Feb 19, 2010

Friday Frolicking

I love Friday! I think I love it more than the actual weekend itself. It's full of promise and joy. People at work are much friendlier, and the anticipation of the weekend dances playfully in the air.
So, Fridays should be joyful blogging times as well. I'm going to share fun things on Fridays.. spells, crafts, recipes, etc... nothing overly heavy or insightful. So, in the spirit of all things "witchy" and fun...


Friday Correspondences:

Energy: Female
Planetary Ruler: Venus 
Astrological Sign: Taurus, Libra
Spells: love, peace, beauty, gentleness, friendship, healing, protection, lovers, ease, pleasure, affairs.

Today's Magickal Influences: All Love Matters, Friendships, Affection, Partnerships, Money, Sex
Colors of The Day: Green, Light Pink, Aqua
Incenses: Lavender, Rose, Saffron, Sandalwood, Strawberry, Vanilla
Herbs: Lavender, Lilac, Rose, Ivy, Birch, Heather, Violets
Stones: Rose Quartz, Moonstone, Pink Tourmaline, Peridot, Emerald, Jade

Balm for Abundance

To make a useful balm, blend a small jar of cold cream together with the following: 2 drops of green food coloring, 2 teaspoons rose water, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1/4 teaspoon powdered clove, 1 teaspoon mint extract, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Beat the ingredients until well incorporated, always stirring clockwise for growing, positive energy. Chant while you stir, "I leave my life no more to chance, I evoke the power of abundance!" Visualize your needs being met. Make a label for the preparation that states its purpose‹"Bounteous Balm," for example. Use this cream on pulse points or areas of dry skin to bring revitalization physically, spiritually, and financially. If you can't find rose water, substitute dried, powdered rose petals or scented oil.

Improving finances. Increasing ideas or creativity. Spiritual growth. Flourishing magical gardens.

Generally during the waxing to full moon. During moon signs of Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, or Pisces. Spring (specifically April and May).
http://www.salemtarot.com/spells/index.php



Paper Mache Offering Bowl
Materials:

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
Newspaper or grocery bag strips (1 inch by 3 inches)
Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)
A Bowl of the size you wish to copy
Acrylic paints
Acrylic gloss finish *optional*

1.Tear paper into strips
2. Take a small, rounded bowl, set upside down, and cover it with petroleum jelly.
3. Mix equal parts of flour and water. A half cup of each is enough for two small bowls.
4. Dip each strip into the paste and apply the first layer of strips vertically , covering the bowls surface. Don't worry about it being uneven or jagged. It can be easily trimmed with scissors after it is dried. Apply the second layer of strips horizontally and so on until you have 5 layers.
5. Allow to dry. This takes about one full day.
6. Separate the paper-mache from the bowl. Use the tip of a butter knife to separate the two. If the inside is not completely dry, allow to dry for another day.
7. Once completely dry, trim the edges with scissors.
8. Paint with acrylics. Add symbols or sponge. Use your imagination!
9. Allow to dry and then cover with the acrylic gloss finish *optional*.
The bowl you've created can be used on your altar to hold herbs, potpourri or shell/stones, etc. It can be gently wiped out but don't wash it with water or use it to hold liquids of any kind.

***Note*** The finer the paper and smaller the strips that you use the smoother the bowl will come out. I have done these in layers using a courser paper for the first 2 layers and using thinner paper for the top layers. This creates a finer and smoother appearance. It is also fun to experiment with different types of papers in different colors (tissue and crepe are great). Sometimes I don't paint them at all and just use the different papers. Experiment and enjoy! :)
http://www.crystal-forest.com/CRAFTPaperBowl.html


And since today is a day of love and friendship, I offer you this easy cookie recipe using lavender.. an herb of friendship and love:


Lavender Sugar Cookies


Don't preheat your oven at this time. This cookie needs to be chilled for 4 or 5 hours or overnight.

3/4 cup of shortening or butter
2 cups of white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped dried lavender buds
1/2 cup buttermilk (you make your own sour milk if you don't have buttermilk: 1/2 cup of milk, 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture. Mix flour, baking powder, salt. lavender and set aside. Stir baking soda into buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately to creamed mixture. Mix well.

Chill lavender cookie dough for 4 or 5 hours.

Lightly flour your work surface. Not enough flour will make them stick and too much will make them hard to roll out and make them tough. I sprinkle the top of the dough with lavender sugar so the rolling pin wouldn't stick. Cut with floured cookie cutters or simply make a 'loaf' and slice them with a knife.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.



Lavender sugar (optional but delicious!):
Lavender sugar is so easy to make and can be used in any recipe instead of regular sugar. This is one way to make your own original recipes. It's fun!

If you already have crushed or chopped lavender buds add about 1 tablespoon to 2 cups of sugar. Place in a glass jar, stir or shake to mix and store for a couple of days. The sugar will pick up the lavender scent and flavor. This keeps very well!

If you don't have your lavender buds chopped or crushed ahead , no problem. Just take about 1 cup of the sugar and the lavender and toss in your food processor or use your coffee grinder until the lavender buds are broken up.

Try this sprinkled on toast, crepes, sugar cookies, or whatever your imagination can come up with. The sky is the limit!
http://www.joys-of-lavender.com/lavender-cookie-recipe.html

Feb 14, 2010

Riding the Tiger (The Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day)


So many things happening already that it didn't surprise me to discover that this was the year of the  White Metal Tiger. According to Chinese astrology, this is going to be a very volatile, exciting, fast-paced year that is also resilient and with hidden good fortune possibilities. This Tiger Year is one of discordant energies. There are obstacles and frustrations ahead due to clashing elements and the aggressive nature of the Tiger Year makes things worse – suggesting a challenging and difficult year.
Now, before you make plans to spend the year hiding out under the covers, there is a good side to this!
The Positive: Tiger years bring out the best in people. Many of us will rise to the challenge of the tiger- those who think positively, act decisively and bring creative inputs into their work will see these efforts bear fruit. Basically to succeed in the Year of the Tiger is to ride the tiger and be fearless and resilient.

These are the traits of a witch, anyway!
So, how does this correlate at ALL to Valentine's Day? I'll simply post a poem by Ly De Angeles, from her book "The Feast of Flesh and Spirit" (2001). To those who can understand...

To Ride the Tiger
(On love and the Wild God)

If I talk to you about love, then what?
Shall I be truthful sometimes- most of the time- and lie to you about this?
I could, but I won't. Just this one time I will tell you.
To know love is to know fear.
My capacity to be rational, to be objective, to be detached, to be alone- all gone.
I am mad. I am destructive. I am consigned to some kind of all-consuming chaos.


It's the Wild God.
From the depths of 'somewhere' He soars into the world of the Seen-Real
And who knows where he wanders; who else sees him also?
But when He looks out at me through this man's eyes and I see him?
And when I am invited to the Dance?
Well...
And all through it I know the man I love is mortal-is just a man-though never just like any other man, for I see the Wild God in his eyes.

So I ride the tiger- and that's a wanton, awe-inspiring ride!
And all the while that I ride it's like some ancient primal dance to the burning, savage, erotic tune that the Wild God plays
And my instinct says to fear.
Truth be told, I live and dance with the Wild God in the Unseen-Real all the time-for when does one not think of love?
And sometimes I think that all my years of magical training and discipline have been about being able to Dance with Him as an equal, not simply as a mortal.


And still this can cause me to fear because I wonder, now, if I can love a mortal man.
I certainly can't do it the way I hear of other women doing it- I'm too proud.
I'm not able to be 'nice'. I'm not able to pretend to be other than what I am.
So mostly I am very guarded.

I am most guarded when I see the Wild God in your eyes
because I know the Dance in the mortal realm
...and when it takes place here it also crashes through all the worlds and drops down and down into the Underworld- the savage forest within the depths of the Dreamtime of magic, its Source, its Mythago Wood- breaking all of the nets of delusion in the fall.

Sometimes I dare.

I stand at the WildWood Gate, in my little cottage garden, and I dare him to come through the Mist and into the open, because I know what He yearns for also-
And perhaps with training, through honesty of the body, soul and spirit- perhaps, once upon a time, I can meet Him without anyone getting burned.

You knew it, didn't you, when I asked you the question 'what is the essence of love?'
You knew I was talking about this- this rapture, this thing to be feared- and not trees and children and friends and books and ideals and music and food?
Yes, we all know that we can love this way.
We all know how passionate and safe and tragic and joyful and distant from the Core are these loves.
We know we can remain ourselves-remember our mortal identities- with these loves. We may even choose to die for the right to freedom, to defend our children, to preserve a way of life-but with all these faces of love, we have a choice.

The other kind of love?
The depths of rapture of the wild embrace with something that's Divine?
No choice when we let it in.
No choice but to ride the tiger.

And some people have told me that I'm a cold bitch, that I'm the Ice Queen.
They don't realise how contained my own wildness is.
And that the wildness is all about love-to enable me to be at one with the tiger when I ride; to not have to think about it; to realise that the tiger is not my enemy.
To finally, ultimately, naturally
Enjoy the ride.










恭禧發財 Gong Xi Fa Cai (wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year)

Feb 8, 2010

Monday Musings: Miami, Snow and the New Orleans Saints

Wow, what a week I've had! Trip to Miami last Sunday (Jan 31) for a conference. Flew to San Antonio Thursday, only to have to fly out at 5:45am on Friday morning on the last flight to make it in to BWI before the major snowstorm (Snowmaggedon, as it's being called) hit. Friday and Saturday were just a blurr of pre-storm, mid-storm and post-storm activity: Prestorm- grocery shopping, salting down our sidewalks, prepping our cars and then doing it for the elderly neighbors who live on either side of us. Mid-storm- believe it or not, we started shoveling out the cars, sidewalks, etc... DURING the storm because if we had let it go, we'd never have gotten out of our house. Post-storm- much like mid-storm.. finally getting ourselves dug out. Unfortunately, there really isn't any place to put all of the snow. We've piled it just about all of the places we can and it's mountainous! The roads aren't horribly bad right now and there has been some amount of melting, but now we have to brace for another 10-20 inches come tomorrow afternoon into Wednesday. I sent my sons out to purchase a snow-rake (I'd never even heard of such a thing) to get the massive amounts of snow off our roof before the next one hits. I can only imagine what that amount will do to the roofs here. I sent my daughter out for a few items, mostly for our elder neighbor (bread, juice, firewood, etc...), some birdseed for our feathered brethren, and we are almost set.
Tomorrow, it's more salting and raking off what we can before Round 2. (Punxsutawney Phil, I am cursing you right now! lol)

On the positive side, it is a winter wonderland in the woods, and it definitely makes me appreciate the coming Spring. I must say, I do have concerns about melt-off and flooding, but if this melts slowly enough, we'll have a truly green spring and less mosquitos in summer.. THAT is a definite PLUS!

I turned 47 yesterday, and had a very lovely birthday. My 23 yr old has made a tradition out of purchasing orchids for my birthday. I'm not sure why he chose orchids (my favorite flowers are pansies and sunflowers) but they are beautiful, just the same:
My daughter worked like crazy to make all kinds of fun snack foods (Superbowl) for me, instead of a meal. They really made it special for me, and I so appreciate it.

Of course, the Saints won the Superbowl, and I knew they would. It was destined to be, and I know it brought a real morale boost to the city of New Orleans. I found out that the Saints used a specific book/video and motto for this season: Finish Strong http://tinyurl.com/yhy8xug

The movie is a free view, it's more like a moving powerpoint with motivational stories in text.. lasts just a couple of minutes, but very powerful. I highly recommend watching it.

So, you're up to speed, now. I hope you were able to take something inspirational or positive with you.
Until next time,
Slainte'!

Jan 30, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up: Brighid's Day and the Full Moon in Leo

Saturdays will be my weekend wrap up of events, both mundane and magical.

Mundane:
It was an extremely busy work week for me. We are hosting a big event in Florida next week, then it's off to Texas for a big presentation for a client. I'll come home late Friday and my birthday is Sunday.
I literally had back to back phone meetings every day of the week. If you've ever had to do that, you know what your brain is like at the end of the day, especially the last meeting of each day (what's my name again? what is the topic of THIS meeting? I know I don't sound coherent. I can't think of a word to say nor comprehend what's being said). As soon as work was completed last night, there was shopping to do.. my oldest, thankfully, did the grocery shopping for me earlier in the day, but I had to get some new business outfits.

Ok, now for those of you working moms who are interested in some good purchase-advice (note: I am not paid for any endorsements I make. I'm like you, looking for bargains/good investments wherever I can find them).


Since I'm committed to getting in top-shape this year, I purchased the new Skechers Shape-Ups.

These are not the "prettiest" shoes (although I kinda like the way they look- my son's g/f says they look like Spice Girl shoes- I love that!), I have to say, I walked in them for about 20 minutes total, but had them on for several hours last night, and when I took them off, my legs were slightly sore, as if I'd been in a workout. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this. I really didn't think they would work as advertised. Let's see if that continues and how they hold up overall. Btw, they actually come with a DVD that shows you how to make the best use of them. I paid 99.00 for them, and while I've not had them a whole 24 hours, so far, I'm impressed. I'll update after I've had them awhile, just in case anyone's interested in purchasing.

Also, for those of you who may be in need of business suits, I highly recommend Ross stores.

I can personally attest that they have really nice business suits at deeply discounted prices. I got a three piece business suit, normally 79.00, Ross price: 29.00. Another was originally 49., Ross price: 19.99 (2-piece)
They have other things there as well: kids, mens clothes (my son bought an entire designer outfit: shirt, jeans, shoes and jacket for less than 90.00), home decor, et al..  I got an Audrey Hepburn (my fav actress) framed poster/painting for 19.00 for my wall (My son got Bob Marley).

Today, I'll be busy shopping (still need a few more things for the trip), packing and preparing for the trip.

I have to leave early in the morning tomorrow, and it is going to be a very busy week. I'll do my best to keep up with blogging, but not to worry. If I'm MIA for a few days, I'll make it up with next weekend's Wrap-Up.


Magical:


Last night was the full moon in Leo. I was born on a full moon in Leo, so it is my moon sign. I find it hard to sleep during a full moon, and this one was no exception. The difference is that when the full moon is in Leo, I feel even more energized than usual. It also happened to be the brightest full moon of the year, according to astronomers. It was cloudy here last night, but that didn't stop Her from shining right through those clouds. It was so bright, one could see colors in the middle of the night. I loved it!
I set up my altar accordingly, and honored this full moon. There are those who believe one must either do full moon magic prior to or at the exact time of the full moon. Since my ancestors didn't measure time the way we do now, I honor it the same way.. for three days, or until it is visibly changed in the sky.
Here are some great articles for those who are interested in learning more about the Full Moon in Leo:

Big Sky Astrology (April Elliot Kent): http://tinyurl.com/ylp2rqb
About.com: http://tinyurl.com/yffo3f8
 
 
Next Festival:
 
February 2: Lá Fhéile Bríde
Also known as Brighid's Day, Oilmec, Imbolc, Imbolg, Candlemas, Time of the Quickening Pulse, Feast of Isis, Oya's Day, Festival of Vali, Disting-tid, Last day of Februalia, Juno Februata, etc...
 
It is an ancient fire festival (although more connected with light than warmth) for us Celts. As my way is to honor my ancestral birthright, my family will celebrate Lá Fhéile Bríde. We make corn dollies and Bride's bed, and have lots of dairy-type desserts. There are plenty of sites on the web to give you a background on this day and crafts, recipes.
I'll share a few of my favorite sites and some recipes with you. I always encourage you to investigate for yourself, and then STOP reading and START doing! Make these festivals your own.. put some of YOU into them and really enjoy the doing of the thing :)
 
 
 
Links to the Holiday:
http://tinyurl.com/yesvsnk
http://www.celticholidays.ca/imbolc/
 
Crafts/Recipes:
http://www.mysticmooncoven.org/imbolg05.htm#S3
http://tinyurl.com/yawxsph
http://tinyurl.com/y9ymwgw
http://tinyurl.com/ycbl9bg
http://tinyurl.com/ycafwzp
http://tinyurl.com/ye69gbo
http://tinyurl.com/ybbakry
 
 



Slainte'!
K

Jan 27, 2010

Wednesday Weaving

Wednesday: I think today will be a day where I comment on the week in the mundane, and also weave in the magics as well.

The Mundane:
I was told by my boss today that I am "too positive" and that it makes people uncomfortable and I need to be more "direct". She said that I am too complimentary of people and that when I do that it makes them wonder what I want from them. She said she is not the only person who has thought this about me (which says she's discussed this with other people). She did say she believes I am genuine, but how does one say that they believe I'm genuine on the one hand, but lack credibility on the other? I had to laugh at the "you need to be more direct" comment as well. Anyone who knows me would call me one of THE MOST direct people on the planet. My boss is new to her role, and knows nothing about my job whatsoever, nor do I believe she has any understanding whatsoever of HR laws. What she did today was pretty darned close to illegal, and she's just clueless. The culture of this company has changed dramatically in the last few weeks, and it's becoming increasingly clear that I should be moving on.
I will have to begin sowing those seeds at Imbolc and see what the Goddess has in store for me.
I also applied for FSA yesterday and got approved. I can actually get a Pell Grant and go back to college full time if I want. I considered Environmental Science (the Pagan in me really wants to protect her Mother) but I am not sure if that's really the right program for me or if I need to keep looking.. just not sure yet on that.

I have promised to post on Imbolc, and I will.. just want to do that when I'm not in this "swamped with work" frame of mind. Believe me, as things like the above are being revealed to me, I'm really becoming quite a good RECOVERING workaholic.

Now, on to .....

The Magical:

Going forward, I'll probably use this space for sharing spells, poems, thoughts, etc.. that might be useful. Today, I think I'll stick to sharing something from one of my favorite authors of all time, Ly De Angeles. She is, by far, one of the authors who has had the most influence over my life, both magically and in the mundane. I love her works, and have had the opportunity to correspond with her on many occasions. She's a lovely person and a great teacher (oops there I go being positive and complimentary again). I'm going to post the preface to her book When I See the Wild God. You can read more about her at http://lydeangeles.com/ . If you know me or read this blog more than once, you'll find me quoting her or posting wisdom from her a lot. She's a very talented seanachai' (story-weaver/teller):

Preface

'The cairn of dolmen stones-mosses and lichens covering the swirls and patterns that mark a forgotten ancestry- stands silent and brooding upon the barren hilltop, sentinels that guard an ancient gate that
opens onto elsewhere.

Today draws to a close, but the signs of summer, subtle as they are, can be seen, felt, and heard all around.
The sun dips toward the western horizon, creating mysterious depths and hollows within the rough circle of still-warm stones as they cast their long shadows upon the ground.

I always wake from the sleep of the light between the sunset and the dark, when the world gets just a little calmer. At first glance, the place seems empty, its stillness unbroken, its ancient unseen power thrumming quietly within itself.

But, then I see him move. (He was not a shadow after all).

A huge dark man, dressed as though he were a ragged crow-with dreds that fall in a cascade, all threaded here and there with black bird feathers that catch the fading light in their blue-black sheen-stands as still as the stones themselves, facing into the sunset. I see him from my slient watching place and know at once just who he is.

The ancient man, hunter, blessed of the fair folk. I smile. He is still alive, despite how many folk have tried to cut him down. It's been a long, long time since he has come to my gate. A thousand years or more spent wandering the ancient trackways to remind the earth that she is precious and he guards her still. I sense the
others not far away and I know they'll keep the fires burning against a night not mine- not clean.

At the moment of the sun's disappearance, in a splash of molten gold, in a crimson and pale mauve sky, he raises his arm and begins a low, strong, beautiful song. The words are in the old tongue-potent- meant
to evoke yearning in the memories of those who think themselves forgotten.

Darkness now hastens to claim its own time, and as the last of the light fades into dusk Hunter turns to face inward into the rain, bringing the calling to a close.

I can't read his thoughts, but I understand the sad and haunted light beyond his black, steady gaze. Ah, well, there's all the time of the night to hear his story. It's fortunate indeed that I am here now.

He pauses a moment before he moves to close the circle in the ring, shutting out the other world.

Night has almost fully spun its web of deeper mystery, and I sense the feelings of loss, and relentless determination in the face of so much tragedy, that dwell behind the iron-strong discipline. The draiocht of the Lord of Life and Death, the fire of inspiration, all the legends and the patterns and the spells- the whole him...yeah, I know it also. For I am the Watcher. And He knows that I am here- but I am not the one he seeks.

The moon is rising now, above the sacred stone that is his altar, and she casts her silver glow into the ring. The familiar scene becomes unearthly and filled with the older mysteries.
This is the time between.

This is the time, in ages past, when he would normally leave, abandoning the shrine to the dark, to travel in that other world along with the pack he calls "The Band," searching for the Lost or the hated- their fate determined by the scent they emit.
Yet this one time he remains- motionless, watchful, waiting. I hear his breathing as it becomes a little faster, just a little harder, as the presences other than both of us arrive-Guardians of the Stonesand Whisperers of Ancient Magic and older still than any of us.

There! Within the deep shadows of the farthest dolmen arch, a small figure-robed, it would seem, from the swirling darkness of itself; a darkening and thickening of the shadows, and as black as the deepest,
sunless sky.

The figure walks into the ring and he sees that it is, perhaps, a woman's form. Though whether mortal or sidhe, or the one he seeks, he cannot tell.

In his customary quiet voice, he asks, "Are you...?"

She smiles and moves, and from within the dark folds of her cloak, tiny, brilliant points of light shine and twinkle like stars within blackness, mists roil and swirl like forgotten ghosts, and a murder of ravens swoops from the depths with a rattle of wings and a hundred conversations, to fly mad and carefree upon the wind, to places in the mortal world-messengers, oracles-to those who still know how to read the signs.

"You know me, Hunter." Her voice is soft and deep. "I am the hidden depths. I am silence, and patience, and stillnes. I am the Dark Womb and the Peaceful Tomb and we are one. I am the bare bones of all that is, and I am the time it takes to crumble them to dust. And the earth that claims them for her garden."

"I am the quiet stone and the rich, damp soil beneath their feet. I am the mystery of the dark and bottomless well wherein they look for visions."

"I am the longing and the hunger for what they think they have forfeited."

" I am okay" sighs Hunter, the things he's seen laid open for her to know, for no other could look and not be frightened for the future.

" I am your grail, Hunter- You know that. Drink deeply for draiocht, and know the taste of me upon your lips, because it's not over yet for us- we are still here, and therefore life continues."

"I am tired, Lady..." says Hunter, finally able to relax the burden of keeping wonder alive within a tangle of human disdain.

"Be with me awhile. This night. Tread the steps of the dance of a new day, so that you might feel the pleasure of forgetting for a moment-a little gift I'm good at! And so that I can breathe the forest that I smell upon you."

"We all pay homage to the Dance of Life and Death, so let us dance it fearlessly for does not this earth, these rocks and stones who listen so intently, invite us?"

"In the morning you'll remember that to each of us, and everything, there is bequeathed a time and purpose. Your purpose is not opposed to mine, nor mine to yours, for there is no day without night- and where, I ever wonder, is there thought of separation?"

" And herein lies the mystery..." says Hunter, smiling.

"It's love, Hunter. You know about love?"

" Yeah, I know about that, Lady."

The wind rises and carries the distant sound, first of Matt's piping, then Willie's fiddle, then Alan's boudhran.
I smile. These folk are mine!'

Slainte'!

Jan 25, 2010

Magus of Stonewylde- Kallan's Review


As promised, here is my review of "Magus of Stonewylde" by Kit Berry.

Ever one for the urban fantasy genre, I really looked forward to reading this book. The official synopsis can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/yekdvg2


My synopsis: The story begins with the main character, Sophie: a young teenager who has some physical and emotional ailments that her doctor believes could be cured by a visit to the doctor's home"town" of Stonewylde. The doctor discusses with the Magus of Stonewylde and a meeting is set. Sophie and her mother meet with the Magus, who agrees to take them in and he, too, believes that Sophie can be cured there. Sophie and her mother both fall in love with Stonewylde's country setting, friendly folk and family atmosphere almost immediately. There is a slight caste system which Sophie's mother disagrees with at first, but they come to understand that Stonewylde is a very special place with its own rules and way of life. Paganism is the way of life in this place. The Hallfolk are the "upper class", and they enjoy the life of Stonewylde as well as computers, televisions, etc.. from the outside world. Their education is important, and they are also allowed to leave Stonewylde to live in the outside world if they so choose. The Villagers are the "working class".  They live in a more medieval lifestyle... no t.v., no computers, no knowledge of what the outside world is like, and no real interest in learning about it. They work the land, the field, and serve the hallfolk with pride.Sophie encounters a villager named Yul- a boy whom the Magus has deemed to be a trouble-maker and Sophie is warned to steer clear of him. The Magus is very kind, generous, loving and watchful over all of the people of Stonewylde. They all love him and obey his word as law. Sophie comes to learn that the Magus and Stonewylde are not all they seem.

I'll leave it there.

My review:
I have to say that I did enjoy this book. Kit Berry has a talent for character development, and I found myself involved with both Sophie and Yul very early on. I like how she has entwined everyday Pagan life into the storyline. It is subtle, yet intriguing. The plot moves along well.  You are well-warned that this is the first in a series of five books, so be prepared that you will have questions unanswered in this first book. It had a Wicker Man (original) meets The Village (M. Night Shyamalan) feel to me, but original just the same.
All in all, a really good introduction to the magical world of Stonewylde, the characters and the mysteries/secrets of each. I like her style.

Spoiler Alert: DO NOT READ FURTHER unless you've read the book or don't care if I ruin some of the mystery of it for you. If you'd like to order the book, or learn more, here is a link to Kit Berry's site. I ordered mine from Amazon.com, but found out later that I could've ordered an autographed copy from the author:
http://www.stonewylde.com/index.php

For those who've read the book and really want my opinion, here it is:


Praises:


1. I adore the descriptions of Stonewylde. I especially loved the description of the rock quarry.. I felt every creepy sensation she described. In fact, I felt the "moongazy" sensation as described in the book. Now, I'm an American, so perhaps this is an English term, but I'd never heard the term "moongazy" before reading this book. I can say that I believe Kit Berry is truly gifted in her ability to describe and draw word pictures for her audiences.

2. Again, character/relationship development. Genius.

3. Weaving the threads of Paganism throughout the lifestyles of all the inhabitants of Stonewylde... this is how those of us who follow the Pagan path live.. it's not something we pull out of a box and put away, it's entwined in everything we do.. well done.

4. I like the fact that I am forewarned that this is the first in a series of five books, so my frustration levels are lessened when I get to the end and major questions aren't answered.

5. When I read books, I usually get a sense of the author's personality/spirit when I read them. I get a sense that Kit Berry is a very happy, hopeful, moongazy kind of girl, who I would like very much if we were to meet. That alone makes me want to read more. I look forward to ordering/receiving/reading and reviewing the next book in the series.


Criticisms:
1. I think she spend a little too much time on Yul's abuse. It became tedious for me after awhile. I also believe there should have been some sort of answer in the first book as to why Yul was the one picked on by his father (one assumes Yul is not the father's child and the father knows it) and again by the Magus.

2. Sophie's mother is one character that should have been developed a bit more in my opinion. We find that she, as a teenager,  is lured out by (obviously one of the Hallfolk) an older man and Sophie is a product of her rape, but we then see her easily fall under the "spell" of the Magus. I would like to have known a bit more about her past and why she continues that pattern of behavior. Perhaps that will come in later books.

3. The author spends so much time in the development of the relationships and characters that it feels rushed when we come to the climax, and a definite feeling of being cut off at the end.. I believe we should have been given a bit more there, but that's such a minor criticism, given that she left me wanting to read more. Perhaps a lot will be explained in Moondance.

Jan 21, 2010

Thursday Thoughts


Random Ramblings for today:

  •  The Sun is in my sign now. It's amazing how different things feel when that happens.
  • Still working my way through Magus of Stonewylde. So far, it's a nice work :)
  • I'll be posting on Brighid's Day soon. Most likely over the weekend as I'm swamped at work. Seriously, I've had nothing but 8 hour days of back to back conference calls for the past two weeks. It's a crazy-busy time- I hope it lasts :) (Sorry, the workaholic in me can't help myself.. still recovering!)
  • Thanks to all of you who are bearing with my blog transitions and scattered postings.. I think I've settled on my blog title for sure now.. it fits me. I'm not a domestic witch. I'm a single, working mom who has five children, two grandchildren, three snakes and a wolf-dog for whom I am responsible. I have no partner/husband to rely on for support.. it's been all me for the last 15 years. I think that makes a difference in how I see and do things. I love the domestic witchery blogs and love that these wonderful women have taken time out of THEIR busy days to blog, share recipes/stories/rituals/ideas etc... I think it's also important to give a voice to those who are like me.. single, working witches/pagans who may do things differently because our focus is a bit different. My friend Scarlett is working on a new avatar for me. I'm hoping to reveal it soon, and then get serious about this blogging thing.
Slainte',
Kallan