Category Archives: Folklore

Treasures of Ellis Island

Recently an article popped in to my Facebook newsfeed taking me back to a visit I had made to Ellis Island, the United States’ early 20th century massive immigration processing center.  Photography restoration artists from Dynamichrome have unlocked the colorful secrets beneath the black and white photographs taken between 1906 and 1914 at Ellis Island.   Continue reading

Improvised Steps

I waited in the wings of a stage on a recent Saturday night.  With my hair pulled tightly into a bun under a headscarf and silk flowers bobby-pinned behind my left ear, I paced on tip-toes in my character shoes and worked out some last minute kinks in the steps I was about to perform.  I did not feel chatty, nor did the other dancers waiting with me.  We mimed choreographed steps and sequences.  I am certain some of us were wondering: Why can’t I remember these things the way I used to?  Continue reading


IMG_0308One of my favorite Spring-time rituals is making Pysanky Easter eggs.  When the days begin to lengthen and the nights hang on to the last bites of frost, I pull out my dyes, waxes, and kitska tools.  During most of the year, my creative energy is devoted to writing.  But this one time each year, I indulge in the the calming effect of the scent of melting beeswax and a steady hand.  I keep my designs simple with folk symbols and colors representing luck, the cycle of life, abundance, and strength.  I usually make just one or two eggs each Spring.  Although I take pride in my creations, I’ve found that making Pysanky is more about the process than the outcome – as I sketch the ancient patterns of waves, spirals, triangles, flowers, suns, and spiders on an egg in wax, I slow down, reflect, and recharge.  In that space, I connect to a forgotten world explained through nature and bound to the rhythms of light and dark.


I enjoyed this thought-provoking piece.  I’m fascinated by the origins of symbols that are so ubiquitous in our culture today.



Gather Victoria


In the ancient northern religions it was the female horned reindeer who drew the sleigh of the mother or sun goddess at winter solstice. It was when we “Christianized” the pagan traditions of winter, that the white bearded man i.e. “Father Christmas” was born.

Today he chariots Rudolph and his steed of flying reindeer across our mythical skies and we have forgotten that it was the” Deer Mother” (stronger and larger than the buck) who lead the herds.

And it is her beloved image that adorns the Christmas cards and Yule decorations we are so familiar with today. Because, unlike the male who sheds his antlers in winter, it is the Deer Mother, who flies through winter’s longest darkest night with life-giving light of the sun in her horns.

stag2 Image is from Art of Sekhmet

Across the North, since the Neolithic, from the British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, the…

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