Moments in Magical Modernity: VIII (or, The Silver Lady’s Acolyte)


Author’s Note (2/22/17):  The idea that this piece belongs with the rest of the Magical Modernity entries has not let me go, not since I first published it. And so I am succumbing to it and will now count this lovely moment amongst my other glimpses into a world where magic is everyday but still so very…well…magical.

VIII.

The sun blazed its way to its cradle in a conflagration of amethyst, coral, and rose, stark and dragon-breath bright against the indigo of the coming night. This breath of celestial fire found her bathing in a lake on a ridge. The water ran in rivulets over soft skin and rained in droplets from fingertips as gold spread over the surface of the lake. As the burning gradually died away and the indigo velvet cloaked the sky, the stars found her amidst the trees. The blue-white light spilling from the Silver Lady’s train lit on firm, supple skin, a graceful curve here, a soft roundness there. As the light scattered over her, she basked in it, breathed it in like oxygen itself. She could feel the gold begin to shimmer in her hair as she basked in the blessing of the Silver Lady. She began to move through the woods, the scent of spring blossom thick and heady in the early spring night.

As the Kitsune moved, picking up speed along the forest floor, moon-spangled skin gave way to golden softness. Pale fingers became strong black paws, five gorgeous flowing tails trailing out behind her. Scents and sounds became sharp and heady, the very scent of moonlight filling her nose to the point of euphoria. As large as a direwolf, with a coat that splashed sunset fire and paws that threw up stars where they met earth, she ran and yelped, howled and leaped, stretching her nose and fanning her tails in obeisance and for the Silver Lady’s delight.

The first spring full moon, the air full of blossoms and new life, the many-tailed fox ran free in the blue-white light.

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Featured Artist Spotlight: Courtney Phi


An expert in paint, pen, word, and stitch, Courtney Phi has been covered in art from her young days. She has been painting and drawing for as long as she can remember, with differing degrees of facility. Her mother provided a creative foundation for Courtney in their home as she took on various art projects, sewed, and drew her daughter into her sphere of creativity. Supportive of Courtney’s talent and passion, her parents placed her in an arts magnet school when she was a young girl, where she was exposed to art history and technique from an early age.

Now a proficient artist across  many mediums, Courtney Phi is constantly reaching for new heights, new pursuits, new projects, new avenues for her creativity – whether it be fashion, writing, medieval dancing or cooking, or painting. Courtney Pritchard is also one of the most perceptive people I have ever met and it shows in her art, her ability to see beyond the lines she is currently drawing or painting, to see what comes next. She is also perseverant, keeping at her work until she gets it right. These are not only traits of a highly-creative mind but of a highly-determined, wonderful-hearted person. Her creativity has been an inspiration and muse to me on several occasions, just as she has as a friend.

Courtney Phi Art Facebook Page

Courtney Phi’s Patreon Page – Come support the beauty!

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Art is property of Courtney Phi. Prints available at her Etsy Store: Sycamore Grove Designs

 

My Holy Discontent


Last weekend, I listened to speaker Bill Hybels talk about passion. One of the questions he asked was, “Where does your passion come from? A beautiful dream or a holy discontent?” I was more than a bit fascinated by the phrase “holy discontent”. Can discontentment be holy? Then Mr. Hybels explained. Sometimes our passion can come from a complete and utter discontentment with the way things are, along with an inability to leave things the way they are. We simply must do something about it, so our passion is born in and borne out through this discontentment.

I realized that I live in a state of holy discontent. That is where my passion wells from. I am utterly discontent with how much of a lack of love, mercy, and grace there is in how people treat each other in our world. I cannot let things stay that way. I see people hurting, pieces of hearts broken off, cracks gaping in souls. I cannot let things stay that way.

I cannot let those who are hurting remain in their pain alone without holding their hand and telling them that they are safe to feel as they feel.

I cannot let those with broken hearts suffer without knowing that they are loved, cared for, and considered worthy.

I will not let those with gaping souls go hungry without telling them that God calls them good, wonderful, and beloved. And so do I.

My passion for hearts, my soul for people, is born out of a holy discontent. I believe that God has allowed this particular seed of discontent in my soul with the aim of fueling me to fulfill the purpose for which I was created: to love big. God has filled me dissatisfaction in seeing the lack of love in the world, and He pushes my heart to offer it. Day after day, as much as I can: love, encouragement, mercy, and grace.

There are people who walk around each day, dear ones and strangers, with broken hearts, cracked souls, and empty eyes. People who think themselves failures, unlovable, alone, and bereft. People who are suffering, and I cannot stand it. The heart that God has given me yearns to see souls, people, dear ones, strangers, live loved.

I want to help others breathe a little more easily and deeply.

I want to respond with grace, gentleness, truth, and love.

I want people, you precious people whom God has made, to know that you matter, you are significant, you are beloved, and were created with a unique purpose in mind. Yes, each of you. You are here on purpose.

My passion is not one that is big (well, it is–to me. But not like attention-getting big, I mean.). It is not one that is loud, will make me famous, or maybe birth a movement. I do not lead workshops. I haven’t written books. And that’s okay. I do what I do. I post, I call, I listen, I write, I pray, I hold hands, and I give hugs (and mugs of coffee/tea/hot chocolate). These are small things, but please don’t underestimate the small things you can do. They can effect monumental change in a person’s life and soul. I am living proof.

What is your passion in this life? Where does it come from? Are you working towards a beautiful dream or are you striving to change the source of your discontent? And, yes, these things that you see wrong with the world: that is indeed a holy discontent. Perhaps you feel that your passion is not that big. Not big enough for people to pay attention, not big enough to make a difference. Please, hear me when I tell you this: it is! Your passion is big enough. The small things you do are big enough. The steps you take in your passion are big enough. Yes, they are! Keep dreaming, keep doing, keep stepping.

My passion is born of a holy discontent. A discontentment with a world lacking in goodness and love. I want to find it, highlight it, give it, infuse it. I want to change the world. I want to see love change the world. I want to be a love that changes the world. Let love be the overwhelming response to and result of my holy discontent.

Moments in Magical Modernity: VII


VII.

On Sunday mornings, the silvery peal of church bells can be heard ringing out over the city, calling to the devout and the believers, the lost and the hungry.  Places of worship fill with those who arrived weary and leave with beatific faces. But the churches are not the only places filled with the faithful, human and magical alike.

In a small apartment, an aged, bent, great grandmother sprinkles salt over and lights a warm candle near the lovingly-framed photographs of her children and grandbabies. Salt and light.

In a bare-branched, snowy copse, a frost fairy etches designs in ice on the ancient trees. Runes of renewal, healing, community, the hearth. With delicate fingers, she arranges jeweled webs, diamine dream catchers, between spindly branches stretched towards a winter-blue sky.

On star-hidden nights, silver-threaded, constellation-shot, blue velvet is hung over the beds of gargoyle children, folded snugly in their wings, so they know they are seen, loved, and protected by the skies they will soar.

Small groups gather in the warmth of the Hollow to talk about God and truth, faith and practice and impact. Pearla fills coffee mugs and tea cups, and Kingsley provides dishes of soup that warm hearts and open souls. Under the Hollow’s peaceful roof, debates are held, disagreements acknowledged, insights shared, and hearts encouraged. Souls often leave a little lighter, hooves, paws, feet, and wings moving a bit more briskly, and hands and hearts feeling maybe just a little fuller.

When Emotion is Anathema to Gentleness


Twice so far this week (oh, who are we kidding? Twice in the same day…) I have wanted to get into a fight, or at the very least, a shouting match with people who have made friends of mine feel marked lousy. It didn’t matter to me whether it was a mistake or not, I just knew that they had hurt someone I care about and I was seeing red. It doesn’t help that I have been in a depleted, weary place for the past week and am finding my negative emotions easily amplified right now, but that didn’t matter either. All I knew is that these people needed to know just how much they suck. I even  gave in to internet courage and posted something to that effect on one hurt friend’s FB post about the incident.

And then I immediately felt guilty. I immediately felt like a fraud, a liar.

Here I am, claiming to espouse love and grace and gentleness, and yet I can act and say things so absolutely contrary to any of those things. I wanted my friend to know that she was supported and loved but I tore someone else down to do it, someone I didn’t even know.

I went back and edited my comment (to say that I wanted to yell at the HR person in question rather than hit them), but, obviously, I still feel badly about it. Or else I wouldn’t be sitting here, feeling compelled to write this at 6am the following morning.

Emotion can sometimes be an anathema to gentleness. Mine are currently running high, subject to amplification because of weariness and need to recharge/refresh, and I allowed them to rob me of an opportunity to show gentleness to a stranger. I lost a chance to model the gentleness that I am very much wanting and trying to internalize so that it becomes habit, instinct. That chance is gone now. I can change the post, I can apologize and try to do better, but I cannot erase that first response, that first action, those first words. They are written on time and memory. I won’t forget them, and I am honestly struggling a bit not to be consumed by them right now. I acknowledge my tendency to ruminate on things and cause myself a fair amount of emotional pain because of past mistakes. That is not what I want to do to here.

I acknowledge my humanity, my fallibility, and that I’m going to do the wrong thing at times. But I am not through. My growth is not over. I have felt that nudge of guilt, and I have listened to it. I see where I was wrong and I apologize for my behavior. I will try to be better today. I will strive for gentleness today, even with those I don’t know and may never meet. The words below were published by Jennifer Dukes Lee on her Facebook page yesterday and I am ever so thankful for them and their God-breathed truth.

“I want to be reminded that there is no failure. Failure is just another word for “try again tomorrow,” or “move on; there’s something better for you.” Failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is simply this: NOT TRYING.

Your bravery has a voice. As the week begins, listen to it. Bravery is the voice within that says, “I did not fail. I will try again tomorrow.” — Jennifer Dukes Lee

Moments in Magical Modernity: VI


VI.

Nighttime in the city has a specific Magic all its own. There is not only the typical nightlife of the city but there are also creatures of magic, myth, and memory who thrive under the night’s cloak. Creatures of shadow and star shine, who weave blue moonlight into lifelike sculptures that glow and shimmer. Who paint scenes full of inherent light, fit for dreams. There are creatures who soar on gigantic wings, gathering up the nightmares that would descend on the back of the darkness, gobbling them up whole. Of course, some slip through, but that’s a matter for another time.

As children, we are often taught to fear the night, and while that is still wise, there is so magical_night_by_tsub_chanmuch beauty to be found in it that must not be discounted. There are stars to be wished on, moonshafts to molded, gossamer to be gathered and woven, dreams to be cast and carried. Candle-golden windows in the deep night shimmer with firefly-gilded sand that none can properly see, full of wishes for sweet fantasy and sweeter sleep.

Derva walks the city streets, starry glimmer splashing from her hair, sprinkling from her galaxial skin, and spreading in her wake. Clouds slough off from the moon in shame when she turns a questioning eye towards them. Away they skitter, leaving the blue moonlight in full force. She smiles at a long-distant howl that filters out against the sky in the cold, clear air. It is a howl of years and knowledge and experience. She will commiserate with its owner over a cup of elderberry tea at the Hollow in the small hours before the sun peaks its bright flaxen head over the line where the sky meets the sea.

But, for now, it is night. Night with all her Magic. Night with all her mystery. Night with all her ritual, tradition, and art. For now, it is Night, and Night belongs to her own creatures.0771e0d9a2df787e564c26022bc206c7

 

Photo credits:

Magical Night – http://orig01.deviantart.net/f791/f/2008/232/f/2/magical_night_by_tsub_chan.jpg

Starry body paint — https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/07/71/e0/0771e0d9a2df787e564c26022bc206c7.jpg

Hidden Behind the Ripple


“I’m fine.” We are all familiar with the lie of “I’m fine”. There is a myriad of reasons for not admitting when we aren’t okay.

We don’t want to be a bother.

We know that others “have it much worse”.

We don’t have the emotional spoons or energy to explain everything.

We are embarrassed or ashamed by whatever is going on in our head or heart.

So we say “I’m fine”. We join in the conversation, join in the laughter. But laughter can hide so much. It can hide pain, hurt, betrayal, despair, loneliness, heartache, and the list goes on and on. It’s amazing sometimes just how much can be hidden behind the ripple of what should represent joy and pleasure.

We have all been or known someone who hides behind the smiling mask, lost in such a dark haze that laughter becomes anathema to its original point and becomes just another reminder of pain and little else. Sometimes it easy to tell when laughter is naught but a smokescreen and a hiding place. Other times, though, it is not so easy to see. But gentleness is still possible, I believe, even when we don’t know. Knowing this, can we not see our way to holding souls gently? To not insist that they “smile and be happy” if they aren’t feeling it. To sit with them in quiet and commiserate. In the Bible, Proverbs 14:13a says, “Even in laughter the heart may ache…”  How true is this! Isn’t this all the greater a reason to hold and treat each other gently?

{{Author’s note: Ironically, I finished and posted this on a day that I was most definitely not fine. Thank you to all those who held me gently and held space for me in my not-okayness.}}