Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Chalet Muse


I wonder at the stillness here --
a gift, perhaps,
to quiet my churning spirit;
or curse, still blessed,
to draw my soul home again.

I embrace the late dawning here --
no planned alarm,
my love is still abed at eight;
and even I,
did catch an extra wink or two.

I wallow in green hush doldrums --
magnolia walls,
and gravel roads of tactile crunch;
old stone paths,
reveal flume fed ponds and waterwheels.

There’re many who would walk ahead --
with chosen mate,
blindly following behind a
a duty pace,
while for me ‘tis a quested calling.

It is for this I am trained
in found stillness,
guarding point in search of stumble;
that she might reach
out with senses beyond my ken.

For her the sun is always late --
dark clouding mist,
which allows more knowledge of moon;
love’s hid powers,
that reach ‘cross the room in laughter.

Yet, this stay is but a wrinkle --
a hole in time,
and we must return to the land
of quick busy-do,
and the work the Goddess gave us.

It came in a soul-blink of now --
that we do not
dare linger here in such stillness;
a world apart,
for there are no birds singing here...

nor cats curled at our feet,
not the quiet whispers of Tegsh,
nor the home built
with heart and hand,
from chaos.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Gypsies have spoken...

And the word is, more parties, hooleys, and barn door dances!
The Gypsy Chief wishes it to be known that Baba Griga is a great dancer and welcome at his camp fire anytime.
He also wishes to inform all travellers that any birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, engagements, whatever, will be celebrated at the Gypsy camp with much enthusiasm. So if you'd like to be the guest of honour at a hooley at the tober (translation: a big party at the campsite) you are to send your birthdays and/or other important dates to gailkav@yahoo.com
Talk about a slave driver, he's as bad as Baba Yaga.

Heather's Birthday Card

A belated birthday wish for you Heather.I missed all the excitement as I was away for a few days. However I guess it is better late than never!!


May you experience freedom, peace and true joy in your retirement.

I give thanks for your sense of fun, your creative spirit and your generosity.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Happy birthday Heather

Belated birthday wishes
with love from Traveller

Sweet Return

Ah -- to return from a magical week
and find so many kind and loving posts.

All will find a place in our wedding scrapbook
already over 80 pages. After the wedding
at Sakin'el we spent five days at Blowing Rock,
North Carolina where I managed to write a few things.

Then off to Raleigh, NC for a handfasting!
20 people in unique ceremony including
a circle of rose petals. After the 'closing' Em and I danced,
broom in hand, while guests showered us with petals.

Here is the first poem I wrote on the


Chalet is a magical word,
sung out in chimes without trying --
all heads turn and hearts remember
dreams as silent echoes of joy.

There's no one doesn't like chalet,
a form unique in artist's call
to function rather than comfort;
all angles, stone and sliver wood.

For while it defies the piled snow,
and cleaves with ease the howling winds;
it is for lovers a haven --
carved from a niche of tomorrow.

The ready fire never crackles,
but purrs with careful pulsing voice --
averting laughing amber eyes,
and caressing finger shadows.

Know bubblicheese and whisper wine

dulcimer knees and unribboned hair,
hourglass unturned and balconied moon
on a carpet of longing furs.

All is curves and rounded prayers,
and vampired throats and ruby hints
of scattered petals of young again
and innocence found in childish tears.

As ye slumber within my arms
and vaulted beams away from harms. --
chalet, chalet, mon dieu, et tu --
encore mon coeur chanson l'amoure.

To Fly Away

Before I left Duwamish Bay for the Gypsy Camp I stopped by Livia's Bookshop.

It's still closed and she's still gone and I know she's missed by everyone down here at the Marina.

I went to the Sideshow to visit Kincross and Clara and for once Kincross wasn't performing her slight of hand...done I suppose to pull in a crowd for the main show.

Though I suspect she does it simply for the attention.

Tonight the Twins Wintra and Summer were standing on a little makeshift stage and they were singing. It was a song we use to see in the first grade as part of our
" American Folk Songs " studies and I remember liking it because you didn't have to be a great singer to make it sound good.

Plus it was about Flying...of course this song is about Death...but to fly... ah, what a dream.

Anyway as I watched Kincross and Jesse the Cyclops and the Twins, who would never die but simply go on forever like the tide coming back to the shore over and over again, I wondered and I always will, why THEY enjoyed singing it so much.

And why they looked so sad when they sang:

I'll Fly Away

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away.

To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, O Glory, I'll fly away.

When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I'll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have flown,
I'll fly away.

Like a bird thrown, driven by the storm,
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, O Glory, I'll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I'll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away.

To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, O Glory,
I'll fly away.

When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I'll fly away.

The art of a good marriage - Wilferd Alan Peterson

I think this sums it up perfectly:

The Art Of A Good Marriage
Wilferd Arlan Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Happy Birthday Heather!

Birthday Wishes from Duwamish Bay

On The Occasion of Her Birthday....
From Your Friends At the Duwamish Sideshow....
May All Your Wishes Come True
and if they don't

By Express Mail To Heather

Dear Heather,

I've left my road trip and my notes in safe Keeping at the Curiosity Shop ( the one in Seattle, the one in Duwamish Bay...Goodness knows what could happen to them THERE ) so that I could attend your birthday party!

Come Hell or High-Water ( and BOTH DID!) I'll be there with bells on to share some little tales before I once again take to the Roads that have possessed me...As it were...

Love From
Anita Marie

Joyous dancer sings her poem to Heather

For Heather:

This is the part you have waited for.
No mad wild heat
lists to do
children to teach
examples to set.
Just books to read
flowers to grow
friends to welcome
universes to create.
Small moments that previously
escaped your notice
fill you and expand
to create a horizon
that is infinite.
Happy Birthday, Dear Enchantress!
You have made us all dance with joy.

Moondance - Birthday Time

In a rare moment of solemnity, Baba Griga is presented with her green skirt, sparkling in the firelight. Then the proud young Gypsy chief (who looks a bit like Johnny Depp) takes her hand in a lively dance around the camp fire.

A wedding present

In a far away land called “HEARTH” (pronounced ‘Heart’, à la française), the wedding, deep in a woodland grove, came to an end. The lovers had plighted their troth and exchanged rings and had been blessed by the Rowan lady. Now it was her turn to address them. She handed them something wrapped in a woven grass cover, decorated with the last of the year’s thistle heads, already turning to thistledown. Inside was a dream catcher.

She explained to them thus:
"Hang the dream catcher above your bed so that it will catch any nightmares before they can disturb your sleep. But there is more. The circle represents the circle of your union and will contain all that you put into it. When you feel sad, it will comfort you and, if you hang it in a tree out of doors, it will sing to you as the wind plucks the strings, like an aeolian harp."

And so the couple lived their married life with all the usual ups and downs, moments of true happiness and moments of deep sadness. As the years went by the beads lost their bright colour as they faded in the sunlight and the feathers slowly drooped, lost their lustre and, one by one, flew away until only the strings remained. In later years, on sad days, they hung the dream catcher in the apple tree and the wind sang its songs of happier memories and replayed their dreams to them once more, thus lulling them to peace again, for their dreams had become forever entwined in its threads and no matter how threadbare their lives or the dream catcher became, there was always something there to give them heart.

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth for the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
for each of you will be companion for the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling to enter into
the days of your life together.
And may your days be good,
and long upon the earth.

(native apache wedding prayer)

Heather's 55th Birthday Party

Join Mirabella and I in a celebratory dance and party in the Gypsy Camp tonight. The Gypsies have put down those barn doors and we will dance by the moonlight, tell stories and sing songs into the wee hours of the morning. I think everyone will be back on those hammocks tomorrow afternoon Gail. The camp may be very silent as tired folks find places to curl up and sleep and dream.

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Happy birthday Heather

So this is what has been going on in the gypsy camp...Heather has been made an official gypsy muse and has a position of honour amongst the tribe.The Gypsy Chief has made her a wise woman for the tribe, to be named Baba Griga (the gypsy word for Heather). She will be treated with honour and given the Green Skirt, a traditional embroidered garment worn only by wise women.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wedding Guests

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Gypsy Rose Enchanteur - At the Wedding

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A Hope Carol

A Night was near, a day was near,
Between a day and night
I heard sweet voices calling clear,
Calling me:
I heard a whirr of wing on wing,
But could not see the sight;
I long to see my birds that sing,
I long to see.

Below the stars, beyond the moon,
Between the night and day
I heard a rising falling tune
Calling me:
I long to see the pipes and strings
Whereon such minstrels play;
I long to see each face that sings,
I long to see.

To-day or may be not to-day,
To-night or not to-night,
All voices that command or pray
Calling me,
Shall kindle in my soul such fire
And in my eyes such light
That I shall see that heart's desire
I long to see.

by Christina Rosetti

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Spring Blessings

Though you roam far and wide,
overlapping one story over
another as it should be, -
When you return to your
camp, our Gypsy Friends,
you will find Spring has
taken over and a pot of
honey gold awaits!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Blind Murty and the dog Roisin


Blind Murty the fiddler
Sees only a fog,
So he travels the roads
With a seeing eye dog

She’s a fine looking greyhound,
Name of Roisin,
As sleek as an eel
And proud as a queen.

Roisin and Blind Murty
Are always a pair,
She’s won many a race,
She can outrun any hare.

One time Blind Murty
Was in a bad way,
Sick with a fever,
And sleeping on hay.

Two days without food
And no one to call,
It looked like Blind Murty
Wouldn’t make it at all.

Then his dog up and left him,
A crueler blow
Fate couldn’t devise –
It laid him so low.

Night fell and he called her,
But she didn’t appear,
Something bad had befallen
His Roisin, he feared.

As the morning sun rose
He longed for some meat –
He could have dined on mud soup
And found the taste sweet.

Sitting up in his haystack,
He looked down the road,
And saw something moving,
All weary and bowed.

It was Roisin, paws bleeding,
From many a mile,
Seeking food for her master
And she’d made it worthwhile.

Half the size of herself
Was the hare that she found
And dragged back to her master,
That faithful greyhound.

They feasted that morning
Like kings of old time.
That’s Roisin and Blind Murty,
And the end of my rhyme.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wedding Blessing

Take this day by the morning
And hold it close to you.
One more link in the chain of days
That we are passing through.
All our days are miracles,
Each more precious than gold,
So let us share our long, long day
Until all the tales are told,
Until all the flowers unfold,
Until even the stars grow cold.

A Song for Faucon and Lady Emerys

This song is composed by Tim Wheater and lyrics by Stuart Wilde and sung by Cecilia

Through dawn's mist a ray of golden light.
Across the lake, two swans matched in flight.
Wing to wing, they glide together,
Joined in love and bound forever.
Fly the air, let us soar to mountains high.
Live with faith and ask not why.
Ride the wind, life befriends all those who dare.
Hold the thought, have not a care.
Embrace your love
express your heart
with every breath you take.
Those gilded wings so full of grace and might.
You wrap me in your feathers pure and white.
You teach my soul of many hidden things.
Prepare me for all that life will bring.
This song is my gift for your wedding celebration. I shall dance with you on this day.

For the happy couple

Some words from Rumi...

This is how I would die
into the love
I have for you:
as pieces of cloud
dissolve in sunlight.
Many blessings!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Crossroads Dance and Celebrations

Wedding Blessings

by Edwin Muir 1943
(From Oxford Book of Marriage - compiled by Helge Rubenstein.)
Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face.
I in my mind had waited for this long,
Seeing the false and searching for the true,
Then found you as a traveller finds a place
Of welcome suddenly amid the wrong
Valleys and rocks and twisting roads. But you,
What shall I call you? A fountain in a waste,
A well of water in a country dry,
Or anything that's honest and good, an eye
That makes the whole world bright. Your open heart,
Simple with giving, gives the primal deed,
The first good world, the blossom, the blowing seed,
The hearth, the steadfast land, the wandering sea,
Not beautiful or rare in every part,
But like yourself, as they were meant to be.
I chose this because it seemed to say it all - many, many blessings to you,
Faucon and Emrys, on your most special of days....Monika.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wedding Dance at the Crossroads

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Bells are sounding out throughout the land. Join us at the Crossroads for celebration upon Gail's barn doors to mark the Wedding of faucon and his lady Emerys.

Raid Pandora's Costume box and come and sing, dance, tell stories, read Tarots, read runes, play music and send vibrant joy towards them in Sakinel where earth based celebrations will be taking place.

The Enchantress

A night in a gypsy caravan

It was already dark but it did not matter for I knew from a good source gypsies like to dance and drink and party thru out the night. As I made my way thru the vegetation I heard music and laughter. Curiously I kept walking feeling the enchantment of the music take over my body. I could not resist anymore and ran as fast as I could to get there and be part of that rhythm.

Once there a man greeted me smiling and dancing. At that moment I lost control of my whole body and dance. I remembered the basic movements I learned in my belly dancing classes and put them in practice. They came naturally like they were responding to the music. Suddenly, women of all ages surrounded me and accompany me in my dance. One started chanting another took a sword and dance with it. All of the sudden we were all moving as one.

Everyone was happy and danced with pleasure and joy. The music lasted for hours and at last I stopped exhausted hardly breathing. But still I felt so content with myself for I had needed that for a long time.

I sat down on top of some cushions catching my breath and clapping to the children that were still dancing. My daughter will have loved this; after all she has a gypsy name, Versaly.

A woman of dark hair stood in front of me. She was smiling, her eyes were mysterious and looked at me as if they were about to enchant me. I smiled back waiting for her to say a word but instead she offered me her hand. With out any questions I took it for I felt that she could be trusted. She helped me get up and we walked through the dancing crowd, the gypsy woman still holding my hand tightly.

A tent was in front of us, a red glamorous tent. We entered it and she told me to sit on some cushions that were lying on the carpet floor. A small table was in front of us. She sat on the other side of the table. Some tarot cards, incense and a red rose were the only things on the wooden table.

“Give me your hand.” She said. I figure she was one of those women who read palms and I gave her my hand.

She studied it quietly looking at it with detail. “A long life.” I felt joyful.

“Love!” That I have.

“But why?” She asked and I looked at her in dismay.

“Why what?” I asked back, even thou I knew it was not polite to answer a question with another question. But since I didn’t knew what was the question about I simply figure it was appropriate.
“You tend to see your future projects so far away, like they will take an eternity to come to be.”

She was right. I always see them like they are so far away they turn out to be only desires that I can not have.

“Even thou you have a strong faith on God, you still are not letting him do the work for you.” She moved closer. “See your projects nearer every time you think of them. This will help you reach them and to help you fulfill yourself. They are making you get stock in life and not advance. Feel them nearer and they will come to pass. When you want something close your eyes and pray. Look at them as if they were in front of you, take them with your hand, and make them part of you as if they are happening in that exact moment. This will give you the confidence you need to make your dreams a reality.”

I smiled feeling more peaceful and astonished with her words. She kept looking at my hand a little longer. “Hmm.” She looked at me.

“Your center of stress is your throat that is why you loose your voice when you are challenge with important things.”

I touched my throat realizing her words and understanding it. I have worked my throat to much. I will need to find a way to channel my stress away from it.

Suddenly, her face had an awkward look to it like she was worried or something. But she smiled immediately. Then she let go of my hand and said firmly:

“That is all for today.”

“There is nothing of my future you can tell me?”

“What needs to be reveal know, was. When you come back here next time, I will tell you what you need to know then. For know that is all.” She took the red rose and offered it to me. I took it a little disappointed but smelled it sweet aroma. I was perplexed and since I don’t like to argue much I took that as a final answer. I stood up and walked towards the entrance of the tent. When I was about to live she said:

“The future looks bright. Things are coming to you, big things. They are just around the corner and you must prepare for them.” Then, just like that she was silent once again.

“Thank you.” She made a nod.

I exited the tent thinking of those last words the gypsy woman had told me. The future is just around the corner and I have to be prepared for it. From a near by table I took a bottle of red wine and a glass. I sat near the fire camp and lay on a carpet full of feather cushions.

“What may come, will come, of that I am certain. But for know I will enjoy this night, tomorrow I will worry of the future.” I said to myself smelling the rose again.

I stared at the stars above me smiling and taking a sip of wine. It is surely the drink of the gods and that night I, a mere mortal, was going drink like one and let my body be seduced by it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Crossroads Dance

The Crossroads Dance always took place on a Sunday, after Church – the reasoning being that everyone will meet at the crossroads anyway, on their way home.
The dusty road was no good for dancing, so a couple of burly farm workers would haul a barn door (or in some places, a floor would be made and kept for the purpose) to the crossroads and lay it down for a dance floor.
Word would go out, and the gypsies would be there, hawking their wares, as well as fiddle players, dancers and bodhran and pipe players from all around the area.
Young gosheens would roost in the trees around the crossroads, where they could watch the fun. Families would bring picnics and lay out their tablecloths in the nearby fields or on the grass verge. If there were travelling showmen in the area you might even see a set of swinging boats or a merry-go-round.
The dance would start as soon as the first musician got there, because the fiddler, piper or bodhran player couldn’t wait to get the rhythm going.
In Ireland, talent is not the main requirement if you want to sing, dance or play. As Dominic Behan (the folk singing brother of writer Brendan Behan) said, ``In Ireland, everyone sings, whether they can or not.” Enthusiasm and knowing the words to a song count for a lot more.
If we are lucky, a famed fiddler or pipe player might be there, sawing or piping up a storm of jigs, reels and mournful ballads.
The gosheens up in the trees and the old ladies gathered round the dance floor learn everything worth knowing as they watch the goings on among the crowd. A shy exchange between a red faced young farmer and the demure daughter of the local farrier sets tongues wagging. Their hands link briefly as they stand watching the dancers step out to the fiddler, feet flashing so quickly that you can hardly follow them. Dougal and Diarmid, the rascally twins from McMinn’s farm, are planning another joke on their long suffering older sister, who has worn her best finery to attract the attention of young Fergus Finnegan. It involves creeping up behind her with handfuls of mud, but luckily their father spots them first and a roar rents the air, sending the twins scuttling back to their Ma for protection.
Romance, bargains and gossip abound, for this was truly a social event and a chance for everyone to get together and exchange news.

(Alas, crossroads dances were banned by the Irish church in 1935, and these days it would simply be too dangerous, with all the traffic about, but here at the Gypsy camp we like to keep old traditions alive.)

Come all to the Crossroads Dance...

The gypsies are taking a a couple of barn doors (with permission, of course!) to the crossroads on Sunday where they will be used as a traditional dance floor.
Word is that Blind Murty, the best fiddler in all Ireland, is coming, and Coleen Dubh, the prettiest girl in County Cavan, will be giving a fine demonstration of heel and toe.
All are welcome, and if you can play an instrument, sing a song or trip on the dance floor, then you are a thousand times welcome. Don't forget to regale the gypsies with your adventures.

"The Man Who Cried"

Anyone interested in
seeing vision of Johnny Depp as
a skilled horseman/gypsy camp wanderer/performer
must see this movie on DVD. It is a feast for the ears, with authentic
soulful gypsy music and made by Sally Potter, it
is absolutely a feast for the eyes.....

Response to Lois

For me, the Raven mythos and Falcon mythos are conjoined,
finding their roots in the most ancient traditions and totem usage.
Naturally, this mythos found its place in divination, the forerunner of Tarot and other methods of revealing a person to themselves. One traceable line is ‘animal oracle’ using symbolic representations, including the raven or blackbird. The Druid Oracle is fairly well know and is based on playing cards laid out in many configurations. Earlier forms (pre-playing card in the 16th century) used bones, totems, stones and other items. Regardless of symbol and format used, however, the meaning of the Raven totem has been fairly consistent.

“it calls from the gateway between the worlds, urging us to follow a spiritual path or to become more self-aware… There are times in life when it is important to concentrate on the outer world and your responsibilities in that world, but there are also times when you must attend to the haunting song of your soul which calls you to a study of spiritual truths. Heed the (raven) and discover healing and new depth of your soul.”

In reverse or pointing North: “the raven is the ‘smith bird’, calling you to work on forge of your heart and being. All four elements are required and draw on their power to develop a healthy and balanced life -- minds, hearts, instinct and intuition… Standing at the gateway between the worlds, without truly working in either, is a denial of our own power and responsibility.”

There is also ancient legend that the raven was originally white and had access to the Cavern of Immense Treasures. But it became greedy and dipped its beak into gold dust, only to discover that the treasure was guarded by a fierce daemon than chased it, belching fire and smoke. Thus a raven now is black with a gold beak – a reminder to all who misuse their gifts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Lois' Reading

I had travelled on foot some many miles and followed the signs diligently to Sadie's .......I was the owner myself of a small caravan,that I purchased after trading in one owned by my former husband Mac and myself.....It was what I call a Darling little van,just for one with a 3/4 bed for my dog Jessie and I, a little table for two,stove ,wardrobe plenty of cupboard space and in just wonderful order..It was not the folding down low type ,it was one of the older style and you could buy them very cheaply.....I just loved it until I found I could no longer tow it due to the old age problem of athritis....I do miss it so.........Well when I saw Sadies Caravan in the little glade where it was parked I burst into tears(The 1st time on my journey)It brought back so many happy memories and also some sad ones too.I tapped gently on the caravan door which as you know is long and skinny so as to keep the wind out and the top part to allow the cool breeze enter in the summer months...So the top part opened and I was greeted by Sadie herself....A warm welcome was not unexpected as I had over 50 years or so encounted hundreds of caravaners who always were the most friendly of types.I knew how it would look when I entered and was not at all disappointed....just like mine "Made for One" or two at a romantic squeeze....."You have come to have the Tarot read" says Sadie as if she has read my mind....."The very first time" I said never had the cards read for me before...."Oh then you are in for a real treat" sais Sadie.The 1st one is Queen Mab and she is just my sort of girl...I love the thought of longings not yet fullfilled,as I never dream at night ,no not ever, this will be an experience to come .I would love to be able to dream beautiful dreams so as I might be able to live them...Tiddy Mun is a familiar card as I have experienced of late just this type of unpleasantness,but I have it in hand and will be able to sort it out in a week or two...in an nice but firm way of speaking I will put it to rest.Unicorn reversed......I like the sound of him...and if I still had my own caravan he would be (with Jessie Dog) on my next trip.He reminds me of my Ancestors on whose paths I now trod in this town of mine ..and for that it has made all the difference in my blessed life...I am glad I made the journey along the path of cypress trees although I was not aware of the raven keeping an eye on me ,but as I only heard the other day of someone whom was when visiting a hospital to hear either good or bad outcomes was confronted (So to say) by a raven in the courtyard of the hospital as if as much to say "I am here for you,look up I am your holder of good news"and this was true....So this raven is most certainly the bird of our dreams,wishes,inspiration and gratitude perhaps more so than the Unicorn,he may just be a healer and also the two might of at one time got together and decided to be as one...What do you think Travellers.....

I walk into the gypsy camp and the leader greets me. "Droboy turne romale," he says.
I don't understand the language but I know it to be a greeting and I surprise myself by answering in the same tongue, "Nais tuke." I wonder how I knew … I repeat in English, "Thank you."

I'm given the freedom to wander, to speak to whomever I please. The most fun though is watching the little children playing bare-footed in their brightly colored clothes. They seem so free … like foals kicking up their rear legs and racing around the meadow just for the heck of it. I can tell by looking into their eyes that they are truly happy. Enjoy yourselves, little ones, for soon you will be adults and will leave your childhood behind. Just don't forget it as I did, for you will need to return to those carefree days in the future. There will come a time when the weight of adult cares and woes will be too much to bear. Return then to today, even if it is just for a few minutes. You'll find that you will be the same person then as you are now, except that you will have moved on, perhaps too far on for your own good.

I think of my own story and the child in me.

This morning, I looked in the mirror
and saw what I see every day,
and aging image
with wrinkles,
white hair,
and far-away eyes.

I stare at my image and wonder,
what happened?
I look longer,
when something magical happens.

The image changes
My white hair is now
a glistening, hazel brown,
painted by the sun
and high lit by the stars.
And the eyes,
no longer distant
are animated,
And the wrinkles,
where did they go?

I look deeper into the looking glass,
and I see my child,
my inner child
looking back at me.
She's with me still.
She's here.
She's me,
has never left me.
I laugh, the sound is strange,
and I realize
I haven't done so in a while.

I turn from the mirror
and grab my coat.
I'm going outside to play.
Yes, to play.
Oh, sure, my arthritis will slow me down,
but I will not feel the pain.
Besides, what the heck,
I'm a kid again
with things to do,
places to go,
and dreams to dream.

©August 15, 2005

the gypsy camp

I had only just got back to my room when there was a tap at the window and the raven that had brought me here was on the ledge outside. I opened the window and the raven hopped in and settled itself on the table. I saw at once that it had something tied to its leg. I untied the piece of grass holding a leaf on which had been written the following:
“Gypsies encamped in the magic glade. Midnight. Be there or be square”. So I was to be spared the trials and tribulations of a performance and a visit to the gypsies sounded like a great way of spending the evening. Perhaps there would be some dancing. Perhaps there would be some magic. Who knew.
I went back downstairs and found the hermitess. How was it that she always seemed to be around when I needed something? “Follow the path past the willow tree and then down into the valley. You will find the gypsy encampment by the stream. Enjoy yourself”. I thanked her and made my way along the path she had indicated. It wound down the hill through a forest of beech trees, moonlight dappling the leaf mould on the floor, and glow worms placed at strategic intervals lit my way where the trees overhead were so thick that no moonlight streamed through. The path must have been longer than I thought for by the time I got to the bottom I was quite warm. Ahead of me I could see the light from the fires. Someone was playing a violin – a lively, swirling dance and as I approached the fire I could see a couple of gypsies dancing, with wild abandon, in the clearing, their forms silhouetted against the fire which crackled and roared as more combustible stuff was thrown on it. The flames leaped higher and higher and cascades of sparks like fireworks burst up into the sky. There seemed to be other people there other than myself and the people who were obviously gypsies, probably the other visitors to the hermitage.

A gypsy woman came up to me and touched me softly on the arm. “want to know what your future holds?” she asked. Now, if there is one thing I have always wanted it is to have my fortune told. So, of course, I went with her into a tent, set a little apart from the rest of the encampment. We both sat down and she started to shuffle the cards. She laid them out on the table and told me to choose four and to turn them over so that we could what I had chosen:
Failure. The High Priestess. Abundance. The Chariot.

The gypsy sat still for a while contemplating the cards. She was silent for so long that I began to fidget and I was beginning to feel just a teeny weeny bit uneasy.
“So, you have met the High Priestess. She is the one who has set you on your journey and who keeps watch over you. The chariot is your means of transport. In your case your journal is your chariot for it is the writing in your journal that transports you into other lands and which, at the same time, carries you forwards. Abundance you will find all along the road. You only need have the eyes to recognise it when you come across it. The last one, failure, is more difficult.” I had started to relax with the first part but now I sat bolt upright again. “Failure or defeat, it depends which way you look at it. You have already encountered failure so it may be that defeat will be yours. Not to be defeated but to defeat someone or something. The time has not yet come”. She took my hands in hers, lightly following the blue tracery of veins on the backs of my hands. Then she turned them over and touched the lines in the palms of my hands. “A long and happy life, my dear. Walk with spirit and you will find your truth”. She stood up, indicating the audience had come to an end and moved her hands through the air, clearing the energies in the tent. My head felt muzzy and I half fell half stumbled through the tent flap into the cool air outside. Dark figures were still twirling around the fire and the violin was still being played with vigour but I felt changed in some way and charged.
I walked back up the hill to the hermitage, turning round once to see the flames burst into life again as someone threw another log on to the fire and wondered.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Vagabond Song

Like you, I can remember other days,
The early morning air so fresh and clean,
Caravans as bright as popinjays,
Moving through a world forever green.
They called us vagrants in those days, my friend,
And what were we but entertainers,
Travellers on a road that has no end.

Like you, from crossroad dance to county fair,
I followed the road wherever it might lead,
From country byways to the city square,
From lake to shore, and always we were free.
They called us vagabonds and rogues, my friend,
And what were we but entertainers,
Drifting in an ocean without end.

That’s why we thought we knew each other well,
Even though we’ve never met before;
What you and I know only we can tell,
Of days of freedom lost in gypsy lore.
The world may change, but we do not, my friend,
For what are we but entertainers,
Voices in a song that has no end.

A Vagabond Tale

Before leaving this evening fire or warmth and sharing,
I would tell you a true story of family tradition,
embellished, of course, buy poetic draw.
My great-grandfather double bound was an itinerant Irish fiddle player.
He could have been in London in 1825, but it is more likely
that he heard this story at an evening fire
where musicians would gather, and ...

it is a Christmas story, but scarcely limited to that.



This story was told to me by my Grandmother in 1952.

She had been reading to us from Dicken's "Christmas Carol"

when my sister asked, "Is that true, Grandma, was Christmas like that back then?"

"Well you can judge for yourself," Grandma replied. "I'll tell you a story that my Grandma told me, when I sat at her feet, just like you are now."

NOTE: To be read out loud to children - of any age.


Sprigs of greenery and berry-chains hung limp and sad as the freezing fog breathed in and out of the narrow streets. The glow of the gas lamp at the corner of the square seemed barely able to reach the rough stones on the street below, and the usually bright windows from the towering apartments were dimmed with frost and grime. Even the common sound of ships pulling at their ropes in the nearby Thames seemed muffled in the swirling snow.

Only yesterday the tiny square and branching streets were alive with Christmas merriment; carolers, cries of wassail and the laughter of children. Now the bitter cold had silenced even the yelping dogs. If you listened very closely you could hear mumbled sounds from the tavern at the corner. Yet -- yet there was music, soft at first, then louder and more beautiful; a violin, rising and falling in the wind. Hear the sounds of Christmas and other joyous tunes.

A ragged, scraggly man danced into the light of the flickering lamp. His bundled clothes were in tatters and his feet were wrapped in great balls of rags. His head was not even visible beneath what appeared to be a ladies fur muff pulled down on his ears. His hands were in stockings rather than gloves, but that didn't stop his violin from singing into the night. Such beautiful songs, and so sad -- so sad, because there was no one to hear. Still, he danced and fiddled as he did every day. A little tin cup stood on the curb nearby. Brrrrr! Did he have to dance, or freeze and die? Maybe so, but he didn't have to play carols in the night. Yet, he did!

A new sound! Applause? No, only laughter from the tavern as the door swung open. Two men stepped forth, the short, stocky one shielding them from the biting wind with a rich looking bag. He pulled behind him a taller and darker man, garbed in fine clothes and a long fur coat.

"Come quickly, Nicóló," he exclaimed. "We're late." The two struggled slowly toward the docks. They had almost disappeared into the fog when the gentleman slowed and put his hand on the servant's shoulder.

"Stop! Wait here," he cried; then walked alone to where the beggar shrank back into the shadows. The rags hid the fear and surprise, but the jumping bow never stopped.

"By your leave, gov'na," he mumbled, and his dance slowed to a mere shuffle.

"Your audience has left my good man. Any performer should know when to get off the stage, the streets, and go home!"

"Begg'n you pardon sir, these streets are my home." The long silence would have been unbearable except for the hum of the fiddle's strings.

"Why do you play here, then? Why these carols in the night? All alone? Does it keep your fingers warm like your dancing feet?"

"No, my lord. 'tis for joy, why 'tis Christmas!" More silence. The dancing began again and the stranger drew back and watched.

"For joy then, here!" shouted the tall foreigner. He drew his great coat about the narrow, shivering shoulders; and snatched the violin and bow from the beggar's hands. "Get your cup and stand at the edge of the light."

Standing well back in the shadows, the fearsome stranger began to play. No, not softly and lightly as before; but commandingly, like church bells and chimes, maybe an angel choir. The power of the notes was so strong and pure that it seemed impossible they could come from such a puny instrument. The songs were not Christmas carols but sang with such joy that the beggar wept where he stood, not dancing, not cold.

A glow crept over the freezing stones and pushed back the fog. The magestic, swirling melodies hid the sounds of shutters opening and windows rising all over that square. Couples, whole families, leaned out and searched into the gloom for sounds - such sounds - as they had never heard before. On and on the magic notes soared, plunged and jumped in the dark; a song of joy that reached every heart. Then singing began, and laughter too, with the violin supporting them. No one was cold.

Then faint chimes were heard, and a far away bell. The violin softened, and softened, and died. Only the beggar heard the hiss in the dark, "Come quickly, my lord, it is the ship's last bell." Bong, bong. He realized then the magic was gone, and with it the music, such a sound, such a joy! But listen! The tiny chimes continued as coins showered down from the open, glowing windows. I couldn’t help but add my own hand-fulls of change in a shower from my balcony. That ragged, tattered man stood alone in the light of the flame, with the violin again in his stockinged hands. The street filled with bouncing, glittering payment, tribute for what had been heard, and felt by those above.

The beggar began to dance again. He alone watched the two shadows disappear into the fog and heard a strange cry, "Come quickly, Mr. Paganini. Mr. Paganini. Mr. Pag...."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Gysy Tarot Reading

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I avoided crossing the sty and followed the path by the Cypress trees, towards the gypsy camp, unaware that a lone dog was watching me. A raven quietly checked the path ahead and guided me. When I finally arrived I was greeted warmly and after a hot drink made my way to Sadie's caravan. Sadie used the Lwellyn Fairy Pack and as she laid out the cards and spoke to me I knew her to speak the truth. Her reading leaves me meditating and reflective.

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in the Past position.

A card in the left position indicates what has happened to affect your question in the past.

Queen Mab arrives in the cards to deliver dreams, wishes, and longings as yet unfulfilled, but also new ideas, insights, creativity, fertility, and inspiration to help you fulfill your dreams. Dare to dream and dare to live the dream. Don’t let others deflect you from what you truly want.

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Tiddy Mun - Reversed
in the Present position.

A card in the middle position indicates what is affecting your question at this time.

The Tiddy Mun reversed warns that you may be trying to ignore an unpleasant situation. He indicates cruelty and ingratitude, and perhaps an enemy made.

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Unicorn - Reversed
in the Future position.

A card in the right position indicates your questions future.

Where the unicorn treads, a great blessing follows. He brings gentle healing from the Otherworld. He is the harbinger of hope, relief from anxieties, spiritual inspiration, and true joy.

Black Sadie

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In the distance you hear the sound of their laughter,
Of tales told and of drink and of dance,
It lures, entices and enchants you
In to the heart of the gypsy’s night camp.

Far away from the crowd are hung blankets
a small fire burns bright on its own
Shadows of a woman are seen clear in the night
As she holds herself and she dances alone

She steps toward the light of the fire,
To reveal such a haunting, pained face
How sad is this woman called Sadie
Dancing alone in her black satin and lace

In her tent she reads cards for the strangers
As the candles burn dim on the shelf
Black Sadie sees into their futures,
She helps others but can’t save herself

The pain buried so deeply inside her
Makes her live in a world all her own
Where she feeds it and nurtures it lovingly,
She can heal it, but won’t leave it alone

She falls to the ground crying into the night
For the girl who once danced not alone,
For what she once was, before pain touched her heart
For the man, and the life she had known

Her silenced soul screams at the tools of her trade
Telling fortunes, for her, hold no place
The crystals and tarot are just symbols of fate,
Not the real, not the pain she must face

She backs once again into the shadows
Where no one can reach her dark place
She hides in the folds of her dresses
And tears soak her black satin and lace.

by Bobbi Fetterly
© 2005

Endless Journey

While walking through the woods en route to the Gypsy Camp, many things were going through my mind, not the least of which was the journey. Not necessarily the journey of the moment as much as the bigger journey … the one we all take in our time.

Endless Journey

Upon this sphere of sun-warmed rock called Earth,
I lay,
beside a sparkling stream.
Tall pines share their fragrance
while, on the ground, their cones are waiting
for a conflagration
to urge them into life,
to feed,
to build anew,
stately forests of the future.
The sphere of rock on which I lay,
invites me to press my naked self
into Her blue-green reflecting body,
to feel Her reassuring surface,
to be one with Her
as She makes Her endless journey,
to watch the ever changing mountains
as they become a million, billion, trillion noble specks
of sand upon a beach.

All living things have their niche;
The womb,
then birth.
With birth, we start to die,
but first, we live, ignite the fire
of love and caring
for those traveling with us upon this earth,
two legs and four,
feathered, finned, and scaled,
then, like the ever-flowing stream,
we move onward to our destiny
until, we too, are but fossils in the rock.

©August 13, 2005

Dancing From the Soul

I don't know why I hesitated visiting the Gypsy camp. I was certain I would be eaten alive by mosquitos, but that's nothing new. I had such a lovely time, I didn't want to return to the Hermitage.

It was enchanting to walk by the light of the full moon from the Hermitage to the Gypsy camp. I was surprised by the coolness of the evening, and so, too, I guess, were the mosquitos, because I saw narry a one of them. The cool air on my skin was a welcome change from the heat of the day. Still so, I was quite chilled by the time I reached the camp. The blazing fire was dazzling, mesmerizing, and a welcome source of warmth.

As I sat gazing alternately into the fire and then at the glowing, full moon, a gypsy sat beside me, put a shawl around my shoulders and a deck of cards in my hands. I held the deck thinking of the many hands that had held this deck before. I touched my walking stick and its image of Wisdom with one hand as I chose a card with my other hand. This is the card Wisdom felt I needed to see most.

I smiled knowingly upon seeing this card. Art. What could be more appropriate. Art, I have come to realize, is a more truer form of communication for me than any thing else. Art is what gives me life. Art brings messages from my inner soul to the surface.

Finding my way to art has been a long process over many years. I get close enough to feel its warmth and I back away saying, "No. I am not worthy." Just as the Gypsy's fire gives my body warmth on this cool evening, I can feel the warmth of art again. I'm traveling the path to art's door. Slowly...carefully...and then I pause. I wonder what I'm doing here. I say there's no time. There are more important things to do. I was about to turn away from the door again when the Gypsy's cards reminded me. This is a door I must pass through. It's not an option. The invitation cannot be refused.

Coming back to my present surroundings, I notice the gypsy's dancing. My body takes this as an invitation and doesn't give me a chance to refuse. I find myself dancing, without knowing the steps, without knowing the song...my body is moving on its own expressing all that is within...all I need to know. This moment is bliss.

Gypsy Woman - Tarot Reading

Feeling well rested I made my way from the House of the Serpent to the gypsy camp in the glades not far from the hermitage. I crossed a wooden bridge over a flowing stream. On the other side I was met by a woman who welcomed me and offered to read my cards.

It had been so long since I had my cards read, so I took the opportunity. She took me by the hand and led me to her caravan. It was deep red in colour with a raven painted over the doorway. I ducked my head to walk through the door. The interior of the caravan was artistically decorated with a mish mash of velvet materials.

I sat down at a small round table. She joined me at the table with a bottle of wine and two glasses. She offered me wine, which I gratefully accepted. She poured the wine asking me to shuffle the cards. I shuffled them noticing that they were well used and worn. I thought of the many readings that she must have done with these cards.

The gypsy woman asked me the date of my birth. October 10th 1972 I told her. She held the cards in her hands, closing her eyes thoughtfully. She opened her eyes and dealt 3 cards in front of me.

They were The Universe, The Queen of Swords and the Three of Swords.

She explained to me the meaning of these cards.

The Universe is the symbol for the zenith of development, the achieved goal. The work is or will soon be done. You have found your place in life or will do so soon.

The Queen of Swords can be very sensitive, perceptive, sharp-witted and intelligent. On the dark side she can turn malicious, cruel, narrow-minded, bigoted or even deceitful. She can be dangerous too because of her charm and beauty which is the curse of all women.

The Three of Swords – You must face up to a painful truth. You have faced much disappointment, pain and sorrow and you are given to periods of melancholy.

There was truth for me in all that the woman told me that the cards told her of me. She finished the reading and said that she wished me well in my journey.
We then left her cosy little caravan and joined the rest of the traveling party for food, wine, stories and song.

The tarot card images and readings were from this website www.corax.com/tarot/index1.html

For my Gypsy friends

Gypsy Night

I will leave the purring embers
to the nuzzling lover's lost care,
and join those more sensibly abed --
preparing for tomorrow's journey.

I wander dimly by moongift
to a haven not far away,
cocoon myself in old Lupo cloak
and leap into a waiting, cushioned bush.

Then I drift to dreams suspended
as one can only rightly be,
on the gentle branches of memories
and the lullaby of stream tinkled breeze.

Faintly, faintly I hear again
those scarf-stroked fire-shadow drums
and bright prancing heart-plucked mandolins
that tell me of gypsy spirit's yearning blood.

Come with me, my sons and daughters
to hidden camp at deer-trail cross,
and dare to listen -- never speaking
to dark eyes and vagabonds of the soul.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A gypsy painting

Listening to the heart warming tales in this gypsy camp, my heart was nurtured by the poignancy of these stories. Later on I spent the day painting with a freedom about what I was doing. You can see one of my paintings in the Hermitage Art Room.


Gypsies mIght Understand

Branch of Orlas

No one told the gathered youths that the time of choosing was nigh. Even the Norok, the Elder Shaman, could not foresee such blending of life and spirit elements that churned within the fiber of the selected few. The youngest was but three unfilled in age (9), and the eldest but a couple of winters add. An equal number more, still at chores or study were, by grace of Her hand, unawares of the Gathering Song. They would become the millers, and wheelwrights, and farmers and fathers sure that would hold the village together. In their silent peace they would give thanks for the gift of not choosing.

Wonder's birds sang in unison for a change and tossing clouds took on edges of brass and vermillion. The Testing Ring was not ordained by tradition or cast upon by chance or adult order. Swirling wind-devils drew leaves from hidden clefts and heaped marking drifts of concentric piles. One for each boy. They knew their spot, yet also knew the beginning order meant nothing. Gusts of troubled wind howled through unmoving branches to deafen any men who hastened near. The lads heard naught inside the rings save tinkling chimes from some hidden brook. She was near!

A staff threw down to be impaled into the center, unclaimed mound. From its three pronged crest hung a gnarled, shiny branch of unknown tree, its true nature disguised by past clasp and caress of countless young hands. In length it might have been the leg bone of a mighty harte. In girth a man's thumb might serve to standard. In rightly spaced span hung five braids of auroch mane, each of different measure. From each suspended a different token; a bell, a stone, a ring, a coin, a blade. Simple, earthly things from the Spirit Pouch of the warrior/priest named Orlas, dead now 700 years. His name is never spoke aloud, but he would surly speak this day!

A gentle breeze stroked their pulsing throats and swept clean juvenile fears and loneliness. One by one the dangling tokens stirred and trembled. A deep voice, unheard except in heart and mind, called off the secret names.

Bier is the stone, see it spin free.
Find here your link with Mother Earth,
Touching with pulsing life of tree
And bird and furry small and death.

Ikie is the bell, feel its soul touch.
The spirit guides your knowledge find
Through Given grasp to ever search
Of fear and awe and will to bind.

Euch is this ring, honor entwining.
Balance such gifts within your heart
Twixt compassion and fine timing
To dream amiss or action start.

Dort is the coin, to guide fine trade
Of hand's toiled art and life task.
Friendly exchange must greed avoid,
of honest charity ever ask.

Besh is the blade, pierce your pride.
Valor is by discipline bound
to warrior quest or family bride,
answer in community found.

Clutch now this Branch of Orlas,
With arm strength and tender love.
Your future needs this test to pass
That She may share your life to prove.

Each dauntless youth approached the stand and in an ancient rite that bound their clan, raised the rod and held at full reach, to test the blending of will and fate. Each token moved in a spirit dance, some to swing and some to spin and some to shiver not at all. To sway so to and fro told of internal strength to sustain the selected element of life. The spinning circle glide foretold a life where the elements did command by fate. To remain at rest within trembling grasp told of peace and balance of attribute most rare. She did not direct or interfere, but watched in patience borne of eternal bond of moon and earth, and dreams and pain of birth, and laughter's wink in distant stars. By this test observed they would be instructed in turn as warriors, or merchants and teachers.

They would leave the nature circle with resounding faith in self and spirit and ready friends. They came as children and left as men. Save one -- one saved alone. He would sit in silence on the now barren fateful mound where his tokens sang mostly still. Only Stone and Ring did swing and spin to become entwined and anoint the one so chosen.

Then Norok held out his hand and together these two watched the Silver Moon appear in splendor full while Father Sun drifted to mountain rest. A life to grow and one to pass. Yet by Orlas' hand the Shaman bond would never die.


The uncounted -- A Sequel to Gail's Fergus and the Bountiful Farmer

They left one behind, Fergus and Shula. One of the children. Left her behind at the farm house that had given them such a lovely Christmas dinner.

Oh, it wasn't on purpose. Tara had never fit into the count, although as you've been told, the count was imperfect to begin with and fluctuated according to circumstances.

The babies themselves had been perfect when they were born, but one twin is always weaker and Thomas had left the world after only being in it a few months. With twice the milk, Tara grew quickly; survival of the fittest some said, will to live, instinct! Whatever you name it, Tara scrabbled with the best of the brood for scraps of food and bits of bread. Feisty she was, but a sad little girl with a torn dress and a sorrowful look in her blue eyes and a pale skin that no amount of sunshine would tan.

Unnoticed, she tagged along behind her tinker-father, barely seen, she peeked into the warm kitchen, where only the farmer's wife sensed her presence and afterward came out to give her an orange. While her siblings were thieving potatoes and butter and burying them in the snow covered fields, Tara crept into the loft, to eat the luscious fruit, then covered herself with fragrant hay, and dreamed of floating and holding one who saw her, knew her, loved her.

When she woke to the twilight and silence, the others had left and the falling snow had erased their footprints. She ventured out and trudged to the farmer house but her timid knock was not recognized for what it was.

The good wife, troubled by intuition, looked outside again and again, and imagined a flutter of tatters in the distance, white on white--a pale tinge of blue. All that night, she glimpsed fragments of Tara reflected in mirrors and in shining holiday ornaments and when spring came, at long last, a ripple in the pond smiled at her and the wind blew a contented laugh her way.

The Baker's Boy

Detail from Vermeer - The Milkmaid

There was a boy, who had no name of his own, but who came to be called Martin.
He had no name because he was a foundling, left beneath the cross on the village green one warm summer night, and found next morning when the Parson was taking his morning walk.
Old Sef the Baker took the foundling in, and called him Martin, because he and his wife wanted a son and had only girls. Martin was mighty spoiled by all those women – they let him do pretty much what he pleased, but there was never any harm in the lad. He liked to be with animals – from the time he could walk, he never slept in the house, he preferred the barn with the dogs and the hens and the bakery horse.
Old Sef took him into the bakery when he was about ten summers old, and taught him all he needed to know to grind the corn and make the bread that was sold from the back of the horse dray. Then, having seen to it that the business was in good hands, Old Sef up and died and left Martin to take over.
His sisters had all married, and Martin lived with his adopted mother until she died. Then Parson called on him, to advise him that it was time he took a wife. Parson frowned on bachelors – they caused no end of trouble, he said, like a fox loose in the hen house.
Parson had already made a list of suitable young women, but to his dismay Martin would have none of them. He said he would find his own wife, and that she would be made of leaves and sunshine and droplets of dew.
``I’ve never heard such heathen ravings,” Parson huffed as he walked across to the Inn to save some souls. ``What’s he planning to marry, a scarecrow from farmer Bryn’s field?”
Martin took to spending long hours away from the village after the day’s work was done and the bread sold. He was seen heading off in the direction of the woods, then was seen to return around daybreak. Whispers flew about that he had found himself a fancy woman in the next village. True to his wild ways, they said, Martin would never marry and settle down like a normal man.
But then one day invitations arrived to Martin’s wedding on the green. Even Parson, although he was not required to officiate, was invited as a guest. To his disgust it was to be a handfast wedding, with the two leaping over a broom at the end to seal their union.
``An abomination,” he declared, but he turned up anyway and drank as much good cider as any man there.
Everyone was curious to see the bride. All the children in the village, who loved Martin, went out early to gather flowers in the woods and filled baskets to the brim with primroses, daisies, buttercups and wild wood roses.
At midday, a faint piping was heard in the distance. It was coming from the direction of the woods.
As the villagers watched, open mouthed, the strangest party ever seen came out of the woods. They might have been gypsies, so brightly and gaily were they dressed, but there were no wagons lumbering in their wake. All were on foot, and those feet bare as they tripped over the grass to the music.
One, a young woman as tall and fair as a young birch tree, walked ahead of them. Her hair fell almost to her knees, so fine spun and golden it was like the sun streaming about her. In her hair, she wore a circlet of flowers. Her eyes were green, and she wore a dress like rustling leaves.
Then Martin came out of the bakery – his feet were also bare and he joined hands with the fey girl, and the strange folk from the woods gathered around them, singing to the notes of the pipe.
An old woman joined their clasped hands with a rope so fine it looked like cobwebs with the dew still sparkling on them. The old woman, dressed in rainbow colored robes, then produced a besom, and laid it on the grass. Martin and the fey girl leaped over it together and the wood folk burst out laughing and clapping and everyone joined in.
``Hail Martin and Lilyflower,” cried the man with the pipe, and started playing again. This time the music was for dancing and everyone clasped hands, even Parson, and ringed the young couple as they stood together on the green.
They danced long into the night, but by morning the strange folk were gone, and Martin and Lilyflower began their married lives at the bakery.
In a year, Lilyflower had borne a child, a girl as pretty as herself, and then another year later there was a son, nut brown and dark haired like his father.
All worked in the bakery, and the bread they produced was the finest in the land. From dark rich seedy loaves to soft cakes, eating it was like eating light itself. When illness threatened the village, Martin and Lilyflower would bake up loaves that looked like they were made of marigolds and sunshine, and which tasted like nectar. Within an hour of eating them, these loaves sent colds and sniffles packing.
As word traveled of the wonderful bread, people came from far away to buy them, but many were disappointed. Martin and Lilyflower baked as much as they could, but many still went away empty handed. But that didn’t stop them coming.
Sometimes they would camp on the edges of the village, and queue outside the bakery hoping to be first to buy the bread. But Martin and Lilyflower always sold bread to the villagers first.
This caused some trouble – fights broke out, and when Parson pleaded with the strangers to move on and leave the village in peace, he was pelted with clods of earth. To get rid of them, Martin and Lilyflower sold them the bread they had baked, and then started again, making bread for the villagers.
But that night the village slept ill, dreading the return of the people from far away demanding the morning’s bread. But when the villagers awoke in the morning, the strangers were gone. So were Martin, Lilyflower and the children.
All that was left around the empty bakery was some scattered leaves, with the morning sun drying the dew on them.
Parson stood looking at the bakery for a while, then went inside. The villagers crowded round the door and watched him lighting the fires under the ovens, mixing the grain and the yeast and kneading big slabs of dough. Soon a few of the villagers had joined him, and he led them in rousing hymns as they baked bread for the day.
As for Martin – it is said he now resides in an old mill on the way to a certain gypsy camp, where he set up a bakery. In the early morning, when the scent of newly baked bread wafts down from the mill, you can go and listen to his tales.

A Harpist

I walked down into the Gypsy camp when it was almost morning, when the last wisps of white smoke from the campfires had dissolved like spun sugar into the tangled green of the overhanging trees and the blackness of night began to pale to pearls of grey. I found him sitting with his back against a tree playing a Bach concerto on a piccolo. He stopped and looked at me.
“I’m looking for a harpist,” I said.
He raised an eyebrow. “Do I look like a harpist?”

He wore unrelieved black; black breaches, tall black boots, a black poets shirt. His long black hair was pulled back with a length of thin black leather.
“And what is it you want with a harpist?”
“I need someone to play and sing a Ballad while I dance. A performance with a fairly large audience.”
He raised the other eye brow. “You’re a dancer, are you?”
I narrowed my eyes. The piccolo flew out of his fingers and up into the tree. But not before it had rapped him sharply across the forehead.
“I am.”

His hand went to his head, his eyes following the small silver sphere as it hurled up through the branches and out of sight. He looked at me again, his own eyes narrowed. “Yes, indeed,” he said softly, “I can see that. I suppose you wrote this Ballad yourself? The one you want sung?”
“I did.”
He pursed his lips for a moment, considering. “How bad is it?”
“It’s actually quite good, but it’s very long.”
He nodded slowly. “I have no problem with that, my memory is excellent regardless of . . . regardless. The problem would be that I haven’t a harp. My last one somehow found it’s way into the hands of a wine merchant.”
“I have a harp,” I told him shortly, “small. Celtic. A knee harp. You sing for me and play well and I’ll let you keep it.”
Both eyebrows went up together. “That is quite an offer. I sing one night and get to keep the harp?”
We will have to rehearse, of course,” I said, “and” I added flatly, “I said, play well.
He smiled, showing white even teeth beneath a clipped black mustache. “That you needn’t worry about. I always play well regardless of . . . regardless.”
“He glanced up into the tree. “What about my . . .” He was struck squarely in the center of the head by a falling piccolo. He caught it on the second bounce, laughing silently.

He unfolded like a cat stretching, coming easily to his feet and executing a deep bow from the waist all in one smooth movement. The piccolo remained clenched in his fist. “Very well, my Lady. You have a harpist. I am Alejandro.”
“I know.”
He nodded, a smile playing around his lips. “Of course you do. And you are?”
I smiled. “The Ballad is in first person feminine. Do you have a problem with that?”
He thought for a moment. “No. I will merely be a sounding board for what you are doing.”
Another eyebrow went up and he smiled slowly. “No problem at all. I can sing anything, regardless of . . . regardless.”

(Find the full text to “A Ballad of the Sidhe” at both the Hermitage and the Camp of the Amazonians.)

Tea and Tarot

I clip-clopped across the bridge, feeling like the Billy Goat Gruff, wondering if a troll would pop out, but passed peaceably into the Gypsy Camp to find several travelers seated round a crackling fire enjoying tin mugs of tea. I sat and listened for a bit. Then, restless, I walked about the camp. Near the wood, sat a beautiful Rom woman of indeterminate age, girlhood to crone years flickering across her features as the light hit her face. She beckoned me over.
"You wish to ask a question?" She looked at me, eyes penetrating.
"Yes, I do have a question."

"Do not ask it aloud, my dear, merely pose your question to the universe," she tapped her chest with a finger, "in here." She gestured toward a chair, and as I sat, she unwrapped a brilliant tarot deck from a crismson silk bag and began to shuffle the cards in her hands as she muttered under her breath.
"Focus your intent," she said to me, as she laid the deck on the table, spreading the cards into a fan. "Now choose three cards."
I selected one card, which she laid to my left.
The second, she laid next to it. "Present."
The last, on the right, "Future."

Here is my reading. It is quite extraordinary.

Woodwose - Reversed in the Past position. The Woodwose reversed indicates reckless or impulsive behavior, a waste of energy and the frittering away of talent, an unwillingness to give way or compromise, or wrongly directed anger and rage. The Woodwose reversed indicates reckless or impulsive behavior, a waste of energy and the frittering away of talent, an unwillingness to give way or compromise, or wrongly directed anger and rage.

Boabhan Sithin the Present position. When the Boabhan Sith appears in your cards, she heralds bad health, illness, energy drain, and a sense of oppression.

Unicorn in the Future position. When the Unicorn appears in your cards, it challenges you to follow, wherever it may lead. Though this may sometimes be difficult and unpleasant, it will engender changes that prove beneficial in the end. You will develop and grow immeasurably if you meet the challenge with courage and determination.

This gave me much food for thought as I returned to sit by the fire, lost in my own thoughts. I look forward to my journey, but not without trepidation.

(unicorn painting by Gustave Moreau)

Offering of Good Luck!

An offering of Good Luck from
the Hermitage -
may you have many who
pass this way....

Path to Gypsy Camp

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

There are many paths that lead you to the Gypsies camp but I followed the one that took me over the bridge and past the old mill. It was the bell that called me to leave the Hermitage and go to break bread with the gypsy. I believe she makes a powerful cup of tea and I have some cake to share with her.
Cook makes very good Banana cake and I managed to talk her into filling my basket with this and other goodies - some cheese and bread as well. I am hoping to have my Tarot read, in the hope of learning where my journey will take me next

Diana's Bell


I thought I might show you what
was waiting on my night stand.

Thank you Goddess!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Story of Olde

I have told this story around many an
evening fire -- with a dozen magical effects
to enhance the story.

Truely, I am a performing magician too.


Black and White

While Thrasa had many sons she had only one daughter, the graceful Giselda, nicknamed Idawas because of her headstrong nature. She had many aspiring suitors but also enjoyed the protection of her brothers during the absence of Aldebern, now a General in Charlamagne's army. One unknown suitor was Gariwald, son of Prince Eberwolf of Bohemia across the Odra River to the east.

It happens that Thrasa and the Prince were at odds over the price of the just delivered flour. Within the Duchy of Sachen the going miller fee was one part in five. The Prince claimed that one part in six was standard in the eastern lands, and that Aldic had agreed to this price. Thrasa knew that the good Baron would never have readily agreed to such a fee, but also knew he might have failed to negotiate the best deal, such being his trusting nature. For Thrasa, the actual price was not as important as not being bested by the Prince in a trade, such being her nature. So they haggled good naturedly back and forth while Gariwald made puppy eyes at Giselda across the room.

At length the Prince said, "I propose a wager to settle this matter. I will offer you a fair and equal chance, a hidden choice guided by providence and luck. If you win you can have your one in five and a contract for all my milling needs for two years. If thee should lose, however, then one in six is our new fee - and (he paused) you will accept the betrothal of my Gariwald to Giselda!"

This proposal was unexpected and surprising. While the joining of their two lands would have certain advantages she would henceforth have to deal with the Prince on a regular basis and did not trust his greed and ambitions. On the other hand, the tractable Giselda, while beauteous, might not have a better opportunity. Still, she rebelled against such a planned and connived marriage.

"The stakes hardly seem balanced, my Lord," she replied. "Gariwald hardly seems an ideal husband if he needs you to speak for him, or should I say - manage? So I will accept this wager on the additional consideration that should I win, you will assign your son to our court as squire for a year. He can learn arms and tactics from Aldebern and manners and independence from me. At any rate, he will be out from under thumb for a time and might grow into a man! Besides which, he will be able to spend time with Giselda and perhaps nature can provide what you would do by guile. I cannot commit my daughter, a Princess in own right, to a marriage against her will. However, if I should lose this silly wager, I commit to support his cast as suitor and help sell his qualities and advantages above all others."

The Prince stood erect and obviously bristled at the challenge. He was not accustomed to being spoke to thusly, and certainly not by a woman with the effrontery to wear a sword in his presence. So he said to the nobles present rather than to her, "Well met, my Lady. I will grant that this horse-trading be entertainment for my guests and thereby beyond petty personality. Here then is the wager." He produced two small velvet purses, one red and the other blue. He bent down and gathered two stones from the pathway beneath their feet, one being white and the other black. He continued, "Behind my back at random choice, I will place a stone in each bag and draw the strings. Neither of us will know which contains the color of choice, back or white, red or blue. Upon your selection we will see the result. If thee choose the white stone then you will win the wager and with it the fee and service of my son. If thee choose black, then the better price is mine and we will discuss the marriage plans." So saying, he played around behind his back and held forth the two purses.

Now Thrasa could not back out of the wager in front of the gathered nobles but trusted the Prince not at all. Instinct told her that he had somehow manipulated the stones and that there was now a treacherous black stone in each. No matter how she chose she would lose! Then, in fierce defiance, she grabbed the red bag and pulled it open. In her haste she dumped the contents upon the ground where it mixed with the other black and white stones. "Dear me!" She exclaimed, how clumsy. But it is of no matter. We can all examine the contents of your purse, my Prince, and discover the treasure in holds. Be it white then my stone must have been black. Be it black, then surely mine must have been white."

The prince stood quietly with slightly furrowed brow and, if truth be known, slightly pinkish ears. Presently he laughed a boisterous call and bowed low. He handed her the blue purse and said, "Twas a test, my fair warrior. I am soon to receive a shipment of silk and treasures from the far east and am in need of an agent to sell these wares in the lands of Sachen. I would give thee your one in five on these goods and your flour if you would accept. We will let the stone guide Gariwald's fate if we must."

"So shall it be my Lord," she committed. But someone will have to guard this shipment to my gates and I suggest that Gariwald be spared for the task. He can spend a fortnight and, by your leave, choose for himself to enter training for a year, and a marriage might yet be in the offing." She held up her palm where all could see the knife scar there. "Some contracts are sealed in blood. Others by the words of two men. But in our situation, my Lord, I would suggest that you call forth a scribe whereby our contract can be put down - in black and white!"

So it came to be in pledge and honor and the blue pouch hangs on Thrasa's wall as a symbol, unopened to this day!

The Call

The night calls to me.
To be out of this lovely room.
Into the wild darkness
under a crescent moon.

The breeze catches my nightgown.
I float upward into the clouds.
I hear voices and drums.
a flicker of firelight.

I hover near a campsite.
I see them…
Gathered around,
telling stories and mysteries
of forgotten times.

I settle on a nearby branch, to listen.
They call to the shining ones.
A voice answers on the wind.

Here and now is revealed.
The present is the time to act.
I watch sacred rites
and hear ancient words.

There is an ornate bell.
The old one,
rings its mellow pitch.
The fire blurs …

I wake in my bed.
What a strange dream.
And there, on the nightstand
the brass bell gently burnished
from much handling.

I take it in my hands.
And see a carved word, Diana.
A crescent moon design
weaves in and out intricately.

And then I remember,
The Gypsies.
The ones who remember
The Moon Goddess.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Tarot Journey: The Fool

This card has no number in the Tarot. It represents the Fool, the universal questor, setting out on a journey. Like a babe starting out in life, the Fool starts the journey with only the bare necessities, bundled into a kerchief. The bundle carries all the Fool’s possessions, worldly and otherwise – mostly otherwise, because it is the qualities we bring to the journey that count, and they will be tested – courage, faith, strength and wit.
In the traditional Tarot cards, the fool is often depicted stepping off a cliff, because life is a great leap into the unknown. As the Fool continues the journey, there will be many encounters, many adventures before the final destination – and that, the Fool hopes, will be the fulfillment of a dream, a chance to begin another quest, not an end in itself.
The Fool reminds us that it is often the journey itself that is the quest – and that the journey, and the way we choose to travel, is more important than the final destination. The Fool is always optimistic, always hopeful, always setting out on some new quest. The gypsy reader sees the Fool many times, because we all seek our heart’s desire, and even when someone prosperous and settled comes for a reading, she expects to see the Fool – because it is not gold and silver that give us our heart’s desire, but love, creativity, laughter and adventure. Without them, all our journeys lead nowhere.