss and Lace event?!….Are you sick? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost!” My mouth gaped in anxious confusion. She stepped closer reaching out her arms, she grasped my shoulders and shook “Jessica… Jessica! Jessiper….. Juniper…”

I sat up drowsily in bed and squinted to see long-haired Magnolia beaming at me from across the room. She twirled her skirt and spun her shawl and squealed while clapping her hands.

“What is it? What’s happening?” I rubbed my eyes.

“We’re getting married!” Magnolia shrieked, with smiling eyes. “Sorry to wake you, but I haven’t slept a wink! Ironroot and I are getting married!” At that she made a little hop.

“Forgive me, I am still recovering from the strangest dream I have ever had…. You’re marrying, Ironroot?” I asked.

“On Lughnasadh!” Magnolia chirped

“So soon?” My brows furrowed and I tried to overcome a look of concern. “Are you very certain about this?”

“That’s the beauty of it, Juni, It will be a Lughnasadh handfasting- good for exactly one year and a day.” smiling and patting my hand sympathetically. It was true. Lughnasadh was a time of celebration and the first harvest. It was also a time to separate the wheat from the chaff, and so a handfasting would be considered a trial marriage and either of the couple could end the arrangement the following year.

“There is so much to prepare, and no time to do it in!” Magnolia’s excitement was infectious and I began to daydream of fresh baked bread, fairy festivals, bonfires, gaming, and dancing at dawn . “I want you to tell me everything of Ironroot’s visit last night, but first, I just had the strangest dream! I feel I should tell you before I forget it.” Wide eyed, I told Magnolia of the unnatural world I found myself in and of seeing her Purblind doppleganger. It was all so real, right down to the smell of the coffee.

“Do you think it’s a kind of message? The Society of Moss and Lace…?” Magnolia asked contemplatively.

“I don’t know what to think, yet. I can’t help but feel it was important. I just don’t have dreams as vivid as that one was, and I’m tempted to try and fall back asleep, out of curiosity.” I chuckled as I stood to fold up the blankets on the bed.

“I’ll see you and the changelings for breakfast after the morning’s chores.” Magnolia’s voice disappeared behind a heavy wooden door, and I was left with morning birdsong and racing thoughts.

Sweet Dreams Sachet

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2 Parts dried lavender

1 part dried rose buds

1 part dried jasmine blossoms

1 part chamomile flowers

Optional: Include crystal of your choice inside the sachet for added dream enhancement.

Tuck inside your pillowcase for dreams as sweet as new love.

~*~*~*~ Quarterly Catch-Up (Summer 2015) ~*~*~*~

Infinite Reflection by Kaleidoscope Jukebox

Once upon a time, in an enchanted forest named Santooshka there lived two fair maids in tiny cottages along the banks of a bubbling creek.SAM_0306SAM_8302 SAM_5113 SAM_8913 SAM_8296SAM_8564 Their days were filled with frivolity, laughter, and earth magic, as they coexisted in harmony with all manner of magical forest creatures. There they live still, keepers of the Stillwater Grimoire an ancestral tome of magical ephemera that is an endless dispensary of woodland wisdom and an oracle of joy

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A lingering look as Juniper passes into the unknown world of the Purblinds

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There were whispers throughout the forest of a great darkness sweeping the lands outside Santooshka, and that magical folk were banding together to create a positive force of change. It was decided among the denizens of the wood, that Juniper GinFairy would travel to a renowned seed festival in the Ozarks to forge connections with others of their ilk.

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Ripple the water sprite giving Juniper the enchanting amulet

Alone, and full of uncertainty, Juniper made her way across the Mississippi River to the west and through the red clay mountains where she chanced upon a troll convoy of kidnapped changelings. After a battle by the roadside, Juniper was nursed back to health by Azalea Aldertree and Greystone Gardiner, two of the changelings that survived the uprising, with the help of a magical forest amulet.

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Assisted the 17 year cicadas, the three made their way to the festival and learned more of the wasteful and destructive ways of the Purblind that plague our planet.

The trio then rode a caravan of friendly armadillos back to the safety of Santooshka. Along the journey home they met with MudDog and Dusty Pearl where they collected handmade leather medicine pouches to safely store the amulets in.

handmade amulet pouches soon available in the Bazaar.

Hand tooled amulet pouches soon available in the Bazaar.

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10 live Moss amulets were send for magical placement throughout North America! Thank you to all who wrote letters!

10 live Moss amulets were sent for magical placement throughout North America! Thank you to all who wrote letters!

The Ladies of Santooshka accepted the changelings into their forest family with ease.  The days returned to a tune of normalcy, which for these fae creatures is nothing if not whimsical.

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One sunny afternoon, just returning from a berry picking venture, Magnolia Magpie stumbled upon a handsome stranger who had found his way through the enchanted veil that surrounds Santooshka.

Ask Magnolia Magpie to sew you a tunic like Ironroot's! Magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

Ask Magnolia Magpie to sew you a tunic just like Ironroot’s! Magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

Ironroot Wyldhearth had not found the forest by any accident, but instead was there to impart news of the Great Mother Rebellion.  Elves from the North had bade Ironroot to travel forth into the outer lands gathering intelligence while gleaning allies.  Finding the Still Water custodians receptive to the embers of revolution, Ironroot felt comfortable revealing his hope for the Purblinds.  An impromptu intercourse on a myriad of radical topics ensued, fairy philosophies, the confluence of Fae forces, and Magical dispersion were all discussed.  When he departed, seeds of ideas had been planted, and the women nurtured thoughts that Fairy Folk could once again share their world and magic with the Purblind.

Queen Titania appears in the forest in an enigmatic cloud.

Queen Titania appears in the forest in an enigmatic cloud.

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In the height of Mid Summer Revelry , Santooshka was graced by the royal presence of Queen Titania.  The Queen’s entourage descended upon the valley, as Titania appeared in a whirlwind of smoke.   Informed of a recent shift in ideology flowing through the forest, The Queen of the Fae threatened banishment if Juniper and Magnolia did not adhere exclusively to her commandments.

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After her tirade, Titania spent the eve in Santooshka celebrating the fruits of the season.  During the merriment, Iroonroot pulled Magnolia aside and confessed his passionate love for her.

Ironroon confesses his love to Magnolia

Ironroon confesses his love to Magnolia

We now find the state of Santooshka to be in full transition.  Juniper has taken to long strolls through the outskirts of the forest and Magnolia is ever closely entwined with her lover.  Will the winds of Revolution inspire the ladies to share the pages of the Still Water Grimoire? Will they continue with their quest to open magical knowledge to the Purblinds?   What will their fate hold for them if they disobey orders from the Queen?

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Continue to visit this portal to read the unfolding of this Serial Fairy Tale.  You will be able to look upon the sacred pages of the Still Water Grimoire and join magnolia and Juniper as they traverse unknown places of the heart, mind, and outer world.  You too, can carry a piece of Santooska magic.  Grand Opening of the Bazaar coming soon!

Unfolding by Etherwood

Juniper’s Journal: Wandering feet, a troubled heart, and tea with a Groundhog

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I find myself changing since my return to the forest from the short time I’ve spent amongst the Purblind. Small creases around my mouth and eyes appear when I catch a glimpse of myself in the looking glass. It seems I have aged a decade in the days I was gone from our enchanted home.

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Though I welcome becoming a crone, I do not wish it upon myself prematurely. In quiet parts of the day, I remember my trek to the seed festival,  the troll attack,  and the fever that followed, and that is how I have explained this mysterious accelerated aging to myself. I have also noticed a quivering in my chest and I have taken to solitary walks along the edge of Santooshka as consolation. It is as if I am being called out of the forest by an inaudible pleading, and many moments since Midsummer has been spent listening to the wind and hoping it will tell me my own heart.

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This wanderlust I have recently acquired, is both exhilarating and terrifying. I can’t help but wonder if this is the inner state of all Purblinds. The busyness, the maddening tumbling, grasping and scrambling to achieve obscure, disconnected, self-imposed prisons of sameness and convenience. In Santooshka, we are birthed and rooted into an unbroken circle of giving and receiving. When the rain falls, we drink. When fruits ripen on the trees, we feast. Even when our harvests are meager, we take joy in experiencing the lack, as it allows us to consider our bounties ever the more precious when we have it.

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It was during one of my recent pensive ramblings, that I found myself near an abandoned tumbledown shack, and from underneath it, emerged Serafina the groundhog.

“Ooh, it’s the beautiful Juniper GinFairy, come to visit me!” she cooed in her sugary voice. “I knew I’d be having a visitor today, which is why I just dusted the entirety of my large, beautiful mansion!”
Once in a while, a groundhog will come across a house that some other man built and claim it as the fruit of their own labors. As one such groundhog, Serafina made sure to work her home into any conversation in which she found herself. “Juniper, please come inside for some tea, I have just put the kettle on.” She preened her coarse silvery brown fur. A visit with Serafina always proved to be disorienting. She would sweetly offer tea and treats and laude their refined tastefulness only to serve up sugared pond water and half-eaten dried lichen chips with her stubby little fingers.

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“Come and sit here in the kitchen, the woodwork is original, you know. Come and sit and you’ll tell me all that is weighing on you, my dear!” She ushered me inside her mildewing manor. No matter the vocal content that drizzled out of Serafina’s mouth, she is always sure to deliver it with acute sweetness. It is of course, soothing at the onset, but over the years, I have learned that this is how Serafina lulls one into spilling out private thoughts so that she may regurgitate them later when she has the audience of anyone who will listen.
“I don’t mean to burden you with my troubles, Serafina. I am just out walking to clear my head.”

Serafina the Groundhog beckons Juniper inside for tea.

Serafina the Groundhog beckons Juniper inside for tea.

As soon as I said it, I saw her neck-less square head perk up. “Heavy thoughts troubling your mind, Juniper?” She said in her lilting, sing-song way. And this is the manner in which Serafina prodded and poked me with sugar-coated barbs until I began to indulge her a little and confess:“Magnolia has fallen in love with a man named Ironroot!” I blurted. An awful sinking feeling started inside me. I was ashamed of using my dear friend’s budding romance to deflect from Serafina’s self-serving inquiries, but Fae are nothing if not polite when invited for tea.

I knew not to touch on my true distraction- the warning from Queen Titania at Midsummer, and my unresolved hope for a world in which Purblind and Faerie were one people again- for fear of her saccharine criticisms when my heart is so very tender and unsettled. Thankfully, she took the bait and I sat and listened while Serafina speculated on the breeding and background of Ironroot, and the foolhardiness of Magnolia’s trust for him. The more she belched sugary disapproval, the more sour it turned in my ears until at last I feigned illness and excused myself from the groundhog’s hovel.

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Breathing the wild open air again, I felt myself steady in my convictions, rooting deeper inside until the steadiness overcame my heart. I think that is always the lesson learned when one is blessed to take in groundhog medicine. Digging deeper in the dirt of my emotions, I find I question Titania’s urgency to let Purblind affairs alone. The Stillwater way is to reject segregation. We are interconnected, and though we may not see it right away, we could share with Purblind more than we can imagine.

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As I walked the path back to the cottages, I let my feet carry me and let those parts of me that are older than the mountains, older than the ocean, older than the stars in the sky overcome the worry, and remind my heart of an infinite plan. As the sun slipped low between the trees, I felt my uneasiness drain away and trail behind on the path.

Blush by Wolf Alice

Later that evening, over cozy bowls of Blue Moon Mush, I confessed to Magnolia the details of my encounter with Serafina the groundhog earlier that day.
“That bitty!” Mags threw back her head and laughed. “You remember what Mother Tasha always said, right?” she asked and slurped another spoonful of pudding.
“Groundhogs will gossip!” I chuckled.
“You let Serafina get to you only because you think others actually listen to her. And really, the only one who gives her the time of day is you, Juni. Some people are miserable because they’ve had bad things happen to them. Then, there are folks like Miss Serafina, who are miserable because they don’t let anything at all happen to them at all. Take a cue from the rest of forest and let her be with her pond slosh tea!” Magnolia’s contagious laughter roared and her cheeks glowed from the pudding and the mead. It wasn’t long before my own guffaw joined her, and then giggling from the brownies, house elves, teacup fairies, then yuk-yuking from the doves in the rafters until the entire cottage dissolved into fits of laughter.

Suddenly there came a loud pounding at the door that imposed a dark and immediate silence. Magnolia jumped up so fast her bowl of mush fell to the floor and rolled under the table. It was like she was in a wide-eyed trance- knowing before the rest of us did who was on the other side of the door.

She turned the knob and and there stood Ironroot- his face as pale as the moon, his white ringed eyes glowing, and his mouth gaping open so as to deliver news of severe importance. His eyes searched the candlelit room and before they could fall on me, I slipped out of the back door of the cottage to allow the lovers a private exchange.

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Blue Moon Mush

Makes 2 generous bowls

1 Cup Blue Corn Meal

1 Cup Fresh Cold Milk

2 Cups water

A generous pinch of salt

toppings such as: butter, honey, molasses, maple syrup, brown sugar, berries, heavy cream, or nuts

While you are waiting for the 2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan, mix the cornmeal and the cold milk together in a bowl. This is to help prevent any lumping. When the water is boiling, add the cornmeal mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to make sure it is completely mixed. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 8-12 minutes or until the mush is the consistency of pudding (or a consistency you like).  Serve in bowls with copious amounts of butter and sweetener, and cream, and anything else your heart desires!

**note Blue Corn is more bitter and earthy tasting than yellow corn, you may substitute for yellow corn to get a milder flavor.

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

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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.

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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}

ambrosia (2 of 1)

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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Juniper’s Journal: Society of Moss and Lace Mail and Forest Love Spell!

Juniper journaling

Juniper journaling

I’ve snuck away from the changelings to the creekside to write for a bit of the afternoon. What tranquility it is, to feel the cool steadiness of the moss covered boulder people cradled snug against my back.  I feel I must write these thoughts of mine down, as things seem to have happened so quickly this spring! It has become clear to Magnolia and I that the prophecy foretold to us by the ancients is nigh. There have been many signs ciphered- not the least of which was a recent visit to the wood by a man called Ironroot. He spoke of the Elves of the North sending emissaries to every reachable magical enclave to rally together. The northern Elves are famous for their reclusive behavior and so we can safely assume civil lands must be as acute in their need for magical intervention as we have feared.

Pensive Juniper

There were many things I witnessed while sojourning to the seed festival, and I have kept much to myself. I didn’t have the language (and perhaps I still don’t) to convey to Magnolia the other reality that lies beyond the forest reach.

dead robin

This robin was given a burial, as is the custom in Santooshka.

It is far more frightening, and more brilliant than what was told to us as bedtime stories. What would Mags say if I told her I saw a moving picture of Purblind Blue Warriors attacking a child in the street? The very child that those Warriors were deputized to protect. The stones of many un-tellings weigh down my heart.

Soapwort along the path

Spiderwort blooming along the Santooshka Forest paths

I must confess, the first few days home have been bittersweet. I am elated to be among my friends, my trees, my home, but I cannot shake a deep grief welling inside of me. I mourn for the civil lands that lived in my dreams. Or, I mourn for the dreamland that did not survive in the civil ones. I cannot decide which.

mossy

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I am though, above everything, a slave to hope. Ironroot’s visit came at a time when my hope needed ratification and I am newly inspired to press on with our plans to share the magic of Santooshka far and wide.

Magnolia and I have begun staying up late into the night stitching, spinning, sorting, beading, knitting, weaving, and wishing since Ironroot’s mysterious departure. I must confess, I have noticed a melancholy air about her when we aren’t busying our hands. We’ve begun in earnest to prepare for Midsummer. We’ve worked together bent over a golden gown with pearl beads and geometric cutwork- a truly inspired piece that I believe contains the essence of heart-longing. Is there a more beautiful pain than heart-longing?

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100% Wool Crop-top with green recycled sari silk thread embroidery. Available in the Bazaar next month.

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Stargazer lilies blooming in Juniper’s Garden

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In Santooshka, Stargazers represent innocence and purity.

While spear-fishing the creek today, I noticed the pair of fledgling Swallow-Tail Kites that I was sure would have flown the nest by my return, have decided to stay in Santooshka. I imagine they’ve made this decision under insect-induced conditions.

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Most all of the forest birds are all starry-eyed and whistley, and have fattened entirely too early in the season on juicy Cicada bellies. Not only do they enjoy feasting on them day and night, the perched birds sway in unison to the collective hypnotic roar of cicada love-song. Has the entire forest succumbed to a love spell?

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Wandering Woolgather dropped a bundle for us between the cottages!

MudDog's handcrafted Medicine pouches to hold the moss amulets.

MudDog’s handcrafted Medicine pouches to hold the moss amulets.

Inside, were more pouches from MudDog and Dusty Pearl, Lupine seeds, salt, lavender candies and magnificent letters from the civil lands!! While the changelings stuffed their mouths full of candies, Magnolia and I rushed to the quiet of the ravine to read our correspondence. Unwittingly, without preamble or ceremony, we ripped open a letter from The Mimosa Queen of the East!

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Dear Juniper and Magnolia,

Greetings from the East! I hope that this card finds you both quite well! I’m writing in regards to the Fern Defiant! Oh, what a beautiful series of images that it calls to mind!

MaidenHair Fern growing in Santooshka

MaidenHair Fern growing in Santooshka

I wouldn’t say that I’ve had an easy life, thus far. (What does that even mean? Isn’t life difficult for everyone?) This past year, I’ve been greeted with seemingly new challenges with terribly familiar faces… I’ve had moments when the future seemed so uncertain (of course it is!) and it’s felt so frustrating and anxious to believe that things will get better. Yet, they always do. Always.

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The Fern Defiant doesn’t strike me as held down. The fern is a fighter. A peaceful warrior. I think that the fern in my life is humor and compassion, striving only for survival. I feel easily frustrated, but the moment I find myself laughing, the load is lightened. Sun, water, and nutrients from rich soil, like the soil of Santooshka, I’d imagine, and victory is hers. The gift of laughter and gentle reminders to be loving with myself are enough to ground me and help me to remember that each challenge, each road block and each disruption is a gift, and an invitation to grow. What a blessing!

Lace cuffs fit for a queen! contact the forest for your pair!

Lace cuffs fit for a queen! contact the forest for your pair!

So Much Love!

~The Mimosa Queen of the East

SAM_0057

Enclosed was an inspirational print we gave to the meadow fairies right after we recited the letter to the plagiary of mockingbirds that were just waiting to spread happy forest news.

Magnolia reads the Mimosa Queen's letter.

Magnolia reads the Mimosa Queen’s letter.

Starstruck, and our hearts lightened, Magnolia and I laughed, and splashed in the ravine, and for a time, our daily duties have been met with jubilant dedication. Whether it is a love-spell, or simply the the approach of Midsummer, Santooshka is bubbling over with a dreamy anticipation of good things to come.

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Golden Gown available in the bazaar next month.

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The Changelings have been folding hundreds of paper hearts in preparation for Midsummer! Follow the tutorial below, and remember to start with a square sheet of paper. Take your time, enjoy your craft. Click pause as many times as you need. You may contact the forest if you run into any trouble!

**Love Spell**

Write the name of your love on the white inner part of the paper heart. Sleep with it under your pillow. If you dream of your love within the next 7 days, know the love is reciprocal!

Start with a square piece of paper. Now would be a good time to write your love's name on the inside. Fold into squares and open again.

Start with a square piece of paper. Now would be a good time to write your love’s name on the inside. Fold into squares and open again.

Fold the bottom edge up to meet the middle crease.

Fold the bottom edge up to meet the middle crease.

Flip the paper over so the design side is on top.

Flip the paper over so the design side is on top.

Fold the bottom corners up to meet the middle crease.

Fold the bottom corners up to meet the middle crease.

Fold the other bottom corner up to meet the middle crease.

Fold the other bottom corner up to meet the middle crease.

Turn the paper over.

Turn the paper over.

Fold the outer edge so that it meets the center crease.

Fold the outer edge so that it meets the center crease.

Fold the other outer edge in to meet the center crease.

Fold the other outer edge in to meet the center crease.

Fold down the top outer corner until it meets the center crease.

Fold down the top outer corner until it meets the center crease.

Fold the other top outer corner down to meet the center crease.

Fold the other top outer corner down to meet the center crease.

Bend the entire piece in half so that the top point meets the bottom point.

Bend the entire piece in half so that the top point meets the bottom point.

Tuck the bottom corner into the pocket.

Tuck the bottom corner into the pocket.

Flatten the top of the paper on both sides. Start your crease from the center and press outwards.

Flatten the top of the paper on both sides. Start your crease from the center and press outwards.

Fold the upper corner down to make a square bottom.

Fold the upper corner down to make a square bottom.

Fold the other upper corner down to square the bottom edge.

Fold the other upper corner down to square the bottom edge.

Fold the tips of the triangles at the top down to meet the crease.

Fold the tip of the triangle at the top down to meet the crease.

Fold the opposite tip of the triangle to meet the middle crease.

Fold the opposite tip of the triangle to meet the middle crease.

Flip it over to reveal your finished heart!

Flip it over to reveal your finished heart!

To make a paper heart garland, glue or tape string to the underside of the last flaps that were folded down before finishing.

To make a paper heart garland, glue or tape string to the underside of the last flaps that were folded down before finishing.

In Which: A Merry Berry time is had, and a Stranger comes to Santooshka

Moonday, Mooald

Juniper’s return is only brightened by the two changelings she has brought back to the Wood.  In the short time they’ve been here, their haunted looks have been replaced with the healthy glow of happy sprites.  I am already accustomed to their bell-like laughter echoing through our valley.

Azalea is quick to make friends with all the Fae and Forest Folk she meets.  The Cottage Fairies were first to love her, and so I think they adore her best.  They leave her violet candies and bits of colorful thread.  Just last eve, her nimble fingers easily mended Flit’s broken wing.  The red tailed hawk was most grateful, rubbing his tawny head against her small hand.

I can see the innate earth magic in Greystone.  He certainly has the power to harness the Purblind’s “magic,” Eleckricity.  His only belonging was a small parcel tied up in string.  I recognized the flowing symbols of the Silicon Elves from the far west, but their meaning is unknown to me.  It contains various rare earth metals and tiny tools.  He is most interested in the wind mill, and has plans for improvements.

Juniper and I have long been the sole keepers of the Still Water Grimoire.  My heart is swelling and my soul lightened by our little changelings!

The water Elements have been running a muck of late.  Dark gray clouds have been slowly dragging their way across the sky, dumping heavy rain for days.  Finally, today, the sun has decided to show her shining visage.  Taking advantage of the good weather, we packed a picnic and headed to Woods Edge.   The meadow was overtaken by Beards Tounge.  The white belled wild flower swayed in the slight breeze beneath billowing clouds and brilliant blue sky.

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Azalea and Greystone spied the row of mulberry trees along the field’s outer boundary.  The limbs were heavy with fruit, the first berries just turning the dark purple-red of ripeness.   The sun kissed berries were warm in my mouth and juice ran down our faces.

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We spent the afternoon lazily snacking on berries and constructing poems.  Juniper wrote this for me:

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Hair as long as the river/Hands as small as a wren’s /Reaching the mulberry branches /The wind was kind to bend

On our way back to the valley, we passed our own little berry patch.  The strawberries had been neglected in the rain and were drooping with large red globes.  Even Juniper’s blueberry bush had the first fruit of the season.  Gleefully, we added them to our bounty.

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We had an impromptu jam-ing.  Four extra hands made the work light and was a merry night, indeed!

M.M.

Strawberry Full Moon

Joyful and most auspicious happenings today!! The time, we have so long prepared for, is at hand.  After these years of preparation, it is difficult to believe, but I welcome it wholeheartedly!  The way of Still Water and Santooshka will be broadcast across the land.  Sowing the seed of magic and awakening the latent Purblind’s need to fit into the natural world.

After morning tea Juniper gave me a jug of honeysuckle cordial and asked me to give it to Ripple, for her most fortuitous gift of the amulet.  The path is now over grown in its early summer greenery and I heard splashing long before I could see the running water.

Standing knee deep in the middle of the stream was a  man.  His dark curls too short to keep the sun’s reflection from dappling his face.  Laughing, he was holding the largest sunfish I have ever seen.  His laughter was contagious and I could not keep from giggling.

Startled, he lost his grip on the fish and what followed was nothing but comical.  The fish sensing it’s last chance for freedom wiggled frantically, while the bearded man put hand over hand as if pulling an invisible rope, trying to secure the flopping fish.  In the end, he lost his balance and landed in the stream with a large splash.  He recovered, flourished his sopping hat and bowed most gracefully, “My lady,” he said.

“Since I am the cause of your lost breakfast and wet tumbling act, I insist that you come to the cottage and allow me to show you the hospitality entitled to any guest who makes through the veil of the Santooshka.”

He bowed again, smiling, “I am called Ironroot, a wanderer by nature and raconteur by choice. I’d happily take the company of a beautiful lady anytime over that of a fish, and I am much heartened to learn I have made it to this enchanted wood, for it is my journey’s destination.”

We walked the short way back to the cottage, between the noise of his watery squelching and shared laughter, there was little space for chatter.  The changelings heard and ran to meet us on the path.  Excited queries gushed from their berry stained lips.

I shushed them and told them to run tell Juniper to put the kettle on.  General mayhem descended into Juni’s kitchen, dry clothing was found, wet ones hung out, cats and the Cottage Brownies ran beneath our feet, and the changelings constant questions were drowned out only by kettle’s whistle.   We had just laid out thistle seed muffins when Ironroot arrived wearing –if not well fitting- a well suited tunic and breeches.  Again, the children’s voices were woven into an intricate tapestry of questions and suppositions.

“Now, now, lit’ uns, let the gentleman drink his tea, and he will tell of his travels in due course, ” I cheerfully chided.

He laid his hand atop of mine; stirring up a place in my middle I had long forgotten.  “Madam, it is time for me to tell you why I have come.  ”

And so it was, over steaming sips of raspberry tea we learned the time has come for the magic we have held so dearly to our breasts, to spill over the boundaries of Santooshka and into the unnatural world of the Purblinds.

His tale went this way.  For certain, he was an outer worldly traveler and had had many adventures, but they had all led him to this inevitable sequence.  After spending the winter in the mountains, he returned to Stonestack, a northern Elvish village, bringing the enchanted Angora goats back to their spring pastures.   Knowing his gypsy heart, the village elders called upon him to serve the Earth Mother Rebellion- as they were now calling it.  They bade him to go from one hidden magical enclave to another, calling upon the denizens of each enchanted community.  He was to be a harbinger of revolution.  Spreading the word, it was now time for the Fae Folk to change the heart of Man.  Time now, to show them the love they seek can only be given, not taken.  To teach them that the earth, water, and sky were not resources to be used and thrown away, but our mother, father, and protector.  That magic is an never ending well of heart healing.    It was time to share the way of Still Water.

Ask Magnolia Magpie to sew you a tunic like Ironroot's! Magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

Ask Magnolia Magpie to sew you a tunic like Ironroot’s! Magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

M.M.

Freeday,

We spent yesterday in Juni’s kitchen, discussing Ironroot’s plan of action further.  He hoped he could spend a fortnight here before continuing south.   He had followed the Cahokia ley lines to the outskirts of Santooshka, but the way to Evergreen Glade was more dangerous and there would be times when he would have to use glamour to blend in with the Purblinds.

After we had discussed our devotion to the cause, the forming of councils, supply lines and other needs must associated with what I could only think of as a magical uprising, our conversation wandered like the paths through our forest.  He is a man of conviction and has spent ages on the road, opening the eyes of the Purblind, only when it was safe.  It is obvious why the Northern Elves entrusted him with such a mission.  We shared heart and hearth with him until the moon rose.  He set up camp in the commons betwixt the cottages for the night.Featured image

This morning he appeared in his own clothes, clean shaven and bright eyed.  He is truly most handsome.  Out of a sack he produced a variety of packages in different sizes.

“I heard from certain armadillos that to gain the true admiration of the Ladies of Santooshka, I must bring gifts along with good tidings.  Locks of curly mohair fibers for the lady Juniper,” he said handing her the first parcel.  “And a bolt of the finest calico for the Lady Magnolia.  And here; silk strands dyed in the rainbow river by the Northern Elven Folk.”

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“Such finery!” Juniper exclaimed, running her fingers through the silken locks.

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He smiled back, “…Which pale in the comparison with your hospitality.”

The changelings looked mildly rejected until he turned to them, “Don’t fret, I did not forget you littles.”

He gave Greystone two lengths of silver wire and Azalea a lovely blue ribbon.  “For you both,” he laid an old tome on the table.  Written in western Elvish, the symbol for changeling was engraved on the leather binding. “A beginning to discovering your past.”

Azalea eyes became dewy, but Greystone grew quite serious, “Thank you Sir Ironroot.”

Juniper and I had plans to do some spinning with the Meadowlark.  The silly conceited bird believes his song sounds best when accompanied by the soft humming of Juni’s spinning wheel.  Despite our insistence that we could postpone, and be perfect hosts for him, he waved us off and said he was quite good at keeping his own company.

It was such a beautiful day!  The sun was especially sunny , the grass wonderfully green and for once, I completely agreed with the Meadowlark, his song was the most beautiful, yet.   Juniper whirred up skeins of the Mohair, while I gave up my attempts with the drop spindle and lay down dreaming Iron Wood’s face in the clouds.

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On our return,  I realized (and I must add sadly) that Ironroot’s belongings were no longer assembled in the common.  And after moments looking through the valley I found a small bunch of wild flowers on my doorstep with a scrawled note beside it.

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“In this life, we do not make friends but recognize them”

The note said nothing else. I must admit I am surprised at my own disappointment.  It seems that the wind has blown Ironwood out of our lives, just as it had brought him.

M.M.

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All things have meaning especially in Santooshka : Honeysuckle- psychic powers, protection Mint-love, healing, travel, protection Clematis- communication with spirit, imagination Daisy- joy, youth, family Also- Mulberry- protection, strength

Juniper and Magnolia’s Honey Basil Berry Jam

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In Which Juniper Arrives With the Changelings:

Magnolia,

I thought it best to finish the letter I sent while on the road home and give it to you discreetly so that you may read it after supper and perhaps dream about it tonight.  You must have guessed by now that it was the changelings who kept me alive that night in that dark Ozark Forest I crawled into after the Troll attack. Two of the wee ones patted my hand and dabbed my forehead all the night long.

I awoke to early morning birdsong, and the two had fallen asleep on either side of me.  I noticed the amulet Ripple gifted to me was now hung around my neck and the cork unstopped and the contents spilled out onto my chest, and the unmistakeable and glorious scent of the Santooshka had enveloped our trio in a swirling protective mist. I heard a Whippoorwill whistle in that certain way we taught them, and I knew you must have received word of my plight and instructed the woodland animals to open the amulet.  After earnestly thanking the forest for my miraculous healing and renewed sense of well-being, I carefully arranged the contents back into the jar and went about making breakfast.

While I was cooking a tidy breakfast of Blue-Jay egg, pine-needle tea, and reconstituted serviceberry mash, I started to remember that song we used to always sing when we drank pine-needle tea at the Garden’s Edge- and before I knew it, I was humming and singing that old familiar tune…

I looked up from my cup of tea to see the changelings staring quietly at me. The poor things didn’t remember anything before waking up in the back of that old Troll truck, not even their names! I will tell you now, because they’ve been so quiet since our arrival: I’ve named the girl-child Azalea AlderTree after the songs we sang before, and all the beautiful Azaleas blooming now. The boy-child I’ve named Greystone Gardiner because I saw him throwing stones at those Trolls; and Gardiner because it is the loftiest of occupations, isn’t it? Anyway, they’ll just need a little time to warm up to us and Santooshka Forest, and I’m sure they’ll fit right in.

But, how we all came to arrive at the Seed Festival is quite the story! As you might imagine, I was a little disoriented and not having ventured from Santooshka like this before, I found myself pacing under a row of pines. I think that’s what did it. The pacing, I mean. The ground began to purr and then, rumble, and Magicicada’s – the Periodical Cicadas that awaken every 17 year- wriggled by the thousands up from the ground all around us! Before I could say “Ecdysis!” they started chirping- “Where are we?” “I’m hungry!” “Who are you?” and they turned and stared at us with wide-set red eyes and wanted answers! Normally, it is days before the Magicicadas can fly as you know, but this brood was particularly robust and began flitting their wings and encircling and mussing our hair and ruffling our clothes. Thankfully, I was able to convince them to work together to transport us to the Seed Festival which just happened to be on the other side of the wood in exchange for telling them stories of the world above ground for the past seventeen years.

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The Seed Festival! Sure, there were Purblinds everywhere, but there were also lots of magic folk from other forests and prairies, and deserts, and mountains from other lands. We were told we would always recognize our own kind Magnolia, it’s true. Even all the way in the Ozarks, I could tell I was surrounded by a network of people just like us, who believe in the same future we do.

Ambassadors from All lands visit The Baker's Creek Seed Festival in Mansfield, MO

Ambassadors from All lands visit The Baker’s Creek Seed Festival in Mansfield, MO

Juniper GinFairy, Azalea AlderTree, Greystone Gardiner enjoy a sunny day at Baker's Creek Seed Festival May 2015

Juniper GinFairy, Azalea AlderTree, Greystone Gardiner enjoy a sunny day at Baker’s Creek Seed Festival May 2015

Azalea AlderTree Wearing a handsewn hat lent to her by Juniper- Order yours from Magnolia@societyofmossandlance.com

Azalea AlderTree Wearing a hand-sewn hat lent to her by Juniper- Order yours from Magnolia@societyofmossandlance.com

Secret meetings were held. Councils were formed. The network of believers strengthened. I left with Greystone and Azalea with a lighter heart and wings on my soul. By the time we caught up with the Cicadas, it was apparent the Magicicada King had awoken because they were all flopping around chanting “Pha-raoh! Pha-raoh!” And there was no convincing them of anything, least of all to quiet down and listen. We covered our ears and ran from the thicket to escape the din of their listless chanting.

On a narrow goat path down the hill, we got to chatting with a fez of armadillos that had also just left the Seed Festival. As it happened, they stopped by on their way from Arkansas, with bundles of Ouachita Mountain Quartz in leather sacks strapped to their backs, for a rest and a few fruit-and-larvae smoothies. They were headed east and were kind enough to offer us a ride back to the edge of the Santooshka Forest! You and I both know there are no coincidences, and so though I’d like to say I wasn’t surprised to find out that they all knew our friends Mud Dog and Dusty Pearl. I was elated to learn that they had packed special quartz bundles just for them!We were delivered to their doorstep along with the quartz bundles after only a few days of uneventful armored travel at armadillo pace.

Dusty Pearl made us tea upon our arrival, and I recounted the miraculous story of the Troll attack, the changeling uprising, and how the amulet revived me. Mud Dog and Dusty Pearl suggested that bits of the Santooshka be shared outside the forest for other believers to utilize. Before I could protest, Mud Dog began fashioning tiny leather pouches for me to carry back to our neck of the woods. Dusty Pearl instinctively painted The Fern Defiant on each pouch as a reminder to all who hold the amulets, that though difficult times lay ahead, we are the people who grow and thrive in inconvenient conditions.

Ouachita

Some of the Ouachita “Wa-She-Ta” Mountain Quartz in the Armadillo shipment.

Mud Dog creating amulet pouches for The Society of Moss and Lace

Mud Dog creating amulet pouches for The Society of Moss and Lace

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With deft fingers, Dusty Pearl paints The Fern Defiant on the leather pouches.

With deft fingers, Dusty Pearl paints The Fern Defiant on the leather pouches.

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Live Moss Amulets with

Live Moss Amulets with “A bit of the Santooshka” inside ready to be put inside their pouches for transport!

Since arriving home this morning, I have fielded a barrage of questions from the changelings and they have slowly begun meeting the inhabitants of Santooshka. Even Kitty Purry climbed out of the Sugar Maple tree to say hello!

Kitty Purry lives inside the trunk of a Sugar Maple tree.

Kitty Purry lives inside the trunk of a Sugar Maple tree.

Greystone wanted to know why we hung mirrors in the garden. He didn’t know how vain the insects are in Santooshka- especially in spring when their wings aren’t tattered and their shells are glossy and new.

Greystone Gardiner, newly of Santooshka Forest.

Greystone Gardiner, newly of Santooshka Forest.

This one may be more manfolk than Faerie kind... only time will tell.

This one may be more manfolk than Faerie kind… only time and growing will tell.

A Cicada admiring his glossy new exoskeleton.

A Cicada admiring his glossy new exoskeleton.

Azalea AlderTree newly of Santooshka Forest.

Azalea AlderTree newly of Santooshka Forest.

Azalea reveling in the scent of the Santooshka!

Azalea reveling in the scent of the Santooshka!

Azalea peeking in windows to see who sleeps late in Santooshka Forest.

Azalea peeking in windows to see who sleeps late in Santooshka Forest.

The sweet smell of woodland roses!

The sweet scent of woodland roses!

I thought maybe I would ask Honey Bower to set aside the first 10 letters we receive that have the words “The Fern Defiant” written in them outside the usual mailbag so that we may send a reply post-haste with Moss Amulets inside. As was foretold in the Stillwater Grimoire, the time to share the magic of the forest is upon us and I am certain if we can just get the amulets into the hands of the right people, our mission to spread frivolity and enchantment through the lands will be that much easier! Dream on it, Magnolia, and let me know your thoughts in the morning. Enthusiastically Yours, Juniper

We're giving away these live moss amulets to the first 10 people who write to us with the words:

We’re giving away these live moss amulets to the first 10 people who write to us with the words: “The Fern Defiant” !

To Enter our giveaway, simply write a letter or postcard to Juniper and Magnolia with the words: “The Fern Defiant”. Make sure your return address is legible enough for Wandering Woolgatherer to decipher and we will send you your Live Moss Amulet from Santooshka Forest straight away.

The Society of Moss and Lace

C/O Honey Bower

#53Buttermilk Hill Rd

Ava, IL 62907

USA

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

dansedufae3 (2 of 1)

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