by Lori Gloyd

If you are fascinated with ravens, read incessantly about them, observe them in nature, can recognize their unique voice, collect their feathers, collect raven art and artifacts, and know their literature and folklore from around the world, you are probably an amateur CORVIDOLOGIST, which is the branch of Ornithology specializing in RAVENS and their family.  And magically speaking, Raven is your totem.

Meet Lori Gloyd


Lori Gloyd is a fourth-generation Californian and grew up in the Los Angeles area where the multicultural diversity and eclectic sensibilities of the area influenced her development as a photographer, writer, and artist. Her specialty is "recasting reality" by using her photographs as foundations for digital montages and mandalas. Lori was educated in the Humanities and sums up her creative identity as "a historian by schooling, an observer of the natural realm by inclination, and a voyager through the world of spirit by compulsion." She explores the convergence of history, place, and culture in her creative works, often infusing her pieces with a spirit of otherworldliness. Her short stories, photographs, and digital artwork appear regularly at the Soul Food Cafe. Lori currently resides atop an ancient sand dune near Los Angeles.

Lori Online


Desert Muse

Lori's blogs include Into the Blue, a portal to all her works on the web, and Return to the Garden, resources for growth and change.

Cartography of Spirit


Montage artist, Lori Gloyd, presents a series of digitally-created mandalas and shares a guided meditation.

Connections to the Source


My mother always took down the tree and other Christmas decorations on January 1.  A lot of people take down their tree on December 26, wanting to be done with the holidays.   Many people hold the tradition of keeping the tree up until January 6, Epiphany, the day that many believe the three wise men brought their gifts to the baby Jesus.  My mom, however, did not want a dead tree becoming a fire hazard in her house, nor spend any more days than necessary picking dead pine needles out of the carpet.  So on January 1, the tree and the decorations got hauled down.   

But, however practical my mom was, she was also a bit whimsical.   She believed that keeping the Christmas decorations up until the New Year would invite all the good will and happiness of the holidays into the next year.   To take the tree and the decorations down before then would invite disaster.  This is how she explained it to us.   I don’t know anyone else who follows that tradition.  Maybe it is some ancient Scandinavian custom– maybe it is something my mom made up.  I don’t know, but I follow the same custom today.  I don’t have a tree in my home at Christmas because I don’t have the room and I have developed an allergy to them, but I put up lights and other decorations that I do not take down until the New Year.  

I don’t do it for the same reasons my mom did.   I think taking the decorations down on December 26 is far too abrupt a way to end the Advent season.  I love the cyclic flow of the season and I need to ease out of it.   I don’t do it to bring in the good tidings of the season… well, okay, maybe just a little bit…

Really, though, the main reason I keep this unique custom is that it was something my mom did.  It is a way to remember her.  It is a tiny way to keep connected to my mom.  It is my small way to keep her a part of my Christmas.

angel wings

The Rookery - Day Four

Finally, now, Enchanteur has brought me back to the beginning, to my home in Riversleigh Manor. When I look back at all that I have written and the art I created I can see how I have grown. Enchanteur is a cagey gal. She knew what she was doing. But knowing her, I had better not get too comfortable. Another adventure, I am sure, is just around the bend.
Lori Gloyd

Coming Full Circle Back to Riversleigh


Christmas Poinsettia Mandala
L. Gloyd (c) 2008

I have arrived back at Riversleigh Manor guided by the mighty grip of Enchanteur, and I am pausing to reflect on my journey.

I started my Lemurian adventure last April when I settled in Riversleigh hoping to find a creative hide-away. However, from the beginning I found no rest. My Inner Critic, Arvilla, found me, and when I banished her, I felt free to emerge from Riversleigh and explore all of Lemuria.

I set off with a band of gupsies through the Land of Standing Stones and stopped over at the Hermitage for a while. There I met Sweet Albert, my faithful steed who helped me in mapping my heart along the Serpentine Road. Upon arriving at the House of the Rainbow Serpent, I thought I found another refuge. I was wrong. Arvilla found me and nearly broke me. I was saved by the Rainbow Serpent herself and with gratitude I presented the Gorgon of the House a gift. Shortly afterwards I received word from Enchanteur that I was to proceed to the Old Abbey by pirate ship. So I bid a bon voyage to Albert and boarded the Calabar Felonway and met the infamous Captain Ebony Wilder.

The Captain led us on a number of adventures including a visit with the Queen of the Bog People. It was a challenge to stay aboard the Calabar. I felt myself compelled to set myself free by flinging myself off the back of the ship in my underwear. However, this foolish act resulted in my being abandoned by Captain Wilder and having to find my way to the Old Abbey on my own.

When I finally reached the Old Abbey, once again I made myself at what I thought would be my home, but once again I eventually found myself breaking loose and ascending to yet another creative level. I rode the back of a Thunderbird to Duwamish Bay where I took a ferry ride to the Isle of the Ancestors and met the Matriarchs of my family. Later I took an exhiliarating night ride into my unconscious and challenged the Baba Yaga for possession of my imagination. I was victorious and brought my creativity into the full light of day.

Being an urbanite in the Real World, I felt the need to visit Cyberia, the City of Ladies. I quickly established myself inthe Il Taverna di Muse. Cyberia proved to be a wonderous place where one could meet all manner of interesting people.

However, as the pattern seemed to dictate, I was whisked off again with Enchanteur personally guiding a group of us to the New Abbey. Along the way I produced a number of secret documents which will be posted in due time. When we finally reached the New Abbey, I found it to be a place of extreme beauty and peacefulness.

Finally, now, Enchanteur has brought me back to the beginning, to my home in Riversleigh Manor. When I look back at all that I have written and the art I created I can see how I have grown. Enchanteur is a cagey gal. She knew what she was doing. But knowing her, I had better not get too comfortable. Another adventure, I am sure, is just around the bend.

L.Gloyd (c) 2006


A Christmas Experience
by Lori Gloyd

Christmas can mean different things to different people. For me Christmas is a confluence of sights, sounds, tastes, feelings, and traditions. These sensory and cultural streams change course over time and lead to experiences that, if done enough times, become tradition. Case in point, this is my third Christmas in the virtual realm of Riversleigh Manor and my third opportunity to enjoy an Adventure Calendar jaunt. This has become a tradition for me it seems; one I hope that will continue many more years.

Some Christmas experiences can be counted on. The moon always seems to shine the brightest in the dark nights of Advent. Most years the weather is bright and crisp with snow-capped mountains gracing the edge of the city. The storms of winter churn up the waves that pound the beach near my home. Poinsettias and torch lilies bloom. Houses are festooned both inside and out. In the neighborhood where I live, there is a street where everyone dresses up the outside of their houses trying to see who can have the most Christmas lights. It has become a tradition for my friends and I to stroll this street just to enjoy the spectacle.

Christmas is a time for parties and I usually participate in several. I love to see how each person interprets the season in decoration, food and music. Some of my friends go each year to a Messiah sing-a-long. I went once and had a marvelous time, even though I can't carry a tune to save my life. Some friends go caroling each year and have entertained me at the door with their enthusiastic renditions of the old classics.

Christmas is about trees and ornaments and candles and cute little dogs that sing on request. It is about food -- lots and lots of food. Sweets and spirits, foods from the old world and foods from the new. Nothing says Christmas like a plate of steaming tamales.

Christmas is also about the spirit of Love that came into a dark world. Where I live, many people still go to church on Christmas eve, whether to the great cathedral downtown for midnight mass or to small neighborhood churches where they sing the old hymns, a cappella, by flickering candlelight.

This is my experience in words. Now let me show it to you in pictures:


A Culinary Connection

Another way I connect to my maternal ancestors is through food.When my great-grandmother Bengta came to America from Sweden in the 1890's she brought with her this simple custard recipe, which she passed to my grand-mother and so on. I have no photos of Bengta, nor any written documents from her. All I know of her are the stories my grandmother and mother told me and a few recipes such as this. Every Saturday afternoon, my grandmother would make this custard and serve it to us, warm and fragrant in lovely old Blue Willow cups.

2 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350(F). Set five or six custard cups in a pan of water. Beat together all the ingredients except for the nutmeg. Pour into the custard cups and sprinkle with the nutmeg. Bake for 1 hours and 15 minutes, or until it sets and gets golden brown on the top.

What Gets Lori Started

Lori will be the first to admit that she needs a little help getting started on her writing and art projects.  She avails herself of the myriad of activities at the Soul Food Cafe.   She enjoys poking through the "Monster ABC List", the "A to Z Abbey of Alchemy", the Pythian Games Mad Challenges and, of course, all the past years of Soul Food Cafe Adventure Calendars. "Try them," she says, "they work for me every time."