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 Golden Apple of Mabon

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

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

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

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They combed the meadow grasses.

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No rock was left unturned at the creekside.

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They could hear the pixies singing:

I will find out where she has gone

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among the dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Magggg…” my voice trailed off in disbelief.

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

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

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

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

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

“On Lughnasadh!” Magnolia chirped

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Dreams Sachet

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2 Parts dried lavender

1 part dried rose buds

1 part dried jasmine blossoms

1 part chamomile flowers

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

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

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

Infinite Reflection by Kaleidoscope Jukebox

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

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

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

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Ripple the water sprite giving Juniper the enchanting amulet

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

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

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

handmade amulet pouches soon available in the Bazaar.

Hand tooled amulet pouches soon available in the Bazaar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queen Titania appears in the forest in an enigmatic cloud.

Queen Titania appears in the forest in an enigmatic cloud.

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

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

Ironroon confesses his love to Magnolia

Ironroon confesses his love to Magnolia

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

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

Unfolding by Etherwood

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

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

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

Queen Titania and Ironroot

Queen Titania and Ironroot

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

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

Custom Magickal Dresses available through magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

Custom Magickal Dresses available through magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

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

Magnolia and Juniper's spirits are dampened.

Magnolia and Juniper’s spirits are dampened.

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

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

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{Glorious by MaMuse}

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

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

Midsummer Shadow puppet theatre

Midsummer Shadow puppet theatre

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

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I must find a solitary place and sort this through.

I must reconcile my head and my heart.

Juniper flys

{Switchcraft – Chilly Gonzales}

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

Juniper journaling

Juniper journaling

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

Pensive Juniper

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

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

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

Soapwort along the path

Spiderwort blooming along the Santooshka Forest paths

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

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

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

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

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Stargazer lilies blooming in Juniper’s Garden

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In Santooshka, Stargazers represent innocence and purity.

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

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

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Wandering Woolgather dropped a bundle for us between the cottages!

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

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

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

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Dear Juniper and Magnolia,

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

MaidenHair Fern growing in Santooshka

MaidenHair Fern growing in Santooshka

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

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

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

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

So Much Love!

~The Mimosa Queen of the East

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

Magnolia reads the Mimosa Queen's letter.

Magnolia reads the Mimosa Queen’s letter.

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

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Golden Gown available in the bazaar next month.

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

**Love Spell**

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

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

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

Fold the bottom edge up to meet the middle crease.

Fold the bottom edge up to meet the middle crease.

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

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

Fold the bottom corners up to meet the middle crease.

Fold the bottom corners up to meet the middle crease.

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

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

Turn the paper over.

Turn the paper over.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuck the bottom corner into the pocket.

Tuck the bottom corner into the pocket.

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

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

Fold the upper corner down to make a square bottom.

Fold the upper corner down to make a square bottom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flip it over to reveal your finished heart!

Flip it over to reveal your finished heart!

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

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

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

Moonday, Mooald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M.M.

Strawberry Full Moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M.M.

Freeday,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M.M.

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

Juniper and Magnolia’s Honey Basil Berry Jam

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In Which Juniper is Injured by Trolls:

Dear Magnolia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We drink responsibly. Only when conditions are safe!

Drink responsibly. Only when conditions are magical & safe!

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

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

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

twirling two-steps

twirling two-steps

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Juniper GinFairy

Juniper GinFairy wearing a vintage fairy-embellished dress.

Juniper GinFairy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Warmly,

Juniper

RECIPE FOR VIOLET FIZZ:

Serves Two

3 Shots of Hendrick’s Gin

1/2 Shot Triple Sec

8 Ounces of Tonic Water

4 Ounces of Violet Syrup

2 Cups of Ice

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

violet fizz