Two for joy

Handfasting by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Handfasting, a photo by me on Flickr.

I woke yesterday morning to find Jay’s place beside me cold and empty once again and rose with a sigh to draw the curtains. The day I had dreamed of and looked forward to for so long – my Summer Solstice handfasting – had arrived, yet my beloved had disappeared and was still missing. I turned to go and wake Minet, determined that she should have a wonderful day, even if I should not, but a small commotion in the garden took me back to the window in time to see two magpies jumping up and down on the fence squawking raucously. Two for joy! My heart lifted immediately, Spiritual Insight returned and I knew that all would be well and all would be well and all manner of things would be well.

But Minet’s room was empty. I stood for a moment wondering where she could be. It was only as I was preparing a celebratory breakfast of homemade museli and goat’s milk that I heard singing becoming gradually louder, and went to the kitchen door to watch her cross the wet grass. She had been to pick redcurrants and wild raspberries in the orchard, and had some wondrous news – Jay had returned! He had asked Minet to tell me that he would greet me at the ceremony, as it would be unlucky to see me any earlier. I asked her where he’d been, but she said it was a surprise and I would have to wait to find out.

Minet had been busy while I’d spent those days walking in the rain, and everything was ready. Jay’s old friends who were to officiate as priest and priestess were parked in the lane in their ancient kombi – Minet had invited them to stay, but apparently Crow was allergic to cats, and Azriel, his lady and their seven little ones would be sure to bring on an attack. Minet said it was just as well though, as otherwise there’d have been no room for Henna and her young Vic. ‘What!’ I shrieked. ‘Henna’s here, now, this very minute?’ ‘Of course,’ replied Minet. ‘We couldn’t not invite our own mother!’ I had to admit there was some logic in this statement, and felt relieved that the Grand Ovum was not accompanying her, as I knew he would detect the presence of his book as soon as he set foot in the house.

Breakfast over, all that remained was to prepare ourselves for the ceremony. We met Henna and the young Vic (whose name by an odd coincidence just happened to be Victor), coming out of the spare room. It was strange seeing her again after all the drama about the Druid’s book, but she had returned to her multicoloured gear and looked more like her old self than when she’d left the last time. She greeted me as usual with a simple Hiya Aisse – today’s the day then girlie! the diagonally broken tooth adding to her slightly comic look. I think she must have been bouncing on the bed again as we’d heard her while eating breakfast, and she did look very flushed. Mind you, so did the young Vic. He looks about nineteen and has the face of an angel.

It was time to get ready. Minet had made me a combination tinfoil hat and willow crown to set off my new blue gingham dress, white blouse and red sequined shoes. She looked beautiful in a long gown of green satin with a hooded patchwork cloak of many colours and patterns and the contents of Henna’s jewellery box.

And so, after a fortifying glass of elderflower champagne, Minet and yours truly, Aisselle AT Gabegie, made their way across the wet grass of the orchard followed by Boötes and Baaaarbara and all the goats and alpacas, with dear little Leon dashing here and there among them, doing his best to be a proper sheepdog but failing happily. Henna and the young Vic had left earlier. And there in the orchard, under a bower of baby apples, just as the Lovers Tarot had predicted, splendiferous in his robes and antlers, stood dearest Jay with the priest and priestess. As we approached two figures stepped out from behind the trees. I recognized the aged crone from the battered caravan immediately – she was still wearing the long red velvet dressing gown and the huge pink carpet slippers. They must have been rather damp, for although the sky was cloudy and  there had been no rain so far that day, the long grass was still wet from the night rain. The crone didn’t seem at all bothered, and waited silently (as was her wont), wrinkled hands buried in the deep pockets of the gown. I wondered if she were to be a guardian or witness, and how she would manage without speech, but she must have read my mind because she removed one hand from a pocket and flashed the flash cards she’d used the last time I’d seen her. Dear Copwatcher, dressed in her long purplish pink robe, the trusty binocks at rest on her bosom, completed the picture. All our friends were here!

George stepped out from the opposite side. I have to confess that he gave me a slight turn as he was dressed in his policeman’s uniform, but a sideways glance at a radiant Minet told me that this was exactly what she wanted.

Miraculously, the sun appeared from behind the scudding clouds to bless us, and the lovely ceremony began. Ancient traditions were revived and leapt into life, pledges were made and poems spoken. And then, telling us to wait, George and Minet disappeared into the depths of the wild orchard only to reappear moments later as… Joel and Georgina! Joel was wearing his red shirt with the frills around the cuffs, but strangely, Baphomet took no exception to it this time. And Georgina looked exactly like the Queen of Swords in the Golden Tarot of Klimt, except that she’d added a satin blouse to the ensemble and had replaced the high heels with pink spotted wellies just in case it rained again. Minet (or rather Joel as s/he now appeared) said that s/he’d made Georgina’s outfit her/himself after I’d posted my reading for them on the blog! They intend to spend half the year as Joel and Georgina, and half as Minet and George. So Mollie Promp was right, and Joel did return – even if only temporarily.

Gateway by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Gateway, a photo by Aisselle  on Flickr.

The whole ceremony was performed again for Joel and Georgina before we all wandered in procession to the magic wood to pass ritually through the hollow tree from one part of our lives to the next. The sun had not left us – it seemed we were touched by some magic. And so onwards through the trees to receive the blessing of The Woodman before completing the circle by returning to the orchard for the handfasting feast, where Jay’s disappearance was explained by his gift to me. He had journeyed far to collect a special carving, which I could see standing beneath our handfasting bower as we approached. Carved from a trunk of pine stood the Green Man in all his natural glory. He will remain there to remind us of this day, and though he may weather and darken, and cracks will appear in his body, he will endure, just as we will.

Green Man by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Green Man, a photo by me on Flickr.

As the sun went down and the longest day drew to a close, we lit the solstice fire and gathered round with a good supply of elderflower champagne, nourishing goat’s milk quiche, nettle and carrot cake and fresh raspberries and redcurrants. Be glad for me, dear friends. I have never been so happy.

Till when, Aisselle

Doubts and fears

Clarence by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Clarence, a photo  on Flickr.

I left Minet engrossed in preparations for our double handfasting and spent yesterday and most of today walking in the rain again, hoping to prolong Saturday’s calming effect. It is cool and too windy for June, and such strange weather is unsettling, although perhaps the approaching celebrations have something to do with my mood. But Jay is much on my mind too. I usually wake at first light and wander into the orchard to be with the animals for a while, leaving Jay to dream of cake until breakfast. But yesterday morning our cock Clarence woke me at the usual time to find that Jay’s place by my side was cold and empty. At first I wasn’t worried, as I thought he might have heard an animal in distress and gone to check, but when he didn’t appear for breakfast I began to wonder. Minet knew no more than I, but she is so involved in her preparations that I doubt if she’d have registered anything he might have told her anyway.

I know so little of Jay’s life before we met, and there is a side of him that remains mysterious in spite of our closeness and the years we’ve spent together. I know of his need to melt into the woods and fields and to become one with the natural world from time to time, and have always known that he’ll return when he’s ready, renewed and refreshed. He in turn, knows it has never been necessary to tell me when nature calls, yet there are times – like when the police came – that my Spiritual Insight has told me that this time is different, that it wasn’t nature’s call that he answered but something quite else. But just now I don’t know what to feel. It’s as if both Hermaphroditey herself and my Spiritual Insight have deserted me. She has been strangely silent both yesterday and today, in spite of the sense that she was following me through the wood, although I suppose it could have been that damned Mollie Promp again. The woman is haunting me.

I came home an hour ago and descended to the basement to throw a few cards, yet had no heart even for my beloved tarot, and leaving the cards untouched, turned instead to the computer, and this, my very own blog, knowing that my devoted followers will send me energy to carry on to and through tomorrow, come what may. Jay holds my trust in his hands and I have faith that he will take good care not to break it. He is probably just renewing his connection to the Earth and will be back in time. But whatever happens, I will smile for Minet and George, and I suppose I could always ask Baphomet to act as a stand in if Jay forgets to turn up. Wish me luck…

Till soon, Aisselle

Of Rain and Roses

Oh my. So many things, so little time. I even went out to pick nettles yesterday – only to find they were all old and fibrous, as I had not done so in so long – and so I fed them to the grateful goats instead  (Milky in particular gets quite angry when we eat them all ourselves!) We must have dandelions in our salad tonight.

My followers seem very quiet too – I suppose it must be the Time of Year. Almost Midsummer already, and so much is still to be done. I’m still not sure if we need two of everything, for a double ceremony. I have the flower pots and the soil already, and some elderflower champagne. I realise we shall have to have four willow crowns rather than two – but what about the cushions? And – I have made mine – but should George or Minet make theirs? I have of course plenty of red ribbon, so they can use some of mine. And crystals a-plenty I am assuming Jay still has all his essentials stored away.

The priest and priestess are old friends of his from many years ago, and he is very much looking forward to seeing them again. But we have no guardians, as Minet and George cannot serve as such – or certainly not for their own rites. Who to ask?

The details are beginning to get to me. So I decided to go for a walk in the rain. It was beautiful; quiet and lonely – few people like to get really wet, and it was pouring. For a moment I though I heard a voice behind me telling me to “cool it” – but when I turned around I saw no-one. Perhaps it was the old lady. She seems to get everywhere. And I did feel calmer for hearing it. I wish I knew who she was.

And then I saw the roses, and the rain begin to lift. I love wild flowers, and I almost love clouds. Who was that person who sings about clouds from both sides and not knowing them? I know what she means but I love both sides of everything. And these clouds almost looked as though they had a silver lining.

I collected rose petals from the blossoms, as the wind was blowing them loose. They will be perfect for the ceremony – I feel better already.

Till then, Aisselle.

Goodness me…!

Reading4Minet by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Reading for Minet, a photo on Flickr.

I decided to use the Golden Tarot of Klimt for Minet and George’s readings as lovers are an important part of this tarot and I knew Minet would love the clothes. I wasn’t sure what George would like as I don’t know him well, having only spent a short time with him over tea, but thought I’d use my Hidden Hopes, Wildest Dreams and Down to Earth spread to find out. (Lay the cards out as an inverted triangle with Down to Earth at the bottom and Hidden Hopes at the top left.)

For Minet. Hidden Hopes: the Queen of Swords. I pondered a long time over this card, which depicts a young and thoughtful woman holding a large sword against a background of flowery patterns. She is wearing rather splendid shoes and some sort of wrap open at the front, and it’s odd, because she could almost be George’s twin sister. Is this what Minet hopes for? It might make some sort of sense in view of Joel’s metamorphosis, yet he embraced girlhood so joyfully. I turned the next card to shed some light on the first.

Wildest Dreams: The Ace of Chalices. Lovers in an embrace. One male and one female as far as I can tell, but who really knows? They do have the same hair – this indicates that they have a strong common bond – they are the same in their difference.

Down to Earth: XIX The Sun. Not at all earthly, but celestial, if not heavenly. Yet more lovers, in a close and naked embrace – again, one male and one female as far as. So it seems that Minet will have her wish however it can be achieved.

Reading4George by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Reading for George, a photo on Flickr.

And now for George. Hidden Hopes: the Knight of Wands…! A young man on a horse carrying a magickal wand. It could be Joel starting out on his spiritual quest, before becoming Minet – he had – and perhaps still has – many faces. This knight’s cloak is very similar to one of Henna’s that Minet is fond of, and his robe rather like a dress she bought – I think she said it came from somewhere beginning with M – the name escapes me for the moment but I remember thinking how wet it must have been there.

Wildest Dreams: The Lovers. Yet another man and woman in a passionate embrace, their bodies concealed in a medley of deliciously patterned clothing, so one can barely see where one ends and the other begins.  A glowing light surrounds their heads: they are blessed – the same, yet somehow different and their wildest dreams are compatible. And so to Georges’s final card.

Down to Earth: The Ten of Pentacles. Ah, this at least is down to earth. A yellow house seen through an avenue of trees. An aura of peace surrounds it.

Two extraordinary readings that indicate love, happiness and a peaceful home life for George and Minet, yet what about the Queen and the Knight? I pulled one more card for clarification.

Reading George&Minet by Aisselle A T Gabegie
George & Minet, on Flickr.

The Two of Pentacles. A young woman kneels to offer a bowl – perhaps of milk – to a small girl and boy. It seems they will both drink from the same cup at the same time. Roses fall around them.

The cards have spoken. There is no need for me to worry about either George or Minet. Their union is not only blessed but perfectly balanced. This, and the fact that all the cards depict male and female couples can mean only one thing. Like Minet, the little policeman is not what he seems. I wonder if Minet knows? I will go now and tell her that the handfasting will be a double event – she will be so happy.

Till when, Aisselle

Minet and the Fool

Noblet Fool by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Noblet Fool, a photo on Flickr.

As you might have guessed from hints in this, my very own blog, I’ve been worried about Minet. I was proud of her the first time she went out and earned some money for new clothes by reading tarot cards in the big town, but she’s been disappearing more and more just lately. She is sometimes gone for hours and hours yet returns with nothing but wild eyes and earth and grass stains on her clothes.

At other times she’ll come back laden with shopping bags and dash to her room to try on all her lovely new things. The fortune teller style seems to be becoming more daring too. She has bought a long curly auburn wig (although her own hair is almost collar length now), so she no longer covers her head with a modest scarf, and her arms are quite naked and her skirts getting shorter. I have to admit she does have nice legs though.

Today I discovered the answer to all (well, most of) my questions. Minet came quietly to me after lunch to confess that she has been meeting George in the magic wood almost daily since he came to tea. Apparently they ‘sit on the feet of The Woodman’ (which explains the grass stains I suppose), and he is guiding them through some strange experiences. This rang a small bell with me, and I heard a distant tinkle of my own experiences with The Woodman, although those were not at his feet but higher up.

As if all this were not enough, now came the bumshell. Minet said that George has asked her to ask me if they can share our handfasting – not as guests but to make it a double event! The implications of this came tumbling down upon my head like a lot of old shoes from an overstuffed shelf in a cupboard. Hadn’t Mollie Promp said that Joel was coming back? But how could that be if he, or rather Minet were fasting their hands to each other? Did George know that Minet was Joel, and WANTED by not just one policeman (George) but a whole lot of policemen? And now another thought sprang up to nip me just like the Fool’s little cat thing on that Tarot de Marseille where we can see all his bits. His bits! Or rather Minet’s bits (which are in fact the same bits). Did George know about these? And did it matter? I know I’m always saying that gender is subjective, but I do believe George should be in possession of all the facts before he fasts his hand.

My head began to swim and I told Minet that I was going to lie down in the basement with The Guardian (although he can’t actually lie down as he has no body). That was three hours ago. Now I am rested somewhat I will do a tarot reading with an appropriate deck. I wonder which I shall chose? Hermaphroditey will know.

Till later, Aisselle

Training Leon (sort of)

Hello readers.

We’ve had a very amusing day trying to show little Leon the ropes. Right now his baby four months old mind tells him that if he bounds up to animals, and pounces when he gets there, they’ll do what he wants, right? Wrong, Leon! He knows the ‘sit’ command, and that seems to be where is education is staying for a while. He decided it was much more fun chasing his audience of birds into flight, rather than learning how to round up the sheep! Then he laid down and watched with his head cocked on one side whilst Jay and I did the rounding up. When all was safely done, he came to nosey and strutted round the sheep as if telling them he was in charge, which was fine until one turned on him and sent him running behind me! It was so funny!

He’s also mastering running down steps – perhaps we should put the sheep at the bottom of some!

Anyway, at least we tired him out. After failing dismally at showing him what’s bred into him, we did some single-word commands. Stand, fetch, drop, stay – they all put a cute little confused look on his face, then when we’d finished, he decided he’d done brilliantly and bounded in and out of our feet as we tried to stay on them whilst walking back to the cottage.

He hungrily ate his tea of puppy food and tripe and as soon as his hiccups had gone, he was spark out on his bed.

Enjoy your sleep, little Leon, you’ve a lot to learn!

Of magic sheep and other animals

fleece by Aisselle A T Gabegie
fleece, a photo  on Flickr.

June is the time for shearing the sheep and alpacas, and so Jay called on two strong men to perform the task. I was worried that the animals would catch colds without their woolly coats, but although the wind is still cool, the sun has been shining for a day or so, the orchard is sheltered, and of course they have the shed now too, so we decided to go ahead. We thought we’d round them up before the shearers arrived, but Boötes and Baaaarbara sensed that something was afoot and dashed around the orchard playing ‘catch me if you can’ and hiding behind the trees. I’m afraid that little Leon, our border collie puppy, was no help at all, and seemed to think that his job was to scatter the animals as far and wide as possible, but perhaps I was wrong in assuming that herding is an instinct with this breed, and some training is necessary. I will have to learn to whistle. At last the sheep and alpacas were safely ensconced in the shed, Boötes and Baaaarbara looking rather the worse for the game of catch.

When the men arrived they looked puzzled and asked where we’d got the sheep and why we’d brought them in. I told them that they were a present from my mother, and was surprised when the taller of the two laughed and said, ‘She’s not a witch, is she?’ I replied that Henna was many things, and that was most certainly one of them, only to see him look somewhat taken aback. He explained that Boötes and Baaaarbara appeared to be self-shearing sheep, although he’d never seen any of their particular thick-coated breed before, being familiar only with the more sparsely coated self-shearing Exlana and the Wiltshire Horn and its relations.

I explained that the state of Boötes and Baaaarbara was due to the fact that they’d been dashing around the orchard all morning, but he shook his head, and demonstrated how easily the wool came away. So it seems that they will shed their woolly coats all by themselves as the weather becomes warmer, and unless we follow them around and collect the wool, the birds will use it to line their nests.

Boötes and Baaaarbara were only too happy to gain their freedom, and dashed off into the orchard, leaving the shearers to deal with the alpacas, whose wool we’ll spin to make warm cloaks for the winter.

After a delicious lunch of goat’s cheese, fresh basil and Jay’s home-grown tomatoes with Minet’s sesame seed bread and my elderflower and honey cake, I gave our shearers a tarot reading. I thought it best to take them back to the shed for some privacy rather than remain in the orchard or go down to the basement. The memory of the last client to visit is still too fresh in my mind – if I close my eyes down there I can still hear her screams.

Speaking of Otherworldly Things, I have decided to put Mollie Promp and her doings from my mind for the moment. Whether TD stands for The Devil, Tallulah Dervish, or someone quite different will no doubt become clear when the time is right.

Till when, Aisselle

The snail trail

Snails by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Snails, a photo by Aisselle on Flickr.

All the sightings, warnings and visions had left me feeling decidedly scattered, so I spent some time in meditation and consultation with Hermaphroditey. But yesterday I left the Guardian of the Basement on his own (he is not the best of company), to walk in the magic wood. I half expected to see Mollie Promp in one of her manifestations, but instead happened across a trail of snail shells. They were all intact and undamaged, as if some dextrous bird had removed and eaten the contents without needing to break the shells. I followed the trail, collecting the lovely brown spirals along the way, wondering if they would lead to some sort of revelation or message from the goddess, but when I emerged from the wood I found myself at the crone’s caravan.

It struck me then that perhaps she was Mollie Promp in another of that creature’s guises, and I determined to ask her and get some sort of an answer, even if it were just a nod of her aged white head.

A hollow tinny sound echoed from the rap of my knuckles on the battered door, and I had the feeling that many such knuckles had rapped at this door exactly as I was rapping – perhaps for millennia. No one answered, although my special powers told me that the crone was inside. I sat down on the step and counted the snail shells. There were twenty two – the number of the major arcana. I was just thinking that perhaps I should create a snail tarot by painting on the shells when the caravan door opened and the old woman was looking down on me. It’s a funny angle from which to view someone. Her skinny ankles seemed like bones fleshed only by the wrinkled stockings as they balanced in the huge pink slippers, her hands emerged like two claws from the sleeves of the red velvet dressing gown, and all I could see of her head was the jagged peak of her nose above the wrinkled skin below her chin, surrounded by a halo of white hair.

I didn’t mean to be so direct – after all, she had never uttered a single word to me, and I wasn’t even sure she could hear anything I said – but ‘Are you Mollie Promp?’ I gasped.

I think she may have sighed silently – I’m not sure – but anyway her shoulders seemed to droop. She turned back inside and I thought I’d offended her, but in less than a minute came out with a pack of cards, which she fanned out and studied, her head on one side like some sort of bird – a stork or crane perhaps. Selecting one, she turned it to show me the face of the card, on which was written a single word in a childish hand.

no

I must say that I felt relieved. I thanked her and went straight home without waiting to be taken in for tea, although she didn’t make any attempt to draw me inside as she usually does, but turned around and disappeared, shutting the door behind her.

In celebration, and to give thanks to Hermaphroditey I made a necklace with seven of the snail shells. I shall wear it for our handfasting at the Summer Solstice – Jay will be thrilled.

It was only later that I realized that I’d forgotten to ask the crone if her initials were TD, or her name Tullulah Dervish.

Till when, Aisselle

So much for peace and quiet…

Well, dear reader, it seems I spoke too soon about enjoying a peaceful life. Just as I thought Henna had decided that my concerns weren’t worth bothering with I got quite an upsetting email from her. She tells me to be extremely careful because Mollie Promp was many things. Apparently, I spent quite a lot of my time talking to ghosts or spirits when I was small, and this was one of the main reasons Henna took me to see her. She was afraid that I may come up against ‘the wrong kind’ and wanted to be sure I could look after myself should the worst happen. Mollie dealt with both the light and dark side, depending on who was offering the highest payment, so Henna thought she’d be the best person to help me. I went under some sort of hypnosis with her for around 15 minutes, after which she assured Henna that all would be well. I have to say here and now I can’t remember any of this. I can’t remember talking with ghosts and I can’t remember seeing Mollie on that day. I can only assume that she did some sort of spell on me to make me forget everything. But why? If I have such wonderful powers at my fingertips, why wouldn’t I be able to look after myself?

The next part of the email was very disturbing. Mollie Promp was only one persona. I’d also met Sister Gardinia Helland, but I hadn’t said anything about meeting Tullulah Dervish. Henna said to let her know as soon as possible when I did. The TD initials!

And the scariest part of all, dear reader – Mollie Promp (as mere mortals knew her) died a few months after seeing me. Which means I can see and speak with spirit as easily as I can see and speak with my sitters. How do I tell the difference? Offer them tea?

Strangely, Henna sounds concerned but not panicky. That’s a small comfort.

What scared me most of all was the vision I saw when I looked up from the email.

It seems I have company.

Until tomorrow, dear readers.

It’s very quiet…

Hmmm…

Everything’s quiet. TOO quiet! Perhaps it’s down to me to make the moves. My first thought was to summon Hermaphroditey, but something tells me the answers I seek aren’t on her plane. Trouble is, after meeting the nun I’m quite convinced that they are not of the earth plane either. I mean, is my Guardian Angel a gypsy, nun or shapeshifter?

I really, really didn’t want to be in contact with Henna for some time after the drama she put us through but it seems I had no choice. I had to know so I sent her an email this morning, simply asking her all she could tell me about Mollie Promp. Silly of me to expect a reply straight back, wasn’t it? Jay laughed quite heartily when I commented that there was no reply yet after a couple of hours.

I asked Jay and Minet if they were happy. Jay said he would be in a couple of hours when the animals were sorted and Minet was too busy trying to dye hair curlers to match her dress to take much notice of me.

So, dear reader, nothing much to report. When I find something out from Henna, I’ll be sure to come back here, It’s a beautiful day so I’m going to meditate, surrounded by the love and warmth of both the sun and animals.

Aisselle