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The Grimalkin Almanac in Four Parts – Autumn: The Great Mother Goddess and the Element of Water (excerpt)

 We Grimalkins are typically monotheistic but also believe in the realms of spirit. The Great Mother Goddess is our deity who can appear in many forms. The Great Mother made the cosmos, our world and the worlds beyond. Despite believing in a deity, we do not have a religion. The reverence of the Great Mother is faith-based, that is to say, each Grimalkin honours Her in their own way. There is no doctrine or dogma, no holy scriptures that tell one how to honour Her or how to live their lives. There is only the Old Grimalkin Book of Thalaig that sets out guidelines as to how a Grimalkin should conduct oneself and one’s spiritual affairs, and offers wisdom and comfort to those who seek it.

  There are no ‘holy days’ in the Grimalkin world. The festivals we celebrate are agricultural with an overlying spiritual meaning. There are no abstinences, no shrift and housel, and no indulgences. Each Grimalkin’s relationship with the Great Mother is personal for She can appear to an individual in a form they recognise which will be different to another’s. But the act of honouring the Great Mother communally can be a wonderful event. Many of the festivals are dedicated to Her and the bounty She has provided us with in the form of a secure home, plentiful food and the deep sense of kinship we have with fellow creatures. She is honoured in love and joy. There is no penance or fire-and-brimstone here. If a Grimalkin has wronged another, he or she must make amends, both to the wronged party and the Great Mother. Usually, the wrong-doer comes up with a suitable act of reparation themselves. If they cannot, they will seek the advice of a druid, a priest/priestess, or the Clowder Mother herself, and they will set a task for them. It is not a punitive system and an act of wrongdoing is almost always absolved with an act of positivity. The Great Mother does not punish in the way human deities do. The waters of the world are also reminders of Her presence too. In a tale of Grimalhame, the Fire Cat reaches the eastern coast of Arcadia as he sets out on a quest to save the clowder:

   “The fire cat had only seen the sea once before, a long, long time ago when the world was first formed by the Great Mother Goddess. It was said that the Great Mother shed tears for her creation in the First Days and those tears became the first oceans. She must have loved the world very much to create such a vast expanse of water…”

The seas and oceans, the tears of the Goddess, are also Her waters of life from which Her daughter Ishramah, came. Ishramah became the lesser goddess of the waters while the Great Mother had dominion over the land and the air and all the creatures therein. The seas and oceans are physical manifestations of the Cosmic Soup, the time of Chaos that reigned in the Age of Fire. The Creation was a vast concoction of fundamentals that coalesced to become the stars, the planets, the elements, and the creatures. Order was created from the chaos and the elements were separated into the things of the sea, things of the earth, and the things of the sky. The Cosmic Soup, now known as the Great Divide, is the boundary between the physical world and the cauldron of rebirth, the Great Mother’s womb and the place all things must go to be renewed and given new forms. The cosmic waters of life are eternal, unfathomable and unknowable. While some creatures are interred into the earth at death, some choose the sea as they both represent the same thing. The earth represents the womb itself while the seas and oceans are the waters of life within it. Both represent rebirth and transformation. The water’s ability to give life as well as take it away is representative of the Goddess who has the power of life and death over all things.

eternal life

 

Model: Ysabeau

 

The Grimalkin Almanac in Four Parts – Autumn is available now from Lulu.com

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My Creative Friends

I’d like to thank Jez and Mark Hunt for creating this wonderful Grimalkin armour. This belongs to Amergin Kilclawden and features in The Dark Portal. Please visit the Etsy page for more wonderful goodies by my talented human friends.

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amergin armour 4

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The Waning Year – from the Grimalkin Almanac in Four Parts – Autumn

Greetings and welcome to my blog. I have recently completed the Grimalkin Almanac in Four Parts – Autumn and I am waiting for my proof to come so it can finally go live. In the meantime, here is the Preface and the opening page of the Almanac.

autumn cat

The Grimalkin Almanac in Four Parts

Preface

“In a busy, present day clowder or settlement we can often lose sight of the more subtle things in life – the quiet rustling of the leaves on a summer day, the trilling of the nightingale in the bush, or the happy gurgling of a stream as it makes its way down to the sea. Of course, we must always accomplish our daily tasks and chores no matter how mundane or tedious they may be, but one must always find time to take stock of one’s surroundings, especially the natural ones, for the first sign of the turning season may be missed in the hustle and bustle of life – the hint of red on the oak leaf, a small gathering of swallows at the end of summer, and the slight chilly bite on the nose that tells us winter is on the way. Our whiskers must always be atwitch at these delicate signs for, when the season is upon us, our daily tasks will change and so must we. Our very survival depends on it. And so, we refer to our books, our calendars and our almanacs to prepare for the tasks at paw and take heart that, although our existences may change over the course of our lifetimes, the activities and responsibilities of living within a community do not and will forever keep our clowders and settlements going. So it has been for many thousands of years and will continue for many thousands to come.”

Yours by Star and Stone,
Imeldra Moonpaw
Chief Historian and Deputy
Clowder Mother of Grimalhame

 

Death

 

Autumn – The Waning Year

  “From the 1st day of Hazel Moon to the last day of Fir Moon, autumn, or sotohru in Old Grimalkin, holds sway. For most Grimalkins, this is a wonderful time of year when all gather together to bring in the last of the harvest and to begin the task of pickling, salting and preserving for the long months of winter. In Arcadia, spring and autumn are relatively short compared to summer and winter, so late summer/early autumn is a very busy time for citizens of all clowders and settlements.
  “Autumn, the waning part of the year, is symbolized by many things. It is associated with the west where the twin suns set, and with the element of water. It is a time of gathering up one’s resources and reflecting upon the year past. As the deciduous trees’ leaves turn from bright green to mellow yellow, russet red and finally to rich, warm brown, it is a signal to all who behold the annual shedding of the leaves that another chapter of life is closing. To some, it is a sombre time when those who have gone before are remembered, and a longing for the hot, fun-filled summer days and the balmy evenings when citizens relax outdoors drinking mead and cordial and catching up with friends and family after much toil in the fields.”

  The Grimalkin Almanac in Four Parts is a celebration of the seasons that govern all our lives here at Grimalhame. Each of the four Almanacs have a a theme. The first, autumn, is a celebration of the waning year and the coming of the dark half of the year. It’s elemental theme is water, associated with the west and of life returning to the womb in preparation for renewal and rebirth. Inside each Almanac are seasonal plants and herbs, seasonal associations such as animals, the festivals and feast days, information about the Great Mother Goddess, Alfridaria Henderai’s Herbal Compendium, zodiac signs, crystals, the healing power of the elements, strange and fantastical creatures and many other things pertaining to Grimalkin life in the Clowder of Grimalhame.

  I do hope you will join us here at the clowder and celebrate the turning of the seasons.

autumn

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World of the Fire Cat Colouring Book

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Far Pavilions, home of the fire cat and the magical and most ancient Clowder of Grimalhame. The illustrations within this book have been specially adapted for you to colour, images and designs taken from Dance of the Fire Cat – a tale of how the fire cat, Grimalkins and the Clowder of Grimalhame came to be, and The Ocean Lord – the story of how the fire cat saved the clowder from a mysterious sickness and made a few memorable friends along the way.

The Far Pavilions is a magical place, full of dragons, unicorns and Grimalkins who love to dance, sing and tell stories of how they came to be the custodians of the Great Arcadian Forest, their home. Alongside the images are quotes from both books, introductions to the clowder, the Far Pavilions and its inhabitants. I hope you find colouring these specially-adapted illustrations as enjoyable and fulfilling.

World of the Fire Cat Colouring Book

Faeybright Longwhisker           Starhawk Woodharrow

 

 

The Ocean Lord – Book Two of the Fire Cat Stories

The Ocean Lord

The fire cat looked towards the entrance of the cave on the other side of the lagoon and waited and, for a moment, he saw nothing. Then, slowly, a large bow wave appeared on the horizon. It travelled towards him and the fire cat held his breath in anticipation, his heart pounding. The bow wave grew bigger, rippling as it came nearer. It stopped short of the rock and the water went still.
Too still.
Seconds ticked by and the fire cat peered into the clear, turquoise water. It was deathly silent.
Suddenly, the water boiled and frothed as a huge something emerged slowly from the depths sending waves crashing over the rock. The fire cat was taken totally by surprise and rolled over onto his side, seawater splashing over him.
A dark shadow crept over the fire cat’s prone form as the massive creature rose from the depths of the lagoon. The fire cat’s strength left him as he lay in the shadow of the creature that fixed him with an unearthly gaze that rooted him helplessly to the spot.

©Angela Russell 2013

  The Ocean Lord is the second of the fire cat stories and follows the fire cat from his home in the Great Divide to the ancient and magical Clowder of Grimalhame. After meeting Winnowyn and Rowanberry Longwhisker, the Clowder Elders, the fire cat sets out on a mission to find a cure for the mysterious illness that is afflicting the clowder and the creatures of the Great Arcadia Forest. His journey takes him beyond the shores of Arcadia to Kaldivari, the kingdom of the Tiger Lords, and to Tharsis – the Land of the Fire Mountains. With the clowder in grave danger, the fire cat must face his greatest fear and go beyond the boundary of death itself in order to save his kin.

Can he find the Ocean Lord, the Source of All Wisdom, before it is too late?

 

Ocean Lord Front

Dance of the Fire Cat

Dancing Fire Cat

From the heart of a star he came, born from the chaos of Creation. He came with the spark of Divine Light in his fiery paws and  danced across the surface of the sun at the beginning of the world.

He danced far and wide across the plains of Tharsis and the Great Harara Desert, planting the seeds of life in the barren ground in his wake. He sang his joyful song beneath the stars of the Great Divide:

“Awake, my friends, for I am the First!
Arise and join me in the Dance of Life. Be not
sorrowful for there is no longer death and darkness.”

And so, the first cats appeared from the womb of the sleeping earth to rejoice and sing in the First Days of the New Dawn.

©Angela Russell 2011

  Dance of the Fire Cat is a creation myth of how cats came into being according to cats. It is the first of the Fire Cat stories and will take you on a magical tour of the Fire Cat’s world, ‘told’ by the Grimalhame Clowder Historian, Imeldra Moonpaw. She tells the story of the Fire Cat’s journey across the kingdoms where he meets a wise creature who tells him about the nature of the Cosmos and the importance of his task, and the creation of the magical Clowder of Grimalhame – the city of cats, a place of myth, mystery and ancient Grimalkin magic.