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Shamash Sun-Cat and the Rise of the Masculine – a Time For Building and Beginning Again

As spring wanes, the mane of Shamash Sun-Cat has grown back to its full splendour after his battle with the Black Horse of Winter and, with it, its rays of light and heat bring life and vigour back to the world in the way of summer. While spring may have brought us new growth, the things we have planted have not yet bloomed or come into fruition. But now is the time for the work to begin. Summer is almost upon us and the hard labour of reaping and harvesting is on the horizon. It is the time of the Sun-Cat, and the celebration of all things male and solar.

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In Grimalkin society Shamash Sun-Cat rules the Day while his mate Inghira Moon-Cat rules the Night. Shamash is the embodiment of health, strength, vitality, virility and the essence of life itself and, even as his mate rules the darkness, his presence can still be felt as his warm rays still heat the world below and reflect upon the surface of the moons. Shamash is the life-giver and the regenerator and he, and all things male, are celebrated on Midsummer’s Day, or Adrach, in the Grimalkin Calendar. At Midwinter, the roles are reversed and all things female are celebrated.

Grimalkins celebrate the male deity that is Shamash, not only as a life-giving force, but as a representation of the male energy. The male Grimalkin is a creature that knows his role in the fabric of the clowder, and in the Cosmic Order. He fulfils many roles, not only as protector and builder of the place we call home, but as the maintainer and grower and creator of things. Just as the female creates things of use for different purposes, so the male creates things of purpose that keep the clowder and all its functions going. If the female Grimalkin is the soul of the clowder, the male Grimalkin is most definitely the heart. For there is no real separation between the sexes; while one gravitates towards one particular field, so does the other. But both male and female work together as a team to keep the clowder functioning as a well-oiled machine and a safe and comfortable home for all.

But to day is the day of the male. We need our male-folk. They are the very foundation stones upon which we build our society. Their unfailing dedication to their work and tasks make them invaluable, irreplaceable and much valued individuals in our world. Their brightness, vitality and creativity beams out of them with everything they do, whether they tend to the sick or elderly in the clowder hospital, or are thatching the roof of a new tavern. Their energy is infectious and inspires others to take up tasks they would not have necessarily considered before, galvanising others with their leadership and get-up-and-go. These Grimalkins are like solar flares or hot days in the Moon of Hazel, blazing, cheerful, garrulous and free with their laughter and mirth. For the more reserved of the male-folk, there are those who are passive and kind, warm and glowing like late summer afternoons by the sea. They are thoughtful and generous with their time and knowledge. Such male Grimalkins have their whiskers in a book or journal and will always seek to assist others in need. The studious and bookish Grimalkin is a good friend in times of crisis.

All of the male-folk embody the spirit of Shamash in one way or another. Midsummer not only celebrates the day of the male-folk – fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews, male friends or spouses – but also is a time to begin new projects. It is an assertive and productive time when all things and all tools are available to one, and the long summer ahead provides one with the light and the resources to begin in new endeavours, or journeys. Spring is a time of new beginnings, yes, but summer is the time when folk are at their busiest, and when most opportunities arise to partake in things one has never done before. Shamash Sun-Cat gives us the energy and the courage to take a leap of faith into the unknown and see where it takes us, all the while his sun-ray mane lighting the way.

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It is important we start new things, or pick up the threads of what we did before if we do not want to stagnate. Our personal growth and our happiness, to a degree, depend on our ability to adapt and learn new things, or to hone our skills, or perfect old ones. The male Grimalkin is always learning, always striving to add another string to his bow. This makes his a great asset to those around him, and because of his light, his skills and his creativity, he is in need, and in demand. The fact that his skills are in demand are a testament to his talents and ingenuity for he has worked on those skills alone. He has no-one to thank but himself. That is a noble calling and any Grimalkin who has honed his skills, made them his own and set himself on his way in the world should be a proud creature indeed. The world requires more of the industrious and enterprising Grimalkin.

But those skills and those talents are rare and to be valued. Such time and effort has gone into the making of the enterprising Grimalkin. The creativity in his paws must be given room to act freely and without hindrance. Good, solid, things can be made with those paws. And good, solid foundations can be found if the Grimalkin values himself and his talents as much as those around him do. If he gives his heart and soul as much attention as he does his skills, then a fortress he will build out of himself. And it will be good, and right and just.

The poem by the celebrated Bard Eriffin Aengus illustrates the rise of the masculine thus:

Wake up, wake up, O my brother,

for you have slept too long in the darkness.

Throw off the shackles of your past

and break the prison bars of your despair.

Wake up, my brother,

and feel the touch of sunlight on your skin.

Throw open the window of your soul and let fly

your spirit into the great beyond.

Wake up, my brother,

and shed not another tear for what has gone before,

or for maidens loved and lost,

for your life is just beginning.

Wake up, my brother,

for the battle cries of long fought wars

are slowly receding from your memory.

Step into the light; that will be your victory.

Wake up, my brother,

and feel the solid and bountiful earth beneath your feet.

Take up your bow and hunt the sacred boar

and pursue the faerie hind that holds the secrets of your heart.

Wake up, my brother,

and know the mysteries of life and death.

For all that you are and all you will become,

and you shall become a god.

Eriffinn Aengus of the Golden Branch

 

The male Grimalkin is an essential part of the Whole, the All. We cannot function without them. We must recognise and honour the Divine in them as they recognise and honour the Divine in us. The world is too much out of balance right now. One is set against the other and that cannot be. We must work as a team. They are as much a part of us as we are a part of them. Let us see them as Sun-Cats, and our Brothers in Light.

Yours By Star and Stone

Imeldra Moonpaw.

 

Grimalkins and their Relationship with Food

These passages are from my book The Most Ancient and Magical Clowder of Grimalhame. Where to acquire this publication are detailed below.

First published by Grimalhame Press 

©Angela Russell-MacGillesheathenach  All Rights Reserved

If you ask any Grimalkin what the most important thing about clowder life is, they will always answer with the word “food.” Food, apart from being necessary for survival, is perhaps one of the most important things about life in a clowder. There are always feasts at festivals, birthdays, kittenings, rituals and even funerals. Grimalkins love food. Every important moment is celebrated or commiserated with food. When a stranger enters a Grimalkin’s home, they are offered food and drink before even asking what that stranger wants. When Grimalkins arrive from other clowders, food is laid out before them. Food is a Grimalkin’s way of saying “hello, welcome to my home. I offer you my paw in friendship,” or “I have offended you. I am sorry. Please accept my apology in the way of this meal.” Food bridges gaps and helps forge friendships. It helps mend broken hearts and broken bonds. It makes strangers into companions and adversaries into allies. Food is the glue that keeps Grimalkin society together.

 

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  Food can make love happen. For example if a tom wishes to court a queen, he will often cook for her. If it is the other way around, a queen may cook but she will often make clothes for him instead. It is true to say the way to a Grimalkin’s heart is through their stomach. If that tom is an exceptional cook, his courtship may end in divine union. Or children.

There are no strict rules about mealtimes at Grimalhame (or any other clowder). Communal mealtimes are served in the Central Council Chamber and a Grimalkin can choose to eat there, or make his or her own at home. Many like to attend the communal mealtimes just to socialise. There are four set times in which Grimalkins can eat in the chamber. Far Pavilions time is listed first in bold, then Earth time in normal typing to give you an idea of when we eat compared to human mealtimes. Don’t forget there are 30 hours in a day in our world.
Breakfast (07:00 -10:00/06:00 – 09:00) – on the breakfast menu there is porridge (with a selection of toppings including fruit, jam and honey), wholemeal toast, butter and jam, crumpets, bacon, eggs (poached, fried, boiled or scrambled), sausage, grilled tomatoes, fresh forest mushrooms, a mix of sweetened cereal with honey and milk, To drink – fruit teas, spring water and fruit cordial.
Lunch (14:00 – 17:00/12:00-14:00) – a selection of freshly baked wholemeal and seeded hlaf, cheese, haslet, soup (tomato, onion, vegetable, wild game, broth, carrot and kale, carrot and bean, and fish served with a trencher), wholemeal crackers with herb butter. To drink – spring water, fruit cordial, ale, wine.
Dinner (19:00 – 22:00/16:00 – 18:00) – Grimalhame stew (meat with carrots, swede, leeks, peas and dumplings), roast pheasant (or whatever bird is available) with buttered vegetables, steamed/roasted/grilled fish (pike, trout, perch, with herb sauce, pot pie roast/mashed/boiled potatoes, fruit crumble with spiced custard or cream. To drink – metheglin, bragget, ale, mead, tea, fruit cordial, spring water, wine.
Supper (24:00 – 27:00/20:00 – 22:00) – hot milk spiced with cinnamon and honey, posset, a selection of sweet biscuits (sweetmeal, ginger, barley). To drink – hot milk spiced with cinnamon and honey, posset, fruit tea, almond milk.

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  Of course, this is just a small selection of what is on offer during mealtimes. The cooks make sure there is something for everyone at the table and quite often they will just throw ingredients together and hope whatever comes out of the oven or the pot is edible.

The Grimalkin Pantry

  A Grimalkin pantry is no different from the food stores in the main clowder kitchen. Here you will find jars and containers of every description. A Grimalkin’s food store is never empty, even in the lean months of winter. The Great Arcadian Forest, surrounding country, and the lakes, rivers and fish ponds provide food for the clowders and settlements all year round, especially in the autumn when the boughs are heavy with fruits and nuts.

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We will often make our own jams and preserves whenever possible. Pickling is also a must during the autumn when preparing food that will last for months is essential. Onions and other vegetables such as kale, cauliflower, cabbage and gherkins are grown in the clowder gardens and out in the nearby forest and are a seasonal must for soups and casseroles. Come spring, it is not uncommon to be served last season’s pickles and preserves with every meal. We detest waste and will often foist pickles and jams on unwilling guests just to try to get rid of them.

The Clowder Kitchen

  Should a Grimalkin become lost in the clowder, he would not care a jot as he or she would always be able to find their way to the clowder kitchen. If the Central Council Chamber is the heart of the clowder, then the kitchen is undoubtedly the soul. Situated on levels one and two the kitchen is divided up into three sections – the main kitchen, and the levels one and two storerooms. Because the clowder is so large, a great deal of space is reserved for the storing of food and drink. The kitchen itself is vast and accommodates ten fireplaces and sixteen ranges. Pots and pans hang from racks on the ceiling which, in turn, are hoisted up and down by a mind-boggling array of ropes and pulleys. There are shelves stacked with boxes, tins and jars of herbs, spices, pickles and oils and there are several huge wooden tables on which food is prepared.

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The storerooms are divided into two sections – dry store and cold store. The walls, floor and ceiling of the cold store are marble which keeps the meat, fish, milk and butter cool. There are four large cold stores on level two. The dry stores (of which there are three) are sub-divided into sections so it is easy for the cooks to find what they are looking for. In storeroom one there are vegetables of all kinds and dried fruit (fresh fruit is kept in the cold store so it lasts longer). Storeroom two contains pulses, beans, bread, pastries and cereals. Storeroom three contains herbs, spices, jams, preserves, chutneys, oils and other condiments. Additional storage is provided for plates, bowls, cups and cutlery.

In addition to the main kitchen, there are small kitchenettes. These small rooms are equipped with a small stove, table and chair. Everyone is free to use the kitchenettes and many Grimalkins (particularly the older generation) take advantage of them should they rise before dawn (or the clowder cooks). Those who partake in breakfast in the kitchenettes do so in silence before the rest of the clowder is up and about. Grimalkins breaking their fast in the kitchenettes often greet each other with a simple nod or a touch of the paw to the forehead. Breakfasting with the rest of the clowder can be a noisy affair.

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On average, around seventy per cent of clowder citizens cook in their own homes with their own food. The other thirty per cent ascend to the clowder kitchen for their first meal of the day. Breakfast in the clowder is a social event, as are all meals eaten in the Central Council Chamber (which transforms into a dining hall four times a day). Although many are able to cook their own food at home, some like the social aspect of communal mastication and frequent the chamber simply to catch up with friends and neighbours. This is especially true for the older members of the clowder who, after a lifetime of cooking for oneself and their families, opt for being catered for by the clowder cooks.

Use of the clowder kitchen increases during the winter months as Grimalkins find their food supplies running low. Even though the kitchen is free at the point of use, clowder citizens are required to contribute to the running and maintenance of the kitchen and storerooms. Those who are able are required to wash and clean up after mealtimes (which is not that great a chore as Grimalkins are obsessively clean), or to forage and/or collect vegetables from the clowder gardens. Collecting from the gardens can be a fun affair, especially when young ones eager to please their elders are involved.

Because we love food, there is no lack of volunteers for the kitchen. Occasionally a rota has to be employed because of the numbers willing to offer their services to Head Cook. I suspect there may be ulterior motives involved and many a surreptitious paw has been dipped in the custard and a sly biscuit munched while Cook has her back turned.

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The Deepening Darkness and the Time of Letting Go

  Greetings, my human friends. It has been a while since I posted a blog but one has been busy and a little frazzled. The old bones are not working as they should and I needed rest after what has been a tumultuous year. But, my dearest friends, the time is coming for us to gather together at Deepening Darkness to feast, to celebrate, and to reflect on all we have done this year. And to reflect on those we have loved and lost.

  Yes, my friends, it has been a year of loss as a dear friend passed peacefully over to the Otherworld in the Summer after a short illness. The Great Mother saw his suffering and took him gently into Her arms and took him home to join the rest of those waiting for us in the Summerlands. I see him in dreams sometimes, healthy and whole, the way he was before old age, sickness and death took him. While I do feel sad he cannot be with us for our Mordrach celebrations, I know he is celebrating with our loved ones beyond the Veil, happy and pain-free. So, Leo, me old friend, we shall raise a tankard or two for you this year. You are dearly missed.

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  And so, as we reflect on all we have done throughout the year, we also look back on the things we could, or maybe should have done. Mordrach is a time of reflection, but also a time of regret; we regret not spending enough time studying, or tending to our everyday tasks, or spending time with friends or family. We may regret harsh words spoken, or words not spoken at all. That ache in the heart not acted upon, or that phrase on the tip of the tongue left unspoken that could have made all the difference in the world to someone without even realising it. The fear of the unknown or how others may react to our declarations of support, love and affection binding us like vines that constrict and then strangle even the strongest of oaks, causing it to whither and die in sorrow and contrition. It is easier to seek forgiveness than permission, but to look back on the things you wish you had done but didn’t can cause one great pain. And it is at the time of Deepening Darkness we have such a long time to reflect on that. A long time indeed.

  The Time of Deepest Darkness is also a time of letting go. As the Black Horse of Winter vanquishes Shamash Sun-Cat, he lets go of his magnificent mane of gold. Light leaves the world and we are left in darkness to contemplate our fate and what is to come. For some, letting go is a much-needed relief – holding on to what does not serve you only causes great harm and suffering to your soul, and to unburden yourself is an act of healing and self-discovery. But for some, letting go is painful. The things we love sometimes need to be let go of if they no longer serve us, or do not wish to stay. It is not for us to hold on to  them for they are not ours to keep; you cannot keep a wild bird in a cage for it is against nature and an act of unkindness. No matter how much you love something, or someone, when they no longer wish to be part of your world, you have to let them go. The seasons turn and life continues, indifferent to the suffering of mortals. We can, but hope, to find a way to regain our strength as Shamash does in spring as his mane of gold grows back to its original magnificence and brings light back to the world.

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As the Old Grimalkin saying goes “it is easier to hold on the the one you hate than to let go of the one you love.”

 

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  But for all we have to let things go, we never stop loving them, be they things or memories or individuals. Sometimes the greatest act of love is to release someone from the binds we may have placed upon them, to free them from the obligation that they need to stay, to be around you out of a sense of guilt or duty. But always try and speak the truth of your heart before doing so because letting someone go before you have spoken your truth can be a burden your soul will have to bear for all your earthly days. Live not with sorrow and regret as I have done. Speak your truth and be not afraid. Follow not the path of one who was too afraid and too proud to do so. Yes, even I can falter and fall by the wayside.

  I hope all who read my blog find peace and happiness at this uncertain time. I am sorry it wasn’t full of Yuletide cheer but, like all things, happiness comes with a measure of sorrow and there are times when we have to experience that sad times to appreciate the good ones.

Healing Blessings to you all,

Your Friend

Imeldra.

Imeldra’s Tips for Writing

On this thing we call the internet we often see graphics and similar emblazoned with positive  get-up-and-go statements like “PLAN TO WRITE EVERY DAY”. Now, as somebeast who writes regularly, either in journals or for more academic works, this is not always achievable, or possible and often sets one up for inevitable failure which leads to personal disappointed and personal admonishment. While some positive statement can be helpful, many are not and can be counter-productive and, sometimes negative, even harmful. One must always strive to do one’s best, of course, but one must also recognise that one is only feline, sorry – HUMAN – after all. Life gets in the way, we can be sick, tired, not in the mood or or bodily rhythms may be out of sync, or we may simply just NEED A REST. So, my human friends, throw off those shackles of self-imposed positivity, make a cup of tea, sit down and have a good old dose of healthy REALISM with Aunty Imeldra.

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1) Do What You Feel Like Doing At The Time – I have seen a lot of things online encouraging writers to “write every day“. If you can do this and it feels natural and stress-free to do this then do so. If, like me, you tire easily, or have life events going on, then this instruction may seem more of an order than a suggestion. If you force yourself to write every day when you don’t want to then it will become a chore and you will no longer enjoy it. Your heart will go out of it. If you have an idea, then it is good practice to jot it down quickly in a notepad then leave it and move on to the things that need doing in the present. If the idea is good, it will come back to you. Don’t force yourself.

2) Expect to Fail – Yes, failing, rejection and making mistakes is a vital part of writing. If one did not make mistakes, then one would never know how to correct them and do better next time. Rejection is no bad thing; it means that you may not be ready this time and need to go back to the drawing board and develop some more, maybe produce new and better ideas, or grow as a person before opportunities are presented to you. More importantly, don’t obsess over your failures. All over the world, millions of human beings are failing at something or other. You are not alone. Have a cup of tea, take some time out and approach the subject again later with fresh eyes and a clear head.

3) Relax – Yes, relax. Enjoy what you are doing. Writing is supposed to be fun. Have you ever had an idea that makes you feel giddy with excitement and you just can’t wait to share it with everyone? That is how writing should feel. That is the divine inspiration, the literary Eureka! moment that makes us want to put quill to parchment. If writing does not feel fun or enjoyable, put down the quill and go and do something else until that warm, fuzzy feeling returns. Your writing will be better when you are relaxed and enjoying it. It will flow better and your stories will seem to write themselves.

4) Pay No Attention To What Others Are Doing – Step Outside the Box– Do your own thing. Break the mould. Think of things others haven’t thought of. Think outside the box. Take a new perspective. Be controversial. See things from the other side. Be the one who stands out, not the one who does things like everyone else. How will you ever get noticed if you do what everyone else is doing? You may be criticized, but at least others will be paying attention.

5) Don’t Compare Yourself to Others – a common problem new writers have. As much as I love the work of JK Rowling, George RR Martin and Stephen King, I would not want to write like them. Everyone is different. Everyone has a unique story to tell. It is ok to be inspired by other authors but you also have something important and magical to bring to the table. Remember that.

 

medieval-lifestyles-books

 

6) Read, Read, Read! – This is one I pilfered from Stephen King’s list. You learn most by reading. Anything. But most of all reading about the things that interest you and what you want to write about. You will subconsciously absorb words, writing styles and all sorts of information that will come out in your writing later. There is nothing you can’t teach or learn about yourself that you can’t get from reading.

7) Do Your Homework – It pays to do your research because there is always one pedant who will fact-check everything you write. As No. 6) READ.

8) Keep Journals and Notebooks For Reference – It also pays to keep notebooks or journals about the things you are writing, or simply for ideas you may have. It helps to empty the mental in-tray now and again and to shelve ideas and notions to use again at a later date. They may not be of use to you now but you may find a use for them later in an unexpected way. Don’t let your ideas go to waste, no matter how silly, trivial or outlandish they may seem. From little acorns do mighty oaks grow.

9) Write For Yourself – Another Stephen King tip. Write because you love to write. Write things you want to read about. Write about subject you enjoy or find fascinating, or scary or weird. Your mind is your own private domain and you have final say in what goes on and what goes onto the parchment. If you love writing, your stories will be equally as magical as you will put your heart and soul into anything your produce. If your reader likes what you have written, then it is a bonus. But do not make people-pleasing the reason you write, That will only lead to frustration and unhappiness as you can never please all of the humans all of the time.

10) Learn To Take Constructive Criticism – If someone really likes you and your work, they may offer some criticisms, not because they are being unkind, but because they want to to succeed. They want you to do better, as a teacher would in school. We are always learning, even into our old age. You can accept the constructive criticism or not, but my advice is to take everything on board and see it from their point of view.It can’t hurt to make some changes if it will benefit you and your work in the long run.

11) Try To Imagine Yourself As The Reader As You Write – Try and write as though you are the reader and think “does this read well? Am I making sense? Will I understand this?” It will serve you well to think like a reader as well as a writer as you write.

12) Be As Creative As You Can And Don’t Let Time Be A Factor – Get out there and take inspiration from everything and everyone you meet. Store it away in your head and in your journals and let them germinate like little seeds. Don’t let time be a factor. Let the magic work on its own. Let it manifest in its own time. The inspiration will come. Don’t give yourself unrealistic deadlines as you will only get stressed and put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Remember, writing should be fun and enjoyable, an exercise in working magic. Let it happen.

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Matriarchy and The Goddess Within

The Great Mother is in everything and everyone. She is both female and male – the giver and receiver, the creator and destroyer. She resides in every female creature and in every male, the same as every female has an element of the male (testosterone) and the male has an element of the female (oestrogen).

There is much about the division of the sexes these days: the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ has been a long one. But this manufactured and somewhat destructive conflict serves no purpose but to divide and conquer  so as not unite against a greater darkness. While males and females may have different roles in life, we ultimately come together to make things work. That is the Great Mother in All of us.

Two of the Founders of the Clowder of Grimalhame were female – Diera Leptailura and Soriah Deodar – as were many Order Chiefs. In the Grimalkin world, there is no division between males and females although males are more suited to one job and females another. At Mordrach – Midwinter – there is a special festival honouring the females of the clowder. They receive gifts and are waited on paw and foot by the males. At Adrach – Midsummer – the roles are reversed and the males are honoured. This balance of equals ensures both sexes are honoured equally – there is no dominant sex even though clowders are essentially matriarchal in nature.

Even though the Head of every clowder or settlement is a female – a matriarchy – the balance of power is always equal and that is how is is always been. Both sexes respect enough and value each other and this is how our society works. Both sexes understand their roles and sometimes their roles overlap. But even though the Clowder Mothers are female, she is always democratically elected by females AND males. Both sexes have equal status under the law and none is favoured above the other. The Clowder Mother is still subject to scrutiny and is held accountable by all the citizens throughout her tenure.

The balance of power has never been in question all through Grimalkin society. Individuals are comfortable in their roles and society rolls along and adjusts as it needs to with the ups and downs of population growth and decline, with times of plenty and of want. Gender roles and equality have never been in question as Grimalkins have been left to find their own natural niches in life. Life always finds a way of evening out.

 

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The Grimalkin Almanac in Four Parts – Winter is Now Available

Never mind the Beast from the East! Snuggle down with the latest instalment of the Grimalkin Almanac. While I am somewhat behind with the Spring edition due to ill health (it looks like it will be knocking on for summer by the time I get it finished but what is time anyway but a human construct?) it is in production as is the bestiary I am working on. It will be finished soon, I am just editing and adding last minute details and working on the front cover. See the website for more information on the bestiary here (https://www.grimalhamepress.co.uk/unusual-creatures). I will, in time, consolidate the four almanacs into one but I need to finish what I have started first. That will be sometime next year.

 

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Here is an excerpt from the Winter Almanac, two remedies by the eminent herbalist Alfridaria Henderai from her Herbal Compendium:

For Frostbite

“Ingredients: himylocine horn, Arcadian fir needles, Arcadian fir sap, honey, barley or yaits.

For affliction of the bite of the frost take the horn of the creature himylocine and the needle and sap of the Arcadian fir and pound them greatly until a fine powder. Take the barley or yaits and mix it with the honey and warm for a time. When aboiled, add to it the himylocine horn, pounded Arcadian fir needles and sap and heat four minutes hence. When it can be touched with the paw without injury, put it to the bandages and soak for a time, but keep warm all the same. Apply the poultice to the padders, ears, nose or other boddy extremities afflicteduntil a time when the bite abates. Begrime the poultice daily to the extremities until the blackness abates. For the discomfort, give the tincture of celandine or comfiture of thorn-apple and black hellebore thrice daily, once at morgenmete, once at noon, and once at aftenmete.”

For Arthritis

“Ingredients: himylocine horn, Arcadian spruce needles and sap, Hidaroan coriander, honey, barley meal or yaits.

For the affliction of the fever of the joints, take the horn of the creature himylocine, the needle and the sap of the Arcadian spruce and pound them greatly until a fine powder. Take the plant Hidaroan coriander and chop finely and boil for five minutes hence. Take the honey, barley meal or yaits and mix with the Hidaroan coriander, himylocine horn and Arcadian spruce needles and sap and mix together. Heat for twenty minutes hence but do not boil. Leave to cool and, when the mixture can be touched with the paw without injury, put to the bandages and soak for a time no longer than ten minutes. Keep warm and do not allow to become cool. Apply to the afflicted boddy parts twice daily, at dai-rawe and eventide. Let the Grimalkin drink often of comfrey, evening primrose and violet tea, and be warmed by the hide of the Arcadian or Silurian elk or himylocine.”

If you want to know what a himylocine looks like you will have to buy the book! (or visit my Twitter page at @ImeldraMoonpaw)

 

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The Grimalkin Almanac in Four Parts – Winter is available here: https://www.lulu.com/shop/imeldra-moonpaw/the-grimalkin-almanac-in-four-parts-winter/paperback/product-23511771.html

Keep Warm Humans!

The Grimalkin Oracle – New Oracle Deck in Production (finally!)

  The Grimalkin Oracle has been in production since 2013 but due to other book commitments, it has been on hold until now.  Some of the cards have already been created and the guide book is now in the early stages of being written. Hopefully it should be completed in 2019 as there are many illustrations that need to be created from scratch. The oracle cards created so far feature illustrations from Dance of the Fire Cat and The Ocean Lord, as well as mixed media and digital images relating to the first three books in the fire cat series. All of the cards relate to the Clowder of Grimalhame and the world of the fire cat.

 

dream world

 

  Even though the cards will be fantasy in nature, they will also have a Jungian feel; I have read some of Carl Jung’s work, a particular favourite of mine is Man and His Symbols which focuses on dreams. I have kept a dream journal all my adult life so know the importance of dreams and how it makes up our beings as a whole. Dreams can also be used as a tool for healing, something which I am trying to incorporate into the meanings of the cards and the guide book itself. If one is familiar with Jung, one may recognise some of the archetypes.

wordpree-cards

  Creating the cards and applying the meanings to them is not as easy as it looks. I am trying to think of every eventuality while also attempting to keep it as simple as possible for both the sitter and the reader. The project is still in the early stages but I have created a few cards based on artwork already in the books to give the reader a reference point, and also an opportunity to refer to the books to find out more about the characters and their history.

  I am looking forward to starting on some new illustrations for the deck but in the mean time I am pulling together all the ideas I had for the guide book and putting it into some semblance of order. I will be posting updates on the website, on WordPress and on Twitter as I go along.

https://www.grimalhamepress.co.uk/the-grimalkin-oracle

Winter – Time of Deepening Darkness and the Black Horse of Winter – excerpts from the Winter Almanac (coming soon in 2018)

For many, winter is a testing period, especially for those who are old or infirm. Winter, the Time of Deepest Darkness, the time when the world sleeps, is also a time of healing and regeneration in preparation for the rigours of the coming of spring. During the Deepest Darkness, Grimalkins retreat into the safety of the clowders and settlements, to roaring hearths and hot meals. At Deepest Darkness, when Shamash’s supremacy is diminished by the Black Horse of Winter, the power of the Sun-Cat is not completely weakened by the loss of his magnificent mane of sun-rays. In these most shadowy of days, we are not forsaken but even the mighty Sun-Cat must rest and regain his strength. For now, The Black Horse of Winter and Inghira Moon-Cat rule these long nights and starry skies.

winter-solstice

  Winter is a productive time even though the earth seems to be sleeping. While the ground is covered in a deep quilt of snow, seeds are germinating below the earth and, like the seeds, Grimalkins are busy making do and mending. While the hard work of harvesting and gathering is at an end, the more creative pursuits of making Yule/Mordrach gifts and decorations begins.

  Hibernation and retreating into the safety of the clowders and settlements is not just practical and life-saving, it is also a symbolic act – all must return to the earth, the body of the Great Mother, once a year, for regeneration and rebirth. We may lament the passing of the warm, heady days of summer but we rejoice that the toil of the past two seasons is over and we can finally enjoy the fruits of our labours.  Winter is the final act in the great opera of the year, a time when we gather together with family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances and strangers and reaffirm our bonds of kinship with one another and express our gratitude for all that we have.

winter

 

Shamash Sun-Cat and the Black Horse of Winter

Every year, at Oliach (autumn equinox), a great battle begins between two forces of nature. The astronomical observance of the autumn equinox last for three days and, on the first day of Oliach, Shamash Sun-Cat begin his epic battle with the Black Horse of Winter. This battle lasts until the final day of Oliach when the Sun-Cat is defeated and overcome by the Black Horse. During the battle, the Black Horse tears out the Sun-Cat’s mane and so his power wanes. As his mane is destroyed, the power of the suns wane until they almost disappear from sight at the midwinter solstice, at Mordrach. It is during this time the Black Horse reigns, bringing the snows and ice to the world. Shamash, his mane now gone, retreats into the belly of the earth until it starts to regrow. On the third day of the midwinter solstice, the first golden hair appears on his forehead and this heralds the return of the suns. Now his strength begins to return. But it will be an arduous process and the winter is long; he must rest and regenerate so he can fight her once more and bring light back to the world once more.

black horse of winter

  While the black horse of Winter may maim, defeat and banish Shamash Sun-Cat to the bowels of the earth, she is not an evil creature. She is an aspect of nature and creation like Shamash or Inghira. While many lament her coming, she serves an important purpose; she brings the winter, the dark, feminine half of the year when the earth must rest otherwise it will wither and die. Too much warm, masculine energy depletes and exhausts. There must be a balance of the masculine and feminine and the battle of Shamash and the Black Horse represents this. It is the balance of life. The earth and its creatures must rest. The Black Horse may seem harsh, but she is just and wise.

Black horse run in the snow

  The Black Horse also represents the Great Mother Goddess in Her Crone aspect – deep, powerful, strong, introspective. She goes paw-in-hoof with Inghira Moon-Cat, the bringer of sleep, dreams, and healing through darkness. The Black Horse also brings these things but on a larger and longer scale, of days, months, years and aeons, rather than the minutes and hours by which we live by. The continual cycle of wakefulness and hibernation the earth must endure ensures it and its creatures regenerate and renew endlessly over many ages. This has been the task of the Black Horse and Shamash Since the Creation in the First Days of the New Dawn.

  She is not a force to be feared even though she may bring death to many. But after the winter solstice, her power begins to fade. Shamash’s mane begins to grow and the world is preparing for the re-emergence of the light. At Falia, the vernal equinox, Shamash returns to the world and defeats the Black Horse of Winter and drives her back to the high north where she will stay until Oliach. As Shamash’s mane grows the suns become warmer and climb higher in the sky until, at Adrach, the summer solstice, it is fully grown and he, and the suns, are at full power.

Shamash

 

https://www.grimalhamepress.co.uk/dance-of-the-fire-cat

Forgiveness – Only Give the Gift When it is Earned.

The Great Mother Goddess understands that Grimalkins have emotional complexities and, as such, limitations on what they can and can’t accept from others. The subject of forgiveness is one that is never forced upon a creature for there is the understanding that some wounds are too deep for healing.

Forgiveness1

  While forgiveness is a merciful and noble act, it should never be used against a creature who has been wronged most grievously simply to make others feel better about a situation they feel uncomfortable about. Forgiveness is a highly personal issue and a choice only the Grimalkin concerned can make after some long and serious consideration. While some find it easy to forgive, others find it difficult. Those who find forgiveness testing should be treat with kindness and patience; their stories may be sad and they may wish not to discuss them with others. No-one can judge a Grimalkin who chooses not to forgive as one does not know of their circumstances.

Forgiveness must never just be granted without these three things:

  • Recognition – the wrongdoer must recognise they have done wrong.
  • Remorse – the wrongdoer must show genuine remorse for their actions.
  • Restoration – the wrongdoer must show willing to put right the wrong and be genuine about it.

 

forgiveness

  Grimalkins are not bound by social pressure to forgive; it is entirely up to the individual. Much damage can be done when one is pressured into forgiveness by others who want things to be made easier for them because they believe the situation will be resolved that way, and all will be well – for them, and not for the Grimalkin who is being pressured to forgive. That is not how true forgiveness works. Forgiveness has to be earned.

  To force someone to forgive and then berate them for not doing so is a terrible thing, a cruel thing. When a creature has been through much toil, they need time to heal and set their thoughts and feelings on the right path again. Much hurt and damage can be caused by those around them who say “if you don’t forgive you can’t move on” and other such falsehoods. One will never move on if one lies to oneself and does something against the wishes of one’s own heart. If the other party has not earned forgiveness, then do not forgive. Do not feel guilty about it. Be sure in your convictions. Do not let others make you feel bad because they do not understand your heart. If they do not understand your toil and despair, then they are at fault. It is a problem they must realise and confront. Let go of the guilt you may feel and do what you know is right.

Forgiveness is a gift to be given to those who truly deserve it and who have earned it otherwise the wrongdoer will never know the value of forgiveness themselves and may never change their behaviour.

forgive

The Owl and the Night – Reclaiming the Crone And the Light from the Dark

  For those who spend time following certain lines of discussion both in the mainstream and  the alternative medias, there has been a great deal of discussion about the owl and her symbolism. We are living in a period of great change and upheaval and it appears that those who dwell in darkness are now being exposed to the Light. This, my friends, has long been foretold and awaited by many, especially by those of us who dwell within the Light.

snowy
For those of us who work with esoteric signs and symbols, I believe it is high time we reclaimed the signs and symbols that we have used benevolently for generations, symbols used by sections of human society for ill intent. I refer to my own symbol as an example, the symbol of my house – the Owl of Moonpaw – one of many symbols used and turned backwards to mean something evil, dark and corrupt. While every symbol has both a positive and negative side, the bastardisation of esoteric signs and symbols from the swastika to the pentagram has reached its peak. It is time to neutralise the evil and take back the ancient symbols of wisdom, knowledge and protection and say to those who do evil “no more, you have taken enough and you will have no more.”. Let’s take back our symbols and our heritages, my friends, my brothers and sisters. Let’s take back our swastikas, our pentagrams and our owls, our lions, our snakes, our dragons, and our winged gods and goddesses. It’s time to bring them all home and back into the Light and take away the power from those who choose to dwell in darkness. Their time is over. The polarity is reversing. Their black sun is setting and a new dawn awaits those who want a peaceful and just world for all, not just a self-appointed few.

mystic

   The symbol of my house – the owl – has some negative connotations. She is associated with death and ill luck. But without death and ill-luck how can one appreciate life and prosperity? The owl dwells in darkness but does she not also bring sleep and dreams and healing? Does she not also teach one how to see that which is hidden, that which hides from the Light, those who wish to do ill and bring evil upon others? In order to find the wicked rats who hide in the shadows, doesn’t one also need the ability of the owl to see in the dark to find them? She harsh but she is wise, she kills but she also teaches tough lessons – the best lessons of all, as we will always remember them. The owl in her hag-nest sees all, even into the darkest corners of your soul. She sees the truth and speaks it too, no matter how uncomfortable. We need the owl so let’s retake her power from the wicked and the cruel and learn from her positive aspects. We can see Light even in the darkness.

Peace and Blessings.