"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

ONCE UPON A DREAM; A Season of Change

"Then one summer day, change and magic came loping and waltzing into her life, wearing white, and in that moment nothing seemed dark."

Quotation taken from the novel Wood Angel by Erin Bow

I am a Scorpio so I don't take kindly to change, but the quotation above has made me think of change in a new way.  Without change all life would stagnate and eventually die. Of course I have always known this, but that doesn't make a time of change easier to negotiate. While I will still be reluctant to welcome the change that comes with chaos attached, I begin to see that certain changes can also be quite beneficial.

There have been a few changes in my life over the past few months, beginning with the death of my step-father last October, followed by the untimely and sudden death of my ex-fiance just a couple of weeks ago.  We split up several years ago, but the loss of him is still difficult to come to terms with, not least because he has been in my heart for no less than 20 years - that's half my life. Although our relationship didn't work out, we never stopped caring about each other and could speak quite amicably.  It is strange to know that I will never bump into him again...that the Ex-File has been closed for good. 

This year has been a season of relinquishment for me.  I have let go of many things, from a full declutter of the entire house, to old friendships that were not nearly so honest and friendly as I had always assumed.  And two bereavements in 9 nine months are enough to make anyone reassess their life. Although I am sad, I feel a sense of relief that I am no longer held down by my past...that I now see people for who they are, rather than how they were presenting themselves to me.  It's hard letting go of friendships and relationships that are no longer working, but perhaps no-one is meant to be in your life forever.  Because nothing is forever.

Changes have taken place in my working life too, as a few of my editors have moved on and new editors take up their posts.  This has meant that I needed to update my whole editorial contacts list with new editors names and new publishers etc.  It means building up new working relationships and getting to know one another's way of working.  

In addition I have been working on a new venture this week called Cosmic Counselor, which will run in tandem with my Cosmic Cash Point for Its Fate. I am very excited by this chance to help people in a new way, combining magic and counseling life skills to create something unique to my name and the Marie Bruce publishing brand. Cosmic Counselor should be launched in Its Fate magazine very soon.

After any season of relinquishment  there is usually a season of attainment so I am optimistic about the future, in spite of the recent losses.  I feel calm, centered and quietly confident. Who knows what waits for me around the next corner?  It could be another relinquishment... or it might be the start of something wonderful.
I trust in the power of  a benevolence universe.
BB Marie

Thursday, 20 June 2013

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Happy Summer Solstice

Have a Faerie Happy Litha!

Cobweb Fairy by UK fantasy artist Brier; I have this print in my study.

Spider Fashion
Spider, spider, what do you spin?
A faerie hammock where dreams begin.
Spider, spider, what do you knit?
Cobweb slippers that perfectly fit.
Spider, spider, what do you weave?
A silver gown for the Faerie Queen.
Spider, spider, what do you thread?
A dew-drop crown for the Faerie Queen's head.
Spider, spider, what do you sew?
A faerie cloak with a train below.
Spider, spider, how lovely your strand!
That's why I'm the seamstress of all Faerie Land!

By Marie Bruce

Saturday, 8 June 2013


A Gypsy Life. A travelling world of magic and dreams.

Image from; www.lizblair.blogspot.co.uk

This week, following a recent editorial commission, I have been immersed in the folkloric tradition of gypsy magic.  It is a subject that has always fascinated me and it's great to finally find an editor who shares my enthusiasm for this often misunderstood magical pathway.  Look out for my work in the up-coming It's Fate Annual 2014, out later this year.

As I have been writing at my desk I have felt my sleeping spirit of adventure well and truly roused.  I now long for nothing more than a gilded Romany caravan, a beautiful pony and a dark and handsome gypsy lover.

During the writing process I was reminded of the origin for one of the tracks on my Moon Chants album - Ballad of the Beltain Fire-Nymph was inspired by the idea of a beautiful gypsy temptress, dancing around a camp-fire. But she is more than she seems for she is actually a Fire-Nymph from the realm of Elphame or Faerieland, trying to ensnare a human lover with her seductive song and dance.  

Originally this was just a poem written for my book The Wiccan Temptress, but space issues meant that the poetry wasn't included.  The following year I expanded on the poem, adding a melody, chorus and  bridge and included it on the album as a song instead. I always knew it would find its place. I am delighted that it is a track on my debut album.

Here is another gypsy inspired poem I wrote some years ago, that was included in one of the later editions of my book The Witch's Almanac. 

Gypsy Dreams

To sleep beneath the star-light
And awaken with the dawn
To breakfast on a tickled trout
Freshly caught that morn

To gather reeds and willows
And weave them into baskets
To sell them for a silver coin
To fill the family casket

To gather wild herbs
And lots of lucky heather
To sell to a farmer
A charm for good weather

To tell the time of day
By the passing of the sun
To 'whisper' wild ponies
And see how fast they run

To gaze within a crystal ball
Or deal the tarot cards
To conjure up a love spell
To make a heart less hard

To dance around the camp-fire
And tap the tambourine
To share a hearty supper
And then retire to dream

To awaken with the cock crow
To groom and harness horse
To hitch up the vardo
And continue on your course

To live from day to day
And travel far and wide
Could anything be grander
Than the Romany Gypsy life?

By Marie Bruce

I am sure that I shall be dreaming about mysterious Gypsy Princes all weekend long!  May the road rise to meet you and the starlight guide your way. Until our next merry meeting. Blessed Be.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

BOOK NOOK; The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

A Pagan Fairy-Tale
Author's website www.rflong.com

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long is a stunning pagan fairy-tale, it being a very clever rendition of the pagan myth of the skirmish between the the Oak King (the light half of the year) and the Holly King (the dark half of the year) in their bi-annual battle for seasonal supremacy. 
In pagan legend this battle takes place each solstice; the Oak King wins the battle at winter solstice and the days grow longer, leading into spring and summer.  As we are currently heading towards summer solstice the Holly King will win and the nights will begin to draw in again, bringing in autumn and winter.

This is a Quest novel, as the heroin Jenny goes on an epic journey through the Fae Realms to find her brother who was snatched away and forced to become the Queen's piper.  It is action packed and the story moves on at a very fast pace, leaving the reader almost breathless.  It is filled with characters from pagan mythology and legend including the Greenman, the May Queen, Puck, Mab and the Sidhe, the faerie courtiers of the Queen. There is also a handsome Nix whose song ensnares, whose kiss is deceptively seductive. Like all water elementals he is a dream weaver, drawing in his prey with the sound of his voice and his harp. 

The Wild Hunt also makes a couple of appearances, though in this story it is lead by the Fae Queen, dressed in a long gown, her gossamer hair flowing out behind her as she rides. Being an equestrian I really enjoyed this kind of imagery and the feminine take on the legend. Traditionally the The Wild Hunt is lead by an aspect of the Horned God, so Cernnunos or Odin.  In my song The Wild Hunt (on the Moon Chants album) it is lead by Herne the Hunter of English folklore.

One of the things I most liked about this book is that it makes full use of popular pagan characters, so it feels very familiar; yet the author has turned them all on their head so it also quite surprising too.  This is exactly what the Realm is supposed to be; captivating, ensnaring, beguiling - nothing is as it seems, one cannot afford to trust what one knows, for in this Realm different rules apply.  

The Trickster is everywhere, leaping up throughout the novel when you least expect him, in different guises, just as he does in life, inflicting the biting sting of repeated betrayals.  In a forest full of Princes, how does one identify the Trickster among them? How does one find the knight with a true heart?  That is Jenny's, and therefore the reader's, quest.

I have so much enjoyed reading this book that I feel bereft of the Realm now that I've finished it. But perhaps it's just as well as one cannot afford to linger too long in the world of the Fae King and Queen. The title is perfect for the book and it holds a life lesson for us all...In the Realm beautiful things cannot be trusted. In life the Traitor is always the one you just don't see, the one you keep close from bonds of love and friendship.
It really is a marvelous book...it will sweep you away from the humdrum into a beautiful world of Faerie Enchantment.  I'll leave you with a spell from the book;

"Never harm, nor spell, nor charm, come our lovely lady nigh..."

Sunday, 2 June 2013

ONCE UPON A DREAM; My Life Is A Pagan Fairy Tale

Lost in a world of my own imagining.

I always feel like blogging as the witching hour of midnight approaches.  Tucked up in my bed, the curtains on the four poster draped around me and Pyewackett curled at my feet, I can happily type and not even realize I am still working.

For the past few days I have been utterly lost in pagan fairy-tales. My imagination has been swept away by characters that are familiar to me and yet completely reinvented. It has made me reassess my own life and show more gratitude for all that I have and the magic I enjoy.

For almost two decades the magic of paganism has filled my daily life. It is so much a part of me now that I barely even realize that I am doing something out of the ordinary, until a non-pagan looks at me strangely and asks "What are you doing?" Er, it's called casting.

Over the years so many of my personal dreams and ambitions have come true and I firmly believe that this is due to my living a magical life.  That isn't to say my life is perfect - far from it.  I have days and weeks where I feel drained and disenchanted; when I feel like I have lost all my power and motivation; when I worry that I have used up all my good fortune already and only the bad stuff remains.

But then I think of all that I have achieved so far and I trust that I will be guided in my next step. I follow my feet and see where they lead. Oftentimes they lead me to my desk, to write. Sometimes they lead me on a bold new adventure. Other times they take me to Scotland and the land of my ancestors where the magic surges through the earth to greet the footsteps of a Bruce.

Wherever the fairy-tale unfolds, whatever the trials might be, I know that I am on the right path for me. Even when I take a wrong turn, confronting the Trickster time and again, there is wisdom found in the lesson waiting for me there. My theory is; If it's meant to be it will be; but if not this, then something better awaits me. It is a theory that has stood me in good stead.

A pagan lifestyle means that I see the magic in all things, even the mundane and the humdrum. I sense the possibility of each day; I feel the power of the midnight hour; I scry with a pendulum in the street when I'm lost; I ask a boon of the Greenman at midsummer; I tie wish ribbons to the branches of a Clootie Tree and I give thanks for the gift of this magical, fairy-tale life.
I make my living writing magical books and sharing my spells in magazines.
 I sing pagan songs of pure enchantment.
My life is a Pagan Fairy-Tale.
Yours can be too.
Blessed Be