Black Petals Issue #103, Spring, 2023

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Editor's Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
All the Sky Is Waiting to Be Told: Fiction by Daniel I. Clark
Fire Sale: Fiction by Christopher Pate
Kregah: Fiction by Ron Capshaw
The Beauty of Machinery: Fiction by Hayden Seay
The Cold Sore: Fiction by Chris McGuinness
The Lake: Fiction by Harper Hargis
The Price: Fiction by Josh Hanson
The Tailbone Is Connected to the Hipbone: Fiction by Michael Fowler
The Thorn Tree: Fiction by Lawrence Buentello
They: Fiction by Tony Ayers
Work Experience: Fiction by Martin Taulbut
Burns: 3 Connected Drabbles by Hillary Lyon
Grandma Medusa: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
I'm So Sorry, Computer: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Invasive: Flash Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
Jumper: Flash Fiction by Kurt Hohmann
Personal Things: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Good Doctor: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Another Tomato Invasion, Again: Poem by I. N. Shimabuku
Curse of the Crazies: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Ghosted: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Meteor Moon: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Halo Around the Sun: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Maker's Image: Poem by Bindi Lavelle
Specimen: Poem by Bindi Lavelle
Blood-stained Jupiter: Poem by Meg Smith
Cat Science: Poem by Meg Smith
Mortician's Powder: Poem by Meg Smith
The Pinups of the Afterlife: Poem by Meg Smith
Dark Gate Park: Poem by Meg Smith
A turntable fabricates hope during the apocalypse in 3 parts: Poem by Dennis Bagwell
Reverend Mother Munchausen: Poem by Sophia Wiseman-Rose
Whispers of Winter: Poem by Ashley N. Goodwin
A Man Is Nothing Without His Wife: Poem by Ashley N. Goodwin

Parkersburg, West Virginia     Chris Friend


In early February I wrote on the Celtic goddess Brighid and her Catholic counterpart Saint Brighid. To most sources the Celtic goddess was so popular that the church could vilify the popular figure and made her into a saint. When Scottish and Irish indentured servants came to Haiti they brought the popular character with them. As with most saints brought to the Caribbean she became blended with the various African deities brought to the New World during the slave trade. With Brighid she became identified as Mamma Brigette, a guardian of the cemetery and the spirit world. She is also the bride of the better-known Baron Samedi.

Since Samedi was such a ghoulish figure it was often left to Mamma Brigette to offer blessings. She was said to be the deity to petition to seriously ill children. She was also called upon to help in legal matters, or when someone needed ready cash. Since she holds court over the spirits she also governs legal matters. Her favorite colors are black, purple, and violet. Her sacred trees are the Elm and the Weeping Willow. Her spirit is said to live in trees growing in the graveyard. Like many voodoo deities, Mamma loves all manner of offerings. She loves coffee, red wine, rum, rice and most notably red hot peppers, which she enjoys added to her meals. Her favorite flowers are violets and purple irises. She loves purple egg plants as well.


March 1st was the day set aside for the Roman festival of Matronalia, when the ancient Romans honored the goddess Juno Lucina. Prayers were offered to her for prosperity in marriage. And traditionally it was a time for men to offer gifts to their sweethearts. In Wales, March 1st was the day to honor St. David. Scared plants are daffodils and leeks. March 2nd was a day to honor the deity Ceadda, a spirit who governs water wells. His Christian counterpart is St. Chad. This was a day set aside to decorate holy wells and scared springs. Often they would be decorated with spring flowers to encourage warmer weather. March the 3rd was a day set aside to honor St. Winnal,  a Christianized version of the Teutonic god Aegir, who governed the sea. St Winnal maintained a certain connection to the earlier pagan deity who governed the weather and bringer of storms. Thus both Winnal and Aegir brought in the March winds like a lion. On March 6th was a day to honor Mars and St. Martian. It was a day to honor household spirits. March 7th was a day set aside by the Romans, who honored the goddess Juno. A procession of twenty-seven girls led a wooden carving of Juno with the effigy being carved from Cypress, a tree sacred to Juno. It is also the day of the Jewish festival of Puim.

Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va , who wrote BP #91 Poems, “Land of Big Teeth” & “Possessed” (+ BP’s fall 2018 poems, “Demons Play Flutes” & “Purdy Picture”; BP #84’s poems, “The Sentinel” and “Psalm of Mithra”; the BP #81 poem set, “Angel of the Bereft, “Beauty’s Sleep,” & “Dark Trinity”; the BP #80 poem, “The Temple of Colors”; BP #79 poems, “The Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78 poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP #77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage Halloween,” & “Xmas in the Doll Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”; 2 poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”), writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue, and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].

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