Thursday, June 30, 2011

Books, Flying in From Everywhere! Voice of the Trees Update

 Ooooh, look what I have sitting on my old wooden art table today!  I'm jumping up and down like an idiot, and that's how you know it's not just my cats butt planted on my artwork as per usual.
The Voice of the Trees Handbook, my very first book that I wrote right is right in my hot little hands!  Woo-hoo!  This book won't be sold separately, it's the book that will accompany the card deck in the kit, but my lovely editor Becky Zins sent me a few copies hot off the presses so I could see it before the kit is complete.

A FedEx envelope arrived with four books, my print outs of all the cards and illustrations from my original submission and a nice letter from Becky

This book took tons of research, after all, I didn't just make all of this stuff up, I had to use existing historical references for the foundation and then build upon that with my own inspiration.  It was really a joyful task and I loved every minute of it!  In this book you'll learn some of the history behind the Ogham,  notes on the concept behind the deck and the art,  ways in which you can use the oracle cards, tree devotionals and meditation, instructions for making your own crane bag to store the cards in, and a section on Ogham tree magic too.  Of course there is also a section with the divinatory meanings of each card and more information on each tree, card layouts and how to use it as a divination system as well.   I also did the interior illustrations which I really had fun with, and it was so artfully put together by Becky and the Llewellyn team, I'm just floored as I flip through it!

So it's real my friends, very, very real.  Becky tells me to watch for my author copies of the deck coming soon, hopefully by the end of next month, and they'll be available for purchase in stores everywhere September first!  Of course as soon as the store copies arrive I'll post pics so you can see what the finished product will look like.   I'll have them for sale on my website, and I'll be happy to sign your copy if you purchase them from me at no extra change, of course.

My photo on the back by Brittany Sherman
It's been a giddy, silly, happy week for me, lots of fun things on the horizon, seeds that have been planted so long ago growing strong and coming to fruition, and even the opportunity to plant some new seeds that will bring more good things in the future, Gods willing!

To pre-order Voice of the Trees Oracle Click Here!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The New Phone Book is Here! Well, Actually the New Almanac!

Whenever I get my contributer copies of the Llewellyn periodicals that I write and illustrate for, I know just how Steve Martin felt in "The Jerk" as he got all excited and exclaimed, "The new phone book is here, the new phone book is here!" And leafed through the pages to find his name. "Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R!"   I just got my advance copies of the 2012 Llewellyn Magical Almanac and The Witches Companion, I also wrote for the Spell-A Day Almanac, but those copies aren't here yet.

Yeah, I can't help it.  I always leaf through and see the article I wrote and the illustrations too, it's actually pretty fun.   Of course, these are done way in advance, so often I haven't seen the work that's in there for awhile and I do get pretty excited.  I'll probalby never get tired of seeing my stuff in print.

I have two articles in the upcoming Llewellyn Magical Almanac 2012, "The Green Man: Spirit of Abundance" and "Dreamwork, Your Secret Magical World."  I also have an article in The Witches Companion, "But You Don't Look Like a Witch"  an article about our self image and how others percieve us as witches.  I was also delighted to illustrate both of my Almanac articles along with articles by some of my fellow authors Blake Octavian Blair and Raven Digitalis.
Blake Ocatvian Blairs article Academic Patrons for College Students
Both of these guys are very talented writers and I enjoyed doing the illustrations for their articles.  The Witches Companion article is illustrated by Tim Foley and I must say, I think he really did a great job and totally kept in the spirit of the article with his work, I love his portrayal of the Corperate Witch!  There are many really great artists that contribute their work to the Llewellyn periodicals every year and I'm quite honored to be counted among them.
Raven Digitalis' article about magical art
Here are a few shots of the original illustrations paired with the actual books, these both come out this fall, so keep an eye out for them, they're both chock full of great articles by many of Llewellyns talented visionary writers and illustrators.
The Green Man: Spirit of Abundance

On a side note, I noticed that in my bios in these books it lists me as a co-HPS of a coven that I'm no longer affiliated with, and that I understand has changed it's name anyway.  These articles and bios are sent in far in advance, and that bio was up to date at the time that I sent it.  While I did recently change my bio for The Voice of the Trees Companion book coming in September when I did my edits, as writers for the periodicals we don't really have the opportunity to edit things like that, although I should have sent in the updated bio after the fact, but frankly I didn't think of it at the time, my bad.  Anyway, I wanted to state that publically so as not to give the wrong impression.

Best Wishes!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fairy Friday: Crimson Wings Sketch, Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks!

Fairy Friday, shall I manage to post a new fairy sketch, art, story or other fairy related fun every Friday?  We shall see...

I do have one today.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?  Sitting at the office today and nothing was going on.  I've been wanting to do a new piece, a fairy dude.  And I also wanted to contribute a new piece to The Enchanted Visions Project, so I decided to do a fairy fellow titled "Crimson Wings."

My dad got me a drawing pad and pen for my Mac, and I've played around with it a bit, but haven't really used it much.  So I plugged that bad boy in and decided to give it a shot.  Getting used to it is kind of like using an Etch-A-Sketch with your left hand, but hey, it's really good to challenge yourself sometimes, and when you do, sometimes great things happen. 

Here is my first sketch done in Photoshop using a drawing pad.  I'm not finishing it in Photoshop, He'll be brought to life using my usual method of herb infused watercolor and colored pencil.  He's a bad-ass fairy, and when he's done, I shall dub him "Crimson Wings."  I'm out of illustration board, but I'm picking some up tonight.  I hope you like him.

Aren't fairies sweet?  Not always!

Wayback Machine: Last Stop, Shakespeare and Cahokia Mounds!

In an effort to catch up on past events here on my blog, I've borrowed the Wayback Machine to visit a few past events to share with you.  Last stop for now:  Our trip to Cahokia Mounds last weekend!

Last weekend was really fun, after getting back to normal-ish after the ups and downs of the previous several weeks, we decided to wind down and have some fun with friends.  Friday night we met up with Papa Wee and Darlene to see their cool new apartment, enjoy some delicious fried chicken (Papa's specialty) and then we went down to the St. Charles Riverfront to see a wonderful production of The Riverside Shakespeare Production Comapnys "Much Ado About Nothing."  I didn't get one darned picture, but it was a great time, and if you're in the area, I highly recommend seeing it.  It's free, just show up with lawn chairs, drinks and bug spray.  They do accept donations, and we had such fun we happily donated some cash.  If you're interested, here are the dates June 16, 17, 18, 24, and 25 @ 7:30pm
* Matinee Sunday June 26 @ 5:00pm

Saturday afternoon Dan, Tristan and I got in the car and drove out to Collinsville Il. to meet friends Moon and Soma at Cahokia Mounds.  Moon grew up right near by and knows the area well, but I had never been, so I was really excited to see it.  It was a pretty hot day, so in the heat of the afternoon we decided to take in the museum and Interpretive Center.  It was full of some amazing archeological finds and displays.  Cahokia Mounds is the largest prehistoric native site north of Mexico it covers 2200 acres and protects 70 of the 80 mounds that still remain.  Many local Pagans see it as an American sacred site, when you feel the wonderful energy of the place, it's easy to see why. 
The middle one is Monks Mound campared to the Great Pyramid.

After browsing the museum and gift shop, we made our way to Woodhenge which is part of the site.  Originally constructed around 1100-1200 AD and later restored, this wood sun calendar marks the rising sun at the Spring and Fall equinoxes and Summer and Winter solstices.  I would love to visit and watch the sun rise over the Woodhenge on one of those events!

After checking out the henge, we went back up the road to Monks Mound, the largest mound at Cahokia, and the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas.  It was the center of the once great city, a huge building had once perched on it's summit where the chief lived, goverend and conducted ceremonies.  It got it's name, Monks Mound from the French Trappist Monks who lived nearby in the early 1800's and farmed the terraces of the large mound.
Going up?
In the upper right corner you can see the St. Louis skyline complete with the Arch off in the distance.

It's quite surreal to be atop this huge mound looking out at nature and seeing the St. Louis skyline, Arch and all, off in the distance!  Could the Missisipian People have ever imagined such a thing from this vantage point?  Anyone who longs to see a prehistoric sacred site should be delighted to know that this one is smack in the middle of the country and free admission to boot. 
Overlooking the view from the top.
This was at the top of the mound, we laughed that it should be at the bottom!  But of course, they don't mean the stairs.

The whole crew!

Moon and I getting ready to go back down.
After our hike up the mound, we returned down and Moon and Soma showed us to a great little Mexican Cafe nearby.  The atmosphere was homespun and the food was out of this world, I thought I was back in Albuquerque for a minute there.  We sipped our Mexican import glass bottles of Sprite laughed, talked, and ate!  Later we followed them back to Moons house for tea, beer and met up with Kitten (Kristen)  and Amory who dropped in on their way to PSG.  It was a blast! I was finally so tired, we had to head out, it was a long drive back home.  What a great weekend relaxing with friends!

I want this sign for my garden, those aren't weeds, they're native plants and grasses!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wayback Machine: Next Stop, St. Louis Pagan Picnic

In an effort to catch up on past events here on my blog, I've borrowed the Wayback Machine to visit a few past events to share with you.  Next stop:  St. Louis Pagan Picnic June 11-12.

Dan and I love Pagan Picnic, it's only about a half an hour or so from our home and we've been attending since 1999.  We fully planned to drop off our easy-ups, tables and merchandise on Friday, but the previous two weeks had been daunting at best, and you know what they say about the best laid plans.  As many of you already know through my Facebook posts, we came back from Heartland to learn that my 92 year old grandma was in intensive care. Therefore much of the following two weeks were spent with her and my mom, I was honored to be one of the people to help keep her spirits up and then finally help usher her into the next realm.  We'll miss her, I hope to live as long a life as she did, and we've decided to celebrate her life.  My daughter Brittany summed things up so well on her blog Va-Voom Vintage, I couldn't have put it better!

Anyway, we were left reeling only days before Picnic trying to get our merchandise together at the last minute as we had much to press in the studio after our brisk sales at Heartland only two weeks before.  We also re-printed all of our prints as we now have a new printer to make our prints ourselves using archival paper and ink.  The quality is really excellent, and we're really excited about it, but that was a ton of work!  So we didn't get set up on Friday, poor Dan didn't sleep all night and I only had a few hours of sleep myself when we pulled the art laden U-Haul van out of the driveway Saturday morning.  I usually drive a Cobalt, not good for hauling to festivals!  When we arrived in Tower Grove Park, our spirits lifted, the park was buzzing with energy and shining with familiar faces of the St. Louis Pagan community.

We had a really great time, even though we were tired the first day.  Our son Tristan was the latest edition to the crew, and frankly, he was the hardest working 12 year old at Pagan Picnic, he worked his little butt off, and we couldn't have done it without him.  He's spending his well earned paycheck on video games and Dr. Who paraphernalia. 
Dan and Tristan at our booth, Tristan was so proud of his new wand he purchased!
I gave a lecture on Tree Magic on Saturday to a really large group.  We really had a delightful chat there under the trees about tree lore and ways to connect with tree spirits and work with trees magically.  We really loved seeing all those familiar faces, and were also happy to meet new friends as we do every year.  The St. Louis Pagan Picnic is the largest free Pagan event in the country! 

At the Tree Magic lecture, all glamor in the heat with a pen in my hair!  LOL We had a great talk, and
shared stories. Photo by Dave Mc Auley 

With Crystal and Ama who stopped in to say hello on Saturday, lovely gals, teriffic energy!

Dear friend Rene, her sense of humor always makes me smile! Photo by photo by Amanda Cantwell
So along with our new and improved prints (at the same price I'm proud to say) we also had cool new items such as really nice compact mirrors, glass nail files, t-shirts, and full color pendants that we brought to Picnic.  We have some new items we ran out of time to add such as ceramic beer steins and water bottles.(sorry Deborah, LOL)   I know, lots of people do water bottles, but these are exceptional quality, stainless steel instead of aluminum, PBA free, they have two different drinking tops, and a carabiner clip.  Much better for the environment than bottles of water bought at the store.  Watch for all the new items to be added to our Etsy shop over the next few weeks. 

   In addition to our donations to the raffle, Dan always likes to support Pagan Picnic by buying a string of tickets as well, this year I was pleased to win a copy of The Witches Bag of Tricks by Melanie Marquis who was there as a guest as well.  I just missed meeting her after the raffle, but was pleased to see that she had signed it!  That's the thing about Picnic, you get so busy that sometimes time gets away from you and next thing you know, it's over!  The Witch's Book of Tricks is really a great book about reclaiming your personal magical power, and it fell into my hands right when I needed it, having been through many personal trials over the past year and a half or so, and learning a lot about myself and those around me.   You never stop learning, and that's what this book is all about.   I can say I do highly recommend it! 

My daughter Brittany showed up with her sweet family P.J. Olivia and Rhys on Sunday, it was a cooler day than Saturday, so it was perfect for the little ones! Olivia loved running through the grass and playing, Rhys was a little angel, and they all enjoyed a great time! We had gotten some much needed rest on Saturday night, so we were bright eyed and bushy-tailed on Sunday.

Brittany and P.J. assisted with the breakdown on Saturday evening, we got the truck loaded, policed our area for any trash and said our goodbyes to the remaining staff still working hard to get everything cleaned up.  We drove our little U-Haul van off into the sunset.
Even the wrapper on her Gyro is color coordinated!  Brittany looked so cute in her vintage style!

The whole family, and little Rhys in his stroller!
Pagan Picnic was a blast!  Next stop in the Wayback Machine: Cahokia Mounds!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wayback Machine: Heartland 2011, Rain, Shine, Friends!

The witch hat candle holder outside our cabin.

Well, things got a little busy, and my blog fell behind, so let's jump into the Wayback Machine and make a few quick stops so we can catch up!  First stop:  Heartland Pagan Festival May 26-30.

We had a great time at Heartland this year.  Dan and I arrived Thursday late afternoon dropped off our Easy-Up, tables and merchandise up on the hill with the other vendors and made our way to our cabin.  The staff at the festival made us feel very welcome, we shared a cabin with the lovely Selene and Donna, they were great neighbors who were kind enough to trade some Tylenol for dark chocolate! 
Our cabin, home sweet home!

I did two workshops over the weekend, one on creating magical artwork and how to find success in that area of the arts, and one on The Voice of the Trees. I really enjoyed chatting with folks, met lots of wonderful people and had an overall great time.
Dan and I hanging out with John, a fellow artist who I met at one of my workshops.  He saved the day at our booth with a roll of much needed twine, and we ended out hanging out with him and his lovely wife Kris all weekend.  Good times!
The land is so beautiful there at Camp Gaia, everywhere you looked there was something beautiful to see, and great energy at Heartland festival!  It was overcast through most of the festival, and we got rain on Saturday night, but all of our merchandise was packed up tight thanks to Dans plastic tubs, and everything was bone dry in the morning.  Sunday was hot and sunny, and it was really windy on Monday when we packed up, so we really had a range of weather.
Had a great time hanging out with Deborah Lipp writer and High Priestess extraordinaire, she totally cracks me up, really fun to talk to!  We picked up her book on James Bond for Tristan, he was totally delighted!
The food was delicious, I started making my scrambled eggs "Heartland Style" with vegies on top, yum!  I also had falafel for the first time, totally diggin' those little yummies!  I had a lovely conversation with drummer Russell Buddy Helm about healing with drums while we were enjoying dinner.  we were all entertained by Uncle Dirtytoes, Big Bad Gina, Darwin Prophet, and the KC Drum Tribe who all rocked the stage.  Orien Laplante carved a really cool hollow log on the night of the closing ritual carving out a beautiful Goddess Venus figure, when the fire was lit, she glowed and danced!  I didn't get a picture of it, but if I can find one that someone else took, I'll share it here, it was unbelievably cool!  My dear Brenda handed me a bunch of packets of my beloved Chai tea to enjoy while I was there. 
Saying goodbye to Brenda before we headed home, she and the rest of the staff at Heartland sure showed us a great time, it's a great festival, I would recommend it to anyone!

We were having so much fun, I didn't take as many pics as I would have liked to, so I was scrambling to get some shots on the last day. 

We packed up and hit "home" on the GPS, and the rest is history!

I leave you with a few more shots of Heartland before we get back in the Wayback Machine, next stop...Pagan Picnic!

The beautiful view from our cabin!
A shot of our booth, oval tile wall hangings were a big hit!

More fun stuff, prints, cigar box style purses and iron candle sconces.

A troupe of totes!