Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dream Seeds

The 'Fertility Goddess' or 'Mother Goddess' is a more complex image than most people think. She is not only the Mother Goddess who commands fertility, or the Lady of the Beasts who governs animals and all wild nature, or the frightening Mother Terrible but a composite image with traits accumulated from both the pre-agricultural and agricultural eras - Maria Gimbutus

In the Northern Hemisphere there were traditionally fertility ceremonies during the latter part of October. To mark this period le Enchanteur is offering dream seeds for travellers to plant, nurture and use to identify their creative dreams.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sit Upon The Golden Bone Chair.

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Baba Yaga brings out this designer, hand crafted, chair especially for Halloween and All Soul's Night. The idea is that travellers can take turns to sit on the chair and have five minutes in the spotlight as they perform for the crowd. Come October 30th - through to November 2 Baba is hoping that one by one travellers will take the golden seat and make a special presentation. Costumes and wigs are available in Pandora's Costume Box. Excuse drunken Silenus who can never miss a party. Hopefully the donkey is taking him away.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Visit the Isle of Ancestors on All Soul's Night

Le Enchanteur sits playing a tune, calling travellers to go with her to the Isle of Ancestors for All Soul's Night.

Hooded ferry woman provide free boat rides from the Archipelago Market Port. For personal directions check out the Mysterious Isle of Ancestors
Travellers can sign up to go on this journey here in the Divination Tent.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pied Piper Archetype

When le Enchanteur is in Pied Piper mode there is electricity in the air and Pegasus cannot resist coming to take someone with her, on the wings of imagination. Le Enchanteur is playing a tune that the hardiest of travellers will find hard to resist. Follow her and go for a night ride, beyond that Harvest Moon, with Pegasus. Pegasus will take you anywhere in the world. He is yours for the night.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bird's Eye View

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The Amazon Queen, having heard from Raven that le Enchanteur has allowed more foriegners to come through the doorway, is vigilant. From White Owl's shoulders she has a bird's eye view and can see all that is happening. Below she can see the Gypsy Encampment and can see that travellers are headed towards it. While they are there her summer palace should remain undetected, tucked in a valley on the edge of the lake. It is said that when anyone looks within this lake their true identity is reflected in the waters.

Raven Guards Report to Amazon Queen

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Ravens have alerted the Amazon Queen, who is in her Summer Palace near the lake, that many travellers are on the road and that the Gypsies are camped quite close by. They have reported that le Enchanteur keeps opening the door to her realm and that the roads of the realm are busy.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Giftware from Baba's Archipelago Warehouse

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Travellers who made their way to the House of the Serpents in August might well be interested in acquiring a serpent lamp stand, with three designer shades from Baba's Warehouse. Perfect gifts for Halloween and All Soul's Day. The foot, retrieved by one of Baba's knights, belongs to a traveller who didn't make it to the House of Serpents.

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By night this designer, Soul Hand Candle Holder, in Red Boots, will illuminate your manuscripts and art work. By day they will do the bidding of their owner and guide them safely to the Gypsy Camp. They will be a match for any of the indentured hands in Baba's house and will make sure their owner is protected from any unreasonable demands.

These hands will go to the highest bidder. Make the best, non monetary offer, to the Amazon Queen and she will command these hands become your servant.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Doll Guide for Silk Road Travellers

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Vasilisa, her magic doll, and the White Horseman of Dawn
(Courtesy of Russian Sunbirds)

When you set out to Baba Yaga's, via the Gypsy Camp, you were told you had a doll guide. You also had a bag with various things that the le Enchanteur felt you needed for safe passage within this realm. Items include magical spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a compass, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. The bag also contained a map showing where the Gypsies are currently camped.

Le Enchanteur's ventriloquist doll Stanley is a bit of a worry and keeps giving poor directions and generally distracts Sibyl. Hopefully your guide is more useful. Vasilisa, pictured here, found her doll to be a very reliable companion and indeed, the doll regularly comes to the rescue.

Many doll folktales were published in collections from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, from the 1830s through at least the 1970s. Slavic tales feature dolls which aid, comfort, and advise the heroine. In most of the tales, the dolls open up the earth to enable the heroine to sink through to the underworld and escape an impending incestuous marriage to her father or brother. These tales are analyzed as stories of initiation. The heroine grows up through the course of the tale, performing various initiatory tasks, acquiring adult attributes, and subsequently marrying. The heroine's magic doll is an East Slavic variant of the fairy godmother. She is a talismanic incarnation of the heroine's dead mother, who provides life, nourishment, care and advice from the next world. The doll also embodies the "fairy" or sacred aspects of ancient Slavic earth goddess-spirits by acting as a guide in the crossing between the perceived worlds of the living and the dead.

An investigation of the heroine's descent leads to the hypothesis that the doll tales are related to narratives from agrarian rituals held between the winter and summer solstices. In these rituals, the burying of a vital female leads to her symbolic rebirth in spring, as evidenced in crop growth, marriage, and human fertility. On another level, the tales articulate the history of the Christianization of the East Slavs during the second millennium. The descent of the heroine into the earth depicts the submersion and subversion of pagan traditions under the influence of the newer religion. With the introduction of Orthodox Christianity in the tenth century, the use of dolls as votive objects literally went underground in the East Slavic lands, while the image of the female helper transformed and came to be represented instead from within the gilded frames of Christian icons.

As you travel down the Silk Road the doll is just one guide who will look after you. Some travellers have actually made dolls to accompany them and the creative results have been fascinating.

source: Doll FolkTales of the East Slaves
Make dolls inspired by the Baba Yaga mythology.

Baba Yaga Meets Travellers at Gypsy Camp

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When Baba goes anywhere everyone has to wait on her and meet her every need. This hapless traveller has found himself polishing her boots at the Gypsy encampment.

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The Gypsy Camp is on full alert. Travellers are coming on donkey back along the Silk Road, headed towards Baba Yaga's. The Gypsy Chief has suggested we ask the Hooded Riders to snatch the unsuspecting ones and bring them to the camp for an 'initiation' into the ways of the Romanyi.

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Le Enchanteur, The Amazon Queen and Baba Yaga join with Ravens to mark the passing of Megan's mother and to celebrate her life with a heart felt rendition of Danny Boy.

The Gypsy Camp - Orientation

Welcome,one and all,to the Gypsy Camp. The Gypsy Chief Lavengro sends you greetings and invites you to take a look around the camp and meet some of the characters here.

You will notice the beautiful setting - the gypsies always appreciate a good `tober' (campground, from the Irish Gaelic, `a well') and this is one of the best. Nestled in a fertile valley not far from the Amazon Queen's Summer Palace,the site boasts Roman Ruins nearby. It has everything a Gypsy wants in a tober - fresh clean running water, whild herbs growing on the hillsides,
and the shelter of trees with spreading branches, where the caravans and tents are set up.

As you enter the camp,if you will look to the right under a grove of trees you will see a magnificent blue and gold painted varda (caravan). It is one of those big square living wagons that you still see on English fairgrounds, called a `palace on wheels' - and that is just what it is because it is the home of our beloved Chief Lavengro. He is usually to be found sitting on the step of his varda, watching over his flock with a fierce but loving gaze. His living wagon is lavishly fitted out inside:

Women visitors always remark on how much he looks like Johnny Depp. Lavengro's mother was Esmeralda, a Spanish gypsy, and one of the most famous flamenco dancers of all time. Her beauty and grace enslaved many men, sheikhs, film stars, even princes - but she turned her back on them all to marry Rory, a wild blue eyed, dark haired Irish Gypsy. Rory was a much respected Gypsy Chief, greatly mourned when he died. He was given the traditional Gypsy burial, his caravan sent up in flames while Esmeralda covered her face with ashes and wailed. Her heart was broken and she did not long outlive him.

Lavengro became Chief in his father's place, not because he was a Chief's son, but because his people love him.

Parked a little further away from the Chief's varda, you will see a small barreltop wagon painted cherry red. This belongs to Lavengro's Aunt Rose, also known as Traveller Rose. She is a highly skilled `dukkerer', or fortune teller, and she often visits the camp to help train the young women in this ancient art.

That wild flamenco music you hear comes from the Gitano camp just across from the Gypsy Chief. These gypsies are Spanish relatives of his that have joined this band of gypsies and regularly keep everyone entertained with their dancing, singing and guitar playing. Flashing eyed maidens sent flirtatious signals to Lavengro as they stamp their heels and click their castanets. The caravans are brightly painted with stars and moons, hung with lanterns and musical instruments.

Fuirther along you will find the Eastern European families - they speak only Romany but are quite willing to help anyone understand the language, as long as they are bona fide Silk Road travellers. This camp is filled with the laughter of children, and the smell of good things cooking.

Nearby are the fabulous tents and ornate caravans of the Silk Road families from India and the Middle East. If curry tempts you, linger here - one of the women will soon have y0u seated with a plateful of steaming curry and rice while you are regaled with songs and stories. Admire the beautiful embroidered silks and woven carpets that they produce.

We are almost back at the Gypsy Chief's varda, when a burst of laughter and song tells us we have reached the Celtic contingent. No use trying to sneak past, they have spotted you and drag you into an impromptu party. Someone shoves a tankard of foaming ale into your hands, asks you if you know the words to Galway Bay and starts singing it anyway.

The welcome you get from the gypsies is heartfelt and welcome - they love the Silk Road travellers and enjoy celebrating all their special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries and wakes.

Many of the women are skilled dukkerers and when you reach the camp you will meet your own Gypsy Guide and fortune teller, who will read the Tarot cards for you and tell you what you need to know for your journey.

You can stay as long as you like - there are always spare caravans for visitors, and hammocks slung in the trees so you can dream and reflect.

If you happen to spot a small barreltop caravan with a dear old piebald horse called Tinker nearby, please call in and say hello. This is my little home and I always have the kettle on for visitors.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

To Baba Yaga's

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Baba sits waiting in front of her house on chicken legs, hands out reached, beseeching travellers to come and help make this year's All Saints Day and Halloween a real success.

Everyone gathers, expectant inside the Cave of the Enchantress.

The Enchantress comes and announces that we have to go to the House of Baba Yaga and help prepare for Halloween and All Saint's Day. She says that to reach the House of Baba Yaga we will have to pass through the Mountains of Myrrh, which the writer of the Song of Solomon (1V6) said he wanted to retreat to.

The Enchantress provides each person with a small bag. Each bag contains spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a compass, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. However, the bag also contains something that has been chosen specifically for the recipient. It also contains a map showing where the Gypsies are currently camped

This bag is very important. Should you become separated from the group these things will become essential. You may choose to wear the spectacles for they are purported to have fairy like qualities which reveal wonders to those who wear them.

The Enchantress also gives you a doll. (Find a doll or make one) Her final words are to use the things we have in our bags and that if we should lose our way, or be in need of help, all we have to do is ask the doll what to do. She says that the doll will assist, that we must keep her with us at all times, that we must not tell anyone we meet about her and that we must feed her when she is hungry and give her drinks if she is thirsty. She tells us that we must travel by donkey and that it will take many days before we reach the house of Baba Yaga

You greet your doll and introduce yourself and when you look up again everyone has gone.

What is it with everyone rushing off like this? The doll says that you have to go through the woods. She assures you that she will know how to get there. Having read all your fairy stories you realise that going to Baba Yaga's could prove interesting.

Baba Yaga is the fearsome creature, the crooked woman whose nose is hooked like a bird of prey. Her name means 'to know, to see, to forsee' and she is the seer associated with the moon crescent. The Baba Yaga has the power to transform herself into a myriad of shapes, often a toad, sometimes a hedgehog, frequently a bird. The Baba Yaga is often depicted as an evil old hag who eats humans, especially children, but she is known by many to be a wise, prophetic old woman. In appearance she is tall, bony legged, pointy headed and has dishevelled hair.

Worse the doll informs you that the hut she lives in has a fence around it made of human bones and topped with human skulls and eyes intact. The gate is fastened with human legs and arms instead of bolts and a mouth with sharp teeth serves as the lock.

According to the doll, who seems to be a font of information, one person who lived to tell the story said that "she commands the sun and it obeys her, she changes the stars in their course, she causes clouds to form in the air and makes it possible to walk on them and travel the country. She can turn herself into a young woman and then, in a twinkling of an eye turn herself back into an old woman. She has to the power to turn a man into an animal and she likes to move freely along roads and valleys and over mountains. Her business is to cast spells, gather herbs and stones, make pacts and agreements."

Bravely you head out from the Cave on the back of a donkey that insisted you ride upon her. (Make sure to check with Donkey's Incorporated to see that the donkey is registered).

The donkey tells you her name and talks to you about the coming journey. Within moments you find yourself within a heavily wooded forest. Gnarled branches spread their long arms across the path, whispering as you pass.

The words of the Enchantress ring in your ears and you touch your bag to make sure it is still with you. Everyone is quiet and contemplative and the hooves of the donkey seem to be beating a tune as you travel on the well worn path.

Suddenly the quiet is shattered. A group of hooded riders surround you. Chaos breaks out. Before you know it you are being whisked away by hooded riders who do not reveal their identity.

All you know is that there is purported to be a Gypsy Camp in the vicinity and you hope you will find it. Maybe your doll can help you. One thing is certain! There will be hell to play if you don't arrive at Baba's house in time to make yourself useful as she prepares for the festival.

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The Amazon Queen has arrived at Baba's to plan for All Soul's Night on November 2nd. It may be a month away but all hands will need to be on deck to make sure it is a success. Baba's Soul Hands, upon hearing this, appear to listen to what the Queen and Baba are planning.

Maybe if you can reach the Gypsy Camp you will be able to encourage the Gypsies to take you to the House of Baba Yaga.

Find a way to the Gypsy Camp and sit by the camp fire and tell the Gypsy Chief about your journey. It would be a good idea to prepare so that you can provide a song or dance or tarot reading for the Gypsies who are gathered there. If you need some costumes remember to check out Pandora's Wardrobe for useful items.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Entering the Cave of the Enchanteur

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In the chapter entitled 'The Cave of the Enchantress' Marina Warner writes about the Grotto della Sibilla in the Umbrian Mountains which was first mentioned in classical legend. Guerino the Wretch reaches a mountain pass near Norcia in Umbria where he meets with the Devil. The Devil, of course, wants Guerino's soul and tempts him by describing a subterranean kingdom where every delight will be his. Seemingly, in this kingdom, trees flower and fruit at the same time and there is no pain or age or sorrow.

No pain! No sorrow! Lead me to the Umbrian mountains immediately! Of course, what the Devil failed to mention was that the cave is inhabited by an enchantress who turns into a snake every Saturday.

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Our journey to the Cave of the Sibyl will not be as arduous as it was for pilgrims and adventurers who sought it out in the 13th Century. It has been abandoned for a very long time and we are going to enter by a very special doorway. You have heard about new technology where the door opens when it scans your retina? Well, in this case, you have to produce an honest image of the doorway that represents the door to your inner world and you will gain immediate entrance to the cave which is full of the most amazing things.

Check out http://www.dailywriting.net/Doors.htm and either sketch your door or simply write about it. When you enter the cave you will be shown to your quarters and you will have a room of your own http://www.dailywriting.net/WritingRoom.htm

The Enchantress

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Path to the Silk Road

Are you ready for the journey of a lifetime? Are you willing to pack up everything and leave at a moment's notice? Do you trust that the nature of our quest will unravel with the passage of time? If you are willing and ready pack to leave tonight.

We are going to take up residency in the long abandoned Grotto della Sibilla, in the Umbrian Mountains in Italy. The Grotto was first mentioned in medieval, not classical legends and the Sibyl pronounced her oracles there for hundreds of years.

The only map I have is this

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Now you have to think about what you will take with you, especially given that you will need a bag or case to bring home the treasures you gather during our stay.

Find a small bag or case and quite literally pack for our three month stay. But remember. We need to travel light.

Deep breath! Are you sure you still want to come?

Write about packing your bags and leaving for three months to travel the Silk Road. Post your first piece here on this blogger in the comment section.

love Sibyl

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Soul Food Silk Road

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