In Which Magnolia Receives a Moon Message and Helps a Luna Pixie

Magnolia’s Journal:

 Sturgeon Full Moon FreeDay,

I can say for certain that I have been growing anxious for this night.   This eve is the first full moon since my husband has left.  I have just returned from my night adventure and the 1440868699647grassy glen just beyond the creek’s edge.  Midnight seemed to never come, as I waited sitting upon a mossy rock.

The spell worked as I hoped it would.  Written in Ironroot’s own hand were the words I longed to believe.  He IS safe!  He has reached his North Eastern enclave.

SAM_1268After reading Ironroot’s message, I sat still and listened to the night song of Santooshka.  Two Bard Owls sang spiraling duets in the finale of their nightly competitions. A soft wind dried the sweat from my face, it’s cool fingers tussled my locks, and tugged my nightgown.  It smelled like tomorrow’s rain and cooler weather.   The breeze beckoned me as I found myself walking down the moonlit path.

The new found power that Juniper and I discovered has helped in keeping my mind off Ironroot these last weeks.  We were amazed and delighted to discover a few pages that had been stuck together, I suspect magically sealed, in the Sweet Water Grimoire.  This hidden chapter contains a cash of Creatrix incantations and charms to enhance our innate power for creation.   The simplest and so far my favorite, is a summoning spell for a little pixie that sits atop my sewing machine.  She hums such lovely tunes, that make the sewing treadle go twice as fast, with half the effort, but is so shy she vanishes if we ask her name.

Juniper found a spell for her spinning wheel.  The most difficult task was to obtain a spider spun sachet to store the herbs in.  Luckily, I had received such a bag on my handfasting day.  After adding the final ingredient, a fist full of wooly Mullein harvested the last moment before day break, the pouch melted into a soft waxy ball.  When she rubs this substance on her spindle, the yarn always comes out the perfect thickness.

1440866634313Lost in my thoughts, I stumbled over a root and fell face first into a loamy pile of decaying leaves.  Unwilling to get up I rolled unto my back and stared at the slim span of stars between the branches that mirrored the forest path.  I laid there, in this manner, for an unknown time.  Knowing Ironroot is safe has  reduced the tightness in my chest, but his absence still weighs heavy on me.

I must have fallen asleep, because the rustling of nearby underbrush woke me.  I caught my breath and kept still, it sounded like a large beast, and I did not want to frighten any forest dweller away. In Santooshka there are nocturnal creatures  that keep away from the light of our cottages.  Only once or twice after a long hard winter, before spring begins to show any green, have the Sasquatch come to our valley.   On Feast days we leave jugs of ale, always gone in the morning, for the tanaki, but we have never seen them.  Juniper once heard the mad cry of the Hamadryad, and just recently, while out collecting Moon Beans, Greystone caught a glimpse of a man sized owl taking flight.

I slowly rolled onto my belly, as a litany of curses wafted through the trees.  I blinked the sleep out of my eyes, and noticed a blue luminescent sphere tucked between two tree roots off to my right.    The rustling grew louder as this sweet voiced foul mouthed creature thrashed about in my direction.

“Oh stagnant pond sludge!   Where in the dammed river did it go?”  A rounded rear end stuck out from the foliage as the Pixie walked backward with its head down and it’s arms thrashing behind it.  Her bare heel caught on the same root that was my down fall, and in a tangle of sparkly blue, she came crashing down beside me.

“PLASTICIZED PRICKS!” she yelled as she fell backward.  She landed on her behind, her elven shaped face next to mine.  Then, “Ooup.”  Wide eyed, she gulped.  “Pardon my mouth.  I didn’t realize anyone was about.”

I couldn’t contain myself, but managed to slap my hand over my mouth as laughter escaped.

“Plasticized-“ I giggled.

Blushing slightly ultramarine the blue girl shrugged and offered her hand.

“I have always wanted to meet one of the Ladies of the Wood, but I am  far too busy to drop1440866633710 in, and now just look at me, what an impression I have made.”  Her green eyes sparkled as she smiled.   “I’m Star Dust, and you must be…”

“I’m Magnolia, Juniper is my sister, and you’re right, we are the Ladies of Santooshka.  Never mind the how, we both were ensnarled by that treacherous root, it is happy chance to meet you in the forest this night.”

“I’ve just the thing to celebrate this happenstance meeting in the dark.”  Star dug around in a leather sack tied to her hip.  She pulled out a small pipe fastened from a deer antler and stuffed herbs into the end.  She caught a bit of a moon beam, and pinched it until it expelled a flash of flame that she stoked by taking deep puffs on the pipe.

“Fortifies against the dark,” she said, her voice distorted by a lung full, and passed me the smoking pipe.

1440793835903I joined in on her little ritual and as the tension left us, we chatted freely.   Star is a Luna Pixie.  Her kind are all sisters born from eggs lain generations ago, every millennium a new crèche is hatched.  A disaster occurred when Star was just a hatchling, killing all the sisters in her generation.   Her elder sisters too old, and the young ones too small, she alone could leave their underground burrow and preform their worldly duties.

“And that is why we have never met and why I can never find time to visit you.  I must perform the work of a hundred sisters,” Star finished

.“What is it that you must do?” I asked

“It is a heavily guarded secret of my people, but I will tell you this: Long ago when the Fae Kind and the Purblinds could no longer coexist, the magical people combined their powers and created many small havens that were hidden from Purblind eyes.”

“Like Santooshka?”
“Exactly,” Her azure tinged fingers tucked her dark curls behind her ear.  Her midnight locks shimmered like a star filled sky.  Her face darkened as she grew serious.   “However, the net surrounding Santooshka and all magical enclaves must be refreshed by every full moon, or it‘s strength will fade with the waning.”

Then she burst into tears, “And now I have ruined it all to bloody hell.  I have lost the Moon Key, and will be unable to rekindle the dammed hollows.”

“My friends and I will help you look!  Don’t cry, tell me what this moon key object looks like, and I can begin to search right away.

Star wiped tears from her face and took a deep breathe, ”It appears as a small hand sized glowing blue bauble, and it should be bleeding easy to see in the dammed dark wood.”

Of course the description sounded familiar, I had just seen the moon key on the other side of Star.  I smiled widely and laughed out loud.

“Don’t you understand anything I have just said?  You are as crazy as a Purblind if you think this is funny!”  Star said with her hands on her hips.

“Oh I understand,“ still smiling I crawled behind the blue pixie and reached into the low growing ferns.  “Is this what you are looking for?” I handed her the glowing sphere.

SAM_1219“Sweet Water!” Star exclaimed!  “You’ve saved the night, City Lights, you’ve saved us all!!”

I told her not to be silly, and assured her that she would have found it as easily as me, if I hadn’t already been sprawled on the ground when she fell.  She hugged me tight and did a little dance, sending, a shower of aqua sparks flying from her feet.

Once again able to go about her important business, Star was eager to be on her way.  “So many Hollows, you know,” she said.  She dug into her pouch once more, but it was not her pipe she pulled out this time.  Her hand was full of dazzling crystals.  Each one shone with it’s own light.

image“We call them star shards.  My sisters and I know when a fragment of star light becomes entangled in the protective web around Santooshka. I collected these myself, I give them as a small appreciation token!

“You do not know the trouble you have helped us all escape, not to mention saving me personally from my elder sisters’ wrath!!!”

She also gave me some of her pipe herbs, which I tucked away into one of my pockets.  We promised to look for each other on the next full moon, and to keep our new friendship.  After a long goodbye, we parted ways.

Meeting Star was a good omen!  It reinforces my decision to stay at home, while Ironroot walks the wind.

I think what I need before I retire this evening is long hot bath.   I’ll wake the fire pixies, and after they take a dip in the tub, the water will be almost boiling!  And I have the perfect Full Moon Bath Soaking Salts!

M.M.

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Full Moon Soaking Salts

You will need:

1 Cup Sea Salt

1 Cup Baking Soda

1 tsp of skin-safe quality sourced Essential oil ~ we used a combination of Lavender, Rose and Vetiver oils.

In a well ventilated area, combine the salt and the soda and the essential oils in a large bowl being sure to mix well.

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Spoon in to a colored glass jar and enjoy under the full moon!

In which Wandering WoolGather drops a parcel and the Forest Gives a Gift

Magnolia’s Journal:

Ides of August

I woke to the warbler’s song this morning.  It’s sweet song trilling between my covers and into my heart.    The sun was just peaking over the hill as I poked my head out from my cottage.  Thick mist rose from the dewy grass and clung to the branches over hanging the SAM_0963commons.  Spokes of light persisted in sheering through the fog and dappled my goose pimpled arms.   A slight breeze blew over the stream, sweeping cool air across my face.

Untold days had passed since I had last really paid attention to much else than my wounded heart.  I suppose I have been out of sorts, mourning Ironroot’s sudden departure.SAM_0966   However in the light of this new day, I finally felt a little reprieve.  The metal vice that had gripped my heart, not vanished, but had at last loosened.  I could finally take a deep breath.  And, as I already know, but must keep learning, the wholesome Santooshkan air lightened my heavy burden into a load I could bear.

In the last fortnight Summer had cloaked our little valley in bright green.   Curly locked moss had over taken the rock path, and tickled my bare toes.  I meandered down to the creek’s edge

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SAM_0674 All my favorite late summer wild flowers were in full bloom and the Bell Flowers filled the air with a grape like fragrance.  The clear running water was cold against my skin, and as I splashed water upon my arms and legs, the icy rivulets further revitalized me and swept the darkness into the far corners of my mind.

SAM_0681Suddenly I heard a loud whoosh, as if a concert of giants had all sighed at once.  Out of the corner of my eye I caught just the hint of the Wandering Woolgather’s hot air balloon.  I jumped up and ran down the path back to the cottages.

Having caught the wind, the balloon bobbed gently over the clearing.  Wandering’s balloon is not only a most welcomed sight, but proof of magic-if there was one.   It appeared to be always landing, but swooping up at the last moment over a stubbornly large tree.   Its lopsided dome is a literal quilt of patches.  Squares of all sizes, layered madly in an eye wrenching kaleidoscope of colors.   The rag tag balloon leaned precariously towards the bow, so it was often that you could spy Wandering, hanging nose down over the stern, with his long toes anchored through the rope, in a poor attempt to straighten the flying contraption’s path.  Though, he says he does it that way, so he can see where he’s been.

Wandering Woolgather likes to make his drops in the smack dab center of the meadow.  It is a good soft place for the packages to land, and free from tall trees to snag woolgather’s wonderful balloon.

Juniper and the changelings rose a little later to the whistling of the tea pot.   Sleepy eyed and wrapped up in her summer sheets, Juni stumbled over with her hand outstretched, reaching for the cup I offered her.

“My, you’re up early,” she smiled through golden tresses.

“It’s such a beautiful day!  I feel like I have finally woken up from a dark dream I’ve been living in.  Summer is slipping by and I will not spend the rest of it with my head buried beneath my pillow!   The sun is shining, birds are singing, and I can feel Santooshka soaking into my bones!

“It is good to see you in high spirits, not mention the clean smock,” Juniper kindly chided.   “And with hot tea.”   She put her face over her steamy mug and took deep breathes.  “But for truth, I am very glad to see you smile.”

“Thank you for helping me tend to my wounds.  Hot tea, is the least I can do.  Plus I have even better news!  Guess who I saw careening by?”

Juniper’s eyes lit up and she said, “I thought I was just dreaming, but I knew I heard the wandering woolgather’s balloon clunk by.”

After tea, the changelings, Juniper and I set out towards the meadow.   The morning had shed its early chill, and the sun warmed our faces as we crossed into the field.  Marked with colorful flags on long poles, several boxes lay in a neat bundle tied in blue string.   Juni and I took turns carrying the large box back to the cottages, while the changelings juggled a few smaller packages and ran ahead.

We reached the clearing just as Azalea and Greystone opened a package bearing their names in the curly script of Honey Bower.  They both let out a little whoop of delight, as they each pulled out a small peach pie

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“It’s still warm too,” Azalea giggled.

“I will put the kettle on, and we’ll all have tea and pie,” Greystone stood up, dusting off his breeches, mindful of the pastries.

“Honey’s peach pie for breakfast?”  I laughed, “This day keeps getting better and better!!”

Having been decently fortified by Honey’s gooey, delicious pie and Greystone’s steaming tea, we attacked the unpackaging with celebratory fervor.

Other than the pies, Honey Bower had also sent a few taffy candies, a handful of licorice, and a jar of this year’s maple syrup.  Colored wax sticks for Azalea, a child size set of silver hand tools for Greystone, and new shiny pins and needles and pair of sharp shears for Juniper and me, all lovingly wrapped in crisp colored papers.  There was letter for Juni, which she tucked into her pocket, for later scrutinizing.

We all turned our eyes to the last unopened box, it stood unmolested in a sea of crumbled papers and gaping packages.  Greystone attacked it with vigor, diving in head first, as he pulled wide the folded flaps.   He dug around for a moment only to reappear, with a rather less than pleased look on his face, “Its only cloth.”

Juniper and I looked at each other with matching enthusiasm, “Fabric!”  We grinned in unison.

The last parcel was indeed filled with magic; shiny blues and calicos, soft muslin, and rougher linens, bits of lace, and bobs of thread.  We pawed our way to the bottom, rubbing the silky ones on our faces, and running our fingers along intricate designs, holding up bolts and waving things in the air.  This continued in such a manner for so long the changelings had run off with their prizes and the sun moved across the sky by the time it was finished.SAM_0860

Alone, I was able to tell Juniper that the hole in my chest had become smaller.  I was able to enjoy the moment once more.  We chatted until our soft tones had turned to merry banter, discussing one fabric or the next.

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We took the bolts of fabric bundled in our arms and placed it in the clearing between some oak and cedar trees next to Juniper’s Moon Garden.  Juniper fetched the Still Water Grimoire, blue moon fairy dust and some sage, while I arranged the newly acquired material.

SAM_0869

The forest crooned as we danced around the circle.  The trees swayed in a still air and little sprites spun in tight circles above our heads.  We summoned the magic of the four Fairy SAM_0915                      SAM_0895SAM_0926

Queens, from each direction.  We called upon the meadow’s flowery breath, the stream’s clean spirit, we asked the mighty Oaks to lend their strength to the threads, and the wild flowers to share their colors.  We asked the Mother Earth to enchant these mundane items with magic of the forest, binding the destiny of the each garment to that of Santooshka.

In a final crescendo of forest buzzing, the piles of fabric began to slowly move.  It gathered speed until it was a blue swirl with magic being released in azure popping sparks.   One fabric rose above the rest billowing and rotating to its own tempo.   Two corners extended outward and the top formed a sphere. Then suddenly the wood was quiet, and the gold flowered material fell to the top of the still pile.

Juniper and I rushed forward each picking up the silky fabric.  It was no longer a simple square of fabric but a beautiful caplet.

SAM_0931SAM_0933

“Ooo” we cooed together

“I have read about this in the Grimoire,” Juni said.  “We must be Creatrixes!! The Grimoire tells that in some cases where extraordinary women work together, their individual magic expands exponentially.  They have been known to be create magical artifacts out of single particles of forest matter!

“Mags, do you know what this means?  There hasn’t been any Creatrixes in Santooshka for a thousand years!   The forest could read our desire for creation.  It fed upon our ideas and gave us a gift.”

Even as I write, the smile plastered on my face has not faltered.   It is good to be here with Juniper and Azalea and Greystone!  I now know my heart can be in two places and not break into pieces.  I am Magnolia, a Lady of Santooshka, a married women, a friend, and O holy Still Waters, I am a root’n Creatix!  And I will not wallow in brokenness, but will live my life making magic and laughing.

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M.M.

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.

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