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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.
“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,
Chief Historian and Deputy
Clowder Mother of Grimalhame
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.
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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.
Grimalkins are, by our very nature, connoisseurs of comfort. We like the warm, soft and comfortable things in life. We like to get up, have our breakfasts and then see where the wind takes us. We keep things simple; we know everything is in it’s rightful place and rightful time, including ourselves.
We have no gadgets or TV machines like you do. We do not feel the need to watch the clock or get things done by a certain time each day. We do what needs to be done and that is enough for us. We do not beat ourselves up for not being able to get everything done in a day. Life is too short for that. There is more to life than cramming everything you possibly can into one day and leave no time to just be.
Grimalkins are happier because we have one of two choices: like it or lump it. We are not bombarded with a never-ending stream of conflicting information on how the world is, what we should think, how we should feel and how we must be. We think for ourselves; we do not allow others to do our thinking for us. We might disagree on certain things, but that is life. Every creature has had a different experience and so will naturally come to very different conclusions. You humans are far too hard on each other, and yourselves. You are losing the ability on how to just be.
Grimalkins practice mindfulness all of the time. Instead of worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, we think of the now. We apply ourselves to the task in paw at that very moment. It is easier said than done and takes practice; some minds are too cluttered or too full of thoughts to be able to just descend just one mental octave and think about only one thing. But it can be done. Take back your control starting with your mind.
I want to tell you, as one creature to another, it is okay to think. It is okay to feel. It is okay not not think and not feel too. It is okay to be still and quiet. You do not have to take on board every bit of information you are given. It is okay to empty the mental in-tray from time to time. Be still and know that it is okay.
Don’t try and conform. It only leads to frustration, anger and sadness. In a world where everyone is encouraged (or even forced) to think the same as everyone else, it is vitally important you find the strength within yourself to step outside the box and have a different perspective on things. Your thoughts and your feelings are not the property of others. Never let anyone tell you what to think or feel. That is wrong. Equally, never tell others how to think or feel either. Celebrate your differences. If you can’t agree, then be respectful and part ways. You can’t be expected to agree with everyone all of the time.
Leave yourself space to think. Thinking is fluid, like the sea. You may have one opinion one day and another the next. Be open to ideas and notions that challenge your perspective. Don’t cling rigidly to one ideology or another. It is okay to get things wrong sometimes. It’s called learning.
We can’t grow if we can’t learn. You are responsible for what goes into your brain. This is a time of great change and upheaval. We Grimalkins are seeing your world change in ways that are frightening and disturbing. But by thinking and feeling openly, you are adapting to this change. You are waking up. You are upgrading and moving up to the next level. It may be painful at first, but it will be worth it. It is more important than ever to challenge the status quo. I can’t stress how important that is for your world right now. Embrace the changes happening within you. You are in control.
Take back your control.
Resist the temptation to be seduced by those in power who claim to have all the answers – the politicians, the governments, the ‘churches’ and the cults. I assure you, they do not. Do not hand over your hard-earned coin to an establishment who claims that you will be spiritually ‘cleansed’, or an establishment that works to separate human beings from one another, that divides and breaks down the human spirit only to be rebuilt in their image, one that indoctrinates and controls, one that shuns and ostracises. These false temples serve no purpose but to control and crush the human being’s sense of the divine. You do not need coin or indoctrination to find what you seek.
You can only find the truth when you look within. Find your own truth.
Let your mind be an ocean that ebbs and flows, let it be a fertile field in which new thoughts and ideas grow. Let it be a sky that is open and clear, ready for you to spread your wings and fly into it without fear or guilt. Never let anyone make you feel guilty for thinking freely.
But do not let your thoughts and ideas turn to darkness; do not force your thoughts onto others. With thoughts and words come responsibilities and consequences. If your words have darkness behind them, or anger or fear, look to why that is. Many a bad word has been spoken in fear or anger. Be mindful of the hurt you may cause. Be mindful of how you would feel if others said hurtful words to you.
Words have power.
Try to find balance in both your inner and outer world. While it may not always be peaceful, it is possible to find havens within them. Take comfort in those fleeting havens and know that you are in your rightful place and rightful time. Also be mindful of those who would try and seduce you into giving away your power, your thoughts and your ideas.
I am lucky to live in a world where this is a normal state of being, a world where every creature is valued, there their thoughts and feeling matter. We keep it simple so we have the time and space to think and thinking good thoughts can lead to great things.
The truth is out there, my friends. Have the courage to go and find it.
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.