Along a Moonlit Path

Along a Moonlit Path
-By Debbi Decker

April brings thoughts of gardening. Spring has finally arrived and although there are still chances of cool nights, the days are longer and the sun is warmer. We spend time in the local nurseries picking out plants to put in our gardens and yards. After a long gray winter, we want color and we want it now.

Or do we? Some of us are not day people. We travel the nights and find our beds just after sunrise. While we are not vampires (at least most of us are not), we just prefer the darkness. Trouble is, that those of us night people who love flowers and plants miss the beauty of the gardens during the day. The vibrant floral colors fade away as the night falls.

We can fix that, however. By planting a moon garden. Imagine walking through a garden of highly scented flowers that glow in the moonlight. Intrigued?

All you need is an area that gets full sun to part shade, plants that are mostly white or silvery in nature, and also plants whose blossoms open as the sun goes down releasing their fragrance. If some illumination is necessary for walking safety, use lighting that is subtle and low key. White gravel will glow on pathways. Sketch out a plan so that you have an idea of the finished garden. Choose plants that will do well in your planting zone and know which ones will need to come indoors when the weather turns cold. Some plants are actually bushy while others hug the ground. You will want plants of various heights, as well as non-blooming leafy plants such as hostas and ferns, to create visual interest for both day and night. Colorful flowers that open at night to release their fragrance can be used at the ends of your moon garden or planted on their own in another area. Be sure to create a spot where you can simply sit and enjoy the fragrances on the night air.

Choose one or two of the below plants, fill in with flowers such as white candytuft, white or pale pink impatiens, lamb’s ears, white lilies and other plants that bloom white or in pale colors. Be sure to have plants with staggered bloom times so that you have something in your garden blooming from late spring through fall. Add some subtle lighting, a scattering of statues or other ornamentation, and you are on your way to magical nights full of moon-lit beauty and intoxicating scents.

Night Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) Narrow tubular blossoms open at night and release fragrance.
Angel Trumpet (Brugmansia) Large white trumpet shaped blossoms also open at night and release fragrance.
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis L.) While this flower is yellow, it opens in the evening and stays open until late morning.
Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) Colorful flowers that open in the late afternoon and release their fragrance in the evening.
Moonflowers (Datura) Large white blossoms that resemble their sister morning glories but which open at night and release their fragrance.

A word of caution. All of the above plants are toxic and/or poisonous if ingested, and some can cause skin irritation. Always do your research and know what you are planting. Monitor children and pets in the garden, and warn your guests of the nature of your plants. It’s never a good idea for someone to accidentally ingest a berry or touch a noxious plant and then expire in the middle of all that glowing beauty . Unless, that is, your name is Lucrezia Borgia.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of Crazed Poppet Creations Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

The Wearing of the Green

The Wearing of the Green
(or Irish/Celtic Symbolism Found Among the Green Cemetery Lawns) -By Debbi Decker

Lately, I have been continuing my research on one of my favorite subjects, iconography in cemeteries. And with St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, I thought to look into Irish/Celtic symbolism and icons that you might run across in many of the older cemeteries. Two of the most popular that I run across in my wanderings are the lyre or harp, and Celtic crosses. Others not so often found are ones such as stags, shamrocks, trefoils, the Claddagh and Celtic knots.

The Lyre or Harp. A strong symbol of Ireland, often called the national symbol, finding one carved upon a tombstone or on a crypt could mean that the person buried there was of Irish heritage. It is a magical symbol, and the traditional meanings associated with it are hopes of attaining heaven, as well as divine music.

Shamrocks. These are common three-leafed plants of the clover family and they are not to be confused with their four-leafed counterparts. Shamrocks represent the idea of three, a sacred number in Celtic lore, or the holy trinity in the Christian faith, i.e., the father, son, and Holy Ghost. It is also a popular motif on tombstones found in Australia. The Druids revered the plant and it was incorporated by the Christians as a symbol used in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations since, as the legend goes, St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the ideas behind the holy trinity.

Stags. A stag is an adult male deer and is usually depicted with an impressive rack of antlers. The Celts believed that stags could lead souls out of darkness, and also thought that the antlers represented the tree of life and of regeneration. When depicted with a cross between its antlers, it becomes a more Christian motif that means purity and renunciation of Satan.

The Claddagh. Usually depicted as two hands holding a heart, it is a symbol of undying love and friendship. Often used for engagement and wedding rings, it can also be seen carved onto a loved one’s memorial stone or combined with the Celtic cross in the cemeteries.

Trefoils. I do not often run across trefoils, but when I do they are in a triangular form, with three spirals carved inside the triangle shape. Again, they mimic the shamrock symbols and have somewhat of the same meanings, such as representing the holy trinity with the addition of the meaning of wisdom.

Celtic Cross. This is an extremely popular monument found in cemeteries across the world. The cross, originally of pagan origin, has been married to a circle. Legend tells us that St. Patrick took the Christian cross and placed the circle upon it to represent the sun in order to convert the sun-worshipping pagans. The idea was presented as the Christian god being stronger than their sun god. These crosses can range from a simple cross and circle to elaborately carved memorials, incorporating other images, most notably Celtic knots or images of Christian saints. The most beautiful Celtic cross I have come across to-date is located in the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. This particular cross is covered in biblical images.

Cemetery symbolism and iconography is a wonderful and enlightening subject. Try looking for unusual motifs the next time you wander through one, and then learn about what they mean. These symbols speak to the history of the person buried as well as to possible religious beliefs and family heritage. Although we can never be absolutely sure what a particular icon or symbol truly means (since we have no idea what was in the minds of the survivors who erected these stones and monuments), we can still appreciate the general meanings behind them and the beauty represented in their artistic representation.

Photographs “Lyre” and “Cross of Many Colors” copyrighted and provided by Crazed Poppet Creations.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of Crazed Poppet Creations Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

A Very Fragrant Letter

A Very Fragrant Letter
-By Debbi Decker

Valentine’s Day is close at hand. And while I normally write about the dark and spooky side of life, I thought I would take a small detour from the norm.

Did you know you can send a love letter using flowers? The younger Victorians did. Because of the many restrictions, rules and regs passed onto them by their elders, a young Victorian of courting age had to become pretty creative in order to get his or her message across. From the use of fans to flowers, they came up with various codes to express sentiments and to send messages.

I can just imagine the practice of fluttering a fan in modern times. Woman waves fan at man. Man gets excited and quickly tells his friend “Dude, she totally wants me”. Friend replies “No dude, its 90 degrees out. She’s probably having a heat stroke!”

Sadly, a woman using a fan to send a message has gone by the wayside. But, another practice is still alive and well, and that is the Tussie Mussie, or small groups of flowers wrapped in a doily and given to a loved one. A fragrant message of love and hope. For the most part. Some flowers were used solely for sending a message of rejection.

The Victorians assigned meanings to various flowers as well as gestures pertaining to the giving or receiving of those flowers. Passing a flower to another using a right hand signified “yes”, while using the left hand signified “no”. Tussie Mussies were given by young men to young girls they were interested in. If the flowers were held close to the heart, the feeling of affection was returned. If held downward, it meant rejection. I can only imagine how carefully a bouquet was constructed and with what high hopes and baited breath it was given.

Want to send a different sort of Valentine this year? Why not create a Tussie Mussie using the Victorian language of flowers. Have someone you want to give your heart to? Give them red Chrysanthemums and yellow Zinnias which mean daily remembrance and I love you. A gathering of Ferns, Forget Me Not and Gardenia mean fascination, true love, faithfulness and purity. A pot of Gardenias alone means purity, sweet love and you are lovely. You are only limited by your imagination and the availability of flowers at your local florist. Tell the recipient of your flowers that there is a special hidden meaning in the bouquet. Tell them the names of the flowers and what they mean or write them meaning of a card to give with your gift.

Googling the meaning of flowers will give you lots of information to work with. Be creative. Roses are wonderful but there’s a whole world of flowers out there. It will take a bit of planning and perhaps calling your local florists for the kinds of flowers available but worth the effort. And ladies, guys love to get flowers just as much as we do. They just don’t want that little secret out in the open!

Oh, and if you have someone in your life that you want to break away from, believe it or not, there are florists out there that specialize in sending dead flowers. Or you can always ask your florist for any flowers “past their prime”. They might look at you strangely, but I am sure they would accommodate you!

Debbi Decker is proprietor of Crazed Poppet Creations Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.


-By Debbi Decker

The crows were calling. One, two, three in a row in the tree. “Go away, we are not ready”. Selfish, really, when it is not us who has to be ready but rather the one they come for. We are never ready to let our loved ones leave.

The old ones tell you that three crows is a harbinger of death. The Morrigan has come. The Goddess of death and rebirth.

He stopped breathing several times and so the priest was called. Last rites spoken, holy water sprinkled. The rosary was placed around his neck. Some in the room believed, others did not. Still, we all hoped it would bring him peace.

They came the next night. Three shades passing through the room, invisible to our eyes but solid enough to block the glow of the small lights that were lit for his comfort. Three beings now standing guard and waiting. Sometimes they touched you. A sense of ice on your elbow. A gentle nudge against your leg. No way to tell who or what they were. Only that they were present and that he knew they were there. You could watch him whisper to them in his delirium and watch him listen to them as they spoke back.

I held his hand through most of his fight, not wanting him to ever feel alone. His was not an easy passing. He had much on his mind, worries for the rest of us, and things he wanted to say. Time laid heavy on us all as we watched him fight. No longer with us but not really gone from us either.

And at the end, I watched as he took his last breath and held him close as I said goodbye. The three crows calling in the early morning sun, while the three watchers stood around him to guide him on his way. I swear that on that morning I could feel him fly.

His journey here has ended but mine is just beginning. Because I now have to make sense of it all. Three crow calling, three shades passing. Who came to guide him on and who will come for me when my time comes? I trust that the essence of his soul has gone on to live in another life. My hope is that our souls will cross paths once again.

The meaning of three is that “all is given”, the past, present, and future. Birth, life, and death. The cycle has finished. And must begin again.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of Crazed Poppet Creations Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

The Magic of Christmas

The Magic of Christmas
-By Debbi Decker

The Christmas season is officially here. Though you would have thought it had actually arrived back in September. It seems that the stores are filling their shelves with holiday cheer earlier and earlier each year. Halloween and Thanksgiving seem to have taken a back seat to this day of all days. In my town, Halloween and Thanksgiving are given a shelf or two, while Christmas takes over the entirety of the rest of the space.

Christmas is a hard season at times for those who walk the Pagan road. Though I was raised in a religious home, Christmas does not resonate with me. The modern version of it anyway. Oh, don’t get me wrong. As a child, I did indeed embrace the belief in the Child born on this day. But I also embraced the magic of the season. Waiting for those hoof beats on the roof, hoping to get a glimpse of Santa. We had no chimney so I knew he had to use the door. And every year, we would gather round and listen to the reading of “The Night Before Christmas”. My head was full of babes in mangers, angels, elves, flying deer, sparkling snow, and Ho Ho Ho’s. Then, I grew up. And learned that there is no “real” Santa. That the Child was probably not really born on this day but rather in a warmer month earlier in the year. Christmas lost its magic for me and that is the most important word here. Magic. I lost the magic. And it made me sad. Without the magic it was just another day, though for some it is the highest of all holy days. To be honest, there were times I did envy others for the beliefs that I just could not wrap my soul around.

Years went by and as I became more grounded in my beliefs, I realized that I could indeed still find the magic of the season. So many traditions that we all follow are of ancient origin, created to honor the divinity in all of us. I began to light the candles for my ancestors. Burn a Yule log for protection and warmth. When I decorate a tree, adorn the house in greenery, and hang the new mistletoe (and burn the bunch from the prior year), it is to honor Mother Earth for gifts she gives us through all of the seasons. The ornaments are full of symbolism, creating a magical space. Stars, moons, suns, fruits and musical instruments. Just to name a few. A tiny elf or Santa will peek out among the branches to remind me of the magic of my childhood but also to symbolize the idea that we can all give something (no matter how big or small) to others. I can sign a carol and feel the joy of releasing those notes to the universe and let my voice be carried upon the wind.

I cook food for my loved ones, making sure that I stir clockwise rather than widdershins, while chanting the word “love” in whispery breaths. Make gifts to give to others, each one of a theme chosen to honor that person. I take the early darkness of the days into myself and use this energy to plant the seeds of what I want for the year to come. When my family gathers, we share our food, our memories, and our hopes and dreams. Sometimes we still read “The Night Before Christmas” to our little ones. We will nurture the idea of Santa and the magic of it all for as long as possible. And when the little ones grow up, we give them the ability to grasp the magic of another “age” and our hopes that our traditions will be carried forward.

My ways are not your ways perhaps. They may not resonate with you. We do, however, all of us have a common theme that we can all recognize and hope for…. Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Mankind.

Bright blessings on you and yours on this day and all of the days of the year.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of Crazed Poppet Creations Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

Archived Featured Artist: twistedpixelstudio

Crazed Poppet Creations

Featured Artist:

twistedpixelstudio: Elegant yet creepy Gothic cemetery photography and vintage inspired Halloween assemblage and ornaments form the twisted world of Deborah Decker and her Crazed Poppet Creations.