In Norse mythology Odin has two pet ravens: Hugin and Munin- thought and memory accordingly. Each day they leave Odin and return from "Midgard," (literal meaning: middle enclosure) the mortal realm.
Here at the Soul Food Cafe 'Ravens' regularly 'return' from 'Midgard' to roost in this virtual haven, bringing with them, from their mortal worlds, many thoughts and memories.
Gail Kavanagh has been writing and drawing ever since she could hold a pen. Writing and art are both an escape, and a way of making sense of the world, of seeking out the truth. Born an Irish traveler, Gail now lives in Queensland, Australia. Her family is her greatest joy, and often her inspiration for digital art, painting, poetry and even blog creation.
- Creative Fire
- We do not know how, why or even when life began. We do not know how, why or when human life began, or how it evolved from its earliest ancestors to the forms we wear today. We guess at reasons for brown, blue, round and almond eyes - flat, straight or large noses - different hair colours, mouth and lip shapes, ears, languages.
But one thing seems clear. The same creative fire that infused a dead planet with life burns in us. From the earliest times, the desire to create has been a driving force.
- Gail Kavanagh
- I was born in Cobh, Ireland in 1946, into a traveller family. I travelled with fairs, circuses and shows until the early 70s, when I married and settled down to raise seven beautiful Aussie children. Today I live on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, and spend my time doing crafts, art and occasional paid writing gigs. The slower life (after having to make a living as a journalist) is lovely, and suits me to a T.
I have been a member of Heather Blakey's Soul Food Cafe for some time now, and have set up a Gypsy Camp within its boundaries. Soul Food, and Heather Blakey's beautiful world of Lemuria, have been an inspiration to me, helping me create poetry out of my chaotic life.
- Traveller Rose
- It may seem like the height of arrogance for someone unknown to write her story and publish it on the web - but it is precisely these memories of unknown, everyday people that are lost in the passage of time. What we would give for some insight into the lives lived by those whose stories were never told - history records the deeds of the great and the infamous, but some of us yearn to know how the baker, the candlestick maker, and perhaps even the unremembered entertainer, the traveller who passed by and didn't leave a name or a forwarding address, lived their days.
Traveller Rose is the pen name of one of those who passed by - maybe it was your town. Maybe you will recall a skinny traveller child - or `chavvie' in the palari, the language of the travellels - who moved on as quickly as she arrived - there may have been a visit from the circus, a variety show at the local theatre, or a noisy fairgound. These are the stories, of those events, those places, that child and the world she knew, the people, the performers, the laughter and the adventures. This is for her children or grandchildren, really - but also for anyone who wants to sit a while in the caravan, with a mug of hot,strong tea, and hear the tales.
*Traveller Rose is Gail Kavanagh, a writer living in Queensland, Australia. Born a traveller in Cobh, Ireland, in 1946, Gail is writing this blog so that her memories of a world long vanished, so the memories don't vanish along with it.
- Lemurian Star Gazers
- Gather here on starry nights to discuss astrology.
- Lemurian Gypsy Camp
- The theories of Romany Origins have been many; they are the lost tribe of Israel, they were Egyptian (hence `gypsies') - they have even been suggested to be interstellar wanderers from another planet. But it seems that genetic scientists have finally nailed it - the Romany come from India.
Right here in Oz, at the University of Western Australia, Professor Luba Kalaydjieva and her team discovered the origin of the Rom by studying the DNA of up to 10 million European Gypsies.
The study has been going on for 10 years, and is the best evidence yet of the true origin of the Gypsy.
Since Christmas is a religious holiday, Roma all over the world celebrate it according to their chosen religion. Christmas is the main holy day for Catholics and Protestants, while Eastern Orthodox Christians place greater emphasis on celebrating Easter or the New Year.
Czech and Slovak Roma call Christmas Karachonya (or Karachon) and their celebrations display a number of elements derived from the respective majority societies around them, along with their own Romani traditions, some of which even reflect their centuries-old Indian origins.
Among the traditions in which Romani Christmas differs from Czech Christmas are forgiving and reconciliation, and remembering deceased relatives.
Forgiving and reconciliation are very important for Roma, because during the time when the Roma were a completely isolated, they had to have strong solidarity within the group. They were entirely dependent on the community in which they lived, so they could have no dissension. The Roma therefore made use of the Christmas season to reinforce the relationships between members of the family or community. This custom finds expression in idioms found in all Roma groups which are inseparably connected to the Christmas holidays:
O Roma penge tele muken.
O Roma jekh avres phiren te mangel, kaj leske te odmukel.
Roma go to each other to beg forgiveness and be forgiven.
O Roma, kaj save te ulahas rushte, pre Karachonya penge odmuken u aven pale lachhe.
Roma, though they be the worst enemies, forgive and are reconciled during Christmas.
Sar shaj jivas, te na janas jekh avreske te odmukel? How could we live at all, if we didn't learn to forgive each other.
Remembering deceased relatives at Christmas is connected to the belief among the Roma that a person's soul survives them and exists after the body's departure in the next world. The Romani word for the souls of their dead ancestors is mule and they try to be on good terms with them, since the mule can also harm them. During Christmas Roma placate them by leaving them food on the windowsill or in the corner of the room, so they won't haunt them. Roma also talk about their deceased relatives and remeber them over Christmas.
During Advent Roma would prepared for coming christmas holidays - cleaning, the women would whitewash the walls and then the last step would be fixing up the floor - because they didn't have a wooden floor, they would spread yellow clay as a floor. During Advent the Roma would also trying to get enough food for the Christmas holidays, which is why Roma children looked so forward to Christmas - finally once a year they could eat to their heart's content! Roma musicians practiced the songs they would play to the farmers on Christmas night under their windows, and Roma boys learned to exchange best wishes - in other words pass on wishes for good health and fortune for the coming New Year.
For Christmas Eve Roma use the word Velija or Vilija. Just like Czechs, Roma would fast on this day. The strictness of this fast varied, however - in some amilies they simply didn't eat meat until the evening, in others they ate nothing but baked potatoes all day. Christmas Eve dinner was always prepared by the mother, who would be helped by her daughters. The decoration of the Christmas tree was always the responsibility of the boys. Before dinner the father or oldest member of the family would give a speech, and after that a toast and blessing and a remembrance of the dead. Candles would be lit for them and food from each course put in a bowl and set on the window sill or in the corner for them.
For Christmas Eve dinner Roma most often ate cabbage, beans with plums, potatoes, pishot (pastries stuffed with boiled potatoes) and boblaky (buns sprinkled with poppy seeds and soaked in milk). In some areas, Roma went around exchanging best wishes immediately after Christmas Eve dinner, in others they didn't do so until Christmas Day. Romani men and boys went from house to house, so as not to leave anyone out, and exchanged their wishes for health and good fortune. During these rounds, Roma would also forgive each other, because as the older Roma say: when Roma stick together, neither hunger, poverty, nor evil can destroy them.
Christmas Day became a day of Christmas feasting, during which Roma gathered together and ate, even meat. During these banquets the Roma would once again be exchanging best wishes, and singing old Romani songs.
Source: Romano Dzaniben, no. 4, 1995.