Today’s guest post is another great one from Jessica Aspen and it’s on the perfect subject as we approach all Hallows Eve. From Jessica:
Witches are everywhere. Sexy witches, scary witches, I wouldn’t even be surprised if we see superhero witches soon. If you haven’t caught on to this new trend, all you need to do is turn on the TV. The last few years a tsunami of fairytale programs has led to dark, witchy tales on practically every network. If you’ve missed them this fall, then check out the smash hit Sleepy Hollow, American Horror Story: Coven, or Lifetime’s Witches of East End.
If we’re seeing witches in TV, you know we’ll be seeing them in books. Oh, wait. We already have. There are some smashing series ranging from funny to scary to super sexy. One of my favorites is Kimberly Frost’s Southern Witch series that starts off with Would Be Witch. Funny, romantic, and it has witches.
I love witches so much that in my new fantasy romance series, Tales of the Black Court, I’ve incorporated witches into my twisted fairy tales. Now, witches and fairy tales go together like frogs and princesses, but I’ve added distinctly Wiccan traits to my witches and left the fairy-spells to the evil queen and the fae.
What is Wicca? Why is it different from snap-your-fingers magic? And why incorporate it into a fantasy romance anyway? Let’s start with a quickie Google definition:
1. Wic·caˈwikə/noun The religious cult of modern witchcraft, esp. an initiatory tradition founded in England in the mid 20th century and claiming its origins in pre-Christian pagan religions.
Wicca is a religion. While it’s based on what modern neo-pagans have researched, it is essentially new. So you’ll find every branch is different and unique. But some commonalities are: worshiping of a Goddess and or a God based either on nature or on an older pagan religion. Lots of communing with nature. And a responsibility for one’s own actions.
How does an author take a religion with so much flexibility and work it into their fictional world?
My fae are based on ancient Irish history, so I’ve used the goddess Danu in my books. The fae heroes, and the gypsy witches, call on Danu for help. The witches call on her in their spells, asking for her guidance and protection. When the magic rises (and in my books it has color, scent, and tangibility) Trina (the heroine in The Dark Huntsman) can feel the Goddess in the magic, helping her and sending her energy and power.
This is much like Wicca today. Modern witches may set sacred circles, call on goddesses and gods for protection, light candles, and call on the four directions to aid them in their spell-casting. They use tools such as carved wooden wands or white handled knives called athames. My witches use some of these methods and tools to summon and manipulate power to aid them in their quests. The difference is that in real-world Wicca, results can be slow. If you ask for help at your job, or dealing with a personal issue, results might take days, weeks, or even months. In the fictional world results are immediate.
Trying not to rush her steps, the wind lashing dirt against her bare skin, she walked the perimeter of the small labyrinth heading sunwise.
North, East, South, West. She set candles into lanterns at the four corners and lit each one with a prayer to Danu. With each step, apprehension uncoiled in her stomach, radiating out and shaking her hands until it was near impossible for her to light the last candle.
She shoved her anxiety back into her aching stomach and pulled her white handled athame out of the duffle. Breathing deep, she moved the ritual knife, sharp double-blade point up, between her breasts. Energy skidded across her skin. Small hairs on her body rose and her nipples puckered tight.
Time to begin.
Earth magic throbbing under her feet, Trina took the first step into the labyrinth to walk the outer circle and set the wards. Her Gift opened wide. The darkening valley glowed magical colors as the earth’s swirling energies, the soft green of growth and the rich brown of decay, flowed up her legs and into her solar plexus.
She used her body, her anger, and her fear. Anger at the Faery Queen for the constant harassment and extermination of her family and her tribe. Fear of what came next, what might be riding on the coattails of the sunset.
Pulsing with power, she paced deeper and deeper into the labyrinth, static lifting her long black hair into a crackling wild nimbus. She pulled and twisted the vibrant orange and red of her anxiety into the alchemy of the earth’s brown and green energy, weaving them together into an invisible net.
Each measured step layered power into the fabric of her spell. Each movement of the athame directed the energy where it needed to go. Just as darkness dipped its toes into the valley, she turned the last curve into the double spiral’s center.
Her rage and fear coalesced into the final strands of the spell leaving her shaking and exhausted as the last of the afterglow faded from the sky, a stunning show of deep purple on grey. A sonorous quiet descended. No birds, no coyotes. Just the wind sending small trails of skittering leaves through the labyrinth. Prickles of anticipation trembled on her bare spine.
It would be here soon. It was coming fast. And it was coming for her.
As you can see I’ve woven in pieces of Wicca; the calling of the four directions, use of a sacred knife/athame, and of course, magic. Here, it’s live and immediate. It springs to Trina’s call. Real Wiccan magic can be subtle. A message on a piece of paper burnt over a sacred flame. A song, or a recipe, or a poem. Even a box filled with wishes can be a magic spell.
Do you have any experience with Wicca? Do you like realistic touches of magic in your fantasy romances? Are you excited to see that witches may be the next big thing?
To celebrate the release of The Dark Huntsman I am giving away ten print copies on Goodreads. Click HERE to enter to win. Closes October 22nd.
The Dark Huntsman:
A fantasy romance of the Black Court
An evil queen, a dangerous man, and a witch, tangled together in a tale of Snow White…
Desperate to save the last of her family from the murderous Faery Queen, Trina Mac Elvy weaves a spell of entrapment. But instead of a common soldier, the queen has released the Dark Huntsman, a full blooded fae with lethal powers.
Caged for treason, Logan Ni Brennan, is ready to do anything to win free of the manipulative queen, even if it includes running a last errand for her…murdering a witch. The sight of Trina, ready to fight despite the odds, gives him another option: use the witch as a chess piece, put the queen’s son on the throne, and bring down the queen forever.
As the queen slides into insanity and her closest advisor makes plans to succeed to the throne, Logan secrets Trina away in the enchanted forest and makes a decisive move in his dangerous game of manipulation. But the gaming tables of fate turn on him, and when Trina’s life is threatened he discovers he risks more than his freedom…he risks his heart.
Dare to enter Jessica Aspen’s world of steamy, fantasy romance in her new twisted fairy tale trilogy: Tales of the Black Court…
Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. Sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email here.
Find Jessica at: www.jessicaaspen.com
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