Holiday greetings from Myth & Moor

Donkey sketch by Sean Briggs

Each year the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth (just south of here on the Devon coast) hosts "Carols by Candlelight" at Christmas time -- though for the last two years, because of the pandemic, the event has been held entirely online. You can watch it in the video above, or go here for additional videos introducing the Sanctuary and its shaggy denizens. 

I love the Sanctuary, full of hundreds of donkeys rescued from abuse and neglect or unwanted due to age or illness, now living in comfortable barns and beautiful fields in the rolling hills above the sea. Our family sponsors a 12-year-old donkey named Zena, pictured below. She's the loveliest donkey at Paccombe Farm. Okay, I admit I'm a little biased, but just look at that little sweetie....

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year -- Christmas, Solstice, Yule, Hanukkah, another holiday, or simply making through another year -- we wish you love, light, warmth, magic, abundant creativity, and the support of a good community. You'll always find the latter here at Myth & Moor.

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The beautiful donkey sketch above is by illustrator Sean Briggs, who was born on the Pennine hills of West Yorkshire and now lives and works in Buckinghamshire. Please go here to see more of his art. The photograph is of Zena, the donkey we sponsor, taken on a visit to the Sanctuary earlier this month.


Happy Thanksgiving from Myth & Moor

Old Oak

Each year I post my "Prayer of Gratitude" on Thanksgiving Day . . . and this year I need the reminder of all I am thankful for more than most. A member of my American family has died, a close relative I grew up with as a sister, and whose sudden loss has come as a shock. There has been so much loss for so many people over the past pandemic year, and to any of you who are also struggling right now (and aren't we all, in one way or another?) I send love and solidarity. One of the many things I am grateful for is the Mythic Arts community, and for your kind support of Myth & Moor even during those times when life takes me out of the studio and away from blogging here. I will be back. I'm longing to resume our conversations about books and myth and art.

For all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving: the hound and I wish you a warm and wonderful holiday. 

Hound and oak

A Prayer of Gratitude

Wind and water, feather and stone, green grass, white cloud, black fur, red tongue, the panting of the the breath and the pounding of the heart and the winding of the path we’re traveling on, these are the things I’m grateful for, 

Up Nattadon Hill

this hill, these prints of hoof and paw, of fairy footsteps in mud and moss, for the hard climb up and the bounding back down,

Down Nattadon Hill

for labor, for ease, for persistence, for joy, for all these things and more besides: for birds and bees and beetles and brambles and the last blackberries in bracken and thorn, for the scent of time and the taste of age, and the brittle brown leaves snapping underfoot, for the spirits that dance in mist and smoke and the ancestors in our blood and bones, for the mystery that some call God but that I call rain and thistle and fossil and crow, 

Hound in bracken

and love, of course, I am thankful for love, and light, laughter, delight, desire, 

Pony on the hill

but also for loss and grief (those patient teachers), dark nights, new moons, bright stars,

Faery food

for sleep, for dreams, for waking at the witching hour in a bed that’s safe and warm, for the ticking of the clock, and the creaking of the walls, and the hush that comes just before the dawn, and my dear one’s breath rising and falling and a little dog snoring by the kitchen hearth, and the house that holds us, the life that molds us, the children, the friends, the neighbors, the village, the hill that shelters us in its palm and the land that roots us in place and time, for all this and more I am awestruck, I am dumbstruck, I am grateful, and I am giving thanks.

In the valley that holds our village

Tilly, 2021


On Summer Solstice

Tilly at Scorhill stone circle

Tilly and I wish you all the good blessings of midsummer, when the borders between the worlds are thin and the stones of Dartmoor rise up and dance. Be sure to carry salt and oak leaves in your pocket, garland yourself with wildflowers, and drive your cattle through the smoke of a midnight bonfire for protection from fairy mischief!

A swarm of fairies by Alan Lee

My apologies for the lack of posts last week; I'm afraid I've been down with health problems again. I'm back in the studio today, catching up on the work I've missed, and hope to be posting regularly from tomorrow onward.

Let's raise a toast to good health for all: for strength and grace of body, mind, and spirit. Wishes and spells have particular potency at this magical time of year.

Hound and Stone

Pictures: Tilly at Scorhill stone circle on Dartmoor, and a swarm of fairies by Alan Lee.


Easter on Dartmoor

Wild daffodils in our woods

Tree Child by Terri WindlingAs the morning fills with the magical sound of church bells drifting over the village, Tilly and I send these wild daffodils out to all who have celebrated Easter today, or Passover recently, or any other seasonal festival, marking cycles of myth and faith and the turning of the Great Wheel.

Here in Devon, the days are warming and wildflower season has begun -- not just the daffodils, but primroses, violets, and lesser celandine. ''People from a planet without flowers," wrote Iris Murdoch, "would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.'' And, indeed, we are. After a long pandemic winter, it's good to see the hedgerows blooming and life returning.

Sadly, the sunrise Easter service usually held outdoors at the top of our hill is not taking place again this year due to Covid-19 restrictions. Here's a post about it from a previous year, titled "Morning has broken."

Daffodils and hound

The little Tree Child sketch above is one of mine.