31 October 2012

Of Samhain, All Hallows and All Souls

At this time of year I yearn for the damp darkening days of autumn, ancestral rituals and rites.
The strong tug of deep Celtic roots demand acknowledgement and rightly so. To deny where one comes from sometimes seems essential to survival in a foreign land but, on special occasions such as tonight, it is very necessary to return in some way. So I sneaked the pumpkin from the yard and carved it quickly before T came home, not that he minded but ... Now I think of sweet chestnuts and how breadnut taste similar when roasted. Apples are absent but the feeling is the same. You can read about Samhain here, if you would like to.  Tomorrow we will clean the graves of T's ancestors for All Souls, plant flowers and light candles For now, I place the lantern in the window and glimpse the thin veil between worlds .
Of course we need a little music to bring to this night and I can think of nothing more wonderful than.........

I forbid you maidens all that wear gold in your hair
To travel to Carterhaugh for young Tam Lin is there
None that go by Carterhaugh but they leave him a pledge
Either their mantles of green or else their maidenhead
Janet tied her kirtle green a bit above her knee
And she's gone to Carterhaugh as fast as go can she
She'd not pulled a double rose, a rose but only two
When up there came young Tam Lin, says "Lady, pull no more"
"And why come you to Carterhaugh without command from me?"
"I'll come and go", young Janet said, "and ask no leave of thee"

Janet tied her kirtle green a bit above her knee
And she's gone to her father as fast as go can she
Well, up then spoke her father dear and he spoke meek and mild
"Oh, and alas, Janet," he said, "I think you go with child"
"Well, if that be so," Janet said, "myself shall bear the blame
There's not a knight in all your hall shall get the baby's name”
For if my love were an earthly knight as he is an elfin grey
I'd not change my own true love for any knight you have"

Janet tied her kirtle green a bit above her knee
And she's gone to Carterhaugh as fast as go can she
"Oh, tell to me, Tam Lin," she said, "why came you here to dwell?"
"The Queen of Faeries caught me when from my horse I fell
And at the end of seven years she pays a tithe to Hell
I so fair and full of flesh and feared it be myself
But tonight is Hallowe'en and the faerie folk ride
Those that would their true love win at Miles Cross they must buy
First let past the horses black and then let past the brown
Quickly run to the white steed and pull the rider down
For I'll ride on the white steed, the nearest to the town
For I was an earthly knight, they give me that renown
Oh, they will turn me in your arms to a newt or a snake
But hold me tight and fear not, I am your baby's father
And they will turn me in your arms into a lion bold
But hold me tight and fear not and you will love your child
And they will turn me in your arms into a naked knight
But cloak me in your mantle and keep me out of sight"

In the middle of the night she heard the bridle ring
She heeded what he did say and young Tam Lin did win
Then up spoke the Faerie Queen, an angry queen was she
”Woe betide her ill-fought face, an I'll death may she die”
"Oh, had I known, Tam Lin," she said, "what this night I did see
I'd have looked him in the eyes and turned him to a tree”

30 October 2012

Full Moon

The Full Moon in Taurus taken from our front step last night, how beautiful she is, bathing us all in her special light. All our thoughts are with those who were affected by the life changing tides that accompanied Hurricane Sandy. Mystic Mama gives us some insights into how we can best use the energy from this particular moon.

29 October 2012


Back in June, I damaged my foot and, with the exception of the occasional bus ride to town to pay bills etc, I have stayed home. The foot was maintained in various states of elevation, therapy- both hot and cold,- a plaster cast, heated soft candle mixed with aloes and camphor massage, then wrapped in a black plastic bag for two days (courtesy of T's sister who has recently returned from vet school) nerve and bone tonic together with more than a few incantations, prayers and a tiny bag of 'protection', just to be on the safe side. I was really disappointed at my lack of stoicism and bravery and somewhat surprised by my overwhelming thoughts of gloom and doom! T, needless to say, rallied to the situation with endless enthusiasm and kindness, providing every need, much love, understanding and more besides. So, perhaps you can imagine my delight at being able to 'make the rounds' around Cornell yesterday! It is an easy walk, on the old estate road, that takes you up past Annandale Falls and, instead of continuing up to the dam and the forestry, you take a left by the big mango tree, just before Kool Nursery. Now the road climbs a little higher before you reach Cornell. Here, before hurricane Ivan, was full of nutmeg trees, a very cool and shady place with the foliage so dense that it was dark even on a sunny day. We were pleased to see a lot of replanting and new growth. The track levels out  now and then drops down through Mango and back into the village of Willis.

T has his breakfast as we take a five just after taking the left turn for Cornell. These stainless bowls are great by the way, they come with a plastic seal lid, from Bargain House in town, $20e.c. for a set of  5. I drink ice water and relish in the foliage and peace and quiet.

Cornell is more or less as I remember it but trees are being planted and the land nurtured.

......and I would like to stay here a while but
we continue on around the corner where we can see.....The Sea!

There is something missing from our walk, no Beres or Xena. We decided to leave them at home on this our first venture out together since The Foot, but it is strange being here without them. I think T thought he may have to carry me home, but all was well and he waited for me patiently as I foraged around with my nose in the bush that I have missed for so long.

On the way back down the hill to home, T told me all about La Diablesse
(This video is of the truly wonderful Richardo Keens-Douglas telling his La Diablesse story )
and how this is her toothbrush.

A frisson, a shiver of something as we walk past the plant and on down the hill and then, with a skip in my step and a happy, happy heart, home. Thank you to everyone who made me well again. I am so grateful.

9 October 2012


During a recent downpour a 'boli' came floating down the drain. T, knowing a gift when he sees one, brought it home for me. Having been at a bit of a loose end all  morning the unexpected arrival of a 'found thing' lifted my spirits no end. Not being able to find my hack saw, T's electric jigsaw came to mind. Having drawn the circle I wanted to cut and made the initial incision  into which to slide the blade , cutting the hole was a piece of cake. The boli must have been adrift for a while as the exposed innards were a black mush. I meant to take a photograph of this stage but they didn't smell too good and I was a bit hasty in disposing of them, jettisoning them from out of the studio window to a shady spot where hopefully the seeds will sprout.(More likely than it sounds, most everything pelted from a window seems to grow, - lime pips,avocadoseeds, papaya,blackeyepeas,passion fruit- all have sprung happily to life from where they have landed, as opposed to all carefully cultured and nurtured attempts which, more often than not, fail miserably.) I digress. The inside of the shell needed a good scrape with a spoon and then it sat in a sink of full of water with a bit of bleach overnight. I'd been reading about the Amazon recently and with this in mind and the tribal connections to river and Anaconda, the design took shape. A friend had given me some lino cutting tools a while ago,(lino.... does it still exist?) and they worked well, providing texture and preventing me from being too careful and precious. This took most of the day, such fun and I was pleased with how it came out, especially the negative space which I hadn't thought about at all. The idea was to make a salt holder, one that requires putting your hand into the mouth of the beast. On reflection, I wasn't too sure how T would react to this. There are no poisonous varieties in Grenada but historically, Grenadians do not like serpents. Over time, we have come to an understanding, regarding all those that slither on their bellies.T is now able to resist the urge to exterminate them on sight and I am able to not be so dismissive about his cultural feelings towards them.
 Now all that is required is to sand it  and let it sit a while so it can tell me whether to paint it some, add shells, seeds, beads or just let the natural patina develop as it dries and matures. T likes it.

8 October 2012

El Diablito and the Book of Possibilities

I started working on some ideas for a still life painting this morning.  I like planning things out in a sketchbook. Using watercolour and with no particular discipline or end result in mind at this stage, I usually stick on some music, (it was The Incredible String Band today) and dive in to see what happens. It's a lovely feeling, there is no pressure or expectation as the water and paint mingle freely. I am besotted with the combination of Paynes Grey and Burnt Sienna, oranges with crimson, deep blues and emerald green. El Diablito, who believes that my work table is his, came to see what was going on and lend a paw. I imagine he'll work his way into the painting too.

Incredible String Band ~ October Song

2 October 2012

Burning Bush

What do you do
on those days
when the universe
appears to conspire
against you?
When hopes, dreams,
desires and the
best of intentions
are frustrated
at every turn?

T burns bush.!

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