Bran is the Celtic word for Raven, ubran is the Welsh name. Raven symbolizes protection, initiation and healing. It brings in deep healing and signifies the death of one thing to bring in the birth of another. Raven’s other attributes are eloquence, change in consciousness, wisdom, messages from spirit and something unexpected, but beneficial would happen soon.

AmerIndians associated Raven with magick, a powerful medicine or power that gives courage to enter the void, the Great Mystery where Great Spirit resides. When Raven appears, there will be a positive change in consciousness. Raven guards ritual magick and healing.

Raven brought light into the darkness of the world and transformed and created part of Maka, Mother Earth. He named plants and taught animals.

Raven is the hallmark of shape-shifting. Raven could see all and find things that are hidden.
ATC by The Hoarders Daughter

Meet Thalia - Who I Am Now


Thalia is everything from a magical-divine child riding Pegasus to an overweight crone with backaches.  She can range from a sea turtle to an eagle, from a mother to a Tudor Shakespearean, from a mermaid to a warrior to a squirrel.  She is a shape shifter who lives in the Arkansas Ozarks, enjoying the healing richness of the beautiful rolling hills and mountains, lakes and rivers, four seasons and wonderful people.  Diversity is One and Transformation is All.

Related books:
Sesame Street: We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Jane Kates and illustrated by Joe Mathieu
Typhon’s Children by Toni Anzetti

Thalia Online:

Christmas Tree Transformation


One much-loved tradition I grew up with centered on the Christmas tree.  If it snowed, my father would pull me into town on the sled or we would drive.  We’d pick out the tree, load it on the sled or the top of the car, and return.  It would remain outside until Christmas Eve afternoon when Dad would haul the tree into the living room, get it prepared in its holder and tie it up in place so exuberant kids wouldn’t inadvertently topple it.

I remember looking at the tree every year and wondering why it had looked so much better outside, when it was purchased, and how it was so scrawny nothing would improve it.  Years later I could totally empathize with Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree program, relating to both Charlie and Lucy’s viewpoints.  I was always disappointed as I marched up the stairs to bed after my younger siblings all had gone to bed.  The presents we had gotten one another were in small piles in the living room, waiting for Santa to come, fully decorate the tree, and bring presents to augment our meager piles.  He would have the cookies and milk we left for him and be gone to do the same for everyone else all over the world.

And every year, as I came down the dark  stairs by 6 am, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the fully light-covered tree with each strand of silver tinsel put on separately.  Even knowing my parents spent most of the night decorating the tree and gathering, wrapping and putting together presents did not take away from the beauty and wonder of seeing the tree that morning.  It was always an incredible transformation—never taken for granted.  I still entwine little lights in a hanging philodendron to be savored all year long.

Gifts were opened Christmas morning, followed by breakfast, and then church.  Relatives arrived in the afternoon and we all enjoyed lots of food.  Didn’t everyone celebrate Christmas that way?

I married a man whose tradition put up the tree (and maybe even a fake one) the week before Christmas.  They opened presents and went to church Christmas Eve.  They slept in a bit on Christmas Day, then visited and ate again.

It took some “conflict resolution” to come to terms on how to “do” Christmas.  As it turned out we spent our first Christmas in Panama which was totally different from either of our traditions.  We later worked out a pattern that satisfied both of us and became the pattern for our children.

For the Reader

*What were your traditions as a child?
*What was the first time your tradition conflicted with someone else’s?
*In the face of so much change over the years, what is  the essence of your tradition that the  present-you needs in order to feel it is  Christmas?

Merry Christmas



The Rookery - Day Eighteen

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest…a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness… Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
- Albert Einstein -

Compassion is the awareness of a deep bond between yourself and all creation.
Eckhart Tolle

Discovering Soul Food

In March of 2008, I happened upon Soul Food Café, an online group founded by Heather Blakey, promoting daily writing and recombining words and art in an incredible offering of food for the soul.  Previously, I wrote mostly memoir and had just started creating collages.

I was smitten, and overwhelmed, by what I discovered in the Soul Food Café maze of pages, not knowing where to start, yet knowing I wanted to be a part of this creative fantasy world of words and imagery.  Focusing on Heather’s Adventure Calendar of 2007, I followed the provided step-by-step directions for developing a creative blog.  This then gave me a forum in which to share my writing and collages, adding them to my newly constructed blog and at SoulFood's Pythian Games in a casual manner that satisfied me.

Pythian Games prompts inspired my Identity Poem and then, following the rabbit hole prompt, brought forth A Squirrel's World, which, without my realizing it, provided what became the basic character for much of my further writing.  Some Pythian prompts elicited poetry and serious writing concerning cancer, whereas most allowed for Lemurian adventure  establishing The Shape Shifter, who then went Into The Well and from there into the cave in The Tunnel of History, where history of the Trail of Tears and Butterfield Coach merged.


Shifting into an alligator gar got the character out of the cave and near a circus, combining memories of circuses past and making circus figures for my granddaughter last Christmas.  This moved the posting to The City of Ladies.  Shy, the shape-shifter became a moth in Different Scrubs for Different Tubs.  Entering the catacombs, she was surprised to encounter people long dead as they spoke of their need to have their stories told.  This led to the Hall of Remembrances to hear one child's story of abuse long ago.

Leaving the catacombs, she went to the Mouseion where she further learned of the Muses and claimed her name.  Under the influence of the vapors of the Tholos, she became one of the original Delphi Eagles.  She then rode the rainbow and wound up at Tholos Forgiveness.

Spurred on by the Enchanteur's call, she went to Rainbow Beach and started her search for the Triton.  This culminated in her meeting the Triton and seeing the roots of her shape shifting abilities from ancient times. She has since taken off again nd is ready for the next adventure.

Combining fantasy fiction and memoir at Soul Food has given me a greater freedom to express myself and who I really am. 

Arriving at Riversleigh

“We fear that we are inadequate, but our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves: “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be these things?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people around you won’t feel insecure.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically releases others.”
- Marriane Williamson from ‘A Return to Love’ -

Shivering, she darted across the snow, her feet making no indentation in the white crust glossed on like a final coat of icing during the last freezing rain.  She had been hiding in the woods, trying to keep warm and dry, afraid to enter the rambling house whose lights beckoned with such welcome and warmth.  Hesitant, not sure if she had anything to offer, she watched as the doors of Riversleigh opened to invite in others as they arrived. 

A gust of wind pushed her physically and mentally toward the entrance wreathed in lights.  The door was chinked enough to allow her egress, so she slipped in, unnoticed.  Scurrying along the wall, she followed the scent of delicious food into another room.  People moved to and from the table, placing items on their plates.  She was able to move unnoticed, checking out one morsel after another. Memories wafted to her along with the fragrances of baked cookies and other treats, laced with wisps of music drifting from an even different room, punctuated by the chatter of adults and the laughter of children.  Chocolate, walnuts, pumpkin, cheesecake, apple pie, fruitcake—all satisfied the palette and the expectations of Christmas.     

Full for the moment, she moved into a secluded corner to sit and relax, even as she took note of some things being different.  Her mind drifted back to that first Christmas in Panama, which wasn’t her idea of what Christmas should be.

What did I learn from that Christmas that has helped me deal with change ever since?  Does that Christmas in Panama and this one in Riversleigh have any similarities?  She thinks it is mostly about finding patterns leading to transformation.  The ability to transform what is to what might be, and what one expects to what one actually has is so important.  The journey I took that first Christmas from being sorry for myself to gratitude for what I had, and then sharing some of that abundance with others transformed the day into a real Christmas in any climate.   Mundane transformation occurs even after taking individual ingredients and stirring them into a cookie or a cake or a meal or of taking material and creating clothing; creative transformation occurs when taking words and making them into poetry or memoir or when taking individual colors and images and making them into art.  One can influence the transformation of how most people view death to allowing for dignity and transformation in trauma; or moving from the grief of loss into grateful healing and wonderful memories.  And the transformation of dying into transformation itself. 



Transformation is where we release one identity and allow for another identity.  It challenges the essence of “Who am I?  How much can I give up and still be me?  Am I really giving up a part of myself or am I expanding myself to encompass others with different identities, religions and cultures, physical and emotional traits, human and non-human:  in other words, ‘throwing out the borders of my tent.’   This transformation does not make you less than you had been, but more of who you really are.”   

Transformation can also be changing one’s physical shape to fit the occasion, thus allowing for the next new lesson to be learned as one walks in another’s shoes.  Each transformational experience releases us from the focus of ourselves to identifying with others, whoever they may be.  And the ages-old transformation of  having reached the darkest day to moving towards the light, even while recognizing that in this world of duality, what is Christmas Winter Solstice in one location will be Christmas Summer Solstice in another. 

Riversleigh appeared to be a place where interesting things might happen.  And the guests looked extremely intriguing.  Maybe she did have something to offer.  She had been enjoying being involved in Soul Food Café and its many activities, as well as doing SoulCollage cards, and now combining the two.  A shape shifting character had emerged on its own, one who travelled on the various journeys that seemed to be versatile enough to intrigue readers.  

She glanced down at her tiny paws and thin tail, twitched her whiskers, darted among the feet of some people as she ran under the settee.  She might stay here for a while as she was.  There were good things remaining to eat after a party in this house.  But she will have to watch out for any cats or other critters that might like to nibble on a mouse.

A Challenge

How far can you ‘throw out the borders of your tent’, expanding your identity to include understanding others?  To walk in the shoes of:
*your sister, your mother, your father, your brother, your grandparents
*your neighbor
*someone from another walk of life
*someone from another area of the country
*someone from another country or a different religion
*your dog or cat
*the birds or squirrels in your backyard
*the spider in your closet or a mouse in your attic
*the elephant in the zoo
The possibilities are endless in the journey to encompass all, as Einstein suggests, as we free ourselves from the prison of our singular ego identities.