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Thursday, December 22, 2011

CELEBRATING WINTER SOLSTICE

Solstice Fire

There were Solstice celebrations in various parts of town last night. I went over to my old school at the Britannia Community Centre where they were holding ceremonies with drums, singing and a solstice fire.  The highlight of the evening would be a walk around the candle-lit labyrinth.

Solstice celebrations are old Celtic traditions and strangely, as I was riding the bus over to the Centre, suddenly my protagonist Olwen, from my work-in-progress "Dragons in the Sky" began to speak to me.  It's been many years since I channeled Olwen's spirit.  I had set aside her story back in '89 when I wanted to work on the novel about Alexander the Great's little known son.  I had thought at the time that, as I was writing it as a juvenile historical, it would only take me a  year or so, then I'd get back to "Dragons" and finish it.  Besides, I was discouraged with the Celtic novel, having been lead astray by suggestions from a writing instructor and less than enthusiastic critiques.  Well...to make a long saga short...once I decided to write "Shadow" in multiple point of view, it became very complicated and took my much, much longer than ever anticipated.  I finally finished it last December and I'm currently working on the cuts and line edits to get it in perfect shape for publishing.


Candles for Solstice

      In the meantime, i have been retyping the old manuscript of "Dragons" and workshopping it at my critique group. They love it. Especially the Bardic verse that part of it is written in.  But I had decided not to start doing any real edits on it until I am finished with "Shadow" and that won't be until the end of January.  So other than the retyping, I've not given the story or the characters too much thought.
I've certainly not heard any of them 'speak' to me.  That is, until last night.

A Solstice log blazes in the Circle of drummers and chanters.

     "Dragons in the Sky" is very much a first-person narrative, told in the voice of Olwen, a young acolyte of the Raven clan, destined to leave for the Holy Isle where she will become a full-fledged Druid priestess.  I had no idea I was going to write this story, when it began back in around 1978.  One day a voice spoke to me, a young girl, she said her name was Olwen and she wanted to tell me her story.  So I began to channel her spirit and write down what she said.  As the story progressed, some of it written in bardic verse, I was more and more amazed.  At first, I didn't know where exactly this all took place until one of my early visits to England when I was advised by an elderly psychic to visit Stonehenge and to see what spirits spoke to me in the inner circle. (That was when you could still go inside the circle).  Later, while waiting for the bus at Salisbury I had noticed a sign about an Iron Age hill fort just outside of town. As I had time to kill, I decided to walk there.  And as I approached Old Sarum I knew instinctively that this was where Olwen's story took place. 


I made a couple of other visits there later and each time more of her story unfolded.  This past summer I went again, just to research and refresh my memory before I start reworking the novel.  But until now, I have not heard Olwen's voice.  How strange and appropriate it was that she spoke to me when I was on my way to the Solstice rites.



The candle-lit Labyrinth

I walked the candle-lit labyrinth and meditated, wondering where this new year will lead me.  I know I am in touch with Olwen again and I'm glad for that.  And I am confident that "Shadow of the Lion" will find a good publishing home. 

So now, this year ends, and the New Year begins.  And the first day of wintered boded well with bright sunshine and mild weather.  Once the holiday merrymaking is over and things settle back into the new routine, I'll be returning to my work on "Dragons in the Sky" and waiting for Olwen's voice as I write down her very unique and amazing story.  (And yes, there is an Alexander connection in it too!) 



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