The snow is currently falling outside my window, and with the Alaskan mountains as the backdrop it is hard to tear away from the beautiful sight of the remote rugged terrain of Alaska. For the month of December I wanted to keep up the theme from last month of going back in time, and with this novel we will be heading back in time to 1946, when the second world war was ending, and a new beginning emerged.
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows takes us back in time to 1946 in London, where a young author named Juliet Ashton is looking for a new subject to write about. While she is searching for a new subject to write about she comes across a letter that sparks her imagination, and even inspires her next book. The letter she had found is from a man that is from the island Guernsey, the man had found Juliet’s name inside of another book that was written by Charles Lamb, and wanted to speak with her.
As Juliet and her new correspondents continue writing to one another, Juliet begins to learn about their society, a society that is eccentric and worldly. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was found at the spur-of-the-moment, when they were discovered after breaking curfew, the society had become an alibi for all of those who were in the group. Juliet continues to learn more and more about the group and each of the members, and she even gets to know them a little more personally when she asks them to list their favorite books, and even their opinions about the German’s who had occupied the land around them. After learning so much about them, Juliet sets off for an adventure, sailing over to Guernsey, and what she finds outs will change her entire life forever.
This book is truly one of the most unique books that I have read in a long time, and to be able to read this with the current backdrop that is my current town, it makes the novel even more fascinating and captivating.
Welcome to the fall of 2017 everyone! For the month of September, since it is the beginning of fall, and Halloween is next month, I chose a book that is a fantastic book to curl up with on a cool September day, it is Nora Roberts’ book Dark Witch.
Dark Witch follows a young woman named Iona Sheehan who looks for acceptance, love, and devotion; this stems from having parents who are portrayed as being indifferent. Even though she has not been able to find that from her parents, her maternal grandmother showed her where she can find the acceptance, devotion, and love she seeks in nature and even in old legends that reside in her ancestor’s homeland, Ireland. Iona sets off to Ireland, and there she meets her cousins Branna and Connor, who take her into their home and into their lives. Iona ends up landing a job at a local stable, where she ends up meeting the owner, a man by the name of Boyle McGrath. He is everything that makes her weak in the knees, a cowboy, pirate, and wild tribal horseman.
Iona realizes that here in Ireland she can make a life for herself, however, an ancient evil sets upon Iona’s family tree, descending upon her and her cousins. Setting in motion, Iona and her family must fight to defeat the evil.
This book is truly amazing, and it certainly is a great book to curl up with while you are enjoying your hot drink and taking in the Autumn breeze that pelts against your house.
All around the world it is now Yule (Winter season), and what better way to celebrate this years Yule than with some fresh snow and Mother Nature gracing us with her beautiful presence through the chilly morning air as the snow falls all over the sleepy towns and cities all over the world. For the most part, no one really celebrates Yule, unless you are either Druid (like myself), any form of paganism, animism, or celebrate through your Native American roots. And the only time most people around the world celebrate Yule is during Christmas time when they are decorating the tree and filling it with presents underneath. There is nothing wrong with that at all, but there are a few other ways to celebrate Yule time.
Give or volunteer to aid a stranger – Going down to your local food pantry or soup kitchen to give your time to help others is always appreciated by those who do not have the money for food during the holiday time. So by helping out, you will be able to chat with those that come through the line, give them a nice warm meal, and assure them that they are not alone for the holidays.
12 spirits for 12 nights – This is your own “12 Days of Yule”, where you can begin on December 20th to January 1st. You can light a candle each night (12 total) and speak a prayer for the ancestor you honor.
Ancestral cookies – Take an old family recipe and bake those cookies in the shape of unique figures of animals, people, trees, and gift them to others.
Share a meal – Gather your friends and family up, go into the kitchen, and all of you create a meal together then sit down to enjoy it together as well. Spending time with family and friends is something that everyone needs, especially during Yule when most people are out on trips and with their own relatives. If you and a few people you know are all alone for the holiday, get together and share a meal together, while you enjoy each other’s company.
Celebrating Yule is an amazing time of the year where a lot of magic can take place right outside our own front doors in the cold harsh unforgiving nature that is Mother Earth, and celebrating it with others is the best part of it.
It is said that on all hallows eve, if you journey to the park that is situated on the outskirts of town you will be able to hear the voices of the little ones that were brutally murdered in 1943. Park your car a block away from the park, then walk towards it with caution. Keep your eyes wide open and your ears perked for you will hear the whispers and giggles of the little girls and boys.
At the stroke of midnight, you sit on the park bench, with your eyes wide open placed on the swings about fifty yards away. At first you may see nothing but once it is 12:01 the shadows appear and begin to dance around the swings. The giggles from all of the children will fill your ears to the brim, while you have a slight smile upon your face. But soon enough that smile will disappear, just as the giggles will submerge into the darkness. For the dark figure from 1943 has suddenly appeared.
The screams of the children fill the midnight air, bringing you to tears. One child notices you, a small little boy with a hat on his head and green eyes, his eyes are filled with dread and fear. He mouths to you in the dark, run. You cannot move, you’re frozen on the park bench. The dark shadow that has been glaring at the children turns its attention to you. Although you cannot see its face, you know it’s a man and he is smiling at you. Slowly he walks towards you, making your whole body quiver, your heart drop and your face turns pale. You wish to move, you wish to run away from the park back to your vehicle, then you realize that your fear is coming alive. The shadow is now towering over you, you take one last look at it before you are taken off.
Next Hallows Eve…
You see a young man sitting on the park bench, it is now 12:01, all of the children have come out to play and hear a low laugh appear to your left. You know what’s about to happen, it has happened many times before, the shadow turns its attention to the man on the park bench and smiles that grimacing smile. You try to yell, try to get the young man’s attention, alas you fail. Your voice has been taken, your mouth shown shut and you are nothing but a wandering soul in the midnight hour. The young man sees the shadow, acknowledges it and suddenly he is joining you by your side.
Since 1943 at 12:01 this takes place, in a small town in the middle of nowhere at the park on the outskirts of town. This shall continue to happen until the end of time.
The moment I met you,
was the moment that the flowers inside of my heart began to bloom.
The moment I met you,
was the moment that I knew I wanted to be your bridegroom.
For thousands of years I have stayed down here,
falling for you as you roamed the hills that you take care of,
oblivious to the love I have for you.
You are the bones to my spine,
You are the blood to my heart,
Everything hurts knowing that we are currently apart.
All that I can hope is that one day you will look in my eyes,
and know that you and I were always meant to be.
I will stay here and wait for you,
wait for you to love me just as I do you.
**Artwork by Rebekah Holguin
This story was inspired by Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, where it focuses on the Druids. In this book it is focused on the Druid history and spirituality while the characters are engaging in a love story. Set in the third century Ireland, Christianity is sweeping all over the Celtic Isle. And during this time of chaos, love begins to blossom between a Druid healer named Ethne and her patient who is a Fennid warrior. This affair suffers a blow when Ethne is called to become the high queen.
This whole story is told from the Druid perspective, where it shows the daily life, politics, magical practices, and spiritual lives of the ancient Celts during this historical turning point. Everything about the Druid life is brought to life. The holy days, rites, rituals, herbal lore, all of this is brought to life in this book and recreated through the author’s imagination.
Priestess of the Forest is truly a remarkable story and everyone will enjoy the characters, love, spirituality, magic, and most of all the history.
The sun has been covered by gray clouds,
And now the windows are covered by the rain.
Raindrops hit the top of my green roof,
Creating a calm aura throughout the cabin.
The sound of the rain calms my senses,
Just as it calms the energy of the earth outside my door.
I know that if I take one step outside,
I will be wet just like my porch.
Not a care in the world,
I step outside.
The rain falls onto my skin,
And the wind barely breezes by.
I say my thanks to the rain,
I say my thanks to father sky.