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The Christmas Service of the Dead

by on Dec.24, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

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S. Elizabeth: I initially wrote the following on Christmas eve, over a decade ago, but have since made an annual tradition of trotting out the creepy old chestnut to share with friends and kindred spirits. I cannot envision a more like-minded bunch with which to share a ghostly Christmas tale than my Haute Macabre family, so please read on, and I hope you enjoy its eerie delights as much as I do. (As originally posted at Unquiet Things.)

People say that long ago the dead held a service on the night before Christmas.  Once a woman arrived too early for Christmas service.  When she entered the church she found it lit up and full of dead people, singing:

Here we sing, our bones all bleached,
Here we sing with beautiful voice,
When shall the day of judgment come,
What yet have you to say?

The story continues on as the woman recognizes her dead sister among the congregation. Warned by her sister that she must flee, for the dead will take her life, the woman escapes, dropping her shawl behind her to confuse her cadaverous pursuers.  When the churchwarden arrives on Christmas morning and puts the lights on, he spies the shawl in the empty chapel, torn almost beyond recognition.

This tale is widely spread in Europe and is extremely old, having been set in Autun, Burgandy, by Gregory of Tours in his De Gloria Confessorum.  See below for an illustrated version of the best-known Scandinavian variant of this migratory legend, “The Midnight Mass of the Dead” from Asbørnsen’s “En gammelgags juleaften” (“An Old Fashioned Christmas Eve”). 

These wonderfully evocative images, full of dim shades, grim shadows, and midwinter’s eerie light, were created by brilliant artist Chris Van Allsburg  (JumangiThe Polar Express) and can be found in the Ghosts” volume from the Time Life Enchanted World series.  The scans below are from my personal collection; higher-resolution, more detailed versions can be found here.

Sources: Swedish Legends and Folktales by John Lindow

From myself and the staff at Haute Macabre–we wish you peace and light in this dark, dying time of the year, and may you not be without your shawl or other talisman this winter holiday when the dead are afoot and hungry for your company.

-S. Elizabeth


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Black Moonstone Dreamers

by on Dec.20, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

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Newly listed: a collection of Black Moonstone spheres, the conduits of the new moon, the High Priestess, here to usher in the energy for the upcoming new year / decade / era.

The energy of the new moon is one of rest – a potential energy, one that plants the seeds for the rise of the oncoming era. I have a slight apprehension connected to this coming new moon: an eclipse on a appropriated pagan high day, in the midst of worldwide turmoil. What malevolence is to be ushered in? What work is to be done in the new days, the next roaring twenties? We are deep in Persephone’s descent, struggling for the lights in the dark. Each of these spheres contains that spark, that first sign of silver light against the blackness. Be the keeper of the gates, holding the mysteries, and the darkness won’t be able to consume you.

I selected each of these while in a heightened psychic state, I anointed myself with a trance inducing oil to connect more deeply with the offerings. Each individual piece spoke to me directly, and within that trance state I feel that they will speak to you in that same way.

You may find previews of each available sphere on the Haute Macabre Instagram page and make your selection in the HM Shop.

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Black Moonstone dreamers 1-3 🗝 Please visit the link on our profile or swipe up in our corresponding Stories to purchase 🗝 Black Moonstone is associated with the darker aspects of the lunar goddesses, with the darker aspects of the Triple Faced Hecate and her wisdom. They are the Dark Moon, the waning moon, the period of recovery between the light. Please do not infer this to mean they are any less powerful than their rainbow sisters, it does not. They are the protective cloak of the dark crone, the inked out moon still silhouetted in the sky amongst the glittering diamonds, always there, always hanging above, high and heavy. . . . . . #HauteMacabre #itwasntjustaphase #crystalshop #crystalsofig #energycleanse #tarotofinstagram #crystalball #crystalbeings #moonstone #moonstonesphere #blackmoonstone #darkmoon

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Black Moonstone Dreamers 4-6 🗝 Please visit the link on our profile or swipe up in our corresponding Stories to purchase 🗝 These are for use in times of rest, when your potential energy is growing within. They are for times of healing, regenerating, planting the seeds of manifestation cast during the dark moon to grow with the lunar light. They are workers within the Shadow Self, honing darker aspects and directing those attributes towards a total fulfillment of self. Black Moonstone will assist you in shedding aspects of your psyche that no longer serve you and have only haunted your dark corners. . . . . . #HauteMacabre #itwasntjustaphase #crystalshop #crystalsofig #energycleanse #tarotofinstagram #crystalball #crystalbeings #moonstone #moonstonesphere #blackmoonstone #darkmoon

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Black Moonstone Dreamers

by on Dec.20, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Newly listed: a collection of Black Moonstone spheres, the conduits of the new moon, the High Priestess, here to usher in the energy for the upcoming new year / decade / era.

The energy of the new moon is one of rest – a potential energy, one that plants the seeds for the rise of the oncoming era. I have a slight apprehension connected to this coming new moon: an eclipse on a appropriated pagan high day, in the midst of worldwide turmoil. What malevolence is to be ushered in? What work is to be done in the new days, the next roaring twenties? We are deep in Persephone’s descent, struggling for the lights in the dark. Each of these spheres contains that spark, that first sign of silver light against the blackness. Be the keeper of the gates, holding the mysteries, and the darkness won’t be able to consume you.

I selected each of these while in a heightened psychic state, I anointed myself with a trance inducing oil to connect more deeply with the offerings. Each individual piece spoke to me directly, and within that trance state I feel that they will speak to you in that same way.

You may find previews of each available sphere on the Haute Macabre Instagram page and make your selection in the HM Shop.

View this post on Instagram

Black Moonstone dreamers 1-3 🗝 Please visit the link on our profile or swipe up in our corresponding Stories to purchase 🗝 Black Moonstone is associated with the darker aspects of the lunar goddesses, with the darker aspects of the Triple Faced Hecate and her wisdom. They are the Dark Moon, the waning moon, the period of recovery between the light. Please do not infer this to mean they are any less powerful than their rainbow sisters, it does not. They are the protective cloak of the dark crone, the inked out moon still silhouetted in the sky amongst the glittering diamonds, always there, always hanging above, high and heavy. . . . . . #HauteMacabre #itwasntjustaphase #crystalshop #crystalsofig #energycleanse #tarotofinstagram #crystalball #crystalbeings #moonstone #moonstonesphere #blackmoonstone #darkmoon

A post shared by Haute Macabre (@hautemacabre) on

View this post on Instagram

Black Moonstone Dreamers 4-6 🗝 Please visit the link on our profile or swipe up in our corresponding Stories to purchase 🗝 These are for use in times of rest, when your potential energy is growing within. They are for times of healing, regenerating, planting the seeds of manifestation cast during the dark moon to grow with the lunar light. They are workers within the Shadow Self, honing darker aspects and directing those attributes towards a total fulfillment of self. Black Moonstone will assist you in shedding aspects of your psyche that no longer serve you and have only haunted your dark corners. . . . . . #HauteMacabre #itwasntjustaphase #crystalshop #crystalsofig #energycleanse #tarotofinstagram #crystalball #crystalbeings #moonstone #moonstonesphere #blackmoonstone #darkmoon

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Coaxing The Secrets From Her Hair: Twin Peaks VR

by on Dec.19, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

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The owls are still not what they seem, but now you may coax out the secrets in her hair yourself: Twin Peaks VR is now available via Steam.

Iconic locations from the show are included in this virtual (alternate?) reality, allowing players to immerse themselves in Red Room, Glastonbury Grove, Sheriff’s Department, Glass Box Observation and more.

screenshots from the game via Welcome to Twin Peaks


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Coaxing The Secrets From Her Hair: Twin Peaks VR

by on Dec.19, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

The owls are still not what they seem, but now you may coax out the secrets in her hair yourself: Twin Peaks VR is now available via Steam.

Iconic locations from the show are included in this virtual (alternate?) reality, allowing players to immerse themselves in Red Room, Glastonbury Grove, Sheriff’s Department, Glass Box Observation and more.

screenshots from the game via Welcome to Twin Peaks


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Night Time Routines & Rituals For Sleep Seekers And Dream Gazers

by on Dec.17, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

If I were to wait for someone to ask, “oh, Sarah, won’t you divulge your bedtime routine and rituals to us?” Well, I imagine I would be waiting a very long time indeed because unfortunately, no one ever asks me those kinds of questions. But I do enjoy talking about all things bed and sleep and dream-related, so I won’t let a little thing like lack of inquiry or interest stand in my way!

It’s funny how a lot of those zodiac memes like the above have us Taurus folks sleeping and napping all the time, our persons permanently parked in beds beautified by our need for comfort and luxury. That’s not me at all! Well, yes, yes, I like the beautiful bed part of that assumption and ok, sure, I have been known to hit the snooze alarm a few times– but I am not one to lounge and linger in bed once I am already awake. Once I am up, I am up! Otherwise, if I lay in bed not sleeping, I just start to feel antsy and peevish.  And RE: naps–I nap maybe once a year, at most. I understand that naps can be restorative, a good form of self-care, and for some individuals a necessity, and I truly do not begrudge anyone their naptime…it’s just…I’d rather be doing something. Anything. Even just puttering around! But preferably knitting or reading. Or cooking or watching a creepy film! To me, those things are almost as relaxing and recuperative as a nap, but I actually have something to show for it at the end of an hour– whether it’s a few chapters read or a few more inches completed on a handknit shawl.

I suppose that puts me in uncomfortable territory regarding our addiction to productivity culture and how we determine our worth and value based on our output and deliverables and what not. I don’t mean to do that. What’s right for you is right for you. For me, personally, napping feels like a waste of my time, and I’d rather waste my time while I’m conscious.

As I don’t nap, and I don’t linger in bed– I don’t spend much time in the bedroom other than my 6-8* hours of sleep at night. I don’t even read in bed! So the time I do spend in the bedroom is pretty special, and I like my environment and my rituals and routines surrounding that time to reflect its importance to me and to be optimized for how I like to best use the room: SLEEP.

* I was routinely getting 6-8 hours of sleep until about 2 months ago, at which point I cut it down to five. The reason for this is because I wanted extra time in the morning while it’s quiet to get in some more reading and start the day on my own terms, doing the things that I like to do. Now I am reading that 8 hours of sleep is pretty non-negotiable if you want to avoid many deleterious effects to your health. Yikes. I’ve got to re-think everything! And I guess that’s what happens when you try to get more reading done

As the day comes to a close, but there are still a few hours left before I plan to turn in for the evening, I have a handful of pre-pre-bed items that I like to take care of. If I typically cozy up in bed around, say, 11PM, I will get to these things around 9:30 or so:

-Clean up the lingering dishes in the sink. When I stumble from bed in the morning and attempt to orient myself to the wakeful world, the last thing I want to do is be scrubbing sharp knives or stacking clanking piles of plates in the cupboard. For you, this may mean something different. Folding the laundry, tidying up, whatever. The things that need cleaning up and clearing away so that you don’t have to look at them first thing in the morning. It’s easy to say, “ugh…can’t that wait til tomorrow?” Sure it can. But then …you have to do it tomorrow. Take five minutes and do it now, instead.

-Fiber and bedtime vitamins! Yeah, I know, adequate fiber intake isn’t very glamorous, but I feel like once you reach a certain age (I’m not sure what that age is, but I am guessing I am there now) it’s just a fact of life. I mix the powdery stuff with water in a charming spring green juice glass embossed with enchanting scroll-y motifs, and pretend I am drinking a magic potion. Spellwork to keep my innards working!

-Put my phone on the charger and curl up to do something gentle and quiet for an hour, with  a cup of tea (or sometimes a glass of wine, but I am trying to break that habit.) For me, “gentle and quiet” might mean reading or working on a hands-on type of project. Sometimes this is knitting, but I feel like maybe that is not the most relatable thing to keep bringing up, so let’s say that you’re preparing your overnight oats or packing a lunch for the next day, instead. Some people might take this time to journal or write in their planners for the next day. I think the point is to start letting your brain wind down, and you probably don’t want to do this in front of a television or phone screen.

When I feel my eyes begin to grow heavy, or perhaps I’ve noticed that the hour is beginning to draw late, I have another handful of habits and practices I walk myself through before tumbling into bed:

-A skincare routine, which–I know, I know, every blogger and Instagrammer and Youtuber has got a skincare routine, and you probably don’t need to hear about one more, so I won’t bother going into that (unless you are curious? Let me know in the comments and we can tackle that in another post!) My skin has issues with redness and inflammation, and all of the products that I use are geared toward addressing that. It’s nice to go to bed with a face free of makeup, or, if like me you don’t wear much makeup, free of the grime of the day, pampered and anointed with nice, calming balms and salves.

-Cozy pajamas. I used to be super self-conscious about the size tags in my pajamas. Why? Who is even going to see that, and why on earth are they looking down the back of my pajama pants? And furthermore, if there is any time that you want to be comfy, it is definitely when you are trying to fall asleep at night. Nowadays I buy my pajama bottoms up to two sizes larger than what I might normally wear because, friends, I want elasticity and stretch. I do not want a seam caught up in my booty and suffocating my nethers all night long and I’m here to tell you, that does not lead to restful sleep. Buy your jammies for comfort! I cannot stress how much I love my Sudara pajama bottoms. I could probably wear them as loungewear if I were someone who lounges in public or actually even left the house in any capacity. But I also love this spooky-cute pair that I got from Target in October for 365 Halloween sleepy feels.

-Light stretches. I still don’t do any actual yoga. I’d love to start. Maybe in 2020, who knows! There are quite a few “yoga for sleep” videos on Youtube, which I’ve never actually followed along with, but there are two stretches in particular that I like and actually do, while lying in bed: the supine spinal twist and what I believe is called the “reclining goddess pose.” Again–I don’t know yoga, I don’t do yoga, but I think I am doing these correctly and most importantly, they just feel like a nice, much-needed unknotting before sleep.

Some sensory ambiance that helps send me off to dreamland, once I have settled in:

-Sounds. I don’t like to sleep in complete silence, and I love the sound of rain, so that’s my preferred lullaby. Sadly, it does not rain every night– nope, not even in swampy, humid FL. So we tune in to a rain channel on Youtube, darken the screen, and set a timer on the tv, and allow the pitter-patter of rain on celluloid windows lull us to sleep at night. Alternately, when I am sleeping alone, I play Mortiis’ Født til å Herskewhich is one long eerie song, split into two tracks, of the gloomiest most monotonously marvelous dungeon music. Or if I’m not quite sleepy enough and I need a little extra help along the way, I will plug in some headphones and put on the WhispersRed ASMR channel on Spotify.

-Scent. I like a bit of fragrance before turning in for the evening, but your mileage may vary on this point. I think it’s either a lovely way to calm your senses with a soothing aroma or, the chance to try something fun and new and let it completely influence your subconscious for a few hours. I have written about some of my favorite night-time scents on my personal blog, in the past, and these scents are still some of my favorites! To this, I will add that LUSH’s Sleepy lotion is the loveliest sweet lavender scent to slather yourself in before burrowing under the covers.

-(Inner) sight. If you find your thoughts racing and anxious before bed, you might employ a bit of visualization. These are two unrelated (I think) techniques that I learned from my therapist, but I typically bundle them both together at bedtime. First, I think about all the things that are plaguing me, and I open the hinge of my skull and pluck the items out, one by one (I imagine them as little people, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, wriggling with outrage!) I then plop them one by one into a jar, plink! –I envision an empty Claussen pickle jar, for some reason– screw the lid on tight and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Plague me no more, petulant pickle people!

After I’ve ousted the rabble from my brain, I take a moment to imagine somewhere that I find deeply peaceful and soothing. I breathe deeply and spend time in this space. This is a technique that my therapist encouraged me to practice with regard to finding a “safe space,” but I also think of it as a space for giving my mind a bit of tranquil beauty before slipping away to dreamland. I have for some reason chosen to conjure forth imagery of places I’ve never actually traveled, but after months of nightly visits, I don’t feel like that’s exactly true anymore. They feel very real to me now.

-Touch/feel. This is the year that I finally committed to giving our bed situation an entire overhaul. We had been sleeping on a mattress that was very, very old, and it was time to put the old gal to rest, so to speak. We replaced it with an Airweave mattress; which, if you’re interested, is a Japanese mattress brand–and it must be noted that this thing is very, very firm. I’m still not decided on if I love it or not but I am the kind of person who will stubbornly and relentlessly stick to a decision that I made no matter what, so I guess this mattress is here to stay. I will say that it is great for sleeping on, but not so much for lounging on, so it will definitely propel you out of bed in the morning. And because it is so firm, and in case you are wondering, it is also great for other things that people might do in the bedroom…but I’m not here to talk about that. (Not today, anyhow!)

We treated ourselves to super luxurious bed linens–actual linens— from House of Baltic Linen, and I will be completely honest with you here: they are not inexpensive and you are probably going to wait a very long time for them to arrive, but they are worth every penny. Even my partner, who would normally never notice such a thing, remarked dreamily after climbing into bed “…these are so nice…” They are absolutely SO NICE.

I previously had a glorious William Morris duvet cover, but I have discovered that I utterly loathe the hassle of dealing with duvets, and I also felt that it was almost a little too colorful for the space I was trying to create, so I found a nice, lightweight linen quilt from Brook Linen. I have the black variant–which, while I didn’t want too much color, I also didn’t want to summon my inner angsty goth teen with pitch-black bedding, either–but it’s been washed a few times and has faded to a nice neutral charcoal, and it is precisely what I envisioned that it should look like. Not a Crayola explosion but not too crypt-y, either. Maybe even a little boring. But that’s ok, I’m trying to fall asleep in here, after all.

For pillows, we have a bunch of old raggedy things that lay there during the day just for looks, but as far as functional nighttime cushions for sleep, I also have a bunchy, insanely heavy buckwheat pillow for me to hug to my chest while I am sleeping, and memory foam Ghost pillows for our heads. I first slept on a Ghost Pillow at Maika’s house and it was a revelation. I immediately fell so profoundly in love that I had ordered one as soon as I woke up the next morning. Highly recommend!

Upon my nightstand is a small stack of books (we do so love our Stacks here at HM), including a dream dictionary, and:
Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey by Alice Robb
A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics 
Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940, Carl Jung

as well as Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, which is not pictured above, because I am currently reading it, and like I mentioned, I don’t read in bed, so it’s not even in the bedroom at the moment. Thus far it is an alarmingly eye-opening read, although the author himself has suggested that if you find your eyes slipping shut and you nod off while reading it, he is fine with that, too! All of these pages are kept company by a small but splendid altar cloth from Poison Apple Printshop, a gently-scented moon phase candle from DeuxMoons, and a gorgeous third-eye sleeping mask from Sleephammer.

Also not pictured is my dream journal, which doesn’t actually live on my nightstand. I record my dreams at the kitchen table, oddly enough. And I will share that I am not sure what initially prompted me to do this, but I take my glasses off while I am writing out my dreams, and because my vision is so poor, I have to scrunch my face down to about a half an inch from the page while I am scribbling. I look like a grade school kid taking a test and trying to make sure that no one is cheating off me, I’m sure it looks pretty ridiculous! Somehow, though, when I remove my glasses and everything becomes unfocused and insubstantial, it opens the pathways for better recall of that unconscious territory I had just been visiting. It’s a peculiar little trick that works for me!

Additionally, Naomi Brodner has a wonderful Dreaming 101 class offered via ritualcravt, where she shares some more helpful thoughts in this vein and some incredible insights and information in general. At Luna Luna magazine, Lisa-Marie Basile has some lovely ideas for keeping a dream diary, as well as other beautifully-written rituals and practices involving your dreams. Looking to the tarot to interpret some of the baffling and bizarre questions raised by your dreams? Well, perhaps you can ask Acanalogue!

A moment of whimsy a few months ago inspired my desire to build a dream-shelf/altar (which I did not literally build, it came from West Elm) and which I have stocked with scents and oils that I use before bed, I have adorned with dreamy crystals and quartz with properties to assist in untroubled sleep and lucid dreams, and I have bedecked with blooms, that, while perhaps not associated with sleep, are shades of color that I find soft and soothing. A surreal little tintype by Wenzdai rounds out the menageries, to remind me of the important symbolism to be found in the strange stories my brain cooks up while I am slumbering.

One last thing that may be of use–do you perhaps talk in your sleep? Do you wake your partner up with your babble, but in the morning, no one quite remembers exactly what was said? Well, like they say, there’s an app for that! Do they even say this anymore? I am so out of touch. Anyway, I don’t talk in my sleep but my little sister carries on entire conversations that sound so clear you would swear there is someone else in the room responding to her. She began using a sleep recorder app so that she can eavesdrop on her nocturnal ramblings, and she routinely shares them with me for help with interpretation, or mostly, I suspect, for a laugh. She’s given me permission to share this one, (the sleep-talk is right in the first 8 seconds, afterward it’s just snores and mumbles.) She’s pretty clear and lucid sounding, so I thought this was a great example of what you might capture on a recording but of course, your mileage may vary–you might be a mumbler or a whisperer. Or a shouter! I’m excited for you to find out.

It’s a good time of year to cozy up and hibernate for a while, and while you certainly don’t need any of the things I’ve listed above for a good night’s sleep or to gain entrance to the Land of Nod, and I am in no way an authority on these matters, listed above are all of the rituals and practices that routinely help me get to the world of dreams and wake up rested afterward. Let me know if any of this helps you–or if you have any tips or tricks of your own up your cozy pajama sleeves!

Bonus! If you are looking for a few nocturnal luxuries for yourself or a friend– on my personal blog this week I shared a wishlist of sumptuous sleepy-time favorites…!

Image credits other than photos provided by S. Elizabeth: Perla Maarek for l’Officiel magazine (featured); Paolo Roversi for Dazed & Confused; Sleeping Beauty by Edmund Dulac; Mert & Marcus for Vogue Paris.

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Night Time Routines & Rituals For Sleep Seekers And Dream Gazers

by on Dec.17, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

If I were to wait for someone to ask, “oh, Sarah, won’t you divulge your bedtime routine and rituals to us?” Well, I imagine I would be waiting a very long time indeed because unfortunately, no one ever asks me those kinds of questions. But I do enjoy talking about all things bed and sleep and dream-related, so I won’t let a little thing like lack of inquiry or interest stand in my way!

It’s funny how a lot of those zodiac memes like the above have us Taurus folks sleeping and napping all the time, our persons permanently parked in beds beautified by our need for comfort and luxury. That’s not me at all! Well, yes, yes, I like the beautiful bed part of that assumption and ok, sure, I have been known to hit the snooze alarm a few times– but I am not one to lounge and linger in bed once I am already awake. Once I am up, I am up! Otherwise, if I lay in bed not sleeping, I just start to feel antsy and peevish.  And RE: naps–I nap maybe once a year, at most. I understand that naps can be restorative, a good form of self-care, and for some individuals a necessity, and I truly do not begrudge anyone their naptime…it’s just…I’d rather be doing something. Anything. Even just puttering around! But preferably knitting or reading. Or cooking or watching a creepy film! To me, those things are almost as relaxing and recuperative as a nap, but I actually have something to show for it at the end of an hour– whether it’s a few chapters read or a few more inches completed on a handknit shawl.

I suppose that puts me in uncomfortable territory regarding our addiction to productivity culture and how we determine our worth and value based on our output and deliverables and what not. I don’t mean to do that. What’s right for you is right for you. For me, personally, napping feels like a waste of my time, and I’d rather waste my time while I’m conscious.

As I don’t nap, and I don’t linger in bed– I don’t spend much time in the bedroom other than my 6-8* hours of sleep at night. I don’t even read in bed! So the time I do spend in the bedroom is pretty special, and I like my environment and my rituals and routines surrounding that time to reflect its importance to me and to be optimized for how I like to best use the room: SLEEP.

* I was routinely getting 6-8 hours of sleep until about 2 months ago, at which point I cut it down to five. The reason for this is because I wanted extra time in the morning while it’s quiet to get in some more reading and start the day on my own terms, doing the things that I like to do. Now I am reading that 8 hours of sleep is pretty non-negotiable if you want to avoid many deleterious effects to your health. Yikes. I’ve got to re-think everything! And I guess that’s what happens when you try to get more reading done

As the day comes to a close, but there are still a few hours left before I plan to turn in for the evening, I have a handful of pre-pre-bed items that I like to take care of. If I typically cozy up in bed around, say, 11PM, I will get to these things around 9:30 or so:

-Clean up the lingering dishes in the sink. When I stumble from bed in the morning and attempt to orient myself to the wakeful world, the last thing I want to do is be scrubbing sharp knives or stacking clanking piles of plates in the cupboard. For you, this may mean something different. Folding the laundry, tidying up, whatever. The things that need cleaning up and clearing away so that you don’t have to look at them first thing in the morning. It’s easy to say, “ugh…can’t that wait til tomorrow?” Sure it can. But then …you have to do it tomorrow. Take five minutes and do it now, instead.

-Fiber and bedtime vitamins! Yeah, I know, adequate fiber intake isn’t very glamorous, but I feel like once you reach a certain age (I’m not sure what that age is, but I am guessing I am there now) it’s just a fact of life. I mix the powdery stuff with water in a charming spring green juice glass embossed with enchanting scroll-y motifs, and pretend I am drinking a magic potion. Spellwork to keep my innards working!

-Put my phone on the charger and curl up to do something gentle and quiet for an hour, with  a cup of tea (or sometimes a glass of wine, but I am trying to break that habit.) For me, “gentle and quiet” might mean reading or working on a hands-on type of project. Sometimes this is knitting, but I feel like maybe that is not the most relatable thing to keep bringing up, so let’s say that you’re preparing your overnight oats or packing a lunch for the next day, instead. Some people might take this time to journal or write in their planners for the next day. I think the point is to start letting your brain wind down, and you probably don’t want to do this in front of a television or phone screen.

When I feel my eyes begin to grow heavy, or perhaps I’ve noticed that the hour is beginning to draw late, I have another handful of habits and practices I walk myself through before tumbling into bed:

-A skincare routine, which–I know, I know, every blogger and Instagrammer and Youtuber has got a skincare routine, and you probably don’t need to hear about one more, so I won’t bother going into that (unless you are curious? Let me know in the comments and we can tackle that in another post!) My skin has issues with redness and inflammation, and all of the products that I use are geared toward addressing that. It’s nice to go to bed with a face free of makeup, or, if like me you don’t wear much makeup, free of the grime of the day, pampered and anointed with nice, calming balms and salves.

-Cozy pajamas. I used to be super self-conscious about the size tags in my pajamas. Why? Who is even going to see that, and why on earth are they looking down the back of my pajama pants? And furthermore, if there is any time that you want to be comfy, it is definitely when you are trying to fall asleep at night. Nowadays I buy my pajama bottoms up to two sizes larger than what I might normally wear because, friends, I want elasticity and stretch. I do not want a seam caught up in my booty and suffocating my nethers all night long and I’m here to tell you, that does not lead to restful sleep. Buy your jammies for comfort! I cannot stress how much I love my Sudara pajama bottoms. I could probably wear them as loungewear if I were someone who lounges in public or actually even left the house in any capacity. But I also love this spooky-cute pair that I got from Target in October for 365 Halloween sleepy feels.

-Light stretches. I still don’t do any actual yoga. I’d love to start. Maybe in 2020, who knows! There are quite a few “yoga for sleep” videos on Youtube, which I’ve never actually followed along with, but there are two stretches in particular that I like and actually do, while lying in bed: the supine spinal twist and what I believe is called the “reclining goddess pose.” Again–I don’t know yoga, I don’t do yoga, but I think I am doing these correctly and most importantly, they just feel like a nice, much-needed unknotting before sleep.

Some sensory ambiance that helps send me off to dreamland, once I have settled in:

-Sounds. I don’t like to sleep in complete silence, and I love the sound of rain, so that’s my preferred lullaby. Sadly, it does not rain every night– nope, not even in swampy, humid FL. So we tune in to a rain channel on Youtube, darken the screen, and set a timer on the tv, and allow the pitter-patter of rain on celluloid windows lull us to sleep at night. Alternately, when I am sleeping alone, I play Mortiis’ Født til å Herskewhich is one long eerie song, split into two tracks, of the gloomiest most monotonously marvelous dungeon music. Or if I’m not quite sleepy enough and I need a little extra help along the way, I will plug in some headphones and put on the WhispersRed ASMR channel on Spotify.

-Scent. I like a bit of fragrance before turning in for the evening, but your mileage may vary on this point. I think it’s either a lovely way to calm your senses with a soothing aroma or, the chance to try something fun and new and let it completely influence your subconscious for a few hours. I have written about some of my favorite night-time scents on my personal blog, in the past, and these scents are still some of my favorites! To this, I will add that LUSH’s Sleepy lotion is the loveliest sweet lavender scent to slather yourself in before burrowing under the covers.

-(Inner) sight. If you find your thoughts racing and anxious before bed, you might employ a bit of visualization. These are two unrelated (I think) techniques that I learned from my therapist, but I typically bundle them both together at bedtime. First, I think about all the things that are plaguing me, and I open the hinge of my skull and pluck the items out, one by one (I imagine them as little people, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, wriggling with outrage!) I then plop them one by one into a jar, plink! –I envision an empty Claussen pickle jar, for some reason– screw the lid on tight and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Plague me no more, petulant pickle people!

After I’ve ousted the rabble from my brain, I take a moment to imagine somewhere that I find deeply peaceful and soothing. I breathe deeply and spend time in this space. This is a technique that my therapist encouraged me to practice with regard to finding a “safe space,” but I also think of it as a space for giving my mind a bit of tranquil beauty before slipping away to dreamland. I have for some reason chosen to conjure forth imagery of places I’ve never actually traveled, but after months of nightly visits, I don’t feel like that’s exactly true anymore. They feel very real to me now.

-Touch/feel. This is the year that I finally committed to giving our bed situation an entire overhaul. We had been sleeping on a mattress that was very, very old, and it was time to put the old gal to rest, so to speak. We replaced it with an Airweave mattress; which, if you’re interested, is a Japanese mattress brand–and it must be noted that this thing is very, very firm. I’m still not decided on if I love it or not but I am the kind of person who will stubbornly and relentlessly stick to a decision that I made no matter what, so I guess this mattress is here to stay. I will say that it is great for sleeping on, but not so much for lounging on, so it will definitely propel you out of bed in the morning. And because it is so firm, and in case you are wondering, it is also great for other things that people might do in the bedroom…but I’m not here to talk about that. (Not today, anyhow!)

We treated ourselves to super luxurious bed linens–actual linens— from House of Baltic Linen, and I will be completely honest with you here: they are not inexpensive and you are probably going to wait a very long time for them to arrive, but they are worth every penny. Even my partner, who would normally never notice such a thing, remarked dreamily after climbing into bed “…these are so nice…” They are absolutely SO NICE.

I previously had a glorious William Morris duvet cover, but I have discovered that I utterly loathe the hassle of dealing with duvets, and I also felt that it was almost a little too colorful for the space I was trying to create, so I found a nice, lightweight linen quilt from Brook Linen. I have the black variant–which, while I didn’t want too much color, I also didn’t want to summon my inner angsty goth teen with pitch-black bedding, either–but it’s been washed a few times and has faded to a nice neutral charcoal, and it is precisely what I envisioned that it should look like. Not a Crayola explosion but not too crypt-y, either. Maybe even a little boring. But that’s ok, I’m trying to fall asleep in here, after all.

For pillows, we have a bunch of old raggedy things that lay there during the day just for looks, but as far as functional nighttime cushions for sleep, I also have a bunchy, insanely heavy buckwheat pillow for me to hug to my chest while I am sleeping, and memory foam Ghost pillows for our heads. I first slept on a Ghost Pillow at Maika’s house and it was a revelation. I immediately fell so profoundly in love that I had ordered one as soon as I woke up the next morning. Highly recommend!

Upon my nightstand is a small stack of books (we do so love our Stacks here at HM), including a dream dictionary, and:
Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey by Alice Robb
A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics 
Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940, Carl Jung

as well as Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, which is not pictured above, because I am currently reading it, and like I mentioned, I don’t read in bed, so it’s not even in the bedroom at the moment. Thus far it is an alarmingly eye-opening read, although the author himself has suggested that if you find your eyes slipping shut and you nod off while reading it, he is fine with that, too! All of these pages are kept company by a small but splendid altar cloth from Poison Apple Printshop, a gently-scented moon phase candle from DeuxMoons, and a gorgeous third-eye sleeping mask from Sleephammer.

Also not pictured is my dream journal, which doesn’t actually live on my nightstand. I record my dreams at the kitchen table, oddly enough. And I will share that I am not sure what initially prompted me to do this, but I take my glasses off while I am writing out my dreams, and because my vision is so poor, I have to scrunch my face down to about a half an inch from the page while I am scribbling. I look like a grade school kid taking a test and trying to make sure that no one is cheating off me, I’m sure it looks pretty ridiculous! Somehow, though, when I remove my glasses and everything becomes unfocused and insubstantial, it opens the pathways for better recall of that unconscious territory I had just been visiting. It’s a peculiar little trick that works for me!

Additionally, Naomi Brodner has a wonderful Dreaming 101 class offered via ritualcravt, where she shares some more helpful thoughts in this vein and some incredible insights and information in general. At Luna Luna magazine, Lisa-Marie Basile has some lovely ideas for keeping a dream diary, as well as other beautifully-written rituals and practices involving your dreams. Looking to the tarot to interpret some of the baffling and bizarre questions raised by your dreams? Well, perhaps you can ask Acanalogue!

A moment of whimsy a few months ago inspired my desire to build a dream-shelf/altar (which I did not literally build, it came from West Elm) and which I have stocked with scents and oils that I use before bed, I have adorned with dreamy crystals and quartz with properties to assist in untroubled sleep and lucid dreams, and I have bedecked with blooms, that, while perhaps not associated with sleep, are shades of color that I find soft and soothing. A surreal little tintype by Wenzdai rounds out the menageries, to remind me of the important symbolism to be found in the strange stories my brain cooks up while I am slumbering.

One last thing that may be of use–do you perhaps talk in your sleep? Do you wake your partner up with your babble, but in the morning, no one quite remembers exactly what was said? Well, like they say, there’s an app for that! Do they even say this anymore? I am so out of touch. Anyway, I don’t talk in my sleep but my little sister carries on entire conversations that sound so clear you would swear there is someone else in the room responding to her. She began using a sleep recorder app so that she can eavesdrop on her nocturnal ramblings, and she routinely shares them with me for help with interpretation, or mostly, I suspect, for a laugh. She’s given me permission to share this one, (the sleep-talk is right in the first 8 seconds, afterward it’s just snores and mumbles.) She’s pretty clear and lucid sounding, so I thought this was a great example of what you might capture on a recording but of course, your mileage may vary–you might be a mumbler or a whisperer. Or a shouter! I’m excited for you to find out.

It’s a good time of year to cozy up and hibernate for a while, and while you certainly don’t need any of the things I’ve listed above for a good night’s sleep or to gain entrance to the Land of Nod, and I am in no way an authority on these matters, listed above are all of the rituals and practices that routinely help me get to the world of dreams and wake up rested afterward. Let me know if any of this helps you–or if you have any tips or tricks of your own up your cozy pajama sleeves!

Bonus! If you are looking for a few nocturnal luxuries for yourself or a friend– on my personal blog this week I shared a wishlist of sumptuous sleepy-time favorites…!

Image credits other than photos provided by S. Elizabeth: Perla Maarek for l’Officiel magazine (featured); Paolo Roversi for Dazed & Confused; Sleeping Beauty by Edmund Dulac; Mert & Marcus for Vogue Paris.

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Aevum: An Improper Eternity

by on Dec.13, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Aevum: the state between the timelessness of the gods and the existence of the mortal, an improper eternity.

13-year aged patchouli, incense smoke, burgundy tar oudh, teakwood, scorched driftwood, and clove.

A limited edition imp blend by my beloved Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab exclusively for Haute Macabre, our gift to you with every order placed in the Haute Macabre Shop, while supplies last. No code necessary.


New in Store

Dali. Tarot.

A beautiful gift set by Taschen including the complete 78 card deck by Salvator Dali and guide book inside a purple velour slip case.

Legend has it that when preparing props for the James Bond film Live and Let Die, producer Albert Broccoli commissioned Surrealist maestro Salvador Dalí to create a custom deck of tarot cards. Inspired by his wife Gala, who nurtured his interest in mysticism, Dalí eagerly got to work, and continued the project of his own accord when the contractual deal fell through.

The work was published in a limited art edition in 1984 that has since long sold out, making Dalí the first renowned painter to create a completely new set of cards. Drawing on Western masterpieces from antiquity to modernity (including some of his own), Dalí seamlessly combined his knowledge of the arcane with his unmistakable wit. The result is a surreal kaleidoscope of European art history.

Garnet Tumbled Stones

These glittering blood red stones will assist in healing trauma while diving into your deepest self, helping to remove your inhibitions, and boost your confidence and self worth, similar to the carnelian.

Lepidolite Palm Stones

A gentle helper while easing through the trauma of anxiety. Rather than simply releasing it, it assist you in navigating the field of landmines, working through the tension and the fear.

In these months that I have been experiencing this tension and this anxiety, lepidolite has pulled me back down to here and now and out of my head. Having a high lithium content, it has sedative qualities, enough to smooth the sharp edges but not dull the mind. Dissolving obsessive thought patterns, lepidolite will sooth you back to sleep during those insomnia hours.

Black Moonstone Palm Stones

Black Moonstone is associated with the darker aspects of the lunar goddesses, with the darker aspects of the Triple Faced Hecate and her wisdom. They are the Dark Moon, the waning moon, the period of recovery between the light. Please do not infer this to mean they are any less powerful than their rainbow sisters, it does not. They are the protective cloak of the dark crone, the inked out moon still silhouetted in the sky amongst the glittering diamonds, always there, always hanging above, high and heavy.

Raw Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz assists in lowering the gates and drawbridges of protection that have isolated us, without being abrasive or intrusive. It gently soothes the pain of the heart, a balm for grief and despair, a relief for trauma, and on a softer note, amplifies compassion, harmony, and soul connection. I personally have pieces of raw rose quartz throughout my bedroom, and will drop it in the tub with me when I am feeling particularly frayed and guarded to help me to come down from the tower I have locked myself within.

Black Moonstone Spheres

Black Moonstone will work with improving your psychic intuition. Their silvery sheen and threads ghosting across them, phantom flashes of insight against their dark bodies. This intuition comes with comfort in the dark instead of a fear of the unknown. There is nothing to fear in the dark when you yourself are complete and absolved in the darkness, released from the scrutiny of light.

The Carnival at the End of the World Tarot

The beautiful and mysterious Carnival at the End of the World Tarot by Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick.

Spolia Tarot

Using images from history, from alchemy and mysticism, from mythology and the natural world to create a lush deck layered with meaning. The word “Spolia” means using rubble as building material. It also felt fitting for the time we are living in, as institutions, gender norms, religions, and ideas about how a society should function are all tumbling down and need to be rebuilt. We both believe that intuition and spirit are essential tools for guiding us through this process.

Spectralite Palm Stone

Spectralite is a darker, more intense form of Labradorite, the magician’s stone, bringing one’s deep magical powers to the surface, enhancing psychic abilities. 


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