PCV Committee Reads: October 2017

PCV Committee Reads: October 2017

Sophias SecretSOPHIA’S SECRET – Susanna Kearsley

If it’s a break you are wanting from all of the stress of life, then I can recommend a lovely little book called Sophia’s Secret, by Susanna Kearsley (2008). Classified as ‘historical romance’, it takes you back to the 1708 attempt by Jacobite loyalists to bring James Stewart over from France to Scotland to rule as their king. Most of the characters are based on real people and the research, as far as I can tell, has been impeccably done. Yet it’s a light read, based on the premise that ‘ancestral memory’ persists through our DNA. As soon as I finished this book I wanted to read more by this author and have ordered her latest book ‘A Desperate Fortune’, which is another Jacobite intrigue.

~Elkie

 

Daughter of the ForestDAUGHTER OF THE FOREST – Juliet Marillier

This book follows the tale of the family of the chieftains children.
Set in Ireland the main character is Lord Collum’s youngest child and only daughter Sorcha through her trials, to do right, help her family and her people.
This is a beautifully written tale and can be read as a stand alone or in conjunction with other books that follow on from this.
Juliet Marillier is an Australian author who crafts a magical world and weaves her words skillfully. I cannot recommend this book enough.

~Mark

HEMLOCK AT VESPERS – Peter Tremayne

Hemlock at VespersApart from Capall Bann books my other guilty pleasure is historical murder mysteries. Don’t ask me why they’re so comforting – actually really don’t ask; I can’t afford the therapy in case the answer isn’t nice. But the thing is, they are, and when I’m frazzled by life, I’ll pull something off the stack of “historical slaughter stories I found in the opshop”, and wallow in it. This is one such find.
As it turns out, “Peter Tremayne” is the nom-de-plume of Peter Berresford Ellis, whose book on The Druids I like immensely, so I approached this with more optimism than usual. Hemlock at Vespers is a collection of short stories featuring Tremayne’s main protagonist, Sister Fidelma, a 7thC religieuse and dalaigh, or advocate of the ancient law courts of Ireland. Sister Fidelma is beautiful, with sparkling eyes and amazing red hair, wise, intelligent, quick-witted, adept at almost everything, and holds a rank in her profession second only to the ollamhs who may sit as equals with the High King. We are reminded of this several times in every short story, in case we forget how utterly incredible Sister Fidelma really is. Men underestimate her. Constantly, because she is a woman; but she just smiles mysteriously, and pulls rank and/or amazes them into silence. Despite all of this, as a Mary Sue she’s not too unpalatable, and Tremayne’s historical knowledge goes a long way to making his bite-sized mysteries rather enjoyable. I’m oddly curious to see how a whole novel might read, once the character doesn’t have to be reintroduced in all her improbable glory every five minutes, so Tremayne’s eight other Fidelma novels have gone on the opshop wish list, and if I get lucky I may inflict the results on you here. I really do recommend his Druid book, though; it’s a corker.

~Sarah


Charge of the GoddessTHE CHARGE OF THE GODDESS – EXPANDED EDITION by Doreen Valiente

This beautiful book of poetry written by the wonderful Doreen is a heartwarming, spinetingling collection of tales and imagery penned across the course of her life.
It is broken into four sections, each dedicated to a season and named after one of her most famous pieces of prose it is well worth a read.
With a variety of themes and topics, Valiente transports us briefly to another world with her words, painting us worlds of beauty, wonder and danger.
Definitely worth the read. I will be reading this again and again, it was worth every dollar.

~Mark


Light from the ShadowsLIGHT FROM THE SHADOWS: A MYTHOS OF MODERN WITCHCRAFT – Gwyn

To be fair I actually haven’t finished this one yet, because I’ve had precious little time for reading this month, and, well, you’re here for the book review and don’t need to hear my whining. Anyway; I haven’t finished this; here is a review of one-third of a book so far. I picked it up from a local bookshop and nearly didn’t because it has a tacky cover (standing stones, check; cauldron with a pentagram on it, check; broom-fer-chrissakes, check; weirdly-photoshopped smoke and fire, check; athame and chalice possibly taken from a 1990s computer game, check), but when I was but a wee bairn, a fairy laid a geas on me that I have to buy every single book published by Capall Bann or I would never get any cake*, so I did.
Actually it’s very, very good. It transpires, in themed coincidence (see my fiction review this month) that “Gwyn” is the pseudonym of Michael Howard of The Cauldron magazine, and as one might expect from him, it’s an excellent book filled with folklore (some of which I hadn’t come across before), history, and traditional craft, tied together into one of the very best, (if not the best; I’m only partway through) paradigms of Modern Traditional Witchcraft I have read so far. Gwyn explores witch-lore throughout the British Isles and Europe, and even America, as well as describing a cohesive mythos for practice, spellwork, tool use, ritual, etc. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of this. It deserves a nicer cover. So far it gets a glowing recommendation from me. Just probably don’t read it on public transport if you care what people think.

*that may be a complete lie to justify my reading habits.

~Sarah

Earthsong 2017

Earthsong 2017

By Carrie

I place frankincense on the altars as offering…

I’m just going to say. Earthsong 2017 was an experience that I wouldn’t have missed. I say this every year and each year it is true for different reasons. This year we worked with an Egyptian myth cycle. We invoked Isis, Osiris, Horus and Set. I volunteered to serve the temple this year and my tasks ranged from setting up altars to sweeping the floor. I was privileged to attend the role with another Reclaiming Witch and friend and found it to be a grounding act of service.

Earthsong WitchCamp is held in the Reclaiming tradition. It is ecstatic and entirely non hierarchical and has activist roots. Reclaiming Witches adhere to the Principles of Unity but generally impose few other requirements. Campers attending Earthsong take part in a Path. Paths offered depend on the myth cycle being worked with as well as the teaching team for the Camp. Path is my absolute favourite part of Camp without question. In fact the sole reason I attended Camp this year was to take the advanced path- Pearl Pentacle with the teaching team offering it. Pearl Pentacle is a tool that comes to Reclaiming from Anderson Feri. Earthsong has been honored and blessed by the gifts of so many exceptional experienced teachers across the years and this year was certainly no exception. I find that I am working with the tools, techniques and knowledge long after Camp is over.

With the exception of one night each night of Camp involves a ritual. This year I found the nightly rituals to be a moving arc of grace and beauty. They were priestessed by Witches of considerable strength and experience and skill. I personally found that the rituals added a great deal to my Camp experience.

I was blown away by the strong and demonstrated sense of community that was shown at this years Camp particularly. I’m assisting with organising the Camp for 2018 and I can only hope that this continues next year because the inclusiveness and enthusiasm was so wonderful to witness.

When I attended my first Camp a couple of years ago I was told that they were nothing less than life transforming acts of magic. This years Camp experience as well as my ongoing work with Reclaiming has shown that to be completely and absolutely true. I would encourage anyone curious about Reclaiming to give themselves the gift of experiencing a WitchCamp.

 

 

Workshop: Growing A Witch’s Herb Garden

In this workshop we will look at plants for attracting abundance, love and protection.

You will also be shown how to use a planetary influences chart used in herbal alchemy to grow at the best times suited to the plants and to get the highest potency when harvesting.

Cost: $70 paid in full.
Includes plants to take home ( will be announced closer to date & dependant on germination), notes, teas and nibbles.

Class size limit 9.

For booking details, see the Facebook Event Page.