Of Skulls, Wild Blessings, Pain and Ink

I got out of bed counting skulls. I always find healing in the act of counting blessings. If you know me a bit, you aren’t wondering about my use of the words skulls and blessings in the same paragraph—I love skulls, and recalling the tales of how they got to me is quite soothing.

Take the skull in the photo below, as an example. It’s a gift from my friend Lynne, mistress of the Insomniac’s Attic. She gave it to me during her last visit to New York City… in which we delighted in old books, got lost looking for an antique shop that insisted on hiding behind a delivery truck, and witnessed a rather irresponsible New Age seller tell a customer that onyx stones would give her telepathic powers.
Weeks later, the outrage I felt towards the seller’s statement (and the amusement my reaction brought to Lynne’s face) makes me laugh like a maniac. Laughter heals. The same is true of rituals and symbols. That’s the idea behind the grouping in the image: a frog from Stacy, a skull from Lynne, rosemary from Gina, and a mini-book from Emma, every piece sitting on a stone and a shell that holds its own tale. Even the black ribbon has a story, and telling myself all those tales (and laughing) pushes the aches away. Yes, it’s magic.

After saying goodbye to the frog, skull, rosemary and book, I started breakfast and made my bed. The quilt filled me with warm grins. It’s a handfasting present from my Mother-in-Law. As my not-so-perfect picture shows, the squares make an M or a W (for Magaly & William). And yes, the stitching forms lovely hearts. How cool is that, my Wicked Luvs? How could pain and exhaustion ever compete against the love put into such thought-filled gift?

Some gifts are unexpected treasures. The memories of when I first saw them always rush through me like a wave of ecstatically surprised endorphins. Yep, I’m referring to the bee kissing crabapple blossoms in the photo below. I was gifted this glimpse into Nature’s crafty magic, right after having spent a couple of hours searching for mushrooms. The search was a total fiasco… So, I was justifiably disappointed. Then I saw the bee… and the blooms… and I was delighted. Oh yes, I’m grinning like a lunatic, just thinking about it.

I’m writing this post while my heat pad does its magic on the pain that kicks my back. And “Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!” I’m smiling, as I think of gifts… of friends… of spring… of skulls… of wild magic… of every experience life has inked into my blood… and of how lucky I am to have the strength to craft them into poems and stories to share with you.

Do you count personal blessings? If so, do tell me of a wee blessing that brings all sorts of gigantic smiles to your face. Yummy grows yummier when spread. Really. 😉

Skulls of Mint in Bloom

The piece below is a wild dance between a handful of Nature’s blooms and a stream of consciousness spell. It began to blossom in my mind, while I was delighting in some of the flowers I photographed this summer (all the pictures were taken by me… except the pennyroyal, which is the work of @luv_2_plant, an Instagram friend). This one was crafted out of comments from friends, out of the music playing while I wrote it, out of the promise of autumn, out of shapes and scents and words wanting to be born.

“Skulls of Mint in Bloom”

In summer, the night in a hat
gave her a horny crown.

The Green Man smiled…
thinking of Moonflowers
opening for him.

Lily—bright and wilted
before the fall—wondered not
about the Green Man’s touch.

He will love me, she thought,
or he will love me not…

Only Daisy knows these deep,
deep things. And she’s open

wide to all, like her sister
in petal and pink. She wants
every kiss and every caress,

before licking and swallowing
Pennyroyal, looking for death
in skulls of mint. She finds zilch,

for life tends to tendril
unpredictably wild, like Passion-

flowers in bloom.

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the wee notes…
– The first stanza came from comments made by my friends, Nina and Laura, about a passionflower bud I posted on Facebook. The seventh stanza leaked into my mind because Nirvana’s “Pennyroyal Tea” was playing while I was writing—Pennyroyal oil can cause abortion, hence the lines “I sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea / Distill the life that’s inside of me” in the Nirvana song.
– In many witchy traditions, the Green Man represents a male (and wildly spirited) side of Nature.
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads – Tuesday Platform.

1. PassifloraPassionflower bud

2. MoonflowerMoonflower

3. LilyLily

4. White DaisyDaisy

5. ConeflowerConeflower

6. PennyroyalPennyroyal

7. PassifloraPassion flower

My Flesh and Bones Need the Sun’s Warming Bright…

…and the Moon’s cooling Dark, too.

A witchy soul can’t adore dirt and green as much as I do, without also being in total lust with the magic of Sun and Moon. The Moon is my great love—I chant to her when she’s dark and when she reigns full over the night. I respect the Sun, since he feeds the Moon (and everything alive). But let’s face it, Mr. Fix-Your-Eyes-Upon-Me-and-I-Will-Blind-You isn’t very approachable.

Still, today I celebrate the Sun’s might. For although I’m more Me under the coolness of Moon and the soothing of Dark… for balance, my flesh and bones need the warmth of the Sun. The Summer Solstice won’t truly start until this evening, but I began celebrating at sunrise.

I sat on my terrace, sipping orange juice… thinking bright thoughts… waiting for the Sun to kiss the treetops… After Mr. Scorching smiled my way, I grinned back and returned to bed (my body can no longer do the whole staying up since 5am bit). I’ll spend my day cleaning and cleansing my house, dressing my altar in summery colors, and listening to Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.

Once the day is almost done, before the Summer Solstice dances into the Northern Hemisphere, I shall walk out to my terrace to have dinner (something sunny looking, perhaps squash soup and steamed yellow plantain). While I eat, I will share sunlit thoughts with my plants. Then I’ll wait for the Strawberry Moon to rise… and for my Piano Man to get home from work… so that we can celebrate the Sun and the Moon in the most natural and basic of ways… 😉

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For the one who asked me, “What’s your usual Solstice ritual?” I guess… I just live.

Happiest Summer Solstice, my Wicked Luvs!
I wish you a day full of bright… and well balanced dark

Tomato FlowersMy wee terrace garden is also celebrating the blooming brightness of the Sun.