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.

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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.

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“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 and the First Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Hand fasting of Magnolia and Ironroot

Magnolia’s Journal:Sabbath,

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

MM

Woddenday,

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

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

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Thorsday,

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

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

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

MM

Blue Moon,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eternally Yours,

Mags

The Wedding of Magnolia & IronRoot

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“Love is the language of two.”

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

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Trading of Rings

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Magnolia and Ironwood

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Queen Mab made a special appearance

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Ironroot drinks from the quaich

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OakLeaf the Wizard and the Elven Lady Evermore

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Three Fairy Maids:  Sunshine, Sparkle, and Glisten

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

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

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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

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twirling two-steps

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Juniper GinFairy wearing a vintage fairy-embellished dress.

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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.

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