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Beltane is one of the two great Celtic Pagan festivals (the other is the Celtic New Year festival of Samhain, or Halloween).  It begins the evening of the last day of April and continues through the night till the dawning of May Day.  The Great Goddess and her young consort have consummated their union.  Fertility and new life are celebrated with bonfires, maypole dancing, bouquets of flowers and offerings of eggs, milk and honey. 

We’ll celebrate Beltane with a bonfire, if the weather permits, like the one above.  We’ll plant seeds, transplant our seedlings, and cut flowers to decorate our house with.  We’ll eat poke, a wild plant that grows abundantly here, and strawberries I bought at the farm market, and asparagus from our garden and the farm market.  We’ll give thanks for the return of the sun and the warmth and for new life.

Here’s a link to more information on Beltane:

Posted by Mari with Beltane Blessings



Autumn Hallowed

Red Hallowed
Leaves turn,
combust into new energy,
letting go of the old,
delighting the senses,
reminding of evolution,
transforming souls.

(copyright Imogen Crest 2007.)

It’s been a tough Spring. Reluctant. Secretive. I tried to escape the East Coast and went to Sedona, Arizona, only to discover that it sleets there. In April. But slow as it is, Spring is being dragged into my yard by the bulbs I planted last fall. The grape hyacinths popped up purple and are now dropping seeds. The magic narcissus unfolded, one green blade at a time, and greeted me when I came home with a ring of white around the crepe myrtle, which is setting leaves. The lilies are coming up like bush green gnomes. In summer, they will burst with color and scent.

The lavender I planted too early is tough and is sitting in three little separate mounds, waiting for next year to grow bigger. (According to garden lore, the first year it sleeps, the second it creeps, the third it leaps.)

The mint is up and fighting for space, a sure sign that Spring won’t be held back.

The backyard pear tree is showing tiny green pears, the size of a pencil eraser, except on the edges of the branches, where a late, hard freeze froze off the blossoms.

Nature is a school for me. The lessons are not always soft and gentle, but they are always worth learning. I love being outside this time of year. Nothing is boring. It is all so alive.

Right now, life feels like a prayer. Everywhere I look, I feel grateful for surviving the winter. And in my tradition, there is a blessing for that: Blessed are you, creator of the Universe, for having kept us alive, for sustaining us, and for having us arrive again at this season in the cycle of the year.




It is Samhain here in Australia. I have been thinking of Darryl constantly over the past forty eight hours in the hope that I might get a sign, some small reassurance that he has found the light and is flying free. Now you have to understand that although ravens are often nearby they rarely come in to my yard. So when I heard the call, knew it was close by, I looked up through my kitchen window and saw the most beautiful Raven perched, in the rain, on my Silver Birch. I rushed for my camera and caught the moment.




Suddenly a feeling of calm spread throughout me. My beloved has let me know he is free and safe.

When I was young, on Good Fridays my family would go riding in the country. A California spring can be glorious! After the winter rains, the golden hills turn green and are sprinkled with orange poppies and all manner of wildflowers. We would pack an ice-chest with a picnic lunch and head up or down the coast or into the mountains. Some years, when Holy Week came early, it would still be wintery. Once we had our picnic in the back of my dad’s camper because the snow had not melted yet in the mountains. Another year we had lunch at an old Mission because it was pouring rain outside.

Our family has gone with the four winds but I still try to preserve that custom even though I now observe a more traditional Good Friday. I still feel nature calling on that day and I try to do some sort of outdoor activity. This past Good Friday a few weeks ago, I went to Madrona Marsh preserve, not far from where I live. This is a 20 acre vernal marsh surrounded on all sides by urban sprawl. The goal of the preservists is to replant the area with indigenous plants and to remove any non-native plants and animals.

This year we are in a severe drought. Because Madrona is a vernal marsh, it relies on the winter and spring rains to keep it wet. Normally, we have about 15 inches of rain during the winter. To date, we’ve had less than 3 inches. The marsh is so dry. I almost wept when I walked through the dried and drooping tule rushes. I started mourning in a way that seemed so appropriate for the Good Friday holiday. It all seemed so hopeless.

I wandered over to the Nature Center at the edge of the marsh. I began talking to the docent about the condition of the marsh. Then she said something surprising. “Yes, we are in a severe drought, but the tree-frogs don’t seem to notice. There are coming out each day and calling for their mates.”

I pondered this. Even in the most hopeless situation, life goes on. The tree frogs were singing. This affirmation of life in the midst of such aridness was stunning. How so very appropriate for Holy Week!

Text and Image: Lori Gloyd (c) 2007

From where I stood to take this photo of the rushes, I should be waist deep in water if we were not in a drought!

As autumn wraps her cloak around Melbourne and Carnforth’s garden
Samhain approaches
and I stop to reflect and meditate

Samhain, better known as Halloween, the Celtic Festival of the Dead is celebrated at the end of October in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere we honour the Spirit of Place by celebrating this festival the end of April when we are at the mid point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.

Samhain is the eighth and final sabbat in the Great Wheel of the Year and marks the time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. It is a time of endings, releasing and letting go in preparation for the new life and new potentials that await birthing with the Sun at the Solstice. It is also the time to honour the dead and that which has died in our life. Samhain calls us to release the dead wood of the last cycle so we do not carry it into the new cycle that will begin in several weeks when the Sun is reborn from the darkness at the Winter Solstice on June 21.

A Samhaine Supper

Traditionally a midnight supper was held at Samhain to honour the dead. A place was set at the table for the souls of the dead and lights were left burning in the windows to guide the souls of those who had died in the last year in their journey to the Otherworld, found in the Aurora Borealis, home of the Great Goddess Arianrhod. The veil between the worlds was envisaged by the Celts as a turning silver wheel and Arianrhod was the keeper of this wheel. It was said she wove the fates of humanity as she wove her magical threads. At Samhain the veil opens and Arianrhod calls home the spirits of those who have died in the last year so they can await rebirth when the time is opportune.

You may conduct your own special supper with a place set for loved ones who are no longer with you. At some point in the meal everyone present will speak the names of loved ones who have died and share any memories that come to mind. Or you may choose to have a few minutes silence to each remember those who have moved beyond the veil into the realm of Arianrhod. Light a candle for each loved one that has passed away. If you are comfortable you could

  • Encourage recently departed loved ones to move forward into the light and release the ties that may keep them earth bound.
  • Open to memories and messages that may come through from beyond the veil. Samhain is a time for medium-ship and you may find a loved one communicates with you via your intuition or your dreams around this time.

from Astrology Newsletter by Christine Rothwell

The seasons are changing.  In the northern hemispheres, we are mercifully emerging from an abnormally severe winter; in the southern regions, we are breathing a sigh of relief as scorching heat gives way to autumn.   How do you respond, if at all, to the changing of the season?  How is your response manifested?  For some the response is spiritual, religious, or cultural through the celebration of Beltane, Easter, Passover or Earth Day.    For some it is practical–raking autumn leaves or planting flower gardens.  For some it is creative– capturing the movements of nature in photographs or haiku. 

Share with us how the seasons are changing for you by commenting below or posting to BS 27.04.07 Seasons.

I have thought long and hard about the subject of gifts. I have been given many, many precious gifts over the years, both material and spiritual or emotional, and it has not been easy to single out one to write about. However, one early gift set me on a road I am still going down.

The summer after second grade, my mother ordered a surprise for me. It came in a large box, which I found was full of large books- seven of them to be exact. They were seven of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, hardbound. The selection was a bit random- the first, second, and fourth, but not the third, etc. I was certainly intrigued, and paged through them, but they were a little bit daunting for a little girl who had only just finished second grade.

My mother proceeded to cuddle with me on the couch and read the first chapter or two of the book. That was all. Then she left me with the book. Naturally, I wanted more. She wouldn’t read any more. So I picked up the book and started to read it for myself. I worked my way through all seven of those books over the next few months (I was still reading them when school started.) When I finished one, I would beg her to get me started on the next. I learned to read chapter books and was completely captivated by reading- and still am. We even went to the library to try to find some of the books we had not been sent. (I have collected the rest of them since.) I read those Oz books over and over again through the years, along with almost anything else I could get my hands on. Interestingly, I didn’t read much fantasy, except for my beloved fairy tales, until I was in college although then it became my favorite genre.

 My mother’s gift of those books and the restraint she showed in not just reading them to me, but enticing me into reading them for myself, gave me a lifetime passion for reading and later for writing. I consider that a truly fantastic gift.

My parents gave me two very special gifts. One was the love of all things related to words, foreign languages and reading, this last much aided by a fertile imagination. By the age of 7 when I transferred into junior school I had already read all the set books we were due to read in the coming year and I was bored stiff in the reading lessons. We didn’t have a TV in our house until I was 11 and my grandparents came to live with us, bringing with them their black and white TV. Up until then our entertainment came from listening to the radio and I can well remember being ill one day, lying on the sofa in the living room, listening to a radio production of The Hobbit. It was the episode where the hobbits go through Mirkwood and, in my fevered imagination, I could see faces in the uneven surface of the plaster in the ceiling. It was terrifying….

The other was a love of natural history. Given the opportunity I would most certainly have had one of those cabinets of miracles as I was always a magpie of a collector and hoarder. I learned the names of all the wildflowers to be found in the woods and hedgerows. My mother had a book of black and white illustrations of wildflowers which she had started to paint, including annotations of when and where she had found them. I carried on this interest and later insisted on having my own copy of the book. At weekends our family would go on geological forays to disused coal tips where we would find fossil ferns or to the
Dorset coast where we would find ammonites, fossil flowers, sharks teeth and devils toenails on the beach at Lyme Regis. I collected shells, abandoned birds eggs, etc. etc and could identify all the birds that came to our garden. At the end of our garden I had my own flowerbed and learned the names of all the garden plants. I spent hours in the greenhouse with my grandfather where he regaled me with tales of his childhood.

Nowadays, I am still a collector, but only of the photographs I take of all things fauna and flora. Perhaps I should add that I collect books as well. But you probably already guessed that …



The Little Joys in Life

Of the many photos.. I’ve taken the last couple of weeks this has to be my personal favourite. I was in the car, the back seat between my grandson and his playmate. Wedged between baby seats, but what a place to photograph little kids. The sun playing thought the windows started Monty on a sneeze and I just managed to grab him in the middle of it.

a little tiny sneeze

On a more whimsical note this photos of my Gargoyle “Ernest” bathing and having altogether too much fun.

gazed on it

To dance

Wildly, with fierce

Abandonment, letting

Hidden longings escape through my

Moving limbs.


The above poem is written in the form of a cinquain, sometimes referred to as American Haiku.  Cinquains use a fixed syllable format set in 5 lines as follows:

Line 1: 2 syllables

Line 2:  4 syllables

Line 3:  6 syllables

Line 4:  8 syllables

Line 5:  2-3 syllables.

I volunteered with a community center years ago, and this story is pretty much what happened. Of course, the names were changed to protect the innocent.

Bits of dust particles floated in the morning rays that lit the room. Some came to rest on the wooden work table which was a little rickety but serviceable nonetheless. The long streaks of sunlight decorated the red canvas work, which were placed around the table, with shadows of stripes.

“Look, you guys! There’s a circus cage on my canvas thing,” said Joey, his voice quivering around the edges with unbridled glee. “Funnnnny!” The other seven at the table, six men and me, looked up from working with our clay. A few of the men laughed and poked fun a bit. “Hey, Joey. Need new glasses? Been takin’ your meds?” I shushed the on-lookers and looked to see what Joey was seeing. Sure enough. His work square looked like a striped circus caravan, the cage that carried the tigers and lions from town to town.

“It absolutely does, Joey,” I said. “It’s great to see you sharing your wonderful imagination with us.” Joey blushed at my praise, so deep a blush his face remained red for quite some time. Then we all then returned to our activities. The men’s artwork was in different phases of creation. Tony and Ray and I were smushing our unwieldy mounds of clay; Nick was painting his vase. Richie and Ted were arguing a bit over a crossword puzzle and Jeff was simply gazing out the window, his mind far away. During the class, almost anything was a go. Just as long as my guys didn’t weave out of control and crash, I was fine with anything.


I applied to the city’s Mental Health Center last October, shortly after its’ opening. A recently vacated school had been turned into a community based center offering a variety of services for mental health clients. I thought maybe I could assist an art instructor or play games with some of the drop-ins. When I called the office, the woman I spoke with said to come in the next day.

So the next morning I arrived for my tour and interview exactly on time, but the main door was locked. I rang the brass buzzer, and waited, shifting my weight back and forth from one leg to the other. I was nervous. It began to rain so I pushed my body against the door, trying to avoid the large droplets. Just when I decided I had come at the wrong time, someone unlocked the door and opened it wide.

“Hello, my dear. Come in. Come in out of the rain.” A tall, striking woman, who surely was a beauty 30 years ago, motioned for me to follow her. She strode down the hallway talking nonstop, and I tried to keep up and listen simultaneously. “So glad for you to come. I’m Marion Pole, director of activities here at the Center. We’re always thankful for any volunteers we can get; we’re very short staffed at the moment. Oh, I’m sorry, but your name is…?”

“Lydia. Lydia Fahr.”

“Well, yes of course. Liddy. You don’t mind me calling you Liddy, do you? Lydia is such a formal name.”

Before I could say I didn’t use that nickname ever, she continued her monologue. “So here we are. The pride of our rough and tumble building, the arts and crafts studio.”

Marion Pole opened the door and let me pass into a large room. As I looked around, my inner artist gave a silent groan. The walls were painted a color I’d never actually seen before. A depressing institutional green with streaks of an odd shade of muddied yellow. Paint chips were flaking from moist spots on the walls, and ten gallon buckets were strategically placed about the room to catch dripping water. Four tables were spread around the room, with a variety of metal and wooden folding chairs shoved in disarray around each workspace. The room’s only redemption was its old-fashioned windows, lead glass panels which stretched from ceiling to floor and a spattering of artwork taped to the walls. A middle-aged woman sat at a small metal desk near the door and she was mumbling into a phone.

“This is JoyEllen,” said Marion Pole. “She’s our receptionist and does all the office work, plus she’s specially trained. JoyEllen’s always in the room when classes are in session. You have any problems at all, you let her know right away.” The woman at the desk gave me the briefest of smiles and returned to her phone conversation.

“Problems?” I hesitated. “There are problems?”

“I wouldn’t worry. Now the classroom, as you can see, is plenty big for our arts program. You’ll be in charge of the clay table.”

She seemed so pleased with this idea I hated to interrupt. Even so, my words tumbled out. “I don’t want to be in charge of anything. I’m not really qualified. And I don’t like to work with clay. I mean, I don’t know how. Uh, it’s really not my medium.”

“Medium. Schmedium.” Marion Pole clucked her tongue as she looked me up and down. “Why, I’m sure you’ll do fine. I know people and I can tell. If you wish, I’ll write out a few instructions and tape them to your table.” Her enthusiasm cut off my objections. Even when I heaved a big sigh of desperation, it didn’t faze her.

“Now, Liddy. It is Liddy, right? We’ll spread the word immediately. JoyEllen can call a few people at Beacon House and I know of two men who are interested. Your table will probably fill up in a few weeks. The men at Beacon House are hungry for any kind of activity if it provides some relief from boredom.”

“Men?,” I asked. ‘Just men?” I had imagined myself chatting with a circle of women as we sat sewing or sketching. I don’t know why, but that’s what I’d had in mind. Not men.

Marion Pole answered with a nod and gave me a puzzled glance. “Mostly men. Many of our clients live right next door in the high rise. It’s a half-way home for men who have a few problems. The building once housed the YMCA and most of the town people still prefer to regard it as such. You know. Ostriches with their heads in the sand.”

I was growing wary. “Problems. Problems?” I asked. It was suddenly hard for me to speak in coherent sentences. I seriously thought of leaving, but Marian Pole was blocking my way.

“Yes, Liddy, a few problems. I’ll explain, but this is confidential. We must always protect the privacy of our clients. They have rights, you know.”

Now my throat was tightening. “Uh.” I swallowed hard, but couldn’t say any more.

Marion Pole continued, not sensing my discomfort. (She said she knew people, but she apparently didn’t know me very well.) “Yes. These men do have their problems. All of our clients have a mental health challenge of some sort. Some have a history of schizophrenia; others are bipolar or psychotic. Some are chronically depressed. And then we have quite a few men with dual diagnoses. You know, mental illness coupled with an addiction of some kind. But remember, our clients are provided with the support they need at Beacon House. Meals and medicine, social workers and nurses. A very progressive outfit, and about half the men stabilize enough to go on to live independently.”

Finally I was grasping the scope of the program, and my racing heart settled into a clip-clop.

Marion Pole walked me over to the clay area. “Now, clay class is held from 9 to 12 on Tuesday mornings. Go to JoyEllen and she’ll will give you a parking pass. The main doors open at 9:00, but just buzz if you come early. And it was nice to meet you, Liddy. Very nice, indeed.”


So here I am. For almost a year, I’ve enjoyed meeting with this group of companionable fellows. We all get along famously. As we share our stories, we shape the gray clay into objects, paint them with under glazing, and send them off to be fired in the university’s kiln. It becomes very routine.

Then one day, half way through this morning, there is a hardy knock on the door. Randy who is an art student from the university comes in carrying a large box of fired pieces. Everyone comes to attention. It is an event of some importance to my men when the university makes a return delivery.

Joey and Earl stand up, anxious to get to the box. “Hey,” shouts Joey. “Open the box!”

Earl shakes his head, but gives Joey a kind smile. “Joey, what d’ya know. The box!” Then he turns to me. “Open the box, Lydia. Here. Use my pocketknife.” Earl rummages in his pants pocket.

Immediately I am distracted by Earl’s movement. “Don’t take that out of your pocket, Earl. You can’t have a knife in here. You know the rules.”

Joey still can’t wait. “Come on, Lydia,” says Joey. “Please hurry and open the box.”

“You guys, you’ll have to wait. Earl and I need to see JoyEllen for a moment.” It is times like this, when I must be a disciplinarian to these adult men, that I wonder how I became qualified to do this type of volunteering.

I escort Earl to JoyEllen. Earl is angry and he pounds his fist on the office desk. The metallic sound reverberates throughout the room, and everyone turns to watch him. “I got rights, JoyEllen. You know that. I ain’t getting in any kind of trouble. And I paid for that knife out of my own money.” His words carry throughout the room.

Marian Pole appears from nowhere and assesses the situation. “Earl, just take the pocketknife back to your room. Don’t bring it back to the Center. Why don’t you come back, though. There’s still an hour left of clay.”

As I watch Earl stomp from the room, Joey calls my name.

“Lydia, Lydia, do you smoke cigarettes?”

“What? Mm-mm. No, Joey. I’ve never smoked.” He looks so interested in my answer that I continue. “I don’t really like the smell. Do you smoke?”

He shakes his head. “Oh, not me. I don’t like smoke, either.” Then Joey starts grinning wildly. I notice he is holding something secretively behind his back. “Lydia, here. I made this for you.”

The other men have stopped their activities to watch Joey and me. I can see by their expressions they are in on this surprise. There are whispers and furtive glances at the package. They seem pleased by the unfolding event.

Joey extends a newspaper bundle towards me. “Here, this is yours.”

I unwrap his gift and hold a flat piece of ceramics in my hands. There is a bit of a rim around the plate, glazed in a beatiful cobalt blue. I am unsure what I should say or do. Then Joey helps me along.

“Lydia, it’s an ashtray. I made it so you can give it to company. Like to a friend who comes in your house with a cigarette hanging from his mouth.”

I am delighted by his words and touched by his gesture. “Thank you, Joey. It’s a wonderful gift, and it’s especially wonderful because you made it for me.”

While the other men hoot and clap, Joey gazes at his special creation. “You’re right, Lydia. It is pretty wonderful.”

The spirit of altruism and generosity is wired into the human psyche.  I recently saw a number of people on the metro-rail reaching into their pockets for coins to give a homeless man on the train, even though it was fairly obvious that the train passengers themselves had very little to give.   Millions of people all over the world give of their time, energies, talents, and monies just because they feel compelled to do so. 

This week’s Bluestocking topic is about gift-giving and gift-receiving.    Discuss a special gift you once gave to someone, or would like to give to someone in the future.  Conversely, what special gift have you received in your life that has meant a lot to you?  Or what gift would you like someone give to you?   What acts of altruism have you witnessed in your life?

Comment below or post to BS 20.04.07 Gifts.  

Colours dancing
I set out to draw but ended up finding the background was the picture.


Sibyl Riversleigh has great respect for the suffragettes and the rights that they won. But she does want to remind everyone of that wonderful Cyndi Lauper song – ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’. Follow the bouncing ball and sing along.


I come home in the morning light,
My mother says “When you gonna live your life right?”
We’re not the fortunate ones,
And girls,
They wanna have fu-un.
Just wanna have fun.

The phone rings in the middle of the night,
My father yells “What you gonna do with your life?”
You know you’re still number one,
But girls,
They wanna have fu-un,
Oh,girls,just wanna have
That’s all they really want…..
Some fun….


When the working day is done,
They wanna have fu-un,
Just wanna have fun….


They want,
Wanna have fun.
Wanna have


Some boys take a beautiful girl,
And hide her away from the rest of the world.
I wanna be the one to walk in the sun.
They wanna have fu-un.
Just wanna have
That’s all they really want…..
Some fun….


When the working day is done,
They wanna have fu-un.
Just wanna have fun…


They want,
Wanna have fun.
Wanna have.


They just wanna,
They just wanna…..
They just wanna,
They just wanna…..
(Girls just wanna have fun…)


Girls just wanna have fu-un…
They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna…
(They just wanna have fun…)
Girls just wanna have fu-un…


When the workin’,
When the working day is done.
Oh,when the working day is done,
Just wanna have fu-un…


They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna,
They just wanna have fun…


Girls just wanna have fu-un..
They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna,
They just wanna….
(Have fun..)


They just wanna,
(Girls wanna have fun)
They just wanna….
(Wanna have fun….)
Girls just wanna have fu-un.


When the workin’,
When the working day is done.
Oh,when the working day is done,
Girls just wanna have fu-un.


They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna,
(Have fun….)
Girls just wanna have fu-un


They just wanna,
They just wanna…
When the working day is done…

Official Lemurian Tavern

Authenticated by le Enchanteur

What is the Soul Food Cafe?

The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups.

Exploring Lemuria

Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, andThe Taverna di Muse is one of many places and realms within Lemuria. To see some other Lemurian destinations, select one below and start your journey:

Riversleigh Manor
Murmuring Woods
Cyberia, City of Ladies
The Hermitage
On the Road with Enchanteur
The Digital Atelier The Cave of the Ancients
Lemurian Abbey
Halloween Party, 2006
The Heroine's Journey
Aboard the Calabar Felonway
The Pythian Games
Isle of the Temple People
Isle of Ancestors
The Temple of Solace
Grand Tour
Lemurian Tour
The Gypsy Camp

Joining Soul Food

If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager heatherblakey @ .

Disclaimer– Copyright

The opinions expressed by contributors to Taverna di Muse on this blog as well as on public domains outside this blog are not to be construed as an endorsement by Heather Blakey or Lori Gloyd. Material appearing on this site remains the property of individual artists and writers.


April 2007
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