In the crisp, quiet snow, through the sleeping woods we quest. The forest, at once muted and subtle, is laid bare with winter. The naked skeletons of trees impose themselves through the softness of white drifts. The trees relieved of their autumnal frippery are akin to deep soul-urges exposed.
We seek the Winter Faerie Queene, Queen Mab, my Fae companion and I.
For the Winter Queen is queen of sleep and deep dreaming. She delivers us to new imaginings. Daring us to dream our dreams and intoxicate ourselves in crystalline brilliance no matter the chill on our fingers and nose.
So we hasten on. After all, is this not what forest snow is for? To lull and snap us to the feet of the magnificent Queen of the Winter Court. To imagine and create.
Is it not the river of life?
What of her, this Queen Mab?
Shakespeare provides us this, “she comes in shape no bigger than an agate stone on the forefinger of an alderman.”
But is she really so petite? I’ll wager it’s an expression of endearment, like “Little John,” the ironic name given Robin Hood’s 7-foot tall warrior. Because Queen Mab, Queen of Winter, and of sleep and dreams, is massively powerful.
She is our SUPERPOWER. She is yourimagination.
How often have we heard the following?
“It’s just your imagination.”
“That’s just fantasy.”
“You’re just daydreaming again!”
“Just.” A single, insidious word making fantasy and imagination diminutive, rendering it powerless. Thus (and here is the true belittling of Queen Mab) we set aside living creatively. We set aside our power to create.
“Step in line! Beware the siren’s voice inside of you! Shove away those dreams you hold dear.”
But the seeds sleeping in the depths of winter, preparing to bust out a move in the spring, are like your dreams and imaginings. And the Imaginal Realm is where you nurture those seed dreams.
And EVERYTHING comes from a dream, a feeling, a thought, and then an action.
Why do you think “they” try to steer us from it? (Yes, I’m a rebel.)
So as the light returns with the winter solstice and your dreams start to stir and bud, get yourself over to the Imaginal Realm and curtsy long and deep to the Queen. The intoxicating Queen Mab, your superpower – imagination. For she is in YOU. She is a part of YOU. SHE IS YOU.
But why am I telling you this? You know it all already. Enjoy!
After a year of Free Range Faerie-ing I’ve got a new place. An actual, physical home and studio. I’ve settled in Three Oaks, Michigan. How’s that for a faerie name?
It’s an artsy small town on the southwestern tip of Michigan filled with friendly folks and only 3 traffic-less miles to the nearest forest.
I even have a job at the cozy Acorn Theater. (Another faerie name.) Where I am meeting great people and filling my life with music.
I’ve forgotten how much effort goes into running and setting up a home! (So I haven’t been in the writing/perfuming/or social media-ing much.)
Truthfully, it’s been a bit stressful and exhausting with February behaving downright weirdly for me. How’s your February?
But Missy’s been a great help…
Here’s an vintage chair we scored.
And then the other night…
I am sleeping and curious noises, giggles and the tinkling of bells, drift from the studio. Flashes of color and the scent of rose and loam fill my dreams as I explore an old victorian mansion filled with creatives and jokesters. At dawn I wipe the sleep from my eyes to discover the perfume/writing studio all put together.
Let’s see how long I can keep it tidy.
AND I’m excited to offer yoga classes again! I’ve decided to keep the beautiful living room as a yoga room… (My class schedule is right here on the Verdant Yoga Page).
Finally here is a glimpse of the view from the backyard. What is seen from the studio window…
I’m thinking fire pit and sunset dinners…
Settling here completes a goal for the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter goal of this year’s Celtic calendar. It also satisfies a life-long curiosity of life in a small town. So yay me!
New Year’s Eve finds me pausing for a moment with my bulletproof coffee loving my 2017 engagement calendar. All those clean empty pages. A year of possibility with opportunity for beauty. Sprinkle that faerie dust round. Happy New Year, one and all!
My Ill-Advised Life
In January of 2016 I foreclosed on my underwater condo in Chicago and went free range faerie. I quit my jobs and hit the road with my 9 year old pup, Missy. It was not clearly planned and was a most definitely ill-advised life move. Frankly it was fucking reckless and irresponsible. Two years prior another reckless action, leaving an underpaying exhausting job of 17 years which left me even more financially unstable. But I was compelled to shout “NO” to my prior unsatisfying life.
My intention was to free myself from this life that was not personally satisfying. To peel away layers of internal crap; exhaustion, bitternesses, urban and job induced stresses to indulge in the beauty my soul craved. To know myself again and/or better. Seeking a new location in a more beautiful or rural setting. To remake myself as a faeriepreneur with a way to support myself as my own boss.
My life unravelled and got unmistakably got messy. I bravely resisted the negative mantra of “What the fuck am I doing???” Support from kindly people, without who’s help I could not have done it, surfaced. I learned to let myself release to this support, my mess, and waited for ME to reform and emerge. I practiced faerieshamanism and magic, wrote, made perfume, hunted down faerie people and places, and grooved in nature.
This experiment was to last 3-6 months. Then I’d prolly just get an apartment in Chicago and stuff. It is coming up on a year this January and I’m still essentially homeless, or as I prefer to say, “nomadic” (it’s all in the attitude ya’ll!). Ha!
What Next, Free Range Faerie?
During this madly ill-advised adventure I explored a lot of ideas of what to do with myself, always returning to the message and mission of beauty amidst chaos. And of personal liberation through beauty, truth, and the imaginal realm. I’m happy to report my soul is refreshed and I’m coming “home” to me. I feel ready to contribute and collaborate. To set up a home-base again.
My favorite passion project of 2016 was launching my wee perfume line verdant faerie fragrances. I completed my certification course (though I still have much to learn) and set up temp studios in the various places I stayed. Perfume supplies were shipped to a variety of locations – Maryland, Hawaii, Canada, Chicago. I’m excited to take it to the next level in 2017 with improved packaging and perfume blends. Expanding my knowledge and expertise. I’m looking forward to establishing a sweet home perfumery of my own in the first quarter of 2017.
I also rediscovered my love of writing and the location freedom it can provide. As a young girl writing was shoved into my shadow self. But it keeps seeking the sun! So I hope to do more of that there writing stuff, perhaps combined it with my perfume. Ideas are germinating…
One thing I truly missed was a consistent yoga and circus practice and community. (Well community in general, for it’s hard to keep this going on the road. Yet one does finds new communities.) But I really missed the sparkle and comradery of those worlds – physical exploration with expression and soul. So I’m planning to revisit that in 2017.
Oh, and once I get settled again I also hope to establish regular contribution to a social cause…
As I reestablish myself in 2017 I’ll admit to a certain degree of inner terror. I have some undeniable challenges ahead. Can I even pull this off? And I do so love my freedom! But mostly I think I got this. I’ll establish a lovely home base to travel from and I have my mission ~BEAUTY & LIBERATION~ and together we will not be denied!
All the best to you and yours in 2017!
Here’s a verdant barn in Three Oaks Michigan from my recent travels… just cause it’s pretty…
The return of light, may yours sparkle and delight!
My sincerest wish that you shine your inner light on your dreams and your unique beauty. Let the rest stay in the darkness… Bring forth your beauty!
Here’s a free range faerie location update. Missy and I have been in a little cottage in Michigan where we are staying for three months! It is the longest we have stayed anywhere since last February. We love it.
We go for long nearly daily walks in nearby Grand Mere State Park. Exploring trails trekking up and down the sandy dunes on Lake Michigan’s waterfront. Several varieties of Oaks and plenty of of deer and some foxes. We’ve watched it changed from peak fall to deep winter. Beauty and quiet. I feel full with it.
I’ve also been quite busy with seasonal markets in nearby Chicago, so haven’t been on here blogging quite as much. It’s been great introducing folks to verdant faerie fragrances and reading the amazing Mermaid Oracle deck for them.
Today I was watching Missy sniff the air again. I get jealous of her. Her ability to sniff so intensely…
I took to the dunes to sniff and write. Which I did do. With some vials of perfume materials, I did Plein Air blending (on my wrist) then wrote a little story about these scents. (I’m working on a piece about perfume as theatre).
But a lot of the time I just admired Missy enjoying the dunes…
Randomly, I am reminded about John O’Donohue’s book, Anam Cara, and I pulled it out to share a quote with you, dear Reader. A quote about Fragrance and Breath.
John O’Donohue was a Irish poet, author and priest and I strongly recommend his writings if you are not familiar. His book Anam Cara explores friendships, love, states of being, and what it is to be human.
Synchronistically he mentions the very thing I was marveling over.
From Anam Cara…
“The sense of smell or fragrance is deft and immediate… Animals, of course, work wonderfully with the sense of smell. To take dogs for a walk is to realize how differently they experience a landscape. They are glued to trails of scent and enjoy a complete adventure, tracing invisible smell pathways everywhere. Each day we breathe 23,040 times; we have 5 million olfactory cells. A sheepdog has 220 million such cells. The sense of smell is so powerful in the animal world because it assists survival by alerting the animal to danger. The sense of smell is vital to the sense of life.”
“..breath is sister of spirit.”
And then linking fragrance and breath to spirit.
“The sense of smell includes the sensuality of fragrance, but the dynamic of breathing also takes in the deep world of prayer and meditation, where through the rhythm of the breath you come down into your own primordial level of soul. Through breath meditation, you begin to experience a place within you that is absolutely intimate with the divine ground.”
Isn’t that brilliant?
I have no real point to make here. Just wanted to share.
Here’s a couple more blogs about Missy, fragrance, meditation, and self love, in case you missed them…
From the edge of the dance floor at the Masquerade Ball, Missy’s ears prick up, “It’s Missy! I know that dog! She’s a dog worth petting again!” Missy’s first visit to the New York Faerie Festival, or any festival, and she’s made friends with faeries, trolls, goblins & wizards within the realm of the fae.
And what a festival! Abundant enchantment; music & dancing all day…
Magical creatures of all varieties… (Missy’s new friends)
A tree house, a free house.
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.
A street house, a neat house
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all-
Let's go live in a tree house.
Missy is particularly enchanted with the joust and horses, ‘scuse me, unicorns.
When not getting petted, Missy let me visit some of the many lovely vendors. Just a sampling…
Do you know this feeling?
When you look into the woods at night or dusk. And you can feel the mystery. The wonder of it.
What. Is. Going. On. In. There?
Magnetized towards the pulsation of the ancient virtues. Heart quickening. You know something is going on in there! Alchemistic renderings of earth and spirit, your transcendence is a gossamer thread away…
It’s on the other side of the Troll’s Bridge (no duh), the Faerie Habitat. An enchanted sphere of the Festival grounds. Dryads, Mermaids, Faeries… Charm spinning and spirit gifting…
Linger in the Habitat to connect and transcend.
But first you must get past the trolls. And, be warned. There is a troll toll. They demand, in the friendliest of ways, “shinys” (really anything that is shiny), or a joke, or you may choose to get mud tattooed.
Missy is not so sure of the trolls. Mayhap because they refer to her as a goat.
But the charm of the Trolls wins Missy over.
In the end Missy passes in to the Faerie Habitat. Her mysterious encounters there will remain mysteriously hers.
But wait, Goblins!
Gandersnitch the Goblin is a revelation. Despite the assurance that he is a reformed Goblin, poetic and wise, I’m wary. But he turns out to be a kindly inspiration.
Gandersnitch is indeed poetic and wise. I’m reading and loving his perfectly inappropriately refreshing and highly entertaining book now.
He also has a lovely card game and takes confessions.
As for me, the festival was my sublime medicine. I am sincerely grateful. Thank you.
Surrounded by the singing of the spirit of the wild self, I am mended. Thank you. I soak up kindness, wildness, and joy from the festival creatures. Thank you. The dear souls near my tent who chat with me and help me set up and dance with me at the ball. Thank you. The sparkling eyes and filthy-glittered dancing bodies. Prose and laughter spilling from mouths like honeyed nectar. And the collective feeling that life is indeed something to be lived and played with. The outward reflection that we are all of us beautiful and magical. Thank you.
It brings me back to myself. Ah yes, hello to my beautiful, magical me. So nice to glow you again.
The New York Faerie Festival is a three-day affair just completing it’s 7th year. It is out in the boonies of New York, tucked in a valley near a river. Parts of the Festival grounds are in shady woods, and parts bright sun.
Primitive (Port-O-Let) but happy camping is available on the premises. Two yummy dinners are included, with options for meat eaters and vegetarians. There is a simple breakfast hosted at the local firehouse for a small fee/donation. There are some other campgrounds and motels nearby.
There is so much going on at this festival! I barely touched on it here. Fantastic music and performances on multiple stages, outstanding vendors, jousting, tons of street characters who interact with the festival goers, some food trucks, and little spaces throughout the grounds to hang out and play or dream. The Masquerade Ball on Saturday night is not to be missed!
Wear a costume.
Bring cash, always appreciated and it was hard to get a signal to use the Square reader.
Also, read the email communications you receive from the Festival carefully, for if you camp there are specific arrival times.
Hope to see you there in 2017!
If you want more festival blogs, I have several. Here they be:
Can you feel it? The pulsation of energy and expansion. Summer is a time of unfurling and ripening, an outward – yang season. A genial time for delighting in the company of others and for self-expression.
To connect with this genial and expansive energy, find some time to honor your connection with the sun and the start of summer. Be quietly with yourself and wildly with others. Or wildly with yourself and quietly with others!
Summer Solstice has become quite the holiday, as in days of yore, so most of us are aware it is the official kick-off of summer. It’s also a day when the veil between the faerie and mortal world is thin and contact can be made. Hence for me, reading the faerie cards is a must…
I also like to leave gifts for the fae; nuts, cheese, honey, whiskey… They flutter about and absorb the essences.
Meditation and Faerie journeys are wonderful to get into the faerie summer spirit.
Here’s a faerie journey/meditation…
To start, you may like to use scent and aromas. Jasmine is a beautiful transportive scent. I’ll be using my DuskBlossom Perfume.
And I’ve been playing with essential oil of Mugwort lately. Honestly, it does not smell so yummy, but is reportedly great for accessing the faerie and astral worlds. You may use these by applying to wrists and hands or temples. If you are pregnant you should avoid Mugwort.
(MUGWORT SHOULD NOT BE USED BY PREGNANT WOMEN!)
Next, take a moment to center yourself and breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Feel yourself connected to the earth and simply feel your body from within. Try not to judge, just let yourself be and observe.
In your mind’s eye, picture yourself in a sunny meadow filled with flowers. The sun is high in the sky. As you are enjoying the warmth of the sun you see at the edge of the meadow a white deer, stag, or unicorn.
Slowly approach it and see if it is friendly towards you. Perhaps it will let you gently stroke it’s neck. Perhaps it will let you climb up on it’s back.
If it does not seem like a good choice to climb up. Just enjoy your visit, thank the creature, and go back to your meadow and sit and feel the effects of the visit.
If you are able to do be on the back of the creature. Let it take you for a ride. Observe what you see and feel.
When the ride is complete, go back to your flowery meadow.
Contemplate what was revealed to you.
Here’s where we use the sun. Allow the bright brilliant light of the sun to illuminate anything you felt, saw, or thought. You do not even need to understand intellectually. Just let it be filled with sunlight.
Enjoy this sensation.
When you feel complete, stretch and yawn, allow yourself to awaken,refreshed and energized by the sun.
Finally, pet your dog, even though she has barked throughout your meditation and stepped all over your faerie card spread.