Hello Friends,
I write to you while relishing in the shade of a cooler morning, knowing the temperature will reach the mid-90s by the late afternoon. This brilliant sun, hot heat and humidity is what my snake-wrangler friend Roy calls “snakey weather." It's the type of day where we are most likely to see snakes emerge here in the foothills of the Catskills, the heat calls them out of their shaded hideouts to gleam like jewels in the sun. 
The land I inhabit is home to many snakes that have been a central focus of my life the past few years.  It's certainly not by choice, they have sort of claimed me. I was always a person who was ~into snakes~ in that I respected their magic and myth and felt fine about seeing one in the woods. I honestly didn't think about them much. However, what has unfolded over the past few years is some strange initiation that has transformed me in more ways than one. I'll write more about it one day. Now, I think about snakes all the time. My friends know that I am always talking about them (sorry & thanks, dear friends). I dream about them multiple times a week. I have begun cycles of prayer and practices of devotion to certain serpentine Saints. I leave offerings to them on an old Catalpa stump that is in the nettle patch. And I wanted to offer a snake story to you, to honor the season of Serpent Return. It's a story that was told to me by a black snake in a dream. And when I am at a loss, I always turn to stories that the land offers for solace. 
If snakes aren't of interest, feel free to scroll to the bottom to find out about an upcoming workshop via Modern Women Studio and a little discount code for the shop. It's been a while since I sent one out! 
All blessings to our grief-tending, prayers and magic these days as we bear witness to enormous loss and dreadful violence. May we be deeply held in the web of collective care and communal aid. May the support we seek find us over and over again and may the support we offer find those who will be strengthened by it. May the land be fed by our love. May joy be our blessed compass, guiding us to the deep center of the heart. 
To snakey-weather and Serpent Return,
x Liz 
Image item
Here is a story that carries the rhythm of the great earth cycles, that speaks with the hum of a snake-forked tongue:
Persephone is a giant, black, gleaming serpent. She slithers through the meadow of young flowers, absorbing the heat of Helios along her back, following the rhythm of the earth. Her body is always on the earth, is always the earth. Her body, earth. The Serpent Queen, Persephone.
Snake transforms. Snake moves through the worlds, setting and rising, setting and rising, chthonic and celestial. Snake sheds over and over again. The Serpent Queen holds this ancient pattern of death and renewal, descent and ascent in her body.
When it is time to descend, she follows the roots of the plants. She follows the roots of the plants to the underworld. She brings the lives of the plants with her, to the root. She moves from the root. This underworld root is her home. Here, where that which is dead rots, where that which is dead transforms and sparks again, this is the kingdom of the Serpent Queen. She tends to the seeds that are swallowed by the earth. She enacts the sacred rites for the dead. Her body is the black flame of the funerary torch, lit from within.
Hades is a realm, a place, a world, where Persephone finds herself at home. She who curls herself into the lower realm for the winter, into the deep rock of the earth to slumber and dream the world into being. 
Hades is
an immense hall built from mushrooms and obsidian
a dark chamber of shadow
the pale roots of the plants
the mud
the scent of mineral earth, holy and black
dispersing and permeating
When she descends to the underworld, the life of the plants follow her down, and they build their energy here, in the realm of the dead. Imagine her, Subterranean Persephone, coiled here on her dark throne and seeing a ceiling of twinkling roots shining over, with all of the dreams of the plants blinking above her. She never closes her eyes. The trance of winter is long. The trance of winter is deep. The trance of winter is slow.
Spring comes first as a dream. Seems almost impossible, like a glowing purple crocus in the snow. The spring dream is a dream of rising, of heat, of the vibration of green. And the energy of the dream now runs through her, like a fresh stream, stirring the Serpent Queen awake. She begins the long ritual of untangling from her coil. 
When Persephone the Serpent Queen pulls herself from the folds of rock and shadow to shed her skin of winter's trance, she rises and the world above roars with its own rising storms. Strong winds and heavy rains; riotous Spring awakens with great clamor. The sorrowful separation of Hades and Persephone feeds the land and all of the plants are summoned forth, waking with this rising cycle. The underworld nourishment spreads upwards and outwards, Spring comes from death.
When Spring opens, the snakes flow into the field and meadow, emerging from the stream-lined edge, finding their way to the sun. Helios is now the compass. And Helios calls her forward, to keep rising, and she moves up from the rock to the field and the field begins to flourish and grow.
Everywhere she moves, her snake body braids growth into the land. A ribbon of flowers follows her. She continues to move upwards, star-reaching, and winds her way up the trees. With each branch she climbs, leaves unfurl. When Persephone emerges, she is given the name Karpophoros, Bringer of Fruit. And that is where we find her, curled into a tree, laden with fruit and blossoms. 
Shining, ascending, ripening. 
Image item
Persephone in the lilac, a serpentine cake for St. George & a funeral for a young Black Rat Snake
Image item
The Flowering Amulet: Plant Protection Magic
with Liz Migliorelli of Sister Spinster 
Sunday, June 12th from 3 pm to 5 pm PST
Throughout time, people have used plants to protect themselves from harm & disease in the form of amulet magic. Traditionally, the small ornaments would be worn on the body or placed in the house as guardians. Not only were they called on for their protective qualities, but these herbs were also used to conjure luck and bestow nourishment. They were often left as offerings to the threshold, places where the energy between the human world and the more-than-human world felt permeable. In folklore, we find many examples of amulet magic being used around the summer solstice, a time of high energy and full vitality, to protect from spirits as well as harness the blessings of the season. Let us gather together before the approaching solstice & collaborate with the flowering ones for enhancing our protection magic at this time.
In this container, herbalist and storyteller Liz Migliorelli will invoke the magical and medicinal properties of plants that can be used as protectors, guardians, and helpers in our daily lives. This offering can be applied to both the mundane and the magical; whether you are thinking about plants to use for grounding while seeing clients at work or energetically protecting your home space from spooky energy. We will look at folk examples of plant charms as inspiration for crafting our own herbal amulets as well as ways to root these powerful plants into our infusions, baths, elixirs, and other medicinal creations. Liz will lead participants in mediation and will weave European folk traditions & plant stories to enrich our protection practices. 
To learn more and register, click here.
Thanks for making it this far. 
Please take 15% off any order from the online shop through Friday, June 3rd with the code SNAKEYWEATHER
A portion of all sales this week will be donated to Transarts in honor of the Pinkster festival happening in Kingston this weekend.