Monday, October 31, 2005

My Halloween Conversation With A Raven

For Halloween, I thought I would share this tale with you. It actually happened, just as I tell it…

I took my early morning cup of tea out onto the balcony, and sat down to admire my favourite tree. A raven flew down and perched on a branch. He turned a beady eye on me, and I, as is my wont, bid him good morning. I don’t actually talk aloud to birds, you understand – I direct my thoughts at them.
Having bid him good morning, my mind wandered to the line from Poe - ``Quoth the Raven, nevermore…”
The raven at once turned his back on me.
``Ok,” I thought, ``Poe didn’t go down too well.” I hummed a few bars of the Scottish ballad, Twa Corbies.
The raven still resolutely refused to look at me.
I now leaned forward and directed my thoughts in a more concentrated manner – but this time I thought before I thought, if you see what I mean.
``OK,” I said, ``ravens have had bad press from Poe and folklore – you’re sick of hearing that stuff. Tell you what I’ll do – I’ll write a song, a poem, in praise of ravens – of all black birds. I’ll sing of their beautiful shining black feathers, the perfect way their wings fold back against their bodies, their courage, their protectiveness – I’ll sing of the way ravens have helped people, and how they take it upon themselves to be a warning, to be associated with bad luck, because they are noble birds that do not think of themselves first…”
By now the raven had turned round. He was looking at me, disconcertingly, from either side of a slender twig, two bright yellow eyes looking at me…
``I’m not as famous as Poe,” I thought at him, ``and not a great poet, but my words are sometimes heard and sometimes travel over vast distances, and I know a woman who loves ravens and will be glad to let others know of my song.”
He hopped around the branch, closer to me, his bright eyes still fixed intently on me.
``I will sing of the beauty of the raven,” I promised. ``You are surely the handsomest bird of all.”
We continued to observe each other in comfortable silence for a couple of heartbeats, and now, here is the spooky bit.
``You have my word on it,” I said. ``From now on, I will sing in praise of ravens. No more quoting Poe, I promise. You can go about your business now.”
And he flew away.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dragon seed

Haste you at once to the Gypsy camp to meet Glais, the dragon. I hope that our donkeys quickly learn to recognize the friend and still beware of the foe when they reach the stage for the performance. The Secretary

Friday, October 21, 2005

A noble visitor has come to the Island

The Queen of the Romanys has been paying a visit to the Great White Owl. The Secretary

Monday, October 17, 2005

Baba Awaits the Arrival of Travellers

Having heard from le Enchanteur and the Amazon Queen that there are many travellers in the realm, Baba Yaga stand, at her boudoir door, waiting expectantly.

Letter To the Gypsy Chief, Lavengro

Letter to the Gypsy Chief, Lavengro

Greetings, old friend. Your band has been quite busy I hear, with the newcomers trickling in, regaling you all with stories and other talents they possess. Not to mention the Festival of Lights you are getting ready for. It should be quite fun and spectacular.

I hope to be there in time with my traveler in tow. I don't want to miss it and I don't think Treasa will either. She is a fun, quirky, spunky soul, who is quite flummoxed and awed by the Soulfood Silk Road. She talks to a grandmother who passed away recently and to Jack the Chatterbox Donkey--whom she got for a ride. It's been quite an interesting trip thus far, unlike the one other I've had along this road. Treasa is enjoyable and she and Jack have been entertaining, to say the least. She's never ridden a donkey before, so we've been slow going, trying to help her get a riding rhythm established...when she hasn't been knocked or hasn't fallen out of the saddle.

After two days Treasa finally began to get the hang of it, but she's gotten so stiff and sore, poor thing, that we're still going slow. We're about three days from your camp--if you're still in the Valley of the Temples--so expect us hopefully by twilight's fall then. Treasa is enjoying, despite her discomfort, the scenery of Umbria and the temples of the valley. Apparently, she is very into Roman and Greek mythology, which is another reason we're taking a bit longer than normal to reach you. She's enjoying the history and tales Jack is telling her about each temple, and she's regaled all of us in turn with myths and legends she's learned or read about. I'm very happy I was asked to be her guide.

See you soon.

Best wishes,

Friday, October 14, 2005

Donkey portraits by Alleta

Do have a peek at our new donkeys. The Secretary

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New October Menu

Dear Travelers,

Come for a rest or a visit to Tea, Tree & Quills. We have planned an October Menu with seasonal delights. The October menu is the current special but we can whip up almost anything at your request.

A local coven of witches has come by to spice things up a bit. Please don’t be surprised if you bump into a few on them on your visit. They especially like Medusa’s Butternut Squash Spice Soup. I look forward to seeing you. Please contact me or the Enchantress for permission to post a poem or letter, if you are not already a member.

Many Blessings,

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Goddess of the Month

This morning, before rejoining the journey after an absence of too many days, I turned my Sage Woman: A Year on the Goddess Path calendar to October and wonders of wonders, the featured Goddess of the Month turned out to be Baba Yaga. I couldn't believe it … here I was getting ready to make my way into Her realm and here She is showing up in my real life hide-away in Apache Junction, Arizona. Is this a message? I like to believe that it is, though what it is I don't know.

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The message of the month begins with a prayer to Baba Yaga:
Blessed Baba Yaga
Help me grow old
With wisdom,
Power, and veneration.

The rest of the message of the month reads as follows:

The Russian Crone Goddess, Baba Yaga, is the archetype of a witch flying through the air in her magical mortar and pestle. She is the one who stirs things up, keeps the adventure moving forward, and presents challenges along the spiritual path. Remember the tales of the witch deep in the forest, whose cottage should be approached with great caution? Baba Yaga dwells there and she wants to teach you about setting boundaries, about listening to your intuition about what is and what is not safe, and about respect for elder wisdom. As the wild autumn moon rides high in the tempestuous skies, watch for Baba Yaga and feel your own wild magic answer her call.

Courtesy: 2004 Amber Lotus Publishing
2004 Sage Woman

Quite a coincidence, don't you think, my returning from a trip to Minnesota to find Baba Yaga waiting for me to turn the page of my calendar?


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

No Gypsy membership

I have always wanted to step
inside a Gypsy caravan
Do you suppose if I come by
someone will brew
for me? The Secretary

Memo from the Secretary

Two of our donkeys, Jack and Agnes, have riders assigned for the journey. Jack and rider are well underway. Agnes is ready to meet her employer.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

To Baba Yaga's House

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Baba sits waiting in front of her house on chicken legs, hands out reached, beseeching travellers to come and help make this year's All Saints Day and Halloween a real success.

Everyone gathers, expectant inside the Cave of the Enchantress.

The Enchantress comes and announces that we have to go to the House of Baba Yaga and help prepare for Halloween and All Saint's Day. She says that to reach the House of Baba Yaga we will have to pass through the Mountains of Myrrh, which the writer of the Song of Solomon (1V6) said he wanted to retreat to.

The Enchantress provides each person with a small bag. Each bag contains spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a compass, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. However, the bag also contains something that has been chosen specifically for the recipient. It also contains a map showing where the Gypsies are currently camped

This bag is very important. Should you become separated from the group these things will become essential. You may choose to wear the spectacles for they are purported to have fairy like qualities which reveal wonders to those who wear them.

The Enchantress also gives you a doll. (Find a doll or make one) Her final words are to use the things we have in our bags and that if we should lose our way, or be in need of help, all we have to do is ask the doll what to do. She says that the doll will assist, that we must keep her with us at all times, that we must not tell anyone we meet about her and that we must feed her when she is hungry and give her drinks if she is thirsty. She tells us that we must travel by donkey and that it will take many days before we reach the house of Baba Yaga

You greet your doll and introduce yourself and when you look up again everyone has gone.

What is it with everyone rushing off like this? The doll says that you have to go through the woods. She assures you that she will know how to get there. Having read all your fairy stories you realise that going to Baba Yaga's could prove interesting.

Baba Yaga is the fearsome creature, the crooked woman whose nose is hooked like a bird of prey. Her name means 'to know, to see, to forsee' and she is the seer associated with the moon crescent. The Baba Yaga has the power to transform herself into a myriad of shapes, often a toad, sometimes a hedgehog, frequently a bird. The Baba Yaga is often depicted as an evil old hag who eats humans, especially children, but she is known by many to be a wise, prophetic old woman. In appearance she is tall, bony legged, pointy headed and has dishevelled hair.

Worse the doll informs you that the hut she lives in has a fence around it made of human bones and topped with human skulls and eyes intact. The gate is fastened with human legs and arms instead of bolts and a mouth with sharp teeth serves as the lock.

According to the doll, who seems to be a font of information, one person who lived to tell the story said that "she commands the sun and it obeys her, she changes the stars in their course, she causes clouds to form in the air and makes it possible to walk on them and travel the country. She can turn herself into a young woman and then, in a twinkling of an eye turn herself back into an old woman. She has to the power to turn a man into an animal and she likes to move freely along roads and valleys and over mountains. Her business is to cast spells, gather herbs and stones, make pacts and agreements."

Bravely you head out from the Cave on the back of a donkey that insisted you ride upon her. (Make sure to check with Donkey's Incorporated to see that the donkey is registered).

The donkey tells you her name and talks to you about the coming journey. Within moments you find yourself within a heavily wooded forest. Gnarled branches spread their long arms across the path, whispering as you pass.

The words of the Enchantress ring in your ears and you touch your bag to make sure it is still with you. Everyone is quiet and contemplative and the hooves of the donkey seem to be beating a tune as you travel on the well worn path.

Suddenly the quiet is shattered. A group of hooded riders surround you. Chaos breaks out. Before you know it you are being whisked away by hooded riders who do not reveal their identity.

All you know is that there is purported to be a Gypsy Camp in the vicinity and you hope you will find it. Maybe your doll can help you. One thing is certain! There will be hell to play if you don't arrive at Baba's house in time to make yourself useful as she prepares for the festival.

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The Amazon Queen has arrived at Baba's to plan for All Soul's Night on November 2nd. It may be a month away but all hands will need to be on deck to make sure it is a success. Baba's Soul Hands, upon hearing this, appear to listen to what the Queen and Baba are planning.

Maybe if you can reach the Gypsy Camp you will be able to encourage the Gypsies to take you to the House of Baba Yaga.

Find a way to the Gypsy Camp and sit by the camp fire and tell the Gypsy Chief about your journey. It would be a good idea to prepare so that you can provide a song or dance or tarot reading for the Gypsies who are gathered there. If you need some costumes remember to check out Pandora's Wardrobe for useful items.

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The Gypsy Camp is on full alert. Travellers are coming on donkey back along the Silk Road, headed towards Baba Yaga's. The Gypsy Chief has suggested we ask the Hooded Riders to snatch the unsuspecting ones and bring them to the camp for an 'initiation' into the ways of the Romanyi.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Note from the Secretary

The Donkey and Owl choir is practicing for the concert on the quay. They are in need of a skilful choreographer for the dance. Can anyone help?See Donkeys Inc.

CrowsNest Studio

Hello Travelers!

I am currently up to my elbows in paint. Just finishing up some freelance work. But I dream of painting lovely costumes for many parties in the near and far future. With Halloween so close I will try to work on that idea. I am sure there is a party being planned somewhere.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

New Art and Words For Sale - Hermitage Publications

Original Art and Words For Sale....

The collection is growing, blooming every day.
Your invitation unlocks the door - fresh brewed coffee and florentines always available. View original works birthed out of amazing journeys of imagination...

So It Begins!

There are some tasty new additions over at the Chamber of Horrors Halloween Party!
Hope to See you all ...please stop by and help yourself to some of our treats and feel to bring some of your own decorations , music, poetry and stories and add to the atmosFEAR!

Anita Marie