To one who is not familiar with Grimalhame and the world of the fire cat I will begin by talking about the time differences between our worlds. On Earth, there are 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year (or 366 in a Leap year). In the world we live in there are 30 hours in a day, and 486 days in a year. We have two suns and five moons but still have the four seasons like you do on Earth only we experience both longer summers and winters. For more information on Grimalhame and the Great Arcadia Forest, visit Imeldra’s Page on the Grimalhame Press website. My book Imeldra Moonpaw’s Most Ancient and Magical Clowder of Grimalhame is available on lulu.com and tells you all you need to know about the Clowder of Grimalhame.
The Hour of Stars
“Small steps, big aspirations.”
Grimalhame First School Motto
The stars have always been a focus for dreamers and those aspiring to higher ideals. In common folklore the stars are said to be the celestial kingdoms of every kind of creature that has ever existed anywhere in the cosmos. In Grimalkin tradition the stars shining against the belly of Inghira, the Moon-Cat, are the souls of those yet to be born.
One tends to look to the stars for inspiration, the Divine Word, for answers to questions, to commune with the ancestors or to simply feel connected to the rest of existence. The Hour of Stars encourages us to think about our own personal ideals and desires. It is no surprise that most creative types can be found haunting the deserted corridors of the clowders at this time, or outside with their whiskers twitching in the direction of the celestial sphere.
It is also a time when we allow ourselves to connect with the cosmos, to the Great Mother, and understand that we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves. Rather than making us feel small and insignificant, this knowledge should make us feel like we belong; everything is in its rightful time and place. If we were not important, we would not be here at all. We are an integral part of the All.
Allow yourself to breathe, to imagine, to dream. If dreams were not important, then great things would not have been accomplished. If Diera Leptailura, our Clowder Mother, did not dream about a grander and more integrated society, we would not have a great and wonderful clowder. If Gefin Marlioch did not dream, we would not have such beautiful and magnificent architecture, Central Council Chamber and learning places. If Soriah Deodar did not dream, we would not have the Order of Tir Oliach, our life-saving hospital, trained healers and a school of the mystic arts. Never underestimate the power of dreams for they have the power to change the world.
The Hour of Light
Arn-Lalast (first light)
“Light the way.”
Grimalhame Second School Motto
Also called Morning’s Gate’, the break of dawn and the return of the light after the long hours of darkness is celebrated in this Hour. The rise of Shamash Sun-Cat brings light and warmth back to the waking world. It is during this devotion that one gives thanks for the life the suns bring into the world, especially during the winter months although the warmth may be lacking.
We may also think about how we can bring the suns’ qualities– life, rejuvenation, vigour, activity, vitality and creativity – into our own lives and the lives of others. The suns bring life to the cold, seemingly-dead earth in the spring and so it is important we motivate ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually after periods of rest and inactivity.
The suns, and Shamash, are undeniably male and assertive; the heat of the summer drives us outdoors to run and play in the sunshine, or to bend our backs in the fields and bring in the harvest. As golden wheat and corn fill our larders, pantries and storerooms, so Shamash’s light must fill our souls. It is important to remember that even though his power wanes in darker months, when the Black Horse of Winter rules the Northern Lands, he has not gone from our sight. As the Fire Cat said in the First Days:
“The Bright One does not die. He may disappear from your sight as his mate rules the darkness, but he will reappear again at dawn.”
Always remember – even in the darkest days, there is still light, no matter how faint, no matter how small. And with that light comes hope. As long as the suns shine we will know life and the hope each new dawn brings.
Hour of the Moon
She made the Night; a female cat, dark as shadow, who curled around the world every evening, enveloping it in her soft velvet fur. Her name was Inghira, or ‘’Dark One’. The stars that shone from her belly were the souls of those yet to be born.”
The Hour of the Moon is the Hour for all those who love the Moon-Cat Inghira and who feel energised by the light of the celestial bodies. In the Dance of the Fire Cat, Inghira curls around the world, creating a dark comforting realm where many sleep, but some rejoice in the long hours of the night, an almost noiseless, private domain only a few can truly appreciate. The sound of the night-creatures and the owl in her hag-nest reminds us that we are not forsaken in these hours; life still continues.
The power of Inghira, and the moons, is potent; such healing takes place when she blesses us with sleep, just as her mate Shamash Sun-Cat blesses us with life and vigour. Sleep heals bones and silences the troubled mind.
The light of the moons help wanderers and travellers find their way; just as there are two suns to light our day, there are five moons to light our night. If one chooses to travel at night, this is the Hour to depart, when the moons are high in the sky. Inghira is all-encompassing, and the lights that shine from her belly guide the traveller to where they need to go. She is the one who points the way.
This Hour is perfect for the dreamers, the thinkers and those who feel most alive at night. More easy and less restrictive than the day, allow the power of Inghira to flow through you, let her darkness and twinkling lights inspire you, let your imagination run free.
Compiled by Grimalhame Founder Soriah Deodar, Matriarch Thirdendyal Runstaff of the Clowder of Shilgrene, Matriarch Yllaria Notekyn of the Clowder of Yllaw, and the Elder Pantaliemon Blackwhisker of the settlement of Margrene, in the Time of the Great Gathering, the Old Grimalkin Book of Hours is a collection of observances, rituals, thoughts and prayers for the Priest/esshood, laybeast and the everyday Grimalkin that have been used since ancient times.
When the Order of Tir Oliach was formed, it was decided that a complete and comprehensive Book of Hours should be produced for the citizens, at the citizens’ request. And so, the Book was created, along with illustrations that depicted the various Hours being observed. From the original, full-colour version made at Grimalhame, many were re-created as text-and-woodcut-only, pocket-sized versions for the everyday Grimalkin. These primary copies were sent to every clowder and settlement in Arcadia and copied so every citizen could possess one. From these primary, text-only copies came intricate and richly-decorated Books of Hours that still exist today. The Old Grimalkin Book of Hours is literal in the sense that there is an observation for every hour of the day. Originally written for members of the Order of Tir Oliach, the Book incorporated the religious aspects and philosophical and practical observances and, therefore, catered for those who chose not to practice any faith as well as those who do.
Despite the overtly-religious overtones, the everyday Grimalkin is encouraged to observe the Hours in their own way; communal activities are recommended as well as activities that can be carried out alone and in private. Each Hour will mean something different to every individual; there are no hard and fast rules as to how Hours are conducted, One may choose not to observe the Hours at all, but still retain a copy and refer to it now and again in order to feel and re-affirm the connection to the community and their place in the world. And this is why the Old Grimalkin Book of Hours still retains its appeal seven thousand years after it was written.
For the reader not familiar with the language of Old Grimalkin, the following words are translated. Nichni means night, Arn-Lalast is first-light or morning. Avhai-Lalast is second light or afternoon, and Il-Noste means fall of night or evening.
I do hope you enjoy this Book and find peace within its pages.
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.
Suddenly, Starhawk stopped dead in her tracks. The fire cat, lost in thought, walked straight into her. She was tense and had an odd, glazed expression on her face, as though seeing something that the fire cat could not. He watched her for a few moments, and then she came out of her reverie. Her eyes, now wide and fearful, focused fully on the fire cat.
“Run. Now,” she urged as she set off at a sprint into the mist.
Something evil has found its way into the magical world of the Far Pavilions – something so powerful and deadly that it has the potential to tear a hole in the very fabric of reality. The fire cat must leave the relative safety of the Clowder of Grimalhame and embark on a terrifying journey that will take him beyond the arch of time and ultimately face-to-face with the unearthly force that threatens to destroy his world.
With the Far Pavilions on the brink of war and his people teetering on the edge of destruction, the fire cat must call upon all his courage and self-belief to find a way of defeating this terrible enemy. Can he save his people and his own soul in the process?
And deep below the earth, a creature is stirring …
I admit, I am a tad lazy when it comes to technology. But, alas, times move on quickly and, in order for me to spread the good word of the Grimalkin, I must dance with the devil.
However, I am a Grimalkin with a lot to say! Let me first introduce myself. I am Deputy Clowder Mother of Grimalhame and historian, scholar and academic. I am fond of writing about the world in which I live. If you visit the Grimalhame Press site, there are pages detailing all of the publications to date. If you are fond of cats, dragons and the wonderful world of fantasy, then Grimalhame Press is the page for you. There you will find all the links to the books and a gallery of illustrations, pages of maps and information on who and where we are in the universe.
Grimalhame is an agrarian and egalitarian society. That is to say we live our lives according to the constitution set down for us seven thousand years ago by our Founders. It is a place where every Grimalkin is equal under the law, with equal rights and equal opportunities. We live off the land – we reap and sow, and gather herbs and flowers according to the phases of our five moons. We take great care of your environment and harvest trees responsibly. We are the custodians of the forests in which we live and, in turn, the forest takes care of us by giving us shelter, food and medicine. You can find out more about the Clowder of Grimalhame in my book – Imeldra Moonpaw’s Most Ancient and Magical Clowder of Grimalhame.
In addition to the Fire Cat stories, I will be sharing a little Grimalkin magic with you. We see the world differently to humans and I would like to share this Grimalkin wisdom with you, wisdom passed down to us from our ancient ancestors. Our love of the land and the Great Mother Goddess makes us not that different to human beings who wish to live their lives the Old Way. We have much to share.
But for now, I will leave you with the links to my page and will post updates of the books currently available from Grimalhame Press.
Yours by Star and Stone,
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.
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?
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.