The Butterfly House: Chrysalis

HortusButterflies1In my favourite role-playing background, Changeling: The Dreaming, a Chrysalis is the point where the fae soul that has been lying dormant in a human is awakened. There are glimpses of the hidden world, the veil blown aside a bit by the winds that change ever so often, bits of glamour revealed.

HortusButterflies4After these sneak peeks into the world behind the world, the one that only the enchanted can see, there follows the dream dance, a swirling, manic, intense experience. It’s frightening to go through this alone and many refuse the call to their truest self, go crazy, get lost in the maelstrom of wonder, monsters, feelings. But those who don’t, those who either get found in time, rescued, those who somehow make it by themselves, those who embrace who they really are, enter a whole new world-behind-worlds where (almost) everything makes sense, all of a sudden.

HortusButterflies8When a larva grows it sheds its skin, more than once. We, too, try on skins in the shape of subcultures, styles, personality traits. Once the caterpillar encases itself and turns into a pupa, it turns liquid. Whether that pupa is in a soft cocoon or in a hard, shiny chrysalis doesn’t matter, the progress is the same. Self-digestion might not be an option for humanoids – it sounds incredibly unhealthy – let’s see it as a metaphor, an analysis of oneself, a quiet retreat inside our own mind.

HortusButterflies5Just like it’s the case with the larva that turns liquid we still keep some parts of ourself. I call these parts our essence, the very thing that makes you you and that makes me me. The very parts that are still there after you discover the world-behind-worlds, that are still you even when you made it through the Dream Dance.

HortusButterflies9I’m entirely fascinated by the progress, the one of the butterfly metamorphosis as well as the Chrysalis of a Changeling. I know that the journey of finding myself will never end but I think having a liquid state – a time where I just decide to dissolve and keep only the most essential parts of myself, maybe in meditation, maybe getting lost in something else – a creative process, swimming, dancing, music – might be exactly what I need. What all of us that are weird and sometimes strangers in our human forms that seem* to live in a world cold and devoid of magic, always searching for something – others like us, our true selves, our true meaning – need from time to time.

HortusButterflies11* because I know that there is magic, it’s just not always easy to spot!

HortusButterflies2So I make a cocoon for myself, or a chrysalis, and I turn into a hedge-goo, a pool of energy and essence, and you can decide for yourself if that’s just in my mind or if I actually dissolve into a slime on my bed.
My cocoon is my bedroom, a spot that is mine alone, soft and good for falling asleep to wake up with another bit of the veil behind me, on my way to waking up to myself, all my memories, all my skills and things.
A Changeling rarely has all of the memories of their former incarnations, and I see regaining them as a mini-metamorphosis of its own.

HortusButterflies7I’m sorry if this post strangely and randomly switched between casual biology, RPC nerdery, storytelling and esoteric, witchy self-care. What can I say, it’s how the mind works (at least this one).

HortusButterflies6All these pictures were taken in De Hortus‘ butterfly greenhouse, a magical place where you can watch the pupae of the species that live there real close, marvelling at the beautiful textures.

HortusButterflies10My most magical experience at the botanical garden though I kept for the end: I was blessed enough to see this beauty wiggle itself part of the way out of its pupa and into its imago stage. I don’t think I have ever seen something so strange and magical at the same time and I hope it will never fade from my memory.

HortusButterflies3Have a lovely start into the week!

Liked this? Read my other posts about De Hortus in Amsterdam! Part 1 | Part 2

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Eight Years of Tales from the Hedge

bloggiversary 8Eight years. It’s been eight years since I took hold of my name and went webwards to look for a world I felt ready to conquer. I can’t really say that I’ve moved mountains so far but I carved out a place for myself in this corner, bit by bit, and I’m happy here.

The lances above are part of the new blog design, a little sneak preview, if you want. Do you like them? I hope so, because I do!

Thank you for sticking with me if you’ve been here for a while, and a heartfelt welcome to all of those who only found their way here not such a long time ago. I’m so happy to have you.
I wish I could offer you an actual cup of tea, and some really heavy chocolate cake but for now the virtual offer will have to do. Thank you for all the comments and ideas and support over the last eight years.

I love writing this blog, and I love writing it for you.
Thank you so much.

Love,
Hedge

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P.S.: No, the graphic didn’t get tilted by accident. I just like how an eight looks like a lemniscate if you tip it over.

The Princess Code

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This post used to be a sub-page of my About section. Trying to slimming down the layout made me convert it into this, as I didn’t want the Code to be lost.

On some points in this blog the term “princess” is used. In a time and society where this term is highly associated with pretty girls in flaunty dresses it might need a little bit of explanation. This is mine.

Back when I started this blog, one of my big inspirations was Princess Skye, a now-retired Lolita blogger who strongly believed in this quote from one of my favourite books, Hodgson-Burnett’s A Little Princess:

“Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”

I still think this is a great quote, and I believe that there is more than the Disney take to being a princess. I tame dragons. I fight for myself. I wear armour and pretty ruffled dresses alike. I have my sword, and I have grace. I can sit around a fire with rugged adventurers and drink my fill, and I can – as a proper young lady – sit at the head of the table at a banquet. I can do all these things, and there is no limit to what I can do.

Back in those days Skye also wrote something called “The Princess Code”. As in many other cases, these are no rules, just guidelines. They are to be interpreted. I don’t even hurrah to each and every point on the list. Also, they are definitely not limited to a gender. I didn’t write this, but I want it to go on.

The Code

~ A Princess inspires others to follow their hopes and dreams through pursuing her own.

~ A Princess greets everyone with a welcoming smile, melting the hearts of friends and disarming her enemies.

~ A Princess has dignity, which protects her from the opinions and spite of ignorant people.

~ A Princess always looks beautiful, even when she is asleep.

~ A Princess aims for perfection in every step.

~ A Princess should be given fresh flowers everyday, even if she has to give them to herself.

~ A Princess grows in recognition and stature in proportion to how much she treats others as royalty.

~ A Princess reflect’s her inner beauty in her aesthetic choices.

~ A Princess goes to war against the violence of incivility with the weapons of etiquette and prodigal generosity.

~ A Princess lives each day from the heart, expressing herself freely and treasuring every moment.

~ A Princess has the right to spend her funds on beautiful things she does not need because beauty in itself is priceless.

~ A Princess should follow her heart and believe in her dreams, even if the whole world seems to be against her.

~ A Princess respects her environment and nurtures the beauty of nature.

~ A Princess is never too busy to give a kind word or smile where it is needed.

~ A Princess’s most precious jewel is Hope, which lights her darkest days and shows her the beauty in every soul she meets.

(Princess Skye, now a Lost Princess)

10 Lessons about Self-Care… from Don’t Starve

Self-care is important, and when you look at it right you can find lessons about it basically everywhere. In this case we’ll have a look at my current gaming obsession, Klei’s Don’t Starve.

Picking flowers is good for you.

Same goes for potted plants but skipping through a meadow making a big bouquet of wild flowers is so much more picturesque. It’s also a great opportunity to make daisy chains because…

Flower crowns let you keep your sanity.

I always feel better with one on and I don’t believe in those wonderful accessories being for one gender only. Flower crowns for everyone!

Don’t go into the dark!

And by “go into the dark” I actually mean “give in too much to depression”. There is always something that can be done to get you at least a tiny bit out of that despair and hollowness.

Fires make the dark much more bearable.

Because most landlords and -ladies won’t permit campfires in your flat you might want to substitute them with a candle, though…

Stay well-fed.

Good food does so much for your health. Instead of just stuffing yourself with store-bought sweets and fast food try to get yourself to make something with a bit more substance. Cooked or steamed veggies with a cream sauce are easy, work well with rice or pasta and make for a much more satisfying experience.Survivor Winona

Making things is super effective to replenish your sanity.

The sense of accomplishment is good for you, even if it’s only a small thing that you made! It’s also good for the environment and there’s nothing that can beat the feeling of getting compliments on your self-made stuff.

Make a home base.

Whether you’re a homebody or you travel a lot, get yourself a place to call home. Alternatively pin pictures of your loved ones to the inside of your suitcase lid and get battery-powered fairy lights and a light-weight cozy blanket, anyway, create something that makes you feel right and welcome wherever you are.

Verdant Skin SetContact with others is key.

We don’t always have pigs in neat little houses around but this also goes for humans. While I need a lot of alone-time myself I just know that it is the contact with other (friendly) creatures that regularly keeps me from going completely crazy. Even if it’s just hanging out and playing Don’t Starve Together or making dinner. A night with friends doesn’t need a lot of preparation or to be fancy. Sometimes even a phone call will do the trick.

Sometimes staying put to just work things out and get back to your strength is the right thing to do.

If you go right back out when you’re hurting, hungry, twitchy or all of the above it’s most likely to get even worse. Stay in your home base, feed yourself, get some rest, get some entertainment and then get some small, save shit done, and you’ll be out there slaying monsters (or go about your everyday life, or both) sooner than you’d think.

And finally,

Don’t let setbacks get you down.

In Don’t Starve you’ll die trying but each time you’ll learn something new and last a bit longer. While I wouldn’t recommend the death part in real life this is an important lesson anyway. Most setbacks are temporary. And even if they’re not you’ll find a way around it. Maybe it’ll work out right at the next try. Maybe it’ll take time. Maybe you’ll find something else to try that works even better for you. But don’t give up. Care for yourself. Not giving up is self-care at it’s finest.

Dancing Pig

P.S.: I’m not getting sponsored by Klei Entertainment, I just really love this game as you might have noticed thanks to me referring to it every five seconds or so.

P.P.S.: All pictures and animations in this post belong to Klei (which rhymes with “play”) and were taken from the wonder- and incredibly useful Don’t Starve Wiki. Every picture will lead you to the relevant article when clicked on.

Mori Challenge Revisited: Question 17

17. What’s your favorite season and why?

To be honest I find it very hard to actually pick one. I usually say Autumn, but that one only wins by about a hair’s breadth. I love all of them, and here is why:

Winter | Hedgefairy https://hedgefairy.wordpress.comWinter is a time of silence and renewal. It’s the time of the year’s change and it is also the darkest time of the year – time for hibernation and introspection. I love the feeling of possibilities at New Year’s. I also love snow – if we get some, that it – and to see my breath when I’m outside. Without death there is no rebirth, and without Winter there’d be no Spring. Winter is a time to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate, to have lavish dinners with friends and to stay in and play and craft and decide what you want to be when everything thaws, including you, and the Sun comes back out.

Spring | Hedgefairy https://hedgefairy.wordpress.comSpring is a time of growing power. It has wonderful holidays, Oimelc, the day of ewe’s milk and spring cleaning, Eastertide, when everything grows and is lush and bright, and Beltaine, the night of bonfires and reckless abandon.
Spring makes me feel particularly connected to the growing earth and particularly angry at people who treat our planet badly.
It’s a time to sow and plant and watch things grow and celebrate every new ray of sunshine and make a holiday out of the first day that you can go outside without shoes on.

Summer | Hedgefairy https://hedgefairy.wordpress.comSummer is the time of LARPing, of adventures, of campfires in the night and making a contest out of who can make the biggest splash jumping from the pontoon in the lake. This is when my work is most fun, when I don’t have to wear my heavy parka, when we get the most produce and when we can stuff ourselves with strawberries when the customers aren’t looking. It’s time for sunburns and complaining about the heat and explorations in parks and forests nevertheless, it’s a season of stubbornness and my heart swelling to such a giant size that I sometimes fear my chest will burst.

Autumn | Hedgefairy https://hedgefairy.wordpress.comAutumn is the time when all comes to a close, as Winter is the time where everything is already closed. Autumn is a time for preparation, for picking apples and collecting conkers and chestnuts and making preserves. I can marvel at the beautiful colours that the leaves turn to and take in the wind that grows stonger and the rain that grows more frequent. Autumn is a time for tea. My birthday heralds Autumn and maybe that’s the reason why I like it a tiny bit more than the other seasons, but that might be because of pumpkins and fog and the veil between the worlds being thinnest now, too.

You see, I can’t really decide, so I decide to love them all the same.

What is your favourite season?

This post is part of the 30 Question Mori Kei Challenge. For other posts from this challenge, please look here for all the questions!