Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two Nights in a Haunted Hotel

I loved this tree in front of the Lemp Mansion, right out of a Arthur Rackham illustration, so creepy!
Many of you already know that Dan and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary this week on the Spring Equinox.  We really wanted to do something fun, we really don't get out much, and all work, no play makes Mickie want to go "all Shining" so we made plans.  We live in a Suburb of St. Louis, so we decided to get downtown, and being big fans of both Ghost Hunters and occasional luxury, we made reservations at St. Louis' most famous haunted location, The Lemp Mansion.  Since our anniversary falls on the equinox, and we now work from home, we decided to do the "middle of the week" trip, and we saved some money on the room rates too. 
The view of the Lemp Mansion from the parking lot, the five windows at the top of the brick section from right to left, were our windows.
The history of the Lemp Mansion is fascinating and tragic.  The mansion was built in the 1860's and was later bought by William J. Lemp for his family to live in and as an extra office for the brewery which is located nearby.  I won't go into the whole history, but you can read it here.  Suffice to say, many of the members of the family committed suicide in the house.  Many people have had supernatural experiences in the house, and they do offer paranormal investigation nights. 
The sitting room, and bed room beyond in the lavender suite. 
Sitting room in the lavender suite.

So was I creeped out staying there?  Well, Dan and I stayed in "The Lavender Suite" which was totally gorgeous!  I was just floored when we walked in, the suite was huge!  The three room suite was bigger than half of my whole house.  It was decked out with antiques, but also had modern conveniences like a TV tucked into a lovely armoir, coffee pot (thank you VERY much) and right outside the room was another beautiful armoir hiding a mini fridge and a small microwave on a little cart.  This elegant suite was the bedroom, sitting room and bathroom of Lillian Lemp who was known around St. Louis in her heyday as The Lavender Lady, dressing exclusively in lavender inspired by her favorite fashion icon the Czarina of Russia. 
Lillian Lemp, The Lavender Lady.
This lady was high society, and the rooms reflected her taste and means.  I couldn't get enough of the bathroom which was as big as my living room at home, and decked out in lavish Italian marble with a granite shower stall.
Italian marble covered bathroom, and yes, that's a fireplace in the bathroom!

 And, oh yes, I did soak in that marble tub, you bet I did!  I would love to say that Lillian appeared to us hovering at the foot of the bed or gazing out the window, but unfortunately, she didn't, although the fact that she didn't may have helped us get a good night sleep.  We did experience periodic flickering of the chandeliers, which was interesting.  We tried to communicate to see if it was Lillian, but it seemed more like an electrical issue, old house and all.  We concluded that it probably had something to do with the dimmer switches.  The strange thing was, no matter how much I messed with the dimmer the next night, I couldn't get the lights to flicker.  So was it the Lavender Lady after all?  Who knows.  I personally like to think that she liked us and didn't want to scare us off, she was a wonderful hostess and we were sure to thank her for her hospitality and beautiful rooms when we checked out.
A photo I took in the courtyard at night
A photo taken one minute later...What do you think?  Read to the end to find out!

So did I mention, the staff gives you a key to the back door and they all leave the building at 11:00 pm?  Oh yes, they do.  I felt very "Scooby Doo" when I braved the dark halls and stairways of this haunted old mansion to go get ice and explore a bit.  The vibe in our room felt very nice, very welcoming.  There were areas in this house that didn't.  The hallway the leads past the Charles Lemp Suite who committed suicide in the house in 1949, had a very heavy feel to me.  I felt like I was being watched in the upstairs hallways near the ice machine, and it had a very heavy and uncomfortable feel up there. 
The artrium, I love this room!

The last evening, I thought I saw a "shadow" peek around the corner, on the top floor near the old servants quarters and of course no one was there.  I'm not sure however, it was a brief moment.  Did I see something there, or was it just what I wanted to see?

On Wednesday we had a great time romping up and down visiting the funky shops on Delmar. I got a beautiful pair of silk wrap around pants from Macrosun, Nag Champa soap for Dan (his favorite) and of course Dan found a book! We checked out the stars in the sidewalk of famous St. Louisans, and enjoyed the shops, art galleries, and musicians playing on the sidewalk.
The Iconic Blueberry Hill sign on Delmar.

Dan took a phot of me with our friend Raven Wolf, it was nice to run into him!

Just one of the fun windows on the Delmar Loop, is that Angelina Jolies' leg?

  In front of Vintage Vinyl on the sidewalk we bumped into Pagan Picnic regular Raven Wolf C. Felton Jennings II who was making that sax sound really sweet for all of the passers by!  He had his CD for sale so we picked up a copy which he signed for us and we enjoyed it in the car on our way back to the Lemp.  That evening we went to McGurks, one of our anniversary traditions, had a wonderful meal outside because the weather was perfect and sat near the koi pond.  We shared Baileys cheesecake for dessert, mmmmm. 

I picked up a deliciously decadent breakfast at Benton Park Cafe right around the corner from the Lemp this morning, coffee and a chai latte and enjoyed it in the sitting room.  We thought we might run around the St. Louis Zoo today, but the weather was rainy so we decided to just get back home.  We checked out later this morning and bid the Lemp Mansion and all it's occupant both in this world and the next farewell, and are back at home now, chilling out, and getting ready to get back to work in the studio.  We truly enjoyed our haunted anniversary!  I have a photo of us together at McGurks as soon as we can figure out how to get it off of Dans phone, ahhh, technology!

I'll probably post more pics on my facebook page tomorrow.

***Oh, and the photo in the courtyard above, is that a ghost?  No, sorry, I was doing long exposures to get these nightime photos, and Dan walked past while the shutter was open!  But it looks cool!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Fairies Dancing on a Ribbon

Today is St. Patrick's Day, or Celtic Heritage Day if you prefer, either way, there's magic in the air at the old wooden art table, magic of the Faerie variety!
Rowan Fairy magical amulet, for magical protection faerie style! Available in our Etsy Shop, click here.

Many of you have seen my Celtic Tree Fairy series, four Fae spirits that align with the energies of four of the Celtic trees of the Ogham.  I chose these four because they contain the energies of the four kinds of magic that many people seek when doing spellwork, healing, prosperity, love, and protection.  Dan and I have made this series into prints, mugs, totes and many other pretty items, and we had so much fun dancing in the fairy ring that I had forgotten my original inspiration for the designs of these charming tree fae spirits, I envisioned them as pendants that you could wear.
All four amulets in my fairy garden. Available in the Mickie Mueller Studio Etsy Shop, Click here

Well, a local gal who I love to see at Pagan Picnic every year, Rusty, dropped me a note on my Facebook page and requested that those fairies be turned into mother of pearl amulets!  It was a total "ah-ha" moment, and I was really grateful that she reminded me, that was the original plan all along.  So I broke out my original black and white sketches for the magical fae friends, darkened up the lines and filled in the colors to match the color pieces I created.  Then I scanned them and Dan and I pressed them onto some of our mother of pearl amulets.  I have to say, the shimmery surface of the Mother of Pearl really looks great with the fairy art!

Oak Fairy amulet, to bring prosperity and abundance, can you see how it shimmers?  Available in our Etsy shop, click here

These amulets each include a silver jump ring, and look great on a satin cord or leather thong of your choice. We print the image using dye sublimation ink right in our studio and then heat press it onto the surface of these specially coated shells, the iridescence is lovely on this amulet can be seen through the art as well as the background making a stunning and powerful piece. Shell pieces vary slightly in thickness, color and shimmer, just as Mother Nature intended. If you think they look pretty in these pictures, they will exceed your expectations when you see one in person!
Heather fairy, opens your heart to invite love into your life, heals a broken heart, and awakens compassion.  Available in our etsy shop, click here

Do you know the magical properties of Mother of Pearl? Mother of Pearl gets its name from the fact that it comes from a shell where pearls can grow. Its metaphysical properties include healing, prosperity, intuition, psychic sensitivity, powers of creativity, inspiration and manifestation. Mother of Pearl is also protective and has the ability to transmute negative energy and can also be used to purify environments including your own energy system when worn as jewelry. In addition, it's used in metaphysics to access ancestral and primordial memories. All of these properties make it a very powerful material for creating magical amulets and perfect for fairy magic!
They looked so pretty sitting amongst the speedwell that's blooming in my garden right now.
I hope you enjoy seeing these pendants as much as we enjoyed making them.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Musings on a Witches Familiar

My cat Willow resting after helping us package orders to send out from our Etsy shop!

The concept of a witches familiar is the stuff of legends, we think of the classic pointy hat wearing witch with her black cat as an example.  In the real world and in the craft of real magic, a familiar is an animal that you have a special relationship with, and it's not just about spells under a full moon, its a relationship that helps you find a connection with the animal kingdom.  It is often a favorite pet, and usually you're their favorite person as well.  Sometimes a familiar is not a physical animal, but an animal spirit, or may even be a wild animal that visits you from time to time.  Your familiar is your animal ally that reminds you of your place in the world, of your instincts that have become quiet through years of the daily grind of grocery stores, traffic, meetings and all the other trappings that make us feel disconnected from the natural world that we yearn for.  Our familiars bring us back to what is really important in our spiritual growth. 

My cat Willow is a familiar of the physical kind.  There is something very special about the bond that a person can make with an animal, it's a relationship that's all about sensing, feelings and mutual kinship.  Science has discovered for instance that people have developed the ability to understand the emotions behind animal communication, and our "pet" animals such as cats and dogs have learned the same about us.  It's something that has actually become hard wired into our brains.  In one study both pet owners and non pet owners listened to recordings of dog barks, they could tell what the situation was that the dog was in from the sounds of the bark, playful, scared, lonely, aggressive, they could recognise all the barks. 

With technology that tracks eye movement, it was also discovered that dogs are able to read a humans emotions on their faces in the same way that other humans do.  But of course none of this will amaze anyone who loves an animal, we've known it forever and so have our pets and familiars.  I recently was doing research for Mystical Cats Tarot and was looking up books about reading cats behaviors just for reference and interestingly in many of the reviews on these books many people had commented that much of the material was basic, I believe that it's because to many of us, it really is.  We've lived with these animals for so long, that we've developed a mutual language and we do understand each other to a great degree.
Connecting with the world of animals is important to our spiritual development because it makes us slow down and listen to our own animal selves.  The other day during the mundane activity of taking out the trash, the call of a male cardinal up in the top of my oak tree caught my attention.  Since one of my super secret powers is the ability to whistle a tune fairy well, I repeated the call just for fun.  Next thing I knew he called back.  So I began an conversation with this lovely red bird. 

We called back and forth for quite some time, I just stood there amazed as his call changed slightly, adding more and more repeating notes into the mix.  I struggled to keep up with the aviary jam session, he was clearly the master musician and I not even a novice, but what fun it was.  I felt honored that he would take the time to sing to me, a mere human.  And then I remembered that I was part of his kingdom, the animal kingdom, and it felt amazing to rekindle that connection.I thought about it again as I sat in my overstuffed armchair after breakfast this morning, my cat Willow resting comfortably on my lap.  The windows were all open, and the birds were enjoying their breakfast too right out the window at our bird feeders.  As I stroked her soft fur around her ears and under her chin the way she likes, she purred, delighted.  It occurred to me that it was quite amazing, this friendship.  Of all the things that cats love to do,  looking out the window at birds is one of their favorites, but at this very moment, like many others in our lives, this little animal had chosen what she wanted to do most in the world was to rest in my lap.  My heart just swelled.  That's what it's all about, and here I was, breakfast done, no music, no TV going, and where I wanted to be most at that moment was here in this chair with this little animal on my lap.  We sat there for quite awhile, just me and my little friend.  That's what it is to have a familiar, that unspoken understanding between human and an animal of another species, mutual communication, and love.  When I finally decided that the day was calling and I needed to attend to my various responsibilities that pay for cat food and litter, I pushed my back forward from the back of the chair, her cue that I'm getting up.  At this point the usually jumps down right before the lap turns into a pair of legs, but this time she didn't, she stood up and pushed back against me with the side of her whole body against my chest purring like mad as if to say, "You're not going anywhere."  "Ok, Willow."  I said, "Ten more minutes."

It's my fault Willow is the way she is, she knows she's a star!  She was the cat model for my Magic is Afoot piece.  This mug is available in our Etsy shop, Click Here 


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spell-A-Day: Here Comes the Sun Spell

I'm one of the contributers for the Llewellyn's 2012 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac, myself and many others joined forces to provide 365 spells for this great almanac, one for every day of the year.  Today's spell is one of mine, I wanted to share the link with you which you'll find below.  I was totally inspired to write todays spell for a Lovely Sunday in March that also happens to be Daylight Savings Time (set your clocks if you haven't already!)  I took my inspiration from the sun-tea that we used to make when I was a kid, but I gave this spell an herbal tea twist, and added magic as well as deliciousness to make this a Sunday spell to remember.  If today isn't sunny where you are, you can choose to do it any Sunday you wish.  I plan to use this delicious magical tea plenty of times on warm spring days and this summer!

One more inspiration for this spell?  The sweet and quirky HBO series based on the books of Alexander McCall Smith, " No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." about Precious Ramotswe, who runs a detective agency in Botswana.  She tells her clients “There is no problem so great it cannot be solved by a cup of bush tea.” as they sit on her porch and tell her about their case.  A delightful show and a delightful sentiment.  I discovered bush tea, (aka rooibos tea) because of the show, it's now one of my favorites.  It has a warmth to it's flavor even when iced and a smooth quality that nurtures your soul.
“There is no problem so great it cannot be solved by a cup of bush tea.”
CLICK HERE for todays spell I wrote for Llewellyn's 2012 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac.  You can also order a copy if you don't already have one.  This is a great almanac and you'll find loads of spells in it that you'll use for years to come!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Celtic Ash Moon, and Solar Flares Equal Magical Bonus Today!

We are currently in the Celtic month of the ash tree Feb 18-March 17 according to Robert Graves Celtic Tree Calendar, and tonight is the Full Ash Moon. 
The Ash month is the perfect time to work magic to help put your plans into action! The ash tree has energies that are all about transformation and action, and is great for breaking through barriers that block your way to success.  Breaking inertia takes strong action, according to physics an object at rest tends to remain at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. The month of the ash is the time to move from rest into action.  Harnessing ash tree energy this full moon can help you face a challenging situation in order to transform you and help you forge a new reality!
The Ash Card from Voice of the Trees, Lugh sharpening his spear and about to take action!  This print is available in The Official Voice of the Trees Etsy shop Click here

Ash Moon, Ash Sun

Today is a very special day in regards to the Celtic Tree Calendar, lets examine a couple of things.  First of all, the Celtic Tree Calendar is a lunar calendar that revolves around the 13 moons of the year, today is the full ash moon.  Ash is also associated with the sun, the Celtic sun God Lugh was said to carry a magical spear called Millar, which was made of the wood of the ash tree. It was said that no battle could be sustained against it or against the man who held it. One of Lugh’s titles was Lugh of the Long Arm, possibly suggesting the spear as part of him.

So what makes today any different than any other Full Ash Moon?  Large solar flares erupted on the sun this Tuesday and are due to deliver waves of solar plasma and charged particles very close to our planet today, on the day of the full ash moon.  If you live near the poles you may see brighter and more active auroras as the particles hit the earths magnetic field. 

What does this mean magically?  Well, if you want to work some magic using ash tree energy, this is a powerful time to do it that we may never see again in our lifetime! 
Creating my Ash Tree Sun and Moon Power Amulet this morning. 

Ash Tree Sun and Moon Power Amulet

I wrote this spell for creating this solar charged ash amulet specifically for today, but you can do it anytime, ideally during the ash month, but today during the solar flares and on the full ash moon, this spell will rock!  You'll need a twig from an ash tree, a gold or yellow candle and a white candle.  Using a wood burner if you have it, otherwise use a gold pen, or a black permanent marker, put the ogham symbol for ash in the center of the twig, put the astrological symbol for the sun above, and the moon below.  Take the twig outside and pace it where the sunlight will fall upon it, even if it's cloudy where you are, the sun will still shine through the clouds.  Hold your hands above it and summon the energy with these words,

"Solar rays, I call your power
Charge this amulet by the hour,
Geomagnetic energy
Fill this amulet for me,
The energies of the mighty ash
Glowing moon and solar flash
Empower this amulet of craft
As I seal now, my spell is cast."

Leave it in the sun all day and under the full moon all night.  You now have a very powerful amulet full of the special energies of the day, the power of ash, the sun, the moon and the geomagnetic energies of the earth.  Use this amulet can now give a powerful boost to any spell that needs extra umph.  You can also keep it near your front door and use it to magically protect your space, near your bed to ward off nightmares, or in your car for safe travel.  Ash is the Swiss army knife of the Celtic trees.  Carry it in your pocket for protection from negative energy.
Ash is used for spells involving taking action, healing, protection from psychic attack, destroying negativity, banishing nightmares, solar magic, communication, intellect,  safe travel over water, transition, growth, creativity, and success.
Here's a closeup of the one I made, it's sitting outside collecting energy now, I used a wood burner for the ogham, and both a permanent marker and gold paint pen for the sun and moon designs.

More information on working with tree energies is available in my Celtic Tree Calendar Online Classes, click here for more info

Satellites and Communications
Be aware that today we may also have minor disruptions, solar radiation storms can sometimes interrupt  communications and power grids on Earth, and we might see some interfere with satellites today.  Of course power grid operators have been alerted and are watching for any potential problems.  If you're planning a flight today over one of the poles, there may be communication problems, but again, the aircraft operators have already taken precautionary measures.  Any disruptions should be minor, if they happen at all, but the potential for a big boost for any sun magic done today is very good!

Happy Ash Moon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peaceful Art Jewelry Designs: An Interview With Mickie

I recently did an interview for the month of March with the sweet ladies over at Peaceful Art Jewelry Designs.  They really do a great job, they asked really great questions, and they really dress up the page with fancy versions of the art.  You can tell they put their whole heart into their artist interviews, and I was honored to be asked to share some personal insights for the month of March on their website.  They have lots of other great interviews from the past as well. 

Did I always want to be an artist?  What does my family do on St. Patrick's Day? Where would I like to live to be inspired every day?  What else inspires me?  Find out here:

In other news, the wind in blowing like mad out there, I have had my coffee and I'm getting ready to head out the door for a fun day with Dans grandma (and mine) Miss Mar-Mar!  We're just going shopping and then to dinner later.  Mar is one cool lady, if she weren't family, we would still be friends.  I just hope we don't blow over in the strong winds!

Well, dashing out the door!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Squirrels Gone Wild

I haven't been very bloggie lately, I've been super swamped at my old wooden art table, working on writing my Celtic Tree Calendar series of classes and art for Mystical Cats Tarot.  But here I am, back to it!  I thought I would drop in today and share a little bit of silliness.

The amazing pole-dancing squirrel!
While I'm working away, I've really been enjoying seeing the birds that come to visit our feeders this spring.  We have a great variety of them.  Our feeders aren't fancy, just plain plastic feeders, the biggest one hangs in the oak, and a smaller one hangs on a shepherds hook near the window.  The cats love to sit at the window and watch them.  I also have a couple of squirrels that like to come around.  Now, I have nothing personal against squirrels, I think they're kinda cool, but they are way too big for these feeders and I'm afraid they'll break them.  Plus they knock all the seed out of the feeder because they're so clumsy when they're trying to get to the food.  A couple of years ago I got so aggravated with them getting at the bird feeder that I decided to hang one of those corn cob feeders on the tree for the squirrels in hopes they would leave the bird feeders alone.  The squirrels proceeded to pull off all the corn, toss it on the ground and left it there and went right back to the bird feeders. 

You can't tell by the photo, but the squirrel was actually slooowly sliding down the pole while eating the birdseed!

This year they are at it again.  Yesterday I captured some  shots of this pole-dancing squirrel going after my small feeder.  They really are fun to watch and pretty amazing.  Dan and laughed our butts off watching this show, squirrels behaving badly. 

I had to stand back from the window so I didn't scare it off, and of course the screen is in the way, but I thought you might enjoy the acrobatics.  This morning I tried a trick that worked to keep my cats from scratching up the legs of my my wooden rocking chair, I wrapped clear box tape sticky side out around the pole.  Either they won't like it and it will keep them off the pole, or it will help them grab it better and they'll give me the big thumbs up!  When they return, I'll be sure to take note of their reactions!