Sunday, January 31, 2010

Must Be the Season of the Witch: Part I - the gathering

There is no describing how much wondrous fun we had at our witchy women gathering! (or should I say womyn to honor the new-agey 90s vibe of "the craft") Every element that I could have dreamed up for my dream-night actually happened!

Here I am getting ready; at the last minute I decided to wear my hand-dyed purple Gunne Sax dress along with a pouch containing rose quartz, an amber necklace that was a wedding gift from Jocelyn, and a dyed blue scarab beetle.
Oh, and Emily and I both went barefoot.
Here we are, Em and I, so damn ready for this night!

We've planned it for weeks.
It was all her idea, having loved Practical Magic since she was a preteen, so much that she actually watches it more than once a week to this day.
No joke.

Here's the gathering place (my living room of course) all set up and ready for magical crafts and coziness.  

And a close up of our "altar," I suppose you could call it.
Darin made so much fun of us for having Practical Magic sitting there.
And then we made him leave.

Super excited as our first guest arrives!

The adorable and ever-saucy Chelsea Peterson! (she has a swell little blog here)

Next to arrive was the gorgeous Becky (Carter) Mingle of Velvet Leaf fame:
And then this pair of bewitchingly haunting crones (aka Lesley and Ryann)
The illustrious and inimitable Mallory Tomei:
Couple of irrestible darlings, Rachel and Maya:
The glowing Jocelyn, with tiny Juniper inside her rapidly growing belly!
And last but not least, my own sis Addie in a witchy dress we've shared since high school and which our boyfriends always hated!

In total, ELEVEN girls (women, priestesses, goddesses!) all together getting busy working our magic, or to use one of the dorky phrases we ran across in our books that night, mojo magick

Check out this craft circle!!

This is why it is fun to have a party with just your girlfriends.
Each lady got super into it, carefully designing and writing and decorating pages for our communal spellbook. SO ENDEARING AND FUN!

See how happy I am?!
Part III of this Witchy series of postings will show off the results of our endeavors: the SPELLBOOK. Did we ever come up with a name for it girls? Traditionally they are called Book of Shadows but we thought about calling ours "Holy Wine" in reference to the Joni Mitchell song "Case of You" which we all sang aloud together when it came on the playlist.

In the midst of all this, Lesley disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a bubbling and frothing REAL CAULDRON!!

A chunk of dry ice in a bowl of vodka cranberry punch was THE PERFECT ADDITION to our night! (besides what could be better than a beautifully pink drink at a girly fest?)

There is so much more to tell that it is seriously overwhelming! But for now, I'll leave you with a few more random shots of the night's festivities, and watch for Part II: Absinthe Dreams...coming soon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This Friday we are planning a witchy women gathering at my house. About ten of us ladies are getting together to have some lovespell fun making our own homemade spellbook, watch Pracitical Magic in all its ridiculous splendour, and then have midnight margaritas!

In preparation, I've been dusting off my old magical and mystical books and naturelore and folklore.

Anne Kent Rush made the most amazing hand-drawn hippie books in the 70s. If you ever see this one at a used bookstore, I recommend you snatch it up. It's full to the brim of enlightening details about the moon, our human relationship with the moon, female spirituality and fertility and ritual associated with the moon, and all kinds of legend, folklore, myth and ceremonial practices.
I cherish it.

Check out this lovely drawing:

"Do you think that too," she said, "that I have slept too long in the moonlight?"
(from one of my favorite novels, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys)

As a woman deeply interested in the cyclical nature of life and the universe, and in female spirituality and fertility, I am fascinated by the thought that our bodies, bellies and minds, are linked to the moon's cycle in a great cosmic connection.

I wish my own cycle was always in tune with the moon. Alas, modern living does not promote this souldeep partnership. Shall I live outdoors all summer and sleep under the moon? Frolic and romp in the rivers and meadows all day long and go to sleep when the sun falls? Ahhh, my dreamlife. I think I shall.

This Friday also happens to be the full moon, how felicitous!

also known as:
Moon of Frost in the Tipi
Snow Moon
Moon of Little Winter

Photos taken by  my brother Matt, this one here in the Sierra Nevadas. (my home)

and this one over the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. (Matt's home)

The first full moon of the year in treelore is known as the Birch Moon, moon of inception. In the book Year of Moons, Season of Trees, I found that "in this moon, decisions are made as to the spiritual seeds you will be planting this year." I love that! It goes beyond New Year's resolutions and into the realm of spirituality. This year I want to more deeply feel my connection with the natural world.

Also, our festivities come just in time for Candlemas or Imbolc (Feb. 2), an ancient celeberation celebrating the Celtic goddess Brigid (or the Christianized version, St. Brigid) who was the Virgin Mary's midwife and symbolizes purification, initiation, and the bringing of new life and keeping the hearth fires burning. I'll post more about Imbolc in early Februrary.

The following gorgeous calendar was published in 1975 by Katharsis Press out of a  Nevada City, a neighboring artsy town where my sister currently dwells. They had a commune in the late 70s based on the teachings of yoga, natural health through diet, cooperative living and astrology, and they published a Solar Lunar Calendar annually. Unfortunately Katharsis seems to have been defunct for years now, but maybe exists in a different incarnation.

If you click on this maybe you can see the amazing detail in the drawings.

and so, I leave you with this
Moon Dance Ritual:

On the off chance that this all seems WAY too hippy-dippy (ugh i hate that term) I will add that it is for fun and joy together as friends that we plan this event, and not to weird anyone out! But yes, I will also admit that I am shamelessly showing my true hippie/gypsy/mystic leanings here.

I can't wait for our girly night of magic and mystery!

Monday, January 25, 2010


you know those little word verification thingies that pop up when you leave comments? i think sometimes they're sorta neat. like the title of this post: vitivery. i like it. i like to pronounce it with the short i, emphasis on the second i. that really should be a word circulated in the common vernacular, and many of the other ones are cool too like "shumite," "warlit," and "pregicit." so i'm gonna randomly and variously use them once in a while. anyway.

it's a rainy day. again.

therefore, i:

 cut bangs. totally stole the idea from my oh-so-inspirational sis-in-law amy.

went thrifting where i got my sickly hubby this poncho which he immediately snuggled into:

 and also got this album that my goth friends used to love and proceeded to listen to it all day:

and snugged my shyest little sweetie cat daphne (aka beanie):

and wore my ultra soft, thick, cozy bamboo tights:

i also strewed my crafty stuff all across my room to work on a special project for our upcoming special girls' night...i'll keep you posted on those weirdly wondrous festivities!

then made steamed beets, beet greens, brussel sprouts and creamy risotto for dinner and now we're gonna cozy up with two movies.

so all in all, another nice rainy day.
 but oh lordy how i'd love some sunshine.

Triumphant Show

Saturday night brought another fine show of musical acts.
First up, my dear friend Doniella who writes the most quirky lovely folk songs about loneliness, San Francisco, mermaids, the Grapes of Wrath, and home.
A poet soul, this one.
She sang her Steinbeck song straight to me, from one lit lover to another.
I'm so jealous she actually has a teaching job and thus a forum to share this love!

Here she is in this shawl her sister just brought her from Spain (I fell in love with it) and with Nihar, in their handsome matching glasses.

More couples in cute matching glasses: Joey and Em.

And then Darin played!
This time their band was in another incarnation known as Loomfixer in which they play Darin's songs rather than my brother Joey's.
Both are incredibly rad.
This show sort of blew me away.

I mean I knew my hub is magical and all, but the strange and mystical lyrics to his songs transported me.
You should hear him triumphantly sing this one:

this body is dying but my banner is yet flying
the trumpets are sounding and the drums of war are pounding
for aeons i played the fool
but at the turn of the wheel i found you
you, light of the moon,
the invisible is also true
with the lunatics and the lesbians
to this dark earth shall i return
in a ship of fools upon an ocean of blood
the queen's wise blood
shall bring forth a son

This song might sound esoteric but Darin is well-versed in mythological lore and antiquity. He's referring to a Roman procession called The Triumph but with a little bit of a magical spin on it. It's pretty interesting, the Triumphator wore vermilion face paint and a laurel crown and followed a precise parade route through Rome with a slave chanting the words "memento homo" or "remember you are mortal."

I love having a husband full of interesting knowledge.
With the slumber party and then this show, what a great weekend!

What did you do?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Funber Slumber Party

We stayed up almost all night long having a clothing swap and telling secrets at our slumber party at Rebecca's house. It was sort of like being thirteen but with way better stories!

The lovely Ryann in a vintage skirt I brought which looked so pretty on her; gotta love when old clothes get fine new homes!

Ashley tries on the 60s tennis dress:

Lesley is a vision in blue!

Cozy girls, Breanne and Ashley:

Mallory, wine, pajamas, OH MY!

Rebecca shows off her son Sylvan's Lego kitty. Poor Sylvan, he and his dad got home late and stayed in the other room due to the whole "no boys allowed" thing. And at one point he said, "Dad, all those girls out there are distracting me!" He was very excited to get to join up with the lady folk in the morn for breakfast at Cafe Bernardo and point out the mannequins in storefronts along the way (one of his endearing obsessions).

We finally fell asleep at 5:30 a.m, damn party animals.
I am blessed with the best friends a girl could ever want.
We have lots more fun girly stuff coming up...wait till you see what we have up our sleeves for later this week!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

just another diamond day

blustery rainy stormy windy; still asleep when the power went out. therefore naturally today i am renamored with the blustery foresty windswept melodies of ms.Vashti Bunyan. and dreaming of her 1968-69 horse-drawn-cart trip north out of London to the island countryside of the Outer Hebrides in search of Donovan's elusive commune Skype. (oh it was so much more romantic a term then!) she and her lover never found it; alas the artists and hippies had packed up by then, but she had two years of dirt roads, woodsy paths, lovemaking, summers and winters, folk song lullabies, crumbling cottages, stories and birds and life on the road in a carriage drawn by horses. not to over-glorify, but sounds like heaven to me.
 today is a daydreaming sort of rainy day.

has anyone had the luck to see Vashti Bunyan: From Here to Before, the documentary about her aforementioned travels? i can't seem to get it from netflix yet and i'm keening.

here's darin, cozy in bed after a graveyard shift.

i, on the other hand, had fudge and pumpkin pie for breakfast. it's raining torrentially, that's as good an excuse as any.

Blossom and Floral and the Lure of the 90s

My friend Stan walked in today, took one look at me and said, "What - are you Blossom?" or something along those lines. And I got very excited to suddenly remember the show Blossom, although I was not intending to channel her style and I always identified more with her friend Six anyway:

see what I mean, I would totally wear Six's outfit but Blossom's could unfortunately never be me:

Which got me thinking about the 1990s and styles that are back in as if they ever really went out, a topic that Milla from The Girl Who Married a Bear has posted eloquently about here and here. It's hard to take current 90s-ish trends very seriously if you lived through it and never really left...and by the by, can it really be considered "vintage" if it was one decade ago?

Incidentally, isn't Darin sort of a Joey Lawrence?

Oh, one more thing about Blossom - I once dreamed that my brother Matt and his wife Amy had a baby girl they named "Blossom." But I digress.

Anyway, at first I was thinking, well I never really got into the outrageous hats thing did I? but then I thought again.
Here I am in 1993:

Lo and behold, my hats even pre-dated the 90s, springing from my Anne of Green Gables obsession:

Oh I also tried to momentarily convince myself I wasn't into the whole tacky sunflowers thing until I remembered that I wore this dress for my high school graduation:

It was navy blue with tiny sunflowers on it, in case you can't tell. Addie's outfit on the left was one we shared and cherished, the A-line floral skirt and tie-front white blouse. Contempo Casuals, anyone?

I can feel Cher's influence:

oh and Brittany Murphy, I will always remember (and love) you like this.

So - my choice trend of the 90s for the night is the ubiquitous floral babydoll dresses, a personal favorite of mine and one I will never forsake.

frame of reference

and ME, circa '92:
(this one's actually an oh-so-handy skort)


and '96, still hanging on and with purple scrunchy too!

okay, this is getting ridiculous but my true love and inspiration of the 90s of course was:

tori amos. was, is, and forever will be.

also, without any further ado here are my own personal top five 1990s movies:
(off the top of my head, I know there are so many more greats)

#5 What's Eating Gilbert Grape
1993 Lasse Hallstrom

#4 Arizona Dream
1993 Emir Kusturica

#3 My Own Private Idaho
1991 Gus Van Sant

#2 Box of Moonlight
1996 Tom DiCillo

#1 Bottle Rocket
1996, Wes Anderson

Any loyal 90ists out there?