How poetry can help us become better creative and critical thinkers - and why it's a powerful tool for personal, group, and community work.
Last weekend I had the joy of making Peace Bracelets in person at the 8th annual Gingerbread Festival at the Wood Memorial Library and Museum in South Windsor, CT. What a treat it was to connect with so many special souls all searching, like me, for a way to give themselves what they need so that they can in turn give loving kindness to the world around them. I will be back at The Wood this Saturday, making Peace Bracelets again from 10-5, and as I prepare for the event I’m left ruminating on the power of a talisman during the holiday season.
The end of the year - through the holidays and transitions it brings - seems to me to be the ideal time to wear a talisman, like your peace bracelet, each and every day. I think we all know, to some degree, how trying and tiring this time of year can be. Does any time of year seem to test our patience, our empathy, our ability to practice metta more than between the months of November and February (lets be real here, March!)? Me thinks not!
As magical and special as they can be, the holidays can also be a source of stress, sadness, and general tsuris for many people. Being with the people we love so dearly also often means being around the people who can push our buttons and somehow bring out of us aspects of ourselves we thought we had worked hard to move beyond. Being without the people we love can leave us lonely, feeling disconnected and hopeless. In the face of so much manufactured joy, our inability to create our own inner jubilation can feel heavier than at other times of the year, as if we are somehow failing by not feeling the warmth and excitement that seems to scream from every street corner and TV screen. We can end up grumpy, or sarcastic, sometimes even mean. We may end up feeling withdrawn, or maybe the opposite — too involved, too put out, too obliged.
Being around our loved ones, the people we have known through all/so many of the emotional stages of our lives, can sometimes throw us back into patterns, or habits, or just general feelings that we thought we worked hard to leave behind. Aspects of ourselves that we have learned to manage and let go of can suddenly be driving the show, leaving us feeling disconnected, discouraged, and generally down in the dumps. Being alone when we are told we are supposed to be together can do the same thing — making us forget that we are content with our special little lives because they don’t seem as grand as everyone else’s.
We can end up feeling like we are wearing the skin of someone we once had to be but no longer need to hide behind, and that can leave us spiritually, psychically, energetically suffering. We can end up hiding behind a smiling face, or in a corner, or behind the stove, or in front of a TV, instead of interacting in the ways we’d really, truly, like to. Often, we find ourselves reacting from this space of stress, anxiety, and loneliness, instead of acting from love like we know we should, like we want to. And at the end of it all, we are the ones who really experience the trauma of that suffering — not those we lash out to, or disconnect from, or expect to give us something we can, do, and must give to ourselves. We can even, if we’re really overwhelmed, end up in a negative feedback loop that pushes us into the New Year with less hope and more frustration.
So what do we do? How do we continue through this season with an open heart, an open mind, and an ability to work through love in the face of such trials? How do we walk confidently, honestly, lovingly into the New Year, able to give empathy and love to all those we encounter? How can we keep from retreating into those old, dark, uncomfortably-comfortable spaces and instead, stay in the light of our truest intentions?
There are so very many things that we can do for ourselves, many of them as easy as making a cup of tea or letting ourselves take that extra few minutes in the warmth of the shower. The most important thing that we can do, and there are many many ways to achieve it, is to create for ourselves a space in which we can find (and mindfully return to!) peace, love, and patience during times of difficulty. By doing the work every day to create that spiritually nourishing, energetically connected, mindfully aware and deeply loving space for ourselves — through acts of self love, compassion, and awareness — we give ourselves (and the universe at large!) the greatest gift of any holiday. We give ourselves the gift of loving kindness. We give ourselves the gift of metta.
Metta is the practice of benevolence, or loving kindness, as prescribed by the Buddha in the Metta Sutta. The practice of metta is multi-layered, but the basic essence of the concept is the wish for all things to be happy. When we regard others through the lens of loving kindness — of empathy, of compassion, of universal connection — we are practicing metta. When we stand up for our truths, instead of allowing others to hurt us, and in turn hurt themselves by keeping us from doing so, we are also practicing metta. When we give without expecting anything in return to those who deserve our unconditional love, we are practicing metta. When we treat ourselves tenderly, giving ourselves into consistent self-love rituals and routines, we are practicing metta. This aspect of the practice of metta — the day-to-day, personal practice of loving oneself — is in some ways the most important aspect of the practice. For until we are able to give ourselves true loving kindness and compassion, how can we expect to do so for anyone else?
The holiday season is a crucial time for us to keep up in our practice of metta. It is a time when people need more love and understanding than usual, ourselves included. And yet, there are so many cards stacked against us this time of year — especially those of us who live in the colder, wintery climes! Little sun, cold bones, and a seemingly endless calendar of events — both obligatory and truly desirable — can make even the most benevolent of souls a wee bit prickly! And so more so than any time of year, we can really use the help and support that energetic tools like a talisman can provide.
A talisman is an object that gives its wearer protection and strength, and in terms of the practice of metta, a talisman can be an incredibly powerful way to support your practice of loving kindness each and every day of the year — especially during the holidays. Even if you aren’t “into” talismans, you probably have many without even realizing it. Your favorite sweater that you wear whenever you’re feeling like you need a hug? That’s a talisman. The ring your grandmother gave you that helps you remember her love and in turn, how lovable you are? A talisman. The keychain you bought on your road-trip that keeps you connected to the brave and passionate soul within you that put you out on the road in the first place? Yup, you got it — that’s a talisman too.
Traditionally, talismans have often been pieces of jewelry made from a variety of natural materials. The materials of these objects, as well as their colors, their design, and the intention that went into their making, help to create an object that is more of a friend than an inanimate thing to wear. When I designed my Peace Bracelets, I intuitively created a line of wearable talismans, each one made to help its wearer in its own unique way.
I hold your name and spirit in my consciousness as I make your bracelet, and with each knot, with each bead, I push into the bracelet my intentions for you to find peace and compassion so that you may always act in the service of love. If I have been fortunate enough to learn more about you, that knowledge sits with me at the table as I make your bracelet, and into the subtle energies of the bracelet I program my wish for you to find the specific support and guidance you need to continue your practice of loving kindness each time you wear it.
Each design serves a special purpose, is able to help you in different ways. Maybe you know that in order to sustain your metta practice, you could use a little more balance, or a little more clarity. Maybe you know you need some more patience, or perhaps a little more faith. Sometimes we need to trust our intuition more. Or maybe we just need more love. The design of each bracelet — the color, the materials, the design itself — determines the way in which it can help you. The meanings behind each design comes printed on a card in your personalized Peace Bracelet package, so that you can always revisit the ways in your bracelet can help you the most. Often, the design we are most attracted to represents the things we need the most support with, though I am always happy to help you find the right design, too. I do believe, though, that the spirit often chooses the right bracelet — sometimes even without awareness — and so I do encourage you to let your decision be intuitive and to honor that initial intuition.
In many ways, a talisman is like a winter jacket. A jacket keeps us warm, protects our bodies from the elements, and allows us to function in conditions that otherwise might physically and energetically prevent us from functioning. In the same way, a talisman keeps our souls warm and pliable, so that our spirit and subtle energies can continue to function in the face of less-than-preferable conditions. As a jacket shields us from the cold, a talisman shields us from the negative energies that pervade around us. A talisman protects us from energies that do not serve to help us, so that we may keep our spirits high and able to vibrate at a level that benefits not just us but all those we encounter.
And just as a jacket warms our bodies with our own warmth, a talisman fosters our spirit with our own spirit, increases our love by giving us our own love. A talisman acts as a touchstone by which we can re-connect to our inner strength, our inner peace, our inner awareness. By wearing and connecting to our talismans, we are strengthened, we are embodied, we are able to act from within our safest space of true intention, instead of the chaotic spaces that we might find our physical selves in. Just like we can stand comfortably outside on a cold day in a jacket, so too can we stand comfortably amidst holiday craziness if we allow ourselves to wear and connect to our talismans as a part of our every day practice of extending boundless love and compassion to the world around us (to sort of quote the Buddha himself!).
Today I am sending this dice divination kit to DENMARK. I am so tickled every time I receive an order for one of these kits - for any of my in-house made products really - and the purchase inspired me to sit down and write a bit about the process I have been going through that has led me to finally being able to share my work more widely.
This was going to be an Instagram post but momma went off the deep end (what's new!). Just yesterday I handed Brett a new product - a Wise & Loving Bats Guidance and Affirmation mat! - and we both had a chuckle when he first looked at it. I knew he was thinking to himself "what a writer!", but my brain chose to hear it more like "oy, so many words!". When I started to apologize and second guess the verbiage, though, Brett lovingly reminded me that being verbose is just my thing. No use arguing against that, I told that nasty little bugger running the brain-show for the moment, and found myself feeling strengthened and secure in my tendency to go on and on and on... (but always with grace, always with finesse!, she says).
It's just that sort of moment that makes me feel so thankful for having found a partner - my partner - who so fully understands, accepts, and supports me. It was also the sort of moment that I have been trying to really tap into, in hopes of letting go of the fears that drive me to hear that rude little critical voice instead of the big, strong, proud, appreciative one!
I have been consciously practicing divination since I was 13 or so, but I now know I have been doing it my whole life (and long before and after that, too!). I find that I am consistently drawn to divination practices in my research, daily life, and spiritual practice - often in ways that are very intuitive and not entirely conscious. I feel honored to be at the stage in this journey where I am able to start to share through these kits and tools some of the knowledge I have gained on this path. I am so thankful that in this lifetime I have been asked to learn and share deep understandings about love, the universe, our world(s), and what it means to be a human being - and that I am at a point in my life where I am finally ready to really outwardly do and share that work.
But of course — with any deeply rewarding challenge or journey comes the difficult emotional work. (I won’t touch on the physical aspects of this work right now, but trust those can be deeply challenging as well! And remember - those physical challenges can so often be rooted in the emotional ones.) I have found that each time I intuitively create a new divination tool or zine, I am faced with one of my biggest challenges of this lifetime, of this brain and of this body. I am faced with my deepest fears of being seen for who I truly am - and the fear of rejection and abuse that has grown out of my previously less-than-successful and sometimes downright traumatizing attempts (in this and other lifetimes) to be lain open to the world so that my greatest work may be done. Each of these tools and zines - every product I make - encompasses so much of who I am and where I have come from, all that has made me as I am here and now. As I have always been. And up until very recently I have been too scared to share that openly with the world around me, and I have kept so very much of my true self secret for so very long. I have always been a very cryptic person, scared to show the full picture lest I be seen for who I really, truly, am.
I have come to a point in my metaphysical and spiritual work where I feel that I have learned to practice this path of open honesty, truth sharing, and freedom without so much fear - without so much danger. I have learned (and am still learning!) crucial skills to help me in that journey - like how to protect myself, how to bolster myself, and ways to heal myself or find healing.
Most importantly, though, I have learned
(and am DEFINITELY still learning)
the deep importance of honoring myself
I have learned how the wounds that are inflicted through the fear-based refusal to fully embody one's true self are so much deeper and harder to see or feel than those which come from putting oneself out there (not that those wounds aren't often deeply, deeply traumatizing!). How those wounds we create by not sharing and embodying our truths may not always scar us on the surface, or show themselves off like the tears that roll down your face when someone is cruel to you for sharing your truth - because they work more covertly, often at a deeper level. I have come to see how these self-inflicted wounds of secrecy and shame have nastier, dirtier, more insidious ways of continuing to cut you down from the inside.
These are the types of traumatic wounds that were created when we had to protect ourselves - the types of wounds that have generated minds and paths of their own because they were opened righteously but never given the chance to close. They were never told they could go ahead and heal. They are the kinds of wounds that can kill us by quietly disconnecting ourselves from ourselves to the point of dis-ease, and eventually, disease.
These are the types of wounds that last lifetimes - the types of wounds that continue to reverberate in our subtle energies fields until we forcibly expose and stop them.
These wounds - the ones we inflict on ourselves by letting fear
keep us from being ourselves outwardly - are the wounds
that never really heal until you reopen them and cry magical healing tears of power and grief until the healing happens
without you even really realizing it.
I know that for me, one of the deepest reasons I have been scared to be the truest me outwardly - why it has taken me what feels like a long time to allow myself to fully sit within and fill myself - has been because I have been afraid of my own power.
It has taken me a long time to see this - and on the way here I have found many layers built upon this foundation, all of which I have had to work to dismantle in order to see their basic master. But I now know that at the very deep center of my fear is a horror of fulfilling my destiny. An anxiety inducing, ambition killing, freezing fear of truly being all that I am meant to be. This fear comes from some shades of earthly rationality - practical fears of having the mental and physical strength to succeed, or, wondering where the fuck the money will come from are two good examples - but the real basis of this fear is deeply metaphysical.
If we continually choose to acknowledge and do the work we are meant to do, I believe that at some point we will all come to a place where we may choose to fully embody ourselves and live our truest lives. I believe that we all chose to enter the bodies we find ourselves currently in because we have work that we have been called upon - and wish - to do. Everyone's path is different, and we may choose to abandon our path at any time in hopes of forging a new one. But I believe that many of us have been walking these paths as energetic, ethereal bodies for eons, in this and other universes, and all of that experience is contained within us at any given time during our journey. I also believe that we have more than just our personal experiences to inform these deep understandings, too, and that when we are truly embodied and connected we have a depth of power, knowledge, and strength that is impossible to imagine. That can seem pretty overwhelming - even scary. But once you are able to let go of some of that fear, you become open to seeing how all of that power isn't scary at all - it's the opposite of scary. It's true freedom.
I know that I was born to do great and tremendous good. I was born in this body, in this lifetime, to spread love and the deepest understandings of the workings of love to as much of the world as I possibly can. I am here, now, to help people learn that they can (and may) heal themselves, and to help teach them different ways to do that. I was born with the memories of much of what I have learned in all my previous incarnations - those which were corporeal and those which were not. I was also born with a gift to be able to find the words with which to share the understandings I have gained in an accessible and meaningful way (hello Mrs. Verbosity!). I am here to share what I know in a loving, compassionate, holistic way that helps others to see that they know, too.
This is why we are working really hard to secure a new space and re-open Society Wolf as a Curious Boutique AND Mystical Workspace. I am ready and hungry to teach classes, lead workshops, offer counseling, and help to create and foster a space in which others may do the same. I am ready - I am desperate - to create a space for us all to heal, to learn, and to love - together. This deep need to do my work is why I have been so prolific in my life - because I have been busting at my seems trying to build my path towards this very moment. Fear may have kept me from sharing, but nothing has ever been able to keep me from doing the intuitive, creative work that I now see will be a crucial aspect of the love work I am here to do. This innate, gut-level, vibrating truth is something I have always know, something that has forced its way out of me time and time again since the first drawings and poems I created as a young child. This is why I can't stop creating - because the universe has stories to share through me. And now - without the fear - I am proud to say that I know it is my job to keep doing so until I no longer can and I am ready to accept the job, fully.
So - this is why each time I create a new product - especially divination tools but really, all of my products as they are all so very much encapsulations of me and my work - I am forced to face this truth of who I am. I am faced with a decision each and every time, and the more active and aware, the more mindful I manage to be during those moments, the more I find myself being freed of this fear. In those moments, I am asked to open up and share with the world what I have intuitively created and know I am meant to share, thereby honoring my truths and the energetic soul I truly am. Or I am faced with hiding my truth away, refusing to embody my being fully with honesty and honor - shelving a product or essay or anecdote and my most honest, embodied self along with it. But, I am tired of that pain of being disconnected. I am tired of hiding. And so...
This is my promise and my purpose. And it is why every time I get an order for one of these kits - or for any of my products - I am so deeply touched and affirmed. And for me, this is the truest beauty of retail - that through its courses we are able to share parts of ourselves and have those parts of us honored through the most clear cut way we have in this capitalistic society to find affirmation - through a purchase from someone who doesn’t even know you. So I thank each and every one of you who has bought something from me in all these 15+ years I’ve been making and selling my creations. Each purchase - each conversation - has helped me to get to this place where I am now. And now that I am here, I am so ready to share with you everything that you've helped me to see. And I promise to keep doing the work that your love and support so honestly helps me to do.
We end January with a warm and nurturing welcome to look deep into ourselves and push forward the actions we have been cultivating and manifesting for the last 6 months. As with all eclipses, this is a time to let go of and release what has not been serving us. It is a time of renewal and rebirth, and it is a magical time and space for us to release the things that are holding us back from becoming whatever it is we are working to be. Now is the time to let go of the people, things, or places that don’t support you, and you may find that happening without much effort on your part. Trust that any changes of this nature happening in your life are a direct result of the intentions and energies you have expressed during the last year. Eclipses help us see what we have cultivated within the shadows of our lives, and to step boldly out of those shadows and be freed of whatever it is that we no longer feel attached to or served by. It is a time to let yourself both release as well as to open your heart - and this moon is a very special moon with which to do so. Expect to feel some emotional intensity during the next few days and do your best to love and support yourself through all of it. Don’t fight the tears, embrace them!
This is the second full moon of this month, the third super moon in succession, and on the morning of January 31st the moon experienced a full eclipse. Mercury also entered Aquarius around the same time. Mercury in Aquarius gives us a time for intellectual thought and the distance of a rational approach. It is an energy that helps us suss things out and take a more objective approach to our day to day lives. This can be a good time to see the big picture, as we may find it easier to leave emotions out of whatever it is we’re tasked with. There can be a downside to this energy, however, in that we may find ourselves becoming cold or losing our empathy and compassion for ourselves and those around us. Fortunately, with the Moon conjunct Ceras, we are also bathed in the powerful and feminine energy of the mother, of the great nurturer. If we allow ourselves to embrace both of these energies - the energy to be objective as well as the energy to love - I think we can find some really incredible space to push forward the goals we have been working so hard to achieve and begin to see the tangible fruits of our energetic labor.
Because of the succession of moons we have just had, as well as the timing of this full moon eclipse, we have entered into a very powerful time for magick and spiritual practice. I feel like this is a time to hone in on the work we have been doing for a while now - which may in part mean acknowledging that work in the first place. As this full moon wanes, we will find ourselves in a very powerful moment of forward momentum, with many chances to harness the universal energies within and around us.
Eclipses help us see what we have cultivated within
the shadows of our lives, and to step boldly out of those
shadows and be freed of whatever it is that we
no longer feel attached to or served by.
After a year of intense emotional upheaval, we are entering into a time during which we will be supported as we pick up the pieces and put together the puzzle we have been working so hard to envision. This is a time for action, but the type of kinetic action that happens after the ball has already begun rolling. This month’s final full moon especially brings to a head the intentions we began to sow during the full Solar eclipse during August of last year. You may find that whatever it was you began directing yourself towards during that time is slowly and very surely coming into your purview. You might not be there yet, but you have found yourself being affirmed as you notice the small and significant things that happen around you. You may also find that this month’s full moon brings to a culmination the intentions you placed around the New Moon/Solar Eclipse on February 26th of last year as well. If you have been diligent in your work, you should see that much of what was troubling you a year ago has begun to sort itself out, and that the intentions you placed for yourself and have been manifesting throughout the last twelve or so months are beginning to come to fruition.
If you have been living with intent and focusing your energies into manifesting the things you need and want in your life, you should already be seeing positive change in those areas. If you aren’t yet feeling those shifts, you will in the coming days as the waning moon exudes her powerful guidance and love after her moment in The Sun. Remember that sometimes the smallest moment can indicate the biggest change - and so be sure to keep your mind and heart open to seeing all the signs, big and small, that affirm the growth, love, abundance, etc you have been working so hard to attain. This may also be a time for new and unexpected opportunities - especially if an opportunity is what you have been working towards. You never know what or who is there to teach or assist you, and if you allow yourself to stay open to all the signs, lessons, and openings along the way you will find it that much easier to stay on your course.
If you are feeling like you have turned a corner and are excited about what is next - be sure to give yourself the kudos you deserve. Even if you aren’t feeling that way - even if you are feeling stuck and a bit sad - a wonderful way to tap into the universal energies at play and bring some positive momentum into your life is to allow yourself to show off! The Full Moon in Leo also gives us the space to be proud of ourselves and to share our accomplishments with the world. When we share our accomplishments with those around us, we not only foster our own personal growth and capacity for love, but we give others a chance to be inspired by us, to be loved by us, to be connected to us. This type of genuine sharing is an act of love - both self love and love for the world around you. By honoring yourself and all that you are, you create an example for those around you to do the same. This is the energy at play here with the full moon in Leo - be the lion that roars, but be careful not to be the lion that roars without awareness! Be aware to act from your nurturing heart, and not from your greedy and insatiable ego.
When we share our accomplishments with those around us,
we not only foster our own personal growth and capacity for love, but we give others a chance to be inspired by us,
to be loved by us, to be connected to us.
You may, however, be feeling a bit lost right now and like things don’t seem to be going your way. Maybe you can’t kick that cold, or work has been really dragging you down. You might still feel caught up in all the emotional upheaval of last year, like the holiday season and all of its stresses and worries just hasn’t yet let up. Maybe you feel or see the subtle shifts in your situation but they aren’t the shifts you’re looking for, or they seem to be stuck and without the momentum needed to really make a change. If this is where you are at, you may want to take some time and meditate with an open and forgiving heart the last six months/year. You too are feeling the ripples of the intentions you expressed since last year’s Eclipses, and although they may not be what you wanted to plant, you are seeing the fruits of your energetic labor. If you are not feeling the positive momentum you are needing in your life, it is a good time to remember that the motions that play out in your life are wholly in response to the intentions you create. Remember, we create those ripples that build our current reality with every thought we make, every word we speak, every action we take. It is only once we bring our full awareness and intention, our energetic agency, into play that those ripples begin to create the momentum, and, eventually the changes we wish to have in our lives.
Chances are, if you are feeling at loose ends and in a rut, you have been somewhat checked out up until now. And who can blame you?! With all the intense social and political upheaval we have experienced in the last year (with no end in sight!) we have been and are living in a moment when it can be hard to find time to take a breath nonetheless to take an active role in our lives and our energetic experiences and output. Every day can be so tiring - one doesn’t even need to listen to the news in order to feel the intense energy swirling around the world these days. But for all of the immense sadness, loss, trauma, and drama we are experiencing right now, we are also witnessing tremendous movement and kinetic energy happening that is helping us to open our eyes, engage in emotional and political discourse, and search for the freedom that we ALL deserve and need. This is a tremendous time for love - and I truly believe that we are in a moment that will prove itself to be a test of the heart of man. Can we step up to the plate and bring love to face down the fire of hate and anger? For that is what we are all being called to do. Only through this action of love will we find our way to the freedom, liberation, and true equality so many of us are desperately and righteously fighting for.
If this is where you’re at though - now is a great time to check into yourself and move forward with awareness and intention. We all go through periods when we check out and let go of the agency we have over our lives - it’s only natural. As a mentor of mine once said, all fields must lay fallow. It can be hard for us to see when we have let go of our personal power because, well, we have stopped seeing clearly and have retreated into our safe, unaware spaces of distraction and distance where power of any kind is often scary. We may have become so overwhelmed by the power of violence, of sadness, of change, that we may forget that the power we wield within us - the power of the universe - is not something to be feared but something to be revered. And so we hide, hide from everything that we perceive as having immense power — we hide from ourselves.
But then, often out of nowhere, comes that moment of clarity. That precious moment in which you, even for just a second, realize that you haven’t been the one driving. And that moment is a true and beautiful gift. As unfortunate as those moments of unawareness may seem, and for all the temporal damage they may cause, they are also powerful opportunities for us to recommit to ourselves, our lives, our love, and to our internal power. They are also magical moments for us to regain and recommit to our connection to the universal energies that guide us even when we forget to pay attention. The most important aspect of coming out of this fog and into our clear and active energetic bodies and minds is to not harbor anger or disappointment towards the time we have “missed”. Feel these feelings if they come to you, but do your best to let them move through you and not hold on to them as they do. Allow the loving, understanding nature of the Moon and Ceras to hold and honor you as you allow the energy of Mercury in Aquarius to objectively shed that which is keeping you from turning that corner and seeing the results you have been working towards.
Remember that each day we must
renew our commitment
to the universe -
and to love.
Now is a time for radical self care and love, and I feel very strongly that the call for this type of regeneration and nurturing is urgent. Going forward into the second month of this 2018, please be sure to consistently carve out the time you need to maintain, rebuild, fortify and protect your energetic self, your heart, and most importantly in this current existence - your body. Please, listen to the cues given to you, and indulge in the practices that refresh and replenish your body, soul, mind and heart. We are all being called upon to bravely let love in, and to let that love pour into and out of us so that we may create strong enough vibrations to fight the powerful discord we find all around us. Meditate daily, if even in passing, and do your best to stay connected to nature. The winter is a magical time to remember the power in keeping your head down and diligently working towards the summer you know will surely come.
Blessed be - I honor your journey and thank you for being a part of mine!
As a little girl, I found myself spending hours alone in the woods around my house, playing for hours on end. I had very special spots in those woods where I felt at home, where I could feel myself surrounded by energy and spirit. There was this one low hanging branch that always called out to me, and I would sit there, alone, and be transported to another world. By the time I would hear my mom calling me inside, I would realize that what had felt like only minutes had maybe been hours! I look back on those times and I realize that while I was physically sitting on that branch in my human world, I was actually being transported to a world just beyond my eyesight. And while I could never fully remember what I did when I was where I was, I knew that it filled me with a sort of joy and wonder that not much else in my physical life did. I felt swept away, as if I were dancing through the woods, the forest floor kicking up around me in a symbiotic dance of energy without a body to hinder its flow. As an adult, I now know that in those times I was swept away to the world of the Faerie Kingdom, and I was dancing - dancing with the trees and the grasshoppers and the beautiful Faerie folk that found and welcomed me there.
I have always believed in Faeries.
As I have grown, this belief has only increased. I believe in house Faeries, woods Faeries, Faeries of all kinds. I love to read books about faerie lore and Celtic wisdom, and the more I learn the more I am affirmed in all the things that I experienced, felt, and naturally knew as a child. Even now, at 32, when I return to those woods of my childhood I can feel the call of my friends - the swirling energy of their activity and curiosity. The thing about Faeries that makes them such wonderful (and somewhat tricky) friends is that they are just as curious about us as we may be of them. Perhaps even more so! To them we are magical creatures in our own right - with a different experience of time, existence, and physical presence. It is through this curiosity and wonder that the Fae Folk stay connected to us and willingly extend their magical and deeply-earth bound energy to us humans when we need and deserve it.
At some point in my childhood, I acquired a bottle of Faerie Dust. It was your sort of run of the mill Tinker Bell product - but to me, it was not some Disney souvenir. I loved Tinker Bell, yes, but only because she was the most present representation of a Faerie I had in my young life - she was a figurehead onto which I could project the feelings and knowledge I had about my Fae friends without being told I was silly. So when I received a bottle of her special glitter, I knew that it would automatically be blessed with that power and joy that I felt each time I'd sit on that branch in the woods. I could feel the energy emanating from the bottle, and when I would pull the cork out it was as if a little burst of love popped out with it. I knew that through my connection to them, the Faeries had blessed that bottle of commercialized glitter and had made it something truly special, truly magical, just for me.
When I would find myself in sad, upsetting, or scary moments, I would pour a teeny bit of that glitter out into my small, little girl hand, close my eyes tight, and sprinkle it over my head. Looking back, I realize I was doing a lot of other things in those moments too - even in fear or sadness I would open my heart big and wide, and my third eye too. I can still feel the bodily sensations of some of those moments, and I feel both the anxiety and tension but also the expansiveness in my heart and head. I would be transported again, in those moments, swirled up in the energies of love and wonder sent out by my Faerie Friends, and I would instantly feel better. I think what I was really feeling in those moments was the glory of being fully connected to the Earth and all of her power and presence. I was grounding myself through the power of the Faerie connection, and I am forever grateful to my Faerie friends for sharing their love and energy with me in those tough times.
I think what I was really feeling in those moments was the glory of being fully connected to the Earth and all of her power and presence.
I was grounding myself through the power of the Faerie connection, and I am forever grateful to my Faerie friends for sharing their
love and energy with me in those tough times.
Not long ago, I was helping my mom organize some things in her house - the same house in which I grew up. Around that same time, I was beginning to academically connect to my Faerie experiences - learning about the Celtic wisdom and lore that has helped human beings understand the Faerie World for centuries. It was an exciting time to revisit my mom's home and the woods and trees there, and from the first moment of the visit I could feel my Faerie friends' excitement and respect at my learning more deeply about them and their culture, their world. Faerie's often only share themselves with people who have a deeply honest and genuine interest in and knowledge about them. The more we prove ourselves to respect, honor, and desire to protect Faeries and their kingdom, the closer we often are allowed to get.
As we were clearing out her pantry, I found, on the very highest shelf all the way back, my bottle of magical Tinker Bell Faerie dust. It was a truly tremendous moment! In its absence, I had almost accepted that the bottle was just a figment of my childhood memory - some gloriously glittery coping mechanism I had drummed up with magical little girl intention. But NO! There it was, real as the light of day, still in it's original plain white oval packaging. I opened up that boring tube and there it was, inside, my specially blessed bottle of Faerie magic. I held it in my hands and felt so many things at once - but one of the most significant things I felt was that same sort of Earth-bound joy that helped comfort me all those years ago. I knew that my friends had brought that bottle back to me, as a thank you for my renewed and deepened interest in them and their world. I could feel their energy so clearly - it was magical. That same visit, three rings that I had lost previously re-appeared, and a couple of other things that had been missing for my brother and mom re-appeared too. Before I left, I made sure to leave some gifts at the trees where I had left gifts for my friends as a child. And sure enough, just as would happen back all those years ago, not long after I placed the special trinkets did I find they were gone - surely squirreled away by those wonderful Faerie friends who I am so blessed and thankful to know and love.
I knew that my friends had brought that bottle back to me, as a thank you for my renewed and deepened interest in them and their world.
When I returned to my studio after that wonder-filled trip home, I knew what I had to do. I had to make my own magical Faerie dust. I had to share that incredible power and presence of mind, body and spirit I experienced as a child - and I had a responsibility to share my knowledge of and love for my Faerie friends with the world as well! You might think this is all just a bunch of silly business, but I think you will find that this magical glitter is truly imbued with the enveloping, loving, and supportive energies that are characteristic of Faerie magic. Even before selling a single packet, my Faerie friends helped to affirm this truth to me (and my mom, as well - just in case she had any lingering doubts that needed to be quelled, of course. Faeries hate doubts!).
My mom was the first person I gave a packet of Magical Dust to, during a visit she made to Tucson. I had only given her one packet, but there was a second packet laying around and she mindlessly grabbed it when leaving for the airport. As she de-boarded the plane in Dallas for her layover, she went to pull something out of her pocket. She realized she had dropped something, and when she went back to see what it was, she found a cleaning woman sweeping whatever it was into her bin. My mom looked down and saw that it was that second packet of Magic Dust!
She stopped the woman, and as the the woman brought her dustpan up to pull the item out and return it to my mom, she too saw what it was. "Magical Dust!" this 50-something year old woman said to my mother. "Magical Dust!" said my mom, "I bet you didn't know that the dust you were just sweeping up was the magical kind!". They took a moment and looked over what they had found, and my mom, sensing this woman's intrigue and energy, asked the woman if she would like to have it. She explained to her that she didn't even realize it was in her pocket, and that she had one of her own already. The woman accepted, and gave my mom a hug. She then looked at her with deep emotion in her eyes and said something like, "This is exactly what I needed today. How did you know?"
You can purchase your very own
packet of Magical Dust here!
Once upon a time, sort of long ago, I found a bookcase. Or at least I must have, because I know I didn’t buy this thing and I’m sure it wasn’t given to me. I’ve picked up a lot of street furniture in my life, a pastime which has kept me on the very path which let me straight into the Society Wolf den.
The fun thing to know about me having a long history with discarded furniture, though, is that I didn’t have a car for 10 out of the 16 years I’ve had the habit. Yeah, it’s really funny to think back and watch the movie in my mind of all the times I lugged some stupid (or awesome, usually awesome) piece of furniture blocks and blocks and blocks back home with me. They always fight, they’re always difficult, and more often than not you end up with some weird grease or goo or undefinable liquid on your hand or arms or worse your clothes but at the same time, it’s always been worth it. Even that time I wrestled one of those 6’ “industrial” plastic shelf units - the sort you get at your local giant hardware store - that was covered in someone else’s really boring stickers (Chiquita. I’m not kidding - who even?), like, a mile home. I only used that thing for a year but shit - a year of use, for free? Sounds fair to me.
When we first moved out here to Beautiful Beverly, we had no car. Not having a car was a convenience in the city, but out in these semi-burbs, it's a problem. We purposefully sold a good amount of our furniture before moving, deciding to become Adults and buy or build furniture with intention and purpose, rather than finding junk pieces here and there to fill little gaps in storage and organization without any cohesive process or plan. After the first week in our new place, though, we realized how severely lacking we were in shelving, due to the loss of older pieces and the fact that our walls are made out of some sort of drywall that is essentially good as sand. With the amount of books and crap we have between the two of us, stuff that goes on shelves is like, 70% of our belongings.
This is an example of how sometimes you just need to rev up an old piece and give your space a quick update - and how you can do that without spending a lot of time or money. There is a time and place to be meticulous (restoring anything professionally would be an example of one of those times), however there's also a time when cutting corners actually isn't a crime. I took a look outside my kitchen window and realized that I had a yard, and a patio, and some sand paper and spray paint and patterned paper. And a beautiful day. And so I set out to save this little fella's life, in the jankiest of ways. No car, and no hardware store in walking distance, I had to rely on what I had in house. And to my surprise, it turned out beautifully.
Remember, this is janky-fab - we ain't got no wheels and only minimal sanding supplies. Had I had access to a Paint Aisle, I would have done this properly and we'd have a much more "professional" looking product. But you know what? It wouldn't be as fun, or as easy. And sometimes, like a lot of DIY4yourself times, fun and easy is where it's at. That's why I did a blog on this weird personal project - because I want to let y'all know that you can do this stuff too. Which isn't to say there's anything wrong with buying a primo recycled piece (in fact, please, do! we sell some gorgeous things!), but that making a purchase is not the only means to this end.
You should know that DIY is called that because you really
can Do It Yourself, and sometimes things that look
really professional in a home setting actually
were whipped up in a back yard.
I'd like to lead with a little hindsight, however -- PAINT THE WHOLE THING YOUR BASE COLOR FIRST. Obviously the type of paint you are using and the colors will affect this process (how opaque are the colors? how vibrant are they without a dark charge underneath? or will a lighter color charge the dark more?), but painting the entire surface one color means you only have to block one set of stripes to spray, not two. Instead, because I'm a dingus sometimes, on the first side, I had to block for BOTH the white AND the black stripes, which was difficult and a waste of time. So, let my face palm be your lesson preemptively learned.
GOOD THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN SPIFFING UP WITH SPRAY PAINT:
A GALLERY OF IMAGES CONCERNING SPRAY PAINTING THE BOOKCASE
So, what next? I'm sure you're relatively suspicious as to why I would have left the insides unfinished, especially considering they happen to be the most offensive areas on this thing. But let us remember that this is a janky-vision joint, and as a result, I was working with limited materials. No appropriate paints (these spray paints were a last ditch) and no interesting contact papers, I turned to something I have a shit ton of - PAPER.
To be honest, I didn't get too precise here either. I laid the paper into the base and creased it at the angles so I knew where to trim. I didn't have enough interesting pieces of large paper to do much more than the backsplash, so I used a bunch of 12x12 sheets instead. I applied only a few strips of adhesive, though of course, you could do more. But for a quick project, this served me just fine. This puppy has been serving as a cookbook case for three months now, and looks just as sweet as he did on the day of his rebirth. I love him.
And so here we are, at the end of our story. I love this funky little accent piece and get loads of compliments on it from visitors. This was one of those projects that reminded me how fun it is to work a project spontaneously, how freeing letting go of meticulous details and doing something just for fun can be. Whether you're an experienced craftsperson or someone who's always wanted to bring new life to that old rocking chair sitting in your den - we can all learn the pleasure of bare bones DIY.
NOTE: This originally appeared on SocietyWolf.com
One of the biggest benefits of thrifting, junking, salvaging, and general fascinating-stuff hunting is meeting the humans attached to the items we eventually sell. A few months ago, we were hunting just south of New Hampshire, rambling around Salisbury and Amesbury. We happened upon Mill 77, a great antiques mall with dozens of booths selling a wide range of objects. Walking around the floor we found ourselves drawn to multiple items in one small booth - in particular: a porcelain Betty Boop doll wearing a fantastically crocheted red dress that turned the doll into a toilet paper holder (yes, really), and a PVC nuns habit costume. After picking up Betty, we took a closer look at the nun’s costume, and found not only the preacher’s matching costume but a bin full of ziploc bags, each one containing a polyester bathing suit or jumpsuit that literally screamed I’M FROM JERSEY 1989 BITCH!, all meticulously kept and in stunning condition considering they were worn, and worn well.
Now, I’m not in the habit of buying polyester, or undergarments for that matter, but I was not able to stop looking through this bin. These outfits were amazing and the fact alone that they were being displayed in what was otherwise a very quaint and quiet antiques mall warranted further inspection. Just the two American Flag pieces alone - the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny Jersey Shore bikini and an all-over printed bell bottomed deeeep V halter-top jumpsuit - were enough to keep me looking. Brett and I started talking about everything we were looking at, discussing the finer aspects of the small pieces of fabric, and sharing a soul-level search as to why we would be considering purchasing someone’s used (albeit amazing) stripper costumes. What was it about these little bits of neon synthetic material that was so alluring? Why in dogs name were we even handling them (exceedingly clean they were, but still)?
A few minutes into our discovery, the proprietor of the booth came over to sell us on the pieces, and mentioned off-hand that they had all belonged to her daughter; everything from the nun’s habit to the fuzzy pink bikini had been used in her performances. Intrigued, I probed more - curious as to why they were being sold, what they had been used for, and why a mother would be selling her daughter’s skivvies. The story that unfurled was the stuff of a thrifter’s dreams - the sort of provenance that explains the quiet energy that emits from strange objects we find ourselves attracted to. It was also a sobering reminder of what it means to be a steward, and how those of us who recycle objects as a part of daily life are participants in a picture bigger than our individual experience. That we truly can, and do, carry on legacies, however big or small, by simply keeping, sharing, or passing on something imbued with powerful memory.
Pat, the owner of the booth, is the mother of Pink Snow.
Born Selena Crabbe, Pink was the founder of the
theatrical erotic rock band known as Erocktica.
When we first met Pat, she talked about Pink in the past tense, but with an energy that made it sound as though she was still earthly present. Pat told us story after story: about the time Pink was 16 and desperate to see Bret Michaels perform, so Pat went out and bought two lime green bandeau tops (one for Pink, one for her sister - they had to be equal), repurposed them as mini skirts, and sent her girls off to the show with dreams of meeting their idol. How Pink realized she was meant for the stage, not the office (Pink had a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence, studied at Thames University, was an avid member of the Atlas Society, and was posthumously graduated from Mass School of Law) and brainstormed with her mother to take the name of her group from PORN ROCK to Erocktica. How her daughter was a mainstay of the Mermaid Parade, how beautiful she was, and how she grew up to meet her idols - making friends with Gene Simmons, Hugh Hefner, and her original crush, Bret Michaels. Yet, despite sharing so much, Pat remained cryptic about her daughter’s passing, and left me wondering what had happened to Pink Snow. I took her silence as a boundary and respected it, and let my curiosity take a back burner.
After hearing Pat's stories and learning the reason for the bright and heavy vibes radiating off of these bits of nylon, we - of course - bought everything. Initially I had selected only a couple of plastic bags worth, but after hearing Pink’s life story we knew we had to keep the collection together. We thanked Pat for everything, hugged, and promised to come back soon with pictures of us in the costumes. Once we left the building I immediately began to google Pink Snow and Erocktica, and was taken to learn that Pat’s past tense had been correct, that the world had lost the bright light in Pink Snow only a year prior, in November 2012. She left behind a husband, a young son Sebastian, her mother, and a lot of grieving family. Before I found an obituary, though,
I found link after link of blog-eulogies from friends and fans, all remembering their friendship and connection with Selena, solidifying her legacy as a kind and special person.
I found picture after picture of a wild and profoundly fascinating woman - stripper-rockstar-activist-lawyer-performer-mother-friend. Google Erocktica for yourself and see (warning NSFW x 1mili) - this woman burned BRIGHT.
A few weeks later we returned to Mill 77 and stopped by Pat’s booth to say hello. We told her we had learned all about Pink after our last meeting, and gushed about what a wonderful woman she must have been. Pat told us more stories - all about how she and Pink loved to go on cruises together, and how they had made incredible friends in doing so. Pink’s son, Sebastian, who is only two, has not only his own biological family, but a family of fans and friends of his mother’s, many of whom have written letters directly to Sebastian (which he’ll read when he’s older) telling him all about his mother and the amazing life she led. We marveled at the way in which such a powerful spirit is being kept alive in so many ways, and how fortunate we are to be a part of the continuation of that legacy.
I don't know what we'll do with all of her outfits, though I would love to sell them to some fan and donate the proceeds to charity. I've pulled them out when friends have visited and I've spent a surprising amount of time admiring them and thinking about all the life that was lived while wearing them. It's emotionally ephemeral objects like these - scraps of paper, rotted old books, used bikinis, hair and bones - that are always the most intriguing for me. Mundane objects, even when they're loud and showy like Pink's costumes - are so integral so their owner's life that they become charged talismans of a life lived. While it's easy to dismiss a piece of scrap paper or someone's old fuzzy thong as trash, the truth is that sometimes that very thong can be the key into a life that you can only be blessed to have learned about. As a buyer of vintage and second hand goods, I have had the privilege (for the better half of my short life) of finding keys into doors of fascination I never knew existed. Thanks, Pat, for letting me through this one.
Rest in peace, Pink Snow.
NOTE: This was originally published on SocietyWolf.com.
Below are the comments that were left on that original blog post.
David Snow 5 months ago · 1 Like
Beautiful story about my former wife
Ellen Arnstein 5 months ago · 0 Likes
Dearest David, thank you so much for your note. It meant so much to me, I can't even say. I think of Selena/Pink often, as if I had known her. I hope that you and your family are well. Sending love to you all!
Beth Baker 2 years ago · 1 Like
I just stumbled across this article and want to thank you for writing this. I was a good friend of “Pink Snow” when she was simply my lovely friend Selena. We met in London in 1997, while we were both studying abroad. This is a lovely tribute, and I know Selena and Pink would both love this.
Ellen Arnstein 5 months ago · 0 Likes
Thank you so much for your note. How fortunate you were to have known her! <3
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