Wednesday, October 20, 2021

#420 • Black Cat Superstitions

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I've been thinking about our Halloween traditions in this country. Halloween is when all rational thinking is thrown to the wind, when we become our own worst fears fed by horror films we dare ourselves to watch only on Halloween night. 

Why witches, ghosts, black cats, crows, ravens and pumpkins I asked myself as I painted along? I was suddenly struck by how much it reminded me of the bunny and egg thing on Easter. The ghost I get because of the Christian celebration of Old Souls/Saints Day on November 1, but the rest of it is puzzling. 

So I decided to research starting with the history and superstitions surrounding black cats to try to make some sense out of it all. I've written about this before, but have forgotten most of it except for the one about a black cat being a witch in disguise. I kind of like that one and want to hold onto it as truth... during Halloween anyway. The bad luck and good luck stuff is not as much related to HAlloween, but good to know!

Earliest Association with witches
According to Greek mythology, Zeus’s wife Hera once transformed her servant, Galinthias, into a black cat as punishment for impeding the birth of Hercules. Galinthias went on to become an assistant to Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft.

Black cats are witches
This story began when a black cat was seen running into a house thought to be inhabited by a witch during the Middle Ages and became equated with black magic. Roaming nocturnal black cats were thought to be witches in disguise, witches' pets, or animal-shaped demons sent by witches to spy on humans. From the early 13th century in Europe through the 17th-century Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, black cats were killed along with those who were considered witches. Black cats have since evolved into icons of anything related to witchcraft.

A black cat is also associated with bad luck and death.
This fear of black cats appears to stem from medieval times, when an animal with dark feathers or fur, including crows and ravens, signaled death. In 16th-century Italy, it was believed that death was imminent if a black cat laid on someone's sickbed. It’s considered bad luck if a black cat crosses your path, and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. Another family member is bound to die if you spot a black cat during a funeral procession. And it's a bad omen if you see a black cat walking away from you. Fortunately, all these ideas are just superstition.

Black cats are also believed to bring good luck
In ancient Egypt, black cats were held in the highest esteem because they resembled Bastet, the cat-headed Egyptian goddess of home, fertility, and protection from disease. Black cats are considered good luck in other parts of the globe, as well.

  • In Asia and the U.K., you're going to be lucky in life if you own a black cat.
  • In Japan, you'll have luck in finding love if you spot a black cat.
  • In parts of England, a bride will have luck in her marriage if she receives a black cat as a gift.
  • In Europe, sailors will have a safe journey if they bring along a black cat on the ship.
  • In Scotland, you'll have coming prosperity if a black cat appears at your doorway or on your porch.
  • In France, something magical is about to happen if you see a black cat.
  • In other cultures around the world, it’s a sign of good luck if you dream about a black cat, see one walking towards you, or if you happen to find a stray white hair on its gleaming ebony fur.

Black Cat Superstitions • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250

 



Saturday, October 16, 2021

#419 • The Sunflower

 

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I was tending to my sunflowers recently, and one in particular - the tallest, caught my eye. It, like the others, had survived an onslaught of drought and pestilence this summer. It is not perfect, or even beautiful compared to others I've seen. It's lower leaves are chewed and full of irregular holes and unsightly spots. I cut them off to open up other flowers to light. Petals are thin and curling. But those irregularities and scars are what makes it interesting to me.

I feel the same way about a lot of things. Acceptance of things as they are gives us permission to accept imperfection in ourselves. Nature reminds us that we the imperfect can be out there saying, mostly to ourselves, yeah well, I'm interesting!

The Sunflower Lesson • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12"x 12" • $250

Thursday, October 7, 2021

#418 • The Change

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The change

And Mother Nature again,

reminds us,

that we will do the same.

 Are the flashy reds and oranges

after a rollicking spring and summer youth

hot flashes as we try to kiss the sun one more time?

Are the yellows and ochres

the blonds

a last try to hide

or hold back

the withered

and wrinkled brown leaves

elegant in their graceful

and inevitable fall back to Earth?

Nope.

It's simply what we are.

Change.


Thursday, September 30, 2021

#417 • The In Between Time of Year

 

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I call this the in between time of year. Here in Kingfield we are still sandwiched between summer and fall. Although astrologically we are officially in the fall autumnal, there are days when it feels like summer is not letting go. A few changes, but still mostly summer greens.

And what about the natural world? Do the trees go through what we women used to when you didn't know whether it was time to start wearing fall colors. Do trees wonder if it time to turn yet, what if we have an Indian summer? Are they concerned that this is too much color too soon, how does this color look on me, maybe just a few highlights for now, oh God is the red showing already?

The In Between Time of Year • 8"x8" acrylic framed to 12"x12" • $250

Friday, July 9, 2021

#416 • We Really Do Need the Rain

 

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Figured I'd throw in a memory of what summer looks like. Been pretty extreme up here, so extreme I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I have Ozzie and Harriet syndrome. Or it may be the universe trying to slow down the plundering of Maine by suggesting the real Maine. In the meantime, I do recall an elderly friend telling me that this can be a typical summer in Maine. I also remember another ancient telling me that we don't swim in Maine before July 4th, as a rule.
 
It's tough being a sailor and a gardener (actually more like a weeder) in this state. Whatever is going on, and regardless of forces beyond our control, we really do need the rain. Plus I really do look fabulous, and like a typical Mainer in the summer actually, with my thin hair soaked and stuck to my head, my 20 year old bagged out yellow LL Bean rain slicker and old black high top galoshes!
 
We Really Do Need the Rain • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
 



Monday, May 31, 2021

#415 • Kay's Barns

 

 
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If you travel up this way on Route 27, you've probably noticed these barns sitting back off the road a ways in New Vineyard. They're probably two of the most beautiful and well-maintained structures in these parts, and serve as a real homage to a way of life that supported so many Maine families for so long. 

Today, working farms are making a comeback thanks to an influx of new young people and an infusion of their energy into an old way of life. While farming can be challenging, it's perfect for those who love Earth and treasure the fruits she bears. For some, being physically beat feels better than being emotionally battered. There's nothing quite like planting a seed and watching it grow. To many of us, that's a miracle and a real privilege.

Kay's Barns • 8" x 8" acrylic frame to 12" x 12" • $250

Thursday, April 22, 2021

414 • Earth Day 2021

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It's Earth Day 2021! 

If I didn't have work to do I would have gone for a hike up Wee Mountain with Sue. As I write this, I realize I shoulda, woulda, coulda chucked the work and gone anyway because, well, it's Earth Day. From now on, I will always spend some time outside in the woods, in a field, on a mountain or water on Earth Day even if the snow is blowing sideways out there as it is now. It will remind me why this planet is so special.

Earth Day 2021 • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250