An Allelujia Choir


An Allelujia Chorus is a chorus comprising of one or two who think that the gifts at the famed Soul Food Cafe are pan de cielo, bread of heaven.

Everyone at Soul Food came, humbly, hoping to find a warm spot where their creativity would flourish. Riversleigh Manor is just one place where everyone is valued for their gift.

Long standing members of Soul Food, those who have walked the corridors and found the inner sanctum, become Ravens.


This year Sibyl Riversleigh is the choir master who leads a very special choir of Soul Food Cafe Ravens.

This calendar will be all about THEM. As the days unfold the Ravens will take up their place on the tree to engage us all.

You can help form a very special Allelujia Chorus by regularly commenting on the work of those people who have the courage to put themselves on the line and post on the public blogs at Soul Food.

2008 ADVENTure Calendar


Riversleigh Manor is a rambling old house with quarters all over the place. It is a bit like a rabbit warren and some guests have disappeared never to be seen again.

This manor house was once the house of Lord and Lady Riversleigh and after the death of Lord Riversleigh was inherited by Lady Sibyl Riversleigh, the youngest daughter of the Riversleigh's. It is the first port of call for pilgrims who step through Enchanteur's magic portal.

Paths lead, from Riversleigh through the Murmuring Woods to the The Hermitage, the Lemurian Abbey and the cove where the Calabar is often moored.

Riversleigh Manor is the base home of those who have decided to come and discover the magic of Lemuria.

This year Sibyl Riversleigh is bringing back an old Riversleigh tradition by opening the house and inviting guests to spend a season with her over the Thanksgiving, Christmas Holiday period.

Sibyl's Christmas Blog

Sibyl Raven 

Sibyl Riversleigh by Heather Blakey

For the duration of this calendar Soul Food Community members who have Word Press accounts will be able to engage and participate in Sibyl's Christmas Festivities. Sibyl's Christmas blog has been operating since members took up residence in the lead up to the annual Soul Food Calendar.

While you are at Riversleigh you will meet the housekeeper, Ebony Wilder, staff members who help maintain the estate and a cast of fascinating characters who have accepted Sibyl's invitation to stay for the holiday season.

In the spirit of ancient times the usual order of the year will be suspended: grudges and quarrels forgotten; wars interrupted or postponed. Businesses, courts, schools will be closed. Rich and poor will become equal, slaves will be served by masters, children will head the family. Cross-dressing and masquerades, merriment of all kinds will prevail. A mock queen -- the Lady of Misrule -- will be crowned. Candles and lamps will chase away the spirits of darkness.

During the 12 days of Christmas, naughty pirate women will roam freely on the earth's surface. They are known more for their practical joking than any real harm--braiding horse's tails, souring milk, putting out the home fire in a particularly indelicate manner.

In other words, it will a Dionysian fun fest and residents will be able to interact at Riversleigh Manor.

And then, just when you think you have had more fun than you can cope with, along comes the twelfth night. At midnight, on the Twelfth Night, in January 2009, a group will leave Riversleigh, while the moon is low, will set out on another adventure with le Enchanteur, that shape shifter who helps pilgrims seeking adventure find adventure and a whole lot more.


This calendar has been designed by Greg Blakey and presented by Heather Blakey in conjunction with members of the Soul Food Cafe. Sibyl Riversleigh is one of Heather's alter egos. Other alter egos belonging to Heather Blakey, who will make appearances on this calendar are le Enchanteur and Ebony Wilder.

All material on this calendar is protected by copyright. Any infringements of the copyright of any of the above, named parties, will be treated very seriously. Feel free to spread the work by linking to this site but do not use individual work without express permission from Heather Blakey. You can reach her at heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm.

Day One

"It is important to have a container for all that we sense and hear from the wild nature. For some women it is their journals, where they keep track of every feather that flies by, for others it is the creative art, they dance it, paint it, make it into a script. Remember Baba Yaga? She has a big pot; she moves through the sky in a cauldron that is actually a mortle and pestle. In other words, she has a container to put things in"
The 2008 Advent Calendar is a creative container which holds the work of Soul Food Cafe Ravens who have worked on the site for an extended period of time. This calendar celebrates the work of these creative women.

Your Allelujia Choir Master
Meet Sibyl Riversleigh

Sibyl Riversleigh

Sibyl Riversleigh by Lori Gloyd

Lady Sibyl Riversleigh is the youngest daughter of Lord Riversleigh. Her mother died at the time of her birth and Lord Riversleigh sent her to boarding school, in the City of Ladies, the captial of Lemuria, when she was only five. Lady Riversleigh was educated in fine arts at the Cyberian Mouseion and is an accomplished actress.

Lord Riversleigh never approved of Sibyl's career or her determination to remain single and he disowned her when she went on the stage at a theatre in Cyberia and established the Taverna di Muse. He hated the idea of his daughter being a rebellious Blue Stocking and was going to disinherit her.

Sadly, Lord Riversleigh, had much in common with Ebenezer Scrooge of Dickens fame. Like Scrooge, Riversleigh had a "tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone." No one liked the man. The majority of the tenants at Riversleigh "knew him to be a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice."

Charles was little better. "Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Charles, how are you? When will you come to see me?" No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Charles. Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, "No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!"

Upon the sudden, mysterious death of her father and brother Charles, Sibyl inherited the family Manor house. When she returned she found the manor house, the estate and village had all fallen in to disrepair. All joy had long been stripped from the place. Riversleigh was all but a desert, a wasteland.

One night, as she sat alone, in one of the empty rooms, shivering from the cold that filled the place, the ghost of her mother came. Her mother held her gently and explained how her death had embittered Riversleigh, She reminded Sibyl of times they had spent in the Murmuring Woods and pleaded with her to help restore joy to the old estate. She explained that this was the only way that old Riversleigh could be freed from the terrible judgment that had been imposed upon him upon his death.

To inspire Sibyl, her mother told her all about the the annual renewal festival of the Babylonians and explained how this festival was adopted by the Persians. She explained how one of the themes of these festivals was the temporary subversion of order. Sibyl listened in awe as her mother explained how masters and slaves exchanged places and a mock king was crowned. Apparently masquerades spilled into the streets as the old year died, rules of ordinary living were relaxed.

With a mission in her heart, Sibyl has opened the doors of Riversleigh. for the Christmas New Year Season. She has agreed to help create a special Advent Festival and will ensure that December is a time of sheer Dionysian joy.

No sooner did Sibyl agree to give over to wild joy than a transformation began. New life has been breathed in to the whole estate. The house is now open to artists, writers, musicians and travelling itinerants and people are arriving from all over the world. Feasts and gift giving have begun and the place is being decorated with greenery.

Under her mother's guidance Sibyl is becoming a true patron of the arts and a muse to many who come live in this old house.

Arrivals and Departures at Riversleigh


Lori Gloyd's inner critic leaves the Manor House to stoke fires elsewhere.

All sorts of interesting people, from all over the world, have begun to arrive at Riversleigh Manor, with their noisy alter egos in toe, carrying bags and generally making themselves useful. Gentle, creative alter egos like Imogen Crest. Cheshire D. Smith, Thalia or She Wolf are welcomed immediately. Some alter egos, the critics in our midst, are quickly identified by the sharp eyed Sibyl, and they are taken off to make themselves useful stoking the fires of Satan. Let's face it! Critics can be more gainfully employed fuelling fires of discontent amidst those who share their perspective of life.


A Room at Riversleigh by Winnie Rose Reyes

Orientate yourself by visiting some of the places that are so much a part of Riversleigh. Visualize arriving at Riversleigh along with other people. Consider what Riversleigh looks like and take the time to stand and observe the comings and goings as others appear with their alter egos. Take the time to set up a room (a Word Press blog) for yourself and your alter egos. It is going to be a long stay so those egos better get used to the idea.

Oh and by the way! You are all signed in to join in the fun on Sibyl's Blog. You can comment without being signed in but it is fun to post as well.

Make sure to join in the merriment and post your impressions of Riversleigh on Sibyl's Christmas Blog.