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 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

Of doors, crones and guardians

Bohemian Gothic Five of Pentacles by Aisselle A T Gabegie
 Five of Pentacles,  on Flickr.

Jay has spent the morning making a new door for the basement. When he’d finished he realized that he couldn’t lift it, but luckily Minet was able to help and they soon had it secured at the top of the basement steps. When I returned with the man from the Recycling Point I was amazed to find it already in place. It is almost the twin – perhaps the half-brother or sister? – of the door on the Five of Pentacles card of the Bohemian Gothic Tarot, except that the metalwork hinges are not quite so decorative. It lends a lovely aura of Gothic Mystery to the kitchen.

But I had not been idle either. While Jay and Minet were setting in place arrangements for the security of the basement, I had been collecting ritual items for the ceremony to install the two sacred and precious objects – the Book of the Druid Grand Ovum and the Skull of Balaam’s Ass (well most of it, anyway). I had taken my extra large carpet bag and visited the magic wood, where I found all manner of wondrous things (of which I will write more another time).

I had turned towards home when I remembered the crone, and made a detour to the corner of the field that adjoins the wood, where her battered caravan stands, tilted at a slight angle. She appeared as I approached, dressed as before in the red velvet dressing gown, oversized pink carpet slippers and thick wrinkled stockings. She took me by the hand and drew me up the steps and into the van as she usually does, and I sat down at the table while she set the tea things.

I’m not quite sure what sort of tea it was – mugwort perhaps – it had been nettle the last time I visited – but the aromatic oils swirled deliciously up my nose with rather an odd effect, and I felt quite dreamy and lightheaded for some time after I left her, clutching a Cadbury’s chocolate finger and a scrap of paper on which she’d drawn some lines and arrows. I sat down in the field and ate her finger while I examined this scrap, knowing it was an important document. After all, the crone had guided my steps each time I’d visited her door. And thinking of doors, I wondered if perhaps the information she’d given me was relevant to Jay’s work securing the basement.

I puzzled over that scrap of paper for quite some time, until something about the scribbled signs and arrows reminded me of a map, and I stood (somewhat shakily) and tried to get my bearings. I wondered if they pointed further down what seemed on the map (if indeed it was one), to represent the lane that runs along the end of our orchard to a road with many cars. If so, it appeared that across this road was a square marked with a large X and beside it the words: Recycling Point. It was a message.

With a whispered prayer to Hermaphroditey I left the field and set off down the lane.

I don’t know how I managed to cross the road unscathed – it could only be that Hermaphroditey had heard my prayer and was guiding my steps. But I did, in spite of much bellowing of klaxons and shouts from car windows, and there, on the other side, in the corner of a space surrounded by trees I saw it. No, not the square depicted on the map, or the cross or even the Recycling Point, whatever that may be – although it must have something to do with bicycles – but The Guardian of the Basement.

I recognized him immediately. He looked down from on high, one glance from his eyes sufficient to send even those initiated ones less strong than myself running for the protection of their extra powerful tinfoil hats. I knew he was destined to reside in the basement, but he was so elevated that even I, with all my powers, was helpless to reach him.

It was while I was wondering what to do that a man approached and asked if he could help. I told him that I needed The Powerful Guardian, but was unable to reach that high, and he winked and asked me what it was worth. Puzzled for a few moments, I decided to offer him a tarot reading in my basement if he would climb up and bring The Guardian down to me, and he readily agreed, and went to find a ladder.

The task accomplished, he offered to drive me home, The Guardian being awkward and quite heavy (and I already had the carpet bag to carry). He seemed very keen to have the tarot reading as soon as possible.

And so I found myself with all the items needed for the installation ceremony. Jay and Minet had gone to count the animals, having finished the door. The tarot reading passed pleasantly enough although there was something strange and dreamy about the experience, but the man seemed very happy as he took his leave.

When Jay comes back I will ask him to make a suitable plinth ready for our Guardian of the Basement, but now I must go and lie down as I am having some very odd flashbacks about that reading.

Till when, Aisselle

Copwatcher and George come to tea

It was while I was making the apple and nettle cake that I realized what I’d done. I’d invited both a cop and a cop watcher to tea. Would George be uncomfortable with Copwatcher peering at him through her binocks over the teapot and goat’s milk? Would Copwatcher get a crick in her neck and prickly feelings of discomfort from the close proximity of one of the clan from which she’d always kept her distance? And why indeed was she engaged in this activity? I would just have to wait and find out.

She was the first to arrive, the goats standing at a respectful distance, watching quietly, as she strode across the orchard in her long pinkish robe with the famed binocks bumping on her chest.
When I mentioned that they were larger than I remembered she told me that she has a collection of the things, which she keeps in an old wheeled shepherd’s hut on the hill. We decided to visit the Guardians before George arrived, and Jay and Minet promised to keep him happy till we returned.

As the sun flickered through the leafy canopy in the magic wood, creating shifting patterns at out feet, I asked Copwatcher why she was engaged in what seemed to me a Herculean labour.

She told me that long ago her beloved had been a policeman so beautiful that she couldn’t take her eyes off him. Unfortunately he had the same effect on other women too, and had taken advantage of this on a number of occasions, but she’d solved the problem by watching him constantly, usually from a distance and in any one of a number of interesting disguises. Knowing this had had an inhibiting effect on his behavior, and he had finally become unable to interact with women at all and had left her for a Detective Inspector. Unfortunately, by this time cop watching had become an incurable habit and she now looked upon it as her life’s work, following up cases that looked interesting or unusual.

After introducing her to the Guardians we made our way homewards to find the kitchen table laid for tea and the kettle already on. George, Jay and Minet had already started on the cake, but there were two slices left for us as well as goat’s cheese quiche with garlic mustard salad, goat’s cheese dip with violet leaves, goat’s cheese and linden sandwiches, and goat’s yogurt with some early wild strawberries Minet had found in the orchard. I was relieved that the binocks remained untouched on Copwatcher’s bosom, although being rather cumbersome they tended to swing about when she moved, and actually knocked her tea over at one point. But our teapots are large, and the cup was soon refilled.

George is by nature shy and somewhat retiring, but he and Minet seemed to take to one another immediately, and after tea went for a long walk in the magic wood. By the time they returned the light was failing and Copwatcher had returned to her shepherd’s hut. It was too late for the basement reading he’d requested, so we will leave that for another day.

And Jay and I still have the problem of Henna, the warlock and the Grand Ovum to deal with.

Till when, Aisselle

A spell for protection

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

We spent a short time recovering before deciding what needed to be done. I will not be forced from the home that Henna spent her life juices on, nor live in fear. I cannot sit by and watch those I love angry or afraid. Knowing Hermaphroditey would guide me, I retired alone to the basement and spent all day yesterday in seclusion.

The answer came as dusk was falling. We must make a spell for protection using four powerful watchtowers to keep danger out.

I called Jay and Minet and told them Hermaphroditey’s plan, and they set to work at once. Minet ran to collect candles, salt, water from the spring and milk and urine from the goats, and Jay went to find the Kokolosh and representatives of the other spirits we needed, as only he has the strength needed for this task.

I made some cakes from honey and oats, as protective spells are exhausting to perform and wholesome sustenance is essential both during ritual and once the spell is complete.

By midnight all was ready. Luckily the moon was at its fullest, and we needed no extra lights to load everything into the old wheelbarrow and make our way to the magic wood.

Our first stop was at the southern corner of the wood, and we found a suitable tree under which to place the Kokolosh, protective cousin of the mischievious African Tokoloshe, lighting a candle before him and calling on his spirit to protect the South of our domain, using the salt, water and goat’s urine in the manner approved by Hermaphroditey. This is all I can tell you of our ritual.

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

The wheelbarrow was lighter now, and we made good progress to the woodman at the western corner of the wood, having left a trail of salt from the Kokolosh. We repeated the ritual, silently awed by the giant figure. He looked as though he were still asleep, but I knew the ritual would stir his spirit into watchfulness on our behalf.

Aisselle's Imp by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Aisselle’s Imp, a photo by me on Flickr.

And so on to the north, to a tiny copse behind the house where we found an ivy-covered tree stump and set in place Aisselle’s Imp. I was given this creature many years ago by an Oxford don for whom I sometimes used to read the tarot. There are many such imps in that place, looking down from on high as one walks the streets. The don told me that they protect the old buildings. I think he (the imp, not the don) may have fallen from a gutter into the window-box outside the don’s rooms because he survived with only slight damage to one of his little horns.

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

The trail of salt was now almost complete as we reached the eastern corner of our domain at the edge of the garden. Here we placed the head of the Green Man, who’d assisted with the reading that identified the meaning of the three Star cards that kept floating to the surface in Joel’s (as Minet was then), bath.

The spell for protection was now complete. We ate the cakes and drank the rest of the water and milk by the light of the last candle. We’d made sure that the salt and the goat’s urine had all been used up, as these are not pleasant, and one must have nothing left after a spell has been performed.

We now found ourselves exhausted, and went to bed. I slept peacefully and woke refreshed – we are protected.

Thanks be to Hermaphroditey.

Till when, Aisselle

PS. Jay checked on the watchtower spirits this morning, and took the photographs for this, my very own blog.

The Wanderer Returns

Praise be – Jay has returned. When we came back from a fruitless search in the forest, he was sitting under the kitchen table, his eyes burning with rage and exhaustion. He is very tired and angry, and would barely speak to either of us while he ate and drank like a starving man – which indeed he seems to be. He is covered in cuts and scratches, and what he has to say about the police cannot be said here by my own self, as I don’t know the words he used.

It seems that the police did indeed wish to have a word with him – not only about strange plants and Joel, but also about one of our alpacas, which has apparently been roaming the village at night eating the flowers carefully nurtured by little old ladies. At first, he said, he was prepared to be cooperative, as he knew how important it was to keep – er – Minet safe. So he answered every question truthfully and with careful omissions where necessary. He said they weren’t very bright and that part was easy. Strangely enough, it was when the questioning turned to the alpaca that he became angry. They expressed an unhealthy interest in his antlers – which he was indeed wearing when the policemen found him, as my reading suggested – and seemed to be suggesting that they had something to do with the wandering alpaca.

Eventually he asked if he was actually under arrest, and they said not. So he stood up and left. As he turned the corner in the village, though, one of them shouted after him – and fearing that this time they would decide upon an arrest, he ran for it. Into the bluebell woods – though the bluebells are over now – and along the path above the river. But looking too often behind him, he tripped and fell over the cliff into a tall thicket of gorse. It broke his fall – yes – but also scratched him most horribly, and tore his clothes. As he struggled to free himself, he heard someone approaching and then the voices of the policemen, who had clearly followed him thus far. The cuts and scratches were suddenly better than the alternative and he held his breath while they stood above him discussing which way to look next. What he heard shocked him. The policemen actually thought that I, his beloved Aisselle, was involved with the magnet and his plants in some way, and that arresting him would make him tell them about this. They were saying that I was weird and made people eat and drink things that normal people wouldn’t touch. And that I was popular with teenagers in the village – even if this were true – which he was unaware of – he did not understand why this meant I was of interest to them – and neither do I. Mercifully they seemed less interested in “Joel”, though.

In the end, he heard them say they would leave it a bit and then try the house again, and they wandered away. Jay struggled some more with the gorse, and after several hours, he managed to extricate himself and drop – painfully – to the ground by the river.

There was no way to know how soon the police would visit the house, though – so instead of returning to warn me – if indeed I had managed to get home, as he hoped – he decided to hide away in a disused woodman’s hut in the forest. It was something of a challenge to find it, as he was so sore and tired, but by the time it got dark, he had made his way there, and fell to the floor to sleep.

In the morning, desperately hungry and thirsty, he had picked himself a few leaves and drunk from a puddle that had conveniently collected on the floor of the hut. It tasted vile, but he said it was better than the painful rasping in his dry mouth and throat which had made even eating the leaves agony. And then he waited. He tried to think his way to me, he said, to tell me that he would be back soon, but he was too tired to think straight. He waited for darkness to fall and then almost crawled back to the house – which was, of course empty. He was filled with horror and fear. Had the police come for me? Had I spent the night in that horrible police station? Would I say the same things as he had said to them, he wondered? He paced to and fro till his feet began to hurt, and then sat down to think about what to do next. After a few hours of sheer terror, he heard footsteps and crawled hastily under the table to conceal himself beneath the tablecloth. Not until he was certain that he was not imagining our very own voices did he emerge and shout out how terrified he had been and how we should never have left the house without him and other such imprecations.

Eventually we managed to calm him down, and now we must discuss what to do next. Will our lovely home ever be truly safe for us again? If we must move on, what can be done with the animals?

Till sometime soon, Aisselle

A mental whistle

tombs by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Tombs, a photo by Aisselle on Flickr.

We’d relaxed. No one had come to investigate. Joel had made a successful transition to Minet – in fact he had become Minet so completely that it seemed as if he had always been that sister I’d wanted as a child – and Copwatcher was no longer an unknown flasher on the hill, but a strong lady looking out for us. Jay carried on as usual, caring for the animals, making goat’s cheese alone when I was too preoccupied to help and doing all the everyday things he achieves so magickally to make our everyday lives run smoothly. I began to think again of our midsummer handfasting and write notes to myself here and there – mostly on the walls, but sometimes on the skirting boards – so I wouldn’t forget the little details that make an occasion like this special.

Then, with Jay working outside and Minet and myself in the kitchen making a delicious drink from fresh elderflowers, lemons and honey, I received the unthinkable. It came like a sliver of falling ice through warm butter, straight into the front of my head. A mental whistle from Copwatcher, shrill as the cry of a hungry gull and real as the voice of Hermaphroditey in my ear but much louder. Its message was clear, although no actual words were transmitted – it was, quite literally, a mental whistle, and it said Get out of there!

I grabbed Minet by the hand and we stumbled out of the back door and across the garden to the orchard, then across the orchard to the shelter of the magic wood, followed by the goats and alpacas. There was no sign of Jay. Once underneath the trees there was time to think for a second or two, and I remembered the Four of Swords from yesterday’s reading and the effigies at peace – the churchyard – we must hide among the tombs!

We crossed the little wood to emerge at the back of the small neglected church down the lane and slip over the wall, where we crawled on hands and knees through the long grass, looking for a tomb large enough to give us cover. And as the sound of sirens echoed through the surrounding trees Minet and I fell to lie as if dead alongside two large stone structures. It was as if the effigies had fallen from their resting places but slept on unawares.

I don’t know how long we lay like that. The sirens stopped, presumably at the house, and only the cries of the baby crows squawking for food from their harassed parents disturbed the cool air that flowed all around us. I think I must have fallen asleep, because I remember something of a dream in which I was an unloved doll being abused by its small owner, but the dream morphed into reality and Minet’s face was suddenly looming above me. It was like looking into the back of a spoon, and gave me an odd little fright for a moment.

We waited, our backs against the cold stones, afraid to return. I thought perhaps Jay might come to find us, but we remained quite alone until another mental whistle arrived, again in the front of my head. This one was the soft low whistle of the poacher to his dog, and I knew at once that it meant it was safe to go home.

So here I am, typing up today’s post, with Minet safely ensconced in the chintz armchair with the cat and seven kittens. We’ve searched everywhere for Jay, but he is nowhere to be found. I do hope he hasn’t come to harm. I will have to consult the cards after supper – goat’s cheese on toast with sundried tomato and wild garlic, and goat’s milk cocoa to follow.

We have had a lucky escape.

Till when, Aisselle

Pussy cat chaos

pussy cats by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Seven little pussy cats, a photo  on Flickr.

Minet came downstairs to breakfast this morning with a Spiritual Insight illuminating the second half of the small bird’s message. Strangely I had had some presentiment of this myself yesterday when we were using the Ship of Fools Tarot numerically to find her name, but had been unable to dissuade my sibling from the instant choice of Minet.

And then Ellen Llewellyn, my devoted fan, pointed out to me on this very blog that Minet means ‘pussy cat’ in French, but by then it was already too late.

The small bird, after advising Joel (as he was then) to fully embrace change and choose a name, had cautioned against picking anything French that had meaning. For (as Hermaphroditey has advised me also), there are vengeful French spirits in the aether who, in their traditional dislike of the English will cause appropriate mischief to those so named. I myself have personal experience of this, and although I would not now change my name (having the support of Hermaphroditey), there was a time when I wished it had been anything but Aisselle, even Doris.

But as I said, it was already too late. Across the garden with Azriel at their head and an unknown tabby at the rear progressed a tottery line of very small pussy cats. They immediately made for the back door and entered to investigate every nook and cranny of the kitchen, tumbling over the lower furniture and sharpening their claws on the legs of the table. It was pussy cat chaos for over an hour.

They’ve now taken up residence in the old chintz armchair, and the seven little ones are asleep. More mouths to feed and names to find. Where will it all end? I will have to ask the cards later.

Blessings, Aisselle

Of Joel, Jay and woodpeckers

linden  by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Linden , a photo by Aisselle A T Gabegie on Flickr.

Finding it impossible to throw off my uneasy feeling about Joel, I wandered in the magic wood, picking leaves for a spring salad. The linden trees are beautiful with the sun shining on their young lime-green leaves (it is also called the lime tree), which taste delicate, tender and slightly mucilaginous. Later I will collect the hanging flowers to make a lovely calming tisane. I found a patch of wild violets with their delicious heart-shaped leaves (although the root should not be eaten), and some young ground elder, used by the Romans as a pot herb, but lovely in salads too. White-starred ramsoms carpet the wood, although the leaves are past their best now, and I found garlic mustard and dandelion, grown huge in spite of the lack of rain.

Thoughts of rain reminded me again of the woodpecker Joel startled yesterday. The lightning bird. It is close and too warm today, and we may have a storm tonight. Goddess knows we need the rain, but I can’t help feeling that the woodpecker was an omen sent as a warning to Joel.

Strangely, the sighting has prompted Jay to embark on a vision quest, and he sits under the oldest tree in the orchard with his eyes closed, attended by the goats, who seem to understand his mission and behave with great calm and dignity, quite unlike their usual selves.

The Tower by Aisselle A T Gabegie
The Tower, a photo  on Flickr.

I had brought a deck of cards with me, the Tarot of Trees, and sat with my back against an old stump to throw a card or two, hoping to find out a little more about Joel’s omen, but as I was taking the cards from their purple bag one fell face down onto the ground. I hesitated for a moment, unwilling to know the worst, but then, with a silent plea to Hermaphroditey picked it up. The Tower, complete with lightning, rain storm and torrents of water.

My poor Joel. I hope the bug stone will be enough to shield him from danger.

Till soon, Aisselle