Why is the Pink Moon Pink?

Why the Pink Moon & Phase Calendar
  Rabbit, rabbit!
I'm sure at least some of you say this on the first (we will save the history for next month's Flower moon on Patreon- and in some traditions the Hare Moon) 
This month I'm working in the Hare early because of his ties with the Pink Moon and Easter's date, as well as the Trickster energy kicks off the entire month. (I hope you weren't fooled badly by anyone today, but if you were, Jistu was probably happy.)
Moon Phase Calendar

 If you can, listen to *this recording of award-winning Cherokee storyteller Robert Lewis telling a traditional Cherokee Jistu story. Trust me, his voice and delivery is beyond compare, and he has quick a bit of trickster energy himself. Me writing about it would not do the rich oral tradition a lick of justice.
 ( *Start at 8:00-13:45 for the first story about how Creator challenged rabbit & he got his long ears, and 17:48 to hear about rabbit's trouble outside the council meeting and what his true talent is if you don't have 20 minutes to hear the entire Lewis segment.)
Jistu is rabbit/hare in Cherokee, and he is the traditional trickster in most Eastern tribe mythologies. Coyote is the trickster for Western tribes, like Navaho and Apache.

 April Moon / Pink Moon : This month's moon is called so because moss phlox is one of the first flowers to bloom and spread color in the spring. Another name is the Sprouting Grass Moon, and the Cherokee called it the Kawoni or Flower Moon although many others use that name for May's moon. There are a multitude of names for every moon within various cultures. Pink is fairly widespread, and I'm guessing it's because phlox is native to most of the Americas.

 Phlox is in the Polemoniaceae family and there are 60 odd varieties of phlox. Phlox coming from the Greek for flame, its color is bright and vibrant against the new spring grasses.  
Traditional medicinal uses for phlox included steeping the whole plant in a tonic for indigestion and using dried leaves as a detox tea, as well as topical application of a root tea for skin ailments, eye washes, and even venereal diseases. (Again- I am not recommending these applications, especially for the STIs. See a health care professional.)
 In the language of flowers, phlox means; Our souls are united. or We think alike. 
Using phlox in your garden to foster those harmonious warm and fuzzies seems a no-brainer, pink is always good for that 4th chakra whirl. The phlox flowers are susceptible to spider mites, eelworms, phlox bug, and powdery mildew (so probably whiteflies, too- bane of my existence) but so goes it with growing. Circle of life, get some green lacewings or ladybugs and watch them feast.
More things to come soon- just wanted to get the calendar link up for you to mark your moons if you wanted it. A full size downloadable print & PNG of the Pink Moon artwork will be coming to Tier 4+ soon, and a downloadable print of Hey, Jupiter is coming to Tier 3+ with the next line art upload when it's ready to scan.
Thanks for swinging by,
May the Pink Moon shine on new growth for you and yours,
May your heart sing like Jitsu's, even in the face of the Eagle,
May you teach others to dance to their heart's song.
~D. Renée

Weird Sisters Deciphering the Cauldron: Potion Bottle Project

I'm back with the next Deciphering the Cauldron post and potion bottle project!
I'm going to post more about the ingredients after my upcoming festival show, ArtoberFest/ Winter Springs Festival of the Arts, this weekend. So look for more of those posts over on Patreon after I've hauled everything back home and had a chance to get a few winks.

If you're a Patron, you know what the "eye" of a plant is from our last post.

And you also know there are several plants that have their own folk names that refer to their looks.
I've drawn the blossom that the plant is from, and it's one that humans have used for millennia. 

~Brassica nigra~
black mustard

Nope, not a real newt, but the eye of the plant does resemble a newt's eye. Teensy tiny and black when dried. Black mustard has varied use in folk medicine from colds to inflammation. It can relieve edema by stimulating the kidneys but it can also induce vomiting, so don't try it without an herbalist. 

But the question I come to with each ingredient;
Why "eye of newt"?

There are a few ways to go with this, and I think they are all correct.
It has to do with which side you're on concerning the role of the sisters, and the perspectives the author was simultaneously coddling and leaving open.Are they meddling hags, truly supernatural beings like the Fates, or are they a manifestation of Macbeth's inner demons?

  • Black mustard seed is widely believed to be the seed Christ spoke of in His parable, and even that parable's meaning is debated within religious circles.  
  • Black mustard seed holds a great deal of potential, energetically speaking, and its seeds germinate incredibly quickly. Once they drop, you'll almost certainly have a plant. 
  • Black mustard seed is used in conjure work to confuse one's rivals.

This latter fact is the one I'm leaning toward, and also why I was early convinced that the author was not merely using gross sounding rhymes. This herb/spice is straight up used to sew confusion in enemies in witchy work, and the visions in Act IV are right in line.

 Whatever option you choose, it's an ingredient that is meant to crank the faith and potential of whatever you throw in after it.

Up next-Toe of frog.Any guesses? Now, on to some light fun. 

Snape approved Potion bottles for easy Halloweeny decor 

Start collecting bottles~
I gathered a box and instead of throwing them into recycling, I stashed them in there for a while. Another inexpensive option is the Dollar Tree or the dollar bin section of Michaels. I already had a few of these little containers, like the green bottle to the left, that I got for buck or two.
 It has a seal and everything, so storing actual herbs/flowers/seeds is an option, or even your loose crystals and beads.  I lose the hell out of those, so cute containers are fantastic. But tbh, the seal makes it perfect for making large watercolor washes and not needing to worry about them drying out. If you paint in washes, pick one up for that alone.

Sand paper will rough up the surface so that paint can stick to the plastic. With some plastic bottles, like this orange rx bottle, it looks kind of cool with just the sanded surface.
Craft paints are fine for this project. I made some washes to create a dirty, drippy effect.

 If you have sticky labels that won't come off- leave them! IMO, the more texture, the better.
 A couple layers of craft paint...

Glue for oozing drips and sticking on your cap adornments.
Things like rocks, twine, beads, etc. to make them look as bog witchy or sophisticated as you please.

If you're not a Patron and want to design your own, there are so many options!
I love parchment paper, but make sure to use a waterproof pen, or even better a pencil. Otherwise the glue could smear your drawing. 
The pdf page is a free download for level 2 Patrons. Individual jpgs will be available for level 3 Patrons soon.

(I'm especially fond of this one, b/c the beads I used resemble the hounds tongue flower and a real tongue <3.)

After you print out your labels, cut them and either use scrapbooking tape (great option if you don't want to leave the labels on year-round) or an all purpose glue and apply with a brush on the back and edges. If your glue was too watery and the ink smears a bit, lightly brush it around for an aged look.
OR you could print it out and start again. Patrons can print their downloads at home as often as they like. 
Allow the labels to dry, add any extra decoration you think it needs, and you should be good to go. 
My artemisia seeds are going in my Blind Worm's Sting jar, which is good, b/c those things are tiny and were going to get lost in my seed drawer. 
Put things inside;

the office kitty, secrets you'll take to the grave, etc.

I have my bottles on our hearth. Probably to stay. Fun Christmas with the family...

Visit my Patreon to support nerdy stuff like this & art projects and get weird printables like these.
 Toe of frog is up next!

What potion are you making?

~D. Renée

In the cauldron boil & bake...

The MOST wonderful time of the year is here! October may still be muggy and lush here in Florida, but it's always Samhain in my soul. 
I was born in the autumn and Midwestern fall was my season.
Perfectly cool days, cracking leaves underfoot, woodsmoke in the air and chilly nights. A Harvest or Blood Moon in the clear, twinkling autumn sky makes it easier to hear whispers through the veil.

  The one thing about Florida "fall" I'll give it, we can still plant and grow things. Gardening is my grounding go-to, so I'm okay with this trade off. These are crazy times. If I can't have a long walk in the cold, autumn air, I might as well be able to get down and dirty with muh plant babes.
 For my spooky autumnal Patreon project, this has worked out quite well.

Deciphering the Cauldron; Finger of birth-strangled babe; Foxglove. (It's only visible to the public for a limited time, so hurry over if you want a peek. It goes back to Patrons only this weekend.)
I go into what's actually behind all those weird and seemingly gross ingredients of the Weird Sisters witches brew in Macbeth. Hint- not really body parts. It's plants. Some are highly toxic. (Shocker!) Some are used in modern medicine, and a few are favorites of witchy types like Shakespeare (-cough--Francis Bacon-cough, sneeze, I have a cold, sorry) for astrological, folklore, and other various correspondences.

 I'll give you a taste of what's coming next, but fair warning- it's a toxic one. Even touching this ingredient can result in blistered skin. Most definitely don't eat it...

Fillet of a fenny snake, 
In the cauldron boil and bake

Macbeth, Act IV, S. I

Gross? Not exactly. As I've explained in the Foxglove post, most ingredients used in potions and brews by wise women were coded due to the secretive nature of their craft. This was for a few reasons, but the danger of laypersons fiddling about with potentially toxic plants was one of them. Also, King James hated witches, and Shakespeare really kicked up the nefarious a notch to pander to ol' Jimmy's disdain for the ladies of lore. 

Let's get down to it. 

Fillet = Filet = Meat
(Brits don't like to pronounce things the French way. Think Claret.)

Whenever an old Hedge Witch/herbalist/wise woman or even an alchemist  said to use the meat of a plant, they were referring to its fruit or berries.
We go over the corresponding secret code names for plant parts on the Patrons only post.

Arum Maculatum
 Okay, then...
Wtf is a fenny?

It's nothing more than an archaic term for a boggy, wetland-ish area. Fenny = bog

So, we know we're looking for a plant in a boggy area that looks like like a snake and we need its "meat". Oh, wait! There's totally a plant that already is called "snake's meat" colloquially. Dang, Shakespeare made that really easy.
Cuckoo Pint / Arum Maculatum
aka; Lord's & Ladies, Naked Boys and Naked Girls, Arum Lily, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Soldiers Diddies, Starch Root, Adder's Root, Adam and Eve, the list goes on and on but, hey one more Cheese and Toast because that one's great, and heeeeere we go-
Snake's Meat

The plant obviously has quite a few names, and most of them refer to couples and doin' the deed, because of the spadix and spathe formation. It's pretty. It's cool. It's a plant. Humans are weird.

The entire plant contains raphides, calcium oxalate crystals. 
(Raphides under 600x magnification)

This means that if disturbed, the plant will produce these crystals, which will get onto you if you touch the plant. They are a skin irritant, and if eaten, your throat and airways can close.
That's just the rest of the plant. We need the berries.

 berries of Cuckoo Pint

Cool tidbit about these plants, they are little tricksters. To get a pollinator, they disguise themselves with a fecal scent and higher temperature than the surrounding air. This attracts owl-midges in particular. We'll come back to the owl-midge flies!
The bottom ring of female flowers is topped by a ring of male flowers on the spadix. The male flowers are then surrounded by a ring of tiny hairs that act as an insect trap. This keeps the insect stuck inside for a while. They eventually figure out ho to escape through a tiny hole, and they repeat the process on surrounding Arum plants, this time covered in pollen. 

The roots of the plant are large and hold a great deal of starch. It was actually used to starch the collars and ruffs of nobility and was the only way to make communion linen. You can imagine how hard that was on the hands of the women that had to do the work.
This was written in 1597 by John Gerard, 

Right. All for stiff collars? Jeesh. The root could actually be used for medicinal use and flour if cooked properly, but it was risky. 

Okay. So now that we know what a fillet of a fenny snake was,
Well, what do you think?

Owl Midge photo from Cabinet of Curiosities
 We have the toxic aspect down, but keep in mind this is the first ingredient for the cauldron in this scene of Act IV. The sisters are kicking it up here for the visions/apparition prophesies.

I'm going to remind you that when they first said "Something wicked this way comes" at the beginning of the play, they certainly weren't talking about themselves. 
It was the overly ambitious and now murderous Macbeth. 
Macbeth who is represented within the play by an owl, Duncan by a falcon, and the Macduff family birds.
Macbeth the "obscure bird", or owl, that has killed, and plans to keep on killing. 

 If you want to see what's in the rest of Deciphering the Cauldron series, 
what's behind the printable line art page I came up with for Fenny Snake, or you want in on the upcoming potion bottle printables and  tutorial, head over to Patreon to pledge support and get access to more posts and free printables art & svg files.

 Thanks for stopping by, and be careful in your gardens. Always know your plants, and don't work with it if you aren't comfortable. See you pretties later!

I have to go catch a frog. Literally. There's tree frogs and toads all over the plants in the pool house. 
Frog poop everywhere. Tis the season!

 ~D. Renée

Singing Down the Moon

"Men say you can even sing down the moon from heaven,
And make the holy stars to falter and run backward, against the purpose And current of nature. Ha?"

These were the words spoken of Creon as written by Euripides in the play Medea. We can argue that in different dramas and tellings, Medea actually helped Jason (she did kill her brother for him) but only in Euripides' version did she intentionally kill her children.
While we work our way into the witchy season, a little snippet background into the Greek pantheon is probably appropriate for those of you that might have forgotten the witchy roots of the classical tradition, which are referenced in Macbeth. (If you haven't seen the Deciphering the Cauldron series on Patreon, head over to that post to check it out while it's still public.)
Medea = Niece of Circe Circe = First Sorceress Hecate = Goddess of Magic (Titan/older than Olympian Gods) also adopted as Crone aspect of Triple Goddess
Medea = Priestess of Hecate, Macbeth witches are considered priestess of Hecate, (but Hecate was a later addition to the play, most likely from Thomas Middleton's The Witch, 'nuff about that.) BUT, like we talked about before, the Macbeth witches are also more likely to be a personification of the Fates, or Wyrd Sisters. Wyrd being a the Anglo-Saxon word that corresponds with fate/personal destiny.

Back to Creon, King of Corinth, and his fear of the witchy, bitchy, Medea-
He's letting her know why he's banishing her. She could do harm to his daughter if she wanted to. People say she's maaaad powerful, and, well, she is. A princess of Colchis, her grandfather is Helios, the sun god. Her aunt is Circe. She was trained in pharmaka, the herbal healing and sometimes dark magical arts.
To rewind- Medea is losing it because Jason of Argonaut fame, whom she had given up everything for including murdering a sibling, ditched her and their kids for a new, younger, Greek wife. (As aforementioned, Medea was foreign. Greeks could be pretty mean about that once they were back home.) Medea is now being banished, which is pretty damn near a death sentence for her and her kids.
It's a very moving and interesting take on the role of women in relationships. Not just in romantic relationships, but also from the aspect of the chorus to Medea. For being written in 431 BCE, I'd say the people crediting it with being one of the first feminist works. I'll just paste this little Medea monologue to the women of Corinth right here-

"Women of Corinth, I am come to show  My face, lest ye despise me. For I know  Some heads stand high and fail not, even at night  Alone—far less like this, in all men's sight:  And we, who study not our wayfarings  But feel and cry—Oh we are drifting things,  And evil! For what truth is in men's eyes,  Which search no heart, but in a flash despise  A strange face, shuddering back from one that ne'er  Hath wronged them? . . . Sure, far-comers anywhere,  I know, must bow them and be gentle. Nay,  A Greek himself men praise not, who alway  Should seek his own will recking not. . . . But I—  This thing undreamed of, sudden from on high,  Hath sapped my soul: I dazzle where I stand,  The cup of all life shattered in my hand,  Longing to die—O friends! He, even he,  Whom to know well was all the world to me,  The man I loved, hath proved most evil.—Oh,  Of all things upon earth that bleed and grow,  A herb most bruised is woman. We must pay  Our store of gold, hoarded for that one day,  To buy us some man's love; and lo, they bring  A master of our flesh! There comes the sting  Of the whole shame. And then the jeopardy,  For good or ill, what shall that master be;  Reject she cannot: and if he but stays  His suit, 'tis shame on all that woman's days.  So thrown amid new laws, new places, why,  'Tis magic she must have, or prophecy—  Home never taught her that—how best to guide  Toward peace this thing that sleepeth at her side.  And she who, labouring long, shall find some way  Whereby her lord may bear with her, nor fray  His yoke too fiercely, blessed is the breath  That woman draws! Else, let her pray for death.  Her lord, if he be wearied of the face  Withindoors, gets him forth; some merrier place  Will ease his heart: but she waits on, her whole  Vision enchainèd on a single soul.  And then, forsooth, 'tis they that face the call  Of war, while we sit sheltered, hid from all  Peril!—False mocking! Sooner would I stand  Three times to face their battles, shield in hand,  Than bear one child.-- "
Euripides, Medea
Daaaaamn. I hear ya, Medea. You right, girl. Totally justified in getting revenge. (That's basically what the chorus says back.)
That's when Creon stomps over to let her know she's outta here. Part of her reply regarding his daughter, Jason's new bride-

"But I wish her well, my lord!
I wish her all the happiness.
I hope that Jason may be as kind to her-=
As-- to me."
At this, King Creon loses it. He knows Jason treated her like garbage, but she talks him down, appealing to his sensibilities. She gets a day.
In that day, she gives the princess a killer gift. I really can't give more away. You need to read this play or at least stream a great production. Even better, go support a local production when it comes around. It's worth it.

The artwork shown will be available to my level 3 & up Patrons as a download within the next day or so. Patrons, look for the post notification in your inbox.
The original artwork will be going to a Patron in a random drawing in November!
Each $5 on a level gets one entry.
Level 2 = 1 entry
Level 3 = 2 entries
Level 4 = 4 entries etc.
Everyone else can purchase unsigned, open edition prints or apparel through the shop section of my website,
Enjoy this full Harvest Moon tonight. Anyone going to try to sing it down? It is an Aries moon. It might sound kind of metal.
Let me know how it works out if you do.
Love you all!
May you be kind ;)
D. Renée


In another installment of illustration & poetry collaboration between the brilliant Quirine Dongelmans and myself; Wave.

Dreaming shadows.
Never cease to exist.

Wave; watercolor, D. Renée Wilson.  

There is quite a lot I could say about the undercurrents of this piece, no pun intended. How thoughts, emotions, and action are seamlessly linked in the cycle of creation with stagnation being an illusion, but I've already written about it on the Patreon page, and I think Quirine's piece sums it up quite nicely. I don't discuss the meaning with her before she writes, either. Funny how that works, out. 

 What kind of waves are carrying you?

What waters lift you into action?

Can you change the swells of the tide?

Is your mind the turning of the globe or own the Fates your winds?

Whatever you need for your next piece of wandering, may you find fair winds and following seas.

~D. Renée

Mother Mary Jones

“Wherever she went,” Sinclair Lewis wrote of Mary Harris "Mother Jones", “the flame of protest leaped up in the hearts of men.” She said to "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."

Mary Jones is a sort of hero of mine. Not perfect, but she fought injustices with such a fire in her belly and for such a long time, that it's hard not to put her on a smidgen of a pedestal. 
(To read a tiny bit about it, swing by this Patreon blog.)
The original watercolor portrait of her is in now the collection of a special Patreon patron, after an exclusive Patreon giveaway.
Prints and merch of this wc portrait are available on Redbubble and Society6. (Which I think has free shipping today.)
They have been moving this week, for some reason. That makes my little agitator heart smile.

"Sit down and read. Educate yourself for the coming conflicts." -Mother Jones

Flocked on Flamingo Friday

 Flocked in wallpaper on Spoonflower
Flocked in wallpaper on Spoonflower

Heard of Spoonflower?

It's an online fabric company that uses eco-friendly inks and printing processes, artwork from indie designers, and passes on thousands of unique choices and environmental feel good to you.
It's a cool place for makers and designers, alike.
There are tons of fabric options, including organics, sport, and even denim and velvet. 22 fabrics, I think in total, and a few wallpaper and gift wraps.

There are themed design challenges to help keep juices flowing.
This week is  "Animals by Air".

I know, right? I had fun voting on that one. I think I faved every single design. So. Many. Birds!

The site also collaborates with Roostery (home goods) and Sprout (patterns and white-glove sewing service) for those of us that aren't exactly domestic goddesses but dig the unique fabrics.

With the move coming up, I'm pretty stoked about the wallpaper, which is something I never thought I'd be saying. They have an adhesive wallpaper, that I plan to use on bookshelves and other areas. I'd love to design bespoke patterns once I get in the space and see exactly what it needs, ya know?
(Custom fabric designs are also a reward I now offer my Patreon supporters, so head over there if you want something special for a project.)

If you're already a Spoonflower customer and you like Flocked, please give it a
 The voting ends soon.

And umm, if you're just a flamingo person and aren't into the whole fabric thing, I get it.

Flocked is also on Society6.  No sewing required. 

Have a fantastic Friday.
~Stay flamboyant~

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