Thursday, September 22, 2016


Well, the Autumnal Equinox is here. The balancing point of night and day comes with a whisper of Indian Summer heat, but soon the downward slope will claim our momentum.  I love this season, with its cool winds and colored leaves. I don't mind the darkness.  It makes me feel more alive.

But lately, I'm also starting to feel my mortality.  This year was full of health concerns, not just for me but also my friends.  I turned 62.  My friends are generally part of my generation.   Almost every one has had procedures, scares, risks...honestly, who expected this when we were in University? Hiking through the campus, walking downtown, caving with friends, who knew I'd be round, crippled, and nearly house bound 40 years later?  Plus, there are shadows looming overhead, hinting of more troubles to come.

So, in thinking over my history and how it intertwined with others, I decided that I would reach out to several individuals who left my life abruptly, and in a hurting manner. There was never a true parting, never an explanation, never a "Hail and Farewell".

 There are one or two that I no longer cared about, but I had several others in mind. I would find them, write them about how their actions wounded me, and then...let it go. I felt I needed this closure, and didn't want to take it to the grave no matter when I died. I no longer wanted these old injuries. Time to speak out, and be done.

The first one was simple. I knew where she was.  She was my oldest friend, and had lots of talent and potential. However, she had a way of making me feel small and unworthy. I would ask her to go somewhere for fun. She would say, "OK - unless something better comes along."  I give her points for honesty..and deduct them for being cruel. She told me, when we were adults, that when we were children, I would go walking through the neighborhood trying to find her, and she would hide with the neighborhood bully, mocking me.  Once, she even left me down a train embankment. I had weak legs and couldn't climb back out. She went home to dinner. I was stuck for hours.

She wanted to be a singer, but never put herself out there. She got drunk, she got high, and eventually spent time in a mental health facility.  She was widowed, and inherited money. When it was gone, she moved South to live with her retired parents. Last I heard, she joined a church. 

She never remarried, never developed a career, or even held a job for long.  So, there she sits in Mamas's house. 

When I thought about it, I decided she didn't need a letter.

Another gal was a close college friend. She dropped out of my life because a mutual pal decided she no longer wished to be associated with me. Apparently, she felt I had pushed her into our coven's Eldership.

 (And here I thought Wiccan students rebelled when you DIDN'T give them an Eldership!) So, our mutual friend decided to also cut ties. It was senseless, and painful. I wasn't forcing her to take sides.

 It has been decades, but I eventually found her on a popular website.  She had gone to University to be a writer.  

When that didn't work out, she took more mundane employment, got downsized, and is now out there, somewhere, without a job.  At 62, that's a rough row to hoe.

A younger, male student of mine was determined to be a country singer. He had the voice and the talent. He fell in love with a young woman who couldn't stand me. I'm not sure why. I'm no threat to anyone's claim on any man.  

He left my group by hanging a bag of borrowed books on my door handle, along with a "Dear Jane" letter. 


He called me about 7 years later because he thought we had "ended things badly",  whatever that meant.  He wanted to come see me.

"What about your wife? She won't like that."
  "She will have no say in MY business."
I waited a few beats. "I'm not your business."

He set up a time to come visit. I knew he would cancel. He did.

I looked him up, and found him on Facebook. Three kids, a job with some kind of media agency, same wife...and a face I could barely recognize.  No musical career.  No hint of the activities he use to love.  Hum.

Then there was the friend who had a job at a Space Agency.  She was bullied out of it, then lost her home.  I have no idea where she lives now, but she still has delusions of grandeur.  While she was employed, she blew her own trumpet and made sure everyone knew that - whatever we accomplished - she had achieved more.  Now, I see her picture from time to time popping up at certain conventions.

Finally, I found another old student. She left because she was angry I wouldn't tell her new boyfriend all about the Craft and our Tradition. I told her I simply couldn't; I took an oath. I didn't hear from her in years but -again - there she was on social media. She had two more children, lived with her mother until she died, and ended up homeless. Last I heard, she was sacking in at her daughter's place, trying to raise money on a "Go Fund Me" site.

I sat back.

I looked at this short string of lives.  Lives that had intersected with mine. Lives that had learned from me, and then abandoned me. People that I trusted, and loved, and cherished. Looking over their stories, I realized that they had created lives that led to remarkably similar places.  Almost all of them had homelessness issues, and  had given up on their talents and dreams. Their callus way of treating me was probably one situation in a string of situations which brought them where they are. It wasn't necessarily me, personally, that caused their behavior.  They probably used the same pattern when dealing with everyone.

I'm not happy that things turned out for them this way. Far from it. Maybe they are being taught wisdom by the Lords of Karma.   Maybe I'M being shown a lesson by the Lords of Karma. The last thing these folks need from me is a "tell all" letter about how they made me cry. What they did to me are just memories; what has happened to them all is real and present.

It's true, what they say: Never wish to exchange your troubles for those of another.  I've been blessed. I have a great family. I have wonderful friends. I have food, a roof over my head, and I'm warm in Winter. I've always wanted to be a writer, and I am one.  I always wanted to be a feature writer for Fate Magazine, and I am.  I've always wanted to teach English (I have) and bring the existence of the Craft to the attention of educators and the serious public (which I continue to do). I've worked hard to accomplish these things, but not everyone is fortunate enough to succeed. 

I have not done it alone. I have had the support, comfort, and love of those that I consider my family, and extended clan. 

I'm sending energy out to these one-time friends. Samhain season can be harsh on those in need. May they all make it through to next Beltane with Strength and Hope.

I decided to end this blog with a wonderful parody by the Hindi sisters and Hillywood.  They also did a marvelous "Hocus-Pocus" parody, and the best "Dr. Who" I've ever seen.  Check them out on YouTube!

May the Autumnal find you happy, healthy, and full of life, Lay your burdens down, and dance in the crisp joys of Harvest. Samhain will be here soon enough!

Next time: More cemetery crawls!

Friday, September 9, 2016


Hello. Yes, I'm back. It's been a very rough Summer. Too many

things happened, some mentally, some physically.

I think I might have mentioned in the Spring that I had another

Cancer scare. An initial biopsy came back negative, but the doctor

wanted to take multiple samples. That would mean a day surgery,

where I could be tranquilized and “made comfortable”. Scheduling

the procedure was a nightmare. After MONTHS of playing hospital

tag, I was finally set to go. My sugar readings were high but, since

the surgery would only take 15 minutes, I was approved.

I got there, got prepped, the anesthesiologist came into the room 

and bumbled around a bit. Then, he turned on the juice...and I 

waited. I  realized I couldn't speak. I realized I couldn’t move. I 

realized I wasn't asleep! The procedure began, and the pain was 

immerse.  However, I couldn't communicate that to the doctor. It 

was noted on  the hospital report that I was groaning and – perhaps 

– the anesthesia was too light.

Really? Groaning wasn't a clue that something was amiss?

The doctor dashed after I “recovered”, and I never had a chance to

speak with her. Thankfully, the samples were negative. I merely

had scarring from the Cancer that would tear a bit and bleed. No

big...unless you've been on the business end of a bunch of punch


It took a while for me to recover. Then, one day, I hopped on my

knee walker and ended up dumped on the bathroom floor. From

metal fatigue, the rear wheel had sheered off, and my left knee 

ended up on top of all the littler gears and bolts that use to hold it to the frame.

Thank the gods for older, available, brothers. Jim came, got me off

the floor and into a wheelchair, then set about getting parts that

worked on my old war horse. It took another while for my knee to


Then, the other shoe dropped. One evening, I rolled up to the front

of the sofa. I happened to let go of the walker handle, and it did

what knee walkers are made to do. It rolled. I tried to grab the

handle, but I was already slipping off the cushion. I said to myself,

Well, the rug is only a foot below me. I'll just slid off, and use the

sofa to get to me feet again.” And so, I did. But I had no idea I was

in the middle of an injury “perfect storm”. As my left knee slid

downward, it came into contact with a flat, shiny, sharp wheel gear.

It acted like a pizza cutter, and dug into the flesh of my knee and

thigh to the bone.

I felt a lighting bolt of pain, but I got myself up and onto the sofa.

Watson was starring at the floor, then at me, then at the floor.

What?” I asked him...then looked down. The rug was red. The sofa

cover was red. My tunic was red.

I called my friend Bob, who called 911, and I ended up in Princeton

Plainsboro getting 20 stitches. I'll spare you the gruesome photos.

It's healing, but for weeks I couldn't bend the knee. No car rides, no

chair sitting, no blogs.

Then, it was Watson's turn. Poor baby had to have three teeth

removed. He was almost happy (it must have been a relief) and he

really loved the “joy juice”!

Then, there was my upcoming presentation to my Baker Street

Irrergulars scion group, as well as organizing Behind The Veil.

Here's the notice for my lecture. Anyone is welcome. It usually

costs $30 for dinner, the meeting, and the lecture. If you're

interested, give Steve a call or e-mail them for a registration form!

Mark your calendars for the next meeting of The Red-

Headed League of New Jersey!

We will gather once again at Madeline's in  

Bound Brook, NJ, on Friday, October 14, from 6:30-9:30


Member Kat Clark will discuss "Sherlock, Arthur and the

Supernatural" -- a fitting topic for the Halloween season.

New member Mike Parker will present a challenging quiz on

"A Scandal in Bohemia."

No need to send a check yet.. the official notice and

reservation form will be sent in late August.

A special note: This meeting will celebrate the 40th

anniversary of The Red-Headed League of Jersey. Our BSI

scion society was founded November 1, 1976.

We look forward to seeing you in October!

Steve & Linda Morris


The Red-Headed League of Jersey


And here is the flyer for our New Age Expo “Behind The Veil”. I'll

be vending, signing my books, and reading Tarot. We will have 32

unique vendors, and entry fee is only $7.00!

So, as you can see, a full plate. I still have to start work on my new

book, and I owe Fate Magazine 2 articles. Hopefully, after

November 5th, life can take on a semblance of normality. Sorry if

you felt abandoned. But, speaking of that, I have a bit of a writer's

rant to share.

Strangely enough, I would like to talk about abandonment issues.

No, not leaving children in toilets or dropping your kitty in a train

station and then high tailing it. I'm talking about creative process


We've all started projects and then crumpled and tossed. It part of

the envisioning and invention of a fiction. If the piece doesn't speak

to you any longer, you can let it rest for a while. You can also file it

in a dead end folder and walk away. Who knows? Maybe one day

you'll pick over its carcass for ideas or imagery for a new venture.

But what about when that creativity has a public aspect? You're 

doing a blog, a fan story, a continuing series. I've seen this happen

just recently with a blog that's near and dear to me. It was going

along smoothly for a few months, and then...crickets. A 

tumbleweed or two...the lonesome moan of a wind in empty places.  
It had a readership (at least, that's what I've been told), but 

suddenly the entries stopped. Simply stopped.

This has happened with some very cleaver fan stories on places like

Tumblr, Chapter by chapter, an excellent plot develops and Only once did I see a fan author post that

they were sorry, but the story was being abandoned due to lack of

ideas and time.


It's sad to have to turn your back on a lot of hard work, but very

mature to let readers know not to hold their breath. Professional

authors take note: No one can demand that you continue with a

story/website/blog but, if you put it out there to followers or a

readership, play fair. Don't get them involved and then discard them

along with your project. You'll turn a reader into a hostage; one 

who may never trust you again.

There were a few things I was able to do, once all my injuries

healed. With Ellen driving, I was able to go on three cemetery

crawls. The first was to Manalapan, NJ, and the Old Tennent

Church. This church and cemetery are said to be haunted. During

the Revolution, a soldier was sitting on a tombstone when a cannon

ball took off his leg and broke off the top of the stone. He was

brought inside the church and placed on a pew, where he died. It's

said you can still see the blood stain on the wood, Here is a picture

from Weird NJ of the stone and the pew.

It's also said to be haunted by “Cookie”, a gal who died while

waiting for her prom date. Humm. Haven't we all heard a bunch of

these stories? I think this one is prompted by the face that her

picture is on her stone. She's wearing a prom dress.

Here, then, are my photos of the cemetery – a beautiful spot not so

far away...

I'll be sharing our other cemetery crawl photos soon.

That's it. Good to be back. As they say on the Sherlock Season 4


Did you miss me?

p.s. Sorry for the funky format. New computer.

Monday, June 6, 2016


Heads up, all ye vendors! Please take note of the notice below. There is a trinity of we gals bringing back New Jersey's paranormal expo.  Formerly "Para-X", the 2016 expo is now "Behind the Veil".  

The team behind the "veil" are:

Karen Timper: Founder of "New Jersey Ghost Organization", and author.

Lauren Curtis: "Talon Lady" featured in "Ripley's Believe it or Not", and "Oddities", artist, and photographer.

Kat Clark (me!) Elder of the Tuatha De Danann Irish Wiccan tradition, author, reader, and feature writer for "Fate Magazine"

Details are on the following flyer. If you don't vend, but wish yo be part of the fun, volunteers are also welcome to man ticket tables, help decorate, buggy-lug fetch and carry, and babysit tables when vendors/ readers need to take breaks.

Registration forms will begin mailing Monday June 13th. 

Monday, May 23, 2016


Here's a little piece I wrote a while ago:

It's past Beltane. The harsh season of the God has given way to the warmth and sun of the Goddess's reign. The circle of life is complete once more. The Otherworld Gates of Death have closed, and we can relax alone in the cool shade of a stately college hall, an ornamental arch, or even a turn-of-the-century church.


The shade suddenly feels a little darker, the atmosphere a bit fey, and you don't feel as alone as you thought. You look side to side to see empty lawn or street, you look down at the totally normal concrete or grass,... and then, you look up. It's eyes peer down at you. It's mouth grins in a toothy smiles, or gapes in a round, eternal, howl. It's stone wings spread over your head as it watches your every move. Is it a demon? Is it a dark soul, something left behind when the Gates of Death clanged shut?

Relax! Take a breath! You're in the presence of gargoyles, and they mean you no harm!

Classical gargoyles have been described as “carved, grotesque stone spouts” to divert water from a roof. That ugly beastie hanging over your head is part of a gutter system! Well, at least that's how it all started out.

The name “gargoyle” comes from the French word “gargouille”, meaning “throat” or “gullet”. It is related to the Latin word “gutgulio” meaning “to swallow”, and shares the same root as our English word “gargle”.

Even though we find most gargoyles as part of medieval buildings, there are some older examples. In ancient Egypt, gargoyles removed water from the roofs of temples where sacred vessels were washed. In Greece and Pompeii, gargoyle-like lions diverted water from the rooftops of sacred buildings. Perhaps the best known gargoyles in the world are found in Paris at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. But that's not the only thing lurking on its stone walls. It also has it shares of “chimeras” - figures similar to gargoyles which do NOT divert water. The term “gargoyle” is commonly used for both, however.

Gargoyles can be hideous monsters, caricatures of real people ( such as disliked monks, and clergy), or comical animals. They appear on the sides of contemporary buildings and churches as well, such as the Chrysler Building in NYC, and the National Cathedral in Washington DC. In fact, in the 1990's when renovations were being done, the cathedral held a competition. They wanted children to submit designs for the new gargoyles. One of the winners was the head of Darth Vader! He is now part of the western wing of the building exterior.

In Europe, the trend continues. Here are some from France:


And a particularly naughty one from Germany:

Humm...yes well....

Why have gargoyles in the first place? Your house or apartment/flat has gutters, no doubt, and YOU don't have huge, winged critters spitting down on YOU. Well, it all started with the legend of Saint Romain, a French bishop. He is said to have saved his village from a dragon named “gargouille”. He tamed it, and led it into town where it was slain. The head was hung on the church wall. Thereafter, it was considered lucky to carve his visage on the walls of churches.

That's the legend, but there have been many more reasons put forth for their existence. Gargoyles are said to frighten any evil from the premises, much as jack o' lanterns do at Samhain. They were suppose to show sinners what awaits them in the next world, if they did not repent. Some of the comical figures could even be priests or officials who were slow to pay the stonemasons!

Some figures and faces may even be of pagan origin. The Green Man – a male face composed of leaves or other foliage, or a face with vines coming from its mouth – may have been deliberately carved into Christian churches by pagan artisans, especially if that church was built on a site sacred to the Old Religion (as many were).

Today, we can find gargoyles anywhere, from bank buildings to the institutes of learning. Here, for instance, are a few from the hallowed halls of Princeton University in New Jersey:

Now a days, you can have gargoyles of your own. There are shops that sell nothing BUT gargoyle reproductions in every size from lawn statues to key chains. Many specialty furniture and décor catalogs, such as Design Toscano, carry a wide and unusual selection.

Enjoy the Beltane season; it's a lovely time of year, when things bloom and beauty surrounds us. But if you happen to look up, and see a gargoyle leering down, know that he is just doing his job, standing guard until darker times return.

                  (All American pictures taken by Keith Filarowitz)

Saturday, April 30, 2016



To celebrate Beltane this year, two of my favorite tunes. The first is “Walpurgisnacht” by Faun. Lyrics in German and English below.

Lyrics to Walpurgisnacht

In den Abendhimmel steigen
heute Nacht die Zauberweisen,
wildes Volk und Liliths Art,
lauernd Winde heimlich fahrt.

Lasst uns zu den Feuern streifen,
raunend nach den Sternen greifen,
gutes und auch böses Wort
tragen wir heut fort und fort.

Refrain: In den Weiden werden unsere Träume klingen
und die Winde werden unsre Lieder singen.
Lasst uns mit den Funken übers Feuer springen,
in der Walpurgisnacht!

Hört die Geigen, hört die Geigen,
die Feuer sind entfacht!
Folgt dem Reigen, folgt dem Reigen
in der Walpurgisnacht.

Ungestüm im Spiel der Geigen
dreht sich unser nächtlich' Reigen
und wir treten wild und frei
diesem alten Zauber bei.

Einmal nur im großen Kreise
tanzen wir auf jene Weise,
bis das erste Morgenlicht
unser Traumgewebe bricht.

Refrain: In den Weiden werden unsere Träume klingen
nd die Winde werden unsre Lieder singen.
Lasst uns mit den Funken übers Feuer springen,
in der Walpurgisnacht!

Hört die Geigen, hört die Geigen,
die Feuer sind entfacht!
Folgt dem Reigen, folgt dem Reigen
in der Walpurgisnacht.


In the night sky tonight
the witches rise
Wild folk and Lilth's kin
Lurking, secretly ride the winds.

Let us wander to the fires
Whispering, reach for the stars
Both the good and the bad word
Take us (further) on and on tonight

In the meadows our dreams will ring
And the winds will sing our songs
Let us leap over the fires with the sparks
On Walpurgis Night!

Hear the fiddles, hear the fiddles,
The fires are kindled!
Follow the round dance, follow the round dance
On Walpurgis Night.

Unruly in the fiddles' play
Our nightly round dance spins
And we join wild and free
This old magic.

Only once in great circles
We dance in this way
Until the first light of mornng
Breaks our dream-web

In the meadows our dreams will ring
And the winds will sing our songs
Let us leap over the fires with sparks
On Wapurgis Night!

Hear the fiddles, hear the fiddles
The fires are kindled!
Follow the round dance, follow the round dance
On Walpurgis Night!

Finally, my forever Beltane favorite, "Cup of Wonder" by Jethro Tull.  Enjoy, and Blessed Beltane!

Friday, April 15, 2016


We can't all be Irish (more's the pity). Those of us who are generally cherish our culture and history. This year is especially important: the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. Although not successful at the time, the actions of the 2000 members of the Irish Citizens' Army, The Irish Volunteers, The Irish Republican Brotherhood, Cumann Na mBan, and other supporters (especially in America) led the way to the Republic of today.

There are still questions being asked about the Rising. For those of us with relations in the North, we must wonder if there would have been the death and turmoil of “the troubles” without the Rising. (The events after 1916 led to the partitioning off of the 6 counties of Northern Ireland.) On the other hand, would any Irishman or Irishwoman be free without the Rebellion?

I don't have the answers, but I honor those who gave their all for Erin and the ideals of Freedom. Here are 2 easy shorts that explain Ireland from Home Rule to 1916, and then one that tells the tale of the Rising with Legos! Take a look:


The wording of the Proclamation:

Poblacht Na h-Eireann
The Provisional Government
of the
Irish Republic
To the People of Ireland
IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.
Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.
We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.
The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.
Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.
We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.
Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:
The call for membership to the Cumann na mBan (Council of Women), and it's logo:

Here are a few pictures to help you realize the impact of those 6 days of fighting. In some you will notice a tall pillar topped with a statue of Nelson. This was blown up in 1966 by Irish Republicans. The Dublin Spire now stands in its former spot. Not only was damage done by bullets and bomb, but the British ship Helga sailed up the Liffey and basically destroyed Dublin!

The executed leaders of th Rising:

The flag of the Irish Republic, flying over the GPO during the Rising.

The same flag captured by the British Army (and show upside down)

The flag was return to Ireland in the 1960's and is now displayed, with honors, in Dublin.

Pearse Surrendering. Next to him is Elizabeth O'Farrell. You can only see her feet and, later, she was completely air-brushed out! Someone painted the scene from the opposite direction:

Women played a vital role, acting as messengers, nurses, and fighters!
The Prison yard at Kilmainham Gaol, where the executions took place:

The place of burial at Arbour Hill Cemetery, with it's memorial wall:

The children of Lir statue in the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin, representing renewal and rebirth (also, the rose garden):

The actual anniversary of the Rising is April 24th. On that day, I will be wearing the symbol of the Rebellion...the Easter Lily....In honor of the volunteers, and in honor of all who fought for Ireland. As the song says:

Slavery fled, oh glorious dead, when you fell in the foggy dew.