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From plucked flower to living goddess

From plucked flower to living goddess

So they took the blossoms of the oak, and the blossoms of the broom, and the blossoms of the meadow-sweet, and produced from them a maiden, the fairest and most graceful that man ever saw.

—The Mabinogi


I never cared much for flowers.

They’re too showy. Too perfumy. Too easily bruised.

I prefer the solidity of a tree trunk planted in the earth, or the no-nonsense prickliness of a pine branch. I savor the aroma of fresh sage or mint or lemongrass—not the latest blooms. Where other women might gather bouquets of wildflowers, I come home with my pockets full of rocks.

So when I first read the Fourth Branch of Y Mabinogi, a collection of Welsh tales, I wasn’t much interested in the pretty little maiden named Flower Face, fashioned out of blossoms and magicked to life to serve as the compliant bride of a would-be king.

I had eyes only for Arianrhod. The remote brilliance of the potent Star Goddess who reels at the heart of all creation beckoned me like a flare in the night. Her labyrinthine fortress held me captive as I sought to untangle the threads of her enigmatic nature. Blodeuwedd, her flower-faced daughter-in-law, was to me just a footnote in Arianrhod’s tale of enchantment.

But that was just because I hadn’t met her yet.

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3 things Terry Pratchett taught me about witchcraft

3 things Terry Pratchett taught me about witchcraft

“The thing about witchcraft,” said Mistress Weatherwax, “is that it’s not like school at all. First you get the test, and then afterward you spend years findin’ out how you passed it. It’s a bit like life in that respect.”

—The Wee Free Men


You can tell a lot about a witch by the books they recommend.

If it’s your typical Wicca 101 book, they’re probably a lot like a lot of other witches. If it’s one they’ve written themselves, run for the hills. But if it’s fiction… well, then you might be on to someone who knows something about witchcraft.

My coven leader, a fascinating blend of New Age woo and down-and-dirty paganism, teaches alternately through storytelling and the Socratic method. She’s quick to laugh but often takes long pauses mid-sentence to run her thoughts through any number of filters before letting them squeeze past her lips.

For her, any education in the Craft naturally starts with Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series, which chronicles a young girl’s transformation into a powerful witch.

I think the endorsement says as much about the author as it does about the witch. My coven leader feels that Pratchett gives voice to her particular brand of witchcraft—and she’s not the only one.

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