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Glamoury: The True Magick of Living Luxuriously, Happily and Beautifully at any age!

"Glamoury is an ability Witches have to transform themselves into something else. This is where our word “glamour” originated. Glamoury is more than beauty though—it is the projection of allure and charisma. Glamoury demands attention, reverence, and awe."


The_Three_Witches_from_Shakespeares_Macbeth_by_Daniel_Gardner,_1775
'The Three Witches from Shakespeares Macbeth'
by Daniel Gardner, 1775

"Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Elizabeth Lamb,
Viscountess Melbourne – the most famous political
hostesses and society beauties of their day – are shown
gathered around the witches’ cauldron alongside their
friend, the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer"

 

It was Coco Chanel who once said “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.” I’m very sure that she was right.

I was recently looking at some old pictures of myself and was truly amazed. It was a composite of images of myself at 17, 25, 32, 45 and  one taken just recently at the age of 59.  I looked in the mirror and realized that I quite enjoy what the passage of time has done to my face.  I now have plenty of wrinkles and I absolutely love my collections of lipstick and perfume.  After a brief flirtation with letting myself go gray, I've begun to color my hair again and I love it and appreciate it as much as I do my Lancome lipsticks.

I also refuse to lie about my age which gives me an extraordinary amount of pleasure.  Besides, painting my lips when I'm going out gives me a chuckle as I remember my mother and how she was never without her lipstick.  She knew what she was doing. She had a twinkle in her eyes that came from having lived life well. She never stopped learning and she never stopped leading the way.   She was an example for me early on that you could be your self and look pretty fabulous at any age. Up until the day she died my father was absolutely bewitched by her.  More importantly she had all kinds of fun continually becoming that woman!

 I consider myself very fortunate to still be surrounded by some pretty fabulous older women; all of them still physically beautiful  ,  dynamic and brilliant.   One will be turning 82 next month and one has just turned 87. Neither of them look  a day over 70. They possess the adventurous spirits of the 30 something’s without all of the drama. They love high fashion and glorious cosmetics, thankfully using them without trying to hang on to any sort of dewy youthful glow. When I‘m hanging out with them I’m aware of a constant flood of images and stories that come only from having lived an exciting life and I’m acutely aware that only with new experiences do we continue to live that fully.  One is writing a book and the other has a calendar of volunteer work that would exhaust most of us. I’ve only mentioned a couple of them but I am lucky to  know many more. I am grateful for these friends as they give me a way to escape the constant flurry of advertising that tells all of us over 50’s that it’s time to roll over and die.  These women don’t play dress-up; they are (as my niece says) “ All That!” I want to be all of them when I grow up.  In the absence of my own mother they are teaching me to step up confidently and lead the way.

 I don’t know about you but I’m fairly stubborn and I don’t intend to age gracefully.  I intend to age fiercely and fearlessly, sliding into my grave feet first and with a smile on my face born with the joy of having been alive! When I think about all of the older women who have inspired me, I realize that they all have this trait in common.   They crave new experiences. They are not afraid to have reinvented themselves, some of them many times in their life.  They are not afraid to speak their minds and they have never stopped learning. They have ceased to worry about being beautiful because they know exactly what they look like and love to make the most of it.  They know how to love and allow themselves to be loved, even when it hurts.  Their elegant  faces are lined with their smiles, tears and gorgeous shades of Chanel lipstick.  They practice yoga, go for long walks with their dogs, go to college and spend their free time painting or in meditation. They entertain with ease.  They hang out with lovely men and women , not because they have to but because they want to. Most importantly they have stopped wasting their time being afraid to die.

I think that this one aspect is the reason that my friends always seem lit from within every time I’m with them.  Having faced the fear of old age from a very early age, they stopped worrying about what the future would bring and concentrated on creating a completely vital and totally interesting present while laying the groundwork for a fabulous future. They are all wise enough to have learned that physical beauty is just one small part of the package and that who they are inside is what shows up on their faces.  If you’re going to get wrinkles anyhow, it pays to let them be created from living, not resisting the long path towards the inevitable. To be sure, living can be challenging at times, but would you really want it any other way? I’m of the opinion that we should absolutely demand of  our lives what we really hunger for and then ruthlessly chase it  down.   

As  one of my dear friends says,  “ I love growing older because I’m finally learning how I really like to live!”  proving to me once again that youth and sex  are indeed totally wasted on the young! So seize the day, your favorite lipstick and dance into your 50's and beyond like you've never danced before. Stop worrying about what has been. Live and love well and never leave home without planning for a bit of mischief to brighten your day.

 

My mother liked to say "Always remember to stay interesting dear because if YOU bore yourself to tears  can you imagine how  anyone around you will feel?" Brava Bellissima!

 

Glamoury Quote courtesy of Llewellyn Press


Memory of a Cosmic Heart, By Greg Spalenka and Rob Jacobs

 

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Memory of a Cosmic Heart By Greg Spalenka

“And still after all this time the Sun has never said to the Earth, “You owe me”
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky”
-Rumi


Memory of a Cosmic Heart

It is a wonderful time to be alive. I know that this may sound strange but I truly believe it. We are living through a time of unprecedented change and chaos. On our beautiful planet and possibly so many others yet unseen and unknown, life as we know it is shifting, evolving at an unprecedented pace. The natural elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are no longer satisfied to be used as a pretty setting for a picnic or a painting…they’ve suddenly become as alive to us as the movies we watch for our entertainment.

We have consistently ignored the laws of quantum physics, preferring instead to deal with nature in a most ordinary way. The human suffering and natural catastrophes that seem to be unfolding around us every day can no longer be ignored by even the most insulated around us. We’re suddenly immersed in our natural world in a way that is demanding us to be peaceful, reflective and instantly responsive.

Our perceptions of what it means to be alive must shift and evolve as well. What does it mean to be alive in this moment…right now? What do we need to thrive in this moment right now? Many forgone conclusions and illusions about what it means to create a life well lived have been recently shattered.

There is one other natural element that is rarely spoken of and the Vedas called it Shunya…the fifth element, the space between… the known and the unknown. Shunya is all around us and yet we rarely enter it willingly, in fact if the simple truth be told, we get thrown into it kicking and screaming. It usually takes a moment of existential crisis or a physical moment that shatters our bodies, egos and forces us to our knees in supplication. The human ego generally doesn’t look past what it thinks that it can see, until we are suddenly, knowingly beyond all hope.

Shunya is the space between, where if we simply let go and move beyond the illusory limits of the known and our false perceptions of safety, that real magic can happen.

All around the world, right now in this moment of common people are witnessed doing the uncommon. It’s not an accident. We are being called to move into the void, the cauldron…we are literally being forced to create a new meaning for what it means to live an extraordinary life.

I say all of the time to my clients, ”Live with intention. Things are always going to happen, but living with intention allows them to be created, molded and accepted by you regardless of the outcome. If you live with intention instead of by default, you’ll create the end result that you desire, regardless of the twists and turns that it takes to get there. “

Enter into my life Greg Spalenka and Rob Jacobs nearly miraculous musical odyssey of human and planetary redemption, The Memory of a Cosmic Heart.

This is a musical and artistic collaboration that is stunning, sweeping, potent and ultimately so relevant for the moment that we find ourselves in right now that I wept openly as I listened to it even though I had no images to look at nor poetry to sway me. I waited to look at Greg’s glorious paintings until I had listened to it. I wanted my own perceptions of the music to move me and they definitely did.

The story is so simple, reverent and beautiful. A daughter of the Sun finds herself falling to Earth and discovers that her reason for being is to show all of humanity that we each carry the magic, mystery and delight of the sun within our hearts. Imagine for a moment how we would treat each other if this was so, if we chose to see each other as keepers of such a great light, radiance and individual mystery instead of separated by what we think that we know ourselves to be? How differently would we treat our mother Earth?

In today’s world of 24/7 news and endless political intrigue, environmental challenge and drama it is easily to feel as though you are being slowly sucked dry by that energy. It is easy to feel despair. It is easy to give in to the anger we see and more importantly feel all around us. It is easy to forget who we are, who we can be for ourselves and each other.

There is a primeval and indigenous heartbeat that runs through this music that is so real and soulful, that I felt grounded, truly enlivened and hopeful as I listened to it. Nestled within the beautiful melodies, voices and rhythms of this glorious Cosmic Heart is a deep, luscious and ever flowing well of a sacred violet flame that I can return to over and over again that truly slakes my thirst for kindness and compassion.

I think that’s one of the things that I love the most about this amazing piece of musical and multimedia magic. For me it was multi-purpose. Listening to it, meditating to it and dancing with it allowed me to turn inward to my own creative and mystical center for the first time in months. I shed my clothes and danced freely around my room, falling madly in love with the mystery of what it could mean for all of us to move forward with the light and power of the sun in our hearts. It was just like the first time that I ever heard Gabrielle Roth’s glorious “5 Rhythms of the Soul” so many decades ago. I had to get up and move and I had no choice in the matter. It was time to get naked and shed some skin.

I encourage any and all of you to support this magnificent project. To know Greg Spalenka is to know that he means every word, every musical note, every stroke he puts to canvas. The musicians and collaborations on this work are amazing and show his commitment to creating a masterpiece of fierce and unyielding beauty. It is his desire to truly create a space for us all to find radiance, peace and to remember what it means to love ourselves and each other, no matter our race, color or creed.

Memory of a Cosmic Heart is a love story of powerful intentional choices. It is a welcoming and homecoming for all of us who long to return to each other. Listen to it, be moved by it and please share it. Like a beautiful spiral dance, the mystical, magical daughter of the Sun cannot help but affect any and all she touches.

Dance with her and remember how to live. 

-Beth Schreibman Gehring is a writer and author of Stirring the Senses, Seasonal Celebrations of Love, Life & Food. She is also a lifestyle blogger, who uses an ever-changing seasonal palette of love, life and food to help her readers and clients fall madly in love with their lives.


Blessed Samhain ~ The Story of Lucy


 
As I went out walking this fall afternoon,
I heard a whisper whispering.
I heard a whisper whispering,
Upon this fine fall day...

As I went out walking this fall afternoon,
I heard a laugh a'laughing.
I heard a laugh a'laughing,
Upon this fine fall day...

I heard this whisper and I wondered,
I heard this laugh and then I knew.
The time is getting near my friends,
The time that I hold dear my friends,
The veil is getting thin my friends,
And strange things will pass through.
(Author unknown)


Will you follow me? Its Halloween and I thought that maybe, just maybe you would be in the mood for a ghost story but first we have somewhere that we need to be. Yes, I know that the woods are dark, but isn’t the smell intoxicating this time of year? The leaves are wet and seductively sour, sweet ripe apples are still hanging on the cool bare branches and the musky scent of deer lingers all around in the still night forest . We have come here the other way, through the woods instead of the churchyard, the old way…….the way that she came.

 
Just be careful where you step for the wrought iron fence that surrounds this family plot is broken in places and terribly low. I know that you are wondering why I’ve brought you to this place that smells of old grave dirt, wood smoke and limestone. I know that it’s scary because the soundless dead that lay here are so very different from you. In this place I can practically hear the blood and adrenaline pounding through your veins. I can’t tell this story anywhere else though for this is where she finally, peacefully lays. It is the story of fragrance as it passes through the veil.

I used to live in a very old house built in1848 and we actually had to perform an exorcism (I hate that word, it’s not truly appropriate) on a woman who died in childbirth , whose spirit was trapped in our upstairs back bedroom. She died alone and without her husband who had gone off to fight in the civil war. Her name was Lucy Smith. She presented herself to me when I was upstairs one night nursing our son Alex, whom she loved very much. I was rocking him in our chair and was surprised to hear a very slight breathing accompanied by soft moans that became more labored over time and would fall away only to be repeated over and again. As I screamed for my husband the hair began to stand up on the nape of my neck and my breast milk ran dry. We searched the room for a draft, anyplace or anything that could be making such sounds. It was the most tragic sound that I have ever heard. It was the sound of a young woman giving birth and dying at the same time. After that night I always knew when she was around because of the fragrant smell of spring violets tinged with blood that accompanied her even in the dead of winter.

She used to open the door that was dead bolted from the inside on the first warm day of spring. She loved our rocking chair and we would find it moving in the still of night and then hear her soft footsteps as she went back up the stairs. It was that icy moment just before winter turns to spring when we were working to help her break her bonds to this plane. I would bring her vases of fresh pussy willows and snowdrops that grew around the house because she loved our/ her farm so much. Through the relationship we established a very deep love grew. As strange as it sounds, she began to trust us and we her. Finally one evening she shared her whole story and that was when we saw the blood that we had smelled so often. She was a beautiful woman with long dark hair and deeply in love with her husband. She led us with happy visions through her wedding day that took place in the barn that we owned, shared with us the scent of dancing leather boots and her wedding supper. Sadly the last image she shared was the moment of her death as we saw her lying in her own blood, sobbing and holding the lifeless body of her dead child who is buried with her here. She was 38 years old when she died.

Several more days passed and one morning I went upstairs and felt her presence all around me. I knew then that soon she would be able to go. At that moment I heard her voice as soft as the wind telling me that she loved us, thanking us, that she was grateful. I felt myself being held by her, a sensation that I will always remember. I will never forget the smell outside of the window after she left.

It was of nectar, a honeyed presence that speaks to the presence of the divine and it lingered throughout the morning. There was still snow on the ground and I cried all day, more alone then I had ever felt in my life.

Lucy was an amazing woman and even after she was gone she would come back when Alex was sick and help me care for him, she loved him so much. One night when he had been ill for three very long and sleepless nights, I went upstairs to his room, pulled him out of his crib and brought him downstairs to rock him as he choked and coughed. When at last I took him back up to his crib I removed the beautifully folded blanket from the edge of the crib and placed him back into it. He fell quietly, instantly asleep. I went back downstairs to thank Jim for straightening up the room and he looked at me quite queerly. My husband hadn’t left our bed the entire time. Alex didn’t let go of the blanket for 4 days and he still remembers her. My son has been in danger’s path several times and known immediately and without question to run because of the voice that he still hears. I am sure that it is hers.

After she left, I went to the library and the historical society to see what I could learn about her. There were diagrams of the old McBride family cemetery where we now sit and I found her in those old crumbling papers , buried with her stillborn son. I took Alex and Moon, our Rottweiler for a walk the next day. After walking through the churchyard cemetery, I went through the woods and found the old family burial ground. As soon as we moved past the rusted gates my dog released her scent glands, a rank perfume of terror that I had never smelled before. When we got back to the old broken tombstones she started to pull me out of there. I stopped her long enough to read the headstone she was bolting from. It was Lucy’s.

This is a true story and indeed a very sad story, made lighter only by the fact that she did eventually become free. It was interesting , when I was thinking about what I could share with you tonight I smelled the faintest odor of violets and heard her softness. ..”Speak…… of me.” There was more it seemed that she wanted me to know.

Lucy was wonderful, although at the point when she was trying to reach out to us for help she was terrifying. It broke my heart when I realized how many families had lived in the house with her right there under their noses and she had struggled so hard to let them know of her presence without any success. I didn’t blame her for finally resorting to some very ghostly tactics to get my attention. I treasured my time with her.

Eerily, there was one more voice in our house……a young boy who came and went with frequency. He wasn’t trapped like she was and there was always the strangest smell of frogs, oats and brackish water that accompanied him, along with the fragrance of blackberries which coincidentally grew in abundance all around our farm with the juiciest ones always flourishing by the pond . He loved to run and skip around our halls. When I began to think about the telling of her story I came back to this place and went once again through the old records. I wanted to find him again , I needed to know who he was. Look to the right of her grave, over there where the two tiny headstones sit. He is there with her now, her young son James.

I had always wondered what bound Lucy to this world, why she took such good care of my child. I am sure that she did the same for everyone who grew up in her house, for those who never even knew. She was a beautiful and generous spirit, in life she must have been an extraordinary mother. Her son James died one year after she did……she must have been distraught to leave him, he must have died from the heart break of living without her and the bitter uncertainty of his father gone off to war. I never knew why the story seemed to still haunt me. It was unfinished and I am glad to know now.

Tonight I have come with a bouquet of sunflowers for her , carved pumpkins and candy for her children…..I always wear a simple Penhaligon perfume of violets on Halloween, strange and unearthly in the autumn air to honor her.

Lucy, if you can hear me still, know forever that I am grateful for it all.


Happy Samhain to all,
On this night we remember……….

Bewitching & Beautiful - Girls Night Out!

Girls night outI love folk art and this particular piece definitely suits the spirit of the season! It's called "Girls Night Out" and it was painted by an artist names Will Moses whose link I've attached here. I love this painting of these frolicsome witches and their cats casting their magic into the cauldron under the light of the full moon!  Will has many other wonderful seasonal pieces but I was especially bewitched by the Halloween note cards that he's created which you'll  find  on his site! 

While I was searching for Will's work I came across another fabulous Halloween site that I'd love to share with you. It's called  Yankee Halloween  and they've got everything that you need to create the spookiest All Hallows party ever! They carry the full line of Will Moses's work including his utterly wonderful Sleepy Hollow jigsaw puzzles that will be perfect entertainment for the whole family , sitting by the fire on a chilly autumn evening!  

While you're putting together that Jigsaw puzzle, how about a hot applejack toddy? Just take some fresh apple cider and put it in a saucepan, add a bit of maple syrup to taste, a liberal dusting of fresh cinnamon and a jigger or two of Lairds Applejack . Heat until just beginning a boil, pour into a warmed mug, add a dollop of fresh butter or freshly whipped cream, a cinnamon stick and enjoy!

 
Will Moses Folk Art