Tag Archives: USA

Witchy roots & faeries

What got me into fantasy and horror as a genre?

My family history is really to blame for me loving fantasy and horror, because my family history is pretty unusual in fact, absolutely overrun with weirdness.

It mostly stems from my maternal line all this weird stuff, my grandmother is half Romany and my grandmother once told me that there are witches within the family; I never really truly believed her though I liked the thought that we had such a weird and diverse family history – but in 2017 I found out the truth when I did my own genetic research.

It turns out that my family had cousins who were victims of the Salem witch trials not only on my grandmother’s side of the family, but also my grandfather’s side of the family as well – her husband. 

My family names which were involved with these trials are Howe, Bishop and Crawley – though Crawley managed to escape from her persecution by running away in the night to a different town, here in the UK, around one hundred years after Salem, because our family fled back to the UK after their cousins were lost to the Salem trials.

My grandmother was rather good at telling me about family traditions and taught me a lot of things, which my mother thought was a load of old tosh and old wives tales; but I followed my grandmothers advice on more than one occasion and things always worked out for me whenever I got stuck in life – so it is something I have learned to live by these days.

Witchcraft and gypsy magick seems to run in my blood and there is a lot of weird things I’ve been taught over the years about what it is to be a true witch, with real witch heritage!

My grandmother held off teaching me anything before I was seven years of age, because a true witch understands that before the age of seven spirits can over take a child and make them act like changelings – non-humans and they will never get back their former child if they allow them to mess around with magick sooner than this!

You can tell if a child is meant to be a witch for several reasons within the family – the most significant thing is having green eyes, which is probably why green eyes are rare, it was common knowledge back in the witch burning days.  The next significant thing is being able to remember their dreams and being a sickly child; because the magick messes up our bodies and because we’re young we’re not strong enough to control it. 

Some people believe that green eyes is a sign we are descendants of the goddess Hera and some say it’s where the word heretic comes from, but I can’t vouch for the truth of this, because I don’t know! 

But what I do know is, there is a section of my mother’s family who believe we are descendants from Dionysus, but again, I can’t vouch for the truth of this either!  I know the Italian side of my family believe we are mixed with Greek and Jewish too, but that’s one of the four lines in the past five generations where I have Italian blood.

But that’s another conversation.

The family name Crawley is linked to the family name Crowley too, as the Crowley’s changed their name to become more distinctive and I’ve yet to find a link to the man himself – you know who I am talking about!  My grandmother is sure however he is a second or third cousin to her as she met him at a family reunion around 12yrs of age – she was born in 1932.  Again, I don’t know whether this is true or not, because I haven’t found a link in my research to him.

Why would this influence my love for fantasy and horror?  Because it was part of my bonding process with my grandmother or nan as I called her!  She taught me that in order to be safe going out you need certain trinkets, her particular favorite is the Cornish pixie, if you have that on you and people cause mischief with you, the pixie will ensure they get into mischief too!

I wasn’t inclined to believe about the pixies too much.  But something strange happened when I was twenty five and I went out to a local woodland with a boyfriend (of whom I was having doubts about) – he was being his general obnoxious self and then there was a big rustle up in the trees above us – acorns fell on his head hurting him, when he complained about it there was cheeky maniacal laughter coming up from the tree and the acorn pellets got worse and worse until he grabbed me by the hands and ran out of the woodlands with me!  I laughed and warned him of my heritage once again and how he shouldn’t be so bloody cheeky with me!  We broke up four months later.

She got me into the habit of leaving an offering out to the spirits of the house; because if they are not fed often enough they’ll make the house fall into disrepair!  They will also protect the house from burglary and other things.  I believe this, because I am paranoid about forgetting to do the offerings and I have had two near burglary’s happen, one occasion a burglar tried to break in and the garden gate fell on them as they ran away – the burglar was someone we knew, because they couldn’t help saying that there are weird freaky things in the window and when he decided to leave – the gate fell on him!  But we noticed the back door of the house looked meddled with and we had to change the locks because of issues with it.

This person also claimed that the joker soft toy in the bedroom window waves at him from time to time, but that’s not a mechanical toy, so it must be the Nisse (my gran never called it Nisse, she always called it the hearth folk) playing about!

There are lots of things like this that happen over and over again in my life and many things I won’t talk about here, because if a witch reveals too much about their actual family spells it makes the spells null and void for all future generations.  This is how you can really tell a true witch from someone who just likes to play about.  It is also the reason why certain famous spell books don’t work for some people, but some people they do, because the spirits can sense the bloodlines, but some spells still don’t work or work as effectively as they did for those who originated them, because they get weaker with corruption outside of true magick circles.

Earlier on in the life of the internet you could tell real magick from fake, because magic, magick and magyck – had different significant meanings, which no longer stand in today’s society, once again, thanks to corruption… usually corruption of the wannabes rather than religious intervention! 

No spirit will hurt a true witch, but they do hurt those who are not pure in heart with their spells or who are not part of spiritual bond that blood gives; they will particularly hurt those who intend to do spells based on selfish reasons and revenge.  Because a true witch has no reason to make revenge spells, because their protective spirits and the spirits of their ancestors would already be enacting a vengeance plan for them, if they feel that the witch truly suffered innocently.

Also witches never charge for their skills in spell making or fortune telling, because the spirits will work against them as their skills are a gift and should not be abused for financial gain – however, a true witch and true fortune teller will ask for a donation, this is better than to outright charge.  A donation is acceptable to the spirits, charging for your ability is not!

This is why you will know a true witch, if she asks you to pay for your own spell ingredients so that she can use them to help you, and then you know she is genuine!

Spells from a true witch work faster than those who are merely wannabes!

Also a true witch knows that if a witch curses another witch, that within twelve years they will feel the nasty effects of what they have done, because witches have a code of protecting each other which must never be broken!  Also a true witch can feel the spells as soon as it is cast on them, though they won’t always know where it came from!  It is rumoured in my family that we were the originators of the idea of witch bottles and four thieves vinegar, but again, whether that’s true or not I don’t know! 

My nan told me that a witch is a witch not because they worship devils, that’s just carnival games to excite the masses for some – they are witches because they are descendants from supernatural beings such as pagan gods, faeries and even dragons – because in the far east they believe dragons can live lives like a human and that they have special magical abilities.

My nan also told me that I had Chinese in my ancestry, she was wrong, I found the link she meant, they were actually Vietnamese.  My grandmother is not very clever or academic, she never read books outside of supernatural or occult memoirs – but she knew a lot of Vietnamese traditions purely by word of mouth through the family.

My grandmother on my father’s side of the family also had some fantastical stories about our family history too – though she is not from witch or gypsy lines.  She is from quite a pronounced aristocratic line, a contrast to my mother’s family entirely!  Though her father was Irish and once spoke of tales of how the family is rumoured to be descended from the Tuath Dé Danann.  At the time I had no idea what that was, but I learned it was fairy folk of Ireland! 

My grandmother from this side of the family also spoke of a family banshee, but I was terrified of those stories and I wouldn’t acknowledge them as true, until my first ever death in that side of the family – when I did, indeed hear a distressed long cry and screech outside all night, the night before I learned that Great auntie Edith died!

I learned over the years that you can talk to the banshee and even comfort her, something I never found in myth as possible – she now only softly whimpers, whenever a death occurs and she gives a longer warning of three days before now.

I love weeping willows, but it is not wise for me to be under them for more than a minute, because of their reaction to me.  I always find myself tangled up in their branches and leaves, like the tree is trying to embrace me – I laughed about it when I went on a picnic with my gran, she panicked and because she was disabled and couldn’t walk over to me, she screeched at my cousins to get me away from the tree quickly!  When I settled back down with her, I told her I was fine, the tree didn’t hurt me.  But she said, no, if I hadn’t of got them to get you out of there, we would have lost you! 

I called her silly, but she looked at me with the most serious and stern look I’ve ever seen in her eyes and she said – never go under a weeping willow if you can help it, not all of them, but some have a spirit in them that can sense where your blood is from and the tree will hold you tight until you go back to that world!

Back to what world?

Fairyland!

I laughed at her, but she hit me with her walking stick and told me not to be foolish about it, because if I had got trapped in fairyland a minute is a century if I were to come back and what will happen to me then?

Amongst my skills of being a writer, musician, gardener and poet, are also skills in clairvoyance, clairsentience, healing and fortune telling!  I don’t like to touch people unless I know them well, because if they are sick and I touch them for more than five minutes at a time, I can sense their illness and take it within myself for a few moments, whilst they get relieved of symptoms.  But I have learned how to alleviate that for me in the past few years.

I remember once when training at work – a method of bonding with our colleagues I was made to hold hands with two people and hold their hands for ten minutes straight as part of the exercise and I fainted within three minutes; it was not apparent until fifteen minutes after I collapsed when I asked the two women I held hands with, if they have any serious health problems?  When they asked why?  I said because if I touch someone over a certain period of time I take on their health problems, she was terrified because she had a heart problem and she couldn’t apologise enough, I calmed her down and told her, she wasn’t to know this sort of thing could happen, it’s highly irregular!

Weirdly enough my dad is the seventh born and my mum had several pregnancies in which she is sure I’d be her seventh child too, so it’s no wonder my powers are more significant than other members of the family who chose to stay true to our heritage!  I know according to the other practising witches in the family they believe I am the strongest of the lot – whether it’s to do with the significance of my birth as a seventh child of a seventh child we’re unsure, but I was also born on a full moon!  3rd October 1982 if you want to check!

With all this in my heritage, all these strange tales and occurrences, how else was I to spend my life but wanting to learn more about the supernatural and absorbing myself into it all?

I have to admit a lot of my family stories and experiences will be found in my novels, but I won’t share too much about the magick, because of those reasons I’ve already explained above.

But as I have said in previous posts, my life has been very spiritually enriched and blessed and I am happy to have such a life, no matter how lonely it makes me!

What bought this post on? 

I was scared of my witchy roots for a few years because there have been one or two discriminating people in my village, so I swept it under the carpet.  But like always the spirits have a way in keeping their own safe; so those discriminating people left the village to go to retirement dream spots away from here and they were replaced by likeminded folk.  It’s a funny old world isn’t it?

If I hadn’t been an absorbed writer, I probably would have followed my cousin and nans encouragement in trying to be a fortune teller, healer and clairvoyant of donation only and struggled on through life trying to make ends meet that way – outside of my normal day job – a history of my former occupations will be another post.

I have restarted my crystal and tarot card collections again recently, you know it’s a myth that you can’t use your own tarot if you buy it, don’t you?  A myth to deter Christian children from partaking in witchy pursuits! 

Thanks for reading!

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Gardening is creative too

Some of my favourite YouTubers and some of my online friends seem to garden all year around and for much of the winter I have been learning about what they have been doing; because I want to be an all year round gardener too!

For my American readers I live in the UK and my zone is approximately a zone 7 – gardening zones are determined by your climate and can determine what plants will do well for you and also soil is important too, but the zones do not tell you what kind of soil you have!  I have heavy clay with the acidity of 7 and I live on a valley edge in East Warwickshire.

For the first time in my life I have decided to sow some plants now; I usually do no sowing at all until the end of March, weather permitting, but after seeing an inspiring Swedish gardener called Sara Backmo sowing things a month ago which I thought were too cold sensitive, I felt that maybe I will have a chance too as it is a little warmer in the UK at the moment than it is in Sweden.

The Late Bloomer, Kaye has also set up a large homestead all on her lonesome in Tennessee and she is very inspiring to me because she shows me that women can be independent. That’s important to me because I was raised that a woman really needs a man around for that kind of life to work and she proves that’s just not so! What’s more, you are never too old to try something new!

LongMeiMei lives in the mountains of China and she does everything herself from smoking meats and butchery and fishing and she does it seemingly tirelessly, I am rather jealous of her life if I am honest. I know its bad to confess that, but it looks like a really good life.

I have just sown some yellow delight tomatoes, ridge cucumbers, basil and Brussel sprouts.  We never had the tradition here to eat Brussel sprouts at Christmas purely because I don’t like Brussel sprouts unless they have been harvested within 3 days of cooking – there is a significant taste you can’t buy from the supermarket!  Paul hates Brussel Sprouts regardless of when they have been harvested at all, but funnily enough my son Henry, who is nearly eleven years old, loves them – so does our rabbit Ray!

I feel that being a creative person can extend to gardening as there is a creation process there!  You sow, you grow, you design, it becomes beautiful and often inspiring for others and it is a productive thing to get into as it can often feed you.  I have a huge interest in paleo lifestyle; I don’t think you can get more paleo than growing your own organically and making your own jams, chutneys and so forth with what you have grown yourselves! 

Until recently, my season was like any other normal gardener, between the end of March if the weather was good, until mid-September, but now things are going to change!

Many people online are inspiring me, friends, but also YouTubers such as Sara Backmo, LongMeiMei and The Late Bloomer, Kaye Kittrall.

I hope my journey into self-sufficiency will grow into allowing me to do things more independently (health permitting) and hopefully I will get my longstanding dream of moving to a home that is large enough to call a homestead.  I have always fantasized about owning a homestead and being self-sufficient, with a large family – well, maybe the large family might never happen now – but I hope the other dreams will come about!

In a few days’ time, if it doesn’t snow anymore, I will take some photographs of what a big mess my gardens are in right now and then update this blog once a month with how I am working towards getting it better.  I will be working mostly single-handedly because Paul hates gardening and Henry is too addicted to making robots and fantasy wrestling matches with his toys to help me as often as he used to.  I am no fool, I know it will be physically tough on me, because I have been sick for too long, but this new diet is giving me more days out of bed lately and I am happy for it.

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Just couldn’t read more…

Because I found a certain sentence indigestible in one of my previous reading books, I had to stop reading it.  So, I added another to the reading pile and I hope that it will be finished by the 1st march too – the newly added book is called “The library of the dead” by T.L Huchu.

The book was “The Prophets”.  I was finding the book very enjoyable and had rated it 4 stars until I read just one simple sentence which I felt did nothing for the book or the writer other than causing racial provocation.

The whole book is racially provocative anyway, because the subject of slavery can’t get any more provocative than that, but in my mind – there is a fine line between what is acceptable to write and what is acceptable to keep to yourself.

Coming from an ancestry where my many times great grandmother was a slave in Boston USA, I can appreciate books like these, but I cannot endorse something which could talk of revenge killing an innocent baby – that is just not on.

My ancestor was raped by her master’s son and her daughter was raised by her white grandfather and educated, both he and she had problems within both communities, especially when my great great grandmother was being educated as a governess – nobody wanted a “mulatto” for a governess in Boston in the early 1800s.   So rejected by the American community my great great grandma moved to Gibraltar and a couple of years later met an English sailor who took her to London to be his wife, she had to live a life of pretence in London, pretending to be of Spanish descent just to fit in with the locals and they bought it. 

I just can’t visualise these people in my ancestry who could bring themselves to sneak murdering a white baby in cold blood, just because of their situation.  I just can’t.

This little rant of mine will probably fall on deaf ears because as the years has gone by the family have got whiter and whiter and I am white, but I have black slave ancestry too and that is something that some people don’t realise – they don’t realise that some white people have black ancestry too and quite recent!

The book definitely touched a nerve and I know it really should, because slavery is just horrible, it is more than that, it is utterly disgusting!  But still, there are some things that should be said and other things best unsaid to prevent further racial division in the world!

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Erin Cooper, Artist and Friend.

The below links will take you to the work of a wonderful fantasy artist friend of mine, Erin Cooper from Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShadoWind?ref=pr_shop_more

http://www.zazzle.com/shadowind_erincooper

http://shadowind.deviantart.com/gallery/

She is the artist behind this websites banner and as you can see her skills in fantasy art are extensive, beautiful and an inspiration.

Erin is able to captivate any image I request of her for my work in more ways than one. In future, I hope that she would be considered as my illustrator for books I might have published – though I am an artist myself, Erin’s skills far outweigh my own.

I first found Erin online in a spiritual forum back in 2005 and we bonded almost instantly on so many levels, spiritually and artistically as well as forming a long-distance sisterly relationship that still goes on to this day.

We are each other’s rock and we have both been through so much together.

A lot of my writing and art wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Erin, purely because Erin is the first proper artist I’ve ever known (proper as in, have actually sold art). I say that a lot of my writing wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for her, because we talk online a lot about my stories – we talk like we are the characters to one and other and she helps feed me another point of view. This is something we have never tired of, to us, in our conversations, if we were ever overheard or read, people would think that the things we talk about are real and would probably have the both of us locked up.

It is hard to find someone like Erin who actually talks like this long-term with me. My husband Paul does this with me a lot too, and I used to have four other friends who would do this, but they got tired of it after so many years. Erin however, has made it her mission for my written worlds to be as real as the real world to her and this I thank her for.

Erin has helped me grow in confidence that I am capable of producing my own artwork, she has given me hints and tips and videos of how to sketch and paint effectively and even how to market my work on zazzle and etsy.

I highly recommend you contact Erin for commissions; she is very dedicated to her work and will work tirelessly to produce whatever work you desire from her, outside of her livery duties.

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