Thursday, August 11, 2005

The letter Posted by Picasa

After reading the letter mother sat silent for what seemed an eternity.
�Mother, what will we do�
A tear ran down her face as she finally turned towards me and said, �My daughter, it means you must leave and it must be tonight.�
I gasped as I almost screamed, �You mean us don�t you mother!�
�No my darling, I mean you !�
� I must stay with my sisters and help them through this terrible time. I can not desert them t when they may be facing death or worst, capture. You must be brave and go before me. If the goddess is willing I will join you one day. She will show me the way� Posted by Picasa

Gone to the Hermitage

The place is almost deserted. Everyone seems to have packed up their things and gone to the Lemurian Hermitage for the festivities as travellers stop on their way to the camp of the Amazonian Queen.

A map to guide you is pinned to the front door. I am sure, once the festivities are over folk will drift back down here and reclaim this space.

The Abbess

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Talon

I introduced the 'Talon' in 'Sentinels',
another character based on scant myth sources
I have gleaned in my Gusari research.
Because of responses from SCA publications
I have fashioned garb for this persona including
a brace of knives across my chest and a cloak
that hides my bow and looks like wings in motion.
As an off-shoot, I have proved that such a cloak
could actually stop enemy arrows.

Sadely, this blog does not allow display
of the verse in its 'split line' medieval form;
with the paired lines next to each other,
by a column space -- and read with a break

Talon of Styria

All dread whispered him the Talon
the Talon of Styria
None knew from whixt he faire came
none dare ask of his destiny.

He appeared to stand in shadow
even blaze 'neath the crown of noon
For falling crest hid but pale eye
and ever cloak reached to the ground.
Black were the boots on gliding feet
silver the strips of lamellar mail.
Five were the knives upon his chest
tight were the cruel lips of scorn.

All dread whispered him the Talon
the Talon of Styria
None knew from whixt he faire came
none dare ask of his destiny.

Strong bound left arm was never seen
for his cloak fastened at the wrist
To a gauntlet set with razor teeth
and a flail of leather and steel.
No coward ever saw sword and lived
his long reach hand was never still.
Raven locks were woven with feathers
but scarce hid quivered arrows true.

All dread whispered him the Talon
the Talon of Styria
None knew from whixt he faire came
none dare ask of his destiny.

For the trav'ler was an archer
with Turkish bow strung at has side
Never seen until moment of death
only heard as the shriek of the moon.
No song more feared nor reach endured
than the launch of arrows of time,
For the world stood still in silence
'neath the glare of the baleful eye.

All dread whispered him the Talon
the Talon of Styria
None knew from whixt he faire came
none dare ask of his destiny.

Yet no mother need fear his stride
and children danced about his stand,
Bold snarling dogs skulked away
while every cat entwined his legs.
His swirling falcon wheeled above
the woods alive with glowing eyes,
For some knew he was a Watcher
a Guardian of workers of Light.

All dread whispered him the Talon
the Talon of Styria
None knew from whixt he faire came
none dare ask of his destiny.

Wherever men work at fine purpose
extend stranger an open hand,
Who laugh at simple folly
and ever protect Mother's land,
There will quiet pace a Watcher
a mirror of each man's soul.
If you be afraid, look within
for life's sword has a double edge.

With a flick of his head he quickens
with a soft hidden golden eye.
His smile can light the darkest gloom
for the Goddess is ever near.
His cloak is lined with eider down
dashing hand can catch falling tear.
His prance is the dance She gave him
what you see is the squire of dawn.

Wave with pure heart at the Talon
the Talon of Styria
Love will know from whixt he faire came
all who share his eternity.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Interview With Gorgons

After an audacious dance for the Gorgons, at the House of the Serpent, where the Travelling Trevere' performed I was granted an exlusive interview with the Gorgons.

H.B. I must confess I felt nervous when I learned that you were prepared to be interviewed by me. I have heard all the stories about your snake like hair, your petrifying powers, your capacity to turn people into stone and I believe that the expression 'A Goddess scorned has fury indeed' comes from people who have suffered from your wrath. (The Gorgons smile like naughty young girls as I openly talk about their reputation.) So! I have bought a small box of photographs to share with you as a token of trust.

Gorgons: You have nothing to fear Heather. After that audacious dance we are delighted to have you do an interview with us. Clearly we need a better marketing machine after all these years of bad press but you know what they say, 'all press is good press'. At least our names are still on people's lips.
These stone figures you see surrounding us were not turned into stone by us but by the values of a patriarchal society which has placed so much emphasis on power and acquisition. The moment that you honoured ecstacy and joy and came with the Enchantress and those engaging travellers, you broke the spell and freed not only yourself but us. We can talk now after all these years of silence, after having been immobilized by the Hellenic Perseus who was no hero but a Gorgon slayer of the most unpleasant kind.

H.B. Here is a photograph of me as a beautiful young child.

Here is me as a young maiden
Image Hosted by
It seems so long ago. I'd hardly turn an eye now.
I'd hardly turn an eye now with all these bulges and the wrinkles of time.

Gorgons: Did you know that our childhood name was Gorgo? It was an affectionate name that our parents, Phorkys and Keto used. We were lithe, brown eyed and beautiful just like you. We knew the capricious thrill of joy as we danced, clicking our heels, and our father loved us. We fed on honey, gamboled freely over mountainsides, basked in the glories of nature, learned the sensual pleasures of the earth. The silenic, spirit of the springs and river taught us wisdom and we grew lithe and voluptuous.

H.B. My childhood was filled with joyous play. I remember lying under the gigantic pussy willow trees behind our house, remember playing safely at the abandoned Sugar Beet Factory. My innocence was broken when a relative offered to 'teach me' about sexuality. I ran and hid within the safety of the Cypress Trees but the sense of terror immobilized me for a very long time.

This is too familiar a tale Heather. We were sea goddesses, known to all as the Gorgides and Gorgades. The name Gorgo never meant anything terrible, did not signify something ugly. Our parents never could have anticipated that we would be turned into terrifying creatures.

Some say that our mortal sister loved Poseidon, the dark haired God of the sea and laid with him in the soft grass. Others say that they desecrated the temple of Athene by making love there. In truth many men fear women's sexuality and seek power over them. Poseidon ravaged Medousa, removed her goat skin charity tunic without her consent. Medusa, who was Athene in another shape, made the Gorgon head wrapped in serpents and wore it on her aegis to warn would be invaders of their fate should they seek to emulate Poseidon. The gigantic shape of fear has been passed down, carried by women as a warning. On that day when you fled, Athene knew and gifted you with her aegis that has ever since protected you from such uninvited invaders. It is only man, with evil in his heart who need fear the Medusa aegis.

H.B. But what about Perseus? Didn't he slay the Medusa?

Gorgons. Obviously the Medusa's head was highly sought after, a grail for men who feared being turned into stone, who feared its power, lusted for its power. Perseus was not supported by Athene as legend would have you believe. He was no hero. He was a Hellenic invader, a destroyer, who came to take the Moon-Goddess powers and to steal the prophylactic Gorgon head. Perseus fought the Libyan Queen (Medusa) and decapitated her. It was this battle that ultimately led to the suppression of the matriarchal system and the violation of Neith's mysteries. (see The Greek Myths Graves 8.1)

Since that time women's powers have been usurped and immobilized. But now, as you come with the wily enchantress, into long closed places, you and other initiates will return with renewed creative powers. For you and your companions the Medusa curse is broken.


Maybe Gusari

At a church yard sale I found a bundle of three 'Cypress Knees", wrapped in braided grass string. Though only about 15" high they reminded me of three old ladies. I learned that this had been fashioned by a member's 12 year old son. At home, I placed them in a dish of back stones and today they sit in the corner of our 'Cozy' room. Few people ask about them, but all stare in captivation. Of course, the can read this ...


No one lives in the village now, of course, though legend has it a most comely spot, and rich in berries, honey and deep, black soil. Some say it was near Szczecin above the Danuba. Others place it further south near the triple mountain. None can say -- it was centuries ago. Certainly the Sentinels have long since eroded away, or forever been lost to weeds and vine and mold. But … the curse was not laid by any man, but by the crones' own defiance of the Tengri -- so who is to say. Maybe it never happened at all -- just another story to rival the Babba-Yagga tales to scare children. You know they are there, though, don't you? Just ask your grandmother and see how she turns away. They are watching even now!

'Tis said a knight wandered out of the forest, up from the plains by a great lake where the battle with the Golden Horde had pulsed for days. He sought aid and comfort in this village he had defended with many friends now gone. Surely he would be welcome! Yet his way was barred by three crones of ancient age and practiced wisdom. His dismay pooled amidst the ferns at his feet, mixing silently with blood and sweat and fear.

"The blue eyed one cannot enter here -- you must proceed alone." The voice could have come from any of the cowled figures -- yet it came from all. Each was distinct in height and girth and vile smell, yet all were the same. The soldier did not move forward but allowed the sling to slip from his shoulder to ease the youth gently to the ground. This one's wounds were greater than his -- it was for this nokud that he sought help. Aye, the youth was an enemy soldier -- one the knight had personally bested on the field -- by chance at that. Part of the Mongol terror!

"The challenge was met and won. Of all fallen on the field save myself, he alone lives. At battles end all soldiers are one! It is said thee are the best healers in the Carpathians -- I charge you to attend to your service!"

The three voices shrilled in unity, "We serve men by right, but no invader will pass these gates. We will that he die! Your knightly honor has no province here! We three guard this pass, and we alone decide what is best for all men! We stand watch forever."

The knight was too weak to respond and knelt by the fallen warrior to check his wounds. Soon the shallow breathing would stop. A great silence pressed down and the terrible scene might have passed into shadows unknown. - except -- he came …

The crones drew back. They had never seen him, but they knew; never believed, but shivered. Yet while they clutched the air itself for space and being the knight felt a great sense of peace. The roiling dark clouds overhead that denied warmth to the crones opened in fluttering waves of caressing light above the fallen pair, and it seemed that even the stricken one smiled a bit. The stranger drew near. Some called him the Talon of Styria , hence of local call. Others claimed he was an Angel of Sidon of Crusader dread fame. Certainly he was Gusari, and possibly aligned with the Skomorokhi. It mattered not. That he came was enough.

The Talon raised his staff and a wing of falcons wheeled above and vanished to the east. He then unfurled his strange cloak to place beneath the warrior's head. Revealed now were the short Turkic bow, brace of knives, flail and sword. He wore no armor, but unwound from his arms long wraps of silk with which he staunched the ebbing blood. He sent the knight for instructed herbs, heedless of the crones who mumbled curses and spells with bitter tongues. Finally, one broke from the others to charge at the youth with a pointed staff. Instant thunder shook the crones to their knees as the noon-day brighten with a sword of lighting retribution.

"The Tengri protects this one now, called forth by your own foul charge and deceit. Offer your hand openly to all, or to none! You shame your gifts and forfeit your claim!" From the woods a hundred horses burst upon the glade. In the whispered memories they reared and cried and clawed back at the angry skies. Not true -- the Mongol ponies were far too disciplined. The young nokud was lifted gently to a litter made of maikhan blankets -- then the horde was gone.

A whirl of cloak and feathers only emphasized the deep, saddened words, "You are claimed watchers of this pass, sentinels for that which now will never come. Thus you have chosen -- stand well!" The knight knew naught what to do save follow the Gusari into the woods -- and he did not see what followed.

Hail fell from a now barren sky to pile deep about the huddled crones. Slowly their withered flesh turned to aged wood, their eyes to amber glows, their cloaks to graying stone. They watch now for ever-been, frozen in a fold of hateful spite; "All or none at all" scraped into the ground at their feet.


p2 Journey to Alexandria

LM Aug 07
My memory is dim on the actual emerging from the tunnel but I do remember a heavy pressure on my body and what seemed like a huge explosion. The next thing I remember is that I was kneeling next to my mother, next to the sacred pond, on the island of Iona and I was the red headed girl.
I am sure that this day in my life will be etched in my brain forever. Today I turned 13 and all the women on our cluster celebrated from dawn until late afternoon. Not only was I celebrating turning 13 I was also celebrating the last of my youth without a man of my own. Girls were married by 14 and I had one year to make my choice. Even some of the favorite men were brought over from their island to join the celebration, including four boys my age that had been picked to be my possible mate. I was honored by being allowed to wear the flowing gown of women before pregnancy and my jewelry was woven with island flowers and precious stones. This day was definitely the happiest of my life, the happiest . until late afternoon. From late afternoon on I was thrown into the deepest sorrow imaginable. That is the moment chosen for me to relive. That is the moment I arrived out of the tunnel.
My mother and I knelled beside the sacred pond. She seemed unusually sad, and for such a joyous day I was beginning to worry. My mother was mother goddess to our whole clan and always seemed to be able to maintain a positive attitude through any problems her fellow sisters could encounter. Everyone loved her and turned to her for everything emotional but this time her emotions were on the edge and I felt it.
Then the worst moment of my life arrived. She pulled out a letter from her pocket and started to read it aloud. It was a note from my favorite aunt Sena. She too had Red hair like mine and a very similar personality. She did not live on the island with us but on the nearby island with the men. Early on she much preferred the company of men and when she became pregnant and had a boy outside the designated time for communion she was sent away. I always looked forward to her visits and today she had been allowed to be at the celebration. Evidently she had slipped this letter to my mother sometime during the day.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Silence of Melting Ice

Ice Melts in the
heart through silence,
in silence,
always in a silent moment,
before the rush of
joy comes.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Catastrophic Wail

Oh where?
Does anything exist at all?
What is that wall,
between soul and
the sun? It's dark,
yet urges the reading
of the stones and
moss lying there,
statues of stone,
that magnetize the eyes.

Hold on,
or cast aspersions
on the wind? Where
does the soul go - where?
Where does it belong,
when there are
several roads to Roam?

Old as the rocks
that hem the garment
to the ground, wet
with seeping waters,
tears of years,
a pain in the heart,
O listen, hear, soul.

A companion on the road
(and there is always one)
says nothing goes on forever,
and is right,
as will be seen when this
moment of hell passes,
and is thoroughly

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

My journey to Alexandria

Sitting here at my desk in Lemuria, staring at the blank pages in front of me, I am not quite sure how to begin. The logical place of course is at the very beginning but I am still trying to reflect on exactly what has happened to me. If I do not understand , how will my readers be able to follow logically what I am writing. The best way to begin is to state clearly that there is no logic, no time sequence, nothing in the right place at the right time. Things just happened when and how they chose. Perhaps time is a wheel with no beginning or end and we can take our home in the 20th century and sit it next to a village existing in the time of the cave men, and perhaps I can teach cave women to sew warm coats for their children on my electric sewing machine. Illogical? Now you know how this adventure went, so set aside your need for details to be accurate and I will try to relate my fascinating journey.
To start with I was late joining the elders and many went on a journey without me. I did not read the details too carefully so was not clear where I was to go or what I was to discover so I decided to hunt for the door that Heather had opened. I found an old rusty ring in the basement floor connected to a man hole cover. Perhaps this was the way, as their were lots of footsteps around it , but the cover was way too heavy for me to lift. The basement is very poorly lit but I rummaged around and finally found a long narrow board that I could push through the ring and use as a lever and the cover slowly slid to the side. I am always getting in trouble physically in the visible world for exhausting myself before I have gotten half way into my day but for some reason, as I dropped down the hole, I felt like I was instantly absorbing energy; almost as though I was ageless.
I seemed to be in a dark dirt tunnel that slowly sloped downward. This did not sound like what Heather described. The only lights were the pictures set into crevices along the walls that gave off a strange yellow glow. Each picture had a name at the bottom but I did not recognize any of the names. These must be the pictures of Heathers’ ancestors she mentioned.
I had been looking at the wall on my right but at a certain point I started looking at the pictures on the left wall as I moved deeper into the earth. It was at that moment that a twinge of familiarity entered my brain. That wall also had names I recognized below each picture, such as Bennett, Hickock, Burns, etc. This wall displayed my ancestors. I was so absorbed in this discovery that I did not notice that I had reached a fork in the tunnel. I continued down the left branch for quite a ways when I finally realized that there were no pictures on the right wall. I must have taken a wrong turn but the interesting thing about the right wall is that it now held large floor to ceiling mirrors. As I continued walking and looking into each one I saw myself, first as I am today and then continually shedding years as I walked along. The only difference was that every time I got younger so did my appearance. Even though it felt like me it no longer looked like me. Needless to say there was no turning back now. Especially since I could now smell sea air and see light flooding the far end of the tunnel. I was approaching something that felt strangely familiar. The mirror at my right now reflected a 13 year old girl that looked very much like the girl I once was, except that her hair was red, her face freckled and she had large dark brown eyes. I knew it was not me of this century. This was the point where I was forced to break away from any logical thinking.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Heart - For Edwina

This is from "Heart" written originally I know not when, but published in a beautiful small volume devoted only to Heart and the fire of Agni, in 1932. (I happened to find it second hand. I just loved your previous piece.)

"After our daily labours,
let us gather to discourse about the
It will lead us beyond the domains
of earth
towards the Subtle World,
in order to
bring us closer to the sphere of
Photo from Google search = "Burning Heart" Tulip.

Earth, Sky and Space

I called you Agni, god of fire
Agni Devta, clear and just
I lay my heart upon your altar
With simple, artless

I called you Agni, god of fire
As lightflash through the storm is thrust
I lay my heart upon your altar
Where the stars told me I

I called you Agni, god of fire
A smoldering, sky flaming lust
I lay my heart upon your altar
Ashes, ashes

Agni was one of three great gods in the Rig Veda and was also worshiped by the Persians until the time of Zoroaster. His personification of fire made him the center of the ancient Vedic worship. Agni took three forms: celestial as the sun, atmospheric as lightening, and terrestrial as fire. He is all that burns: sun, heat, stomach, lust, and passion. His three spheres are the Earth, Sky, and Space, the worlds respective of men, spirits, and deities. He is priest of the gods and the god of priests, and serves as liaison between gods and men. His fire altar was oriented toward the East, the direction of the sunrise, the ever-new beginning.

The last stanza of this poem was written when I was in college; actually, it was written on the fly leaf of my Lit to 1650 text book, where it is still. I added the first two stanzas in 2003 upon studying more about the three incarnations of Agni.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Passion

talk of love and
is the passion
decimates ice,
the colour of
is bright
like new blood.

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.


Now Love

We speak of time as if it here and now,
checked in moments and clicks of surrender.
Yet all that matters is the touch of love
which has no rush of time or lonely place.
What time is it now? Where is when past.?
Either you love me forever or not now
and play with shifting sands and blowing clouds.
There is no past call of life in shadows
that compares with a commitment true.
Either you are here and closely divine,
or you are not here for me at all.


I wonder at times
About the blessing or curse
Of memory
Selectively piercing, it gifts me
Vastly varied strings of jewels
Which glisten from absolute emptiness
To something vague, shimmering and hollow
Behind which I know there is content, but cannot see or feel it
Through bits of beautiful, broken mosaic that won’t form a picture
All the way to the bright, incisive bite of recalling and reliving
Every word, every expression
And the entire, enveloping veracity of every feeling
That coated my throat, quickened my blood, sang beneath my ears

I remember
Holding a daisy in the tips of my fingers
Pulling the petals with a soft, satisfying tug
“He loves me. He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.”
Warmth, a bright yellow fire, surged
Through my chest, down the insides my arms
Curving my backbone, all the way to my bare toes in the cool grass
Behind my forehead a huge, smooth expanse of quiet joy
The color of candle-lit alabaster
If they had turned me inside out
I would have bled light

I remember

©Edwina Peterson Cross

The Myth and Romance of Tulips

In Ancient Persia, Farhad, a Persian youth, loved Sharin, a beautiful girl. He adored her madly and deeply from a distance, and that love was returned, and grew in their hearts. But a jealous rival gave Farhad a message that said his beloved Sharin was dead. Agonised, and with no reason left to live, he threw himself over a cliff. But Sharin wasn’t dead, and when she heard he had died she was inconsolable. The ancient gods of Persia made tulips grow in the ground where Farhad had fallen, immortalising their love in the form of a beautiful flower which blooms each Spring.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

He Loves Me..He Loves Me Not.. (And So On..)

Imogen Crest Takes to the Hermitage

The harried halls,
the market stalls,
the many balls,
the crying calls -

Weary of the
corridor of war,
through history,
I take to the

I sit and learn
what is of value,
thought of as odd
to spend time in
myself and with
the One.

The oak shields
my stone sill, the
eagle sits on the
tower, the wind
brings a banner of
gifts to me.

Odd it is not -
to seek what is
true. It is odd
not to, if
you know what I

Yours, if only for now,
- Imogen Crest.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Never Surrender

A Different Psalm

Bush is NOT my shepherd
For I made a different decision
In the voting booth
I am an American
I have the right of dissent

I dwell in Ashland, in Jackson County, in Oregon,
Where I actively work each day
Plying that right
At the grass roots, in the local council seats, in the county commissions, in the state assembly
I prepareith, even now, in the face of my enemies,
For in my country we have a voice
In my country there is a choice
And 2008 will come

And so I fight
I fight every log that falls
I fight for education and the arts
I fight to stop AIDS, world hunger, violence against women
I fight for peace
I stay aware
I know what is going on
It isn’t easy, it is hard work,
I write to congressmen and senators. I write to newspapers. I give money. I walk when there is a protest.
My generation of American’s stopped an unjust war
We can save our trees
We can save our arts
We can save our educational system
We can wage peace and better our world
But not by sitting on our assets

Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war,
I will try to change it
My children have never known anything but recycling and ecology
My town is prosperous, green and clean
I will actively work everyday toward change that will allow the rest of the world to someday be the same
I supportith the politicians who wage peace
Who value humanity, education and the arts
Who seek to save the earth
National, state and local
I seekith them out
I knowith their names
I lickith their envelopes and stuffith their mailings

I supportith my values at the font of their springs
For the arts, for education, for world hunger, for world peace, to stop violence against women and children
I volunteerith my time, I givith my money, I donate my work, I attendith their meetings, I sit upon their committees, eternally, do I lickith their envelopes, in perpetuity do I stuffith their mailings

I have more that is better and costs less
Than most of the world
I enjoy freedoms that to some are unimaginable
I will not bow my head beneath what is wrong
For the system under which I live
Gives me the right to fight

I raiseith up a generation of American’s who care
A large, gifted circle of young men and women to whom art is life, ecology a byword of existence and peace something they will never stop seeking
They are the future
Those children you are glad not to have will be theirs
They will never stop working and fighting to effect any change that will make the world more beautiful, safe and free for the children they will bring into it
They are discouraged, they are frightened, but
They are not whiners, takers or slackers
They are fighters
They are politically active and very aware
They do charity work
They volunteer
They send $10.00 to Oxfam and to ‘One’
Because $10.00 is all they have right now
They ply their professions with passion: one day they will have more than $10.00 to give, and they will still be giving; giving of their money, their time, their talents, their souls.
They will dwell in my heart forever

They are Americans
So am I
Proud does not mean arrogant
That is a stereotype
We will not wear
Around our wrists we do wear
A purple band:
“Never Surrender”
We are angry
We are not complacent
We are the minority
But we have been gifted
With the right
To effect change
And that,
We will

On the Horizon

Many of you are not 'American" (arrogantly USA),
but may relate to the future clouds of sorrow ..

Rather chilling..

Subject: 23rd Psalm according to "Dubya"

Bush is my shepherd, I shall dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war,
I will find no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou annointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term.
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

I am only activily political in support of persons with disabilities,
which means daily anymore. And in support of 'faith',
which is quickly becoming a profanity.

Glad I'm not having any more children.

Please forgive my tears


Ancient Lemurian Skies

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Imogen Crest Captures The Castle


Orkneyjar - Islands North of Scotland

These images of beauty come from Orkney, a group of islands off the Northern tip of Scotland. The name is Old Norse and means "Seal Islands". The first depicts standing stones, with an ancient sword settled firmly in the earth, the next is a Sanday Sunset, and the last is St Magnus' Cathedral with its sun-filled graveyard. I loved my mind journey here, and became entranced by the beauty I saw there, the peace of a thousand hours, now.

(If of interest, the site can be reached by inserting "Orkneyjar" into Google where you may find this beautifully crafted site and its wonderful treasures for the senses. Images are downloadable desktops provided on the site, by Sigurd Towrie.)

More Gusari


The ancient lodge was unique both in structure and setting. It could only be reached over a narrow bridge that was easily drawn back from the crevasse that separated the splinter of cliff from the meadowed village proper. In an earlier age, perhaps this protection had been necessary. Now the tribes of the Alani were at peace and the great lodge only served its spiritual function. Two by two we came, bound more by our knife scarred palms than by mothered gift.

Four posts held the rafter beams aloft and actually grew up from the ground, proof that the forest had once carried far. Stroking from a thousand hands had refined their shapes and oiled their preservation. They each had a name unspoken, but long forgotten was their meaning and language. Only ritual remained. Into each trunk were set three benches that radiated out toward the center fire, their forward ends supported by boulders hewn from the high Carpathian peaks. On each bench would sit an elder with a novice between his knees. Trebusca, the Magic 24! Each had a role in preserving the verbal history and ceremonial traditions of their ancestors. Each pair would sustain death and rebirth many times in ritualistic training and disciplined transference.

The hall filled with smoky shadows and scents both sweet and pungent of fear and anticipation. Wilglon, the shaman had not yet come. My back felt cold without his presence and forceful support and my thoughts turned to his spirit. He appeared rather than came!

I accepted that his changing age was not only the affect of smoke, flickering embers and fir branches waved in evening graced mystery. Neither did I understand. When he spoke of things ancient and arcane, of kinship with the scents of the Earth, the call of elk’s blood, an evil presence, and the sound of the moon – then he was a paradox of youth. Emotion born not of a little fear blurred vision to be replaced with images of a strapping lad with long black hair trailing in the wind and bare feet impervious to the rocks and thorns. When he spoke of things new and vibrant, of the challenges of new inventions, our lost traditions, the wiles of maidens, and the sound of the moon – then wrinkles sank deeply into a visage scarcely separated from shoulders bowed with timeless burdens. He is the Shaman of our people and a vital substance in our lives though most now wear the Christian cross. He knew my great-grandfather. My brother carries a wrap of otter skin made last year by his hands. But there is a chill in the air this night not part of nature, and kinsmen are gathering in the lodge corners from miles away. I am the Chosen. I must die so that I can be rebirthed here. I am unprepared! My name is to be Kiyan.

Wilglon has said that I have learned all that he can teach but I know in my heart this is not so. My spirit is simply not yet prepared to understand the next level. Perhaps this is the purpose of all study; the acquired information is not as critical as the confidence to use it. We foolishly say, “If I only knew,” but it is the work invested in gaining the knowledge that is prime! I have done that. By Alani standards I have the acknowledged credentials of my craft but lack the anointment of power; the passing of pouch, stones, feathers and bones. Can a simple bag make such a difference? As I clutch it to my breast will I lose touch with my friends to draw wisdom from the stream and cedars? Is it a legacy or a curse?

It has begun.

The main content of the pouch is a tanned rabbit fur that serves to protect fragile contents and mat for simple slight-of-hand effects and more intricate forecasting and divining feats. Tonight, for the first time, the skin has been placed face down and an outlined circle is visible in the center that is hidden in the fluff from the working side. Slow, yet nimble fingers remove a thread and the patch falls away. The altered skin is spread before me. Swaying shadowy figures have begun a chant to subdue the whispers clutching at my attention. The glowing embers flicker through the skin’s new aperture and I am drawn to the center of all things. The Shaman’s voice seems to come from a distant place.

“We have talked much about the fabric of life which, when firmly defined and intact, can be stretched into a useful support. Now that the skin is flawed it cannot hold its shape and even the form of the hole becomes distorted. Understand that the spirit within us is much like this hole. It cannot be grasped or moved or painted to our desire. It is only by reaching through the hole to touch things you cannot see that will set you apart – that will set you free. The hole in the skin is nothing. That is what I bequeath you my friend – nothing!”

I staggered outside and held up the skin against the night sky. I felt the press of the heavens through the furry eye, and heard – NO!

The moon passes behind the shimmering clouds. The old man is gone, forever!

Riding With Amazonians

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I have grabbed my great grandmother's old saddle bag and I am wearing the cloak from the Isle of Ancestors as I ride out with the Enchantress with another group of adventurers. We are headed for the Camp of the Amazonians and may ride with them if we are lucky. I will maintain contact with everyone in the Abbey by Raven Courier.

The first group have straggled in to the House of the Serpent in time to celebrate the Day of the Serpent. They have currently been having private sessions with the Gorgon and are singing for her. I am sure many will proudly sing here once their audience is complete.

If anyone here wants to join us you are all most welcome.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Imogen Mourns Beauty...

In a fortress of old,
lavish white stones,
long, long ago,
a white dagger
was swathed in a black

Beauty had no
knowledge of this,
I watched her become
enslaved to the Prince,
given, for no price at
all, yet her bounty was

I hid, in the cracks
of the parchment
that sealed their vows.
A sylph of rainbows,
an innocent smile,
and there,
the white dagger

Her colours were
gone, - I clutched
my bright skeins
in fear of losing them too, -
such was my soul's shock,
at seeing it done,
before my unseen eyes.

I know not what
became of them, but I
heard her name had
changed to reflect one colour -
that's all - and heard
the deafening sound of
the wailing wall.

Yours, if only for now,
- Imogen Crest.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Found Inscription - Rosslyn Chapel

"'Wine is strong a King is stronger, women are stronger still, but truth conquers all' -- the text which comes from the book of Esdras, ch 3 & 4. "

On my wanderings amongst the vast libraries here, I found the above inscription in Latin that is written in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. (For further reading on this wonderful Chapel with its rich history, put Rosslyn Chapel into Google and select the official site. Enjoy...)