Just a quick note to say that this fae is off to India for a little - think of her on full moon night- November 10th - watching the Moon of the Wild Hunt, by the Ganges at Varanasi and the festival of Kartik Purnima.
And, by the way - there's a new squash recipe on the Hedgerow Cooking page - Buttercup Squash with Cashew and Olive Stuffing. ALSO - Plz take care not to frighten any Magics and creatures around about where you are with those firework-bang things that you like so much at this time of year!
October 31st 2011 - later - nearly the witching hour .....
There were faces on the wall, lining the path to the forgotten chapel and the wood, grinning and fierce.
I'm certain that I caught a glimpse, just for a moment, of My Lord of the Greenwood, staring intently at the Bale Fire. By the time I got closer, he was gone.
You might like to see a little sample of the artwork of Shona M MacDonald -
new on my Folk and Fairy Artists Links Page.
October 31st 2011
Samhain ..... Winter's Eve ...... The Eve of All Hallows ...
♪ "Hex and hag and crone and bell,
Bless this cauldron and stir it well ....." ♫
Hectic days are these for the Magics - and tonight, as the Northern lands slip again into the Dark Side, and the veils of betwixt and between lift for an instant, nothing you villagers can prepare or perform will keep the shadows out - so take care what you wish for!
If you make your own herbal burning incense, you might like my Samhain Incense recipe - as it appeared for Oct 30th last year.
First this faery went on a learning - to make a besom broom.
It's not only you witches who use them you know? A Wood Guardian fae often needs to sweep and clean!
Anyway - needless to say making a good, strong besom is one of the levels on the Stella-Fae Interrogations - so it's a must for Muddypond Green - and it is all made from Ogham Tree woods.
I learned that the besom must be made from a male and a female wood if it's to be used by a Magic.
The brush part, the head, is made from Birch scrub. Birch (female) is very twiggy, so really fine for catching leaves and such-like in the sweeping.
The handle's a knobbly branch of Hazel - a masculine wood. My friends chose to use the shave-horses to take off the bark. Mine stayed natural. There was a special tool (above) called a 'broom-clamp', to pull the twigs in tight whilst binding with split Willow withies.
Next came a spectacularly magical evening, a Samhain Harvest supper and concert by Nigel Shaw and Carolyn Hillyer, in the pretty village of Petham. Their inspirational music comes from a deep love of the earth and ancestors and from unbelievable journeys and travels to see for themselves.
You can read more about their music on my Wolf Moons and Muddypond Green Blog page.
Here's the Samhain Harvest Supper Menu for ideas
Thai spiced Pumpkin Soup
Filou pastry parcel of Butternut Squash with olives, nuts and shallots
Three salads - Quinoa with pomegranate seeds,
Green salad and Raw Carrot with pine kernels.
Apple, Pear and Nut Cake with creamy yoghurt.
Magnificent! So delicious - many, many thanks.
A wickedly traditional Samhain event to entertain your faery sprigs is held every year at Godinton House..
Sweet, old fashioned games, pumpkin lantern making to take home, spidery treasure hunts in the grounds, conker stringing, willow stars wands - and - exciting Ghost Stories read in the cellars! Lots of different pumpkins to buy for decoration and cooking.
Fresh cut Pumpkin lanterns - Debbie's family and friends take their Samhain seriously!
'Eye of Toad' - follow the spiders all over the park to find the treasure clues. Mind the lake!
Lovely games for everyone -
arm deep in the pumpkin for a
prize from the 'Lucky Dip'!
October 18th 2011
The faeries' tailors and the elven clothes ... stitching, felting, cobbling, knitting, decorating .....
'The Fairy Tailor's Workshop' - Arthur Rackham
Look carefully at the tiny garments and cottons,
I'm sure they're making a top just like the one here......
'Sitting on the flower-bed beneath the hollyhocks,
I spied the tiny tailor who makes the faeries' frocks;
There he sat a-stitching all the afternoon
And sang a little ditty to a quaint wee tune:
"Grey for the goblins, blue for the elves,
Brown for the little gnomes that live by themselves,
White for the pixies that dance upon the green-
But where shall I find me a robe for the Queen?" '
Extract from 'The Fairy Tailor' by Rose Fyleman
From 'The Fairy Flute' - Methuen 1921
Muddypond has some horse-tail thread, and the hedges are full of fluffy old-man's-beard just now. Think I'll try to stitch something after my own fashion a bit like some of these - inspired for all good fae by the autumn leaves and sunlight. I have sloe spines for pins, and a tiny bird bone for a needle. A teasel brush should rough up the felt.
I've searched these gorgeous things out for you meanwhile, so that you can go shopping - I think they make the most dreamlike outfit. Try them on, if you're a bit chilly, wrap up in the shawl, then perhaps wander down and show me your finery. Meet me at the betwixt and between time, by my clearing in Hurst Wood.
Eco-dyed felted & knitted gypsy shawl from Lizet Frtjters
Wood Elfin top - custom made for you by Technodolly - UK
Two 'Fairy garden' Czech crystal bracelets from jUNIQUE4U
Felted fingerless gloves from Galafilc
Hand-dyed ribbon from abbyandellie
'Ode to Poe' chiffon blouse from RosieLovesMakinThings
Crochet / knit freeform scarf or necklace from Allmadewithlove
'Sylviabirch' triple layer skirt from Alienskin
'Titania' high leaf autumn boot with curled cast-iron toe from Pendragon
If you enjoy 'faery' shopping, you might like the things on my page from March - April this year - have a look at the entries for March 2nd and April 11th.
October 12th 2011
Full Moon it is .......
An October full moon - and she rides in Aries. Call her perhaps The Blood Moon, The Ivy Moon, The Chestnut Moon? See more on my Naming of Moons page here. As you wish - but celebrate her tonight. Light a white candle for The Lady, perhaps a red one too representing the fighting energy and hunting spirit of the Blood Moon - decorate with strands of ivy from the hedgerow.
Use cinnamon in your incense, and a spicy, nutty cake with apple juice for your libations. Sounds nice and autumnal that!
Ask permission to pick a piece of twisted Ivy to make an Ogham wand tonight - or use willow which is always right for a full moon celebration.
The moon's zenith this month indicates energy, leadership and courage and its combination with Ivy lends strength and tenacity. Any workings towards goals with those powers in mind should do well. New ventures in sport and health for example.
The illustration is called 'Moon Fairies' and is by artist Elizabeth Mary Watt c1921
* At last I've finished another 'Ogham Tree' page - this time
Quert - The Apple. Too many legends to tell even there.
Click here to go to the Apple page.
* You might also like to try Muddypond's treat for Autumn - Kentish Cobnut and Apple Cake
new here on my Cooky page.
* It's time to think seriously about the plight of our rapidly declining hedgehog population. See more - new -on my 'Wolf Moons and Muddypond Green Blog'.
Illustration by Margaret Tempest
from 'Fuzzypeg Goes to School' by Alison Uttlley.
October 3rd 2011 (The Ogham wood for magical use has changed and is now Gort - Ivy - September 30th - October 27th)
It CAN'T be time for that Morris Meet at Tenterden already ..... can it? .....
Royal Liberty Morris, from Hornchurch in Essex watch nervously as a Kentish Hooden annoys their Black Bull!
So quickly it comes around - this Mad Merry Meet for Mortals - which the wood and hedgerow fae now understand as a "Folk Festival". All around the little town they go, dancing, singing, playing their strange instruments - and it was HOT out there - 30°, no wonder a lot of Kentish Ale was flowing.
Two Hooden Horses romp in the park
Band "Frankie the Gambler" with young admirer
There were pretty girls in ribbons and petticoats (what us faeries covet - and will even steal when we can!) called the Morena Slovak Dancers Old Storm, my Lithuanian Dragon friend would've loved them I bet! The dark men too were here - ragged and feathered, reminding me of a flock of guardian crows.
The Morena Slovak Dancers - a lovely contrast to the Morris sides.
Muddypond's faves - "Hunters Moon" from Sussex - here again and stylish as ever
Then, there was the One to Watch!
I must tell you about this young singer -songwriter. I don't think it'll be the last we see of HIM! A self-confessed follower of the great Richard Thompson, this young one - not much more than a sprig really - made the weekend memorable.
His name is Luke Jackson, accompanying his fine voice with a fabulously accomplished guitar style in the lazy afternoon marquee.
Now there's one I'll look out for that's for sure. As a matter of fact I think he has to be a changeling!
Click on the CD to go to Luke's website and listen to 'Run & Hide'.
The end of a long, hot 'n tiring Saturday! Bring' em some ale someone do!
You might also like to read about some faery plants - the Bryonys and Nightshades, new here on my Blog pages.
September 28th 2011
Just because ..... a blending and a transcending with faery shades ......
Looking through some flashes taken at Nymans gardens in Sussex last week to send off to the old Storm Dragon, Muddypond was struck by the soft and strange colour-washes worn by the autumn hydrangeas. They reminded her of something.
The more she stared the more she was sure she'd seen something very like them. Hmmm. Ah yes! The light reflected from huge stained glass windows splashed across floors, pillars and walls of a small church in Baden-Baden, Germany. Took loads of flashes of those she did - simply drowning in pools of mystical colour.
Looking beyond the woods for some faery stones to add to her collection - what should she see but just those odd tints again! So here they are - the three together - hydrangeas, reflections from stained glass and gem stones - a little natural colour therapy!
Reflected light - taken at the “Stiftskirche" the old market square, Baden-Baden.
Hydrangeas - taken at 'Nymans' National Trust Gardens
Natural gem stones - all for sale at Etsy Shop - Gemstone Beads, direct from India
September 22nd 2011
More ancient stones - this time the turn of abbeys, monasteries and masons .......
Two strange, grey and cold abbeys I have vistited this year - both built in the 12th century, both added to over the next four hundred years. One dedicated for nuns the other for monks. Before my time all that - Muddypond is a young fae (don't ask her age even so) - but ancestors whisper still about their time in the kitchens, the cloisters and the herb gardens.
Who do you think led them to the cures and care-purgers of old? Who left them clues for plantings and collectings, tinctures and incenses if it wasn't us magics?
This first is in Ireland Bridgetown Abbey Priory, Castletownroche in County Cork. (You can see lots more about my doings in Cork in my DiaryBlog page for May-June this year).
The abbey was deserted in the 16th century, the monks fleeing for safety when King Henry V111 of England made his 'dissolution of the monasteries' act. Us fae have to learn these things too! Parts of it are still in good order and it's been used for special burials for hundreds of years. I am glad we just fade.
I saw it on an ashen day which was threatening rain, and you can see from the flash above that I found it quite an atmospheric place, even in full morning light.
The second is Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. Just the same kind of day - silvery light and low clouds full of drizzle. The first stone was laid in 1232, dedicated to a community of nuns by Lady Ela, Countess of Salisbury on her widowhood, where she became its first Abbess.
Most of this great building has survived in tact. At the dissolution, King Henry gave the land to a friend. Instead of demolishing the oldest parts, he built over them - so we have the great cloister walk just as it would have been centuries ago. If it looks familiar, you might recognise the cloisters and white-arched cellar chambers in scenes from films in the Harry Potter series.
|No, not left over from Harry Potter - this is a vast 15th century iron cooking pot, used by the nuns in their warming room.||
A village street - Lacock in Wiltshire.
Look, out here ! Imagine it in the snow, with a freezing fountain in the centre.
That's how they used it in Harry Potter - not so many faeries I know - but plenty of magic!
So very cold for the nuns who walked here - no wonder they needed their one warm room. - the crackling and spitting of the heavy logs, the bubbling of the great, black pot must have been magic indeed for them.
September 14th 2011
The Stones and Henge of Avebury - another faery cathedral ...............
Now I know I've told you before - and I make no apology for mentioning it again - magics - and in particular the wood and hedgerow fae - have cathedrals. They are the megalithic stone circles and rows, scattered over our land, once surrounded by great forests - and we'll go a long way to visit them. In fact - we must visit them - it's a part of our faery ancestral heritage, and another level in the dreaded Stella Fae inquest!
Aerial Photo - The Telegraph (Photo: Alamy)
Saying that probably sounds to you like P G Wodehouse's Madeline Bassett, telling Bertie that the stars are 'God's daisy chains' BUT - I assure you that it's true.
I won't attempt a geography lesson, since you can always find better information elsewhere - but this is what I saw - and walked around.
A giant circular henge (earthworks dug to make a deep ditch and high bank) - with much remaining of a four-hundred metre diameter circle of vast sarsen stones and more inside -then two avenues of stone rows, leading away over the hills - pointing the way to further megalithic sites.
Imagine the views from these windows on a full moon (left) - and the village among the stones (right)
I was told before I searched Wiltshire, that a road runs through the centre of this giant henge, - the largest stone circle in the mortal world - and a whole village has grown up over the centuries - but I didn't believe that such a thing could be so. Well - it is!
Many of the sarsen stones are massive - weighing in at up to forty tons and four metres in height.
The stone on the right is called 'The Devil's Chair' - here being sat on and protected by an elf in a mac and faery guardian Martin.
If you fly or run around it one hundred times on a moonlit night, you may summon supernatural beings.
Not with Dog Martin there you won't!
If you find the faery cathedrals interesting, you might like to see other visits of mine - related in my Diary Blog :
November 25th 2009 Fairy Travels to standing stones in Donegal, Ireland .......
November 30th 2010 Merrivale rows - out there on the Devon moors ......
June 6th and June 21st 2011 Irish Stones, circles, tombs and faery ancestors in Cork .......
September 7th 2011
Down in the Greenwood'ho - in The Forest of Dean ......
At times, it's necessary for a Wood Guardian Fae like Muddypond here, to visit a wood or forest that's not her old, familiar place.
It may or may not have a resident Faery of its own to keep her eye on it., but either way it's all part of our eternal learning process.
So it was that I travelled to the Welsh Borders and the extraordinary Forest of Dean.
There've been many, many magical carryings on in parts of this forest I understand - horses led by villagers armed with bows such as the faeries themselves use - one even dressed as Merlin would you believe?
I'd like to have seen that - it's very easy to imagine, sitting here admirimg my boots with the early autumn sun filtering through the beech leaves.
This part of the forest is nothing like my little hazel, pine and chestnut wood at home. The paths twist and turn, up and down amongst sheer, moss covered rock formations where vast oaks, yews and beeches cling, their roots squirming down, ever-seeking, into the dark earth. There are limestone caverns beneath, and the remains of Roman iron-ore workings which have gradually been eroded and pushed upwards over the centuries.
| In fact - if I wasn't already a Wood Guardian, I think I might've found this place - with its slippery, dank steps and deep holes a bit - erm - well - frightening? But - I changed into my boots after being attacked by the "whatever it was" in the picture above - took out this month's wand (bramble) and behaved with the courage that befits a would-be Stella Fae.
Didn't stay though - after the sun had set .............
(All pictures above taken in 'Puzzlewood' Gloucestershire and ©vcsinden2011)
** Early September - one of the best times of year for hedgerow fruits - **
More about Crab Apple Trees over on my blog