Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Whatcha doing in the woods?" "Oh, nothing. Just findin' wands and stuff ..."

The air had just enough autumny crispness to make things interesting - and to encourage me to wear socks.  The sun was warming but not sweat-inducing.  The leaves had started falling, but none had turned brown yet.  Early Autumn.  Pre-Samhain, but just a bit after Mabon,  And all the stinging insects seemed to have gone back to their special little insect hells..  All in all - a perfect day.

I set out on a hike in the woods.  Had some beautiful Native American flute music playing on Pandora.  Set the perfect tone for me to communicate with my angels and spirit guides.  Sometimes when we talk, the right side of my head feels tingly and warm.  This was one of those times.  My guardian angel was particularly chatty.  And suddenly, I felt the urge, nay, the directive, to look down.  There, before me, lay a fallen branch the perfect size to be turned into a wand.

It had just enough craggyness, just enough of a feeling of a singular history, a feeling of knowingness.  In this one broken branch, I felt connection and a sense of play.  This one little branch.

"But what if another one speaks more loudly?", I asked my guardian.

"You'll know.  Keep looking".

So I did.  I only felt compelled to pick up sticks that were on the right side of the path, and only ones that were not sticking out of the wet leaves piled to the side of the path. I saw a couple "contenders" on the left side of the path, but did not pick them - they weren't the proper vibration.

Then another branch came into view.  I picked it up and crossed it over the other branch, knocking them together with three raps - "clack, clack, clack!", because three is a divine number.  This I did as I walked along, beating a rhythm in the stillness of the forest.

"Clack, clack, clack!"

This seemed to empower them.  It also helped me clarify if they were worthy or magickal work.  I felt this intuitively.  The rhythmic beating also came intuitively.  "Clack, clack, clack!" went the Mystic, striding rhythmically through the forest.

Then a third branch, then a fourth, fifth, and sixth.  At this point, I held three branches in each hand and went "Clack, clack, clack" with three branches hitting the other three, reversing the right-hand branches over the left-hand, and back and forth, back and forth.

I intrinsically knew I'd  find seven would-be wands that day - another holy number.  Number seven then came into view.  And then my walk had ended, under the canopy of towering spruce trees, my cathedral in the forest.  I thanked God, Father Sky, and Mother Earth.  I thanked my guides.  Gratitude was pretty much sparkling through the trees with the glimmers of afternoon sun, dancing around me.

Here are my beauties.  Interestingly, all are just about the same length - that's just how they came to me.  None are brittle; they'll take well to whittling and sanding. I'm still leaning more toward the first branch I found to be my new wand (5th branch from the left), but I think I'll truly know more when I start working with them.

This is what the Mystic did in the forest last week.  Now, the blessing. consecrating, and FUN begins!

Monday, October 5, 2015

October, 2015: The Season of the Witch

Hello and welcome to October, witches all!

Folks, the last year or so has been a very enlightening time of growth for me in many aspects of my life, but mostly in my spirituality.  Something has shifted and I no longer fear my self-identification as a witch.  So, in honor of this shift and acceptance, I'm doing daily posts on this blog's Facebook page that have to do with witchiness, being witchy, the Craft, popular culture revolving around the Craft (leaning, of course, to Mid-Century things), tutorials on witchcraft.  I call them, "Season of the Witch".  You can read them here:

Part of my personal Season has to do with creating my own path of study in the Craft.  Although I am a member of a coven, I'm rarely able to take part in temple activities because it's about an hour from my house.  So, springboarding from what I've already learned, I'm following the lessons detailed in the book, "To Stir a Magick Cauldron" by the incomparable Silver RavenWolf: 

It's been a challenge to stay on course at times with my magickal learning, but Silver RavenWolf gives you clear lessons to follow which have, thus far, been very revealing for me.  To date, I've created my own devotionals, worked closely with grounding and centering (practiced this in the past, but RavenWolf really makes the concept clear and easy), and fashioned an outdoor altar to work with nature spirits; yes, I'm creating my own Hogwarts.  I've been growing in confidence through the use of this book, which has been tremendous gift.  Confidence was what I was lacking.  RavenWolf's guidance and warmth is without peer.  So grateful.  So, so grateful ...

Tune in next time, friends in magick, when the Mystic reveals what she's been up to in the woods ...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The D23 Expo, in Anaheim, on August 14 and 15: 5 definite "DO"s and 5 whole-hearted "DON'T"s

A fan convention is not for the faint of heart.  No, it isn't.  It's also not for folks who don't like waiting.  In lines.  A long time.  Again and again.

There.  You have now witnessed me shaking off the frustration.  You see, this was not only my first D23 Expo, it was also my first fan convention of any sort.  I was NOT prepared for the magnitude, the grand scope, the teeming throngs, and the standing and waiting in lines in order to wait in lines for other things you needed to wait in line for.  However, when all was said and done, this Mystic had a truly magical time, full of Disney wonderfulness, embracing the old and clapping and jumping about the new.  Here, just a smattering of what occurred.

Here is your intrepid Mystic, really really glad to be at the Anaheim Convention Center, but not really sure what came next.  What came next was waiting in a holding area from which we were then ushered into a grand hall to see the Disney Legends presentation.  Amazing folks like Danny Elfman, George Lucas, and (one of my favorite Disney artists) Andreas Deja were inducted.  Then Bob Iger mentions that D23 likes surprises.  The room is bathed in darkness ...

and up pops Johnny Depp.

I had a moment.  One of those moments where I had to say to the guy sitting next to me (after roughly thrusting my elbow into his ribs in a mad scramble to get my phone out, to take a video which I dare not post due to copyright laws.  Suffice it to say, it is in my phone, will soon be on my office computer, and I'll view it on cold, wintry days when I need a little heat in the room), "Sorry, but I'm having a moment."  He understood.  My hubby rolled his eyes.
But so anyway ... here's George Lucas, being all "Star Wars"y.  I didn't get a photo of Depp.  Was too busy hearing the heavens open up and watching little Depp-like cherubs descend down into the ballroom:

Oh, by the way, I had no less than 10 women want to purchase my dress from my person.  This is a close-up of the dress I wore.  True vintage. VERY Mary Blair.  Seriously, I think one woman plotzed right in front of Mickey.

Out in the show floor, we found all sorts of treasures.  Like the re-issue of the Little Golden Book, "Little Man of Disneyland".  Legend has it that the Little Man's house can be found somewhere in Disneyland.  I mean to find it next time I visit.

This highly-coveted Crockpot has the same design as the highly-coveted Lasseter shirt my hubby now owns.

The plan was to go to John Lasseter's event about upcoming Pixar films, including "The Good Dinosaur" and "Finding Dory".  We missed it, because we were in a LONG line, waiting to get into the Disney Store in order to purchase a very limited edition shirt, designed by Mr. Lasseter, featuring characters from all his films.  We got the shirt.  My hubby is elated, more than Christmas morning, ten birthdays, and seven anniversaries all put together.  Instead, we went to a presentation about the history of the Jungle Cruise.  It was quite entertaining and informative, featuring some rare footage of Walt tooling around in a circa 1955 all-terrain vehicle, wending his way through a dug out road that would eventually become the river of the ride. This made me deliriously gleeful.

Meanwhile, back on the showfloor, more groovy goods, including a little museum featuring all of Mr. Lasseter's shirts.  Here's one that was designed for "Bolt":

Villain dude from new Star Wars movie, giving me the stink eye.

Beautiful Fantasia artwork, made of collectible pins!

My hubby.  My friend who likes to play.

She was the Matterhorn.  The FLEEPIN' MATTERHORN!

Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars mash-up.  Brilliant.

When at a fan expo, you should do your job and be a fan.  So, here are some celebrities we encountered:

I call this "The Family Portrait"

Yours truly and the charming Bobby Burgess, one of the original Mouseketeers!  I'd interviewed him for a podcast for Theme Park Press.  It was a true pleasure to meet him in person!

Dick Van Dyke.  Dick. Van. Dyke.  My childhood leapt from my heart into my throat..  All the feelings.

Ed Asner.  Being gruff but very loveable.
Opening very soon in China, Disney Shanghai.  We are busy collecting our yuan in hopes of being there, and probably doing an entire Pacific Rim tour of the other Disney Parks.  Here are just a couple images from the wonderful exhibit designed to inform and delight.  It definitely accomplished both goals:

The exquisite Disney Shanghai castle.  

There's going to be not just a Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Shanghai, but entire LAND.  Based on the films.  So, in essence, Captain Jack Sparrow Land.  Let the plotzing begin ...

Models depicting a couple of the horses from the Fantasia-themed carousel.

Chinese astrology will be featured in one of the attraction at Shanghai.  This is my Chinese astrological symbol, in the person of Thumper.  As it should be.

And that was pretty much Day One.

Day Two: top of the docket was visiting the incredible D23 exhibit devoted to 60 Years of Disneyland.  Absolutely astounding.  Here are some highlights.  Just a few.  Here's hoping this exhibit hits the road like the last D23 Archives exhibit - and it comes to a museum near you!:

My baby and me, enjoying.  In our element.

Part of the Alice ride exhibit.  Alice = spirit animal.

You want groovy?  Okay.  

Some Disneyland collectibles.  I happen to own the drink tray.

Animatronic Darlings.

There was a TV show that originated from Disneyland that starred the Osmond Brothers.  I did not know this.  I also didn't know how groovy the Osmonds could be.

Fantasmic!  BIG Maleficent dragon head, almost the size of a Honda Fit!

Awesome Disneyland paper ephemera.

Just hanging with our hero.
So, to summarize with a little bit of Top 5 action:

Top 5 Must "DO"s at the D23 Expo:

1.  DO dress up!  If you can manage a costume, go for it!  If you have vintage finery, like myself, that is definitely Disneyesque, go for it!  You'll feel like more a part of the action and spirit of the event.

2.  DO arrive early if you want to get into a particular event!  I had a friend who arrived the night before and camped out.  I had another friend arrive about 4 hours prior to the event.  It really does make a difference, and you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing you WILL see the celebrities, sneak peeks, etc. that you've been dying to see.

3.  DO drink a lot of water and eat well.  I learned this the hard way - after hyperventilating after seeing Mr. Depp (like a 13-year-old girl in 1964 at a Beatles concert), I almost passed out, from the excitement and lack of water and food.  There are food courts throughout the Expo.  But you may also wish to check out the food trucks - hopefully they will become a permanent part of the Expo.  Had an amazing pulled pork grilled cheese and then mango shave ice.  The happies!!

4.  DO allot enough time for touring the show floor - all of it!  There are a lot of smaller vendors who have great merchandise, or stories to tell, or historic items on display.  You don't want to miss them because you're waiting in line all day for a 2-hour event, IMO.

5.  DO bring your "mad money".  Let's face it - there are some fantastic items on sale that you won't find elsewhere.  So start squirreling away the loot now.

Top 5 Must "DON'T"s at the D23 Expo:

1.  DON'T have a hissy, crying, panting fit if you don't get into all the events you hoped to see.  I really, really, really wanted to see John Lasseter.  He's a huge hero of mine and Ben's.  But since teleportation has not been invented yet, it just was not to be.  I came close to the aforementioned hissing, crying and panting (especially when I learned Ellen DeGeneres also showed up to talk about "Finding Dory"! And then there was my boyfriend, Ty Burrell) - not cool!  It's DISNEY!   It's my happy place!  For shame!

2.  DON'T overextend promises to friends to get them presents.  This has to do with the teleportation thing I just mentioned.  I love my friends and I like treating people.  I like making people smile.  But if you're spending hours waiting in lines to get into one store to get an item, or shop for 6 people, or you spend hours looking around the entire show floor for that perfect Bing Bong doll, you may miss a lot of the magic that's found in the non-retail portion of the event.

3.  DON'T miss any of the D23 Archive displays.  Trust me on this.  If you're a true, dyed-in-the-wool Disney fanatic, you'll be thrilled by these offerings.  They MAY come to a museum near you, but if they don't, you'll be missing SO much.

4.  DON'T forget to visit the parks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Make sure you balance out your time in the Expo hall with time visiting the place Walt built down the street!  That's where the true magic lives.  And don't forget to nod at the little lamp in the window over the firehouse when you do.

5.  Finally, DON'T forget that if you DO miss any of the special announcements and "First time ever"s, you'll likely find them on Youtube later that same day.  

To leave you with one pearl of wisdom: think balance.  If you're into tarot, carry around the Temperance card and refer to it throughout the day as a touchstone.  Balance out your day with a special event, some shopping, bathe in some glorious Disney history, and invest some time in self-care.

In the end, it's all about the Magic that Walt built.  Be sure to take some time to thank that wonderful gentleman for his heart, his vision, his tenacity and don't ever forget - it all started with a mouse ...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First annual TIKI WEEK - 2015

There is no such thing as Tiki Week.  You won't find it in any search, there are no Tiki Weeks in Hawaii, or part of any Mid-Century Modern show or sale.  You see, Tiki Week is the offspring of my imagination - and to fill out a week that needs some pizazz.

What do you do during the end of June, early July before the 4th?  Nothing.  There's nothing going on.  My Dad's birthday was June 25.  I wanted to find a festive way to commemorate it, but also to fill that void of time between Summer Solstice and "Yankee Doodle Dandy".  Hence, Tiki Week was born.

What did I do to celebrate it?  Oh, lots of things.  Did it last exactly one calendar week?  Hell, no!  Do I suggest finding ways to personalize if for yourself?  Indubitably.


DRESS: I have a vintage barkcloth Hawaiian dress that is frighteningly similar to this one. So I wore that:

DECOR: Here is my fireplace mantle, tikified (Dollar Tree had the really cool fish netting for a buck!  Bless you all over the place, Dollar Tree!:
SCENTS AND FOODSTUFFS: You want to create ambience.  And you want to consume pineappley-coconutty things.  I burned Paradise Punch-scented Scentsy wax in my burner.  I burned mango incense (you can purchase some here: http://www.koamaster.com/product/TW51294/MANGO-INCENSE-W-CERAMIC-HOLDER---HAWAIIAN-GIFT-BOX-SET.html).  I ate a Mounds bar.  I consumed Dole Whip, home-made by my friend, Michelle.  You can find the mix here: http://www.amazon.com/Dole-Pineapple-Serve-Pound-case/dp/B00CCTE5WQ (I highly recommend this as an alternative to flying out to Disney just for the Dole Whip.  Which, at times, I've really wanted to do)

MUSIC: Then there was the music.  Enter, vintage Hawaiian LPs:

I also played my little ukulele.  I don't play well, but I'm learning.  You can purchase a similar ukulele here: http://www.kalabrand.com/KalaUke.html

THE SHENANIGANS: Next, the hubby and I visited our beloved local tiki bar, the great Hala Kahiki, celebrating 50 years this year! http://www.halakahikilounge.com/

Pink Flamingo Pinata
I watched "Blue Hawaii" with a gaggle of girlfriends (it was part of a "Tiki Salsa Solstice Celebration" a few days after the solstice.  We did a fire ceremony.  We ate mango salsa and drank mai tais.  I filled a pinata shaped like a pink flamingo with airplane bottles of pink and blue Kinky and Rum Chata.  We cracked it open - the bottles popped out - except for those I had to pull out of its bottom like birthing a breach baby)  And then there was this:

Image for Blue Hawaii
Blue Hawaii

We were enthralled with how men's swim trunks fit back in the 1960s.  It was a positive thing.  We all enjoyed the drape of the fabric (sure, we did). We were also enthralled with this:


Oh, and the "houseboy" in the film is called Ping Pong.  Apparently this wasn't a problem back then. Angela Lansbury played Elvis's mother.  She was, in real life, only ten years older than he.
Image result for angela lansbury blue hawaii
From cine-fille.com

What Tiki Week did was inevitably shine a light on the aloha spirit.  I found this beautiful summary of such on huna.org:

The spirit of Aloha was an important lesson taught to the children of the past because it was about the world of which they were a part. One early teaching goes like this:
Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me. When there is pain - it is my pain. When there is joy - it is also mine. I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me. I will not willfully harm anyone or anything. When food is needed I will take only my need and explain why it is being taken. The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian - this is Aloha!"

 Tiki week was about the pineapple drinks, the grass skirts, and the campy 60s films.  Oh - and the "Brady Bunch" tiki episode (of course).  

But it was also about being in nature, about really taking in light and water and sun and breeze.  It was the warm evening air brushing against my skin. It was about the peace I needed, the tranquility of our backyard waterfall, the sweet little notes I strum on my ukulele ...

and tiki drinks. There are always the tiki drinks  http://www.jamieoliver.com/drinks-tube/recipe/blue-hawaiian/#5u1keS1VFuXWvH4V.97

And yes, there WILL be a Tiki Week 2016.  But it may last a month.