Welcome to my Inner World. I am a French self-taught artist, and these past twenty years I have made Norway my home. Moving to the Lofoten islands was the greatest present I ever made to myself and the Arctic landscapes are indeed a true treat for any artist’s eyes. I live with my British soulmate,… Continue Reading

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Category Archives: Kundry’s Favourite Stuff

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

 

From Booklist
Gr. 6-12. Picture an alternative London where the Parliament, composed of powerful magicians, rules the British empire. When five-year-old Nathaniel’s parents sell him to the government to become a magician’s apprentice, the boy is stripped of his past and is given over for training to a grim, mid-level magician from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Over the next seven years, Nathaniel studies the lessons given by his cold master, but in secret he delves into advanced magic books, gaining skill beyond his years: he summons a djinn to steal the powerful amulet of Samarkand. Inspired by a desire for revenge, this bold act leads to danger and death. Nathaniel’s third-person narrative alternates with the first-person telling of Bartimaeus the djinn, a memorable and highly entertaining character. Rude, flippant, and cocky, his voice reflects the injustice of his millennia of service to powerful magicians who have summoned him to do their capricious bidding. His informative and sometimes humorous asides appear in footnotes, an unusual device in fiction, but one that serves a useful purpose here. Stroud creates a convincingly detailed secondary world with echoes of actual history and folklore. The strong narrative thrust of the adventure will keep readers involved, but the trouble that is afoot in London extends beyond the exploits here. The unresolved mysteries will be more fully explored in the next two volumes of the trilogy. One of the liveliest and most inventive fantasies of recent years. Carolyn Phelan

Russian Gypsy Tales by Yefim Druts and Alexei Gessler

 

From Publishers Weekly
Folklorists Riordan ( The Sun Maiden and the Crescent Moon ), Druts and Gessler perform a genuine service by bringing to light these tales from the Gypsy people living in the former Soviet Union. The Gypsies (or as they call themselves, Rom), as a wandering people, took on the customs and even national heroes of the lands in which they made their home. One story anthologized here, for instance, deals with St. George bestowing the blessing of God upon the Rom people. The Gypsies also harbor legends about Rom involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus ( as the maker of the nails of the cross). In a tale evoking the Arabian Nights, an old Gypsy cheats Dame Death by entrancing her evening after evening with songs played on his guitar. The first story, however, may be the best: a fairy tale, complete with evil mother-in-law, about true love triumphing through the ages. In an excellent introduction, the translator gives a brief overview of Gypsy history and culture, pointing out that ethnographic evidence shows the group springs from northern India. In all, this is an immensely entertaining addition to collections of oral tradition. Illustrated.

Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

 

Book Description
UPDATED, WITH NEW MATERIAL BY THE AUTHOR”WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES isn’t just another book. It is a gift of profound insight, wisdom, and love. An oracle from one who knows.”–Alice WalkerWithin every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species. In WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES, Dr. Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, and stories, many from her own family, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine. Dr. Estés has created a new lexicon for describing the female psyche. Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.”This volume reminds us that we are nature for all our sophistication, that we are still wild, and the recovery of that vitality will itself set us right in the world.”–Thomas Moore Author of Care of the Soul”I am grateful to WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES and to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. The work shows the reader how glorious it is to be daring, to be caring, and to be women. Everyone who can read should read this book.”–Maya Angelou”An inspiring book, the ‘vitamins for the soul’ [for] women who are cut off from their intuitive nature.”–San Francisco Chronicle”Stands out from the pack . . . A joy and sparkle in [the] prose . . . This book will become a bible for women interested in doing deep work. . . . It is a road map of all the pitfalls, those familiar and those horrifically unexpected, that a woman encounters on the way back to her instinctual self. Wolves . . . is a gift.”–Los Angeles Times”A mesmerizing voice . . . Dramatic storytelling she learned at the knees of her [immigrant] aunts.”–Newsweek

We Borrow the Earth by Patrick Jasper Lee

 

Amazon.co.uk Review for the first edition
The gypsies, or Romanies, have long been known for their esoteric spirituality, even if it’s only Gypsy Rose Lee reading tarot cards at seaside fairs. Patrick Jasper Lee trained himself from childhood to be a Chovihano, a Gypsy shaman or healer. This fascinating book is an account of how he followed that path, what he has learnt and how it is relevant to all of us today. The title comes from the gypsy belief that we cannot own the Earth or what it produces; we can only borrow it. According to Lee, “the words ‘own’ and ‘possession’ [have] no equivalent in the Romani Gypsy language”.

Shamanism involves journeys to the Other world, journeys of imagination and visualisation. The book contains many examples of these, which read like traditional fairy stories–which is significant because gypsies are fond of storytelling, and have always had a close link with nature, especially woodland and all that is associated with it. Lee writes unselfconsciously of his conversations with trees and his meetings with fairies–the Biti Foki or Small Folk.

This is a very personal story; Lee tells of his great-grandfather Jack Lee, also a Chovihano, who brought a curse on the family by moving into a house; and of his Puri Dai (old mother) or grandmother, who was a formidable force in his clan, and who taught him much of what he knows about the deeper side of gypsy beliefs. Now, as the old family ties have broken down, he believes he may be the only Chovihano left in Britain, possibly even in Western Europe. As he shares his story with gaujo, non-gypsies, we can only be saddened at the fading of this unique culture. —David V Barrett

A second edition is now available on Amazon:

Product Description for the new edition 2013

Originally published by Thorsons in 2000, We Borrow the Earth is an authentic and open account of the author’s Earth-based customs, depicting his curious life as probably the last indigenous Romani Chovihano or medicine man in Western Europe. This revised second edition includes a new chapter Encounters with Ancient Spirits Using Gypsy Magic and a candid Foreword by the author’s cousin and close friend Chilly (Charles) Lee.
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