Ostara Stars!


Spring is here, lovelies! I know because I saw a massive Queen bee buzzing around my garden, (Seriously, she was the size of a small bird) and the daffs have started to bloom on the Medieval city walls!

This is such a special Equinox, coming as it does on the heels of a waning half moon. We have all needed this spring energy so much for all the wonderful changes that are afoot in our lives.

To celebrate, I’ve collected all my spring favourites in one spot, The Ostara Stars Collection, and am offering 20% off everything there with coupon code OSTARA17 from now until March 21st, 2017.

What signs of spring have you seen? What are your plans for Ostara this year?

Rising Sap & New Moons

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Imbolc is just a few days away, and it is one of my favourite days on the Wheel of the Year.  This year is comes aided by a new moon and I don’t know about you, but I can already feel the rising sap, up in my bones, as I look for the first snow drops to appear, heralding a change. Above I’ve chosen a selection of pieces that remind me of this energy– clockwise from the upper left– The Snowdrop Fairy Flower Earrings, The Mother Troll Amethyst Necklace, The Griffin Milk Earrings, The Gerd– a delicate sterling silver strand with faceted chrysoprase, the silver scent locket (what would you put inside to herald spring?) and lastly the Cosmic Hug pendant of Rose Quartz.

Tomorrow I’ll be putting together my altar, and cleaning and oiling all my tools in honour of the heathen Charming of the Plough.  I’ll give thanks to Brigid, who in the form of Brigantia, was the goddess of the tribal ancestors of this area– she was also the goddess of the forge, brewing and poetry; she has guided my hand in all these things and I am eternally grateful. What do you do to celebrate Imbolc and herald the first glimmerings of spring?

The Feral Gift Guide

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We have something for everyone in your life! Do you need a little something to tell a coworker or friend you are thinking of them at Yule?  The £10 Gift Section is the place to find the perfect gift.

heart_bookmark-5For the Bookworms: Brilliant bookmarks and glasses chains!black_glasses5

Your favourite Witch: Colourful Witchballs for altars, windows or the Yule tree! Or she might fancy being well-adorned this Yule with these pieces full of femme power.

A coven of witch balls- a recent custom order based on my miniature witch balls.

The Anglo-Saxon Pennanular Brooch

The knitter in your life: Stitchmarkers and shawl pins!

Beer Geeks will love these craft beer-inspired designshop_ear_silver-5_grande

Buffy Fans will slay in these prettiesslayer_neck4

The Gothic Goddess can shine her dark light with these decadent pieces. bats_brass-6

It’s a Dark & Decadent Halloween at Feral HQ

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From now until All Hallows Eve, save 20% off all dark, decadent pieces in the Gothic Adornments collection at Feralstrumpet.co.uk.

It’s my favourite time of year, when adults can ask each other, “what are you going to be?” We don’t have many trick-or-treaters where I live, but I stock up on candy anyway.  As the veil thins, we honour our ancestors but also indulge in other delights– I always share some with them on my altar.

How are you celebrating this Samhain or Halloween?

 

What the Dwarfs Taught Me

Sudri, the Chrysoprase pendant from the Sindri's Forge collection at Feralstrumpet.co.uk
Sudri, the Chrysoprase pendant from the Sindri’s Forge collection at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

Dwarfs get a bad rap– chthonic whistling hoarders, pathologically sneezing, sleeping or grumpy, these homunculi have never been able to compete with the glamour of elves.  But what if I told you they really were elves?

Moss Agate Pendant from the Sindri's Forge collection
Moss Agate Pendant from the Sindri’s Forge collection
Hot Dwarf or Dark Elf? It's semantics--my point is made. Aidan Turner as a Kili the Dwarf from the Hobbit.
Hot dwarf or dark elf? It’s semantics–my point is made. Aidan Turner as a Kili the Dwarf from the Hobbit.

When I first started cold forging, it was a magical process.  As I have become more masterful, something else guides my hands, something older and wiser than myself, but who or what is helping me?

 by Arthur Rackham
by Arthur Rackham

rose_quartz_pendant-4According to Norse myth, dwarfs were born from the maggots swarming the dead body of Ymir, the primordial giant birthed from melting ice in the great void.  Their beginnings were less than auspicious, it’s true. Dwarves have made some of the most powerful artifacts of Norse legend– Thor’s hammer, Freya’s necklace, the magic ring Draupir, the fetter to bind the apocalytpic wolf Fenrir and Odin’s spear as well as the replacement for Siv’s golden hair.

Nordi.  Rutilated Quartz pendant from the Sindri's Forge Collectiom
Nordi. Rutilated Quartz pendant from the Sindri’s Forge Collectiom
GOALS.  Total aside, but what of the Dwarf women? Read this wonderful post on male-bias gender neutrality and dwafs up at Lady Geek Girl.
GOALS. Total aside, but what of the Dwarf women? Read this wonderful post on male-bias gender neutrality and dwarfs up at Lady Geek Girl.

The delicacy of my wire work, the fluidity of the copper and vine-like qualities of the metal come from hands that have begun to ache with arthritis, that are cut and calloused.  It is a common theme in mythology that the smiths that create great beauty are wounded, misshapen, as if their bodies are a foil to their creations. I’m no different.

But in the words of the Völva in the Völuspá, what of the elves?

In Norse mythology, dwarfs live in Nidvallir, or Dark Fields, which is also called Svartalhiem or dark-elf-land. Dwarfs are dark elves.  I have named my recent collection after their ancestor Sindri.  Adornment was a powerful force in Norse myth, and beauty forged of metal and stone was an essential part of Old Norse life.  The power to make such things was seen as magical, something which originated with the beginnings of the universe.  When the gods made their first temples they also made forges alongside them. They smelted ore and created tongs and tools for smithing before even creating human beings. The dark elves are the keepers of these first secrets, and they have shared them with me.

My alter-ego.  Jewellery vendor dwarf from the Hobbit film.
My alter-ego. Jewellery vendor dwarf from the Hobbit film.

Blessed Floralia, Strumpets!

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April 28th marks the old Roman feast of the goddess of flowers, Flora.  (This is also the name of my grandmother who loved snapdragons.) To celebrate I’m offering 30% off floral designs in Floralia collection with coupon code FLORALIA16, only at Feralstrumpet.co.uk. Offer ends April 30th, 2016.

As far as goddesses go, Flora is a favourite, and one of the first who caught my attention and wouldn’t let go.  I first found her in the text of Fasti, by one of my favourite poets, Ovid.  In it, her voice rings clear, as if she is speaking to us and her warnings and blessings are as relevant today as they were in Ovid’s time.

In Rome this celebration was marked with prostitutes dancing in the streets and engaging in mock gladiatorial battles.  Send out the hares!— they ran wild in the streets as people were pelted with lentils.  That’s what I call a party.  Here is an edited bit of the Ovid poem, that you can find in its entirety here.

‘Mother of the flowers, approach, so we can honour you

With joyful games! Last month I deferred the task.

You begin in April, and pass into May’s span:

One claims you fleeing, the other as it comes on.

Since the boundaries of the months are yours,

And defer to you, either’s fitting for your praise.

This is the month of the Circus’ Games, and the victors’ palm

The audience applauds: let my song accompany the Circus’ show.

Tell me, yourself, who you are. Men’s opinions err:

You’ll be the best informant regarding your own name.’

So I spoke. So the goddess responded to my question,

(While she spoke, her lips breathed out vernal roses):

‘I, called Flora now, was Chloris: the first letter in Greek

Of my name, became corrupted in the Latin language.

I was Chloris, a nymph of those happy fields,

Where, as you’ve heard, fortunate men once lived…

(she is raped and married by Zephyrus, alas.)

…I often wished to tally the colours set there,

But I couldn’t, there were too many to count.

As soon as the frosted dew is shaken from the leaves,

And the varied foliage warmed by the sun’s rays,

The Hours gather dressed in colourful clothes,

And collect my gifts in slender baskets.

The Graces, straight away, draw near, and twine

Wreaths and garlands to bind their heavenly hair.

I was first to scatter fresh seeds among countless peoples,

Till then the earth had been a single colour…

(She works some fertile magic for Juno who gives birth to Mars)

…Perhaps you think I only rule over tender garlands.

But my power also commands the farmers’ fields…

…Honey’s my gift: I call the winged ones who make

Honey, to the violets, clover and pale thyme…

…‘Honour touches me too: I delight in festivals and altars:

We’re a greedy crowd: we divine beings…

…But if we’re ignored, we avenge the injury

With heavy penalties, and our anger passes all bounds…

…It would take too long to tell of neglect punished by loss.

I too was once neglected by the Roman Senate.

What to do, how to show my indignation?

What punishment to exact for the harm done me?

Gloomily, I gave up my office. I ceased to protect

The countryside, cared nothing for fruitful gardens:

The lilies drooped: you could see the violets fade,

And the petals of the purple crocus languished.

Often Zephyr said: ‘Don’t destroy your dowry.’

But my dowry was worth nothing to me.

The olives were in blossom: wanton winds hurt them:

The wheat was ripening: hail blasted the crops:

The vines were promising: skies darkened from the south,

And the leaves were brought down by sudden rain.

I didn’t wish it so: I’m not cruel in my anger,

But I neglected to drive away these ills.

The Senate convened, and voted my godhead

An annual festival, if the year proved fruitful…

…The drinker’s brow’s wreathed with sewn-on garlands,

And a shower of roses hides the shining table:

The drunken guest dances, hair bound with lime-tree bark,

And unaware employs the wine’s purest art:

The drunken lover sings at beauty’s harsh threshold,

And soft garlands crown his perfumed hair.

Nothing serious for those with garlanded brow,

No running water’s drunk, when crowned with flowers…

…The reason the crowd of whores celebrate these games

Is not a difficult one for us to discover.

The goddess isn’t gloomy, she’s not high-flown,

She wants her rites to be open to the common man,

And warns us to use life’s beauty while it’s in bloom…

…She nods, and flowers fall as her hair flows…

…All was ended: and she vanished into thin air: yet

Her fragrance lingered: you’d have known it was a goddess.

Scatter your gifts, I beg you, over my breast,

So Ovid’s song may flower forever.

— Ovid, Fasti, Book V Translated by A. S. Kline