Most likely we'll update here with Book Hauls and event information depending on what we can attend. We have a pretty full plate this year.
There wasn't much information. No one was named as victim, no one was named as accuser, only the date, the name of the woman, the name of her judges, and the location were recorded. It was not unlike countless other pages that Lou had already skimmed and then discarded, yet something kept her from laying the record of the trial of Isobel Key to the side.
The sage was still burning, its clean white smoke drifting to the wooden beams overhead, and when Lou's eyes followed the smoke, she almost thought she saw a face looking back at her.
Dating a powerful Witch was a mind-bending experience. Kissing him literally created sparks. It was like holding a hot wire while eating candy: dangerous, sweet, and strange.
A shiver ran up and down her spine as her eyes took in the words, written in precise, scrolling script, "This book belongs to one Isobel Key." The pages were covered with the same neat handwritting; Isobel's handwritting, Lou realized with a jolt. She wasn't prepared for the intimate experience of seeing something written by a person long dead.
"Will I see you again?" Her words came out fast, and Brian thought that she was blushing.
Brian shrugged. "I suppose. It's a small country."
Lou looked hurt. "That's not what I meant."
Impulsively, he beat his face towards hers. She didn't pull away. "Let's wait and see." He grazed her temple with his lips and started to straighten up.
Call on Sarasvati when you are struggling to express your truest self. Let this goddess guide your hand as you make your mark upon the world, and revel in the joy of creation just for the sake of yourself.
Trinity ran all year, offered a full curriculum, and consistently sent students on to some of the best universities in the country, but in addition to standard courses, Trinity offered training in witchcraft. Most of the students were legacies, blood witches like me whose parents had attended in their own time. Every now and again a dreamer would make it in. Dreamers were those with magical talent but no magical heritage. Costs to attend Trinity were high, but the alumni were fairly active and money never really stood in the way of a student that sought admission there. I hated everything about it.
Whether of not she was a witch, as the children had begun to claim, the adults couldn't say. They knew that her skill as a healer was legendary, and where just a few years before they had been willing to attribute her talent to the gifts of angels, now they began to wonder of perhaps the devil was involved with Mistress Key.
Now wasn't the time to break down: she had to finish her journey tonight, and maybe once she was securely locked in her hotel room, maybe then she would allow herself to mourn. But she wasn't there yet.
The shouting never came. instead, when I glanced up, Snout suddenly looked away from me and began fiddling with a glass paperweight on his desk. A bead of sweat stood out on his forehead, and it occurred to me that her was nervous. What could possibly make the principal nervous to be around me?
When she was found, the screams of the witch could still be heard all the way from St. Andrews, and the child had her head under a pillow and was clutching the bed frame tightly with both hands. Her cries were not quieted until the fire had died down, and the moment the woman was reduced to bone and ash was the moment her niece stopped her ungodly noise.
A man who does not believe in magic is either the biggest fool alive, or the biggest liar.
"I don't think we're supposed to tell you anything else right now."
Those words made my skin crawl. "What do you mean?"
"Someone is watching you, Lena," Mom said, "and she's not a goddess I want to cross."
Her aunt's gruesome fate haunted her, and she knew there was a fine line between old wisdom and witchcraft. She never trusted anyone enough to reveal the source of her good health, or of her three successful pregnancies, but when she lay dying, she called her oldest daughter to her side, and whispered to her the story of Isobel Key.
Young Alexander especially liked to talk about women. His obsession with Isobel continued to clutch at his mind, but that didn't stop him from forming an opinion of every woman he passed on the street, be she maid or matron. The fairer sex obsessed the man, but none so thoroughly as Isobel.
"I know you think I'm crazy. But did you every think, just for a moment, that there's more than one kind of reality? Not a separate reality, not something you have to choose between, but what if there is a hidden reality? A reality made up of tiny threads of energy, connecting people and places in ways that don't make sense?"
That night I dreamed of an earthquake: fire and blood, sirens and screams. When I looked down at my hands, they were stained red. I lifted a hand to my brow, then brushed it across my lips and heart. I licked my lips, tasting the metallic tang of the blood, all the while dancing and causing the earth to shake. In the dream, I began to laugh wildly. I woke somewhere between a laugh and a scream. I sat bolt upright in bed, drenched in sweat. I rushed from my into the bathroom and shut the door. I examined my face and hands in the mirror under the blindingly bright vanity lights. I couldn't find a trace of the blood from the dream, but when I rinsed my mouth out with a cup of water, my saliva stained the sink red.
Someone was in the living room with me. There was a hunched figure standing in front of the window. Sucking in my breath, I opened the box and struck a match along the side. The smell of sulfur filled the room, and my eyes widened as I stared at the figure before me.
The sound carried from the village green, through the streets and narrow wynds, penetrating the windows and doors shut tight against the execution. No one who heard that sound could reconcile it with the once melodious voice of the burning woman.
"Nothin' will be like last time because you know what? This isn't last time. You are not here for a fling with your friend." Stunned, Lou could only stare at him for a minute.
As he whirled to leave the room, she whispered, "I hoped that some things wouldn't have changed."
Slowly, I raised my eyes, sweeping my gaze up her inky black roes that shimmered like water, past the blood-red stone dangling from her throat, and up to her golden eyes. They weren't human, but from what I remembered of the myths we studied at school, Hecate had never valued humanity. Her eyes were the eyes of a night predator, an owl or fox, and they held me spellbound.
Working with Aphrodite is like dancing over fire: potentially dangerous, but insanely powerful. If your love life needs a jolt, she's your girl. Whenever you feel the mundane world getting under your skin, let Aphrodite remind you that you, too, are a goddess.
She stood to leave, but glanced once more at Lou. "Don't worry, child. They do not burn witches any longer." She glided away and Lou shivered in her seat, feeling ice on her spine.
No one could have guessed that the old house was haunted. The unexpected drafts, the doors left inexplicably open, the missing silver candlesticks from the den; these were all easily explained away. The wind had always been sharp in St. Andrews, sharp enough to trick unlatched doors into swaying in the breeze, and as for the silver, well, it was likely that someone along the generations had simply misplaced them, that was all. But no ghost can remain buried forever.
Most of my classmates already knew which of the three branches of magic they were called to, but I kept getting confused. I never seemed to test high in any of the three areas, and for a Blood Witch to be sixteen and still without a path was shameful. No one had said anything, of course, not outright, but I felt my parents' growing frustration that I hadn't decided yet. At the same time, no one had said what would happen if I didn't choose a path, so I had delayed, waiting for something to take the decision out of my hands.
Isobel didn't know why her mother was doubling her education, but she soaked up every word Mary Key uttered. Her eager mind committed the spells to memory as her pen committed them to the page. Mary Key had no way of knowing that she and her daughter were compiling something which would have looked suspiciously like a witch's grimoire to any zealot or magistrate.
He paused and lowered his voice. "Ghosts are not very happy creatures, ye realize, and they tend to dwell on their worst living memories."
Sekhmet is a good reminder that even the most kind and quiet woman has the strength of a lioness within her. This goddess may not burst forth very often, but when she makes her presence known, the world trembles.
He took a deep breath and went on, "You know that Whites and Greens can intermarry." He paused as he glanced for the first time at Rochelle. "But a Black is forbidden from marrying at all. I just wanted you to think about that before you make your own choice." His final words came out in a rush, and I exhaled quickly. My heart spun through my body like a yo-yo, and I struggled to keep my face blank.
There were hundreds, no, thousands of old judicial records, written in scrawling script on broken paper, the faded ink making it awfully hard to decipher any of the information they found. Lou wasn't even sure exactly what information she was looking for, but Brian's words about her having the chance to tell the stories of some of the women and men echoed in her mind as they worked. Wouldn't it be amazing to do something that really mattered?
"You and your magic spells, your dreams, your intuition. I thought you were just a bit strange, a bit sensitive maybe. But now you're standing here talking to me about ghosts."
Lou took a step forward and put her hands on her hips. "You listened to me about those dreams. You helped me with the ritual."
"Because I was in love with you! I would have done anything for you."
Red magic. What in the world was that? I'd never heard of anything but Green, White, and Black. They were the balanced triad of crafts taught at my school, Trinity. Did Red magic even exist?
Death does not wait for Changing Woman. When she's reached her crone stage, this goddess simply walks into the east until she meets her younger self. When her old self and her young self meet, the two merge, leaving Changing Woman renewed and invigorated. She walks home, suddenly young, and starts her journey all over again.