Catch-Up and a Change of Address

My knight has been on yet another journey, as I have (for a while at least) moved out of the Great Big City and back to the Country.  Following the move,  I celebrated Pine-Scented Festivities, then flew to the Southern Hemisphere to visit Summertime.  Now, for an undisclosed amount of time, I am back in the Country…except when I’m visiting the Great Big City, which still has its appeal (you know who you are…)

And that, my ether-friends, is the Abridged Version.

PS:  You might have noticed that this blog has moved to a new address.  The parent site for this blog, formerly AndTheDonkey.com, has moved to VaguelyBohemian.com.  We bid AndTheDonkey a fond farewell as we send you back into the ether…you were a good URL, but just took too much explaining.


In which our Heroine has the Good Fortune to Win a Set of Runes, and Says Thank-You

A few months ago, I thought I might try learning to read runes. I love letters and words, so the concept of using the letters of an alphabet for divination appealed to me.

I’ve had a tarot deck for a few years, and I’ve found it to be a good resource – and fun as well. I don’t know if I believe the average tarot reading is supernaturally influenced. But I do find that the act of fitting my situation into the pattern suggested by the tarot layout gives me a new perspective – and being able to look at things from a new perspective is invaluable.

Then fate (or a random number generator, anyway) sealed the deal, when I won this awesome rune set at Mrs. B’s 31 Days of Halloween. This handmade set is gorgeous, and each piece is essentially a tiny, hand-embroidered, felt rune pillow. Felt…felt is a friendly material, and I immediately felt at home with this set.

I made flashcards (“Of course you made flashcards,” my sister said), primarily using this translation/commentary of an Old English rune poem as a resource. While I don’t know all of the runes ‘by heart’ yet, it’s kind of exciting how naturally I’m getting to know them. What a wonderful Halloween gift!

Thank you so much to Nydia of Carioca Witch (where you can purchase your own set of OOAK runes!) You can check out her blog through the “Bringing Up Salamanders button. And many thanks to Mrs. B of Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom for putting together a fantastic month-long virtual celebration of Halloween!


Hallow’s Eve Greetings

Walking up the street dressed as a dryad,* I wished everyone passing a Happy Halloween. It reminded me of the rural west coast of Ireland, where even folks walking down the opposite side of the street will usually call out a “hiya.” I kept that habit for a while, then seem to have lost it in the city – even on streets that are quiet enough to make greeting everyone practical. But on Saturday, in my costume and a rust-orange cloak donned for the drizzly weather, I felt like the Halloween Ambassador. I won’t say the streets were all decked out for the holiday, but there were enough jack o’lanterns, enough costumes, enough trick-or-treaters to make the day different. Or maybe days like Halloween are a bit different all on their own. Either way, thank you to all who celebrated!

In the photo: The neighbors’ dog, who participated in the festivities.

*My go-to costume for busy years: little greet devil horns turned inside out ( …/ instead of /… ) so they look like goat horns, leaf-shaped earrings, a Venetian glass leaf necklace, and green and/or brown clothes.


A Rousing Halloween to All!

I’d like to wish you all a rousing Halloween!
I hope everyone enjoys their serotonin and caffeine.
Just keep some candles burning bright
In case you take a wrong turn tonight
And run amok of something un(fore)seen!

A Hunt for an Imperfect Pumpkin

My boyfriend has no Halloween spirit at all, but proved what a good sport he is by accompanying me to the local pumpkin fest here in the Big City. In addition to the weekly farmers market (yum!), there were hay bales and pumpkins galore – and a petting zoo! Maybe an adult shouldn’t get quite so excited about a few goats and chickens, but when a country girl’s been in the city for as long as I have, seeing these critters is quite a treat.

I always look for the tall skinny pumpkins, the warty ones, and the just plain misshapen gourds. But lo and behold, the farmers had only brought pretty pumpkins to the city! Each and every one was round as a basketball with unblemished orange flesh: the type of pumpkins they use on sitcoms.

I wonder if oranges come in as many shapes in Florida as pumpkins do in rural New England? I’m thinking that judging gourds and fruits and vegetables by how perfectly shaped they are is a bit nonsensical…especially since those big bizarrely-shaped heirloom beefsteaks I had earlier this summer were absolutely delicious…

Anyway, stuck with a plethora of perfect pumpkins, I did my best and dug up one with a few bumps and an extra-long stem – and my guy even helped me carry it home.


Trifles of Terrors…or is it Truffles?

My three favorite holidays are inextricably linked to chocolate: Easter (chocolate and chicks), Christmas (chocolate and pressies) and Halloween (chocolate and costumes). While for many adults, these holidays fade into commercialism and extra errands, I say they’re all the more valuable for us grown-ups.

A friend recently noted that few folks dress up as what they’re really afraid of, instead choosing ‘fake’ scary things like ghosts and vampires. And why not? What a relief to fear some physical or supernatural critter, instead of being anxious over your job or your blood pressure! And conversely, how delicious to dress up as something irreverent, daring, or goofy – rather than the earnest or trendy clothes we usually don. Not to mention that indulging in a night of fear or awe of the spirit world may be a necessary tonic for (what for many of us is) a blase daily routine. As the Bard put it in All’s Well that Ends Well:

They say miracles are past, and we have our philosophical persons to make modern and familiar things supernatural and causeless. Hence it is that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.

So this Halloween (or Samhain, if you prefer) let’s celebrate! And not just as an excuse to consume serotonin inducers.