zaterdag 30 juni 2012

Faerie Fashion Feature - Masked Mayhem

I've always loved the scenes in movies where the mysterious faerie creatures have a masked ball. Think Labyrinth where Sarah eats the peach and is whisked away to a huge ball masque where she dances with Jared, the Goblin king. I really love masks, also because they are so versatile. There are so many ways to make them and in so many styles fit for any faerie. With leaves for the nature faerie, bright red streaks painted on with face paint for the fire faerie, whimsical delicate silver swirls for the faerie Queen. So lets look at some of the most beautiful faerie masks.

Ladybug Mask by Ctunmasked on Deviantart
The mask and the ladybugs are leather, with fabric flowers.
Greenwoman Mask by CTunmasked on Deviantart
The mask and moon are leather, with added feathers.
Sea Fae - Leather Mask by Windfalcon on Deviantart
The mask is leather, with added fabrics and pearls.

Polymer clay:
Polymer Clay Mask - Fall by RavenMasquerade on Deviantart
Sturdy base covered with polymer clay leaves and added ribbons.
Black Eagle Mask by Red Robin Arts
Made solely from clay, with added gemstone.
Elements Mask by SneakyFetusProd on Deviantart
Made solely from clay, painted with acrylics.
Unique Sterling bridal mask by Elnara Niall on Deviantart
Made from sterling silver.
Wire Mask for Beltane Ball by Silver Cicada on Deviantart
Jewellery wire with amethyst coloured glass beads.
Vine Half Mask by GrinGrimaceandSqueek on Deviantart
Wire mask with seed beaded details.
Masquerade by Rain2Shine on Deviantart
Artistic wire and glass beads.
Peacock mask and tiara by GrinGrimaceandSqueek on Deviantart
Wire mask decorated with seed beads.
Cyber Gothic mask by GrinGrimaceandSqueek on Deviantart
Wire mask decorated with seed beads.
Victorian lacy mask by Asfina on Deviantart
Crocheted with tatted thread.
Lace Face by EyeFeather-Stock on Deviantart
Lace mask.
Purple Butterfly Mask by CostumeSalon on Deviantart
Heavy fabric mask with beaded edges.
Thunder by SweetGreyChaos on Deviantart
Venetian Masquerade by MarleauSarah on Deviantart
Rainbow Fish by Itashleys-makeup on Deviantart
So there you have it, a faerie feature on masks. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more beautiful masks out there in all these different materials and styles. So who knows, there might be a part two.....

Love and Leaves,
Marjolijn Ashara

donderdag 21 juni 2012

Midsummer mischief

Well, not really mischief actually, just the circle, a bottle of mead and a box of strawberries. We had a lot of fun last night, toasting for prosperity and good things that are to come. I toasted to my anscestors and to the Gods to give them my thanks on the longest day of the year.

Alignment by MsLionking

What I really want is to celebrate another feast with ritual again. It's been too long... The thing is, when you're in a tiny apartment with two cats, you really have no room to perform a ritual indoors. We're in the Netherlands, so weather is always a tricky thing here and you need to have a back up plan for when it's raining cats and dogs (like yesterday). And lastly the problem you always have when you want to work with others. Trying to find a moment in time where everybody is available both mentally and physically.

The next turn of the wheel brings us to Lughnasadh, which we will be celebrating on Castlefest like we do every year. Perhaps Mabon will be a chance to try to celebrate with a group again. We'll see!

I did finally charge, bless and annoint the magical candle I had made a while back, but was waiting for the right moon-phase and the right mindset. So on midsummer it was still new moon and midsummer is a festival that is all about power being at its height. Yesterday at noon (the height of the day) I set my candle aflame. Now, as to not to overwhelm, it will burn a little each day until it is all burned out. Can't wait to see what the magic will bring!

Candle ritual by Janna Prosvirina
With the candle yesterday, I tried something a bit different, and loved it! In our tradition we're taught to bless the candle with the four elements and then annoint it. Which elements you pick in which order is all up to you, but the blessings go like this; you sprinkle the candle with salt and say something like 'I bless this candle with the element earth' or, if you're a bit more theatrical like me; 'I bless this candle with the element of earth to give it a solid base on which the magic can grow.' Then you pass the candle through the smoke of the incense and say; 'I bless this candle with the element of air so that it may carry my wishes to the heavens', next you turn the candle through a flame, swiftly and carefully, leaving thick black marks of soot on it. You say; 'I bless this candle with the element of fire so that it may burn bright and steady'.  You then sprinkle some water on the candle and say; 'I bless this candle with the element of water, may the magic flow smoothly, like a river, towards me'.

Now you have a candle that is wet, black with soot and sprinkled with salt. It's time to get out the oil. Putting a few drops of oil in the palm of your hand you start annointing your candle. Start in the middle and stroke upwards, grip the candle back in the middle again and stroke downwards. Do this is a multitude of threes (magical number). While annointing the candle. you also stroke the soot into the carved symbols, making them stand out more. It's a real messy and complicated way to annoint your candles, although it is quite beautiful.

For the candle I made yesterday, I did something a bit different. I got out my herbs, spices, flowers and oils. From them I selected a few that would compliment my goal and put them in the palm of my hand. By chance, or not of course ;), I had three herbs, three oils and one gum. This is what I used to annoint my candle. A lot less messy and it felt a lot more natural. I suppose I've found a way which works better for me. I then placed the candle on top of a small shelf I usually use as an improvised altar and surrounded it by the elements. That way I had a mini altar and a place where the candle was blessed by the elements without actively having to do so.

Litha by Supersyndrome
So there you have it, a small peak into a practice I use, hope you liked it and I hope that you have all had a wonderful Midsummer!

Love and Leaves,
Marjolijn Ashara

woensdag 13 juni 2012

Music of the Horned One...

Cernunnos by Jane Starr Weils
...or, how can I introduce three of my favourite pagan music artists? :D By sharing a few of my favourite songs, which incidentally are all about the Horned God! As a priestess to the Horned God, I love songs that tell of his worship. Cernunnos, Pan, Herne, the Horned One, the Hunter. It doesn't matter what name you use, he is the God of the hunt, of passionfilled nights and mischief. The God of the Forest and the Wild, who runs with the wolf and the stag.

My favourite part about the three following songs is that they all have an easy and catchy chorus which could easily be used as a chant. So get up out of your chair and dance to the rhythms of the Horned One!

Hymn to Herne by S.J. Tucker. What I love about this one is the sensual beat and the low and sultry voice. Can't you just imagine dancing 'round the Beltaine fire with this song? It's also a bit cheeky and a lot fun, like the rest of Tucker's music.

He will call you out
Make you sweat
Give you a blessing
That you'll never forget

So revel in the chase
And let your heartbeat run
Blessed are the children
Of the Horned One


Noon of the Solstice by Damh the Bard. It's pronounced 'Dave' not 'Damn', although I must admit, we do call him 'Damn the Bard' in our house, just because it sounds funnier :). What I love about Noon of the Solstice is that it tells a story. Throughout the song Damh takes us on a journey through the year of the wheel and the tale of the Oak- and Holly King. Which is an important tale in the coming Summer Solstice! His music is simple and upbeat and he has a wonderful storytelling voice.

I'm the Horned God
I'm the face in the trees

I'm the breath of the wind
That rustles the leaves

I'm the Green Man
In the wildwood I roam

I'm Pan and I'm Herne

Hymn to Pan by Faun. It is rare for this German band to make songs in English, but Hymn to Pan is one of the few English songs they have in their reportoire. I first heard this song on Castlefest last year and it immediately became our 'theme song' for the rest of the festival. What I love about Hymn to Pan is the slow beat that draws you in. They tell the story of Pan and the Faun in hushed voices that makes you lean in to hear the rest of the tale. The music is beautiful and a bit less 'simple' than the other songs, who use only two or three instruments. This song can really put you into a trance, like I experienced on Castlefest. Suddenly I was standing in a green wooded glen with Pan walking towards me. Fond memories and one of the reasons I never grow tired of this beautiful Hymn.

Listen now and I shall follow
Listen now and I may follow

Listen now and I may follow

So there you have it, a few of my favourite pagan artists with a few of my favourite songs! May the Horned One inspire and bless you all!

Love and Leaves,
Marjolijn Ashara

zaterdag 9 juni 2012

Faerie Fashion Feature - Mirror jewellery

Mirror, mirror on the wall.....

Selina Fenech - Looking for Fairies
Of course we all know that one, and what follows next. Mirrors are often found in fairytales and other fantasy stories. Just think about Snow White and the Queen's magic mirror. Beauty and the Beast and the mirror that could show you anything you wanted to see. Alice and the Looking Glass which is a portal to a different realm.

Mirrors are often found in Faerie Folklore as well. Kenny Klein speaks in his book Through the Faerie Glass, which is a must read by the way, about mirrors being a portal to the Otherworld. Many stories involve either stepping through a mirroring surface or crossing over a mirroring surface. This is not always a glass or silver mirror, this can also be a lake or even an ocean. It is also said that when you look into a mirror to what's behind you, you can see the true shape of a faerie or witch. It makes you see things like they really are.

In witchcraft mirrors are also powerful tools. They can be used for protection, to send harmful magic back to its sender. They can be used for binding, for telling the future, for evocation and for channeling energies. Scrying, which is a way of fortune telling, is often done with a black mirror, but can also be done with a normal mirror. By staring into the mirror (or a bowl of mirroring water!) you can see visions of the future, the answer to your problems or maybe even see a loved one who is far away.

So I thought it fitting to do a small jewellery feature of this very magical tool. Mirror jewellery is especially handy because not only do mirrors look beautiful, they are also a practical size to have your magic mirror with you at all times!

Rose Mirror Keychain by Night's Eyes

The Mirror by Elvarinya

Mirror Mirror by Meeshah
Techno Logy Mirror Necklace by VampirePumpkin

A Mirror by Aknesaknes
Mirror, mirror on the wall... by Mornie-Alfinus

Night Mirror by Jagienkaa

Maybe we'll dive into the magic mirror more in a next entry... There is still so much to tell...

Love and Leaves,
Marjolijn Ashara

zondag 3 juni 2012

5 questions for: Janna Prosvirina!

This week it's time for our first '5 questions for....' in a long time! The wonderful Janna Prosvirina, whom many of you might know as Kuoma, has excitingly answered all the questions we had for her. Thanks Janna!

Janna is an amazing faerie artist who makes whimsical painting of, mostly, flower faeries. There are however also some mermaids and witches hidden within her gallery. Her use of colours and the softness of what she paints is what first drew me to her paintings. The clothing of her faeries is different every time and always attuned with the setting in which they sit, stand of fly. Her poses are very original and usually taken from her own stock-account where she shares her wonderful stock photo's with the world. She's also posted several very helpful tutorials for those artists who want to learn more about working with watercolours. Her new projects include acrylic paintings on small pieces of wood and these are just as whimsical as her watercolours.

Al right, after this brief introduction, I give you all, the interview!

the Key
1. When did you start making you beautiful paintings?
It depends on what we both call beautiful ;) I started painting fairies in the end of 2006. I wanted to progress and so I posted some of my creations online, hoping that creative people would help me to improve. I think I have acheived a level which I am happy with at the end of 2011, till that time I did not take my hobby seriously and did not call anything I created 'beautiful'.

2. What materials do you love to work with most?
I use traditional media, mostly watercolor but also colored pencils and white gouache for certain effects. I did a few acrylic paintings but it is not what I really enjoy doing all the time.

3. What scenes/creatures/etc. do you enjoy to draw or paint most?
Fairies are my favourite creatures but I enjoy painting scenery too, flowers and woodlands are my latest passion.

4. Who do you admire/is your biggest influence?
J.W Waterhouse, J. E Millais and other Pre-Raphaeliten moved me to take a brush and try to paint. Also modern painters like Brian Froud, Jessica Galbreth, Nene Thomas and of course Amy Brown I think they inspired the whole young generation of fairy artists.

5. Last but not least; do you believe in faeries?
I wish I could say "I do, I do!" like in Peter Pan movie but unfortunately I don't; at least I don't believe they are those lovely tiny creatures from children fairy-tale books we all know. Still enjoy painting them ;)
Fairy Dust

Find Janna on Deviantart or buy her wonderful prints, originals or even mugs with her paintings on her Etsy or Zazzle account!

Love and Leaves,
Marjolijn Ashara.

vrijdag 1 juni 2012

Faerie Fashion Feature - Steampunk!

Let's combine two of my favourite clothing styles; faerie and steampunk fashion! I love the colours and the creativity that goes into steampunk, the tinkering and thinking up new devices to make with old recycled parts. But how do you incorporate all of this awesomeness into your daily wardrobe or amazing costume? We'll find out today as we explore different elements of the costume. Let's begin shall we?

So how would a steampunk faerie dress? Steampunk colours are browns, brasses and golds which are sometimes combined with a turquoise or bright green to add a bit of colour. For a steampunk faerie you could add even more colours and match that to the type of faerie you're trying to portay (or the type of faerie that you secretly are inside ;)) Pinks and purples for flowerfaeries, blues and greens for oceanfaeries, reds and oranges for firefaeries etc.etc.
Steampunk wear is usually inspired by the victorian dresses, by making them shorter, you already make them more faerie. Make them a bit ragged for a wilder faerie and use lots of layers! Soft and delicate fabrics like sheer organza and lace are great for the steampunk fae. Use them together with rugged leathers and heavy linen for the ultimate steamfaerie look.
Something very faerie and steampunk is of course the corset.  A beautiful corset adds glamour and mystery to any outfit, be it in your daily wear or for your over the top costume.

Sortasteam by Wearydrearies

Steampunk Waist Cincher by Foddler of Dooney

Short Bustle Style Skirt by Leapyearbaby

Something that always screams steampunk faerie to me are the tiny gears that you find inside watches. And of course we already talked about winged jewellery in one of our previous Faerie Fashion Feature. Something dainty and delicate, but still with steampunk charm. Luckily for us, nowadays it's not that difficult to get our hands on tiny vials and bottles, which we can fill with our tiny clockwork pieces. But there's more; leather chokers in bright colours, delicate metal vine necklaces with cogs and gears, lots and lots of feathers combined with skulls, leather stamped with delicate symbols, led-lights, moving parts, anything your imagination can conjure up.

Steampunk Fairy Earrings by Hiddendemon666
Sprightly Sprockets Felt Choker by Antickquities

Flashlight Cuff by Danaan DeWyk

There are two things we see most in steampunk headgear; tophats and goggles. So how to faerie-fy those? Well, tiny tophats are very much faeriewear and look totally adorable! You even have tiny tophats in the shape of cups and saucers which just adds to the cuteness and gives it an Alice in Wonderland flair.
The goggles will look much more faerie if you add tinted glasses, perhaps in a purple or pink. Use coloured leathers to make the sides and add brass charms and findings and basically add anything that sparkles!
Of course we also have the fascinators that are both faerie and steampunk. Beautiful feathers and flowers combined with cogs and gears. Perhaps a tiny birdcage veil for your sophisticated steamfaerie? The possibilities are endless!

Fairy Steampunk Goggles by T-Bore

Peacock Glitter Hair Comb by Steam Society
Ivory Cogs Gears Mini Tophat by SteamSociety

There are some other fun faeriethings that you can add to your steamfaerie wardrobe. How about a hairwreath with cogs, gears, feathers and flowers? Or how about some wire elf ears? Search the web for more steampunk ideas and add your own flavour to them. You'd be amazed how many creative and wonderful people are out there making the most amazing steampunk accessories and clothing. Let them inspire you, or, buy their stuff off the interwebs.

Peaseblossom Wings Hair Pick Set by Antickquities
Brass Steam Fae Clockwork Wings by Antickquities

Elf Ear-Wrap pair by Pikabee

Of course we couldn't have a steampunk faerie feature without featuring some awesome wings! There are so many to choose from. Wooden wings with cogs and gears, the classical wire framed wings, felt, foam rubber, metal and everything mixed together.
In choosing your wings there are some things to concider. Does your steamfaerie have wings of her own or do they work mechanically? What type of faerie do you want to show the world? A steam-flowerfaerie will perhaps have more delicate wings like the wirewings, while a faerie from the dark forest might have wings of wood and feathers. Picture a royal faerie with wings of shining brass adorned with jewels and shiny things.
Also think about the size of your wings. Small wings are cuter while larger wings look more regal. Remember, anything you can think up, you can create!

the Clockwork Wings by the Dreaded Dolly
Gigi Golden Pheasant Wings-Fnt by eProductSales
Mesh and Coil Steampunk Wings by Mel Smith
Steampunk Fairy Wings by Drifting Out To Sea

Some final words of advise; if you're trying to portay a smaller faerie, (pixie size like Tinker Bell) try to avoid objects that are small to us humans. Pocketwatches are very steampunk, but for a pixie-sized faerie, it would be huge! Think about the size of your accessories as you make/search for them.
Think outside the box. Steampunkers are inventors, don't be afraid to go over the top with some sort of weird device your faerie persona has invented. Add flashing lights and sparkles to make it even more faerie!
Don't be afraid to ask for advise. You want to make something but you don't know how? Ask! Ask your nephew who knows how to solder stuff, ask the (wo)man who made those amazing faerie wings what type of materials s/he used.
Don't blatently copy stuff you see. There is a line between getting inspired and using someone else's design for yourself. Please don't rightout copy something you see online. People spend a lot of time and effort on thinking up and making these things. If you want something that is the same, ask them to make it for you or simply buy it from their stores.

Happy crafting and join us next time for a short 5 question interview with Faerie Artist Janna Prosvirina!

Love and Leaves,
Marjolijn Ashara

maandag 28 mei 2012

The ancestors on my altar

In my last blogpost I told you guys and gals about the pretty celtic skull I had bought for the ancestral altar I want to make when we actually have room for it XD. So for now, the ancestors have to settle for a permanent spot on my normal altar. I don't think they mind :) I redo my altar almost every sabbath, more if I feel like it. I really view my altar as a representation of not just nature and the seasons, but also me and what I am working with/on at the moment. So I thought it fitting to give my ancestors a small spot for themselves. So here is a picture of my altar as it is;

The petals are for the upcoming Litha feast. Litha, to me, is a festival of love and happiness. And also the festival where me and my fiancé got handfasted six years ago! The altar setup like this doesn't really change much, the elements have their own corners filled with gemstones and other things that fit with their element. Feathers for Air, shells for Water, a candle for Fire and a couldron filled with ivy and a giant pinecone for Earth. The two faeries on the altar are also always there and represent the light and the darkness, of myself and of the path. On the pentacle rests a golden sun, symbol of summer, with an apofylite on top, a strong energy channeler.
The purple wand resting against the mirror is the wand I work with most. I made it myself out of a butterfly bish and then painted with several shades of purple. It also has swirls and leaves on it :) The oracle cards are the Wild Wisdom of the Faerie Oracle by Selina Fenech. The cards speak of connections to other species and races, letting go (of fear), opening new doorways and of the ancestors and the others who have come before me. I thought them very fitting.

A closeup of my small ancestral corner. The skull is resting on top of the white rose petals. White (glass) runes surround it. Wunjo for happiness, Othala for birthright and home, Gebo for gifts of the Gods, Thorn for protection, Ansuz for communication between realms and Mannaz for me and 'the people'. I didn't know what else to do when I had this laid out, but I new I needed something. I started searching in my books what kind of herbs I could offer to my ancestors. Many sources talk about 'feeding' your ancestors by offering them herbs and incense.
In my books I couldn't find anything, so I went with instinct. Chamomile for the connection to 'the beloved dead' as they are called. Marjoram for me and my bloodline. My name is Marjolijn, which is the Dutch name for the herb Marjoram, be it spelled a bit differently. Normally it's spelled Marjolein. I thought it very fitting to represent me and my family. The last are Juniperberries for protection and connection to the divine. Next to the skull and the herbs sit a small candle inside an offering dish. So there you have it! Ancestral altar, part one!

There will be more on my ancestors as I search for them, which is not an easy task. However, I promise next blogpost will be another Faerie Fashion Feature! ;)

Love and Leaves,
Marjolijn Ashara