THE STRANGELING by Saskia Walker
The Strangeling is the story where I delve into my interests and respect for neo-druidism and all things pagan. The idea seed for this novel was planted many years ago, when I first became interested in paganism. It’s hard to pinpoint when it was exactly, but I think it might have been when I was about 8 or 9, and my parents first took me to visit Stonehenge, seen here.
My dad told me the theories that existed about the history of the stone circle, and I could scarcely believe the massive stones had been moved from Wales to this spot, and placed here for worship of the sun and moon. At that time, you could walk in and around the stones and really experience them. I became fascinated by the idea that stone circles functioned as some sort of calendar for nature, and that pagans rejected a material world in favour of a deeper connection with nature and the spiritual world. I began to read around the subject and it became a deeply rooted interest, part of me.
The Strangeling is a mini explosion of all my fascinations with paganism onto the page! In a fantasy setting, I delved into the notion that nature is the ultimate power — a power that should be revered, and one that can be sourced. In the diagram seen here, the cycles of nature — or nature’s calendar — are represented. In the novel, I explore the idea that the ebb and flow of the seasons are more than what we experience on an everyday level, and light or dark energy can be channelled through them. I also explored the idea that physical and emotional love between two people can manifest healing power beyond them.
Bron, the hero of the story, is an “elder” — a type of Druid, as it were, loosely based on what we know, but not strictly — and he leads the heroine, Maerose, to an understanding of her magical powers as a daughter of Beltane, aligning her with the moon goddess and arousing the spirit of Beltane that she carries inside her. The physical and emotional love between them creates “sexmagick” a power they can use to drive back a curse manifesting on their homeland. Research has also shown that some Celts believed in human sacrifice, often for scrying, and I adopted this notion in creating my antagonist character, Veldor, who seeks to pervert Bron and Maerose's cause.
The Strangeling is set in a fantasy world I would like to delve into again. I’d love to go deeper into those long held fascinations, and maybe even redeem my bad guy, Veldor. Who knows, I’d like to hear what readers think on that point! If you pick up the book, I hope you enjoy the story.
SOME LINKS FOR FURTHER READING
About Stonehenge http://www.stonehenge.co.uk/about.htm