New Cartoon “Holiday Minger Mole Happiness”

 

Happy Holidays all!

I have a new Holiday Cartoon for you today! It focuses on two secular heroes, The Great Holiday Minger and The Star-Nosed Mole of Holiday Cheer. For many years now, I have been subjecting my friend Teresa to an annual holiday cartoon, usually depicting the Great Holiday Minger. Minger is our slang for flamingo and when we both lived in Florida, we formed the “Minger Appropriation Society”, whose goal was to appropriate all those plastic pink flamingoes that had been forgotten in some trailer park yard, or left to perish in some overgrown garden and upon liberating them, find them all good homes. Anyway that’s where the term “Minger” comes from. The quest for Minger appropriation and relocation continues.

In any case, this year I decided to combine the Great Holiday Minger with another of my holiday heroes, The Star-Nosed Mole of Holiday Cheer.

The following cartoon is the result. I decided to post it here and will post the older ones as I get them scanned in and touched up. I hope you like it and happy holidays!

Ravenbird

Holiday Minger Mole Happiness by Raven Fabal
Holiday Minger Mole Happiness by Raven Fabal

 

Winter Holidays? Um…Happy Hogswatch Anyone?

 

The winter holidays, are a time when it is often difficult to be PC. It’s impossible to tell at a glance which, if any winter holiday another person celebrates.

It is a season when people often call out greetings to strangers and it seems they expect one to respond. Problem is, responding with a simple echo of what the other person has said is sometimes difficult, especially when your beliefs and theirs may be vastly different.

This is something I find  bit difficult, being Pagan, with that faith being somewhat in the minority in my area. I have been told many times this month, “Merry Christmas!” God Bless You” and other such sentiments. While it is kind of nice for people to wish all these things, it has been pretty awkward when I have responded with “Blessed Yule!” or “Happy Winter Solstice!”. “Happy Winter Holiday” gets  few sideways glances, too.

With so many commercials, songs and even bumper stickers proclaiming that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!”, what’s a poor Pagan to do?  I must imagine that people who celebrate other non-Christian holidays feel similarly, for not once this season have I been wished a Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Kwanzaa or anything else that was not Christmas related.

According to Austin Kline, in an article for ThoughtCo.com, “Most people assume Christmas is a faith-based holiday and, as such, can’t be celebrated in a nonreligious way. You have to believe in Allah to celebrate Ramadan, right?”

My Yule altar this year

“Although Christmas has largely been observed as a Christian religious holiday, that has changed dramatically over the years. The holiday already included many elements borrowed from other religions…” Pagan faiths in particular have often had their festivals and sabbats twisted to fit in with Christian beliefs, and even in this enlightened age, when that fact is commonly acknowledged by many historians and scholors,  we see absolutely no Pagan themed decorations, greeting cards, etc. at this time of year. Unfortunately only some of what is commercially marketed for Halloween, reflects Samhain, for no Halloween is devoid of green, warty-faced witches (I know real witches of all colors, but green is NOT one of them and we’re no more prone to complection problems than anyone else!), not to mention the ever popular cartoon ghosts, fictitious monsters and more.

Turn of the century Halloween greeting card

I LOVE dressing up and all the fun that goes with Halloween, it’s just that Halloween and Samhain, for me at least, are distinctly different. One demands fun, candy, parties, etc. The other is a time in which I reflect upon my ancestors, celebrate their lives and how they touched mine, honor them and often communicate with them. So I, being a glutton for joy, celebrate both. Besides, with my wardrobe, dressing as a Sorceress or even Witch is all too easy and who better than a Pagan to do so?!

As a bonus, Halloween is one time of the year when I can go out and pick up a few items for my home decor that actually reflect my personal taste, which admittedly runs toward the gothic, dark side!

Talking Bubbe – OY VEY!

But back to Christmas, etc. – I went to a local craft store this year, hoping for some pretty candles, etc. for Yule.  I did find candles, and some lovely Holly and Oak leaves, but almost everything else was Christmas. Very Christmas. As a saving grace, and the only nod to non-Christmas decor, there was one, 2 foot wide display of hanukkah decorations and merchandise. I, for one loved the cute stuffed talking “Bubbe” doll. That was the only reference I found to non-Christian beliefs in ny craft store this year.

I love my Christian friends, and have a few friends of other faiths, (that is the ones who are so kindly willing to put up with my hermit-like ways!).  I love them all as I have a love and respect for all humans and animals on our planet. It’s just that at times like these, I want to wish seasonal greetings or a happy winter holiday to everyone, without offending anyone in the process!  Therefore, I would like to wish you all a Happy, Merry, Joyous, Blessed Rama-Chris-Kwanz-Hannuk-Yule and if I’ve left anything out, please know that it was no doubt a typo caused by my enjoyment of a bit of sherry and pork pie for Hogswatch!

A Holiday must-see film, The Hogfather, created from Terry Pratchett’s wonderful book of the same name. Find this and I promise you will love it!

Till next time, whatever you are or celebrate, I wish you happiness and love ~ Ravenbird

Sumo Steakhouse & Sushi Bar, a Restaurant Experience to Remember

I visited Sumo Steakhouse & Sushi Bar here in Madison on December 4th 2017. The food was fresh, delicious and I was totally happy with the entire experience.

From the stylish entryway, to the authentic and sumptuous decor inside, to the charismatic Hibachi chef who prepared our meal with a dramatic flare, this entire experience is memorable.  The staff is super friendly and efficient. The Sushi Chef at the honest-to-gods sushi bar was a true artisan and very happy to pose with is knife for my camera.

Larger Than Life Sumo Wrestlers

There are two private dining rooms for private parties, meetings, etc. and the seating, either in the main dining room or private areas is comfortable and even when dining in front of the Hibachi, enjoying the show with other couples or families, the experience still manages to be an intimate one!

The decor is both over the top and subtle, all at once! There are two huge (10 feet or more high) statues of Sumo Wrestlers facing off, ready to fight, that cannot be missed standing just inside the front doors.

To the left are many booths for those who prefer not to sit hibachi-side, and a gorgeous metallic gold and amber colored set of sofas done in glove soft leather which surrounds an amazing fountain table, with koi and other beautiful details hand carved from Sandalwood. Not just for show, I saw several people just enjoy sitting here, chatting during my visit.

Well Stocked Full Bar
Sushi Chef at the Sumo Sushi Bar

The food needs to be tasted and the Hibachi Chef put on a terrific show, especially delighting the two kids at our table. It was great fun for everyone. Many dishes here come with beautiful garnishes, including even real orchid flowers. The freshness of the sushi as well as the artistry with which it is created is amazing. The Hibachi grilled Sukiyaki Steak which I ordered was cooked to absolute perfection, rare, just as I requested and served with fresh vegetables, cooked on the grill which were both tender and crisp.  I really enjoyed their fried rice, served with (no kidding) Yum Yum sauce. So good!

Happy Hibachi Chef
Onion Volcano on Veg Mountain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Osaka Room

Sumo has a full bar,  and televisions in just about every room, just in case the fabulous food and Hibachi show aren’t enough entertainment for some folks.

The place is absolutely spotlessly clean and even the restrooms carry out the rich feel of the rest of the place, with square basin sinks, and real marble flooring along with Oriental detailing at the ceiling and indirect lighting.

I highly recommend this restaurant to everyone, and can guarantee that the prices are very affordable and the experience is one you will not soon forget.  Have fun and tell ’em Raven sent you!

My Solitary Circle Brand Products Now Available at Cosmic Delights!

I’m happy to announce that some of my own Solitary Circle creations are now available at a terrific local store, Cosmic Delights in East Madison, Wisconsin!

The owners Luna and Andrew are both great people, and bring a knowledge and experience

Quartz Crystal I Often Use in Psychic Readings

to this store that I’ve often found lacking in other metaphysical type establishments. Helping people find just what they are looking for, or helping them to discover what stones, oils, etc. will best help them is something I’ve seen first hand and I am very impressed with the kind and competent way they deal with everyone who comes in.

So, after years of selling my goodies only direct, at festivals and online, I am putting some things for sale at Cosmic Delights and frankly, it is I who am delighted for my products to be there!

 

Willow Staff with Quartz Crystal Top

Some of the Raven Fabal.com and Solitary Circle items you can now go see at Cosmic Delights include, my hand carved wooden wands, athames and staffs, Spell Candles, in Love, Prosperity/Success and Peace/Protection varieties, in a new votive size, simple to use, and sized small enough to get results started fast!

Another favorite from my very first days of selling spells and potions is my Smokeless Smudge! Brewed one small batch at a time, this powerful potion comes in a convenient small non-aerosol spray bottle so you can use this to cleanse your environment, no matter where that should happen to be! Car, home, office, anywhere it’s needed! Besides being a powerful cleansing potion made with Sage, Sweetgrass, Cedarwood and other traditional smudging herbs and resins, this stuff smells incredible and the aromatheraputic benefits alone help to make any place happier and more calm. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do, and share it with others who might need it. Great for a small gift under the Yule tree this season!

Ebony Wand

 

 

 

 

 

I have a small selection of Tarot/Rune/Dice drawstring bags there as well although I have just received a new lot of fabrics and plan to add more variety and more of the large size bags to the existing collection soon.

Did I mention that Cosmic Delights has a terrific selection of stones and crystals? In addition to tumbled and raw minerals, they also have some carved pieces and many wonderful pieces of gemstone jewelry as well. They carry tarot decks, books, and incense, too! As a matter of fact, they carry my very own, made right here in Madison, Solitary Circle Incense! So there are some very good things happening right now, and I hope you will pay a visit to Cosmic Delights soon! I’m sure you’ll be as delighted as I am! Tell ’em Raven sent you!

Kindness Has a New Super Hero – A Einstein’s Bagel Man!

Hi everyone!

I wrote last January about a moment of kindness I experienced through a chance encounter with a stranger. My local Bagel Man, at Einstein’s Bagels located at 3904 E Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53704. I’m giving the full address in case you should want to send him a holiday card after hearing about how awesome he is. I know I do! Plus, no kidding, best bagels (you have to try the French Toast bagels!) and most delicious coffee anywhere, super clean shop and friendly staff. Win/win, right?

 

Anyway, you can read the original article here, and it really touched me, how kind this fellow was to em, so it’s a pretty good read, I think. But anyway, I have gone through a LOT since last January, including almost a month in the hospital with pancreatitis (Oh Gods! How I missed my bagels then!) and a lot of personal challenges otherwise too. But I have to say that throughout all that trouble, every once in a while I would remember the morning when everything seemed to gang up on me at once and I was trying to hide my tears in the bagel shop when this wonderful, good hearted individual showed me an act of random kindness, and it warmed my heart all over again, every time I thought about it and even now, he touches my heart.

 

Well, I saw my very favorite bagel guy this morning, and finally learned his name and finally told him how much I appreciated his care and kindness on that long ago, cold and cloudy January day.  I had been too well, I guess embarrassed would have to be the word, to talk to him about it before. I’m not sure why, and folks, believe me, I don’t embarrass easily! But today I spoke to him about it and I’m glad I did because I don’t think he had any idea of how profound an effect his actions had on me.

It’s important for us to remember things like that. Kindness, compassion, caring, whether in the form of a pat on the back, a donation to a charity or food bank, or even a bit of chocolate to cheer up a stranger on a grey cold day, all have their lasting effect on people!

The ones who do these seemingly small acts of kindness seldom get so much as a thanks, and more seldom still are they aware that they honestly made a difference for someone else, long past the time of the event itself.  Here’s hoping that all of us can follow Bagel Man’s fine example and just care, and let it show, for that kind of thing is a beacon in the darkness for some people, some times, when they need it most.  Also, guess what? I finally found out that his name is Steve.

Thanks again, Steve, the Mighty Bagel Man who makes the whole world a little bit better just for being in it. You rock Steve!

 

UPDATE – January – Well, now I am embarassed. When I went to Einstein’s yeterday, I saw my favorite bagel man and apparently I was mistaken about his name! I believe, based on intel I got from questioning a clerk (since I was far too embarrassed to ask the man himself), that his name is actually Phil. But you know what? I could be wrong again – and besides, superheroes don’t need proper first names. So, Steve, Phil, or whatever name you go by, thank you and you will lwys be Bagel Man to me!

The Forest Provides! New Wands and Staffs!

U W Arboretum One of the Most Beautiful Places I Know!
Fred the Bluejay – Forest Resident and Paid Model (I brought birdseed)

I love the forest. The trees give me strength and their peaceful spirits listen to the sorrow within me and ease my pain. In other words, I am a tree hugger. I am also a witch and an artist and wood crafter. I have been inspired to seek out the green places here in my beloved Madison, Wisconsin these last few months, and many places before that, way back into childhood. My goal is always the same. First, soak up the green energy and peace, and after that, perhaps photograph the trees, other fauna and flora that I meet there. Often times, my visit to The Green is for another purpose – to take what the forest gives me, fallen wood and similar and to honor the Gods and Nature by creating something beautiful from what I find there.

I am lucky enough to recently have obtained a permit to collect wood on the University of Wisconsin Arboretum grounds and related areas. I am astounded by the bounty there. In only one trip out to the vast and completely natural forest surrounding the Arboretum I have found many large limbs that will eventually become staffs or walking sticks, and many branches that are going to make wonderful ceremonial wands.

Spiral Hand-Carved White Willow Wand

I have recently completed a group of wands, primarily of local White Willow, which I obtain from fallen wood only. I also have some Dragon Wood in this batch of wands, too.  I wanted to show you what I have and let you know that I will be adding new things very soon, including some rare wood items, using Paduk, Cocobolo, Zebrawood and hopefully, my favorite wood, Purple Heart.

Dragon Wood Hand-Carved Charkra Wand

I learned about rare woods from friends I met on the Artist’s Touring Association many years ago. At the time I lived in Florida and these folks hailed from Appleton, Wisconsin! Now I am here in WI and I wish I could get back in touch because these people were true artisans and their marquetry boxes are nothing short of amazing. But in any case, thanks to them, I learned of all different woods and their uses. I cannot wait to show you more of my work soon! You can look at more of my art, jewelry and wood crafting at my ETSY SHOP.

Maple Trees! Good for the Soul!

If you have any questions or comments, just message me and I’ll do my best to answer. I’m spending a lot of time in my studio these days, but I am trying to spend more time on here, as well, that is, whenever I’m not out, hiking in the green places. Soon it will be winter and hiking gets harder, so I’m taking advantage of this lovely season any time i possibly can! I hope you liked my photos, and remember, if you want or need something special and unique, witchy or otherwise, contact me, and I will see what may be done.

~ Ravenbird

 

Photography

I love taking photos. Thanks to the age of digital photography,  I can take tons of photos, and “develop them” on my computer. Oh what a lucky Bird I am!  So here, I will post some of the ones I am either most proud of, or ones that I find to be the most interesting or bizarre.   I hope you enjoy them!

A lot of what I love to shoot is macro or close to it, meaning the tiny details and creatures that most people miss in the daily rush of life. I love to sit silently in the early morning or late evening hours, in the forest or some other natural area and snap photos of the tiny things. Sometimes little critters come by to visit when I do this and one day, if I’m really lucky, the Fae might visit and possibly even allow a photo or two. One can but hope!

 

 

Mamma duck photo-bombing a picture of her babies…I guess I need a model release!

Sometimes though, I may be photographing little things, when a much bigger critter photo bombs me! This mamma duck didn’t say “AFLAC!” but she sure had the look! Turned out, she had another 5 babies in hiding and she was making sure I didn’t hurt them. Good mama!I am a tree hugging child of Gaia and there is, to me the Divine in every leaf, blossom or blade of grass.  Spiders, snakes, and all the little creatures are parts of the grand kaleidoscope that is life. I’m going to do my best to photograph them all! There are prints available of any of my photographs. If you are interested, contact me. Otherwise, just enjoy!

 

Cartoons by Raven

This is where I will be posting scans of my cartoons! My series, The Adventures of Ravenbird, is my diary in ‘toon form. My husband is represented by Oy the owl, and they are supported by a cast which includes an cockney snail called ‘Sroit and flock of seagulls who provide commentary!

Yours truly, Raven Fabal

There are “toons for all occasions, because when I have spare time, or something that has a profound effect on my life, it winds up getting cartooned. Ravenbird and the others have evolved throughout the years, and what the heck, I’m going to put them all here! I haven’t inked all of them or even most of them yet, but I plan to and will post them again in full color as soon as I do.

To explore my cartoons, just click on the “Cartoons” category!

Psychic Readings

Why Tarot Readings Here & Now?

il_570xN.665435723_3txcWell, I’m many things.I am an artist.  I am also a psychic, an empath and an intuitive Tarot reader. I have focused mainly on my art in recent years because that is what I needed to be doing. But after much consideration and conversation I have been inspired to offer my Tarot Readings again, this time on Etsy because many of my former clients have been asking me where they can get readings from me again. For the moment at least I am only offering my Tarot readings. Palm and Crystal readings are best done in person.

So while my main focus in my Etsy Store is still my art, including my Fine Art Prints and Photo Note Cards, I find that the Art and the Tarot go hand in hand quite nicely and I’ve decided to offer my Tarot Card Readings in addition to my art. Due to client request, I may even begin making my spell/wish/prayer candles and amulets again, but that will be another listing, so please visit my store often for updates.

When doing readings for people, I try to maintain a positive outlook and provide information which will actually be useful in creating a positive outcome. Please be aware that I will NOT sugar coat or just tell you what I think you want to hear. I will only tell you the truth so if you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere, or perhaps just buy some art from me. 🙂

Which Tarot Deck Do I Use?

While I have used many decks including the traditional Rider Waite deck, I have found that my greatest accuracy and clearest information comes when I use the Sacred Circle Tarot Deck. The images, which will be included in your reading, are very beautifully illustrated and every detail adds to the clarity of the reading, the depth of information received. I also find that this deck is completely reliable for anyone, no matter what situation, gender, race, religious belief, etc. This deck is unbiased, understanding and welcoming of all. My standard deck therefore, is Sacred Circle

Readings Offered:

One Card Readings

These are best for simple Yes or No type questions and one subject or issue. These simple readings can provide an astonishing amount of clarity on subjects where decisions are very hard to make, and where an opinion from Spirit can make all the difference!

Three Card Readings

I call these “Path of Destiny” readings, also known as Past, Present and Future readings. A Three Card Reading can help you understand where you’ve been and how it affects your present and future. This reading is very good for helping you make decisions about something (or someone!) that is a problem or issue. This reading will help you find your way again.

Ten Card Readings

Full Life readings are the best for getting the most information about all areas of your life. Addressing what’s most important for you to know now, plus Past and Future events, and how others perceive you, which can help you to deal with them more effectively, as well as predicting a final outcome, this reading is simply the most detailed and accurate reading I can offer you.

How Is It Done?

il_570xN.665296326_q5raTarot Card Readings are done by me in my home using the message you send me ( see instructions below). I use meditation and inspiration from your words to help me connect with information concerning you, your future and things/people connected with you.

Spirit moves in unexpected ways and I sometimes find that I am inspired to include my Crystal ball or other divination methods to gain the most clarity for you when I do your reading. Please know that when this happens, I never charge extra. You are paying me to get the most comprehensive Tarot reading, and I will include whatever is needed to get the very best answers for you!

What Do I Get?

You will get a confirmation email from me first. That way you know I am on the job for you. When I have completed your reading you will get another email which will include your full reading and images of all the cards used. Your reading will be in Adobe PDF format. If you do not already have a PDF reader, you can easily download a FREE one from the link which I will include with your reading.

If, for any reason you would rather have a printed copy of your reading, I will gladly send you that instead of an email. Your printed reading will be on card stock and will include all the same information and images as the email version. However you must choose one or the other method to receive your reading. Please do not ask for both.

What If I Need Clarification?

You may ask ONE follow up question if you need more clarity on anything in your reading. It must be directly related to the reading and not a new question. More than that constitutes a new reading and should be arranged through Etsy.

Sample Reading:

Please view my pictures. The last three represent a shortened version of an actual 3 card reading. Your reading, whether you choose a 1, 3, or 10 card reading, will of course differ and the cards tell a different story for each individual. This example is so that you can get an idea of what to expect and see that the images are very meaningful to the overall reading.

il_570xN.665438053_gip9  il_570xN.665307486_dfc7

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Basic Basics Logo and Launch!

I love the natural products created by my friend Teresa Ginther!

Recently she asked me to help her develop a logo to use at a local event on November 11th, where she would be offering her wonderful products for sale. The sign you see before you is what we came up with.

It reflects her theory that basic, natural ingredients make the best products and can meet all of our basic needs. I enjoy making logos and pictures, cartoons etc. on my computer, and a challenge is always fun. I like adding touches like the lady bug, which is kind of a nickname for the adorable daughter of Teresa and her hubby Jamie, Ariana. They call her Ari-bug. As a bit more fun, the eyes of the bug are an “a” and a “G” for Ari-bug’s initials.

Teresa Ginther’s current soap fragrances are Peppermint Mocha, Lavender Clean, Snowy Winter, Woodsy Boy, Glamour Girl, Autumn Fireside, Vol Soap, Smurf Poop, Pumpkin Harvest, and Pixie Dust.  Lip balm fragrances are Hot Buttered Rum, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Christmas Snow, and Rosemary Lemon.  And that’s just a start!

Teresa plans to expand into a FaceBook page for her products and online sales sometime in the near future. As soon as I get details, I will add them here so everyone can get a taste of the amazing, eco-friendly and richly fregranced goodies I have been lucky enough to sample, and intend to order more of, ASAP!  If you get an opportunity to grab anything made by Basic Basics, by all mean, do! You will be very happy you did!

~Ravenbird