I’m a writer with Moon Books (John Hunt Publishing) and a British native shaman and teacher. In Britain the shaman is called awenydd (you pronounce it Ah-when-ith) which means spirit keeper, awenyddion is the plural. I write about our old British traditions as I learned them when I was a child in the 1950s and as they’ve taught me for the rest of my life. Some of this comes out in non-fiction books about our ways but I also write novels. In literary-speak the genre is called visionary fiction – what does that mean? Well my stories are set in the present day or the near future. They’re about “ordinary” people, about relationships, love stories that are intricately and intimately bound up with Otherworld, the Faer, the elementals and the powers of the Earth.
The novels are …
Vicki wakes out of a dream just as the phone rings. She answers it and her father’s housekeeper tells her that Jacob, her archaeologist father, has been killed just as she saw in her dream. She goes home to find out what has happened and old things begin to surface. And the village is in turmoil because Sylvie, her father’s mistress, has capped the spring and the village is dying for lack of water. Vicki meets Merle again, her ex-lover from whom she ran away, and learns Jacob had found the village’s famous 4000-year-old gold cup that he’d been searching obsessively for all his life. This re-awakened Sylvie’s own grail-obsession. She and Jacob fought and now the cup has disappeared again. Vicki and Merle begin the hunt to retrieve it. Events are exacerbated by Vicki’s resumed but still rocky relationship with Merle, and by the shadowy Owl Woman, the spirit-of-place, who has her own agenda. Vicki finds herself becoming this spirit …
Journalist and musician, Isoldé Labeale, flees a London that, after “nine-eleven”, is becoming as oppressive as the Belfast of the Troubles in which she grew up. She goes to the West Country to work with an old lover and meets the international concert organist, Mark King. They fall in love. Isoldé goes to live with him at his Cornish home, Caergollo, and discovers that Mark is the adopted brother of her hero, the late Celtic folk singer Tristan Talorc, now dead. She meets the Woodfolk of Nectan’s Kieve who tell her Tristan died too soon, without finishing his last song. The Woodfolk need the song and ask Isoldé to find it. The search brings conflicts between her and Mark … but she has to find it, and Mark has to help.
I’m currently working on the 3rd novel. It’s set in the near future after a natural catastrophe. Anny and her lover, Kelen, have to work with the spirits of place to set things right after some terrible things have been done by a group of people who want to turn the clock back.
All three are about relationships and the unseen world, otherworld, shamanism and walking between the worlds.
And the non-fiction books are about this too. So far they are …
TREES OF THE GODDESS will be out on 25th July 2014.
I teach about all this too. If you feel you would like to walk the deer trods in the old British way look at the British Native Shamanism page. I offer a one-year apprenticeship followed by a three-year advanced training.
More About Me …
All my life I’ve walked the Deer Trods of Elen of the Ways, the Ancestor. My mother’s mother was a witch from the Isle of Man; my father was a cunning man from Lancashire who settled on the edge of Exmoor. My mother passed over into the Summer Lands when I was four years old but I remember her well and sometimes she still contacts me if there is a need. I grew up in an ancient village where the church is dedicated to the goddess – Urith, the old spelling is Iwerydd – and my aunt owned her sacred well. The elder folk in the village (of which my stepmother was one) involved us young ones in all the cunning ways so I grew up in the old shamanism of Britain.
I come from a family of awenyddion. My mother’s mother was a witch from the Isle of Mann, and my father a somewhat reluctant spirit keeper and engineer. One of my uncles was a gardener who talked to his plants and did lots of biodynamic-like things. Another was a farmer who could talk with animals; I’ve seen him call a wild hawk to his wrist and, many times, sat all night by his side under a tree watching foxes and dormice, weasels and rabbits, badgers and hunting owls, and all the other night denizens of the wild woods. So I grew up in an environment full of everyday magic.
Always living with otherworld, I’ve explored all sorts of magical paths and been fortunate to meet and work with some amazing people … like C Maxwell Cade; Hamish Miller; Tom Graves; Colin Bloy and Lilla Bek. Meeting and working with Caitlin & John Matthews was a wonderful moment for me, they helped me come out as a shaman and still encourage me in the work. Emma Restall Orr (Bobcat) is another person who has strongly influenced my life.
I’ve done all sorts of things in my current incarnation. I started out as a teacher, trained to teach Rudolph Laban Modern Educational Dance but went on to do contemporary dance, partly with Robert Cohen and Martha Graham technique at The Place in London. Then I took a big step sideways and joined the Ministry of Defence, carrying on dancing as “demonstrator” for a friend who taught for Arlene Phillips at the London Pineapple Dance Studio. I enjoyed my time with the services and finished up as project manager designing a networked computer system for Defence Sales. After leaving the MoD I met Ian Gordon-Brown and Barbara Somers and trained with them in transpersonal psychology and had a practice, working especially with dreams, until I moved out of London in 1999. The transpersonal is a part of me, informs everything in my life. I’m also an artist and gardener. Biodynamic gardening is another passion, our land here is Demeter certified.
I live and work in the Welsh Marches – the borders of Wales and England – a very magical place and full of Celtic and Arthurian legend, and share my life with my husband, Paul, our cats, host of wildlife and the Seelie Court.
Warm wishes from between the two lights.