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Crown of Magic, and the Passion of Beltane!

My latest book in the White Haven Witches series, Crown of Magic, is set around Beltane, and I couldn’t wait to write it, because Beltane is such a great pagan celebration. The non-pagan version is called May Day, and is one of the most popular celebrations on the calendar.

I love that it’s a fire festival, and that it celebrates sexuality, passion, and vitality. And of course, there are wonderful myths and stories about the Maiden Goddess and the Green Man, sometimes called the Young Oak King. If you’ve ever read the Mists of Avalon, there’s a fantastic scene set at Beltane with Morgan and King Arthur. In my story, I had to include the Great Wedding, and couldn’t resist setting it in Ravens’ Wood, with the intrusion of the Otherworld adding an air of danger and excitement to the night. I had a lot of fun with that!

The name Beltane originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’, and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Fires were lit to celebrate the sun, and fire also cleanses – and that’s where the idea came to cleanse the town in Crown of Magic. Of course Reuben is quite right when he calls the maypole a phallic symbol! I’ll link this webpage as it explains the traditions much better than I can! https://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/beltane

I remember going to a mayday celebration years ago when I was about 18 – so many, many years ago. Two friends and I headed up to a local hill (I’ve forgotten the name), at dawn to watch the Morris Dancers celebrate. It was so much fun, and that’s why I had the Morris Dancers welcome the dawn in White Haven.

Of course, it wouldn’t be White Haven without a pagan celebration in the town, and I had the inspiration for the night procession from watching the amazing Edinburgh celebrations. I would love to go one year! Lots of villages and towns celebrate, too, in their own way, and I love that this happens. The pagan celebrations are far from gone. The drums, the fires, and the costumes are electrifying, and so primal.

The tale of Tristan and Iseult, which is essentially a love triangle, seemed a fitting tale to weave around this festival, but I’ve no idea when or why that popped into my head! It is a long, many layered story with multiple versions, and it is fittingly Cornish.

As I’m sure you know, I love the Arthurian myths. My Rise of the King series is all about King Arthur and his return to the Otherworld. Tristan and Iseult is an Arthurian tale. Iseult appeals to King Arthur to support her when she is accused of adultery. Tristan is a knight in his court in many versions.

The story is also linked to another fantastic Cornish myth – that of Lyonesse. The mystical isle supposedly lay off the tip of Cornwall, somewhere between Land’s End and the Scilly Isles. Tristan was heir to its throne, but while escorting Iseult to King Mark, the isle sank beneath the waves after a terrible storm. That tale also has links to Atlantis. There have been suggestions that Lyonesse once really existed, but I doubt if we’ll ever know for sure!

I found this wonderful image on Deviant Art.

There is a very dark side to love and passion on occasions, and that’s where things get very murky in Crown of Magic! Someone is deliberately exploiting love and passion for their own unpleasant reasons. The story, however, is nothing without our favourite witches and their friends. I explore more of their relationships and histories, but there’s also lots of fun in there too!

If you haven’t bought your copy yet, you can get it from here 🙂 It’s on all retailers: https://tjgreen.nz/books/crown-of-magic/

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2 Comments

  1. Maggie says:

    Thank you so much for all the enchanting reads.

    1. TJ Green says:

      My pleasure! 🙂

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