To the little victories…
To the little victories…
Mardi Gras has passed us by once again, but I enjoyed the numerous parades that prove that the Gods are alive and well in New Orleans!
Krewe of Oshun…
Oshun is the Loa of love, sexuality, water and fertility. She is a powerful female presence. The first year I lived in NOLA, I wasn’t overly impressed with this parade. Five years later, this krewe has come a long way! This year they put on a beautiful parade that ended up being one of my favorites.
Their parade was dominated by “goddesses,” beautifully be-feathered and be-jeweled ladies that represented tranquility, love and other feminine qualities.
This parade was also really special because there was a group of Baby Dolls. Baby Dolls were a krewe of African American women whose origins are based in prostitution in the 1800s. African American women were not allowed to work in the legal prostitution district of Storyville and so they dressed up as baby dolls to attract attention. Even after prostitution was made illegal, the Baby Doll tradition continued. The tradition had died out for many years, but has recently been revived by women who are drawn to the history of these strong women.
There were many great sights in Oshun!
The Krewe of Cleopatra was next. This was another favorite. The Krewe of Cleopatra is all female krewe that used to ride on the West Bank. It moved to the Uptown parade route a few years ago and always has beautiful floats. My boss rides in Cleopatra and its always fun when you know a rider!
Krewe D’Etat’s skeletons are always a fun parade.
All photos copyright of Lauren DeVoe. Please do not use without permission!
In 25 minutes, Mardi Gras will be officially over. The Catholics will be in church, Lent will be starting and the rest of us will spend the next few days recovering. I went out today and walked through the Bywater, the Marigny and ended up on Frenchmen St, which is where all the locals go for Mardi Gras. I followed the St. Anne’s parade, a DIY walking parade that starts in the Bywater (right by my friend’s house!) and grows as it walks. People join in and walk together to the French Quarter to start off their MG celebrations.
I am completely exhausted! Enjoy some of the photos I took!
From happily tucked into bed…Happy Mardi Gras All!
All photos copyright of Lauren DeVoe, please don’t use without permission!
Wherein I share some of my costuming projects and natter on at you about clay and hot glue…because I want to.
I wouldn’t say this is a how to…since that would imply that I know what I’m doing. But if for some reason you need to make a Thranduil crown, here’s how I did mine. I was super pleased with how it turned out. It was a quick and dirty project and while there are real tutorials out there by much more serious crafters, my few easy steps did what I wanted and needed them to do.
For those of you who don’t know who Thranduil is…Thranduil is the king of the Woodland realm in the Lord of the Rings saga. You know, that place where Bilbo had to rescue the dwarves and smuggle everybody out in wine kegs?
You know…this guy?
Or…better yet…this guy…?
My friends and I do a Randy Thrandy parade group every year. And this year I decided to break down and make myself a crown.
My New Year’s Eve was a little more exciting this year than usual.
My friend was 40 weeks pregnant and I had decided to spend the week following Solstice and Christmas with her as she waited.
She was originally due on the 29th, but the 29th came and went and nothing happened. I went with her to a sonogram appointment on the 30th and we spent the day walking around various stores. She was going stir crazy at home and so we decided that running errands would keep her occupied and moving. Her partner had to work, so she and I ventured out into the wide world and Did Things.
We came home and had a nice dinner. The whole house sat down to play a game of Scrabble. My friend’s partner had come home and passed out after a long day of work and had sort of woken up when we decided to go get ice cream. And that’s when my friend’s water broke.
After a little bit of…is that what we think it is…?!!! And some phone calls to the midwife and the doctor, we piled into the car and drove to the hospital.
Her sister’s boyfriend and I were sitting in the waiting room while they took her back for the doctor’s initial check. He’s known my friend for a little longer than I have. As we sat there, anxiously waiting, I looked over at him and asked him if all those years ago he would have ever pictured himself sitting in that waiting room, dating her little sister and having her as such a huge part of his life? He had to laugh as he gave an emphatic “No.”
I met my friend twelve years ago as a college freshman. I took an Intro to Women’s Studies class during my first summer in school. I was painfully shy back then. I would sneak into classes and do my best to hide, hoping not to be noticed. I remember the first day of class doing just that. As I sat in the back, this large, vibrant Valkyrie walked through the door and seemed to suck all the light out of the room. She was tall, had a mohawk and wore outfits that I couldn’t have come up with in my wildest dreams. She always had an opinion and was never afraid to speak up. I was fascinated and smitten and a little bit afraid all at the same time. And thus did I get a glimpse of what the future had in store for me.
Twelve years ago I wouldn’t have ever pictured myself sitting in that waiting room either.
So many things have changed over the last twelve years. We were all different people back then and yet, here we were.
The next twelve hours passed in a misery of contractions and annoying nurses who didn’t seem able to leave well enough alone. And finally, they had to make the decision to do a C-section.
We all piled back into the waiting room and kept waiting. It was a busy night and there were three other families holding similar vigils. We shared stories and reminisced about both my friend and her partner and how far we had all come: through hard times, through good times.
My friend’s baby girl was born later that evening and I finally drove home after 36 hours without sleep, in time to kiss my own partner at midnight before passing out.
The next day I was sitting there, holding that teeny tiny perfect little thing that my friends had created together and I was overwhelmed. It reminded me that life keeps going. No matter what you’re dealing with or going through, there are still new babies being born. Sometimes it’s downright obnoxious how life just refuses to stop and pause for our own battles and upsets. She reminded me that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that there is still joy and beauty out there to be had.
So I’ll take her entry into the world as an omen for my New Year. How can any year be bad after such a start? And I somehow doubt that there will be any other New Year’s Eves that will be quite as exciting in my future.
Happy New Year!
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.” – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings
Today of course starts one of my busiest weekends of the year!
It might be a little cliche, but Samhain is my favorite sabbat and I go out and participate in numerous Halloween activities around the city.
This year, for our costume day at work, I decided to go with Miss Argentina from the movie Beetlejuice. Miss Argentina is literally on screen for about 10 seconds, but she has always been one of my favorites.
Miss Argentina is the receptionist in the Underworld. I think that would be an amazing job to have!
Hades…Arawn…any Underworld Gods/Goddesses out there…I have excellent filing and customer service skills! (Or maybe I shouldn’t tempt that one…?)
Blessed Samhain All!
I graduated on Friday with my M.A. in English Literature. I did this degree full time over the last two years as I worked full time. I graduated with a 4.0, which was an act of humongous will and stubbornness.
I am very proud of my degree. I wrote my thesis on the witch Erichtho and passed my defense with distinction. Hopefully in the future I can continue the little scholarship on this very interesting Greek witch and contribute to the witchcraft discourse in an academic way.
At graduation, I was confronted with an invocation by a Catholic priest who ignored every non Christian (well really, every non Catholic) in the room. It was uncomfortable. I thought it was in poor taste from a university that celebrates diversity.
Our speakers were decent enough, they had some interesting things to say, but nothing that truly moved and inspired me.
Today, Neil Gaiman posted a link to Ian McEwan’s commencement address to Dickenson College. This is the speech I wish I had heard. I think the things he talks about are so important in today’s world and in today’s America.
If you want to read through it, Time posted the entire speech here.
McEwan says at the end:
I hope you’ll use your fine liberal education to preserve for future generations the beautiful and precious but also awkward, sometimes inconvenient and even offensive culture of freedom of expression we have. Take with you these celebrated words of George Washington: “If the freedom of speech is taken away then, dumb and silent, we may be led like sheep to the slaughter.”
We may be certain that Dickinson has not prepared you to be sheep.
Remember that your words have power. At the end of the day, intention and will is at the heart of every magical working and when you blindly parrot the speech of others, without truly investigating or thinking about what is being said, you help their words take action and form in the world around us. Our speech has consequences, sometimes in ways that we aren’t even aware of. Sticks and stones as the old childhood rhyme goes, but we should all know better.
Here is the very first review of the new book by Kenny Klein and myself! Fairy Tale Magic, coming out in May on Llewellyn (Amazon is already taking pre-orders). Review by Eryn Bagley for puretextuality.com:
“Klein and DeVoe execute brilliant relationships between engaging archetypal iconography embedded in non-mainstream cultural folk tales with their applications in the setting of practical earth-based magic. The authors elegantly correlate primitive and sacred meanings of magical theory in fairy tales and guide beginning magic practitioners through lessons based in ancient lore. Klein and DeVoe’s research of each apologue offers an impressive understanding of the implications that magic practitioners face when utilizing and calling upon the energies of the universe. By following the precedence set forth in Fairy Tale Magic, those who use the natural elements in their workings will not be steered wrong by the guidance that this work offers. Not only are the stories that the authors chose engaging, their explanations of archetypal significances are concise and extremely valuable. In this reader’s opinion, I would grant this title a 5 out 5 stars. Thank you to Netgalley and Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd for the opportunity to enjoy this read.”