The Pandora Box

Have you ever heard the story of the Pandora's Box? Long long ago while growing up in northern Spain, I discovered a Pandora Box hidden away in the attic of the abandoned chateau that had once belonged to my great-great grandmother Anastasia, which in turn, had belong to her own great grandmother, the intriguing Arabella Countess of Aragon.

It was the most fascinating little box I had ever seen, made of pearl on the outside and an assortment of fabrics and tulle and some other rare materials on the inside. This beloved box had once belonged to Arabella Countess of Aragon, and it was as intriguing and bewitching as Arabella herself had once been.

I like to call this very special box a “Pandora Box” for what it means and what it represents, but of course, it really is just a Writing Box...

Back in the days of Arabella Countess of Aragon, back in 1750, a portable desk in the form of a box—hence a Writing Box, was a very important and necessary item. A Writing Box could be used on a table or on one's lap, and through it both business and personal activity were transacted. Arabella would use her Writing Box to sign contracts, letters and postcards were written on its sloping surface, but later her Writing Box became an elaborate piece of craftsmanship—a marvelous confection made by Arabella herself, where she would hide the strangest of personal things.

Thus, her Writing Box became a Secret Box; her confidant and keeper of her most inner desires and clandestine possessions.

Opening Arabella’s Pandora Box was like breathing magic into my childhood... a wisp of air came wafting straight out of the box the very minute I opened it, it smelled of lavender and peppermint and I clearly remember feeling as if I just had walked into a Christmas memory that didn’t belong to me and yet, it was all mine in a mysterious and inexplicable way.

There was a mood of magic in the room and I could see Arabella’s scent lingering in the air like kite tails. Whatever secrets or message had been hidden in her secret box now needed some way out... and I was there to find out. It was as if Arabella herself was standing beside me making sure I knew... knew all her secrets. So strong her presence was.

There were some old coins in Arabella’s box, and there were some tattered jewelry oxidized with time and a yellowish land contract in onion skin paper, and there was an old and very peculiar crucifix along with an old daguerreotype of the passionate and fearless Arabella Countess of Aragon.

All of a sudden the room got very quiet and I was sure I heard Arabella saying: "Prepare yourself, my dearest Cielo, for a delightful surprise". And how true! You see, I was about to yet uncover another treasure... tucked away under the aged lining of the old box a real treasure was waiting! My hands moved rapidly through the box, my mind looking for clues...

Until I saw them: Arabella’s famous love letters; those my mother and her sisters and mothers before them would always talked about in hush voices.

The love letters were from Arabella and her lover; a very mysterious man who, sometimes at the end of his letters would curiously sign as “Your Majesty, the King”. Under the lining of Arabella’s box, I also found an ancient medallion, which I’m now positive it’d belonged to that certain King. The strange medallion had an unusual inscription in it and an emblem on it pertaining to royal dynasty.

Its regal look reminded me of royal tapestries and carvings, and I could picture kings and queens using them as royal gifts for their courts. Some of the love letters where written and signed by Arabella herself... “heme determinado ante ti como una página escrita y borrada mil veces...”—read one of her letters. If you click on Arabella’s letter you can read the rest of it, or at least most of it, but that’s just if you dare snoop into her very dark past!

Indeed, the strange Arabella had a very dark past, and I can attest to that because among the things tucked away in her box I also found this bizarre “Wanted Sign” you see here... the sign had been tucked away among the few things Arabella was able to keep to the end of her days, and you could tell that someone had folded it almost reverently, as if it was some sacred totem needed to be forgotten or perhaps eternally remembered.

Arabella was wanted by the authorities of her time, and it had something to do with her lover being who he was and the way they both carried their ‘illicit’ love against all odds. It was taboo—that love was. But you must forgive me for ending Arabella’s story so abruptly here. You see, time is running out on me and I must part as soon as possible... I have a flight to catch—a carpet ride, that is! Ah yes, the magic carpet of Tangu (also called Prince Housain's carpet for those of you not acquainted with the story), has been parked in my garden for the last three days, and I cannot, or rather not, make it wait any longer, as this is a rather moody carpet, you know! But I promise I’ll share with you the rest of Arabella’s story real soon.

Maria Luz de Luna Arrazan

Many many moons ago, in a little village lost from the hand of God somewhere in the mountains of Aragon, in Spain, there lived a very old and wise woman who believed that the universe is ruled by supernatural forces and we ourselves, part of this vast dynamic cobweb of energy exchange.

The woman's name was María Luz de Luna Arrazán, and she was our great great grandmother. 

Every day at the kiss of sundown María Luz de Luna Arrazán used to sit down and enlightened us her great great granddaughters with strange stories and mysterious fairytales of a vast, unbroken forest full of shadows and mysterious events that even made the little creatures of the forest to tremble with fear.  Stories that we always believed true, and always, always left her side wanting to hear more.

She used to tell us that fairies materialize from sparkling dew drops and that wood imps and other entities of the forest such as witches and trolls would silently slip into dusky shadows whenever humans trod too near. Some were described as being as small and delicate as mosquitoes, while others were said to be as strong and coarse as bears.  A few supposedly even changed their appearance right before one's very eyes.  Which it always gets me to wonder if perhaps all these fur creatures I happen to see wandering through my garden from time to time and disappearing in front of my eyes (yes, disappearing!)  may be those invisible dwellers of a mysterious world in disguise our great great grandmother María Luz de Luna used to tells us about.... 

The idea that a supernatural force may be at work somewhere in the universe with the sole purpose of tricking humanity may sound odd at first, but considering the vast wealth of reports of seemingly supernatural creatures, it may deserve a second look, don't you think so?

Entities of the woods

It's been raining rivers all day today.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love rainy days?  And have I ever mentioned how on certain rainy days when heat and humidity levels are such that strange vapors would exude from the earth like little soulless ghosts, strange and puzzling occurrences are most probably bound to occur?

And would you believe me if I tell you that on those certain rainy days imps and fairies and dwellers of the woods at the outskirts of our gardens would come out of their dens and hiding places and cross the old wooden bridge that connects woods with gardens?  Would you... would you believe me?

Ah yes, I've seen some very strange things happening... strange sightings....  

Puzzling occurrences, like fairies secretly converging for tea and leaving remnants of their soiree behind... between the sun and showers, while grasses whispered tiny things... about you, about us, about this world of ours!

But you would ask, do fairies, gnomes, sprites and goblins really exist? Well, suspend your disbelief for a moment, for all sorts of real-life encounters with creatures from the land of make-believe can, and do happen sometimes... how else would you explain what we're seeing here on this photograph I took of the rain the other day?  

I don't know about you, but I see a giant nymph... and I can attest that this photograph hasn't been photoshopped in the least whatsoever...  an optical illusion?  A trick of the light?  You tell me...

...what I believe of the paranormal, is that there are things our brains just can't understand.

But I do like to believe that fairies do exist...
Are they invisible and inaudible little things-like angels?
or are they more like us humans?

All I know is that magic sparkles everywhere in nature for sure!

Today, a cat I discovered in the garden between rain spells disappeared in front of my very eyes the moment he saw me.  And I had seen a small gray dog who wanders around here from time to time disappear right in front of my eyes... On both these occasions, we've looked at each other, but the moment I turn around they were gone.  Where did they go?  Really, where?

These creatures must be well aware of some invisible hideout somewhere, from where they can freely come out and go into another dimension or something like that.  Otherwise, I don't have an explanation for these occurrences.

Magic swirls all around here...  If you step into that entrance between those walls you see here for example, your hair will flow in a magic fairy dust wind and your skin will get the goosebumps with the mystery floating in the air...

Maybe it's all to do with an inquisitive imagination and the soul of the storyteller?  Maybe all is true and there are things we just cannot understand?

Whatever it is, I believe a garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious, don't you think so!... and maybe that's just what I'm trying to achieve here? ;)

It all has to do with all that rain, I'm sure... for rain surely holds the key to all my tales!  And it was a crazy rain what we had last evening...  It rained so much that I was sure our little white cottage was going to float away, and the little creek on the back of the garden got all swollen up... waters rushed frenetically, while thunder cracked the skies in glimmering flames.  It was scary, and awesome...

Good night world... may your troubles be less and your blessings be more!


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


“As soon as he had disappeared Deborah made for the trees fringing the lawn, and once in the shrouded wood felt herself safe.

She walked softly along the alleyway to the pool. The late sun sent shafts of light between the trees and onto the alleyway, and a myriad insects webbed their way in the beams, ascending and descending like angels on Jacob's ladder. But were they insects, wondered Deborah, or particles of dust, or even split fragments of light itself, beaten out and scattered by the sun?

It was very quiet. The woods were made for secrecy. They did not recognize her as the garden did. ("The Pool")” 

In my woods...

“Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something 
about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. 
These pure and spontaneous pleasures 
are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.” 

Winter cry

Snow has wilted under rain; a frigid rain. Splish splash, my feet stumbling in dark puddles of water.  This is not the rain I was born with—the balmy pouring rain of the tropics. Shall I pack my suitcase and leave this place to wander the land? Like a gypsy. Like a fairy gypsy forever in search of light.

Where do the Fae wait? Somewhere amidst the greenest of grasses abetted by the sun.  If you ever come to my garden in spring time you’ll see what I mean. In the light of the moon with a soft breeze blowing through the trees and flowers, if you are very quiet and cautious, you may witness the fairies laughing and dancing in a small clearing. I have seen the circles they leave in the grass from their joyful dancing on many occasions.

People once believed that mushrooms growing in a circle followed the path made by fairies dancing in a ring. But mushrooms are nowhere to be seen in my garden these days (why isn’t everybody going crazy over the vanishing of wild mushrooms?) Winter and dark cold nights don’t allow for this. And that’s the reason why faeries have to follow the way of the geeses during the arrival of fall. 

They go away in the hope of finding beautiful meadows where the sun shines, and there are many thousands of flowers. The fairies that are left behind in this cold frigid land are never happy (have I said that before?) Poor dears, battling in the gale! Hail and ice, and ice and hail.

Meeting in the Magical Forest

I live here.
This is my home
Deep in the magical woods I live...
The way is dark,
The light is dim,
But now there's you and there's me.
We shall meet for tea under the Magical Tree. 
Kindred spirits are always together
We walked always in beauty, it seemed to me.
Let’s get together and feel all right 
But I am here; you are there—two seas,
Five thousand rivers,
One universe apart. 
Feeling that in some way we’ve already met in our dreams
A thousand years ago? 

Perhaps if we walked too far and
Wondered loud enough we could somehow get together for tea?
I’d look to my left
You’d look to your right
Two roads merging in the wood we’d see.
And there are places like this where time stands still,
Where old oaks leads into delicious green darkness
They have kept a piece of me, a dream of you.

But we shall  hasten over the bad
And settle upon the good. 
No time to waste!   
At the stroke of midnight.
Upon our steps to the enchanted forest...
Luminous white and shimmering wings will take us there
Swirling whirling under the moon.
Upon petals so late at night to guide our way by magical lights.
Tip toeing out in forest deep, guiding us while half asleep.
Flitting up and down our dreams,
Reaching out to take our hand… 
Wouldn't you love to come along too?  Oh but we must hurry… we shall meet for tea at the stroke of midnight.  Magic cannot wait.  Be ready!  Alba, the white owl, will be waiting for you to guide you to the enchanted forest, where me and my friends will dance around in the forest after our tea.


Right at the break of dawn the other morning, one of the crow-witches who lives deep in the privet beyond our garden decided to materialize into her human form… I was there to watch it all unfold and I have the remnants of proof from the tales to show you…

The day had scarcely started to awaken, but as usual I was already out in the garden weeding; already singing low in my baritone morning voice, when all of a sudden out of my peripheral vision I saw something… a wind of a diffused shadow; a chill hanging from the air.  I turned around and there she was—a witch all clad in black going up the hill.  

More curious than I should had been frightened, I stopped what I was doing and stood very quiet watching this strange apparition ascend the deserted hilly road across our little white cottage.

When the witch reached the top of the hill, she stood on the middle of the road like a stone of the fields.  No movement.  No sound.  At this point I immediately knew I was up for something big… something of the mystery variety if you know what I mean… so I grabbed my camera, which by the way, I always carry close to me in case something big, small, interesting or just unexpected in the most mundane moment come into my view, and began to stalk the Crow-witch who lives in the Privet.

After a short while, as she still stood on the middle of the road, the demeanor of the witch changed drastically.  I watched her search for something or someone in the nothingness of the new day; turning her body towards the four cardinal points—north, east, south and west.  What followed later I’m still trying to understand. 

Madness got control of her body and features, and she started to make strange expressions and hand gestures, motioning at things, clawing her hands at times towards the sky and finger-pointing at some invisible someone that only she could see. 

I tried to listen from my post to whatever the witch was saying as best as I could, always extra careful not to disturb her, lest she’d see me and ripped me open in a zilch… but for much as I tried, I couldn’t hear a single word coming out of her mouth… only silent words in gestures and madness incomprehensible.

Judging by the witch’s demeanor, gestures and finger pointing, however, I could tell she was livid… furious at someone.  She was a very disturbed soul indeed.  She fumbled and fought.  I watched in total silence.  Only my heart bursting in and out; not wanting to move… but oh I had to!  I had to take a better picture of the witch from a better angle before she would turn into her formal crow self again and with it the magic gone forever.   

I stepped away and run inside as fast and as quietly and I could.  Here and there I hid behind blinds and windows taking pictures.  I traced the witch’s movements as she stood on the road across our master room still fighting with her invisible someone.  But my lenses would not adjust properly and pictures were coming all blurry.  I had to run back into the backyard, where I could see her with no barriers and try again! 

It only took me the few minutes from our bedroom to the garden, but when I got there the witch was nowhere to be found now.  Where did she go?  In total disbelief, I searched for her.  No one. She was nowhere to be seen. I even walked up the hill to see if perhaps she had walked down the road below, but there was no one.  Only the strange chill still hanging from leaves and trees and skies that seem to be saying:  "Strange, unexplainable, mysterious things".

But then again, nothing could be too irrelevant or too strange on a day like this. Magic is everywhere. After all, this is Halloween.  And anything and everything can happen on Halloween.


Have you even been inside a witch’s cottage? I didn’t think so! Would you like to visit one? Oh I think you might like to... Yes? OK then, come on!

All witch’s cottage are not the same. As every flower is different from each other so are each witch from each other; and so are the dwellings they choose to live in. I once met a witch who lived in a beautiful lot on the mountainside overlooking undisturbed forested mountains that housed many homes. Her home had spring water and solar energy. So close to people she lived; yet, nobody knew they had a witch for a neighbor!

But that’s not the norm, usually. More likely, you’ll find witches living deep in the forest. Most of the witches I’ve known lived there—in the forest; among the tall ancient trees that at night wake up and stretch, and blink their eyes and talk to each other and even move around.

To pass unnoticed, and to prevent being discovered, witches may construct magical house which may have the illusive form of a regular den or a burrow; like the dens raccoon and other small creature would use for temporary shelter. 

The technique of camouflage is used by the animals for survival purposes and to avoid being captured by the predators, but witches are the supreme masters of disguise, and by camouflaging their homes they demonstrate their unique, amazing and diverse ability to deceive; blending themselves as they do with the environmental surrounding, or hiding in order to maintain their survivals.

It’s been known that witches sometimes like to build houses with amazing similitude to the common bird’s nest you’d find in tree branches, or a hole in tree trunks, a rabbit hole in the ground, and even a spider’s web on bushes, and any other places you think an animal may be living… many other sites are imitated, or used as an illusion, including piles of leaf litter, the crooks of trees, old squirrel nests, or even piles of reeds, or a shelter of vegetation or mudflats piles… but don’t let appearances fool you. Watch the signs and activities around these shelters and you’ll see what I mean.

Inside that apparent burrow or rabbit hole hides a totally different world. Once you cross the entrance of a witch’s humble burrows or dens (if you can make it through) you’ll find yourself inside the most lovely of cottages, with windows bathed in sunshine and mysterious rooms filled to the brim with the normal witch’s cornucopia; such as spell potions and magic concoctions and bottles of liquid remedies and weaved baskets filled with aromatic plants and dried herbs, tonics and old caldrons and ancient human skulls and bones...

How would I know about these things?—you might be wondering. I know, because once, when lost in the forest, I happened upon one of those ground burrows I‘d mentioned.

The hobbit house I saw emerged from the earth as I was making my way through the thick underbrush and tall ancient trees that swayed together, exuberantly, with branches and tendrils that seemed to be reaching out to each other. 

It was getting dark and the only shelter I could thought of to spend the night was the hobbit house; which, by the way, it was really just a rabbit hole—minuscule and muddy. So I squeezed myself almost flat through the tiny entrance and got in. And what do you know!

I was render speechless with that I saw! No. Not the nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with worms and the oozy smell I was expecting... oh no! It was the most glorious little cottage I had ever seen, with walls and foundations made from stone, and all of the flooring, finishing, windows, plumbing; virtually everything inside, was re-purposed from scrap materials from the forest.

A wood burner heated the cottage, and an ingenious system that piped cool air in from underground kept the refrigerator at an optimum temperature. A skylight filled the small home with natural light, water was sourced from a nearby spring, and solar panels provided all of the necessary electricity. 

It was an amazing little hobbit house, or a witch’s house, and I liked it so much that I even asked the witch who owned it if at least I could come visit whenever I wanted. My wish was granted, and even now, after so many years since my discovery, I still come here from time to time just to relax and just be. It’s pure bliss!

I wish I could draw you a map to help you find your way here; but I’m not allow to… and we know better than disobeying a witch’s wish; right? I certainly won’t want to do that! Wishing you a magical week, whether shimmering with stardust or just your glowing selves!
(Image source: Arwensgrace and Internet)