Autumn and Winter Nature Spirits

Dark Mystery - Magic found in worlds beyond.
Composed of preserved (with glycerine) and dried botanicals, fabric, shells.
Preserved: a real freeze-dried dendrobium orchid (in her hands), salal leaves and eucalyptus.
Dried: delphinium blossoms, feverfew, fern moss, cotton pods, bell pod (the head), artichoke, fir cones. 
Fabric: black glitter-tulle, satin ribbons, hand-dyed linen.

"Magic speaks to the deep parts of ourselves that were formed before we knew abstractions."  Starhawk

This botanical character was created about 10 years ago. I mentioned I'd been looking through old photos of my past work with dried/preserved botanicals - wreaths and other forms. Thought I'd share some of these images as they are among the many past roots of my current work. For some reason I've been doing a lot of this over the fall: Revisiting ancestry of my family, ancestry of my art, ancestry of my feelings, impulses, emotions, purpose (all that chakra stuff!). I think it has to do with the strong relationship I have with the wheel of the year and especially Autumn Equinox to Winter Solstice. The Autumn urge to reflect and come to terms with the past. Nature girl issues.

Anyway, I loved creating these dolls and wands. Haven't done much of this for years but I'm getting inspired to do some MAGICAL crafting this year. From the description in my 1999 catalog:

Dolls and wands have long been used as ritual objects for protection, divination, or magical purposes. They may be constructed to embody the wishes and dreams of the maker. They are sometimes thought to host the energy of a certain spirit or contain support for an individual's calling. But, perhaps most of all, they can return us (or introduce us) to the innocent joys and magic of childhood.

I created this particular character (from a set of four) to represent the time of Hallomas (Halloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead) - when the curtains between the worlds of the seen and the unseen become thin and Mystery and MAGIC are more accessible. She holds an orchid as a symbol of MAGIC. The orchid was often used in love MAGIC as an aphrodisiac, and as an elixir for long life (somehow I think these go together love magic and long life!) Used by Aphrodite and Dionysus. The flower part of the orchid is a feminine symbol and the root masculine.

I'll introduce my other three "nature girls" in the next post - Autumn, Solstice and Returning Light.

More about Holiday traditions, and traditions in general:
When we create (or renew) seasonal, social and spiritual traditions we establish continuity with our past, and when infused with hope, a link to our future. But by grounding us in the present they bring meaning to our lives in ways we are most hungry for - connecting with others, with natural cycles, and with the sacred.

As the days darken and shrink, something about this time of year just really, really opens my heart. I want to share... to share beyond the normal efforts fraught with baggage and busyness. Sometimes we schedule in time to share a little too tightly. It doesn't flow becasue we only have a minute until the next thing we have to do requires our attention. I want to share in a way that is direct and joyful. That is filled with intention and purpose. That says we are all kin and we are all in this darkness together. And that we will endure and never lose faith that light will return and a verdant earth will be restored. That kind of sharing. I need to make things because I always let go and ease into the stream and dream of caring and sharing when I make things for people. Play the music, brew the cider, inhale the pine boughs I've brought into the house, sit where I can see little colored lights around the windows.... and make things.

Whether lifting our voices in song or praise, telling family stories, creating wreaths together, imagining and crafting a gift from the heart zone, or preparing food for a coming gathering, we fall into a spell that deepens our bonds (I know I am a broken record on this), reaffirms our faith, and renews our relationship with the natural world. We truly begin to live and embody joy, hope, unity, peace... and lest we forget...  MAGIC!

Allow your heart to open to MAGIC... just for starters - you can move on to the peace and joy in good time. Create a tradition, craft a decoration or gift, compose a message to those you adore... and infuse all with MAGICAL intention. Heart to heart MAGIC... heart to heart blessings. Decorate your home in a MAGICAL way. Ornament yourself like you would a tree... with the same creativity, excitement and anticipation. Sneak little decorative, magical accents into people's homes and workplaces. Let them be surprised and disarmed at the sudden appearance of MAGIC. You can giggle like an elf but don't tell.  Step out there this holiday time and be the MAGIC you wish to see in the world.

btw, for doll inspiration I love Cassandra Light's, Way of the Doll.