Monday, October 28, 2013

OCTOBER'S INCANTATION, Crush Widows, & Chestnuts

Jaquie's Gargoyle - Le Marquisat - Oct. Tarot/Garden Day

Incantation - A charm or spell created using words.  Derived from Latin "incantare", meaning "to chant (a magical spell) upon, "from in- "into, upon" and cantare "to sing".   From the Old French "enchantment" - loaned into English since around AD 1300.    

" Corn and grain, Corn and grain,
 all that falls shall rise again."
 -  Wiccan Harvest Chant
I'm under October's SPELL - filled with longing - embraced by enchantment.  Schopenhauer said that the will is an expression of longing, desire; the insatiable will to life. 

Three Graces - Tuilleries - September, Paris

October = the scent of apples in the air mingling with wood smoke. I see the giant orange pumpkins (though not so many this year) peeking out from behind their leafy foliage.  The French have been out en masse gathering the luscious cepes.  They guard their secret spots, sometimes carrying shotguns - they mean business!  We picked loads of black figs, wrestling them from the wasps.  The giant haul of plums from September is now percolating into wine, along with a champagne apple experiment.  K busy stacking wood.  We missed the walnuts, but the forests are still full of Chataigne (chestnuts) and fungi.

The chestnuts look like spiny sea urchins before they open up.  I've tried preparing them in different ways with very little success.  Easier to go to the Châtaigne Festival in Dournazac, which I did on Sunday.  You can get those "chestnuts roasting on an open fire," Nat King Cole style, or nicely condensed jars of Creme de Marron, even Chestnut beer.  They really are quite beautiful little nuts. The Brits put them on strings and play some kind of crazy game called conkers.  But those are horse chestnuts and I think they are bigger.  They take turns hitting each other's conkers which sounds amusing for three year olds or adults who've had too much Chestnut beer. 

Along the bike path

Left behind to fall back to the earth

Apple Orchard in Ronsenac

Autumn, the harbinger of winter, a time of harvest, of prepping the soil for spring and planting cover crops under the Hunter's Moon. Turning the fresh soil is next to Heaven.

Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc De Berry

 October, Tilling and Sowing

In this illuminated prayer "Book of Hours" painted by the Limbourg Brothers from 1413 to 1416, the massive Louvre overshadows the work of the peasants tilling and sowing their field.  This depiction of the palace is so detailed, that several hundred years after the building was destroyed, a very accurate model was created based on this painting. 

Some days have been soft as bunny fur, others full of mist & mystery -

Mural on farm wall near Doumerac

" I saw old Autumn in the misty morn Stand,
shadowless like Silence, listening to Silence." - Thomas Hood

Pasture near Karena's
Grapevines - Le Marquisat
Et les autres jours, brrrrr - windstorms, tempests of heavy rain & hail. Some of the hail were half the size of pigeon eggs.  Quelle Horreur for the grape growers! the worst harvest in decades.  And sad for Les Veuves de Vendange, the Crush Widows -
all the wives who were left alone while their men worked in the fields bringing in the harvest in September and October.

Swallows (or were they Swifts?) flying in and out of chimneys like upside down confetti -

They really should find a perch and settle in quietly like these two well behaved birds!

Somewhere near Combiers
" He is outside of everything and alien everywhere. He is an aesthetic solitary.  His beautiful, light imagination is the wing that on the Autumn evening just brushes the dusky window." - Henry James

Yesterday at the end of a tarot reading, a client asked me if I could give her a spell to cast on her new squeeze so that he would only have eyes for her.  I said I couldn't do that, but that there is a "cheering charm," which causes the person upon whom the spell is cast to become happy and contented.  It was first seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  But you can't be too heavy handed with the spell or the person may break into uncontrollable laughing fits.

I read somewhere that scientists are not too far from creating a "Love potion number 9", something to do with the oxycotin hormone.  But what is more potent is looking at our own beliefs.  Rituals and spells are a lovely form of self-hypnosis, like a prayer circle turned inward, then outward.  Most important is to be conscious of what we wish for! What story are you telling yourself?  Ask yourself more beautiful questions...

Jacquie picks a card - Le Marquisat

The Tarot/Garden event at Le Marquisat October 6th was a grand success.  The tea was poured, the cards were pulled, the futures were flowing -- it felt like we were held in the palm of simultaneity/ synchronicity where past, present and future converged. Several men came for readings.  So much fun to read for, one a footballer from UK & a novelist below.  A day to remember.

Reading for a lovely writer
Le Marquisat - Tarot/Garden Event October


"It lies also in the whole vision of a world in motion, a world not rendered insignificant but made more beautiful by its transience, its erotic energy, its ceaseless change."  
                 - The Swerve, Stephen Greenblatt

Casting a spell for "Poetic Inspiration":  Perform on a Wednesday when the moon is waxing.  Best if done when the moon is in Gemini, but it's not required.  Light a purple candle.  You can also burn some jasmine or rose incense if you wish.  Say this incantation:

Oh Goddess Brigit,
bright lady of the flame
blessed mother of the poets.
Lend me such insight, wisdom, and divine inspiration
that the words may flow to me
and that I may craft them beautifully
so that they spin a tapestry of magic
in the hearts of all who hear them.
So mote it be!

Leave the candle to burn itself out.  When it does, put it wherever you keep rituals remnants and give thanks to the Goddess for her gift.  From - Phantom 120

You can also share and find some worldly spells at "Poetic Spells" on Facebook.

Lantern Bearer bringing in the Harvest

Friday, October 4, 2013

ADVICE FROM A CATERPILLAR: Be a Bride of Amazement!

September 2013 - Paris wedding
Salvador Dali's Advice from a Caterpillar, 1969

"...When it's over, I want to say:  All my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world..."

   - from Mary Oliver's "When Death Comes"

I'm back from Paris, a city which some say is filled with "optimism", while others deem it to be in love with its own myths. Charles Beaudelaire (Les Fleurs du Mal, "The Swan", 1857) bemoaned the loss of "Old Paris" in his "Tableau Parisiens" section.  A city he felt changed faster than the heart of a mortal.   A college semester's worth of study on this one book remained richly abstract until I pounded the cobblestones myself.  At the time he wrote those famous 18 poems, the Hausmann renovation of Paris was in full swing, and he felt the blind, the beggars, gamblers, prostitutes, and unsung anti-heroes who served as the poet's inspiration, were being buried beneath the new, clean geometric lines of Paris.  Oh, if he could see her now!  

It is true, Paris IS "luxe" = luxurious, elegant & sumptuous, but you can still find the beggars, gamblers, prostitutes, the blind and the poets along with the artists, the lovers, the students and the omnipresent tourists, not to mention McDonalds and Starbucks.  Paris never forgets her history or its dispossessed.  And she's not afraid to show her undergarments.  

I trotted over to the Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, next to the Louvre (expecting to find an exposition on trompe l'oeil), but instead found La Mecanique des Dessous, une histoire indiscrète de la silhouette.  At first I was disappointed until I realized that both exhibits were involved in the business of creating an optical illusion. And where else could you see female and male undergarments such as the codpiece, the pannier, the corset, the crinoline, the bustle, the pouf, the stomach belt (centure), the forerunners of the pushup bra, all designed to create the ideal form from the 14th c. to present day?

Musee des Arts Decoratifs

The lighting in the gallery was kept low to protect the undergarments (as if they haven't been kept in the dark long enough!) & you weren't allowed to take photos, which was heartbreaking when I got to the codpieces.  Michel de Montagne called the codpiece "a laughter-moving and maids looke-drawing peece."  For the men it was all about virility, but for the women it was constraint; and the children, well, they needed to have straight backs & were fastened into little torture contraptions by the tender age of 12 months.  We've come a long way baby!  We've still got the push-up bras and Captain Kirk of Startrek continues to wear one of those "centures", but the whalebone stays are gone along with the pouf and the bustle (unless you count every production of Masterpiece Theatre).

After wandering around the exhibit rather aimlessly for awhile, I overheard a chic high register voice attached to a pack of stylish fashionistas dishing out some Project Runway type critiques re the underwear.  I found out the group was from the Marc Jacobs fashion house, so I shadowed them undercover at a discrete distance (now happy for the low light hiding my rubber shoes).

Bustling About
Marc Jacobs new cosmetic line
A hair bobbed Cleopatra look-alike in the group mentioned Marc's new cosmetic line which they launched this fall at Sephora, a chain of cosmetic, skin care, perfume stores in France, where even humble "I", buy my eyeliner.  The line is going to be full of bright poppy blush and lip colors. 

"I see makeup, fragrance — everything, really — as an opportunity,” he told WWD last year. “The idea of choosing a color for your lip, or an eyeliner — it’s just such a delight. The ritual of waking up and making those choices is something people really enjoy.” – Marc Jacobs.

I also remember reading something recently about the faux fur that Jacobs uses in his garments being obtained from "Raccoon" dogs from China. It's called "murmansky" fur and obviously it's not really faux. Lots of controversy over this, tsk tsk Marc, this little guy could use some of that poppy blush. 

Captive Raccoon Dog at a Fur Farm
 "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."    Immanuel Kant

I don't know why exactly, but this show and the cello eyes of the Raccoon pooch remind me of Elliot Erwitt's 1972 short documentary, "Beauty Knows No Pain", about a group of Texas cheerleaders, the Kilgore Rangerettes. Erwitt wittily showed how they suffer for what they think of as Beauty, and the payoffs of being a cheerleader in the 1970's.  Not that things have changed much since then. 

Still, I was amazed by the show & also charmed by the room where we were allowed to try on some of the undergarment facsimiles, encouraged to snap photos for FB & tweet away.  The pre-teens loved this room, along with their mothers & a few men who seemed to linger a bit longer than...

With a smile for an umbrella, I left the museum and  skittered onto the gloomy rain-slicked Rue Rigolo in search of true beauty as opposed to glamour.  "Il fait temps de chien" (it was making weather like a dog).  Thank Zeus for the shiny Paris buses. Soon I slipped into the tiny Galerie Francois Mansart down the street from where I was staying in the Marais.  Featured was an exhibit of photographs by Patrick Alphonse, heliogravures reminiscent of Edward Steichen and Edward Curtis.  I was transported into the 1800's faster than a speeding bullet.

Patrick Alphonse
I made up a story in my head about Patrick, toiling away in the mid-1800's, a brilliant, but obscure photographer working in a technique no longer employed in the era of digital cameras and low tolerance for tedious methods. 

Patrick Alphonse

Later I discovered that Monsieur Alphonse is a vagabond, a traveler, a backpacker and an artist who is very much ensconced in the 21st century, somewhere in the neighborhood.  He is a bit reclusive and the gallery owner said it took him many months to convince Alphonse to show his photos.  I also learned that photogravures and their intricate subsidiary processes, though rare, are still practiced in Paris.

Le chant de la mélancolie.

Photo taken against backdrop of gallery windows

"Beauty is the true priestess of individuation. But our times are dominated by anxiety and by what is vulgar, coarse, and artificial.  Were Beauty to awaken in the fields of politics, religion, planning, discourse, and seeing, our world would heal, and fresh wells of hope would refresh us.  Kathleen Raine, the English poet says:  'Strangest of all is the ease with which the vision is lost, consciousness contracts, we forget over and over and over again, until recollection is stirred by some icon of that beauty.  Then we remember and wonder why we ever forgot.'"  From "On Beauty, the Invisible Embrace" - John O'Donohue

Merci Patrick Alphonse, for your very "visible embrace" and these lovers at the Louvre for theirs.

Lovers, The Tuilleries



OCTOBER 6th 10.00 a.m. – 4 p.m.
When you go into a garden you cross from an ordinary world into an extraordinary landscape.
The word “pardise comes from the Persian “pardasa”, which means enclosed garden