Tag Archive: Witchcraft

Times the Universe Yelled at Me

Friday the 13th’s post is about those little jolts of synchronicity from Nature. The messages the natural world sends our way in the weirdest manners.

But first, I have a non-natural sign to share with you. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones will go on sale on October 20 and stay that way until November 3. What can this mean, you ask. What does this portend?

Well, I’ll tell you. It means the release of Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen is getting closer. No firm date yet, but the process is begun.

To get the word out about the sale, I’m running a Thunderclap campaign. I’d appreciate your support. Click HERE to lend your voice to the tumult! 

Portents and Omens

So many people are genuinely suffering in our world today. Echoes of their pain filter into my safe, warm home. A subtle dis-ease keeps me awake at night and disturbs my morning tea. Something prickles the hair on my neck, and I text my kids to make sure they are okay. Of course, they are. But the feeling that something just isn’t right persists.

I can’t explain it.

In difficult times, we humans look for patterns—shapes in the clouds, faces etched on our breakfast toast, order from chaos. Soothsayers and fortunetellers cast the bones or lay out cards or divine meaning from patterns in entrails or bumps on the head.

Who can say if they’re wasting their time or not? Who can say the old ways are dead?

If you live close to the land, you’ve heard the voices of birds and beasts, of soil and wind and rain, of trees and grass, herbs and flowers. You’ve sensed the wariness of a doe and her fawns long before the flick of a white tail in the undergrowth draws your eye. You’ve felt the intrusion of another person on an abandoned road long before they came into view.

It’s this connection with the natural world that brings order for me and it’s here where I look for signs and symbols, omens and portents. Am I wasting my time? Who can say? I sleep better when I see the orderly progression of stars and planets across the night sky. My day is more peaceful when a squirrel or woodpecker peeks in my window to say hello—to remind me the world still works.

Most of the time, that’s all it is. Just a greeting, an acknowledgement, a cautious connection with the strange noisy creature who lives in their woods. Maybe they’re as curious about me as I am about them. Maybe, to them, I’m a sign of disaster.

Every culture on the planet includes a collection of animal lore, superstitions, traditions explaining odd encounters. A black cat may mean bad luck or good luck. A turtle signals rain; a dog’s howl  death. Most of these bits of folklore are general and easily dismissed. But sometimes the event is so persistent or so odd, you wonder.

Below, you can read about some of my encounters with nature signs, but tell me—What messages has the Universe sent to you? Or do you think all of this sounds crazy? Leave a comment and tell me what you think!!

 

Times the Universe yelled at me

A black snake crawled down a tree outside my window. Not unusual, until he or his brother crawled onto my porch—three times. Not only that, but as I sat typing (coincidentally about a character who sometimes turns into a snake) there he/she was again—slithering across the tin roof outside my second-story window.

  • Snakes signal transformation, life and rebirth, healing. He also suggests grounding—focusing intention on the basic. But this guy was in midair nearly every time I found him so there’s that. Also, black is a color of protection.

I headed to town on a grocery (liquor) run but had to stop when a huge walking stick slide down the windshield. She scampered under the hood. A thorough search of my car’s private parts yielded no walking stick and I feared the worst. My shopping finished, I pulled into the gas station and what did I find crawling across the top of the car, but my walking stick. This time I secured her and got her home where I released her into the wild. As I put her on a tree, another walking stick ran up as if to say “Thanks the gods, you’re safe. We heard you’d been abducted by aliens.” For the next several days, walking sticks took every opportunity to make their presence known. They crawled up my legs, they dropped on me from trees, they appeared in the most unlikely places. And then they went back to being nearly invisible.

  • Walking sticks, stick bugs, Devil’s darning needle—their real name is phasmid. While they don’t sting people, they do spit caustic liquid into the eyes of their prey to blind them. Nifty. They suggest patience and again focus. Why are you yelling at me, Nature?  They are also experts at camouflage and indicate a need for serious reflection before taking action.

In the course of one full moon night, my house was assaulted by a band of marauding raccoons who crept in the cat door. Mom and two fuzzy nuggets of disaster made a complete tour of the house before they waddled out. At the same time, a cat caught a flying squirrel took the wee beastie upstairs where the squirrel escaped. I chased it into the sun room where it found a hiding place. I secured the doors, opened the window and took off the screen, hoping he would find his way out during the night. He did not. The next morning he did a flying leap from wherever he had been hiding, ricocheted off my leg and nearly came to a bad end before I got him safely stowed in a wide-mouth mason jar I keep for just such chores. I took him into the woods far from prying feline eyes and the last I saw of him, he was climbing a pine tree with a certain amount of alacrity.

  • Raccoons are curious and clever. Their presence may be about leaving no stone unturned in a quest but Raccoon is a trickster, too. They like to knock things out of balance and you can either go with that and enjoy the ride or you can resist which makes you frustrated and annoyed.
  • Squirrels advise to take yourself less seriously and have more fun.  Again with the yelling! To really relax, though, they remind that you have to take care of practical matters first. Squirrels encourage you to get rid of clutter and leave unimportant things behind.

 

via GIPHY

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment and/or weird sign you’ve gotten. Or feel free to add your interpretation of mine. I can use all the help I can get.

A Cold Spring–Episode 15: Old Crows and Offerings

Before we get to Episode 15:

Zoraida Grey is up for a RONE Award!! Voting for the Long Paranormal category in Week 2  begins on April 24, but you need to register to vote. Go to www.indtale.com and Click the Subscribe button at the top of the page. You can opt in or out of additional emails and the whole thing is FREE. You will get an email to confirm your subscription. Be sure to do that to be eligible to vote.

Voting for week 1 is under way. To vote, go to www.indtale.com and from the menu bar select InD’Scribe/Rones >2017 Rone Awards > 2017 Rone Awards Week 1. You will be prompted to register if you have not already done so. It’s free and easy.

You have plenty of time to read these short works and decide who to vote for. I recommend these three books in the Novella category now under consideration in Week 1:

Novella

  •             Barbara Bettis: The Lady of the Forest
  •             Becky Lower: A Regency Yuletide
  •             Sharon Buchbinder: The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle

The Rone is a prestigious award and Reader voting is only the first step in the process. A limited number of books will progress to the next level. YOUR vote might make a huge difference. Please take a few minutes to support writers who publish independently and with small publishers.

If you have not read Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones–now is a great time. Grab a copy HERE and if you enjoy it, please vote for her in Week 2.

“A Cold Spring”

 

Need to catch up with the story?

Download Episodes 1-13 HERE or read in the file below.

Episode 14: Now I Wait

A Cold Spring 1_13

Episode 15: Old Crows and Offerings

A cloud of crows chatter in the branches of the rowan trees. Maddock was . . . is . . . an expert in bird languages. Though he tried to teach me, I spent most of our lessons watching the sun on his hair and the way his eyes change from ice to indigo. I understand only a few of the names they call us, but that’s enough.

 

“I see why they call a group of crows a murder,” mutters Mayebelle. “If I could get my hands on them, I’d wring their necks.”

 

She tosses a clump of mud at the impudent birds. The projectile falls to earth with a soggy splash, stirring up the flock. They wheel and kite, screaming epithets and curses with renewed vigor.

 

One particularly large and particularly vocal crow dives at Mayebelle, raking her head with sharp talons. Another tries the same with me, but I send a spark of green magic into his feathers. Maddock’s old fire spell smolders the soft down beneath the coarse plumage and the crow retreats.

 

“Let’s get inside the croft before they come back.” Mayebelle fingers the scratch on her head, limping toward the door. “The devil’s in all animals today. Even Pyewacket refused to eat a perfectly good bit of baked chicken. He snaps with static every time I touch him.”

 

Pyewacket the black cat watches us from the windowsill. His amber eyes focus on something behind me. In a fluid motion, he rises on his toes. White teeth flash and black fur fuzzes to spiky heights.

 

A flutter of feathers near my ear and sharp claws on my shoulder bring me up short. A crow, not the pushy young one who attacked Mayebelle, but an old crow with notched wings and rheumy eyes perches on my shoulder.

 

“Stand still, Allium,” cries Mayebelle. “I’ll fetch the besom and make him regret the day he visited our garden.” She disappears inside the croft.

 

The crow’s claws bite into the meaty part of my arm, but he’s standing on only one foot. He clutches something in the other. I hold out my hand, coaxing him to release it. He winks a bright bird eye and drops an object onto my open palm.

 

“I bring you this in remembrance of one who saved my nest many summers ago.” The bird speaks slowly, making sure I understand. “A La Croix he was. You have his magic.”

 

Before Mayebelle returns with the broom, he flaps his moldering wings and soars out of sight.

 

I squeeze my fingers around the crow’s gift. I don’t have to look at it to know what I hold.

 

On the night Lucia and Maddock disappeared, I’d put it on the table in front of me. Through that last dinner, I enjoyed the dark mystery of the witch stone, felt the subtle pull of magnetism.

 

When Lucia appeared, Maddock hurried me out of the castle before I had time to grab it.

 

That’s the last I saw of the witch stone.

 

Until now.

Stay Tuned for Episode 16: Pilgrimage

 

A Cold Spring-Episode 14: Now I Wait

Download Episodes 1-13 HERE or open it below.
A Cold Spring 1_13

Episode 14: Now I Wait

Squelching footsteps in the muddy garden pull my thoughts from the past. Old Castle Highmoor and New Castle Highmoor meld into one blur of ice and fire and Maddock’s voice cries to me from the edge of the Universe—but only in my visions. In the eight months since he disappeared, I’ve grown slow and sluggish as the child grows inside me, but I’ve neither seen, heard, nor felt Maddock’s presence. He’s gone and my visions and my common sense give me no hope he will ever come back.

 

“Another vision?” Maybelle La Croix’s raspy voice blends with the harsh calls of a dozen crows who live in the Rowan trees at the edge of the garden.

 

“The same.”

 

She presses her scarred lips together, a wistful gleam in her one blue eye.
Maybelle doesn’t have visions anymore. Whatever magical ability she enjoyed in the Time Before lies buried. Her twisted left side and the scars on her face attest to how close she came to death the night Lucia’s scourge of the Darkmore and La Croix families began.

 

Aunt Clarissa found her half frozen just outside the gates of Old Castle Highmore and took her to safety. A recluse since, scarred in body and mind, she did not attend my wedding at New Castle Highmoor even though Maddock begged her to do so. He’d been annoyed with her then saying it was ridiculous to let the past destroy the future. But if she’d been in New Castle Highmoor when it disappeared, I would have had no one to turn to. She paid her debt to the Darkmores by saving me keeping me safe since. As far as we know, we two are the only ones left. The few who fled with me either turned back or fled to the ends of the earth. The entire Darkmore and La Croix families are gone.

 

A solid kick jars my internal organs and reminds me of the third survivor. She kicks like a Spanish mule and will not be ignored.

 

“The visions are coming faster now. That must mean something.” Mayebelle avoids the worst of the mud by hopping from one tussock of brittle grass to the next.

 

“It means I’m closer to madness, I think.”

 

“It may.” She helps me rise, tugging my rumpled skirt and blouse snuggly over my bulging belly. “No use feeling sorry for yourself. The equinox is nearly here. Before long, birds will be singing and the tomatoes will be ready to pick. Just wait and see.”

 

I’m trapped in limbo—waiting for the baby, waiting for Maddock, waiting for some nameless thing to right a skewed world.

 

“I hope so, Maybelle. I hope so.” I trudge behind her, not bothering to avoid the mud.

A Cold Spring–Episodes 1-13 and a sneak peek

A perk of being a follower of the blog–here’s a pdf of 13 episodes PLUS a peek at Episode 14 which the rest of the world won’t see until Monday. You can download it HERE or open it below.
A Cold Spring 1_13

Episode 14: Now I Wait

Squelching footsteps in the muddy garden pull my thoughts from the past. Old Castle Highmoor and New Castle Highmoor meld into one blur of ice and fire and Maddock’s voice cries to me from the edge of the Universe—but only in my visions. In the eight months since he disappeared, I’ve grown slow and sluggish as the child grows inside me, but I’ve neither seen, heard, nor felt Maddock’s presence. He’s gone and my visions and my common sense give me no hope he will ever come back.

“Another vision?” Maybelle La Croix’s raspy voice blends with the harsh calls of a dozen crows who live in the Rowan trees at the edge of the garden.

“The same.”

She presses her scarred lips together, a wistful gleam in her one blue eye.
Maybelle doesn’t have visions anymore. Whatever magical ability she enjoyed in the Time Before lies buried. Her twisted left side and the scars on her face attest to how close she came to death the night Lucia’s scourge of the Darkmore and La Croix families began.

Aunt Clarissa found her half frozen just outside the gates of Old Castle Highmore and took her to safety. A recluse since, scarred in body and mind, she did not attend my wedding at New Castle Highmoor even though Maddock begged her to do so. He’d been annoyed with her then saying it was ridiculous to let the past destroy the future. But if she’d been in New Castle Highmoor when it disappeared, I would have had no one to turn to. She paid her debt to the Darkmores by saving me keeping me safe since. As far as we know, we two are the only ones left. The few who fled with me either turned back or fled to the ends of the earth. The entire Darkmore and La Croix families are gone.

A solid kick jars my internal organs and reminds me of the third survivor. She kicks like a Spanish mule and will not be ignored.

“The visions are coming faster now. That must mean something.” Mayebelle avoids the worst of the mud by hopping from one tussock of brittle grass to the next.

“It means I’m closer to madness, I think.”

“It may.” She helps me rise, tugging my rumpled skirt and blouse snuggly over my bulging belly. “No use feeling sorry for yourself. The equinox is nearly here. Before long, birds will be singing and the tomatoes will be ready to pick. Just wait and see.”

I’m trapped in limbo—waiting for the baby, waiting for Maddock, waiting for some nameless thing to right a skewed world.

“I hope so, Maybelle. I hope so.” I trudge behind her, not bothering to avoid the mud.