This is the page where you can leave a comment about the Oz articles.
I cannot emphasize enough how much the Oz books affected me as I was growing up. I eagerly waited each night for my bedtime story time to begin. My imagination grabbed onto L Frank Baum's descriptions and entered into the fantastic world he had created.
These images have stayed with me all my life and pop up at the most unusual times. It might be a glimpse of Glinda reading from her Great Book, the Nome King turning people in knickknacks, and even Princess Langwidere changing one of her heads. I never know what triggers it, it just happens.
I decided to write a series of articles about the Oz books because I was horrified to find out that many people believed there was only one book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In fact, there are 14 books written by Baum and I have read them all.
I began the journey with the article "Following the Yellow Brick Road." I soon found out that there was too much information, about both the books and Frank Baum's life to easily fit into one article. I decided to continue the story with additional articles.
If you have come here first, whisk yourself of to Following the Yellow Brick Road to read about Dorothy's adventures in the first three books.
The second article is called "Oz--Oz! more about Oz, Mr. Baum!" where I continue to discuss the writer L. Frank Baum and his influence on children's literature.
The third article in the Oz series answers many questions like "Why doesn't Toto talk? We meet the Patchwork Girl and a mechanical man. We also learn about Frank Baum's dark side. Visit Interesting Tidbits from L Frank Baum’s Oz Books.
The last of the four part article is called L Frank Baum's Last Five Oz Books. There you will meet more unusual characters and learn about how Baum wrote several books while he was sick in bed.
Then you can grab the tail of the tornado and come back here to leave a comment. Please feel free to leave a comment. I promise that no Winged Monkeys will fly in to take you away.
This is the place to leave a comment about the article "Robert Johnson and the Legend of the Crossroads.
As I began my research about Robert Johnson and the legend of the crossroads, I realized that this was going to be a huge project. Although there is little known about his short and tragic life, there is a wealth of documentation about his music, how it affected other musicians, and whether or not he really made a deal with the devil.
I watched multiple videos with different versions of the Cross Road Blues. I poured over websites devoted to the Blues for any mention of this mysterious man. I watched documentaries about his life. I pondered over inconsistencies in the stories and tried to find accurate sources for the quotes and information I used.
At one point I threw up my hands and told my husband, “I can't do this. There is too much information, too many people to talk about. It is overwhelming me.” And I put the project in a hidden room of the Crossroads and moved on to something else.
The Dalai Lama said, “I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.” Synchronicity or random coincidences seem to pop up in our lives quite frequently. Sometimes my husband and I just shake our heads, laugh, and wonder just what the Universe was trying to tell us.
I am fond of reading books on my Kindle before I go to sleep. I am a book addict, so I tend to download free or low cost books that seem interesting to me. On one particular night, I was reading a detective story with paranormal twists that took place in Los Angeles. The name of the book is The Antiquity: An L.A. Crime Novel by Darren Hackett. It's a pretty good story that involves a burned-out homicide detective trying to solve a string of murders that have to do with an ancient sacred artifact.
There was nothing in the plot of that related to the blues or the Mississippi Delta. So imagine my shock and amazement when one of the characters started talking about Robert Johnson and the legend of the crossroads. I looked up at the ceiling and shook my fist at the Universe. “No, no, no!” I don't want to go back to writing about Robert Johnson. It is too much. I can't do it.”
I crawled out of bed (I wanted to say leaped, but in our RV crawling is a more apt description), made my way to the living room (a short journey) to tell my husband what had just happened. I felt it was important that I have a witness so I wouldn't doubt myself. Then I stomped back to bed to try to sleep after being hit over the head by a synchronicity that was so clear I couldn't ignore it.
The next day I started working on Robert Johnson's article again. I am rather happy with how it turned out. If you haven't read it, slide on over to the page titled “Robert Johnson and the Legend of the Crossroads.” Then slide back over here to let me know what you think. Do you often experience synchronicity in your life? Have you ever acted on them? Just a bit of trivia, a “slide” is a guitar technique that Robert Johnson often used on his songs.
“Welcome Yule” my husband and I say in response to those who wish us a Merry Christmas. As pagans and witches, we do not celebrate the birth of Jesus. Instead we celebrate the Winter Solstice also known as Yule. Welcome Yule is a shortened version of the phrase, “May all things Well and good Come to you and yours at this season of Yule.”
My husband and I started searching for pagan Yule decorations many years ago. We noticed we could not find any holiday cards or signs that used the words “Welcome Yule.” So we decided to make our own in our Zazzle store. Zazzle is an on-line marketplace where you can design products and sell them without having to keep an inventory.
I searched high and low to assist other pagans in finding unique decorations for their Yule tree. Well that is not really true. I actually searched for items from Amazon and Zazzle that fit the symbolic mythology of the season. I also provided a bit of information about the symbols that are associated with Christmas, like mistletoe, holly, and the evergreen tree, that come from pagan customs and have nothing to do with the nativity in Bethlehem.
So feel free to browse at Pagan Friendly Decorations for Yule. There will be a link there if you wish to return to leave a comment. I'd love to hear about your own special Yule traditions.
The Story Behind the Witch Who Danced With Ghosts
Quite a few years ago I was involved in a pagan forum with several people I knew from a local Wiccan group. We decided, just for fun, to create a fantasy where we would each play characters and do some role playing. I decided I wanted to be the crone.
We all came up with different story lines, which became a little tangled at times as we each had our own ideas about what the story was about. I came up with the idea of the crone, who having trouble sleeping one night, wandered around the castle until she stumbled upon a ballroom. Well, you know what happens next. She had a most delightful adventure meeting and dancing with several well-known singers who have passed beyond the veil. Since it was an on-going story, at the end the crone was transported back to her room by the spirits where she woke up bright and cheerful in the morning.
One of the ghosts who visit the witch is George Harrison, who died in 2001. He wrote a song called “All Things Must Pass,” and the chorus emphasizes “All things must pass, All things must pass away.” That is truly the back story of this tale, for the forum I was in eventually disbanded. I later joined a writing platform called Squidoo, where I decided to re-post my witch story for Halloween.
As I was working on adapting it to that format, I said to my husband, “Wouldn't it be cool if the witch actually died in the story?' He said, “I thought she already had.” So the new version of the story was born.
But as George reminded us, all things must pass away, and the writing platform called Squidoo was sold to another company. I decided at that time to move everything I've written to the Crossroads, which I had started but really hadn't devoted much time to. The Witch Who Danced With Ghosts joins several other articles that I had previously written for Squidoo.
If you haven't read it yet, fly, float, or dance over to The Witch Who Danced With Ghosts. Then come back and tell me what you think. I love to hear from my visitors.
When my husband mentioned he was writing an article on Mabon, I jumped at the chance to add it to my Wiccan Sabbats page in the Crossroads. He is my go-to person when I have a question about Wicca or almost anything really.
Arawyn is the name I've known him by ever since we met on-line 18 years ago. Of course he has a muggle name, Gene Wallace, but it took me a long time to get comfortable using it.
Let me share just a bit of his history.
Arawyn served for 13 years as a US Air Force avionics technologist, working with electronic stealth systems. He is a Vietnam veteran with two tours of duty.
He worked for 7 years as a civilian systems technical representative on the B-1B flight test project.
Arawyn has been a avid game player all his life, starting with chess and moving on to role play and computer gaming.
Though he was raised in a fundamental Christian family, he stepped out of the box of his Christian programming just before joining Air Force at the age of 20. He explored secular humanism for several years and then delved into Druidry through the Henge of Keltria.
Arawyn went to his first Wicca class in a bookstore in late 1995. He became a member of the Circle of the Cosmic Muse and was initiated in October, 1996. The High Priestess of Cosmic Muse, Maria Kay Simms, is the author of the book "Witch's Circle". For two years he was deeply involved in the circle activities. He also taught Wicca Basics and Rune Divination and Magickal Working at bookstores in the San Diego area.
We were both involved in a witch-themed independent movie called Mind Forest., where we played the parts of witches in the late 1600s., Arawyn also served as technical consultant for the film and wrote the chant that weaves its way through the film. Unfortunately, it has never been made into a feature film but you can view the trailer. He is the big scary guy with the big sword.
Arawyn has had a thirst for knowledge all his life and is constantly reading books and everything else available, and has enjoyed doing in-depth research on many subjects since high school, both in libraries and on-line. He received his first set of encyclopedias right after he was born and read each one, as well as yearly updates, cover to cover.
As I said earlier, we met on-line in 1997 in a spiritual chat room and got together in the material world in 1998. We consider ourselves to be spirit mates and have chosen to travel together in the rest of this incarnation, continuing to seek and experience spiritual knowledge. We are now living in an RV in New Mexico with our feline master, Wileykat.
We are both in the process incorporating the theories of quantum physics with our Wiccan beliefs. Arawyn likes to refer to his theories as Quantum Realism.
Travel this path to read the article “Why Is The Autumnal Equinox Named Mabon?"
I had intended this post to be an area where people could ask him questions. Unfortunately, he passed through the doorway to the spirit world on Feb 13, 2017. He had a major heart attack which followed a minor attack in November. Although I know we shall meet again, right now I am missing my best friend.
Also by Arawyn Walense
What "So Mote It Be" Means
I find that when I start writing a new article, I never know where it will end up. When I was still a member of the on-line writing site, Squidoo, I belonged to the Squidoo Book Club. One day they offered a challenge....write about your favorite fictional character, I had to really think about it. There were so many to choose from. But somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, where few dare to tred, I heard the little voice saying, “Dobby is still a free elf.” I knew I had to focus the review on Dobby the House-Elf from Harry Potter.
It was a huge undertaking, for I wanted to explore the mythology of house elves to set the scene for the appearance of Dobby. Talking about the story line was quite easy, since J.K. Rowling had already done the hard work.
But then I ran across an interview with her where she said she didn't really know where her characters and story lines come from. I had another writer friend who said she believed her characters were already in existence, and she just discovered them.
That whole idea set me down the rabbit hole into the theory of parallel universes. So two my interests, fantasy fiction and quantum physics were joined together. I really don't think Dobby thought he was quite that powerful.
If you have been sad because Dobby died in the book and movie, please take a moment to read “Is Dobby Still Alive in a Parallel Universe?” Then apparate, a magical form of teleportation, back to this blog post to leave a comment about what you have read. I dearly love to read comments from my readers and I promise to answer you.
Click on this magical portal.
“Is Dobby Still Alive in a Parallel Universe?”
That question is asked over and over in the song Alive by the pagan folk band Omnia. This is the song that got my attention when I first heard it, leading me to listen to many of their other songs.
The song Alive is very mysterious for it appears to honor Vana, the goddess of spring. I tried looking for the origin of this word and soon found myself immersed in Nordic mythology and gods and goddesses called the Vanir. After more searching I read some research where the word vana came from Sanskrit and means water. Other sources say it means forest.
I've searched high and low for the language that is used in parts of the song. It doesn't seem to be a language that Google recognizes. I read a comment on You-Tube describing it as “mouth music” consisting mostly of nonsense words. Mouth music is used by acapella groups to mimic musical instruments.
So really I have no idea what the words mean and am quite willing to accept that they may mean “dance for Vana” the goddess of spring.
As I said, the song Alive first introduced me to the group, but I have discovered many songs I like. At times I have to cringe because of the liberal use of the vulgar word f...k. Still, they celebrate being free and doing their own thing, dressing as they desire, and proudly wearing the label “weird.”
This is definitely a pagan band, therefore their music mainly attract pagans with similar ideas of protecting the earth.
Omnia is now appearing at the Minstrel Hall in Sage Hollow at the Crossroads. If you are so inclined you can get there by clicking on Omnia, a Pagan Band that Rocks.
I wrote the article “Whispers of the Crone” several years ago after hearing the words run through my mind every night before I fell asleep. I wasn't sure what it meant, but I knew I needed to write something about crones.
For most of my life, I have been a feminist and a naysayer against the cultural expectation women place on themselves to be beautiful and stay young looking. Why do celebrities choose to undergo face-lifts and botox treatments until their face is so frozen they can't smile? Yes, I know men do it too. It is difficult for me to understand the mindset of someone who would go to such lengths to avoid what is a natural process – aging.
Yet that is what the cosmetic industry wants us to do. Buy a certain cream to make your skin look softer and younger. It is a multi-billion dollar industry, measuring in the hundreds of billions. Can you even imagine that number? Yet, women in particular will continue to listen to the hype which convinces them that they need to buy products that help them appear to be youthful.
“Whispers of the Crone” invites the reader to take the opposite approach. Wrinkles are beautiful. Getting older is not a terrible disease we must avoid at all costs. It is a natural part of the journey of life. Eventually we get to the end of our journey in this life, yet I feel confident that the journey doesn't end with death.
I celebrate my cronehood and try to accept with grace everything that comes with it. Please take a moment to let me know your thoughts about the article, or about getting older in general.
To read the article first, hop (or hobble as the case may be, to Whispers of the Crone – Meeting Our Personal Crone.
I walked into a restaurant recently and immediately thought of my mother. On every wall hung beautiful artwork. They weren't enameled copper, but if Mom had been there she would have said, “Oh, that would make a nice enameling piece.”
She found beauty everywhere she looked, whether it was a colorful flower or a lone tree on a Kansas prairie. Somehow things she observed made their way into one of her enameled pieces.
I was lucky to have my mother to teach me the basics of enameling, although I didn't have the passion or patience for it that she did. It also allowed us precious time together and gave me unique memories of turning our ideas into artwork.
Whether you are an artist, an art lover, or just curious, I am glad you stopped by. Please feel free to leave a comment here to let me know you were here.
Quick link back to the Art of Copper Enameling
As a child I enjoyed getting an Easter basket filled with candy and eggs from the Easter Bunny. I always had to hunt for and for the jelly beans that were hidden around the house. I helped my mother color the eggs. My favorite aunt always gave me a stuffed rabbit as a gift. It never occurred to me that these symbols had nothing to do with the religious story of Jesus rising from the dead on Easter morning.
In 2008, after I had been a practicing Wiccan for over ten years, I was inspired to write about the origins of the Easter traditions; the pagan festival of Ostara. I was trying to think of a catchy phrase tp describe the concepts I had written. A little voice whispered in my ear, “Ostara is the Sabbat with the Rabbit.”
It struck me as so appropriate that it became the title for the article. I spent hours doing research on the origins of these traditions. Ostara, also known as Eostre, is both the name of the holiday and of a goddess. It is an amazing folklore story that celebrates the return of spring and the renewal of rebirth of nature itself.
“Ostara: The Sabbat with the Rabbit” was published on two different writing platforms, both of which have been discontinued. So, as we approach the season of Ostara in the Northern Hemisphere (in the Southern Hemisphere is occurs in September), I was eager to bring it out, dust it off, and invite my readers to enjoy the story.
If you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to take a moment to read the article, Then please return here to leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Shortcut to Ostara: The Sabbat with the Rabbit
I am a storyteller. I like to wrap inspirational messages inside little vignettes of my life or the lives of others. I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, have lived in an RV, and am now living in a senior apartment. Everything I've experienced in my 68 years in this incarnation is fair game to be written about.