Wednesday, May 31, 2006

For Sara

::Transforms into doggie persona and leaps onto the stage, barks into the mic testing the sound system::
"Greetings, Sara and friends. ::wags tail profusely:: First, a personal note: Beetlebug, Charlotte, and I extend every wish for many years of happiness to you, your husband, and Sox :)
(I hope he is not offended that I took over his persona for this recitation.)
This poem conveys the nuances of the doggie/master relationship much better than I could ever express.


Yet, my pretty sportive friend,
Little is't to such an end
That I praise thy rareness!
Other dogs may be thy peers
Haply in these drooping ears,
And this glossy fairness.

But of thee it shall be said,
This dog watched beside a bed
Day and night unweary
Watched within a curtained room,
Where no sunbeam brake the gloom
Round the sick and dreary.

Roses, gathered for a vase,
In that chamber died apace,
Beam and breeze resigning.
This dog only, waited on,
Knowing that when light is gone
Love remains for shining.

Other dogs in thymy dew
Tracked the hares, and followed through
Sunny moor or meadow.
This dog only, crept and crept
Next a languid cheek that slept,
Sharing in the shadow.

Other dogs of loyal cheer
Bounded at the whistle clear,
Up the woodside hieing.
This dog only, watched in reach
Of a faintly uttered speech,
Or a louder sighing.

And if one or two quick tears
Dropped upon his glossy ears,
Or a sigh came double
Up he sprang in eager haste,
Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,
In a tender trouble.

And this dog was satisfied
If a pale thin hand would glide
Down his dewlaps sloping
Which he pushed his nose within,
After—platforming his chin
On the palm left open.

[To Flush, My Dog
Elizabeth Barrett Browning]

Immortality Speaks

I wake to the rustle of leaves brushing lightly against the late evening breeze, the stars shining gallantly in the sky. I sit up, jostling a moment in my bed trying to clear the sleep from my eyes. Moving to the rhythm of this surreptitious night, my intuitive side tells me I’m in for something unusual as a small voice nestled in the back of my psyche tells me I best be prepared.

Like other evening tides at the House of Serpents, I expect calm and quiet but not so this night. I contemplate for a moment with earnest of what’s to come, though the feeling lends itself to an array of events I know I’ve not planned for. It’s just a feeling deep in my gut, an innate indication that something unique is about to surface. But almost instantly the feeling’s gone, though in retrospect I know now that was all according to plan.

Something’s afoot, I can feel it as I slip on my robe while a force unbeknown calls me to wander out in the garden and sit on the ornate wrought iron settee bedecked with a silk lavender cushion. For some reason the evening, dark as midnight, and quiet as a baby’s sigh, allows me to admire the beautiful festoon of gala colored flowers and foliage. Fireflies brightly lit, prance around ornate butterflies, as Praying Mantis kneel in allegiance to the night. Quickly my attention changes and I cannot help but notice something going on at the foot of the old Oak tree sitting majestically to my left.

Drawn to it I make my way in its direction where something tells me to sit down. I crouch down to brush away some moss with my hand, smooth the back of my robe and sit down on the cool earth. Almost immediately the aroma of myrrh fills the air and before I realize it a magnificent bird is sitting at my side. She is the illusive Phoenix, ready to rise again anew. She mimics a peacock with red and gold plumage so bright that it almost takes my breath away and she begins to sing whilst the most beautiful sounds exudes from her soul. I am captivated. We sit for what seems forever, but perhaps passing by as in a glance, as the world around give birth to new colors and sounds never seen nor heard before. It’s as though a paint brush magically made everything Technicolor new.

Then out of nowhere in a burst of light, she catches fire and burns, the flames consuming nothing but her. When the flames die down, all that is left is a pile of gray ashes, from which another phoenix will grow up to shine with the brilliance of its predecessor.

A strange, but pleasant feeling comes over me, though I cannot explain. I awaken to a new me, a new world and a new perspective. Something nudges me to look to the side where I find a purple velvet bag sitting lazily close by. Too tempting to ignore, I pick it up, undo the silk drawstrings and see that it is heavy with all of my dreams, hopes, expectations, and longings. Looking further I found it also filled with humility, gratitude and love. Yes, I know what all of this is, a gift of seeds from the ripe fruit of my muse bestowed to me by the magnificent rising Phoenix, the symbol of life and rebirth. My soul has been touched and I know I will never be the same.

Gretchen L. ©

Wedding Blessings for Sara

A book mark for Sara

Take this day by the morning
And hold it close to you.
One more link in the chain of days
That you are passing through.
All these days are miracles,
Each more precious than gold,
So hold tight to this special day
Until all the tales are told,
Until all the flowers unfold,
Until even the stars grow cold.

A Night To Remember

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When the glorious Phoenix belonging to the Rainbow Serpent Priestess comes to earth it come to do good deeds for people, and her appearance symbolizes the beginning of a new era. In one story involving Sinbad, the roc unknowingly carries Sinbad to safety after a shipwreck and in another the roc carries him to the Valley of Diamonds. Going farther back into Persian antiquity, there is an immortal bird, amrzs, or (in the Minoi-khiradh) slnamurv, which shakes the ripe fruit from the mythical tree that bears the seed of all useful things

In Japanese mythology, after doing its good deed the bird ascends back to heaven to await a new era.

The Phoenix is here and offering to do good deeds for travellers. She will take you for a fantastical night ride and show you the wonders of the world if that is your desire. Or she will sit with you, shake the ripe fruit that bears the seeds of all that is useful and be your muse for the night.

Make sure to take advantage of this most providential arrival.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Gift for the Gorgon.....

Lest I forget, here is my gift to the Gorgon, mistress of the House of Serpents: "Woman Dancing in a Red Mandala"

Digital Montage: Lori Gloyd (c) May 30, 2006

This is my handprint is has Heart, Vision, Perseverance, Spark, and Inner Harmony

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

The person who came to gaze in the mirror is tired and gray
The reflection is young and gay
The person gazing is old and sometimes beaten
The reflection is hopeful, happy, and full of promise
The person who came to gaze found a new outlook on life
The reflection smiled...job well done.

To Sara...............

I've come in full party regalia including my headress. I am ready to celebrate!

Dear Sara--
May many blessings from above shower
upon you and your beloved on this day!

(tossing birdseed instead of rice)

Image: Lori Gloyd (c) May 30, 2006

Happy Wedding Day!

Wishing You A Very Happy Day, Sara!

(I raided Pandora's Box and chose a costume of

a young Victorian girl, because this is how I

feel after being at the House of Serpents, and

letting go of old stuff!)

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

And The BIrds Came Circling and Singing

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....and the birds of Rhiannon came
circling and singing over the sea
....and the birds of le Enchanter came
cirlcling and singing

Rhiannon (Great Queen) was the lunar Welsh Goddess of fertility and rebirth, transformation, wisdom, and magic. Goddess of ethereal beauty, she was born with the first moonrise, Muse of poets, source of artistic inspiration, she was worshipped outside amidst the trees at woodland alters and underneath the Moonlight.

With love on your wedding day Sarah

Wedding Banquet Bell

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The dinner bell has been rung and the banquet to mark Sara's wedding today is ready to begin. So house guests should make their way down to the Great Hall, ready to join the festivities.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Shaping Hands

I envie those who can sculpt,
or draw from nature a few simple lines
that speak of art beyond my reach.



I cannot show you a painting of my palm,
nor imprint pressed on a parchment page,
because my natural hand position
is outward – linked
as if placed on the head of a child.

The heart so formed by fingers and thumb
is called the Kalbadam,
though I know of this
only through mystic experience,
and a calling perhaps.

I care not what others might see
or interpret from lines or whorls,
for it’s not about me or what I think,
but of who I am today,
and that I can occasionally heal
or even save a life …

which is perhaps,
what my hands are for –
as I do not paint or sketch,
nor finger holes on a flute …

but can, through patient care
play a melody on another’s soul –

and that will have to do.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

mirror selves

images aletta mes 2006

My left hand

It started so subtly, I hardly new it was happening. Sitting in a warm spring breeze watching my young son playing football, I became aware that my left hand was tingling and remember casually mentioning the fact to my husband. The symptoms grew worse over the following months, as my hand developed increasing bouts of pins and needles, became very sensitive to things that other people hardly noticed, a movement of air, the brush of fabric across skin. The pain was made extreme by tapping my fingers against any surface and I was a pianist and piano teacher at that time. Persuing my career was almost impossible. Somedays were worse than others, especially cold days when the wind was blowing and my hand felt as if it was being crushed under a boot.

Eventually I sought medical advice and was told that I had carpal tunnel syndrome and would need an operation on both wrists to relieve the pressure. Bt this time the pain was so extreme in my left hand I did not think to ask why it was assumed that the diagnosis for both hands was actually the same. The surgeon assured me he had performed the operations many times, very successfully, and as he had been my first boyfriend I trusted him.

Eventually, I had the operations on both hands done on the same day, under local anaesthetic, during the week that my beloved mother in law passed away. I was assured that this operation would not compromise my ability to play the piano, that the recovery would be easy, and that I would not be inconvenienced by having both hands done at once.

I regretted having the operation done under local anaesthetic because putting injections into my wrists was excruciating. Once the operation was over I knew that something had gone wrong because instead of the pain diminishing immediately as my doctor had assured me it would do, my left hand grew colder and colder and more and more painful. Both hands had compression bandages on, from finger to elbow and I was incapable of looking after myself for a few days - even a trip to the loo needed my husband's help. I had to go to Mum's funeral in this state.

My hand never recovered.

It took me almost three years to find out that I had not had carpal tunnel syndrome but a totally different condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD as we sufferers call it) and that there is no known cure. Cutting into an affected limb is to make the pain even more severe. Basically, the brain has switched on a pain mechanism for some reason and it never switches off. If you think of phantom limb pain you have an idea of the pain mechanism involved. Even the action of typing into my computer causes pain.

My left hand is like an alien being attached to me. It feels twice as large as it actually is, experiences sensations which are impossible to describe accurately. Sometimes it feels as if a knife is peeling back all the skin from my hand, sometimes if feels as if it is being crushed, it has cramp and pins and needles all day every day, and is always several degrees colder than the rest of my body. Before I was diagnosed I had suffered a major depression,and I went through a bout of therapy ("what is your gain from having pain?"). I finally met a specialist who understood what had happened, and put me in touch with other sufferers via a support organisation, thus giving me back a degree of control over my life.

After the diagnosis I had to decide how to live and I made the decision to live as a person who happened to have RSD rather than as a sufferer. I have been very strict with myself, keeping away from medication and further medical intervention, and using my hand as much as possible in spite of the pain. Sometimes at night, in the dark, I allow myself the luxury of a good cry, the luxury of self pity, but it won;t do me any good in the long run. I can choose to live or to retreat from life and I will not retreat.

I look at my hand.
It looks pretty ordinary to everyone else, but it is an instrument of torture to me.
My thumb is where the pain started.
MY ring finger is where the pain is concentrated.
My whole arm has pins and needles up to my neck.

I cannot play the piano any more. I have had to look for new creative outlets and writing has become one of them, the others being altered arts and scrapbooking my family's life and my late husband's life. I also love anything to do with textile arts. These sustain my spirit.

Living with pain teaches me:
compassion, patience, endurance, that money doesn't buy everything, that it is possible for the human spirit to prevail even when dealing with something as life altering as RSD.

RSD is my constant companion. It is cruel, it is relentless it is pitiless. I have had to learn to stay positive and not let it win the battle for my mind. So far, so good.

Hands on the Wall

They needed to make a mark,
to be remembered, gained
eternal life making hand prints.

Who will remember
that I too passed this way?
Where should I place my hand print?

My ancestors burned to dust
Under grey skies in the east
Who even knows their names now?

And does it, in the end,
truly signify if I
am remembered through eternity?

A Cabin of One's Own

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A traveller enjoys some solitude, in a cabin, on board the ship moored down in Pirate Cove. She takes the time to paint a hand to leave in the Cave of Hands at the House of Serpents

Silent, quiet time, in a space of one's own enhances creativity.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The print of my hand

On these Lemurian roads I have learned to place my hand with confidence in the power of creativity.

Red Hand Cave

If you go to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, be sure to call into the National Park at Glenbrook, where you can see the Red Hand Cave. It was closed to the public until 1987, when a perspex shield was put over it to stop people vndalising it with their own sugnatures - isn't that sad? It is a rare piece of Aboriginal cave art from the time of the Dharug people, who were all but wiped out in the Blue Mountains.

the burden weighs heavily

I have been asleep. My journey started well, but has slowed considerably and I feel that I must catch up. I understand that I have time, my own time is plenty but I do not want others to suffer for my idleness.

Whilst asleep I dreamt:-

A room, perhaps an outhouse. Inside it, an oven, if present time, I would guess a pizza oven or similar. On the ground, large slate like tiles. Under one tile, a cavern and inside it I am gently placing dead bodies. Strangely, they look comfortable and I wonder if one is actually dead as it appears to snuggle up to the body next to it.

Now awake, from day to day and with time to ponder my dreams. I sit, daily, religiously, dogeddly on my couch at home, methodically emptying the boxes which store my mothers belongings. 62 years worth of belongings. Not enough, but way too many. As each box is emptied, I place it in the underground cavern. Not to be forgotten, ever, but to rest in peace at last.

Last week, my husband and I emptied the last of the boxes from a storage unit. Struggling with the extra financial burden, we have sacrificed our spare room for now, and so I sit, emptying, sorting, throwing, filing, thinking, remembering. All in the hope of shrugging the burden. For now though, the burden feels way to heavy. Each day goes by and I can feel it ever so slightly lifting. I know why my journey has slowed and ask my fellow travellers to go on without me... but I will follow in my own time.

Sarah, I won't be able to make it to the performance in time for your wedding on the 31st but know that my heart will be with you on that day as I drink a toast to us both, to you for the most wonderful day of your life and to me for my 34th birthday! Best wishes.


Hand Prints-- Some Thoughts on Creativity

Some Thoughts On Creativity:

The Little Finger: Small, vulnerable to bangs and sprains; that within ouselves that must be protected in order for creativity to flourish.

The Ring Finger: Typically encircled by that which is valuable and precious; those people and places that are valuable to us and that nurture our creativity.

The Middle Finger: The use of such reserved strictly for Inner and Outer Critics of our creative works.

The Forefinger: Number One, ourselves; that singular inner being from which the creativity process flows.

The Thumb: The opposable thumb, that which separates us from the lower species, that which allows us to pick up a pen or a brush, that which makes creativity possible and elevates us to the role of creator; that which defines our destiny.

All fingers must be present to make a fully functional hand. All components must be present to make an authentic creative person.

Image and text: Lori Gloyd (c) May 26, 2006

Celebration By Torchlight

Lessons in Creativity

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Serpent Leaves A Snake Print

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The Serpent has left a five fingered creative message in the heavens above the House of the Serpents.

animated spirit

Creative Handprints

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Cueva de las Manos (Spanish for Cave of the Hands) is a cave located in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, 163 km south from the town of Perito Moreno, within the borders of the Francisco P. Moreno National Park, which includes many sites of archaeological and paleontogical importance.

The Cave lies in the valley of the Pinturas River, in an isolated spot in the Patagonian landscape, some 100km from the main road, Route 40. It is famous (and gets its name) for the paintings of hands, made by the indigenous inhabitants (possibly forefathers of the Tehuelches) between 13,000 and 9,300 years ago. The composition of the inks is mineral, so the age of the paintings was calculated from the rests of bone-made pipes used for spraying the paint on the wall blocked by the hand.

The main cave measures 24 m in depth, with an entrance 15 m wide, and it is initially 10 m high. The ground inside the cave has an upward slope; inside the cave the height is reduced to no more than 2 m.

The images of hands are often negative (stencilled). Besides these there are also depictions of human beings, guanacos, rheas, felines and other animals, as well as geometric shapes, zigzag patterns, representations of the sun, and hunting scenes. Similar paintings, though in smaller numbers, can be found in nearby caves. There are also red dots on the ceilings, probably made by submerging their hunting boleadoras in ink, and then throwing them up. The colours of the paintings vary from red (made from hematite) to white, black or yellow.

Most of the hands are left hands, which suggests that painters held the spraying pipe with their dexterous hand. The size of the hands resembles that of a 13 year old boy, but considering they were probably smaller in size, it is speculated that they could be a few years older, and marked their advancement into manhood by stamping their hands on the walls of this sacred cave.

Here at the House of the Serpents there is a cave of hands where guests, who want to mark their creative advancement, stamp their hand into the walls, leaving an imprint, a handprint that will guide subsequent travellers and act as a beacon of encouragement to those who follow.

Make an imprint of your hand. On each finger write something that you have learned about creativity during this journey. Hang it on the wall here in the House of the Serpents. These handprints will be transferred to the Cave of the Creative Hands at Soul Food.

A Befuddled Mirror

I would ask you to join me for an event,
following the two commands:
to confront the Gorgon Mirror,
and give an entertaining performance.

One by one you have gone to the Mirror,
with various results and trepidations.
I propose we go ‘en-mass’ and allow
no single person to ever be reflected.
When any would gaze into the Mirror
they will only see another,
or two as one in sisterhood –
and so will the Gorgon befuddle.

More – then more,
I will close the drapes that allow
the light from windows of despair,
and hold high the Trebusca Lantern.
In order for the Mirror to reflect at all
it must then draw light from 24 facets,
each modified in hue and clarity
by the combined will of all –

and the Mirror’s own confounding light
must enter and carom about
to blend with the essential spirit
and emerge in different form –

the Mirror may finally see itself,
not reflected in the tearful eyes
of a single yearning traveler,
but in reflected soul
of all humanity –

and I will laugh!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Smoke and Mirrors

To see myself as others see me – ah, that would be a trick,
Worthy of a great magician. All I see is the greying hair,
The jaw losing definition, the eyes that look like my mother’s.
But when I look in the mirror of my sons’ eyes,
When they hug me and say, ``silly old woman,’
Voices rich and warm with laughter and love,
I see a reflection I can love too.
Silly old woman, to think I will ever get so crusty,
They won’t want to hug me.

Inner Critic Will Slink Away Now

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The Inner Critic, who has been terrorizing some guests, is looking less confident now that le Enchanteur has defeated him at arm wrestling and he has been eyeballed by the birds and snakes here at the House of the Serpents. Indeed the look of terror in this inner critic's eye should be a warning for any other nasty spirited intruders.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Snake Charmer

I thought the gorgons would like to meet my husband Laurie, when he was young and bulletproof. He worked for many years as a snake handler and is still called out to relocate the odd brown snake in the suburbs. he's the only person I know who is totally at ease with snakes and calls them `beautiful'. He is also the only person who has ever persuaded me to touch one. Therefore whenever I enter the House of Serpents I ask his advice and he suggests calmness and confidence are the best qualities to have when communing with snakes.

The Ending

Today is Friday 26th May 2006
My mirror is on the wall
It is to the right of my computer
So I pass it as I come through the door
I have it hanging, at just the right height
So I can see myself as I pass by
Some might say...."But it's too low"
"Hang it higher"
No I will say "I like it just there"
Where I can see my face as I pass by
I hung it just for me,no one taller or shorter
Just me.

The gold filligree against the cream wall
matches well
And on the small chain
between the picture rail and the top
of my mirror
I have placed a craft made butterfly
Its wings pointing to the sky
Just an added touch !
It's colours don't match ,navy blue and white
Hardly go with gold filligree
I have a can of gold paint
Tomorrow I will take the butterfly
outside and spray him/her

I feel better now my mirror is in my computer room
It is as Heather has said so many times
*A room of my own,a space that is just mine*
A room of my creativity
A room where I gather around me
all I have created,written,collected of others,
Over the past 10 years

My room says to me
Where I have been
Where I have come to,
How far I have travelled,
Where I am going on my journey
A journey without end.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 26.5.06

If a Mirror 3

If a Mirror, Three

If I but believed
that you cherished me
and cleaved for eternity –
instead of knowing
as I do and am;

then I might seek a wall hung glass
not too cracked or smudged;
with missing gilt and filigree,
to find a reflection of love
in distorted hope and need;

but instead I see the dimpled glow
birthed by clouded eyes
that see spirit in everything,
and blindly accept song and calling,
and I need not reflect
but humbly share

Lori's Brilliant Mapping

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Lori has been doggedly mapping our journey and by George she has it now. We all know that more will detail will need to be shown on the map, and we are still to locate the Cave of the Ancients, but this will be a boon to any confused traveller.

Weight of Words

L'enchanteur's extensive library has some articles to inspire, and I found one on the weight of words that was interesting to think about, while I was in my serpent room. I still wasn't scared, because no snakes were actually doing anything to me. It was mainly the snakes in my head...hmmm...funny about that.
Single Heavy Words...
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Dropping my burden at the door...

I’ve seen better days.
Some days are better than others.
Some days the worn out joints don’t hurt so much,
Some days the inflexibility of fingers and knees
Aren’t as obvious. Some days I can even stand for a long while
Without some bloody part of me giving way.

Those are good days. On bad days everything hurts,
Whether it is arthritic or not. I think the other bits
Just come out in sympathy.

I’ve known better days.
Some days I would just run,
Not to get anywhere in a hurry, not to get away,
But just because I could. Walking along aimlessly,
My mind lost in daydreams, suddenly I would run,
As if I thought that way I could start to fly.

Yes, I ran, and jumped, and climbed,
Fell off horses and bounced off anything rigid and uptight
That got in my reckless way. And the old folks would smile
And say, ``you think you’re bulletproof now,
But you’ll pay for it when you’re old like us.”

I don’t run any more. My knees would give out and down I’d go,
Just like I’ve pitched down the stairs a few times.
I can’t even trust my own knees damn it.

So I know what burden I’ll gladly drop at the gatehouse.
It’s a big bundle of creaky old bones called My Osteo.
Good riddance. On the Serpent Road I want to run
Just because I can.

Jan, Not Happy.

The mirror hangs in the hallway where the light is too dim to really show any truth. Makes it easy to avoid even a glance at reality as I routinely dash between bath and bed.

But tonight is the night and I pound up the stairs. Responsibility may have been left at the gate, but all the other tenuous and to me now hateful aspirations are too. Who cares about serenity and contentment. As for wisdom...what a farce! What self righteousness!

I don't just pound, I storm up the stairs and even before I get to the mirror I can see that my aura is radiating flashes of red....a crescendo of anger:I look at those flashes, brilliant, jagged and crashing in a disharmony that is almost a delight to watch, some comfort in peversity. They drown out all other hues and I don't care that they bring an ugliness with their energy.

Slowly, ever so slowly,the chaos which has fuelled these shockwaves will subside. But there is no taking back the big bang that started it all. Not just the ripple of a stone skimming over a millpond, more the impact of a meteorite ripping through my universe and no bubbles in a hot bath or flickering candles will have the power to change the image the mirror is projecting now.

Time will be the only healer. It will see the jagged lightning gradually tamed and retreat, leaving a softer glow in the mirror. Not the green and mauve tints of the past but a stronger flush of fuschia. For the mirror is wise and sees all things, notices that we prefer to look away. Sees perhaps too that we slowly gain strength from adversity and even when we resist, are forced by the awful grace of the gods, towards wisdom.

Captain! My Captain - for Lori

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Captain! My Captain!

If a Mirror 2

If a Mirror, Two

If I but believed,
in Source and Light,
and the speck of GodShine in all –
instead of knowing,
as I do and am;

then I might stare into a child’s eyes
moist with teary delight,
and framed with careless hair
to find my own aged reflection
in innocence and joy;

but, instead I see the silent fears
taught like soul scars,
and scream a quick challenge
that defies the death of yearning,
and I must now reflect
in a blank stare

The Gorgon's Mirror Room

A key is left in my room, enclosed in a letter.

Dear Luna,

Enter the Gorgon’s Mirror Room after midnight to see how others often see you.

The Enchantress

To prepare myself I bathe with neroli and jasmine oils. The warming scents relax and open my minds eye.

At midnight, the corridor is quiet. I can hear water dripping and soft echoes of night creatures. My smoky blue cloak drags on the floor making a hissing sound as I move. I feel like I am being watched. I distrust the dark; you never know what is there. The Gorgon’s heavy key has a patina of rust, softly worn down but unmistakably shaped like the head of a snake.

The door looms massive and ancient; the lock makes a satisfying clunk as I turn the key. In the darkness, I grope forward hoping not to crash into anything or anyone. My hands reach out and touch a cold, flat surface. As my eyes adjust, I see a large standing mirror, looking through it the room is filled with candles. A hooded figure stands before me. I push back my hood to see myself as a much older person with long grey hair. My face is wide with good eating and wrinkled with worry and laugh lines.

The room behind me is filled with paintings. The light shifts and it looks like a gallery opening, I see myself chatting with very well dressed people. That’s a good sign. The mirror dims and all is dark.

Light comes from the corner of my left eye. Turning , A little girl screams at me in the mirror. I am not sure if it is me, but probably how most folks see me: a spoiled brat. The mirror goes dim like the other one.

Far away another light catches my eye, I slowly move toward the back of the enormous room. Now I notice the room is truly full of mirrors, but the lit one calls to me with its brilliance.

A standing mirror sits on a table. I sit in a hard chair and look straight into this old, rough mirror. The light fades and swirls of mist churning, I wait. After many minutes of silence, I whisper, am I suppose to ask a question? A little swirl creates letters that oddly form the word, yes.

I cannot imagine what to ask this mirror. So I sit and meditate. My brain wanders around my foot begins to itch and I get a flash of a house with a funny shaped roof. I open my eyes and this funny roof is in the mirror, a house appears with a garden.

A house, roses are in full bloom, it is a slice of heaven when I see it. I smile and the image fades. I sense that the room is all quiet and done with me. The room is pitch black. Light comes from under the door and I make my way back to the corridor.

Two towering mirrors face each other. I get a funny feeling this is not over. As I approach, two giant samurais in full warrior battle gear appear in the mirrors, one red the other steel grey. Yes, I see you great warriors. I have not forgotten you. They incline their heads towards me and whisper: Shinjo, be brave, do not fear darkness, and vanish. Ah yes, my intense ancestors reminding me of honor and what it means to live well and without regret, which is a challenge.

The door opens on its own, the Enchantress looks up and smiles. Well done. Your ancestors wanted me to give you this… So you don’t forget. She slips me a blood red pouch, inside is a garnet and gold bracelet. It is so beautiful; I will think of them often as I wear it. I put it on and smile to myself walking back to my room in the dark, thinking about honor.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Not Happy Jan

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I think I will make the Gorgon and her wretched mirror walk the plank. Is this some kind of joke? An aging, buxom Buccaneer with an eye patch and a bird of ill repute. I thought the mirror only spoke the truth! Really! Someone will pay for this!

If a Mirror 1

If a Mirror, One

If I but believed,
in Givens and Gifts,
and nurturing of Mother Earth –
instead of knowing,
as I do and am;

then I might seek out a quiet pool,
sheltered some by fern
and praying cedar boughs
to find a reflection or life’s passion
in birthing clouds or starry mirth;

but, instead I see the silent pebbles,
dropped like wishful coins,
and breathe a sigh of ripples
that distorts the calling – singing,
and I must now reflect
in the dew drops

Talking Mirrors - Images On Water

Black and White Mirror

Mirror of Clouds

Mirror of Emotions

There is a strange land near the House of Serpents,

that Belenus told me to visit. He said he would

watch from a distance, so as not to interfere with

my thoughts there. The land is one where the upside

the world is mirrored in the water, as if it were

mimicking what was real, but yet as I touched the

water in each case, the image wobbled and dispersed,

and then all I could see was my own true

reflection. Belenus said there was no point

worrying about the mirrors, because I was, but just

to see what I thought of them. He is a big

advocate of fact finding, possibly why he is

so well read. He thinks it is up to us to

figure out what is real, like Persephone, he

said, who sorted poppy seeds and dust. "After

all," he said to me, "How can you believe

something just because a person says it? Not

all things are true. Humans are very fond of

false labels and scapegoats." He smiled in a

strange, wise way, that made me feel stupid, so

I went on the mirror walk. Oddly these mirrors

spoke to me as I passed by them. The first one,

the black and white mirror, always said what I

didn't need to hear, which was always the

opposite. The second one, the mirror of clouds,

almost yelled at me repeatedly, "Don't Dream!". The

third one, the mirror of emotions, was populated

by a seagull, up to its knees in water. "You

are far too sensitive," it said. Irritated, I

sat down to think about these

things, that were all false, and of course the images

and the voices then disappeared, but I also felt

foolish. Belenus had made me realise something

I had been doing wrong. I had believed only in

bad publicity being good and true...

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Encounter at the Mirror

The Encounter at the Mirror

After my conversation with Sssylviaaa, I found the bath house and soaked for a good long while. Cleaned, but not feeling refreshed, I searched out the kitchen and begged a plate of mac 'n cheese from the cook. For some reason, I felt the need for comfort food.

I returned to my quarters in the back garden. Night had fallen and I settled in at my writing table under the warm glow of lantern light. I spread out a blank scroll and began writing, then scribbled, and then wadded up the paper and pitched it aside. I did this several times until I couldn't stand it anymore. I jumped up and shouted to no one:

"Who are you trying to fool?! What are you doing here? You'll never be a writer, you'll never be an artist, you're just wasting your time and everyone else you inflict your crap on. Why don't I just go back to the Real World.... doesn't matter where I'm at-- I'll amount to nothing in either place. "

I bolted out of the house and across the garden. I bounded up the stairs and into the House. I wasn't sure where I was going-- my vision was blurred from tears, but I could see the carvings of snakes in the woodwork painted wild colors. Finally, I had to stop because I could run no more. Panting heavily, I bent over to catch my breath. After a few minutes, I stood up straight and saw that I was in an immense hall and before me stood an enormous mirror.

The mirror was polished silver and the light from the chandeliers and wall sconces made it seem to glow from within its concave face. It must be The Gorgon's Mirror. I paused for a moment, not breathing. I needed to look; I wanted to look, but I was afraid of what I would see. A painter or a writer, lounging in my studio, flushed with success and wealth? Before I could talk myself out of it, I approached the mirror. Taking a deep breath, I stepped before its face. For a moment I couldn't believe what I saw. I blinked several times. Then I cried aloud:

"Nothing! I'm not there at all!" There was no reflection of myself in the mirror, only the furnishings of the Great Hall that were behind me.

I crumpled to the floor and began to sob. My worst fear had played out.
I was Nothing! The Gorgon's Mirror doesn't lie.

I heard faint laughter, growing louder with each peal. Slowly I looked up to see a pair of sharp-toed shoes in front of me. I felt my humiliation give way to fury:


Then I remember our last encounter. I had sent this personification of my inner critic flying off into the mountains. She must have landed near the House of the Serpents and wheedled her way in. Worse, she no doubt had been spreading lies. The Gorgon will no doubt believe her.

"Honey, seems like the proverbial cat is out of the bag. You know the Mirror doesn't lie and when everyone around here sees--oh, what am I saying---when everyone around here DOESN'T see your reflection, then they'll know---you hear me?--they'll ALL know what an imposter you are!"

I hung my head.

"Oh, no, no, no, none of that, sweetie..." Arvilla grabbed me by the arm. "Get up and take a good long look in the Gorgon's Mirror. See what we all see....." She dragged me forward and pushed my face towards the mirror.


Arvilla released my arm and I fell to the floor. I glanced up to see Arvilla backing away from something. Her eyes glowed a sickly yellow and her lips peeled back to reveal her fangs.

A long raspy hiss echoed through the Hall and one of the carvings near the ceiling started to move. A long sinewy form fell to the floor between me and Arvilla. It was Sssylviaaa.

"You have been warned onccccccee before are not allowed here."

"I have every right to be here. Without me, there would be no Art, no Literature. You ALL need me. "

"Get out. You know the Rule-- creativity must be fosssstered. You are no part of that!"

"I will not. She's MINE!" I saw Arvilla reach behind her back. Sssylviaaa coiled and raised her head.

Arvilla shreeked and lunged towards Sssylvia with a long, serrated knife.

"SYLVIA-- watch out!!" I cried.

In a moment too quick to be anything but magic, Sssylviaaa stretched out the skin on the side of her head and she transformed into a giant Hooded Cobra. The color on her hood luminesced and from her open mouth she spat a stream of quicksilver which hit Arvilla directly in the eyes.

Arvilla dropped the knife and clutching her eyes she fled towards the door.

The next few minutes were a blur of confused voices and people, other guests shaken from their sleep by the encounter. For a moment I thought I heard a horse bellowing in the distance and the sound of breaking wood.

Sssylvia slid next to me. Her hood was gone and her silver tongue flicked at me. "Sssylvia.... the Mirror doesn't lie." I said softly.

"No, it doesssssn't. But that was not the Gorgon's Mirror. "


Sssylvia turned her head facing away from me. Once more she flared her hood and on the back of it was a small mirror. "This is the Mirror of the Gorgon. Look."

I looked into the mirror on Sssylvia hood and saw only myself reflected there. It was the same image that I've seen everyday my entire life.

"You are very real, my dear, and very much a writer and artist."

This time I shed tears of joy.

Image and Text: Lori Gloyd (c) May 23, 2006 Image: Korean Friendship Bell Pavilion, San Pedro, California

The Law of Reflection

Light is true, Light is predictable,
The Angle of Incidence always equals the Angle of Reflection...
it is immutable.
Without light, there is absence of sight,
A blackened world withholds visibility, although the eye strains to decipher...
light's required.

My presence is known in reflection,
I'm illuminated as the moon, when reflecting your luminous presence...
generate for me.
I wing to creative expression,
While you hold me locked within your line of sight, countless rays of incidence converge...
mirror me true.

photocredit:Becky Henderson

Landing at the House of Serpents Cove

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le Enchanteur has been delayed as she plays at being a bold bucanneer but she is now preparing to land at the cove that is quite close to the House of the Serpents. She and her crew will be arriving at the house soon.


One must be concerned a bit
with how one is perceived by others,
if only to seek balance between
such perception and sense of being.

And you might look into the eyes of a friend,
or more truthful soul of an adversary,
or bounce ideas off a mentor’s wit,
or even toss some stones around –
all mirrors of a sort.

But why one reflected image
in a piece of silvered glass or idle pool
should be of grave concern is lost on me.
Not only is it corrupted by the source of light,
but is backwards from reality,
and often distorted by filth and grime.

In fact, the worth of the image
has been twice denied –
for the energy you absorb (especially love)
must be greater than what bounces off
to come back once more from a mirror
to fail again to touch your soul.

So what are you afraid of??

Stand proudly in from of that spiteful glass,
and just don’t turn on the light.


I look in the mirror.

Today has been an exceptionally hard day for me - and I feel I am somehow to blame, have somehow let someone I love down, although logic tells me that it is not so. My head and my heart don't always see the world in the same way.

I look at my reflection.

Every time I think I can fly, my wings are clipped.
Every time I want to sing, someone takes my voice away.
Every time I imagine I have found the personal space in which to write, my mind fills with external noise.

Looking in the mirror I see myself, screaming soundlessly.

When will I find the peace and space I crave so much?

Down to Business.....

Down to Business...

Ssslyviaaa stretched her head out and her piercing green eyes leveled with mine. "We do hope you feeeeeel at home here. "

"Yes, I do," I stammered. Ssslyviaaa's skin shimmered with with shades of blue, lavender, and scarlet, and her flickering tongue was like polished silver. I have never seen a snake quite like her before. Her voice was deep and soothing. I thought she sounded a bit like a young Lauren Becall.

"Good. SHE is pleased that you have unburdened yourself along the Road and no more is required at the moment."


"The Veiled One. You know her as the Gorgon. You will be required to entertain her in a few days."

"I will?" Oh, dear. I have heard of the fearsome Gorgon. I had hoped that I would escape her notice and be free to relax. I was tired of the seemingly endless self-examination. Sssylviaaa seemed to read my mind.

"To entertain her properly, you will need to dig deep within yourself to make a song, or a poem, or a painting that will please her. May I suggest you consult her Mirror. She is very generous and will allow you to peer into it."

"Um, thanks." I had heard about this mirror. It reveals the truth about the user.

"If there is nothing else, I will tend the other guestssssss." Sssilvia slid off the wooden beam and slithered across the floor towards the entrance. She turned and said: "The Mirror is in the Great Hall and is waiting for you." Then she was gone.

I pulled out my writing and drawing materials. I'd better get down to business.

Lori Gloyd (c) May 23, 2006

Leaving at the Door

What to toss? What to toss? So many things I could get rid of to make my load lighter, but I am so used to this weight now that it would be unnerving to shift it.

I will toss out my negativity. My pessimism. It has become a comfortable sweatshirt, but the sleeves are fraying and others are beginning to point out how unbecoming it is a garment.It is a dull color of grey, matching everything but enhancing nothing. Now, I don't generally dress based on other people's words, but I can see the snarking now when I do it. I can feel it, like pins and needles when your foot has been asleep.

So, the comfort of pessimism, of negativity, is tossed at the door, and I am down to my skivvies. What shall I put on now? Something shiny and bright? Something that tinkles when I walk, that shimmers in the light? Something more juicy than the grey sweatshirt, definitely.

Performance- Blueridgegirl

For my performance, I will sing a song Roselea and I listened to on the way down the Serpentine Road. (clearing throat)

Where in hell can you go
Far from the things that you know
Far from the sprawl of concrete
That keeps crawling its way
About 1,000 miles a day?
Take one last look behind
Commit this to memory and mind
Don't miss this wasteland, this terrible place
When you leave
Keep your heart off your sleeve
Motherland cradle me
Close my eyes
Lullaby me to sleep
Keep me safe
Lie with me
Stay beside me
Don't go, don't you go
O, my five & dime queen
Tell me what have you seen?
The lust and the avarice
The bottomless, the cavernous greed
Is that what you see?
Motherland cradle me
Close my eyes
Lullaby me to sleep
Keep me safe
Lie with me
Stay beside me
Don't go
It's your happiness I want most of al
lAnd for that I'd do anything at all, o mercy me!
If you want the best of it or the most of all
If there's anything I can do at all
Now come on shot gun bride
What makes me envy your life?
Faceless, nameless, innocent, blameless and free,
What's that like to be?
Motherland cradle me
Close my eyes
Lullaby me to sleep
Keep me safe
Lie with me
Stay beside me
Don't go, don't you go
(Natalie Merchant, "Motherland")

Burden At The Gate

This is hard for me, too. I know what I need to lay down but it has been a difficult journey getting to this point. I have battled myself. I have screamed, cried, and made myself sick. I think I'm ready. I lay down the burden of my anger and resentment towards my mother.

Dear Mom,

I forgive you. It has taken years for me to finally understand that you must have had your own hell. I don't know what it was since you kept me from you and a mother's love. It must have been awful. Because I love my own children the only thing I can believe is that you must have been tormented. For too long now I was left with the belief that I was to blame. I was somehow flawed and unlovable. I know now that I'm not unlovable though my human frailties indeed make me flawed. I love me! I LOVE ME!! I'm a great person. I'm smart. I'm fun to be around. I'm interesting. I love.

I forgive you. I will no longer carry this burden. I'm sorry you missed the chance to love me. My children's love has shown me what you missed. I no longer hate you...I pity you. You missed out on so much.

Reflecting on Mirrors

In preparation for this coming event,
I have reviewed some things written in the past,
that I might focus ...

perhasp they might help others as well.

“I am a mirror of passion
To reflect light in shadow's way,
If you boldly seek truth without,
Then 'tis evertime to look within.
For I am surely you
In humanity's hold.
What we share together
Even angels cannot share. “

“A friendship is a light that fills the heart,Painting with its gold each darkened hue,Providing warmth to each sequestered part.You are the mirror of my better self,Verifier of the best in me,A bridge across the unsuspected gulfLodged between what can and ought to be.”

”Life’s shuffling faces have often looked at me;
mostly with respect, some with fear,
confused messages, hope within despair.
Mirrors of the soul have wanted something
reflected in a glance or passionate stare
that asked for judgment and freedom.”

“As my gift covenant ties me to human form,
my mind's eyes are part masked in darkness.
I cannot gaze directly on the everlight,
and must reflect in another's mirror,
providing in kind a softer glow called love.”

“each man seeks to find his reflection in another.
what you must do is hold yourself steady
so that they find themselves in you.”

the scrolls of Eskiyalı

Settling In

"Good Grief! They've assigned me to the trophy room! This is no proper quarters...even for a shadow morph."
::taking a closer look around::
"Ohhhhh, amazing! How am I ever going to describe this...and do it justice?"

::if only I could draw ::

"I'm going to have to paint with words, and may be someone will translate the image....
Ok, here goes, as methodically as I can describe.":

The door, the walls are dark oak with a thick Persian rug that carpets the entire room. Stylized images of snakes intertwined with leafy vines, set on a deep maroon background.

This is all in after thought, what strikes you right between the eyes are the hundreds of stuffed snakes...those on the walls are mounted so as to protrude into the room. Each one different, each with a small brass plate engraved with species and date of capture. Enormous pedestals ring a central fountain, upon which giant species are mounted vertically, their heads almost touching the vaulted ceiling high above. The lighting is indirect with an eerie cast and the fountain's multiple sprays fan from the Gordian Knot of brass snakes cast in remarkable detail.

Each pedestal, as I came to discover opens by a hidden latch. Once triggered its contents are revealed. I have only partially completed this task, but the first opened to reveal a postered bed replete with satin coverlet and deep downy comforter. The second a pantry filled with delicacies from 'round the world and the third a sunken tub of the finest marble adorned with scented candles, surrounded by the sounds of the night. Forgive me for ending this narrative so abruptly. I am suddenly weary and and gently transformed....finger by finger, toe by toe...and must now slither on to bask in the delights before me.
Flash Bug

Last Night

We are spending a last night together –
I owe Cher-lynn that,
and more – both seen and hidden
by firelight,
and eyes glowing from the woods,
and the lantern of my soul.

We have walked the thousand steps,
guided by flower scent
and flutter-byes –
when we could have been transported
by her gifted shift of where;
but chose – and will again
to be transported
by the silence of another’s

What value a quickened journey
if you do not carry all within you,
but are burdened by a rucksack
of rocks and twigs
haplessly gathered?

She has mapped her heart,
for me alone and blessed –
and will proceed on to the Abbey,
in solitary contemplation –
no longer afraid –
stunted wings no longer
tethered by silken bonds,
but by will –
and peace.

I will amble to the Serpent House,
and face the Gorgon’s Mirror –
unafraid of what
I might see.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I found a mirror some weeks ago
It was thrown out in a dump-master
A house near where I live is being re-built-renovated
It is a lovely mirror, gold filligree, oval in shape, and very old
belonged to someone who lived in that house in the 30's
( Just a guess of mine)

It sits against a wall in my computer room
I read of what there is to see in looking at one's self
So I propped it up just now and looked
I don't like what I see
I see circles under my eyes
My face looks worn and not bright
I have been overdoing it of late

I knew this from my restless sleep patterns
My eratic food likes and dislikes
out of character for me
Needing some caring I figure
So who best to give it to me
Who else can nurture me as well as me
Who can call the tune when all is not well
Who can find the time to do this but me

My found mirror needs to be hung on the wall
Where I can look into it when I sit at my computer
It needs to remind me that each day I will look
better ,calmer, more rosy cheeked and without circles under my eyes
I just need to be reminded of this
Or perhaps given a good clip over the ears from time to time.
For this is my own fault no one elses
If I don't heed the face I see in the found mirror
A mirror that came along at the right time
Perhaps a Magic Mirror or a way of seeing magic happen in a found object....
Then I have no pity for myself ...I will call myself a fool.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 23.5.06

Gorgon's Mirror

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The legend of how the Greek hero Perseus defeated Medusa by using a mirror to reflect her image, thus casting herself into stone, is legendary. The story provides the possible figurative moral that the cure to vanity or power is to see ones own faults.

When you look within the Gorgon's Mirror you will see aspects of yourself that others are more aware of than you. These will not necessarily be faults and you will not be turned into stone. Quite the contrary. The insight will free you in some way for you are likely to glean an insight and see yourself in the not too distant future.

Reveal a little of what you see within the mirror when you go to the Gorgon's Boudoir.

Remember that the view you get will be of yourself as a creator, writer, artist. We are here to warm the stone artist.


This is Ssssssyllllviaaaaa........
L.Gloyd (c) May 22, 2006



This is my most beloved little Sox. Just to cheer you all up. Posted by Picasa

Can I be in two places at once

My alter ego travels oceans wide,
learns to listen,
prepares to understand silence.

I arrive at the House of Serpents,
Discover I have learnt some of my lessons.
I am fully awake now so,

Speak and I will hear you,
Smile and I will rejoice with you,
Cry and my tears will mingle with yours. Meanwhile,

The serpents in my mind writhe,
twist, turn, contort themselves,
Here they may find their mistress....

Enough of that!!!! Where's my beloved Patience and my little Sox??? Off with Albert...heh - that'll broaden their education some!

Settling In

Settling in at the House of the Serpent

I left Albert in the stables with Patience and Sox, his new donkey friends, whom I'm sure by now have been thoroughly dazzled by his horsely charm.

I was given directions to my guest cottage, and to my delight I discovered that I had been assigned to a small Japanese house near the back of a well-groomed garden. A bamboo grove separated the house from the rest of the grounds and I felt like I had the place to myself. This would be perfect space to review my cartographical notes and start writing and drawing some new material.

I stepped onto the wooden platform that served as a porch and slid open a paper door. The room was bare except of a simple calligraphy scroll hanging in an alcove alongside a striking flower arrangement of yellow and gold chrysthanthemums. Tatami mats covered the floor and the varnished wooden beams and framing of the house made the room seem warm and inviting.

In the center of the room was a low table surrounded by cushions made of red and blue silk. There was even a bolster to support my lower back-- they think of everything here. I set down my gear and started to unpack.

"Helllllllooooooo there, my deaaaarrrrrr......."

I turned around to see who had greeted me.

"My name is Sylllllllllviaaaaa and I'm here to assssssssissssst you......"

Hanging from one of the beams was the most brilliantly colored snake I've ever seen.

Lori Gloyd (c) May 22, 2006

A Gorgon Has Been Watching

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The Gorgon has been watching our progress with interest and knows our every move. Many eyes have been watching us as we make our way along the twisting Serpentine Road.
Leave a burden at the Gatehouse as you enter the House of the Serpents. Then leave the donkeys with the stable hands and find your room.

Serpents Everywhere - Great Place

This place is amazing. Everything in the room is styled on snakes,
serpents, of all kinds. I pull the doorhandle, and find it is a small
snake, made out of wrought iron. Grabbing it before I realised, I was
amazed to find it didn't reel back in fright as I would have done years
ago. Mention snakes and women go scattering, and fast. Part way this
is a safety mechanism, which is handy, and works when we need it. But
for now, there are no live snakes, and no danger because of the Protectress,
so I don't worry. The time in the walled garden had made me think a
little differently. Belenus had wasted no time in checking in to a place
that had a stack of clean, fragrant straw -- a small stable outside the
door. He said he had some reading to do, so I said fine, and later when
the darkness fell, I could see his little candle alight at his window.
As for me, I started counting the snakes around the room - serpent on
the carpet, snake on the lampshade, snake patterns on the tiles, even
a snake shaped toothbrush. The Rainbow Serpent Priestess sure does
good decor, and knows how to make folks feel at home. I lie back on
the bed, reading a biography of "Sting" I have just come across...
burning the midnight oil...
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Luna's arrival

The House of Serpents

The mahogany reception desk is as massive as I remember. The Griffin looks up elegantly without blinking and says, “Yes, The Shinjo. Your room is ready.”

I bow my head, “Thank you.”

She remembers me, the Griffin who asked me to prove who I am. Did I make an impression? Or does she just have a really good memory?

A young girl leads me down the hall. The wide corridors are open like the Greek style with a courtyard full of plants and fountains. Birds sing and flit around happily.

My room is really a suite with a balcony overlooking the wide world. A private suite is the ultimate luxury and I draw a bubble bath and light some candles.

Before going to bed I pull out some parchment to send a letter. Her ravens appear without even asking. They will find her.

Dear Lady Enchantress,

I have arrived safely at The House of Serpents. My room is lovely and the view of the sunset is inspiring. I hope all is well with you. I look forward to chatting with you at the banquet.

Your dear ravens showed up just as I pulled out the parchment. What magic they possess.


Protectress of the House of the Serpents

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The Rainbow Priestess is the protector of the House of the Serpents. She holds the key to the gates and will only provide entry to those who have mapped their heart and lightened their load at the Gatehouse. Some travellers have already passed by the Rainbow Priestess and are settling in to the House of Serpents. There will be a banquet to celebrate our arrival and travelling trevere will be asked to amuse the Gorgons with a light hearted, comic presentation.