Thursday, October 28, 2010

Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

Whimsy & Horror??
A sleeply little village on the edge of the Oacific ocean?

A dear friend  picked this book up at a yard sale, read it and handed it me, saying “ here’s something you don’t read every day!”

It had me laughing out loud and  wondering  what kind of a extravagant author would invent  such a story. Never having read Christopher Moore before, I was in for a really exciting ride. 

The two main characters, a good-looking one-hundred-year-old ex-seminarian and "roads" scholar Travis OHearn. and his fellow traveler, Catch, a green, sometimes invisible demon with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets, are a riot, even before they arrive at the sleepy little village.

Their adventures in Pine Cove kept me sitting up, and almost taking notes as the story twists, wiggles and loops over itself like a stupendous snake. Too funny, but not for the faint-hearted!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Faeries' Guide to Green Magick from the Garden by Jamie Martinez Wood

- a book for real Witches!!!

I had the rich pleasure of meeting Jamie when she presented her newest book, The Faeries' Guide to Green Magick from the Garden at Air & Fire in Boulder Creek California this past weekend. Her presentation focused on three of the herbs she writes of so skillfully in her newest book. She shared with us the myth of Menthe and her personal reinterpretation of the story, then we heard about lavender and all it’s uses, both physical and magickal while we enjoyed chocolate lavender truffles Jamie made at home in Southern California and brought to share with us. The recipe is in the book and she said that it’s quite simple! She then brought out a bottle of Damiana liquor and asked all those who were willing to take a cup of it and drink. We were led on a deep and transformative, guided meditation focused on the properties of Damiana. Wow! 

And … it gets better! I invited Jamie and her friend to join my student and me at Dragondale, my home in the redwoods, not far from the shop for a snack and a glass of wine before her next presentation at the Sacred Grove. We four had fun swapping tales, eating cheese, drinking wine and getting to know each other.

The book covers 33 commonly used and grown herbs in high detail, including both physical and magickal uses, correspondences with particular Deities and recipes. Cautionary notices are included for those herbs that should not be used during pregnancy and there are even some growing guidelines! The recipes are for both food items and some health/beauty care products.  The first several chapters address basic information about Faeries (intense beings of earth energy and magick), Green Gardening and Complementary Medicine.

The illustrations are unique and lovely. They each include an artistically rendered actual image of the plant with its faerie Diva.  The book layout, page use and visual presentation is truly engaging and it would be a graceful addition to any coffee table library, but the resource and information packed into this book requires that it receive the serious attention of any herbalist or green Witch. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Memory and Dream

Memory and Dream
by Charles de Lint ©1994 HB ISBN 0-312-85572-9

Just finished full immersion in this intense piece of fantasy/ fiction, and let me tell you, it was a journey of magickal portents and discoveries. This tale focuses on an artist, Issy, who learns to use her artistic capacity to bring beings she calls numena here from the 'before' by way of her paintings. At the beginning of her career she is taken up and tutored by a famous painter who turns out to have some really bizarre quirks and habits. He teaches her how to use her gift and she brings forward at least a hundred numena, some human and some wonderfully strange mixtures of humanoid creatures with wild animal leanings. The story centers on Issy's relationship with her writer friend, Kathy, and a group of bohemian artist folk in her community. Isabelle's numena play a pivotal role in the tale and her world is enriched and made terribly complex by their presence. I felt completely drawn into the lives of these people and the art they both created and fostered in others. The Numena in the tale are both seductive and winsome.

I won't say more about the plot line, as it is an adamantine stone you should enjoy from the tip to the final uncovering.

In addition to this full-palette story, Charles de Lint also gives us another gem about the power of fantasy tales, with this quote from Kathy's journal in the book,
"…The real difference is that with fantasy – and by that I mean fantasy which can simultaneously tap into cosmopolitan commonality at the same time as it springs from an individual and unique perspective. In this sort of fantasy, a mythic resonance lingers on – a harmonious vibration that builds in potency the longer on considers it, rather than fading away when the final page is read and the book is put away. Characters discovered in such writing are pulled from our own inner landscapes – the way Issy would pull her numena from hers – then set out upon the stories' various stages so that as we learn to understand them a little better, both the monsters and the angels, we come to understand ourselves a little better as well."

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Arts, Magick, and contemporary Folk Tales. Enjoy!