I have been busy this weekend putting the finishing touches to a new publication:
The Folk Witchery Book of the Winter Solstice. (£3.95 from Raven)
We are currently working on the next mail shot and I wanted to be able to put the new book in it (and remind folks of some of our other Folk Witchery publications, especially the one for Halloween, - also £3.95 - which will be upon us sooner than you think).
Over the years the Postal Bookshop, our book catalogue, has evolved from being a list of 'bought in' books to being a full, and ever expanding catalogue of our own publications - published under our Corvus Books imprint. It has given us the opportunity to have great fun researching and writing about all the stuff we enjoy. The Folk Witchery series in particular was inspired by our love of finding old traditions and spells, things that are being increasingly lost in our modern technology driven world.
I come from a country village in the heart of rural Lincolnshire. A place where folk beliefs, superstitions and traditions were a normal part of my childhood. But I know that even then, those traditions were being lost and forgotten by most of my contemporaries and their parents. I happened to come from a family with strong folk magic beliefs: talking about your dreams and interpreting them, telling fortunes from the tea leaves from the remains of the FIRST cup of the day, superstitions about everything from when to cut your toenails to which ear the cat washed first, all these things were normal every-day occurences in my home.
I remember at Grammar School one day the English teacher decided that we should all write down as many superstitions as we could think of. Most of the children could only come up with one or two, such as not walking under a ladder, but me and a boy from a nearby village filled pages with omens and meanings to do with bird flight, trees and plants and animal behaviour and all sorts of other things from the meanings of dropped items of cutlery (a visitor: a knife is a man, a fork a woman and a spoon for a child) to which shoe you should put on first to avoid bad luck that day (the right one).
So my love of these folk practises, and my determination to remember them and hopefully pass them on so that others will know of them, stems right from my early childhood.
Our latest book, A Folk Witchery Book of the Winter Solstice is a compendium of anything and everything to do with the beliefs, traditions and practises which are found around mid-winter. There are recipies for food and drink, spells and superstitions, a calendar of festivals from the 6th of December (St Nicholas feast day) to Epiphany on the 6th of January, drawn from christian and pagan beliefs - and often from christianised pagan practises. There are also sections on The Wild Hunt, the Winter Shaman, Christmas Decorations, Wassailing and Prognostications for the day on which Christmas Day falls and lots more.
It was great fun doing the research and writing the book - I hope you enjoy reading it as much.