Friday, October 31, 2014

Samhain Musings


As the year grows darker and we sit in the space between death and life, there is still hope and renewal. This is a space of transition, of shifting. A time to confer with our ancestors and spirits as they walk through the thinned veil, a time to divine what it is we need, what it is that we do not and what it is that is holding us back.

It is a time to reap what we have sown since the last dying season, whether it be good or bad, abundant or sparse. It is a time to consider what we want to cultivate as the great wheel spins on and ushers in a new cycle. Time to burn away that which is rotten, fouled and no longer needed to make way for new life once the darkest days of coming Winter are behind us.

I plan to pull out the cards tonight, once trick or treat and Halloween fun have finished, and share wine with the spirits. To leave honey for the fae and whisky for the goblins, in hopes they will continue to keep their mischief to themselves. I plan to make a resolution, as I do at each Witch's New Year... this year to cast of the chains I've bound myself in. To let go of holding back, of hiding, or censoring myself... even a little bit. Because to be anything other than my full, true self is doing a grave disservice to my soul and my emotional state.

I plan to let my freak flag unfurl and fly this year, to become truly brave and step in to my own.

So mote it be.

To my fellow witches, pagans and magic makers a very merry Samhain! May your harvest (both literally and figuratively) be bountiful and the ancestors bless you this evening. May you be blessed with abundance, joy and magic as the great wheel begins its cycle anew.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg


The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg


From the Publisher:
Agnes Hussein, descendant of the last sultan of Singapore and the last surviving member of her immediate family, has grown up among her eccentric relatives in the crumbling Kampong Glam palace, a once-opulent relic given to her family in exchange for handing over Singapore to the British.

Now Agnes is seventeen and her family has fallen into genteel poverty, surviving on her grandfather’s pension and the meager income they receive from a varied cast of boarders. As outside forces conspire to steal the palace out from under them, Agnes struggles to save her family and finds bravery, love, and loyalty in the most unexpected places. The Moonlight Palace is a coming-of-age tale rich with historical detail and unforgettable characters set against the backdrop of dazzling 1920s Singapore.


My Thoughts:
In this magical coming of age story, we get to know a diverse, multi-cultural cast of characters in the heroine, Agnes', family but the story is told by 'Aggie' herself. At seventeen, Agnes has led a fairly sheltered and protected life, and she is naive in the ways of the world and the heart. However, that doesn't stop her from being an insightful, witty and enjoyable narrator who is able to form an emotional bond with the reader almost immediately. Following her journey from the naive girl we meet in the beginning to a brave, level headed woman who is sure of her place in the world and in the family was believable and joyful and I was sad when the story ended.

Liz Rosenberg not only paints a picture of an old Singapore, but she transports you there in this mesmerizing tale. You walk through the rooms of the once splendid palace in Agnes' shoes. You feel as if you are a part of her family, as if you are sitting in the room with them and can hear their various accents. It is a beautifully worded tale, and a quick read, sure to satisfy fans of historical fiction, coming of age stories or those who wish to be transported to a beautiful Asia through prose.


Thank you to Lisa at TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the review copy of this novel. To read what others thought, click the image above.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gratitude*Sunday

I'm joining Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots and several other lovely bloggers in honoring the things for which we've been grateful for throughout the week. A quiet, weekly practice of appreciation and positivity. A time to breath and reflect. A small step towards a more simplistic and appreciative outlook.

If you would like to join us, just click the image at the bottom of this post.


This Week I Am Grateful For:

* Gorgeous Autumn weather! It looks and feels like Autumns back in New Jersey. I've broken out the afghan for the bed, my slipper sock, flannel shirts and have been drinking hot coffee and tea. I'm in my glory!
* Finding Sketch Dailies on Instagram. While I may not work on every theme they post, it's nice to have some inspiration for a before bed or nap time doodle.



* My ridiculously awesome husband for bringing me lunch and giving me a much needed break during a very tough day. For shooing me away and taking care of so many things so I don't stress about them. For playing along with my silly photo shoots and adding his own ideas to make them even better. For being understanding, kind, gentle and supportive of me, even when I'm tired and bitchy, distant or crying for no apparent reason. He is the one who hangs the moon for me.
* The crows cavorting in the yard while I'm hanging laundry on the line. The other morning one swooped and flew so near to me that I felt the wind off of its wings and heard the sounds of its feather slicing through the air. It was pure fucking magic.
* For fellow artist and soulful woman Cynthia for heeding the call within her to gather with other women, to call them forth in to safe sacred circle on the New Moons. I've often spoken of wanting to find my tribe, to find a group of wild women to circle with. To beat drums and bear souls and to not have to wear masks or play the games so many women seem to enjoy. And, I believe I've found that tribe. There is an energy, a fire and a commonality that links all of us together and when we share our stories and speak our truths it leaves me buzzing with energy.


* Quiet, beautiful moments between my son and I. When he drifts off to sleep in my arms, looks up in to my eyes while he's nursing and smiles, babbles at me when I talk or read to him or reaches his arms up to me.


To join in Gratitude Sunday, click on the image below! Happy Week, lovelies.

Gratitude Sunday



Friday, October 24, 2014

The Goat & The Fawn Halloween Spooktacular

Welcome guys and ghouls to the annual Halloween party hosted by the lovely Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist. If you were here for our Mad Tea Party with V over the Summer, than you'll know that our love struck duo The Goat and The Fawn where expecting - our wee one arrived 5 days after the party. :) To celebrate Orion's first Halloween and to give those who are back a sneak peek at our babe, I've got a spooky tale about our trio. Hope you enjoy!

(Confused about who the Goat and the Fawn are? Find Part 1 of their story here and Part 2 here.)

A Kidnapping

For the Kid's first Halloween, the Goat and the Fawn decided to take him Trick-or-Treating in the neighboring village of Boo Hollow. It was a very festive town that took Halloween very seriously; all of the residents dressed up and celebrated the big night. Having never visited for Halloween, the family was very excited.

And so, the Kid was dressed in his finest gnome hat and beard and he and the Fawn set off down the path to the village. The Goat had a few things to finish up at the cottage before joining them for the festivities.


When they arrived in town, the Fawn was awestruck; it was even better than the stories had let on! There was a zombie wedding, mummy lovers entangled on a bench, even a headless horseman chasing boys and girls around the village square!


The two trick-or-treated at the cottages nearest the square, not wanting to wander far so when the Goat arrived he could join them. They ran across all manner of ghouls and goblins, black cats, bats and even a living scarecrow!


So they weren't the least bit put off by a crow landing on a lamp post nearby. Nor were they disturbed when the bird seemed to be murmuring something about a juicy something or other to itself, after all it was Halloween and they'd seen plenty of weird things as well as a plethora of treats littering the pathways.


But as they walked beneath the post where the crow was muttering, the Fawn caught what the juicy object it was interested in was... her son! She tried to flee, but too late! With a whoosh of air, the sting of talons and a flurry of wings she was knocked down and the Kid was snatched!


The Goat, having just arrived in the town square, saw the attack and tried to get to their side in time but was waylaid by a group of small goblins rushing past on their way to the next cottage. When he reached the Fawn he knelt down and checked her for injuries. She stammered at him about the crow saying their child was a juicy morsel as she batted away his helping hands in distress.

The Goat had seen the crow fly off to the East and demanded they give chase.


Rushing up the pathway to the East, they were stopped by a nervous fellow outside of the very last cottage on the edge of a thick, dark wood. He stammered at them that they should stay away from the woods tonight, lest they wish to dance with Death. They hurriedly told the tale of the kidnapping crow and the man's face fell even further in to despair, for the crow was well known as a villain within the village.


The crow was the familiar of the evil witch who dwelled deep within the forest and she often sent him to terrorize the villagers. But each Halloween, his mistress sent him on the most vile of errands... to collect a child for her supper. While the villagers were too scared to confront her, worried that should they try and fail, she'd steal their children out of spite.

The pair were horrified at the fate which lie waiting for their son within the forest, and determined to rescue him and put a stop to the witch's wicked ways. And so they set off, through thickety thorns and tripping ivy, in to the darkness of the woods.

Meanwhile, the crow had delivered the Kid to the witch's cottage. She cackled and thanked her pet before turning to the boy with a look of hunger in her black eyes. Grabbing him around his waist, she retreated in to her cottage.


There she put the boy in to a large cauldron, around which were scattered the bones of previous vile suppers, and proceeded to add all manner of horrible ingredients in to the water with the helpless Kid.



As she was about to hang the cauldron in the fire place, the crow outside let out a strangled squawk. Having seen the feathery devil, the Fawn had hit the wicked bird with a large stick, knocking it cold. The Witch looked up just as the Goat burst through the door and let out a mighty roar. As he and the witch fought, the Fawn retrieved her son from the horrid bath in which he'd been placed and as they reached the cottage's door, the Goat tossed the evil hag in to the fire.


The three of them escaped the woods, the witches shrieks fading away behind them. Having rid the village of the evil within its woods, the trio were named the Heroes of Boo Hollow.

The End




P.S. No witches or crows were actually hurt in this Halloween Merrymaking. WE're actually quite fond of both around here. ;)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Moonday Musings - An Ending

Of all the things that I don't have as much time for these days, writing is one of the ones that I miss most. To remedy this, I've started writing in a *gasp* paper journal again. When I get quiet moments, while Orion happily plays with his toys, when he's laying beside me snoozing in the afternoon or in the dimly lit comfort of my bed at night when I decide it's more important to get some thoughts down on paper than it is to get those few extra minutes of sleep.

But oh, even with my pen and composition book to feed the journaling bug within me, I miss my blog. I find that when Isit at the keyboard to write, rather pick up the pen, my mind wanders less and I get my thoughts out faster, more succinctly than I can by hand. I'm going to try to get back to this space, to the keyboard (I won't write from a tablet or phone I HATE it).

And so, to keep the cobwebs out of my wee space and satisfy my blogging urge, I'll be here Mondays for Moonday Musings where I'll muse on something or another each week, Wednesday for Wordless Wednesday where I'll share a photo that stands out to me, a special moment captured that requires no words and Sundays for Gratitude Sundays. And of course, I'll pop in to write on any other day that the bug bites while I am in front of my computer. ;)


Last Thursday, Orion turned 13 weeks old. On Friday, my newborn officially became an infant, having been Earthside for 3 months. It was also my final day in what is considered the "4th Trimester", meaning my body is more or less back to normal and healed and if I were in a culture that observed a lying in period for new mothers, it would be ending.

Neither of us is considered "new" anymore. And the ending of this stage of newness saddens me. Our transition from one person to two is complete as is my magical period of metamorphosis from Maiden to Mother.

I want so badly to bottle up these moments, all of our tiny milestones, all of the tears and laughter, complete with bleary eyed mornings, first time mom fumbles and the sweet smell of his tiny head and the touch of his downy hair... bottle them all up and preserve them forever. To open and wonder over, to tearfully, joyfully pull off the shelf and reminisce over when he's grown.

These were our firsts. Tiny drops in the ocean of life, but magnificent ripples for us. I will never again be a first time mom, he will never again be this small and new to the world.

These past 3 months have been like a hazy, beautiful dream and have gone by far, far faster than I ever imagined time could move. We've both changed so much in these few weeks; he is now grasping, grabbing, babbling, smiling, moves his arms and legs more gracefully and giggled his first real giggle last night. I've found my sea legs, if you will, and have become more confident, more patient.

My heart has grown larger, my emotions softer. My love has grown fierce and fiery; Mother Bear has awakened within me. My body is no longer the enemy of my mind; birth and breastfeeding have healed the rift between them and I'm learning to love my physical self - thick thighs, striped soft belly and all. I am awestruck and humbled by what this vessel is capable of.

Orion is teaching me to slow down and to let go. He is teaching me hard lessons in remaining calm, in patience and in priorities. His life has made me take a hard honest look at my own and to hold to light that which is lacking and to hold dear that which is truly important, not what I've been programmed to view as such.

This Motherhood journey has called me to let go of resentment, pessimism, self abuse and anger (I was fueled by so much rage) and to instead allow myself to invite in grace and peace and to be led by Love.

And it is hard.

But,

This little soul, my shining star and mighty hunter, is transforming me in the very best of ways and guiding me on my transition from maiden to mother with the gentle wisdom of the very oldest souls. And while I mourn that our magical transition period is ending, I am excited for our today's and our future.