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.

*******

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!

Juniper and the First Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Hand fasting of Magnolia and Ironroot

Magnolia’s Journal:Sabbath,

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

MM

Woddenday,

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

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

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Thorsday,

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

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

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

MM

Blue Moon,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eternally Yours,

Mags

The Wedding of Magnolia & IronRoot

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“Love is the language of two.”

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

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Trading of Rings

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Magnolia and Ironwood

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Queen Mab made a special appearance

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Ironroot drinks from the quaich

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OakLeaf the Wizard and the Elven Lady Evermore

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Three Fairy Maids:  Sunshine, Sparkle, and Glisten

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

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

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

Infinite Reflection by Kaleidoscope Jukebox

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

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

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

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Ripple the water sprite giving Juniper the enchanting amulet

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

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

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

handmade amulet pouches soon available in the Bazaar.

Hand tooled amulet pouches soon available in the Bazaar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queen Titania appears in the forest in an enigmatic cloud.

Queen Titania appears in the forest in an enigmatic cloud.

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

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

Ironroon confesses his love to Magnolia

Ironroon confesses his love to Magnolia

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

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

Unfolding by Etherwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serafina the Groundhog beckons Juniper inside for tea.

Serafina the Groundhog beckons Juniper inside for tea.

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

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

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

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

Blush by Wolf Alice

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

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

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

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Blue Moon Mush

Makes 2 generous bowls

1 Cup Blue Corn Meal

1 Cup Fresh Cold Milk

2 Cups water

A generous pinch of salt

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

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

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

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.

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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!

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Strawberry Full Moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M.M.

Freeday,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M.M.

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

Juniper and Magnolia’s Honey Basil Berry Jam

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In Which Juniper Arrives With the Changelings:

Magnolia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Live Moss Amulets with

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

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

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

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

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

Greystone Gardiner, newly of Santooshka Forest.

Greystone Gardiner, newly of Santooshka Forest.

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

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

A Cicada admiring his glossy new exoskeleton.

A Cicada admiring his glossy new exoskeleton.

Azalea AlderTree newly of Santooshka Forest.

Azalea AlderTree newly of Santooshka Forest.

Azalea reveling in the scent of the Santooshka!

Azalea reveling in the scent of the Santooshka!

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

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

The sweet smell of woodland roses!

The sweet scent of woodland roses!

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

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

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

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

The Society of Moss and Lace

C/O Honey Bower

#53Buttermilk Hill Rd

Ava, IL 62907

USA