Tuesday, October 16, 2018

For the love of trick-or-treating

image photographed by Dr. J.P. Hergan
by Perzaia 

A juju wind stirs the dregs of forlorn and forgotten summer leaves hanging limply and cast aside to fade into late summer sun rags.  They crackle to dust, litter for the sake of the next generations, the bell tolls in tones of gray browns, hoarfrost and desolate seed puffs finding new homes wherever they land.  Time becomes a damp lethargy scented in ripe walnuts and fuzzy brown caterpillars spinning bunkers on branches.  Slow down from the lack of dog days that have faded into Indian red falseness gnawed frigid from frostbit nights.

It is time for the reap of harvests, readying the land for the sleeping death and not the sweet dreams of Nemesis’s short naps that filled the garden hammock in warm sunshine and singing birds.  Now the goddess sings her crone’s song, her future basks in the perfume of the dead and decay.   Grasses burn down to seed, pumpkins flare to brilliant orange globes sitting in bleak fields to await their pumpkin fates of stews or pies or faces.   These are the days we’re most thankful for warm woolen coats shielding the furless from Lammas brisk winds returning from kissing the grains ochre and the start of another frozen court paying homage to the Holly King.  Foreshortened daylight that tints the skin in the particular golden glow that touches the air for those so lucky to live in the ethereal world of a Maxfield Parish painting.

Maxfield Parrish, Riverbank in Autumn
I speak of course of Halloween. All Hallow Eve, All Saint’s day or Samhain, take your pick of titles, I abide by every one.  Most favorite of the yearly holiday seasons, a holiday that warrants all the rules that are imbued on any statutory holiday, how else can our costumes be made on time without regretting the missing of work Samhain is my holiday.

Born an autumn baby in a family born near or on the sacred of Samhain, (one of my brothers was born on this day and always, and I mean always, he always had the best birthday cakes ever), we celebrated as all frugal families do, by the harvest of the garden’s bounty, making preserves, eating hodgepodge by the gallons (a type of ratatouille), and smelling pickled vinegar until it is imbedded in my nose.

Autumn is walking to school with family or friends on those crisp mornings before winter bites into your skin like rabid weasels, making your walk unbearable.  Autumn is in fact the truest time of new beginnings, more so than New Years Eve.   Attending maybe for the very first time, school, in a flash of new friends, new teachers, new desks and a host of other ‘new’.  Or, it is the refresh of meeting up with those already met, to catch-up after the length of summer that can stretch a lifetime in recollections, uninterrupted fun and summer camps.

The end of hard toil and the worship Pomona, to commence the plentiful of harvest, to bring forth the fruits of endeavor, enduring the sight of a southbound V of geese or the barren of a brown hydrangea bushes.  To give way to the loss of greens and flowers and birds for the realization that the ground will freeze and all will die a quiet stone hard death.

It a chance to cloak yourself in the skin of your inner enchantress, embracing the esoteric of those who have gone before, holding the world in your hand while gathering herbs to make a harvest talisman to guard the end of summer.  To dance around Samhain bonfires with a trusted coven and your token black cat-familiar to complete the circle, together bringing down the moon to cast spells that soften the effects of a harsh winter. Celebrating the ancient rite of throwing fistfuls of plain white flour at unexpected recipients yelling, “I banish thee”, as you dash away into the darkness, hoping to shock the persistent of household banshees into fleeing for another year.

Or perhaps it is a time to let your freak flag fly by way of gorging on the elaborate of gory immortal movies assuming the form of your favorites, dripping blood from plastic fangs, wrapped in erotic gauzy getup and groaning for brains in your own version of a sexy mummy, vampire zombie mix babe.  Hordes of strangely attired humans attending costume parties or hitting the pubs to win prizes for impossibly clever hydraulic limbed insects, or a swarm of frocked Steampunk beauties in Victorian inspired clothes, and over there stands a pair of perfectly sculpted Grecian plaster statuary. Incoming!  Make way!  Here comes Santa Clause, his sleigh and sack of toys, driving by eight scantily clad reindeer with one decked out with a red flashing nose, living life in the perpetual glow of a Harry Potter world.  Imagination is an endless thing.

Halloween has all the possibilities of kindergarten costume parade with an art therapist thrown in for good measure enhanced by the carnival of hiding behind a mask.  It is the costumes, the chance to be anything you want to be, that certainty that once a mask in donned, a different person opens to the world.  Halloween is a life coach remaking your personality or finding yourself hidden in a frock that brings out the inner you.

Then there is the whole deal of dressing little children in an astounding variety of plastic, funfur and nylon outfits ranging from the sweetest of bunnies, princesses, bumblebees, mutant turtles, Superman or any cartoon god, good ol’ Frankenstein or Freddie Kruger, supplying them with something large and bottomless to collect candies, chocolates, grab-bags full of sugar from neighbors and strangers alike, bringing it home to have it okayed by grown-ups, then eating it silly to bounce off the walls driving everyone crazy, smuggling it into bed getting gum and chocolate stuck in your hair with an embarrassment of photographic memory record to be used as blackmail at a later date (or maybe that was just me).

Include in this grand larceny perpetrated yearly by the angelic, the tiniest of little, driven by a pack mentality going door-to-door terrorizing the neighborhood, threatening the trick of egging or TP-ing if an appropriate treat isn’t procured swiftly.   No one can help you if you run out of bootie.

Even now I can’t say Trick or Treat without smiling.

I must own to a particular weakness at seeing tiny kids standing on my front stoop, dressed-up in memorable roles.  There is something so cute about a three year old robed up in a black satin cape lined in blood red, turned out in black trousers and a vest of the same intense red, curly blonde locks plastered down with black hairspray and slicked back, sporting fangs and a jaunty little moustache penciled in to look very Gomez.  I am putty, mesmerized under this teeny Dracula’s power, dumping a night’s worth of candy into his endless bag with a glazed look in my eye.  Judging by the weight of that bundle that he flings over his small shoulder, he has had this same effect on others tonight.

And it is not just the kids that focus on the masked.  Complete houses undergo the transformation from respectable home into the forlorn careless of a haunted house.  Looming under a dense fog of dry ice hiding a grave riddled boneyard, the rotting coffins lean haphazardly open to reveal skeletons and zombie corpses struggling to reach for the living.  A ghoulish laugh permeates the gloom.  The scent of twinkling pumpkins carved simply or complex infested the stoops and walkways cooking from within by their tiny candles.  Cutout witches in pointy hats croak around foam cauldrons boiling fog over fake fires, spooky spiders had draped their webs eerily around bushes and darkened windows, while the hiss of nine-foot blow-up pumpkin bobbles in a breeze.

Hiding behind doors festooned in paper skeletons, lurk grown men dressed in convincing blood and gore, plot retaliation upon the guilty and the innocent alike by lunging and moaning out in convincing tones, gleaming handfuls of candy in their cold, dead, hand.
Reactions can be hilarious.

Happy to know
I am not alone
in my love for
Halloween.

[shared from la Vie Sirene]

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Halloween Comes to America

Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other's fortunes, dance and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland's potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything "frightening" or "grotesque" out of Halloween celebrations. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday.

[from history.com shared in la Vie Sirene 2013]

Friday, October 12, 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Josephine Wall - Mother of Fantasy Art

shared from original post in La Vie Sirene

I thought to start off this month’s issue with information on Gaia, the Greek goddess considered to be the personification of earth itself.  In searching for Gaia art I was thrilled to find a few breathtaking Gaia images by one of my favorite artists, Josephine Wall.  Her paintings are a perfect example of how pictures can convey more meaning than words could ever hope to.  Or so I thought.  Reading her descriptions of Gaia filled me with as much wonder as her evocative imagery, and I realized no research or historical explanation or new age narrative could better express the concept of Gaia than Josephine’s own brief captions. 

I craved more Jospehineness and was delighted to find an online video interview with her. Upon watching it I was so overcome by her humility and nurturing kindness that I dashed off an email to Josephine asking her if I could send her a few brief interview questions about Gaia.  Her email response was more intimate and meaningful than any interview could be.  I am so humbly grateful to share her words and art with you here today.

~J.S. Devvre
Josephine’s image of choice for both her website banner & Facebook page cover image

Hello Joy,

        So lovely to hear from you, and I am honoured that you want to interview me..!!  I am always amazed that people want to do this, as all I am doing is 'playing' every day, and fulfilling my heartfelt desire to be creative..!!  I am very happy that you like my work, and thank you for your very kind comments.  I will do my best to answer your questions.

Breath of Gaia
“Gaia, the Greek Goddess, is Mother Earth, the bringer of life and beauty.  Where Gaia breathes, she brings new life to a sleeping earth.  Renewal springs forth along Gaia's every path.”
    I am not sure which interview you watched, but I am always an optimistic, and happy person which you seemed to have picked up.  I am never happier than when I am standing in front of my easel with a painting underway, a brush in my hand, and a selection of my favourite colours to choose from.  I do however enjoy time with my family - following my second marriage I now have 5 children and 11 grandchildren which give me great joy.  I also have a source of models beyond my wildest dreams - little ones to put wings on, and to be riding mythical animals such as unicorns..!!  I also love countryside walks ( I find nature a source of inspiration ), dancing and gardening are my other hobbies amongst others.

        I am a great believer in the power of nature, and Gaia as the Earth Mother is symbolic of most of what I hold dear - that there is a power beyond mortal control, and I hope that she will make sure we will take care of our precious planet - the Earth will endure despite man..!!  She hopes that we will learn from our mistakes and repair the damage we have already done.

Sadness of Gaia
“The Earth Goddess looks on sadly, aware that our human weaknesses will mean many years of education to prevent the ruin of our precious world.”
        I am very fortunate to have my own gallery ( a dream come true..!! ) and very often I have young , and not so young artists visit me, sometimes for tips and hints on the techniques I use, but most often for advice on how to take their careers forward.  I always say to them that all you can do is be true to yourself, enjoy every moment of creativity and share your gift with the world - the world needs more artists..!!  I always say that I paint the world as I would like it to be rather than how it is.  As an artist you are able to create images that portray a world of opportunity, optimism and hope for the future.  Our aim should be that when people view our images they are uplifted and transported to a place that gives them peace, and understanding of what is really important in our lives - 'imagination'..!!  It is what has made man so successful as a species.

Light & Peace,

Josephine.

The Presence of Gaia
“As a new dawn approaches Gaia emerges from our sleeping planet. The radiance of her aura lights up the heavens and her 'presence' gives confidence to the birds and animals to venture forth, secure in the knowledge that she will protect them. A river of life flows out to all corners of the earth, renewing and restoring. What greater 'present' could she give us!”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

When Hades smiled

an untitled retelling of the myth by Lyle Dagnen, originally written for the former Siren Lagoon 
and published in La Vie Sirene

Artist unknown
Persephone, goddess of spring, wife of Hades, sat playing with two smooth jewels that her husband had recently given to her. She so loved the fields of yellow jonquils in the spring; the stones were amber. Clear and golden. The cold months on earth had frozen the surface of the planet and it was time for her to return to visit her mother Demeter so that she would bless the earth and make it fruitful once again. When she was first brought to the underworld by her love struck husband she had cried of loneliness and she did not like the dark world. She had thought that her heart might break.

Slowly, day by day, she began to recognize that Hades was remorseful for kidnapping her but that he could no more let her out of his sight than he could shut down the dreary place he lived. The first thing he had ever given her was a pink stone that was the color of the flowers she had worn in her hair when she was captured. It was warm because he had held it closed in his hand. When she touched his hand to pick up the stone, she noticed that the mighty god held his breath, closing his eyes, enjoying the sensation of her touch.

He worked daily to provide tasty morsels for her to eat. She had not eaten a thing since she came to the underworld. Finally, she ate five ruby red seeds of a pomegranate. He smiled. It was such a lovely smile, she began to see the depth of the man that she at first thought she hated.

On earth Demeter was so grief stricken that she did not care for the earth and it had become barren. Zeus, king of all the gods, asked what could be done. Demeter wanted her daughter Persephone back. Zeus went to speak to his brother, but he soon recognized that Hades loved Persephone so much that he would never give her up. Finally it was decided that if she had not eaten anything she could come back to earth. The five seeds seemed to doom her to an everlasting life in the dark world and the earth itself would perish. It was decided that she could spend one month for every seed she had eaten with her mother; the rest of the time was to be spent with Hades. Neither Hades or Demeter particularly liked the bargain; however, they agreed.

As Persephone sat playing with the amber stones she realized that Hades, too, had been thinking about her time on earth. He had walked away rather than sit with her. She had come to know and love this dark, brooding man that was her husband. She loved her time on the surface, but she never regretted when it was time to return to him. She was frustrated because she could not make Hades or Demeter happy.

“Husband” she called as she walked up behind him. “Thank you for the lovely gift.” She placed her hand on his strong back waiting for him to face her.

“Carry them with you,” his deep voice rumbled “Think of me when you are away.” He looked over his shoulder at her.

She smiled up at him. “I always think of you. I miss you while I am away.”

He turned, wrapping her in his mighty arms, holding her as close as he dared. “It tears my heart so when you leave me.”

“I will always come back to you,” she whispered as she kissed him. The dark god gentled at her caress and her touch. 

“Come,” he whispered as his hands held her gently “I'll take you back.” 

Persephone knew deep in her heart that this was a gift he was giving her. He would carry her up the long passage way in his black chariot pulled by four mighty black horses that thundered when they ran.

Persephone held tightly to her husband as they began their journey. As soon as she appeared on the surface, the snow and ice began to melt, spring was on the earth, the growing season at hand.

Demeter was frowning when she saw her son-in-law. For the first time in forever, he did not speak harshly to her. Stepping from the chariot he reached up to lift Persephone to the ground. Before he sent her to her mother, he once again kissed her deeply, pouring all the love he felt for her in his kiss. “I love you, wife” he whispered, which was a gentle roll of thunder.

Persephone, caressed his face. “I love you, husband. I will return to you, my heart already longs for you.” 

Hades smiled.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Raise a Pom for Persephone's Potion

reposted from the original in La Vie Sirene

Persephone's Pomegranate Martini
submitted by her hubby, Hades (Ruler of the Underworld) via Sanndi Thompson of the mortal realm

My soulmate, Persephone makes a mean martini! I am sharing the recipe with you because my beloved is in the Upper world right now, visiting her mother, Demeter since it's Spring. 

Anyway here is the recipe:
  • 1 oz.Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau orange liqueur
  • 3 oz.pomegranate juice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker that's 1/4th filled with crushed ice
  2. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with 3 pomegranates seeds


Green Goddess Cafe, serving diving breakfasts & lunches
Goddess Cafe - A weekly hour long Cafe where women and men get together to discuss all things Goddess. Two women walking other's through what they've been through

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Artful Artemis

shared from original la Vie Sirene post

Artist unknown
Artemis was the greek goddess of the hunt, the moon, virginity, childbirth, animals, the wild, and archery. She was the daughter of Zeus, the god of the skies, and Leto, a titaness daughter of Koios and Phoebe. She was almost the exact opposite of her twin brother, Apollo, who was the god of the Sun, truth, healing, music, and poetry. He was very wild and had lots of affairs with other mortals, nymphs, and gods while Artemis was more serious and was a virgin goddess. 

In ancient art Artemis was usually depicted as a girl dressed in a short knee-length chiton and equipped with a hunting bow and quiver of arrows.

Some of the best known myths featuring the goddess include:
  • Her birth, immediately following which she assisted her mother in the birth of her twin brother Apollon;
  • The Trojan War where she was beaten by Hera in an angry contest of the gods;
  • The hunter Aktaion who encountered the goddess whilst she was bathing and was turned into a stag;
  • The Aloadai giants who attempted to storm Olympos but were tricked by Artemis into killing each other;
  • The sacrifice of Iphigeneia whom King Agamemnon offered to her for the passage of the Greek fleet to Troy;
  • The giant Orion, a close companion of the goddess, who was slain by the goddess or her jealous brother;
  • The Kalydonian boar sent by Artemis to ravage Kaldyon;
  • The nymph Kallisto, a companion of Artemis, who was seduced by Zeus in the guise of the goddess.

[sources: GreekMythology.Wikia.com & Theoi.com]