Bragging rights! I have a great sense of accomplishment. Finished making over 60 Yule ornaments. It’s my job as a Yule elf: I designed, painted, personally printed, and hand cut ornaments for my friends and me. It was a labor of love, gifting loved ones and helping Santa spread magic. Happy holidays!
The only lore I’ve read about dreamcatchers is specific to dreams and nightmares. I sensed a deeper layer about visions—and an even deeper layer about the Goddess. To convey everything I channeled, I crafted a poem and a sculpture. I call them both “Goddess Womb Dreamcatcher.”
The poem and sculpture also convey my thanksgiving to Goddess.
To make the sculpture, I felted wool into organic shapes like leaves, vines, flowers, and a feather. I attached the shapes to a V-shaped stick, so the Dreamcatcher would be reminiscent of a woman’s reproductive system.
The poem is below, but first a detail of the Dreamcatcher: the wool sculpted feather.
Shout out to the folks at Living Felt, where I purchase my wool: they sell quality felting supplies, created without cruelty to sheep, and provide exceptional customer service.
OK, this is the poem, (prayer, affirmation, contemplation, story, brilliant insights, brilliant application of said insights, visualization, ritual, etc.,):
Goddess Womb Dreamcatcher
All visions spring from the Goddess’ belly.
They travel down
until they meet a feather,
then tumble from between Her legs,
onto my mind.
I give thanks.
My mind is a womb upside down, though my mind is right side up.
My womb is a mind upside down, though my womb is right side up.
I am whole if I live in paradox.
I give thanks.
All life is woven within Her womb.
She’s the spinner who spun Herself into being.
I offer the life and art I weave to Her.
I give thanks.
I give thanks.
The Goddess protects me—
captures both nightmares and sweet dreams,
taking them into Herself,
then birthing only the beauty
into my waking day.
I give thanks.
Yes, She’s Nightmare as well
—cackling menace in my powerless hours,
which are both sleeping and waking.
Even in those times, She holds all creation
—including the whole of me—
as the weaving of life that’s safe in Her womb.
I give thanks.
She bestows on me Her complete Self:
all creation and all beyond creation.
My ideal: give Her no less of myself,
offer my entirety
to Her and Her dreams.
I give thanks.
The road to Faerie is not civilized, but kinder.
I wrote the above line in the 80s, but recently someone asked why. Good question! Here’s my answer:
Indoctrinated with the idea that our wild aspects are always ruthless and to be feared, many people’s wild, beautiful power is crushed.
Breaking out of that oppression, they often go to the other extreme, allowing themselves any actions at all, even cruel or irresponsible ones, unaware they’re being hardhearted. They might honestly believe they’re doing no harm, insisting, “I’m just being me. If you don’t like it, you’re trying to oppress me. Not my problem, because I’m a free spirit.”
I wanted to create a maxim showing a third option, other than the two extremes of suppression or hardheartedness. So I coupled the ideas of wildness and kindness.
However, it’d take a whole book to fully explain why I wrote the maxim, since I was trying to express so many ideas in it. I use my skills as a poet to write lyrical aphorisms because they can contain endless concepts and levels in a few words and touch the heart rather than just the intellect.
However, I should share: on one level, the adage refers specifically to the path I walk with my students—the Third Road—and was written as part of a blessing for students entering into a deeper level of study with me.
I wanted the blessing ceremony to include the following thoughts: We’d long ago rejected the hardheartedness mentioned above. But our upcoming shamanic journey would release more of their —and my—wild power than even our previous work together had done. When gaining another degree of wildness, it’s easy to fall prey to foolishness previously discarded. We needed to continue to integrate our wild and civilized aspects. This would more than ever make us whole in ourselves and as a community. Otherwise, we more than ever risked becoming enormously fragmented in ourselves and alienated from fellow seekers. I preferred to express all those thoughts in words that could be carried through the training not just in the mind but also the heart: “The road to Faerie is not civilized, but kinder.”
Hmm … maybe putting all the stuff in the above paragraph into the ceremony would’ve made things clearer, LOL.
Always happy to answer a question! I can’t always explain my poetry, because sometimes poetry is the only way I can explain something. But I tried my best today.
If you recite it, please tell me what happens. Walking through falling snow, I channeled this poem. When the Goddess gave me a line, I chanted it immediately, while continuing my passage beneath a gray snowy sky. The experience was a gift from the Goddess, and doubly joyful when, reaching home, I managed to get a version of it in writing, because now I can share it with you, my fellow seeker (as well as use it again myself). Sharing our journeys blesses me utterly. So it would be wonderful to know your experience with this chant.
And, by the way, it works perfectly well without the snow storm, LOL. You do not need falling snow to use this chant.
Druid (Elven) Winter Solstice Chant
Francesca De Grandis, 2014
With the falling snow,
stars plummet to ground.
I, elf, know my losses.
I, elf, know my losses.
I, elf, know my pains.
I, elf, know my pains.
I, elf, am not trapped by any sorrow.
I, elf, am not destined to mythic melancholy
or an inevitable tragedy of erroneous lore.
Stars descend with the falling snow.
The chill and the heat bless me.
All the power of the stars is mine.
My powers are from the dark Mother Goddess.
My powers are from the blazing newborn King.
My powers are from the earth’s molten core.
My powers are from the fiery silver stars.
My powers are from the Dragon flame—all cauldron fires are mine.
By my powers, I easily manifest utter connection to my Gods.
By my powers, I easily manifest beauty.
By my powers, I easily manifest self-love.
By my powers, I easily manifest usefulness to others.
By my powers, I easily manifest peace.
By my powers, I easily manifest fun.
By my powers, I easily manifest happiness.
By my powers, I easily manifest wealth.
By my powers, I easily manifest health.
I easily manifest connection to all my self.
I easily manifest connection to all things.
I easily manifest integration within myself.
I easily manifest integration within the World Tree.
I easily manifest Faerie.
Being a Yule elf is part of my personal mythology. Do you have a personal myth this time of year? Please share it. When we share our imaginative lives, we make an even larger mythology spontaneously emerge, to enlarge all our joy, power, and creativity.
Besides, being one of Santa’s elves makes me so happy that I’m bursting at the seams! I have to share about it, or I’ll pop, like a balloon. Here goes:
Santa put me in a managerial position this year. I wasn’t sure what to think about that, at first. I mean, I was honored, but it’s not what I expected, and I did not like totally the idea.
But I’ve learned that, when Santa wants me to do something, there’s no point in resisting, because he always knows what I want, better than I might know it myself. So I knew the job would be good for me, in the long run.
Besides, I’ve worked as middle-management for chaos gods for years. I have the perfect skill set for managing wild elves and the crazy goings-on at the North Pole. Plus, I am not the only manager, the jobs are divvied up.
My particular job involves a lot of organization. I’ve been organizing the elf games (but not the reindeer games). This requires coming up with fun activities.
My elf friend Kathi Somers helped out. Her Yule gift to me this year was the Ravensberger game Funny Bunny. Yeah, it’s for ages four and up, but I’m not too proud to enjoy a silly preschoolers’ game. As the song says, “It’s a gift to be simple.” Simple things in life can be the best. And foolishness wakes up life’s magic.
My work is not just managerial, but also creative. I like that. Part of organizing the festivities has been coming up with holiday menus. Last year, I created a chocolate recipe I really liked. So I used it again this year. My personal formula for keeping spirits up during the Yule season: Chocolate lumps, not lumps of coal. Gluten and sugar-free.
Oh, another thing: I get to be in charge of the Make-A-Wish-to-Pagan-Santa page again this year! I experience such joy doing it, because the wishes people make to Santa are beautiful! I am so lucky to convey them to Santa! Click here to make your wishes.
Diana, the Light Bearer.
Goddess of Stregas.
You are all power, love, and beauty.
You are bliss.
You are eternity in which I reside each moment.
You are every moment.
This blog is not about the wonderful Diana that many American Pagans know—virgin huntress and patron of Dianic Wicca, a women-only witchcraft tradition.
This blog is about the equally wonderful Diana, known more in Europe. She is the Great Mother. I painted the above portrait to honor Her.
I discovered amazing love from Her and for Her. After I’ve given my students rituals to experience the same, the majority of the men chose Her as their Patron.
Pray—not just read—the following prayer, to experience an example of Her heart. It can only be understood experientially.
Prayer for Solace and to Be Filled with Her Spirit
Diana, enfold me in your embrace. Comfort me. In the wailing of my heart and the sorrow that wracks my back and chest, let yourself shine down upon me, your moon self. Hold me. Be with me. Let me feel your loving presence. Send the Bird of Heaven to me, to enter my heart and fill me with your spirit.
You know, I think I published this prayer/poem in a 1980s SageWoman magazine. … Yup, except there I’d called it “Invocation to Diana.” I called Anne NN, who gave me this link to the issue.
Running with Psychic Scissors
A blessing can become a bane. The bigger the blessing, the more it can sour. Diana bestows immense blessings, so let’s discuss how a blessing can turn against one. Much of what I will say can be adapted to apply to many other blessings and occult explorations.
She loves each of us completely, knowing every cranny of our psyche. This makes us feel special, as we should. However, specialness can cause us to doubt She can love anyone else so purely. That is arrogance.
Arrogance can ruin any blessing, in ways that harm you and people around you.
Whether a relationship with Her is new or decades old, we can stay humble, by knowing 1) its amazing love is unique yet not unique and 2) it will always be only a beginning of the love and power She can give. Thus we walk in grace and fulfillment of our life goals.
She bestows great love and great power, both beautiful beyond description. When you think you have a monopoly on a pure beauty, you’re in trouble.
I try to help my students navigate amazing gifts they receive, not just those from Diana. The occult world is dangerous if navigated alone. Without input from a teacher and other friends, any of us can badly harm self and others, despite good intentions.
For one thing, when you receive a blessing of immense power, negative spirits might try to trick you into using it for evil. They might masquerade as your Patron Deity, feeding your ego (arrogance) with “spiritual” nana.
They also might give you untrue information about your allies, making you mistreat and forsake them, so that you have no input to counter the negative spirits’.
Plus, we do not hear everything from our actual Patron correctly. We listen with flawed perceptions. Other people’s input is important.
After watching a fair number of people whose amazing, illuminating visions preceded those people’s descent down the tubes, I’m grateful for teachers who saved me from my own arrogance by consistently giving me input.
Anyone, newbie or adept, can profit from simply praying, “Diana, please shine your light on my heart, so that I stay humble in your love.”
Diana offers moonlit secrets. Meditate on this painting to receive a secret blessing from Diana. (You may have seen my former renditions of this decades ago. Now that I paint digitally, I can offer Her a better version.)
Paradoxes: Her secret wisdoms, being so perfect, are only for you. Keep the secrets, but do not think they make you more deserving than other people.
With humility, your power and bounty never cease.
Serve according to Her will, then your heart and cup forever fill.
She accepts our flaws.
Diana’s decades-long flawed servant, my blessings only increase.
I painted the above piece last fall, joyful at my little kitten growing up and coming of age as a familiar.
I also wanted to share that immense happiness about my kitty with you, in the spirit of celebrating all our familiars. Creating a painting seemed a way to do that (but I had no chance to post it til now, LOL).
Animals are far more multifaceted than some people understand, but we who live with familiars know better. Let me share a story about that.
After I painted the piece, I wanted to make a Merry Yule greeting with my kitty in it, just for my personal use. (You might have seen my post of it to wish you Happy Yule 2013.) I thought I’d try to adapt the above already-finished picture. The result surprised me and was interesting: Though the adaptation changed only the cat’s environment and the text, and left the cat itself exactly as is, a completely different facet of her became obvious.
In the original, I see her depth, nobility, and new maturity. But put her in a different surrounding with different text? Check it out below.
What a mischievous no-good girl! Such a naughty look in her eyes! None of that was apparent in the original version.
I’m not sharing the story to credit myself as an artist. My point is to credit the complexity of animals, and how you and I both see it in these two pictures, when a lot of people would not.
Here’s to our familiars, the wonderfully complex and mystical beings that are our companions, teachers, co-conspirators, comfort, partners in magic, and all around friends. I honestly do not know what I’d do without them. They play so many important roles for me. I am grateful to recognize their many facets.
What is going to be on your Ostara altar? Sharing our altar journeys with each other unites our spirits—it is a way we can celebrate Sabbats together long-distance.
In my case, preparing an Ostara altar this year involved art work.
Let’s start with the Ostara pendant I made, to the right. … Um, okay, it is jewelry, not an altar piece. … But I myself can be an Ostara altar!
I love ornamented eggs, but didn’t think I’d have time to make Ostara eggs this year.
I painted one green and the other purple.
Then I ornamented them with various Jones Tones foils.
Next, I coated them with a protective clear finish.
I made each into a pendant by putting it on a jewelry pin, along with other with beautiful little beads. Joking aside about being an altar, I adorn myself in praise of my Gods.
Whatever they are, they sparkle, and this faerie loves sparkly things.
Below is another piece that will be on my altar:
When I thought to myself that I’d have no time to decorate eggs, I’d forgotten that I’d already painted the above Celtic knot work talisman, probably in January. Do you ever get so caught up in creating that you forget what you have created? Let me know, please. I made this during a painting binge. Later I channeled material about it, which you can read at http://etsy.me/1pyFsvf
Traditional lore tells us that the cosmic egg explodes into chaos at spring equinox, creating the cosmos.
More knotwork: I painted this Birthing Goddess in 2013, probably during the winter. So this is the first spring equinox I can have Her on my altar.
My altar will also hold other pieces of my art, plus ritual objects I’ve acquired over the years—including other people’s art, such as a beautifully crafted wand, and a well-made blade. Art takes many forms.
I only speak for myself when I say that placing my and other people’s art on an altar feeds my pagan heart and imbues my Sabbats celebrations with power.
What is going to be on your altar? Is there a story about creating or acquiring those pieces? Sharing our altar plans and altar stories can be an actual joint celebration of the rituals done at our respective altars.