Wednesday, 20 January 2010

What is your power animal?

One of the most fabulous things about shamanism is finding your own power animal. When you ‘journey’ into the other worlds you can meet guides who can offer help, advice, healing. In the ‘lower’ world these tend to be animals or birds and occasionally (though less commonly) reptiles or insects.
When people read Walker they often assume that the animal guides (Comer, Goss, Adante, Herniman etc) are akin to the daemons in the Philip Pullman books. They’re actually quite different. Animal guides are quite autonomous – although they may have an affinity with us, they are not part of us. Also, they don’t always stay with us forever. You can lose an animal through neglect or simply because times have changed and it’s time for a new energy to come into your work.
When I first learned about shamanism, I took a beginner’s course with The Sacred Trust. One of the first things we did was a journey to find our power animal. I had been looking forward to this more than anything. I was pretty convinced I knew what my animal would be – a big black panther, full of power and with thick soft fur.
But it wasn’t to be. When my creature came to find me it turned out to be a slim swift snake. My power creature wasn’t big but she was darn scary and the first thing she did was to bite me. Rather like Goss chews up Hunter and spits him out. I soon learned to love my snake (forgive me if I don’t share her name – it’s between the two of us) and spent a lot of time talking and listening, and dancing – yes spirit animals love you to dance and play with them. She also helped me navigate around the lower world and assisted me with healing.
Over the years, I have met many other power animals and certain allies will help me with certain tasks.

• What kind of power animal do you think you might have?
• Which animals do you like most? What are the qualities you like in them? Could you cultivate those qualities in yourself?
• Which animals do you fear? Do you know why? What qualities do THEY have? Do you think these are qualities that maybe you avoid in some way in your life?
• Do you ever dream of animals? Which ones and what are they doing? If an animal chases you in a dream, it’s usually trying to show you something or to change you in some way. Instead of running, try turning round and seeing what it wants.

Note: Just recently I have been gifted a new power animal and he is totally beautiful. :)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Why the Ferish speak Anglo-Saxon

I absolutely love the Ferish – the tough warrior Fairyfolk of Walker. Exmoor has a lot of legends about fairies but I knew from the start that my fairies weren’t sweet little Tinkerbell types, no sirree.
Something that really fascinates me is the idea some scholars have that the fairyfolk, or fey, were really a race of creatures who had once lived openly on the land but were driven into hiding by invading races of people. In most accounts these people are small, even tiny (like the common image of fairies) but I wanted something far more arrogant and fearsome for my story.

I imagined that, if Ferish were to exist they would be pretty angry with what was being done to their world. Having been driven further and further into the wildest places, they would react with horror, anger and aggression if anyone threatened their last fastnesses.
They sprang pretty well fully-formed in my imagination. Apart from the tails. A writer friend of mine, Cheryl, said they needed tails and I realised immediately that she was right.

Why Anglo-Saxon?
The Ferish can speak modern-day English but their speech is littered with words and phrases derived from Old English, or Anglo-Saxon. I like to think that this was the common language in use when they last had any major dealings with humans.
It is a strong language, quite guttural sometimes, and very warlike. So it suits them perfectly. I think the words I’ve used in Walker are generally pretty clear from their setting – and often I have given a translation. However, here are some of the more Ferish words used in Walker, along with their meanings.

aesc (or aex) - axe
aesc-holt - spear
aetwindan – to escape
aglaeca - monster
aheawan – to cut down
bana: slayer
bancofa - body
bearm: tree
behat - promise
behatan – to promise
berypan – to strip
besmitan - to infect, defile
bestrypan – to plunder
bord-weall – shield-wall
byringnyss: burial
cystig – excellent
cyth - homeland
daegred – daybreak
deofol – devil
diormod - brave
dolh-wund - wound
dolich - stupid
eorthe - earth
faestenn - fortress
faestenn-grith – place of safe haven
fether-homa – feather form
freondschipe - friendship
gar-gewinn raed – council of war
getheodniss - alliance
gisl – hostage
heft-ned - captivity
meowle-bana – girl slayer
raed – council
sithfaet – journey
slaep – sleep
stan - stone
steorfa – pestilence
wuduholt - forest
wulf - wolf
wyrd - fate
btw, this picture is not of the's actually an image from the second book in the series....

The real Kitnor

Not that far from where I live there is a tiny hamlet called Culbone. It is one of my most favourite places in the world, one of those places that is just extra-special, with a soul all of its own.
One day I walked there on my own and for the first time stopped at a small hut. It was empty except for a table with a kettle, teabags, coffee, milk, biscuits – and a small honesty box. Plus a small selection of books and pamphlets written by a woman called Joan Cooper who had lived in Culbone.
I turned a few pages and everything slammed into place. No wonder I thought this was a special place – it was and is a special place.
I hope Joan won’t mind me quoting from her booklet Culbone – A Spiritual History...but this was the inspiration for the kashebah – a key part of the story of Walker.

“The Light, which was built into Culbone long before the time of Christ, was constructed first of all in the form of an invisible spiritual temple by spiritual beings, under God’s direction..... There are many such places of spiritual power in all parts of the earth.
There are a number of these spiritual temples in England, of which Culbone is one.
Spiritual sanctuaries or temples were created in the invisible etheric membrane around the earth around 9,000 BC after the fall of Atlantis and before the rise of the civilisations known to historians. Different kinds of temples were created, having different functions and giving out different kinds of power.”

The Kashebah

K’SH’B’H was a Sumerian word, usually written without vowels. It means ‘The Trinity of Holy Action’ and referred to places like Kitnor/Culbone where spiritual work was undertaken.
Why Sumerian? Well, legend has it that before Atlantis (the great civilisation that was drowned by a catastrophe) perished, wise teachers (who knew the end was coming) went out into the world to found new cradles of civilisation. They brought knowledge to Egypt, Sumer, Chaldea, India and, surprisingly, England. This was during the period 3300 and 2000BCE. Ruins from this period would be Avebury, Stonehenge and Ham Hill in Somerset (near where I used to live). From 3800BCE Glastonbury was one of the earliest ‘power centres’ in Europe. And, of course, the ‘Sumerian’ came to Culbone/Kitnor where he set up a school of knowledge to teach about the nature of the world, the reason for our existence here and to encourage people to grow spiritually and to become ‘whole’. You could say it was like a form of yoga – and mindfulness – learning how to live in the here and now, in the moment.

What do you think?
Do you think there was such a place as Atlantis?
Is it possible that teachers came to instil the wisdom of Atlantis to other places around the world?
Do you think there are hidden, invisible ‘temples’ around the world?
Kitnor is supposedly the temple of 'Peace' - what other temples do you think exist?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Forget the tarot, the runes, the I Ching - learn how to tell your future by reading a stone at