The End of Winter in which Azalea and GreyStone find Spring

A faint tinkling  endlessly echoed across the field, Winter’s harsh breath found it’s way under the girl’s tightly bound hood and through the seams of her woolen breeches.  Azalea shielded her eyes against the sun’s glare, but all was blinding white.  Shivering, the changeling girl child willed her heavy limbs to take another step.Her thoughts were fuzzy, but clung to a single desire to keep moving across the ice plain.

SAM_7787The soft glass like sound grew louder, a sing song melody emerged and became almost like words spoken from the other side of a closed door.  A brilliant flash of blue flickered across the desolate landscape, forming into a butterfly that landed on her nose.  It’s eyes reflecting her eyes, in an infinite reciprocating circle.   “Free us,” the blue thrummed, “and Spring will come.”

 

Azalea  awakened with a shuddering bolt, “Thank Running Water,  the fever has broken,” Juniper whispered, as she gently tucked a sweat heavy lock behind Azalea’s ear.

Time is a human construct, and exists differently in the lands of Santooshka.  However, as the denizen’s wood piles dissipated and the larders became bare, they began to feel the weight of this winter.

The keepers of this enchanted vale, listened intently to the little changling’s dream.  It seemed familiar to the Ladies, in that nagging way, like a kettle left untended.   Azalea’s tale of the ice land, was only an exaggeration of the actual state of the forest.  Winter hac seemed to linger, snowSAM_7791 stubbornly nestled between the tree trunks, and Beltaine was upon them.

Magnolia and Juniper spent the next week buried in ancient tomes, searching for the answer to the unknown question.   Finally, one late afternoon, Juniper’s voice cut through the gloom..

“Here.   It is hard to decipher the exact tale, but great gran Hazel transcribed an even older story of a winter that lasted too long.

“Jack Frost imprisoned the Spring Fay  in a pool of frozen water, under the earth, behind a frozen wall of ice.”

“Sounds impossible.  How will we be able to find such a place?” Magnolia sighed.

Grey Stone’s face scrunched as the words fell into place, “The Waterfall!”

He jumped up excitedly, the young changeling had grown much over the long winter, and he had to duck under the hanging lantern.  “Once, when I was out exploring, I chanced upon a small cave behind the falls.  I didn’t venture further but the hole was deathly cold, even in the height of summer.”

And what commenced was not unlike a thousand other conversations between mothers and their growing children, a long discussion that went something like this:

Concern. “We will journey to the Falls, it is too dangerous for small changelings.”

“We are grown enough, besides you are too big  to get down into the cave.

Resignation.  “Fine, but you must dress quite warmly, take the utmost precaution and return home quickly if there is any trouble.  And you must take Fox with you, she’s cunning and follows her nose.

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The last glance back showed the Keepers of Santooshka framed in the cottage’s doorway.  Juniper’s hand on her heart, and Magnolia waving frantically, calling out warnings and advice, until her voice was taken by the wind.  GreyStone eyed his changeling sister, she was as heavily dressed as himself.  Her eye’s sparked back at him, between the thick wool cap and her hearth infused enchanted scarf.

teethFox went first, bounding from rock to rock swishing her tail.  It was a morning’s hike to falls, and when they arrived, the changelings paused for a quick bite. The waterfall had indeed completely frozen.  Menacing stalactites of ice looked like dagger sharp teeth.  Just as Azalea was licking the last of the parsnip pie off her fingers, Fox beckoned them forward and disappeared.

The ice above them cast a blue glow upon the pathway between the long fingers of insidethe falls.  But it did not reach down into the cave.  It’s entrance was ice rimmed hole that shone like a beacon summing them down to the depths.

An uncharacteristically serious Fox signaled the changelings to stay as she slinked down into the cave.  She was gone a short time before she reappeared and bade them to follow.

The cold prickled GreyStone as he squeezed himself through the tunnel,  before dropping him a few feet through the air.  Azalea quick to follow, and landed on top of him.  As the changelings lay sprawled on the cold ground shrouded by the thin ray of light,  dislodged ice crystals and sparkling motes danced in the disturbed air.

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Azalea untangled herself and tapped on her jar of will-o-wisps.  They stirred to life, casting a warm glow upon the cavern floor.  Carefully, the changelings followed the white tip of fox’s tail to the far wall.  A mighty Oak’s roots grew down the crevasse and encircled a small pool.

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Greystone brushed the crystallized ice from the glassy surface, by the light of the will-o-wisp they could make out a rainbow hued  orb trapped beneath the ice.

Removing their gloves the children clasped hands, and placed their free hand on the pool.  They recited the spell the Ladies had taught them.  Each spoken word formed a steam cloud and settled on the frozen surface.

Azalea looked suspiciously at her brother, when slowly the ice began to melt, the colors became  an undulating oil slick bubbling to the surface.

They both smiled joyfully when the color exploded like a thousand shards of light through a prism.  A cloud of Spring Sprites and Fay filled the small cavern, weaving and bobbing in the confined space, then in an exulting flourish, they flitted up and out.   A sole fay with iridescent azure butterfly wings remained, he bowed quite handsomely mid air, swooped upon Azalea and gave her a kiss on the nose.  Only to follow his companions leaving a fading blaze of blue.

It was much harder for the two changeling children to get out of the cavern, than it was falling in.  By the time they reached the top, both were sweating beneath their layered clothing.

“Look the ice is melting,” Azalea laughed as she shook the droplets from her hair.

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As they began to pick their way up from the waterfalls, signs of spring were everywhere.  The faded moss on the rocks was a lush green, Spring Beautys and Harbinger of Spring speckled the rocky outcroppings.

 

It was as if moons were passing as they walked towards home.  At first only the red buds were in full bloom, but more trees followed.  IMG_20160407_183952

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Fiddle heads unfurled into full grown ferns.  When the cottage roof came into sight, it was as if all of spring was happening at once.  As they crested the hill, Magnolia and Juniper came running towards them.  They merged into a messy ball of hugs, and kisses, laughter and joy.

Sometimes you must journey through the darkest of places to find the light that you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of Summer

  Magnolia’s Journal Entry:

(almost the) Last week of Summer,

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

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

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Spice Berry Bush in the late Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M.M.

Excerpt from the Still Water Grimoire:

How to save Tomato Seeds:

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

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

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.

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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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~*~*~*~ 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