The Magical Art of Writing Fiction and The Roses of the Moon

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Excerpt from The Roses of the Moon and Hungarian Mythology

I haven’t been writing the blog as much as I should because I have had to focus on getting my novel The Roses of the Moon ready for publication in September 2010. I have deadlines….

Writing a novel is journey on so many levels that trading a lifetime of travel for writing has not been too difficult. It gets to be time to start using life experiences,  gleaning the lessons, and sharing the wonder of adventure while taking a much needed rest. My feet are getting itchy again, so next chance I get away I go!

The Roses of the Moon was begun in Autumn of 2007 and was written in one month clocking in at 50,000 words. It was originally called The Golden Stairs and was based on the Grimm’s Fairy Tale, Rapunzel, told  from the point of view of the witch. I had done illustrations for Rapunzel while living in London in a rose covered haunted house. At the time I was meeting many people from the Balkans and Turkey and got the idea that, though we think Grimm’s Fairy Tales are German, some may actually be from central Europe as many of them they have that kind of dark quality associated with vampires and werewolves. This notion inspired me  to set  The Golden Stairs in Royal Hungary during the Ottoman Wars. In Grimm’s Rapunzel, the young mother-to-be desires the rampion growing in the witch’s garden. The witch desires the child and uses the mother’s desires against her to take the baby when it is born.  With this in mind, I made my witch the creator of irresistible enchanted gardens full  of magical plants similar to those in Nathaniel Hawthorn’s Rappucini’s Daughter.

The Golden Stairs begins with the childhood of the witch, Marcsa Virag, growing up in a Ghormanghast-like castle in the mountains of northern Hungary where her evil mother figure, the Countess Orzsebet, practices Black Magic in the manner of the famous Blood countess,  Erzebet Bathory. The first half of the book is about Marcsa Virag’s confrontation with the legacy of her mother, the Ottoman Turks sack the castle in the middle of the book, and after that Marcsa Virag lives alone in the ruins building her gardens. That is where the Rapunzel story begins.

The novel grew to over 100,000 words. My editor suggested that I change the title,  cut the book in half and make the two stories into separate books and go on in the manner of a family saga.  She also suggested that I flesh out the background mythology.

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Writing as Magical Practice

Magic has been defined as the “Art of changing consciousness at will.” When a writer wants to create a fictitious world, he or she taps into the subconscious mind and calls it up from the deep mind. You never really know where the images and ideas come from, and its quiet astonishing that these visions arrive at all when you think about it. There were glimpses of the background myth in the original version, but I hadn’t focused on it but on the outer layer of Marcsa Virag’s story. When I did go deeper into the mythology of my alternate world, I was surprised to find how deep it went and that the story was very close to the actual ancient creation myth of Hungary.This is not the first time intuition and imagination tapped into the truth, but it is a very strong example of how an open, attuned mind can work.

A few people have asked me to share this with them so I thought I would.

In this post, I will give the very start of the creation myth I made up for the novel. in the second blog post, I will re-print an article by Radomir Ristic  about the Central European Dragon people.

Creation Myth of Castle Szeppasszony in The Roses of the Moon

Marcsa Virag has found a book called The Book of the Red Queen and the White Queen. The story of those two Queens hold a key to who she is, and why she has had to endure the things she has. This is the opening of that ancient book found in the library of a monastery carved into the mountain in the time before time began.

Book of the Red Queen and the White Queen

Here is Recorded the Creation of the World

Before Death was Born

In the time before time, Earth gave birth to the Moon. And in the very place where the Moon first entered the darkness of the night sky, a terrible upheaval was wrought in Heaven whose ruler, the Sun, now had a rival.

Fearing that his sole rulership of the stars and planets was to be undermined by this usurper Moon, Sun and the Angels held a great council where they gave birth to War. The Moon must be killed before its wan, silvery rays weakened the cosmos by stealing the light of the Sun.

Some Angels argued that the Moon might offer some benefit to the Sun by keeping watch over the darkness. It would merely reflect the light of the Sun to Earth and relieve the blackness of the night with its much dimmer light. The Angels who did not trust the Moon shouted the others down, saying the Sun’s ancestors, the Stars, gave light to the darkness and nothing more was needed.

Gradually these arguments broke the Angles into opposing camps;, the ones who sided with the one and only Sun, and those who had fallen in love with the Moon.

The new child, War, grasped Heaven in its talons. The Angels who sided with the Moon became rebels and used the light of the Moon to secretly attack the Angels of the Sun. But alas!  The Angels of the Sun called upon their ruler to blast the Moon with a light so bright that the Moon lit up like a beacon and was made to reveal the hiding places of the her Angels. The Angels of the Sun renewed their attack on the Angels of the Moon and cast them out of Heaven. They fell down into the hole in the Earth left open by the birth of the Moon. Sun proclaimed the Angels of the Moon to be Devils, and their new home in the Earth he called Hell.

The Angels of the Moon felt betrayed by she whom they had loved and ever after called her fickle. The Moon wept because of this, all through the nights, watering the earth with her tears. She watched over her champions,  bound by love and desire for redemption.

His sole rulership of the universe besmirched, the Sun fled higher up into the sky, leaving the Moon to oversee the Fallen Ones in the center of the earth. Because of her love and desire, Moon gazed upon the earth and pulled it to her, and in sorrow for her betrayal, she hid her face and pulled away. And because of this, all unwittingly, the Moon gave birth to Time. With the passage of Time, the power of the Moon increased. Her light fluctuated as she observed the affects of her love and tears upon the earth with great emotion. The Angels of the Sun tried constantly to imprison the Moon in the low hills, blackening the night but for the undying Stars.  But soon, the Angels of the Moon released their Mistress from the hills to shine in Heaven once again.

All that lived on the Earth grew strong under the Moon. Her protection in the night gave birth to Sleep. The Moon married Sleep and they gave birth to Dreams, Dreams brought forth things; the tears of the Moon became the waters that gave life to the things of Dreams such as Trees and Flowers, metals and jewels. Out of the Birthplace of the Moon, the great hole in the Earth, there grew the First Tree and it wept.

The Birthplace of the Moon is the darkest place on Earth.

The first upheaval began deep within the earth. Shelves of rock shifted, caves opened, waters gushed forth, and the land was shoved and levered towards the sky forming ridges and deep valleys. A wave of mountains rose and undulated like a serpent finally solidifying in the crescent shape of an old moon. Curled in the topmost horn of that moon was a ring of high mountains. The fallen Angels of Moon climbed out of the womb of the Earth and gathered along the tops of those mountains like thunderclouds and desired to possess the land. The Angels who stayed in the underground built majestic palaces of out of the jewels and precious metals of the Earth and practiced great magic.

Soon, waters sprang up through the ground, filling crannies and gorges and spilling over the land. Two wellheads spurted up into that O of mountains from which two streams ran, one to the east and the other to the west. Many new and wondrous creatures came out of the streams that began to walk upon the land. As the waters of the streams grew deeper and their currents thrummed over the rocks, two identical Queens were deposited on the shore and they were Giants.

A grove of trees grew up the hill away from the streams. Pure white they were and under their leafy branches, the Queens made their dwelling.

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To be continued….

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The Faery Mound

As a child, Fairy Tales gave me a taste for questing. We were surrounded by woods full of dense trees, little streams and clearings with evidence of  long gone buildings and stone walls. The wonderful thing about the stone walls was that they provided guidance in the woods, for they always came out someplace close to home. We never had to fear getting lost.

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There were many wonderful places in the woods. I loved the little swamps with their wild irises and tiger lilies, frogs leaping in the murky dark pools with fringes of ferns and mossy rocks. Like the stone walls, narrow rivulets of water beckoned me to explore deeper than I would dare to go without them to mark my path.

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One autumn, I found a large mound of earth in the woods. I had followed the little stream into a swamp as it wound like a snake across a carpet of brown pine needles deep into the woods. There was a ruined stone wall to climb over that bounded a broad sloping clearing inside a ring of trees. In the middle of the clearing was a high, smooth mound of earth covered in the same dead pine leaves that lay in layers over the ground.

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Most adults would say it was an old pile left over from the when the land had been clear pasture, but for me it was a mystery, imbued of course with my childish creative imaginings. But then, the way to that place was initially across the cemetery, and years later I was taught that the Fairies lived under mounds of earth, and much later was taught that those mounds of earth were the burial chambers of Kings and Queens and all their retinue. Within the mound, they held court with masques and dancing and lavish feasts, and on  certain nights of the year, they emerged on their shining horses, to chase the hare into the depths of winter and out again into the spring.

But these Faery mounds are not in America! We don’t have Kings and Queens.

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But in Massachusetts we did. For two centuries we were colonies of Queen Elizabeth and then several Kings thereafter. And who is to say that some royal person was not buried in a mound near an ancient cemetery in my home town.

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For me the mystery is not whether there was a mound of earth in the woods, or whether a King was buried there, or even if it was a Faery mound. It is in how the mind brings certain images together in a certain way so that the intuition grasps knowledge it didn’t have any way of knowing before hand.

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