Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mushroom (Blue) Moon Shrine Mess

The best laid plans of mycophiles & Moma...

Well I had big dreams for a Blue Moon Mushroom shrine, or "Art for the Blue Moon!" as I referred to it to the children. But mushroom handling becomes a complex & frenetic process when chaos muppets are participating... in the rain. Collecting fungi for art is not the same as collecting fungi for food. Most of the food fungi are tough, robust beasties. The pretties, not so much. We kept the bears away with shouts; "Ack! Drop that!" "No, don't crush it!" "Aw, look... poor thing." "It's a stalk, where's the cap?" "Oh, no, no, no... I really wanted that one!" & the eternal, "Gah! That's disgusting! Did you put that in your mouth?!?"

The plan was to gather a foundational collection as we searched for the perfect "altar." This went rather well, so my hopes were very high... inflated, perhaps. I figured that after setting up the initial array, we could fan out & gather more & more mushrooms to create what I described as a grand "mushroom bouquet for the Moon." 

The altar was perfect. Completely. We found a South-facing "table-top" created by a split tree -- visible from Lady Moon's arc across the sky. Perfect. It even had an overhang to protect from the constant drizzle. Perfect. Confirmation of this altar's meant-to-be-ness was given by the presence of a positively perfect Porcini (Boletus edulis) -- a member of my familiar's clan -- manifesting itself there near the foot of the altar. If that wasn't enough, Little Lad spied a single orb of Wolf's Milk Slime (Lycogala epidendrum) in the moss on the altar base. More than perfect? My head exploded.

A Mycophile's Moon Shrine.
A Mycophile's Moon Shrine.


Then the rain began falling in earnest & soon it came down in sheets (see photo) & there I was, arranging fungi & herding cats, soaking wet in the forest. Well, not me, but the children = wet. I would have worked much longer, much, much longer, cozy in my Alaskan fisherman's gear, but the wee folk were ill-prepared. Very ill-prepared. Thoroughly saturated, cold & crazed they ran around in the sphagnum pulling up fungi, slipping & tripping on the way to the altar. Shattered gills & stalks everywhere.

Finally, tragedy struck when Little Lad slipped on the moss at the base of the shrine & fell on the Wolf's Milk. The slime was utterly devastated. The Changeling, now wrapped in other people's semi-dry clothing was turning that peculiar red-blue hue that babes get when they are cold. Little Lad was utterly unconsolable, choking down sobs, he hopelessly searched for I don't know what, more slime? So I called it. 

Completing the shrine & accepting our limitations, I placed my Moon-doodled (with a plastic fork) Artist's Conk (Ganoderma applantum) & the Blue Moon egg on the altar. We muttered something -- or not -- packed up the baskets, wet clothing & snapped a photo or two. I paused for a moment & lamented not photographing the Wolf's Milk earlier. Then I remembered that it's not about me. It's not about perfection. It's about us, it's about honouring the often imperfect beauty of us All, the Whole. Sometimes, oftentimes, it's the thought that counts. 

Mycophile Moon Shrine with plastic-fork-doodled Artist Conk.
Mycophile Moon Shrine with plastic-fork-doodled Artist Conk. 

I think She probably liked it, foibles & all.


Carol Vandelaar said...

absolutely beautiful :) You truly honored her..

{My condolences to the poor Lad}

Anonymous said...

It looks foiblesios!
My blue moon blessings never made it on to the comment box yesterday,
I had mentioned that Neal Armstrong and I are both from Ohio, Hero worship, putting things up on pedestals,The shiny aspects of the moon, and its unseen gravity. I love your work, I tried to say that, but it was lost in computer land.
I love your blog, like I love a place, a wonderful place to return to.


Fairy Phases said...

I think it turned out beautifully!

Heather said...

I think your mushroom shrine is lovely indeed. The foibles and imperfections add to its beauty, as does your story of how it came to be. I can just imagine you and the children rushing about in the rain, hands full of fungi. I particularly love your little sketch on the Artist's Conk. I have seen these before and known their name and I always wondered, does anyone actually use these for art? I'm glad to see that someone does!

Moma Fauna said...

Aw, well Carol, I know you're prone to shrine-building-in-the-woods. You should join us sometime. ;)

Little Lad thanks you.

Moma Fauna said...


Don't you think She's already on a pedestal? I didn't put Her there, but if I did, would I be writing this blog? Maybe. Hm... You two get up here & then you can be in this place on a deeper level. Or something.

Miss Fairy Phases,

Thank you! I think it turned out pretty nicely, I just had this great big image of grandness in my mind... but kids... as you well know. ;)

Moma Fauna said...

Heather, Heather, Heather.

No segue here but, your words remind me of my red-headed Druid friend. So much. It's eerie. @__@

I've been trying to get a local artist (& pagan) friend to get excited about them, but I am not sure if he likes them yet or not. But just imagine beautifully rendered (not with a plastic fork, ha!) images of the gods, spirits, etc. on them! The artist's conks are often used for kitschy scenic pieces & sold to tourists at craft fairs & whatnot. There is a mycophile & artist in New York who uses them professionally, see It's funny though, drawing images of mushrooms on other mushrooms...

Chas said...

I like this altar and should copy it some day.

Moma Fauna said...

...and when you do, you shall send me photos, yes ? ;)

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