I’ve recently returned from the magical city of New Orleans. From Roman Catholicism to Haitian Voodoo to haunted condos the place is lousy with spirits. Not to mention the booze variety.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting a surprising (to me, at least) NYC historic treasure, Poe Cottage in the Bronx, Edgar Allan Poe’s last residence. While I had known that Poe had perished in Baltimore, I was unaware that he called the Bronx home for the last three years of his life. He wrote several of his well-known works here including “Annabel Lee”, “The Bells” and “The Cask of Amontillado”.
I’ve just returned from a trip to Los Angeles, land of relentless sunshine.
In the past, I’ve found the aggressive solar aspects of LA to be oppressive and uncomfortable, but I had a much different experience this time. I was ready to open up to the sun as a symbol of optimism, vitality and enlightenment.
It’s summertime in New York City and I’ve been bee-witched. In the park there are bushes alive with busy bumblebees every morning. I’ve fallen under the spell of their nectar-intoxicated dance; their ingredient-gathering ritual that results in the magical miracle of honey.
The mysterious moon pays us a visit each and every night; even on nights when we can’t see her, she is merely hiding, playing her month-long game of peek-a-boo. She is the consummate coquette, the cool and shimmering goddess, so full of secrets, but she will share them with those who will open their hearts to listen.
The fragrant tonka bean is a native of South America, a product of the cumaru tree (dipteryx odorata). They have a lovely vanilla-almond-slightly fruity aroma, and in hoodoo traditions these sweet-smelling beans are used for love and money magic. It’s said that you should work with them in only in odd numbers. They can be whispered wishes and put under your pillow for dreaming and then thrown into running water for the wishes to manifest. It is also advisable to put one in your wallet to snuggle up to your bills and encourage them to multiply as well as smell nice.
Beltane is one of the best festivals of the year in my opinion – a celebration of fire, flowers and creativity! It’s also the backdrop for the 1973 Christopher Lee gem The Wicker Man, the film about a hapless policeman investigating a missing child on the mysterious Scottish island of Summerisle. If you’ve never seen it, I urge you to do so, but avoid the Nicolas Cage remake from 2006. Just look at Christopher Lee in his snazzy saffron turtleneck and crazy windswept hair: