Juniper and the First Fall

juniperforest5 (2 of 1)

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.

juniperforest4 (2 of 1)

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.

juniperforest2 (2 of 1)juniperforest3 (2 of 1)

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.

juniperdress (2 of 1)

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.

juniperforest (2 of 1)

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.

forestbluff (2 of 1)

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.

bluff (2 of 1)

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.

juniperbluff1 (2 of 1)juniperforest6 (2 of 1)

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.

juniperforest7 (2 of 1)juniperbluff1 (2 of 1)leaf8 (2 of 1) copyleaf7 (2 of 1) copy

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.

leaf2 (2 of 1)leaf3 (2 of 1) copyleaf1 (2 of 1)leaf4 (2 of 1)

“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.

leaf5

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.

mm

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

11705819_927680613936863_2099090124473070024_o

“Love is the language of two.”

11807423_927680143936910_7213285718605378719_o

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

11741135_927681243936800_210582467588173761_o

Trading of Rings

1937105_1178074821339_7609683_n

Magnolia and Ironwood

11754326_927681693936755_688231372117238748_o

Queen Mab made a special appearance

11782421_927680980603493_8190045422485021907_o

Ironroot drinks from the quaich

11705826_927681607270097_4297385183627320861_o

OakLeaf the Wizard and the Elven Lady Evermore

11741232_927681847270073_1529495073214857185_o (1)

Three Fairy Maids:  Sunshine, Sparkle, and Glisten

11700729_927681743936750_5026627085274261280_o

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

11807614_927681977270060_6178341379771593505_o           11705715_927681777270080_7959916519760818698_o

        

11782533_927681497270108_7754259740170674423_o

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

11825825_927669340604657_4734534713784091724_n

In Which Magnolia and Juniper Receive Tidings from the Fay Court, and Prepare for MidSummer

Midsummers Eve,

Four days ago, we received a sparrow post from the Fae Court. Over the years we have added our own voice to the other magical enclaves in requesting a parousia of the royal court to our Midsummer Celebration, though she has customarily declined politely, sending lower Elven aristocracy in her stead. This Midsummer, Queen Titaina is coming to Santooshka.

Her arrival adds frenzy to our preparations. The valley hums with activity. We spent that first afternoon airing out all the linens.Featured image The way side Thistle Pixie triplets; Iota, Speck, and Jot (it is impossible to tell them apart, and so I think of them as a single chaotic force), appeared just as Juniper and I were hanging them out. Crooning a quiet flaxen tune, they flitted among the flapping cloths. Diving in and out, causing a tiny wind storm. Now, and until long after Midsummer, the sweetness of the meadow wind will diffuse from all the linens.

Thank goodness for small eddies, the larder is full, our garden bountiful, and Ripple only just delivered four more parcels of flour, milled at the beaver’s dam. Azalea has been diligent in her foraging and we have good store of wild berries in the cellar. Greystone took a few jars of honey and traded with the Water Sprites for several large crayfish and a handful of salt.

Featured imageIt’s as if the very forest is jubilant, giddy for the Queen, composing symphonies. The myriad of cicada’s tidal buzz washes over us in near tangible waves. The tree frogs song weave in and out, trilling out the chorus. The deep resonating thrumming of the bull frogs makes a slow percussion, whilst woodland warblers carry arias from branch to branch. They are spreading the news.

Featured imageAnd news from the royal court spreads quickly, all manner of forest folk are arriving daily to lend a hand. The Willow Nymphs brought strands of pebbles and Robin eggs. Their long slender bodies easily strung them in the Oak bows just above the common. An earth of foxes spent an afternoon weeding in the flower beds. Garden spiders have spun lacy spirals, with dew pearls in along the fences.

At least a single member of every community has appeared with contributions, both in labor and supplies. A cave troll, Long Tooth, has shored up some old and neglected stone work along the path. A magnificent stag left a packet of powder on Juni’s doorstep. A rare root concoction, from the high plain at the very edge of Santooshka, it is said to lighten the spirit and will be added to guests’ cups. Our humble vale is done up in ribbon slender, looking better than it has in many seasons. Even, a flock of woodland birds collected all the debris from off the paths,weaving the small twigs and leafs into intricate works of art. I’ve noticed the few Magpies have tucked pieces of shiny mica and bits of quartz into the crevices.Featured image

All these days of shared labors have had an undertone of magical revelry. It delights me to see our friends and fellow denizens work in such perfect unison. I feel it is this spark of unity that will ignite us in the future. I cannot be alone in this thought. In the coming days our mission to quell the darkness, will need to be mortared with fellowship.

Featured imageAfter day lit hours our work concludes, but our guests stay and share the hearth. Meade and Elder Berry Blossom Tea is passed around and stories woven. Never able to be idle, I’ve been embroidering during these happy evenings. The silk from Iron Root is truly radiant, glinting in the dim light of dusk.

One day, I desire to look upon the Rainbow River where the silk was dyed. I can hear Iron Root, speaking softly, his deep voice vibrating my hollows and sending tingles down my spine. He told of an old river meandering slowly across a golden stalked plain. At every long bend, a different mineral spring effervesces pigment into the ox bow. From afar it appears as a brilliant scaled dragon slithering through the grass.

The most renowned Elven Guild of dyers has a Hall on the banks of the river. All day there is perpetual motion, every stage of production occurring simultaneously. Women with dyed legs are said to stand in the slow current with long staffs, stirring the steeping textiles. Their long, lazy, strokes send brilliant ripples downstream. Other workers are a literal blur as they heft the wet fiber to the drying racks. There is a constant stream of wagons, hauling plain bolts of cloth, mohair, yarn, silk, every fiber imaginable in and leaving with stacks of brightly hued bundles.

I wonder if Iron Root has passed safely onto the next leg of his journey, wherever that damn torrent of a man is.

Featured imageToday, the first of the Fairy Court has begun to filter in through the wood. They seem eager as a lark to take some leave of responsibilities before their monarch graces us with her presence. Dice and card games are scattered along the commons. My favorite early attendants are the queen’s own musicians. They have set up off the side, allowing their music to flow down the valley, but remain tucked out the way of the bustle.

Featured imageGossamer gowns swirl in ever expanding and collapsing circles like billowing sails along the forest paths.

Everyone has begun celebrating already! I think Juniper, Azalea and Greystone have done all we can in the kitchen, that needs prepping before tomorrow. The practical details of feeding so many mouths has lead us to preparing berry and cheese- filled hand pies. A recipe from the Still Water Grimoire.  An enchanted Crust that is known to fill even the largest of appetites.  However, they are taken from the ovens as soon as we can bake them! Despite our pleas to allow the pies to cool, they disappear so quickly, the baking seems a Sisyphean endeavor.

The Queen arrives tomorrow, a merry concept I can barely contain!

MM

Still Water Grimoire Recipe:

Featured image

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!

SAM_8364

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

img048

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.

SAM_8418

SAM_8417

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

dansedufae3 (2 of 1)

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

SAM_8387

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

whisper1 (2 of 1)

whisper2 (2 of 1)

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.

jumpingfire2 (2 of 1)

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….

SAM_8421

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

In which Juniper GinFairy travels through the Missouri Ozarks

Magnolia,

I’m writing to you from a sunny and dusty hillside, deep in the Ozark Mountains. As you can see, I did get your Sparrow-Post about using electric communication. I whole-heartedly agree. We must conserve Sparrow-Post for only our most secret of messages during these turbulent times.

image

The journey thus far, has been fraught with strife. I have had to travel disguised most of the time, and you already understand my disdain for cloaking. The trolls that inhabit these mountains have long-since feuded with Fae Folk over the Mineral and Ore people. In uniquely Ozarkian Troll fashion, they have created great scars upon the land, kidnapping and pillaging the underground. I heard the local Purblind call one of those ruins a “strip mine”, and an unusually talkative armadillo I met along the way, conveyed to me news of Trolls that are working with powerful Purblinds and a dark magic of consumption. The Fae Folk here have been helping to stage uprisings, but with limited success. They need help organizing a revolt! Pray, dear Magnolia, our Troll friends back home never fall in league with Purblinds of this ilk.

Many apologies for my rushed correspondence. Of course, I will  keep you appraised of my status as I near the Seed Festival. I fear that if I do not find a shady woodland creek, or a sip of blossom dew soon, my return trip will be delayed as I am withering, Mags.  Enclosed, is a snapshot of the Full Flower Moon rising over the Mississippi River at my crossing. T’was a sight to behold! Though, I hate to miss our traditional Full Moon Festivities. Moonrise over Mississippi River

Wiltingly Yours,

Juniper