News / Witch

Howling Moon Blessings from Feral Strumpet

Getting ready for a few more months of winter, I’m turning to music that got me through the difficult years of high school– specifically this X song, "The Hungry Wolf." This Full Wolf Moon comes between the long night moon and Imbolc, before spring starts make a brave show through the frost.  This moon was named for the hungry wolves that surrounded villages back when stores were getting lean, from a time when perhaps we better understood we were part of a living cycle, just as vulnerable as the wild things around us.

The moon is a constant inspiration for me, and you can find the latest moon-inspired designs in the Howling Moon Collection.

I thought it was fitting today that the Tarot card I pulled was the King of Stones from the Wildwood Tarot– a beautiful wolf howling at the moon.

 

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It’s a Dark & Decadent Halloween at Feral HQ

From now until All Hallows Eve, save 20% off all dark, decadent pieces in the Gothic Adornments collection at Feralstrumpet.co.uk.

It’s my favourite time of year, when adults can ask each other, “what are you going to be?” We don’t have many trick-or-treaters where I live, but I stock up on candy anyway.  As the veil thins, we honour our ancestors but also indulge in other delights– I always share some with them on my altar.

How are you celebrating this Samhain or Halloween?

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New Designs in the Shop Every Week!

Did you know that there are new designs in the shop every Friday, and you can find them in one place – The What’s New Collection at Feralstrumpet.co.uk before they get snapped up by anyone else!

And just to say thanks for clicking over to check out the collection, I’m offering 15% off everything in the What’s New Collection for the rest of August– just use coupon code 8NEW16 at checkout.

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Happy Birthday, Doctor Dee

Today is the birthday of Doctor Dee, court magician and mathematician to Queen Elizabeth the I.  My ambivalent fascination with Doctor Dee can be traced back to a single object– his scrying mirror in the cabinet of curiosities that is the Enlightenment Hall of the British Museum. During my monthly pilgrimages to the British Museum, I would always pay a visit to this most seductive of objects, displayed beside a crystal ball and a pair of Enochian tablets– tools to decode the angelic language dee and Edward Kelley thought would be the key to communing with angels.

 

 

 

His angelic conversations were always conducted with Christian piety, perhaps sparing him from the witch trials rampant at the time. He had hoped the angels could help heal the very real spiritual rift left from the dissolution of the Catholic church and the new Church of England.
 
We are left to wonder just what kind of magician was Dr. Dee? The newly revealed circle of skulls at his feet in the painting above– and that they were once painted over– speaks to this ambivalence. He was perhaps foremost a librarian– his library was the largest in England.  After six years abroad, advising monarchs in Central Europe, Dee returned to London to find his home and library vandalised and ransacked.  He was an imperialist, one of the early architects of the colonisation of America.  Perhaps its no wonder that this power object, his “devil’s mirror” was Aztec obsidian imported to England in the early 1500s. The coloniser and colonised are wedded in the deepest ways, but I digress.

Was the mirror even Dee’s? We only have Horace Walpole’s word on this. Fiction is often closer to the truth, and the stories we have inherited have already given shape to a shifting past.  In the iconic portrait of Dr. Dee, he seems to be contained in a round wonder cabinet, his black cap resembling his “devil’s mirror”, a black nimbus framing his head. His pointed beard, like the finger of a planchette aimed into the dark, asks us to decipher some secret at his heart.

 

Terry Pratchett, that true bard of the English soul, got it right– here we have a wizard of the Unseen University– and I, a Granny Weatherwax wanna be, staring into the dark glass.

 

The Scrying Mirror Necklace (and above, the Scrying Mirror Chandelier Earrings) available at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

 

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Root Moon Sale

According to old German Custom, this month’s full moon is the Root Food Moon.  It seemed to fit the moon I’m in, going back to basics in my craft and my daily practices of meditation and dance.

To celebrate, I’ve gathered together all the tree, root and moon inspired designs in my independent shop, feralstrumpet.co.uk into the Root Moon Collection.  For the rest of the month of May 2016, receive 20% the collection with coupon code ROOTMOON (only at feralstrumpet.co.uk).

How are you feeding your roots this full moon?

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Blessed Floralia, Strumpets!

April 28th marks the old Roman feast of the goddess of flowers, Flora.  (This is also the name of my grandmother who loved snapdragons.) To celebrate I’m offering 30% off floral designs in my Floralia collection with coupon code FLORALIA16, only at Feralstrumpet.co.uk.  Offer ends 30 April, 2016.

As far as goddesses go, Flora is a favourite, and one of the first who caught my attention and wouldn’t let go.  I first found her in the text of Fasti, by one of my favourite poets, Ovid.  In it, her voice rings clear, as if she is speaking to us and her warnings and blessings are as relevant today as they were in Ovid’s time.

In Rome this celebration was marked with prostitutes dancing in the streets and engaging in mock gladiatorial battles.  Send out the hares!— they ran wild in the streets as people were pelted with lentils.  That’s what I call a party.  Here is an edited bit of the Ovid poem, that you can find in its entirety here.

‘Mother of the flowers, approach, so we can honour you
With joyful games! Last month I deferred the task.
You begin in April, and pass into May’s span:
One claims you fleeing, the other as it comes on.
Since the boundaries of the months are yours,
And defer to you, either’s fitting for your praise.
This is the month of the Circus’ Games, and the victors’ palm
The audience applauds: let my song accompany the Circus’ show.
Tell me, yourself, who you are. Men’s opinions err:
You’ll be the best informant regarding your own name.’
So I spoke. So the goddess responded to my question,
(While she spoke, her lips breathed out vernal roses):
‘I, called Flora now, was Chloris: the first letter in Greek
Of my name, became corrupted in the Latin language.
I was Chloris, a nymph of those happy fields,
Where, as you’ve heard, fortunate men once lived…
(she is raped and married by Zephyrus, alas.)
…I often wished to tally the colours set there,
But I couldn’t, there were too many to count.
As soon as the frosted dew is shaken from the leaves,
And the varied foliage warmed by the sun’s rays,
The Hours gather dressed in colourful clothes,
And collect my gifts in slender baskets.
The Graces, straight away, draw near, and twine
Wreaths and garlands to bind their heavenly hair.
I was first to scatter fresh seeds among countless peoples,
Till then the earth had been a single colour…
(She works some fertile magic for Juno who gives birth to Mars)
…Perhaps you think I only rule over tender garlands.
But my power also commands the farmers’ fields…
…Honey’s my gift: I call the winged ones who make
Honey, to the violets, clover and pale thyme…
…‘Honour touches me too: I delight in festivals and altars:
We’re a greedy crowd: we divine beings…
…But if we’re ignored, we avenge the injury
With heavy penalties, and our anger passes all bounds…
…It would take too long to tell of neglect punished by loss.
I too was once neglected by the Roman Senate.
What to do, how to show my indignation?
What punishment to exact for the harm done me?
Gloomily, I gave up my office. I ceased to protect
The countryside, cared nothing for fruitful gardens:
The lilies drooped: you could see the violets fade,
And the petals of the purple crocus languished.
Often Zephyr said: ‘Don’t destroy your dowry.’
But my dowry was worth nothing to me.
The olives were in blossom: wanton winds hurt them:
The wheat was ripening: hail blasted the crops:
The vines were promising: skies darkened from the south,
And the leaves were brought down by sudden rain.
I didn’t wish it so: I’m not cruel in my anger,
But I neglected to drive away these ills.
The Senate convened, and voted my godhead
An annual festival, if the year proved fruitful…
…The drinker’s brow’s wreathed with sewn-on garlands,
And a shower of roses hides the shining table:
The drunken guest dances, hair bound with lime-tree bark,
And unaware employs the wine’s purest art:
The drunken lover sings at beauty’s harsh threshold,
And soft garlands crown his perfumed hair.
Nothing serious for those with garlanded brow,
No running water’s drunk, when crowned with flowers…
…The reason the crowd of whores celebrate these games
Is not a difficult one for us to discover.
The goddess isn’t gloomy, she’s not high-flown,
She wants her rites to be open to the common man,
And warns us to use life’s beauty while it’s in bloom…
…She nods, and flowers fall as her hair flows…
…All was ended: and she vanished into thin air: yet
Her fragrance lingered: you’d have known it was a goddess.
Scatter your gifts, I beg you, over my breast,
So Ovid’s song may flower forever.
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Everyone Loves A Fool: My Five Favourite Fools

 

The Fool, the big Zero in the Tarot’s Major Arcana, is my favourite card.  The quintessential fool fromRider Waite, or as I prefer to call it, the Pamela Coleman Smith deck is living on the edge– he’s prepared, packed up wand, pentacle, sword and cup in his hobo bag, but will it be enough to sustain him on his journey through the tribulations of the Major Arcana?  His companion animal either cheers him on or warns him, depending on the position of the card in the reading. Before the grand story of the Major Arcana begins, the fool dances it into being.

Here I’ve chosen my five favourite fools with a few honourable mentions.  What are your favourite fool cards? Happy April Fools!

 

Golden Tarot by Kat Black was a favourite of mine.  The art, collaged from Medieval and Renaissance sources, make for a seemless and compelling interpretation. The Fool in this deck remains one of my favourite tarot cards still– the fool here is a female shaman with her power animal, initiating the sacred journey of knowledge, she plays her frame drum and begins her trance on the white cliffs of consciousness.

 

 

 

 

Mother Peace Tarot by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble is the deck I currently use.  This fool is the “Goddess’ favourite” according to the companion text. She playfully dances on her hands, balancing her all-seeing hobo bag with her feet on the banks of a river running through what looks like candy-rock mountains.  Her stick is a staff adorned with bells and feathers. She has not one animal companion but 3 and two sacred plants as well. She is going to cross the rivers to the aminita mushrooms, the psychedelic fare of Siberian shamans.

Wildwood Tarot by MarK Ryan and John Matthews, is my newest deck and one I with which have yet to really acquaint myself. I love that this deck is inspired by Northern and Celtic traditions of pre-Christian Europe.  Here the Fool, though androgynous, seems feminine to me. She begins her journey across Bifrost. The trees in the distance seem to stare back– will she find Yggdrasil among them, and can she climb? She is ready, sure-footed and open to the risks of the mists and the gods, distant seem to smile on her.

 

 

 

Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans.  I do own this deck, despite my ambivalence about it.  I see it as a pretty book of cards only, not as an effective divination tool.  The art is beautiful, but I have only gotten the most superficial readings, or completely random-seeming spreads using this deck.  (I will spare you my ranting that this deck has come to symbolize for me the new-agey-witchy trend, available at Urban Outfitters, etc.) Here a chick begins to take its first attempt at flight in the morning sun rise. It is still a beauty of a fool.

 

 

Enchanted Tarot (aka the Zerner-Faber Tarot) was the deck I used for many years.  Its imagery is actually based on textile art or quilts by Amy Zerner. It is a very feminine, romantic deck and I found it quite comforting to use.  This fool is a flamboyant nod to the archetypal jester in the pack, while being a colourful derivative of the Coleman Smith fool.

 

 

 

 

Honorable mentions:

Here is the Fool from the Zombie Tarot deck.  When I first saw this I got super excited because I thought someone had made a tongue-in-cheek Mad Men tarot deck.  But then when I looked again, I realized this fool was from the Zombie Tarot, a deck I initially dismissed as silly.  I have perused the cards and though it isn’t a deck I would use, it is an amusing and sometimes perceptive take on the traditional cards. I love this zombie fool– intent on mourning and picnicking even as the dead seem to wave to him. Plus, he kind of looks like Jon Hamm as Don Draper. Sigh.

 

 

 

Bohemian Gothic Tarot.  I love this deck and it’s on my wish list.  Here the Fool dances– a somnambulist tai chi dance– on the back of a gargoyle.  A full moon lights their way. Here the gargoyle is the companion and the fool perches on the edge of the world of institutions and doctrines, Church gospel, ready to step off into the dark night’s mystery.

I’m offering my Witches’ Tarot Necklace at almost half price– only £10 from now until April 3rd, 2016.  Happy April Fools!

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