the queen of moths…


“A moth may be a poor cousin to a butterfly, but it is still beautiful none the less.” 
― Anthony T. Hincks

It was safe to say that she feared moths – she understood that they would not harm her, but there was something about the speed at which their wings beat, their constant battering against the lights, and their tendency to favour her over anyone else. For as long as she could remember, she ran when a moth was present. She couldn’t stand how they got caught in her hair or behind her glasses or in her clothing.

It wasn’t until the night she met the Queen of the Moths that she learned why they had flocked to her all of those years. She appeared in a flurry of dusty wings, materialising out of the bodies of hundreds, if not thousands, of multicoloured moths.

They had been her calling card. She had been patiently waiting for her to answer and had a laugh each time she would scream and run. The Queen of the Moths rarely had the tolerance she exhibited with the young woman, but she had seen something in her all those years ago that had yet to disappear. The Queen had watched as the young woman sought after others that she had assumed were the ones calling her, and though it frustrated the Queen, she understood the nature of the process and chose not to back down.

Their exchange was silent, less a conversation and more an instant connection – the young woman understood, finally, and it had only taken nearly her entire life to find her way home.

The Queen of the Moths enfolded the young woman in her arms, covered her in the darkness that cloaked her, and warmed her at the fires of her heart. The young woman accepted her calling, accepted her place within the arms of the Queen.


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wild enchantment…


“In the fields, she stopped and took a deep breath of the flower scented air. It was dearer to her than her kin, better than a lover, wiser than a book. And for a moment she rediscovered the purpose of her life. She was here on earth to absorb its wild enchantment.”

— Boris Pasternak

She drew in a deep breath, savouring the freshness around her. The familiar sting of salt air was not present in the fields and hills, and it was more than exciting to see the expanse of grass that spread out before her. There was no one, not a single soul, roaming the area within her vision – she was alone, and for the first time in quite a while, she felt at ease with the solitude.

She set out the thin blanket she had packed, along with her paints and canvases. There were four of them, their white surfaces begging for colour to be splashed over them. She had never feared the stark whiteness of a blank canvas – to be honest, Cora felt that it was more inspiring to imagine what could be, rather than what should be.

She went about squeezing a small amount of paint from each of her green tubes, then from her browns, and finally from the blues and her white. She had packed two small jars of clean water, which were now sitting in front of her, nestled in the damp dirt and beside them sat her paintbrushes, neatly assorted by size.

She had traded one sea for another, and as she painted, Cora imagined there were beings similar to Kallan that swam through the tall grasses and lurked just beneath the green surface of the fields. She could almost feel them, could almost see them through the haze of the inland afternoon. There, off at the other end of the field, she could just imagine being watched with curiosity by moss green eyes – or there, in that copse of trees to her left, down the hill, there could be a watchful stare boring into her, wondering what her purpose was for being in the secluded vale.

What was her purpose? Why did she feel the clawing need in the pit of her stomach to be far from the sea? She knew that her mother had noticed the small jumps and shrieks at the sounds of crashing waves, how Cora had shied away from the daily pilgrimages to their sacred beach, and how she had been less than welcoming of the salt air that permeated the house.

She couldn’t hide her aversion to the sea, not from Wilfred, not from Vivian, and definitely not from her mother. But, for all that she knew her mother could see, Nerissa hadn’t pried, which Cora was thankful for. She would come around, she knew that about herself – she never could stay far from the sea for long. But for now, she needed the quietness of the hills, the soft, tickling breezes that bent the grasses and rustled the leaves, and the sweet scent of wild-flowers that seemed to come from every direction.


chapter 11 // aequoris


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unravelling and rewilding…

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Every morning, upon awakening, she made herself a cup of tea – with a healthy splash of creamer – and sat out on the porch to listen to the birds. As they sang, she unravelled the ball of yarn she carried within her soul. She pulled the dark and tangled thread, easing out the kinks and untying the little knots that would make creating with it rather difficult. Most days, she wasn’t able to unravel the yarn completely before being pulled away from the birds and their songs for other duties – more often than not, she would hastily wind her work up and stuff it down inside of her, causing more knots and more tangles to form.

Once the children were awake, she had little silence to sit and do her work which often meant that those kinks in her ball of yarn would have to wait for the next moment when there was enough silence to hear the crickets and the birdsong.

She had learned, long ago, that those around her preferred a tame and well-mannered and respectful young woman – there was no place for unravelling, for the wild soul that lived within her. She was taught to be silent unless spoken to, to lock all of the feelings within her spirit in a box and hide them away from the world.

No one wanted to experience the crashing waves of her daily grief, no one wanted to feel the raging flames of wild-fire that burned under her skin. She held a gale of pain and thoughts in her mind, and the earthquakes that trembled within her bones longed to topple mountains – but she hid them, and she hid them well until it all burned through her mask and buried those around her, drowned them and stole the very breath from their lungs.

They would never understand, those people that sought to tame her and to silence her – they would never understand the tremendous amount of effort it took for her to breathe deeply and move on through the battering elements that raged in her spirit as if they did not exist. They would never understand the grief and the guilt and the pain she felt after letting loose, after erupting in the face of their hurtful words and actions. They could never understand the work she did, daily, to keep herself from lashing out, from calling forth all of the power of her rage to inflict on them what they had done to her for so many years. They felt attacked, they felt belittled, they felt like victims under her screams of pain and fear – yet, what they did to her was perfectly within their rights as elders, as authorities, as people who demanded respect, but did nothing to earn it aside from age.

She longed for the trails of the wildwood, for the uninhabited forests where she could unravel all of the dark yarn within, and dance with the moon and in the rain and beneath the stars. She longed for the freedom to express herself, whether through screams or through song. She longed for the peace of the meadows and the hills and the rushing river waters where she could be as wild as her soul compelled her to be, unashamed and unfearing of the society that had chained her.

Moreover, she longed for the gentleness that hid, deep within her. The gentleness that, should she finally be able to unravel completely, she knew would finally drift to the surface. She missed it, the gentleness that whispered to her from within that tangled ball of yarn, hidden behind all of the things she pushed deep down into the pits of her soul.

She knew that one day, the time would come when she could finally finish the work she had set out to do. However, she also knew that that particular day was not for some time, and so she would continue to unravel what she could before being called away to some other place, for some other reason. She would continue to push it all down, to apologise to those around her when she could no longer hold them tightly away from the surface.

The wildness called to her, just as much as the gentleness did, but she hushed their pleas as she finished her tea and left her work to another day.


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the wise woman


Speak softly. Tread lightly. Be understanding and kind and forgiving. Most of all, be gentle.

She whispers to me from somewhere deep within. She touches my hand, guides it with care to the petals of the roses in her garden. She speaks in hushed tones over steaming cups of tea.

She sees my pain, my fear, my stubbornness and she is saddened.

How has the world been so dark for you for so long?

She doesn’t need an answer, for she already knows it all. She has witnessed everything within and without, and she knows that this is the only way that it could have gone. She knows that, regardless of whether I was allowed to choose again, I would find myself in the same sea-side garden, sitting beside her and her roses, feeling the same feelings that I am now.

Be gentle, my child – this world is so harsh, so sharp, that there is a need for long, drawn-out curves and gently winding roads. There is a void where softness should be. Be the softness that this world, your world, needs. 

She leaves me for the comfort of her flowers to contemplate her words. She is grace and wisdom and foresight as she walks down the slightly uneven path to the back garden, all the while reaching her hands out to feel the leaves and flowers and yes, even the thorns.

There is a place for those sharp points in life. They protect us, they teach us, but most of all they lead us to the beauty of the rose at the top of the stem.


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the awen alone // review


It has been a long while since last I devoured a book in less than a single day – however, The Awen Alone by Joanna van der Hoeven, seems to have been the best book to light a flame within my soul at this point in my life. As you all know, most likely well at this point, I struggle with spirituality – there is a logic within me that denies the existence of the things that I have experienced. I feel at war with myself on a daily basis because I know what I feel, in my heart and in my body, yet my mind tries so hard to negate it.

Joanna weaves information with personal experience in such a way that makes the path real – not just words on the page or lofty ideals. She lays out, with honesty, the amount of commitment that this path requires of someone – and she does this in such a way that the academic side, the learning aspects, are as undaunting as it could be.


Daily practice has been a formidable foe for many months now – I have been unsure of how to handle the concept, and how to incorporate it into my day to day. Joanna, in service to the path of Druidry and to the Pagan community at large, helps to establish an understandable and accessible guideline for ways to integrate daily prayer, meditation, and pathworking (both inner and outer) into the quiet moments of our days.

Though the topics explored within its pages were simple and the barest minimum to get one started down the path of Druidry – ranging from the Who, to the What, with a bit of How dashed here and there – Joanna shared her knowledge for the Seekers of the world to absorb with truth, honesty, and service.

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the awen alone by joanna van der hoeven