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

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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

And now a nun!

Good morning, friends!

Life continues with its mysteries but is pretty uneventful at the moment, which I am very grateful for. Having said that, I’m seeing Minet in a new light. It’s as if Joel never existed, and that worries me a little, especially since Mollie said he would return. I’m wondering if his return would be voluntary or will the Law catch up with him? Minet is such a girly girl, I can’t help thinking we may have been wrong in our decisions. Parts of this are beginning to look unhealthy to me. I’ve not spoken to Jay about it and I’m certainly not going to approach Minet.

Talking about life’s mysteries – I did have a small strange experience in the village this morning. (I’m getting so used to these!) I’d gone to the store for provisions, and whilst being polite to the folk there, I was minding my own business when all of a sudden I heard humming. It was the tune that Mollie had sung to! I swung around expecting to see her, and all but bumped into a nun. I was stammering a ‘Sorry’, when she laid her warm hand on my arm, smiled and told me to be calm. I then just blurted out “Do you know Mollie Promp”? She smiled and winked, telling me she knew many people in her heart. Mollie had given me riddles and quite frankly I was getting fed up of them. “What’s that tune you’re humming”? I asked. “Just one of many I know, dear” she said.

I knew all was not as it seemed so I went to pay for my groceries, and before leaving the shop, turned to the nun and said. “Tell Mollie I’ll be coming to find her again soon, or she can visit me at home”. The nun smiled, inclined her head, then gave me a yellow toothy grin.

Reading about Mollie Promp

Well, as one of my favourite characters once said, Curiouser and curiouser!

As Mollie predicted, I couldn’t wait to get into the basement to do a reading, and what better deck to use than my Buckland Romani? I decided on a ‘story’ spread, where I put five cards in a straight line and concentrate on the centre card as being who I’m reading about/for. I was reading about Mollie, but for myself (if that makes sense).

I sat down and shuffled my deck well and cut it as I always do. I laid out my first card, an Ace. The second was an Ace too. When the third was also an Ace, I was taken aback, and actually looked around because I was sure I felt Mollie there! I was suspicious now, so looked at my fourth card as I slid it off the deck, and sure enough it was the final Ace. By this time I had her laughter in my head too. But what card was I going to get for number five with all the aces out? Part of me didn’t want to know, so I shut my eyes until the card was in place, and opening them, I saw a devilish little demon rolling about on the floor laughing because he’d knocked the dinner cauldron over. His laughter reminded me of Mollie, and how they both amused themselves. But Mollie was no devil, she said she was my Guardian Angel!

I gazed and gazed at the spread, and all I could come up with was new beginnings in every aspect in my life. Perhaps that’s right, with everything settled now. I doubt very much if life will ever be quiet for long, too much has happened for that, but I am certainly ready for fresh new developments of the safe and happy kind!

I just have one small problem. The Devil card. I must admit he looks more impish than downright evil, but I keep remembering something Mollie said to me. “Beware of a man with the initials TD”. Beware of The Devil? I’m not so naive that I think a demon from hell will come knocking at our door, but there are many bad people in the world who mess with things they shouldn’t.

Hmmm…I’ll just have to wait and see.

Aisselle

Oh, my!

Well, if ever a tarot reading was called for, it’s now! I felt strangely at ease after receiving Henna’s email – I don’t know – it just seemed very normal for her, or as normal as Henna can ever be. A calm has come to rest over our cottage, with Minet enjoying herself by doing doodles of fashion designs while Jay was amusing himself with building matchstick houses.

With this ambience, I decided on a small walk in my beloved wood. I’d not gone far when I heard a voice softly singing. I didn’t know the song but creeping quietly closer, I saw lots of woodland animals listening in awe and found myself drawn into an almost hypnotic state when I nearly stumbled over an old gypsy lady sitting by a tree who stopped her melody to put out an arm to catch me.

“Ah, Aisselle, at last we meet”, said the old lady and introduced herself as Mollie Promp.

I didn’t know what to say or do so I just stared at her. It was like she knew about every fibre of my being with just a glance at me. As it happened, I think she did. She told me that she last saw me as a small girl, when Henna had visited her wondering what life had in store for me. Apparently she knew just how special I was from that moment and decided to watch me from a distance. Oh my word, she knew everything about my life!

She adored all our animals and watched over Jay when he was lost and hurt in the wood – I wonder if Jay saw her but thought he was dreaming? She’s watching Minet with interest, she tells me.

I asked her why she was watching me and where she came from but she waved her hand and said that everyone needs a guardian angel as well as a Goddess and where she lives is of no matter to me. She was barefoot and dirty so wherever she’s from, it can’t be very nice. I thought to invite her home with me but something told me my offer would be declined.

She began to look tired so I got up to leave, asking if she’d be okay getting home on her own. She laughed, showing what few teeth she had left were a deep yellow, and told me she was home. That crept me out a bit so I made to hurry away when once again she shot out a hand to stop me, and said:

“Joel will return. You’ve done an excellent job safeguarding the artefacts, and Henna is well. You are extraordinary, and haven’t yet discovered the full extent of your powers. When you do, use them wisely. Beware of a man with the initials TD.”

I was still staring at her and only a crooked yellow toothy smile brought me back to earth. I couldn’t get my breath. “What…?” I whispered, in total confusion. “Go, child, no doubt you’ll go straight to the basement and do a reading about me. See what you get”! And with that she laughed quite hysterically to herself.

The next thing I knew I was running out of the wood, although I wasn’t frightened at all, so I stopped to check myself. I could hear the singing again! I listened hard but it sounded so distant now. Part of me thought about going back to her but I knew it would be like she had never been there.

I walked home to find Jay at the front door, a lovely smile crossing his face when he saw me safely home, as it was getting dark.

“Oh, Jay – wait while I tell you what just happened to me”!

News from Henna

Henna's reading  by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Henna’s reading , a photo  on Flickr.

The magickal items were successfully installed yesterday afternoon, and are now safe and secure, watched over by the Guardian of the Basement. I must say that he seems most effective, as this morning a long-standing client who had come for her reading paled to the colour of goat’s cream and ran screaming up the basement steps, into the kitchen and away out of the back door before I had a chance to explain. Perhaps I should have warned her what to expect.

But my main news today is that I’ve had an email from Henna. Not a scrap of paper torn out of an exercise book or a witchy magazine but an email! Here it is.

Aiss dear I did a reading for you last night with Uncle Al’s tarot. Two cards, the HP and the 5 of disks or whatever they are. See? Obvious straight off. I’m always the HP and the 5 is nasty old Worry with a Cap and all those grinding wheels. You’re worried about me for some reason. Well don’t be. I’m fine and quite crazy at standing on my own two. Merlin and the Grand O had a falling out and I was in the middle but came on top and that’s where I’ll stay as long as you keep the stuff safe.

And I’m having a very nice time with a young Vic who’s putting me up in his cassock or maybe it’s hammock I dunno.

So no need to 5 of disks OK? Love to Jay and Joel Ma.

No love for me then – how like Henna. But at least she was concerned enough about me to do a reading and to email, and it seems that she is fine and that there’s no need for Jay and yours truly to go travelling, either actually or astrally, at least in connection to Henna or for the time being. Perhaps the Chariot card from the ZF Enchanted reading had a different meaning, although it’s unusual for me to be mistaken. Time will tell.

Till when, Aisselle

Preparation

Ritual items  by Aisselle A T Gabegie
Ritual items , a photo by Aisselle  on Flickr.

We spent Friday reorganizing the basement. The rabbits have been relocated – Jay made them a cosy hutch and a large run in the garden and they settled in immediately, running about and kicking up their hind legs. Arthur Edward and Pixie excelled themselves with high leaps in the air before snuggling up together by the food bowl.

We performed a ritual cleansing – after an actual cleansing of course – with lots of sprinkling and the tinkling of many bells. The round table where I read for clients remains in its usual place, but Minet erected a special altar using the green chest that contained the Druid’s book, covered it with black felt and set the ritual items ready.

These are the things Hermaphroditey asked me to collect from the wood: a birdstone for flight and the feathered ones; a fishstone for swimming and the scaled ones; two feathers from a bird of prey for passionless efficiency; the skull of a badger to represent mammals, and so that neither the Grand Ovum or Myrrdin badgers us for the sacred objects; a Hermaphroditey stone (it’s that one top left of the photo – please work it out for yourselves); a piece of magickal wood to represent tree spirits; and a crystalline stone for precious minerals and sharpness of intellect.

Jay has taken a picture of these for my many devoted followers, but the snails and the insects wouldn’t stay still long enough to be in it, so I’m keeping them safe in an old fish tank that Minet converted to a snail/insectarium with earth and greenery. Please do not email me about these creatures – they will be well-looked after and released into the wild after the ritual.

The elements themselves are also to be present, but these will be put in place at the foot of the Guardian. This is obviously a metaphorical foot, as all we have of him is his head, but Minet found a lovely tree stump, so saving Jay the task of making a plinth, busy as he was making the hutch and run for the rabbits at the time.

Saturday was spent resting, fasting and in conversation with Hermaphroditey to hone the ritual to perfection. This morning we have been making cakes and preparing refreshments in readiness for the post-ritual celebration. Elderflower splash, nettle, honey and oat cakes, and an infusion of mugwort – if indeed mugwort was what the crone gave me that had such an interesting effect. One can never be sure, and it’s no good asking her as she seems incapable of either speech or hearing.

At the magickal hour of three o’clock today, Jay, Minet and yours truly, Aisselle Gabegie, will repair to the basement to perform the necessary – more than that I cannot say, as it would be to break the magickal code. SMIB.

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

Pashmina

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

I think Minet may be going through some mental changes, she went out earlier and was missing for a while.
I was starting to worry as we have become so close recently and she doesn’t usually stray very far, so I prepared myself for a reading to look into this when I saw her trudging down the path, arms filled with large brown paper bags. I must have been so wrapped up in Jay’s trip out that I didn’t notice her slip away.

I don’t know what possessed me but I felt she needed time to herself, so I hid behind the curtain so I could observe her return without intruding. As she passed she was humming a little song to herself which sounded like I’m every woman or something like that. I saw under her arms the bags she was carrying had black lettering scrawled on the sides which read Primmak, I think, I couldn’t see properly. Once she had ascended the stairs I snook up for a peak. Readers, you must understand, I am not a snoop but I feel a new responsibility now I have acquired a half sister.

I watched through the slightly open door as she pulled various clothing, accessories and jewellery from the bags. I hoped that she hadn’t robbed or swindled a gypsy. Where did she get all this wonderful colourful attire? We have enough trouble at this house at the moment, she knows that. I watched as she danced in front of the mirror holding various garish robes up against herself, pouting and pirouetting.
I mused as to whether I should be concerned but felt so happy to see her smile like that, so light hearted, she deserves this after the hard time she’s been through.

I left her to have her moments and considered reading the cards again, when she came down the stairs, looking like a modern gypsy fortune teller, very striking indeed. I asked her where she got her new things and was so relieved to hear that she’d been into town and sat and done some readings in exchange for cash in the local cafe, she then used the cash to get some new clothes to ‘keep up the disguise’ she said. She also brought me back a pashmina as a present, which is a lovely shade of lilac and which I shall cherish forever.

I had nothing to worry about after all.

After all these years, now having a half sister is such a blessing, even with all the troubles it brings.

Keep well dear readers.

Aisselle