Walking the Janus path

I like New Year's Resolutions.

Some people hate them,
or don't make them,
or drop them shortly after January 6th, when the Epiphany strikes them that they aren't going to follow their resolutions...

I feel I am always in need of an adjustment in my ever growing life and world.
I am constantly upgrading.
Merlyn 7.0

But how to start?
I start by making a list of my "Goals" this time of year,
and then I break it down to monthly lists/weekly lists.
I shoot for really trying to work on them all year long.

After making my yearly, monthly, and weekly lists,
I keep them on my clipboard which is my circular file for ongoing ideas and thoughts.
The resolutions then make it to the last page.

I was sorting out my clipboard and I found my list for the last two years running.
It is interesting looking back.

Like Janus.
2010 wants were:
To organize working on my writings, change out 3 windows of the house, get my car on the road, a proposal out, to learn certain songs, to paint the porch and to back up my writings.
I DID all those things! I crossed them OFF my list!

Some things that weren't crossed off that year were:
To lose 25#, to plan 3 outings to visit Cathedrals, permanent awning over the hot tub, deal the foundation under the porch and to finish the Christmas CD.

The 2011 wants were:

To start a StoryBook Club, To start a Creativity Circle, Cataract Surgeries, fix the porch roof,  make a Civil War Show, get a dumpster for a spring cleanup, fix the grill, build a new garb rack, finish "Heroes & Rogues" CD and put roll up blinds on the porch.
I did all those things! I crossed them off my list!

The ones that were NOT crossed off were:
Finish organizing cleaning the living room, fix the generator, touch up the steps, and make another video.

2010's  "lose 25# was nearly completed (albeit a year later...and please don't count the holiday pounds I've put back on ...they are going SOON. ) and I DID visit St.Patrick's Cathedral....and we are currently finishing the Christmas CD now.

Some things take time to cook, I guess. :)

As I said, it's good to make resolutions. I mean, how do you wind up where you want to be, without a plan?

My Map this year for 2012 looks like this:

To get on with my life with daily love and happiness
To find new love....starting with loving myself
To finish one of my books in progress.
New Website
Miriam video done
Christmas CD done
Get Harry playing more fiddle this year
Merlyn playing mandolin more
Buy another autoharp
Make a "Spirit Show".
Get the Generator fixed (yes, it's still a carryover from 2010 :)
Sell the Cottage....buy a pop up camper.
and the most important:
A Beautiful, Adjusted, Inspiring, Happy Merlyn will Emerge this year :)

So Janus.....

I've looked back.
I've planted my feet in the snow.
I'm looking forward now.

The January Man     (released on our CD "Kismet" many Januarys' ago...)

Oh the January man he walks abroad in boots of leather
The February man still wipes the snow from off his hair and blows his hands
The man of March he sees the spring, and wonders what the year will bring, and hopes for better weather.
 In April rains, the man goes down to watch the birds come in to share the summer
 The man of May stands very still watching the children dance away the day
 In June the man inside the man is young and wants to lend a hand and grins at each newcomer.
 And in July the man in cotton shirt he sits and thinks on being idle.......
 The August man in thousands go to watch the waves and find the sun
 September man is standing near, to saddle up and disappear and autumn is his Bride-o.
 And the man in new October takes the reigns and early frost is on his shoulder
The poor November man sees fire and wind and mist and rain and icy air
December man looks thru the snow, to let 11 brothers know -they're all a little older.
 And the January man comes round again in woolen coat and boots of leather
To walk along that icy road
he knows so well
The January man is here
To walk along that icy road....

Magpie Tales: Mag 97

MAG 97
It was a problem Marilyn had.
The chameleon lived within her like a tapeworm.
It turned on and off at the click of a flashbulb 
and the sound of running tape.
At night
She didn't even recognize her own self.

A door shuts ....a window opens...

To my readers and friends~

It's almost the end of another year.
And what a year it's been!
We've all seen the news and so I won't bore with recanting that...
but rather, would ask my fellow travelers, enchantresses and wizards...

How did you fare this year?

I've been thru a lot.

Mostly good things.

Some harrowing.
Some inspirational.
Some disruptive and devastating.
Some treading water.
Some shaking off excesses.
Some regrouping.
Some growth.

All for the better methinks.


I've given up on a love dream.
I've gained knowledge and truth.

I've lost some pounds.
I've gained eyesight.

I've gone thru a lot of money.
I've tried to keep up my car and home and heatlh.

I've sang a lot of songs.
Love and Lust songs....and Lived them.

I've sung a lot of drinking songs.
I've drank a lot of alcohol too.

I've taken care of my doggy, removed tumors and patched him up from his accident.
And he's returned the favor and is my bestest buddy and keeps me company.

I've worked hard.
I've laid around.

I've follow fanciful dreams.
I've taken out the mundane trash.

I've been to amazing Churches.
I've gone through Hell.

I've taken courses.
I've taught others.

I've cried on shoulders.
I've wiped others tears.

I've obsessed.
I've not given a damn.

I've overeaten.
I've fasted.

I've thrown things and shouted in anger.
I've held loved ones and prayed with them.

I've put my ducks in a row.
I've made terrible messes.

 I've shouted "I love you!" and "I hate you!"
on the very same day to the very same person....And occasionally, it was to me.

The thing is that I TRY.
"The Gods love those that try" they say.

And oh....
I am very trying :)

But here am I
At the end of this tumultuous year.
And all in all, it's been good.

I've grown,
I've shrunk,
my heart has experienced pain and pleasure.
I've seen faraway places, and enjoyed my own garden.
I am holding onto my mate, Harry's hand, while I stand on my own two feet.
I am well.
I am upright and breathing.

I hope you have enjoyed your ride with me here on my writings.

I shall endeavor to keep you informed, amused, shocked, comforted and all those contradictory things that this Gemini woman IS.

In finishing off this year...
I'm thinking about next year....

I want you to think about it too...

There will be a TEST.

From A Seeker of Good Things Always
Your Fellow Rider and Magician~

A Tale of a True Goddess, Amazon & Heroine

For my final project for the “Goddesses, Amazons & Heroines” in my online course at Grey School of Wizardy, I am choosing a local and national hero.

Harriet Tubman
 I believe that she WAS all of these things when you hear her story.

She was born Araminta Harriet Ross 1820- and lived till 1913. Her life’s events wove in an out of American history during a very progressive and tumultuous time.
She was born a slave in Maryland and was hired out and beaten by those masters. Her family was separated  from each other by slavery.
 Once she was hit in the head with a heavy metal weight. She was left bleeding and unconscious for 2 days without medical care and the resulting head wound gave her seizures, headaches and powerful spiritual visions for years. She believed that the visions came from God.

She then escaped slavery and fled to Philadelphia but then was courageous enough to GO BACK and forth saving relatives, one by one. Imagine that. After escaping being raised in terrible, harsh environments, that she was brave enough to go back to it and try to rescue other people from it!

She eventually married a free man, and she went by her middle name “Harriet”. He was “manumitted” and given his freedom, but she was still a slave. This meant that any children born to them would be SLAVES because their mother still was! Many called her “Moses” for she brought so many out of slavery. She was a “wanted” woman.
In 1857 it was the hay day of the Erie Canal here locally. Much travel was done on the canal and she used a combination of boats, walking and carriages to rescue as many people as she could. After the “Fugitive Slave Law” was enacted, she took people as far away as Canada.

When the Civil War broke out, Harriet then became a cook and nurse at first…
but then came to her true gifts as an ARMED SCOUT and SPY. 
 She was the first woman to be given this post to, and she lead 700 slaves out as an armed leader. This lady knew her calling, and it didn’t take long for her to be an important cog in the war. 
 She also was very involved in the Sufragette Movement in the late 1800’s.  
 Ladies....here is our "Sister Suffragette!"
"Votes for Women!!"

Harriet Tubman, had a house given to her in Auburn, NY by William Seward (at that time, he was Senator of NYS, later he became Secretary of State. 
 And an aside, The Seward House is also in Auburn, and he was friends with Abraham Lincoln who also spent time in Auburn.) While it was “against the law” at the time, Seward sold to Tubman that house for a modest sum”. Great leaders of our time, recognized this woman as an equal even tho’ all odds were against her.  She was awarded a monthly pension by Congress!

Harriet Tubman, should’ve by all the impediments given her in life (being a poor black female born in slavery and abused and physically impaired by it) could’ve remained in that way of life, being beaten down by it.

Instead, she took up arms and stealth and by wits and courage became a most ferocious protector and deliverer of those who were bound by it. She was punished for being who she was. She balked the system. She fought with what she had. She was rewarded in so many ways.

I honor Harriet Tubman as one of the truly documented “Goddess, Amazon & Heroine” of our land and folklore.

As a musician and storycologist, I love bringing stories forward, with either tale or music. Melodies that I have in my repertoire, "Suwannee River", "Poor Wayfaring Stranger", "Bring 'lil' water, Sylvie", "Amazing Grace" and "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" all support this tale.

It's a tale that needs to be sung....and I like to sing.
Her life was quite a song.

New York History Net. 2008.    http://www.nyhistory.com/harriettubman/

Harriet Tubman. Wikipedia.       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Tubman

A Santa Story!

 Wilard Chapel came alive on Sunday, December 11 with a lot of Christmas spirit as “Christmas Present” himself, Santa,  came to visit! He was there as part of the Literacy Volunteer’s Annual event, and when Santa walked in with his sleigh bells, a joyous sound went thru the beautiful Tiffany chapel!
There were many families of happy and excited children and parents there waiting to see him come thru the door!

Santa was in a VERY good mood, for he is, as you know, “a jolly right elf” and we all laughed when we saw him, in spite of ourselves!

The first thing Santa did was to gather all the children about him, but he didn’t even really have to ask, as they were all crowding around the merrymaker and jostling each other to get close enough to the magical man.

He held counsel with the wee ones for a bit and there were some interesting questions and answers!

“Does anyone know my name?” the bearded one in the red suit asked.
“SANTA!” they cheered.
“Yes, but I have many names, do you know any of them?” he asked with a twinkle.
“St. Nicholas!”
“Father Christmas!”
“Pere Noel!”
and one little tiny girl chirped “Krip Kingle”
“Almost…that’s Kris Kringle!” and he laughed and laughed and squeezed her tight.

“Santa when you come, can your reindeer come inside my house too?” queried one ambitious young man. “Well….someone will have to clean up afterwards!” said Santa with a wink.
The young man thought better about it and smiled …and then decided to ask him instead, “How do you get to the North Pole, Santa?”
“Well, do you know North Street here in town? Just take that north and keep going!”  the children thought that was a very good and likely answer.

He took out a pair of spectacles and placed them on his nose. "Oh it's hard to get old" he giggled (as did most of the parents). Then Santa had them all gather round for his reading of “T'was the Night before Christmas”.
 St. Nick said to them, “This is a very special story! It’s very old, but do you know why I like it best? Because it’s all about ME!” He laughed and his belly did jiggle like a bowlful of jelly!

Of course, he showed the children the special pictures on every page, and he stopped to answer questions all through the story as well. 

When he got to the part of the tale about “He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot” , he stopped and whispered to the wee ones, “Poor Mrs. Claus…she has a terrible time with my laundry the next day…I get so filthy!”
 He especially thanked all the children and their parents for the cookies and milk that they leave out every Christmas eve, but to be also sure that they don’t forget Rudolf and the reindeer! “They work SO hard that night, and they need to keep up their strength, so make sure you leave out a carrot for them We don’t want them to get jealous!”  

He listened to the wishes of every last child, as if they were each the only one there. He heard about their Christmas desires from dollies to IPODs.

“This is VERY important! I want to make sure you are very good and helpful to your families and be GOOD!” the jolly old man said to all the attentive kids there.

The children were then encouraged to pick out a brand new book as one of their first holiday presents. Santa LOVES to read and gave them all a book to tide them over till Christmas Eve!

“We have refreshments available for everyone here” said one of the volunteers. “Santa, would YOU like to join us for some cookies?”
“Me? Want cookies? What a question!” belly laughed Santa, 
and like a Pied Piper, he led the children clutching their new glorious books, all the way to the fun holiday treats that the Literacy Volunteers had prepared for them.  It’s always magical when Santa comes to Wilard Chapel! Merry Christmas!

Saints & Angels

I believe in Angels.
REAL Angels. Not pretend ones.  ("For by their fruits ye shall know them")

Warrior Angels
I saw the Archangel Michael when I was a child...and no, you can't talk me out of it.
He was AMAZING. Came at a time of need. Appeared during a time of trauma in my wee life.

Brilliant white and gold and silver....armored to the teeth....beautiful beyond compare.
Scared the shit out of me because He was SO awesome. I asked to not see him, (I know, I wished I hadn't now....but I was so little then, He freaked me out) and He hid himself...

BUT He is still with me.
 I know it. I can feel Him and even hear him sometimes. He keeps me safe.

Yes I believe in Angels.
And Saints too.
They are the Church's answer to Polytheistic faith.
Different helpers for different reasons.

My course in "Goddesses, Amazons & Heroines" in my Grey School of Wizardry has me doing a lot of research and I offer for your amazement, education or just plain edification a most amazing Warrior Woman.

Joan of Arc.
 She believed in Saints and Angels too.

Joan was the youngest of five children born to a farmer. 
I too, am number five of six children and was raised on a farm and relate to Joan in many ways and so I am drawn to her and her story.

She was indeed a WARRIOR WOMAN.
It is said that Joan did not learn how to read or write, yet she was quite versed in the knowledge of scripture and of the spiritual world. It was also said that as a child, she danced and played around the “Faery Tree”, a tree in France that was meant to have meaning, and wove wreaths and sung to the Lady there. 
 After the age of twelve, she put away such things and was a most pious child.

But at the age of 13 & 1/2 , Joan began to hear “voices” and to see a grand light when the voices spoke to her. 
 She accepted them as friendly and they seemed to be from the heavens to her. She recognized them as the Angel Michael and other Angels, and also St. Margaret and St. Catherine. These voices along with the common local notion that certain prophecies of a maid from the oak wood (near where the Faery Tree was) was bound by legend to save France by a miracle.

The voices told her to seek out Robert Baudricourt who commanded for Charles VII. Joan was not well received by him, but was mocked. Again she tried to get thru to the King, so insistent were the voices to prod her, that she finally was able to get audience with the King of France. She was escorted in and she wore a manly attire. This was to protect her maidenhood....and also, it's a man's world, and she was guided to be strong and put on the strength of a man.
 By some secret sign (given to her by the Angels, it is said) she gained the Kings' trust.

Although she was examined in great length and detail, no theological discrepancies could they find in this poor peasant girl. She was given the trust by authorities and would be tested again and again to no avail nor to her discredit.

She was 17 when put in command of an army! When given the offering of service and a particular sword to wield, she refused it and instead, wanted a certain ancient sword that she said was buried behind the altar of St. Catherine d Fierbois. Saint Catherine, who was the patron of soldiers and known for her miracles.
They found the sword, just as Joan had described where she thought it lay. It was a sword with 5 crosses engraved, and they say it never left her side and was with her when she was captured. 
At this time, there was also a special heraldic banner made special for Joan. A standard bearing the words, Jesus, Maria and sporting a picture of God the Father and kneeling angels presenting the fleur-de-lis
There was at this time a prophecy made about Joan by Sire de Rotslaer, and was registered at that time of 1429 and attests before any of the following events that happened that: "that she would save Orleans and would compel the English to raise the siege, that she herself in a battle before Orleans would be wounded by a shaft but would not die of it, and that the King, in the course of the coming summer, would be crowned at Reims, together with other things which the King keeps secret."

All of this came to pass. Joan inspired the army to fight and win....and while it is said that she never did actually slay anyone, surely her leadership in pushing the French army onward to victory resulted in MANY deaths!

From the readings I've been doing I want to share this: 
"The city of Orleans was the last great city that the French held and it had been under siege by the English for almost 7 months and was about to fall. Saint Joan went there and, in only three days of fighting, reclaimed the strongest fort the English possessed which caused them to lift their siege and retreat. The battle has been compared to other key turning point battles like: Marathon, Stalingrad, Gettysburg, Midway."
Later on, after many successful and some unsuccessful campaigns, she was abandoned to her fate by the apathy of Charles and his men and while they had prisoners to exchange to the English, instead they chose to sell the Maid to the English for several hundred thousand dollars at the time. The French were ungrateful and awful to this wondrous heroic maid who had inspired their army for so long in bloody battles.

The English were afraid of Joan of Arc because of the dread she inspired in their men, and also because they were ill at ease superstitiously of her power of religion and voices. They were determined to put her to death. While they could not sentence her for having beaten them in a battle (which she did) they certainly could get her sentenced as a witch and a heretic (which they did).

During her imprisonment, in an all male prison, she was chained hands, neck and feet. She wished to be in a church prison and to be attended by females, but she was denied that privilege and also denied any spiritual devotion and was not allowed Mass or worship. In the Inquisition that followed, her answers always proved to be fair, just and true and beyond reproach. The fact that she was held in these ways, proved later on that her incarceration was illegal, her trial was rigged and her punishment unjust.

She held true to her inspiration and only at the end, she was worn out and deceived and signed something, but still then she still held to her belief that the voices she held were from God.
They say that her presence at the stake was such as to make her most bitter enemies cry.
She asked for a cross, embraced it and continued to call out to her God until at last she declared that her voices came from God and had not deceived her.
After her death her ashes were thrown into the Seine River.

Thru Shakespeare’s time, Joan was still reviled to be a witch, but in more modern times, and thru the deciphering of documents, her honest, bold spirit was determined to be virtuous and her supernatural gifts were agreed to be true.

Both the King of France and the Church admitted that a great injustice had been done and Joan was declared a SAINT, as even the fellows of her own time had known that she was Divinely inspired.

She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

Joan was a Warrior Woman, who believed in her heart and followed her Muse.

She fought for what she believed to be the Truth. We must admire a woman such as this.
She is our standard to follow.
To follow our inner voice as we hear it, individually.
To follow our path, no matter where it leads us.
To not be afraid to take up the sword or believe in Angels and Saints.
As she was then to those that followed her, and as she is now...
She is Saint Joan.

A TRUE Warrior of the Noblest Kind.