Sunday, October 23, 2011

Serendipity

Serendipity: The gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

I love words, and today serendipitous is my favorite. When the opportunity to guest blog with Katie Reus came up, the word sprang to mind. It is serendipitous because my debut novel, HEART OF THE DRUID LAIRD, begins on Samhain (Sow-in), which is a mere week away.

…Only on Samhain, halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, was Diarmad allowed to breach the veil between the worlds to search for Mairéad’s return…

This is my favorite time of year and always has been. An otherworldly feel laces the crisp air of autumn as the days shorten. Samhain is Gaelic for "summer's end," and it marked the end of the lighter half of the year, and the beginning of the darker half—the end of the harvest and the beginning of a time for reflection. Samhain marks the Celtic New Year. Pagans believe that the veil separating our world from the realms of the dead, the gods, and faeries was at its thinnest during this time of year. They took steps to protect themselves from the wandering spirits and fae who walked among them on the last night of summer, October 31st.

Hearth fires throughout the village were put out, so that spirits would find the villagers' homes inhospitable and cold. People wore masks and costumes to confound any evil spirits or faeries who might be looking for them, and large turnips were hollowed out and carried with a burning candle inside to light the way. Bonfires were lit, and the people walked between them as a purification ritual. At dawn, on the first day of the new year, villagers would take a burning ember from the ceremonial bonfires, using it to relight their own hearths as a symbol of community and unity.

One of the oddest traditions I came across in my research was the one where the male head of the household would pee outside the threshold into the house to ward off the evil spirits. Not sure why urine would discourage a faerie, or a ghostie, but what do I know?

Here is the blurb from HEART OF THE DRUID LAIRD.

Cursed with immortality, Dermot MacKay craves death. To lift the faerie curse placed upon him and his men over 1,600 years ago, he must return the soul of his reincarnated wife to the exact place and time of her murder. But her soul is currently residing in the very modern Sidney St. George—and first he has to convince her to accompany him to Scotland.

Sidney doesn't believe Dermot's wild claims of immortality and rebirth, yet she cannot deny that she is drawn to the sexy Scot. Nor can she explain the sense of déjà vu his touch elicits. Desperate for answers, she agrees to go with him—only to learn too late that to help the man she loves is to lose him forever…

Thanks so much for inviting me here today, Katie, and thanks to everyone who stops by. I’ll check in throughout the day to chat.

4 comments:

Katie Reus said...

Thanks so much for joining me today, Barbara :) Heart of the Druid Laird sounds fantastic!

Barbara Longley said...

Thanks, Katie. Sundays are kinda slow for blogs. Sorry I didn't bring more traffic to you. :0)

Diane said...

Hey your book sounds interesting, I enjoy reading time travel books.

Angela Campbell said...

I loved learning these facts. I never knew that peeing could ward off evil spirits (or that anyone ever believed such a thing). :)