Lemurian City of Ladies

A Lemurian City Built in Memory of Christine de Pizan

Archive for October 2006

The Cailleach Bheurr

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Long, long ago, there lived an old woman known to all living near her and even far beyond her ken, as Cailleach Bheurr. She did not belong to this world, having oft been heard to tell any who dared to ask her, ‘’When the ocean was a forest with its firewood, I was then a young lass.’’ Well be that as it may, and sure there is none of us who have need of doubting what she said, the Cailleach Beurr somehow managed to escape the clutches of death in a way that no one else ever could.Well then, on the western side of the island where she lived in her cottage alone with just herself and her animals with whom she was often heard to converse for long periods of time, and who, or so it seemed to any who happened to be passing by, that they answered her in their own language, a language that she appeared to understand. Not far from her home there was a beautiful lake with crystal clear blue water that reflected the glory and majesty of the luminous sky that always seemed to spread itself out above it, and this lake, it is said, never was ruffled by any a nere wind or breeze passing by, so that the surface of the lake shone and glimmered like a glittering mirror that seemed always to show the face of eternity in its depths. But it is also told how every one hundred years a strange thing used to happen in these whereabouts., and the strange thing was this, that about 2 years before another century ended or began, depending on how you saw it, or perhaps better said depending on your age at the turning, the appearance of the cailleach would alter beyond recognition, so that she would grow old and grey , haggard and stooped. But while at these times she may have looked just like any other old person, yet she was different from all others, as unlike them, she had the ability to change her appearance, and turn herself back into a young girl. She did this very easily by rising early just before sunrise and before any other living creature, human or animal, had risen to greet the day, and then she walked far out into the lake of Loch Bá. And so it was that in this way she became young again, constantly renewing herself and her life every hundred years.

But on one fateful morning, around the time of the changing of the centuries, the cailleach was walking down to the shore of the lake just as the golden rays of the sun were beginning to shimmer in the east when what did she hear but the barking of a dog from far off in the distance. It was then that the cailleach knew that she was doomed, and as she felt the life force drain from her body, she called out in a loud voice

‘’It’s early the dog spoke, in advance of me,

The dog, in advance of me; the dog in advance of me.

It’s early the dog spoke, in advance of me,

In the quiet of the morning, across Loch Bá.’’

Commentary on this folk tale: 

[from The Book of the Cailleach: Stories of the Wise-Woman Healer, by Gearoid O Crualaoich]

‘’Evidence of the identification of the cailleach of this story with the archaic female sovereignty personification of landscape in the Celtic, and possible pre-Celtic, ancestral, cosmological tradition can be glimpsed in the assertion…that she was alive in a predeluvian era ‘when the ocean was a forest with its firewood’. The concept of the ancestral otherworld, the sacred, cosmological domain that surrounds and underlies human experience of physical reality, as a domain located beneath water, constitutes a recurrent theme in the allusion to the otherworld at the learned and literary level of early Irish tradtion.’’

Note also that the cailleach is a hag-goddess, usually translated in contemporary times as a witch, who found cyclical renewal in sacred waters. But note also how the hag-goddess was overwhelmed by the loud noise of a barking dog, a herdsman’s dog, who barked before she could reach the life-renewing sacred waters of the lake. ‘’The landscape is now speaking with the voice of human society, and the goddesses reign which marked the pre-human and natural world, has come to an end. A momentous cosmological shift has occurred.’’

Written by Edith

October 30, 2006 at 11:38 pm

Halloween Treat For You!

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 barani1-5.gif

BERNADINE SANTISTEVAN, DIRECTOR OF “The Cry” was kind enough to make a special trip to my blog “Owl Creek Bridge” in order to share some stories about making her Supernatural Thriller based on the Legend of La Llorona.

I am very excited to be able to bring you her story because
Bernadine is a great example of taking hold of your creative dream and making it live.

Please stop by and check it out here:

http://anita64.wordpress.com/2006/10/27/the-cry/

Happy Halloween from

Anita Marie

Written by Anita Marie

October 27, 2006 at 5:40 am

MANY HAPPY RETURNS

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by Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired by the Soul Food Cafe Prompt:

” Fantasy Writing ”

http://www.dailywriting.net/FantasyWriting.htm

  •  danse-of-death.jpg
  • Slumber Boneset doesn’t celebrate her birthday because she’s not sure of the exact date and that’s always been a sore spot for Slumber Boneset because she’s sure of a lot of things.

    She’s sure about what the weather is going to be like, she’s sure of what it is people are thinking even when they’re saying something else and she’s always sure about where her six children and 14 grandchildren are and how they’re doing.

    Over the years people have made their way to Slumber Boneset’s House by moonlight and for a few dollars she can help them solve all sorts of problems.

    So to not know something as basic as her own birth date has kept Slumber Boneset humble.

    The plus side to this embarrassing situation is that it makes for a good story that her children and grandchildren insist on hearing every November 1st.

    That’s when they celebrate Slumber Boneset’s Found Day.

    ” Oh you don’t want to hear that sad tired old story again! ” she said to her family over the dinner table last November.

    ” Yes we do! ” the youngest Boneset insisted in a panic “Your story is the best Halloween Story ever!”

    Slumber started to laugh and asked her daughter, “ are you sure you want another one these?”

    “ More then anything” she told her Mother and Slumber motioned for her grandson to take a seat.

    Then Slumber sighed and she agreed to tell her story.

    Someone got up and lit the candles and someone else made sure everyone had their spiced apple cider cups filled and then the lights were turned off and Slumber began.

    danse-of-death.jpg

    Stonecrop Cemetery and Funeral Home is just a Park nowadays and there hasn’t been a funeral there for years.

    Sixty –five years ago though it was still struggling along.

    The problem was Stonecrop looked like a page from a Victorian Ghost Story about headless women dressed in white wandering along the rows of tombstones.

    No one really wanted to visit there let alone have their remains interred there for all of eternity so business was slowing down and going out to Larkspear which was an up can coming style of cemetery complete with dark green manicured lawns and park benches and reflection pools full of fresh clean water.

    Mr and Mrs. Cabbagetree were the owners of Stonecrop and all around they were good people who tended their dark overgrown cemetery the best they could.

    Because it was so old already there was little to no money coming in and what repairs were needed they did on their own and they really didn’t mind. Stonecrop was their home and besides each other they didn’t have anything else.

    They had each other and if you asked that was all they said they needed.

    One morning Mrs. Cabbagetree was out in the Cemetery raking leaves and trying her best to visit the graves as she worked. She was pushing her rake along when a sharp pain raced up her arm to her jaw and it took her breath away.

    ” I’m only 42 ” she said to no one and then the rake fell from her hands and she died.

    danse-of-death.jpg

    Mrs. Cabbagetree was buried on Morningside Hill, that’s where the children were buried in Stonecrop and I’m sorry to say it was an extensive section of the cemetery…infant mortality having been such a problem all those years ago.

    ” I know she wanted children, ” Mr Cabbagetree told on his friends at the graveside of Mrs. Cabbagetree ” and did she insist or even bring it up? Not once, she knew what this place meant to me, she worked so hard Burke and in the end that’s all she had to.”

    ” It’s not right, she should have had something of her own. She should have had that child”

    Everyone said Mr Cabbagetree wasn’t the same after he lost his wife. He walked slow and talked slow and you almost wanted to reach out and touch his arm to make sure he was there.

    He was already a ghost and when he died no one was surprised.

    They found him one day sitting by a reflection pool full of leaves and his eyes were wide open and in his dead hands was a baby’s rattle and a black shawl.

    After Mr Cabbagetree died the City started to bring in their own maintenance crews to keep up Stonecrop and one day they opened the gates and the first thing they saw were at least a dozen mounds of freshly turned earth dotting Morningside Hill.

    Mrs. Cabbagetree’ s grave was opened and when they looked in she had a shovel in her hands and a smile on her face.

    danse-of-death.jpg

    It was the Day after Halloween that the work crews returned to Stonecrop and before they could unlock the gates and go in they saw a little box sitting off to the side…. and it was moving.

    One of them looked into the box and there, wrapped in a black shawl with a tag sewn onto the collar that said  ” Slumber Boneset ” was a baby.

    She had black hair and her skin was a soft caramel color and one of her eyes was midnight black and the other was ice blue and besides that she was perfect.

    ” So that’s my story, I was known for a long time as the Cemetery Baby and some people think I have the gift … but we know better then that, don’t we? ” Slumber asked.

    From the other end of the table Slumber’s eldest daughter said, ” Mom, I think it’s time.”

    ” Yes it is…. please someone get my Shawl from my bedroom closet. Yes, the black one of course. After all, this is a special occasion.”

    Slumber raced down the hall to the kitchen and when she returned she had a shovel in one hand and a baby’s rattle in the other. ” Let’s go dear, I’m ready. “

    death-takes-a-child.jpg

    Written by Anita Marie

    October 14, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    Posted in Salon de Pizan

    Violet Delaflote Was Here

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     by Anita Marie Moscoso

    Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Prompt

    ” The Red Death “

    http://www.dailywriting.net/red-death.htm

    crypts1.jpg 

    Violet didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the end of the world; it was what happened after it was all over that would keep Violet awake at nights.

    She’d would be laying there in the dark picturing a dead and lifeless world with a small yellow sun rising in front of a blood red moon while all around her room on tables and in the windows and on their own special tables were dead and dieing plants in overpriced planters.

    There were no starter plants with tiny little roots floating around in plastic fast food drinking cups in this room.

    Only the best for her little victims.

    Violet figured it was the least she could do for some poor plant that was bound to die once she got her hands on it.

    What she did to plants was nothing compared to what she could do to those colorful fish you kept in wine glasses with the half marbles scattered at the bottom. She was no expert in forensics but she was pretty sure that her collection of fish had starved to death.

    She had come in from work one day and found all that was left of her fish were blue and red scales stuck to what looked like a fish’s skeleton. She felt so bad about the fish that she never brought them home again.

    In fact, she decided it would probably be better if she avoided the live animal route all together.

    It wasn’t like she didn’t know any better.

    There was the puppy in the basket she got when she was eight. ” Santa ” had brought it and she still remembered the look on her Mother’s face when she carried the basket with the red bow tied to the handle out to the living room on Christmas morning.

    Violet had said, ” It coughed all night, I don’t think it feels well. Can you exchange it? “

    There was the kitten four years later that started to bleed from it’s ears and not to soon after that the baby brother that turned from pink to dark red right in front of Violet’s eyes.

    Then she grew up and moved out and started with the plants.

    It was like having a bad tooth…your tongue just wants to go to it and poke around. That’s the way Violet was with plants; she just kept buying them or planting seeds and they just kept dieing on her.

    And Violet kept watching.

    So it’s not really a shock that she couldn’t sleep at nights.

    And then it got be too much.

    One evening Violet’s dieing and decomposing plants couldn’t keep her mind off of the little things that nibbled away at her mind during the day so she reached for her TV remote control and when she pushed the ‘on’ button the little black and silver box hummed in her hand and she knew the battery was dead.

    She reached over and turned her bedroom light on and then she popped the back panel off of the remote.

    Along with plant murder she had rotten luck with batteries too. She had guessed that if she bought batteries from someplace other than ” Dollar Bonanza” (where all the stock was a dollar or less) they might last a bit longer.

    She reached into her nightstand drawer for some new batteries when she saw that the battery in the remote control had split at the seam and the acid had started to ooze out and then before it ran off the side of the battery it had hardened and turned to dust.

    She dropped the remote on the floor and reached for the little ivy plant that was dieing in the planter shaped liked an elephant. She touched one of the leaves and felt it turn to power between her fingers.

    Now that was a new one.

    Violet reached over and turned off her lamp but she didn’t sleep.

    It wasn’t soon after that she stopped sleeping all together.

    So instead of sleeping Violet did a lot of thinking; she thought about her dead and dieing plants, her puppy and kitten and little brother. She thought about the way no one ever sat next to her on the bus.

    Even if her seat was the last open seat and they had to stand.

    She remembered the way her own Mother would wipe her hand against her hip after helping Violet brush her hair and the way her Father would hold his hands out to stop Violet from rushing into his arms the way all little kids do.

    It was strange, those little gestures that people used to keep Violet away. They were the same gestures Violet saw when someone had a coughing or sneezing fit and the person standing next to them would turn their head or pull in a long deep breath and try not to exhale until they were safely away.

    That’s exactly the way people acted when they got to close to Violet.

    One morning Violet brushed her teeth and combed her hair and put on a bright yellow t-shirt. Yellow was her favorite color and today she wanted to do something nice for herself.

    She walked down to the Lake and watched birds fall from the sky and bees drop from flowers. The trees put up more of a fight. She could hear them creak and groan and she could hear the leaves whither and then curl and crumble right on the braches.

    When she got to the lake she put her hand into the water and she watched it thicken and could smell it go bad and then the fish all rose to the surface and tried to jump to land and before they were airborne for more then a second they fell dead back into the water.

    Violet got up and walked to a little hill and when she got to the top she sat on a bench and she could see the route she had walked because it was a dead route now and unless you were looking you probably wouldn’t notice the narrow trail of death; but Violet did.

    That was it for Violet, this was all she would ever do-she would infect anything unlucky enough to get to close to her and then it would die.

    Violet looked at the trail she had walked and saw the dead trees and plants she had passed could see the trees and grass and plants further away start to turn brown and curl and she could smell them turn to dust.

    Violet Delaflote was spreading.

    Violet walked to the lookout spot next to the Lake she had infected (there was no other way for her to think of it) and she figured she could just walk out and keep walking until the water covered her head.

    She couldn’t swim, she had never learned how…not after watching her swimming instructor drown all those years ago. ” She had some kind of Virus, ” her Dad told her ” and when she dove into the water she got sick and couldn’t breathe and she drowned.”

    Violet passed the picnic table and walked into the water and she was surprised at how easy this was turning out to be…but what was the alternative?

    She was a serial plant killer and she lived alone.

    That was Violet’s life.

    She kept walking and by the time the water was up to her chest she realized what she was doing…she spun around went under and fought her way back to shore.

    When she turned around and looked back at the lake…she covered her face with her hands and screamed until her throat felt raw.

    Then she ran.

    She ran and ran until she came to the Shopping Mall and she collapsed on a bench outside of the food court.

    People were eating and laughing and scowling and living…and when it came down to it Violet decided she wanted to live too. She wanted to eat soft pretzels and drink strawberry lemonade and she wanted to shop and be rude to salespeople…just like everybody else.

    That was what Violet wanted, she covered her face with her hands and she cried for the life she would never have.

    When it came right down to it Violet decided she might only be a germ that had somehow disguised itself as a short woman with okay skin and dry hair but she still wanted to live just like anyone else.

    She knew though she couldn’t do that like everyone else and Violet knew that was alright.

    So she took her hand away from her mouth and nose….

    And she sneezed.

    Written by Anita Marie

    October 14, 2006 at 5:38 am

    Posted in Salon de Pizan

    Song of the Stars-Part IV

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    Part IV

      Tonight, one of the adults had come to Star Singer begging her sing the Song of Soul Sisters.  Star Singer knew that Sweet Water mourned the loss of friendship with her Soul Sister, Many Kisses and her husband Great Magic.  Born but moments apart in their parent’s’ separate tipis, it was almost inevitable that both Sweet Water and Many Kisses would love Great Magic.  Sweet Water knew that Great Magic loved Many Kisses most deeply; so, in love for both of them she had stepped aside.  In fear Many Kisses had tried to sever all friendship between the three of them. 

    Sweet Water understood Many Kisses’ fear and bore neither grudge nor anger towards Many Kisses.  In truth, she mourned the loss of Many Kisses’ friendship even more than she grieved for the friendship of Great Magic.  Sweet Water feared that she would never know either of their presences in her life again, and spent many nights alone in her tipi numb in her loss. 

    Winter Moon had comforted her as best he could, yet, he realised that the only healing must come from Many Kisses and Great Magic. 

    One of the greatest warriors of the people, Great Bear, loved Sweet Water, yet he feared she would never be able to be happy with him alone.  Great Bear’s twin brother Standing Bear and Great Bear were ever inseparable. 

    Sweet Water understood Great Bear’s hesitancy and loved him more for it.  She had become one of a group of women that Great Bear took not as concubines, or wives, but as their protector.  Everyone knew that to hurt one of Great Bear’s Ladies would be to face the wrath of both brothers. 

    Star Singer was especially gentle with Sweet Water, knowing that she mourned not only the loss of her first husband in an unnecessary battle, but the fact she had borne him no children in all the years of her marriage to Snarling Dog.   

    Snarling Dog was well known for his impetuosity and ugly temper and had been killed after an argument with an Ogallala warrior from the West.  The two had been arguing about a trouble-making woman called Takes All. 

    Takes All had played Snarling Dog with her wiles and had pried him from Sweet Water’s side with sweet lies, and empty promises.  When Snarling Dog had nothing left to give Takes All had turned to another man, Many Coups of the Ogallala Peoples. Snarling Dog had fought what everyone knew was inevitable, and had argued with Many Coups.  Many Coups had waxed furious and challenged Snarling Dog.   

    Snarling Dog had lost all of his friends while following Takes All like a dog following a bitch in heat.  There was no one who would stand with Snarling Dog and hand him weapons.  This was his undoing, for it slowed him enough that Many Coups was able to best him and kill him. 

    While the Elders were able to order Many Coups to repay Sweet Water for the loss of her husband, they could not give Sweet Water back her mate, or her belief in herself.  Long past the time when Bull Battles would have told her she was done with mourning and was free to wed another, still Sweet Water was living in her tipi alone. 

    Star Singer gently promised she would sing the Song of the Soul Sisters for Sweet Water, and held her for a time, just being there for her.  Sweet Water left with a smile on her mouth and a shine in her dark liquid eyes. 

    Sweet Water was not a pretty woman at first glance; she was too often solemn and withdrawn into her Spirit to charm with wit and beauty.  Many loved her, though, for she was generous, loving, and patient with people’s flaws.  She had been apprenticed to the Medicine Woman of the Ottawa, Magic Blossoms, until she had wed Snarling Dog and joined The People, after Snarling Dog’s loss she had remained, serving this Medicine Woman, Ancient Hills, as she grew older and began to be feeble in health. 

    After Ancient Hills went to join Great Spirit, Sweet Water was unanimously chosen as the new Medicine Woman, and she was loved for her gifts to The People.  Ever kind and loving, she could not only heal the body, she was able to touch the mind and spirit and begin healing there as well.  More than one person, who was thought to be incurable came to her and left with a new wholeness blossoming in them. 

    Star Singer was settled on her buffalo hide cushion and had finished her final gourd of liquorice root tea.  When all the children were finally silent she spoke gently. “My dears, tonight we shall sing of the Soul Sisters; Sweet Water has begged this favour of me…” She could not finish for the cheers and shouts of Sweet Water’s name among the children.  All of them had known her loving touch in their lives, and knew her to be a good woman. 

    “They were not

    Sisters of blood.

    Yet they were born

    So close in spirit

    That everyone

    Accepted them

    As true

    Sisters of Soul. 

    Apple Blossom

    Was the eldest

    By but moments.

    Wild Roses

    Was perhaps

    More fair

    This mattered not

    To Soul Sisters. 

    They knew wholeness

    In their friendship

    Which grew as they

    Did, strong and fast.

    By the time they had

    Come to the Time

    Of Womanhood

    They were One Spirit. 

    Often would the

    People

    See them, laughing

    And talking together

    Each knowing one

    Another’s silent words.

    Their bond so deep

    That they wedded

    Brothers, one family. 

    Soon they were

    With child and

    Waxed beautiful

    And joyous as one.

    Apple Blossom

    Lost her child

    For it was

    Born too soon. 

    Wild Roses bore a son

    Pride of his father.

    Apple Blossom

    Was joyous with her.

    Again Wild Roses

    Waxed with child.

    Apple Blossom

    Was still barren. 

    Apple Blossom’s

    Husband set her aside.

    Taking another wife,

    One to bear him sons.

    Apple Blossom began

    To mourn her life.

    No longer did she

    Eat or sleep. 

    Her decline was fast,

    She lay in her

    Ragged tipi dying.

    Never calling for

    Anyone but her

    Beloved Soul Sister

    Wild Roses.

    Who came to her

    Side, begging her stay. 

    Still,

    Apple Blossom

    Went to Great Spirit.

    With her last breath

    She spoke to

    Her Soul Sister.

    “Wild Roses

    Mourn me not

    I will wait for you.” 

    Wild Roses

    Could not

    Do as

    Apple Blossom

    Had bade her do.

    She cut her hair,

    And wept

    Clawed at her face

    And tore her clothes.

    She sang

    In a sad voice

    Apple Blossom’s

    Death Song. 

    Wild Roses begged

    Great Spirit.

    “Bring me back

    My Soul Sister.

    I am not whole

    Without her

    In my life,

    I always seek her.” 

    Great Spirit heard

    Wild Roses plea.

    Even He could not

    Change what was

    Already done.

    Helpless as a babe.

    Instead he touched

    Wild Roses’ spirit. 

    She felt a great light

    Burning in her spirit.

    As she watched ,

    A star, then more

    Rose to the heavens

    Two sisters,

    Holding hands

    Forevermore. 

    Wild Roses knew

    Comfort and Peace

    And was once again

    Joyous and alive.

    She found herself

    With child again.

    Twin girls were they,

    Made by the love of sisters.” 

    Many of the older girls, with the deep friendships of youth and innocence wept unashamedly as Star Singer and Sky Eyes Woman’s voices faded into the stars above.  One girl, wise beyond her years moved to Sweet Water’s side and embraced her tightly, in silent understanding. 

    Star Singer and Sky Eyes Woman watched this magical moment, their hearts swelling with pride, and love for their People.  They were embracing as they often did, arms loosely around one another’s waists and heads tipped close together.

    by:  GwenGuin (who else??)

    Written by gwenguin1

    October 9, 2006 at 10:42 am

    The Crone ran short of gossip so she went to the top of the palm

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    Crone was running short of things to say
    so she had the little monkey take her once more
    to the top of the palm tree, near to the shore
    where she took her binoculars
    found in her sights:
    a pirate ship pirating
    a miners minering
    a lazy lady sleeping in a hammock on Owl Island
    a boss lady wielding a whip
    a doll maker making a magic doll
    two other old crones, was that a brawl?
    photographers photographing all of the sights
    and an old man with a lantern lighting the lights
    by day
    What are they doing? remains to be seen
    she thinks they planning the dread
    hallowe’en
    Her note pad is full so she waits to be taken
    back to her computer to get it all down
    before the ink fades
    and she’s driven from town

    Written by cronelogical

    October 7, 2006 at 12:47 am

    Beautiful Gypsy Purse

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    Here’s a gorgeous piece of art by Lilla Le Vine at Art-e-zine. She shows you how to make a Gypsy Purse and there are some lovely Gypsy maiden images you can download as well.

    Gail

    Written by Gail Kavanagh

    October 5, 2006 at 9:55 am

    Posted in Gypsy Caravan