Tag Archives: wyrd

The Burnt Watcher – a review(ish)

I won’t claim any objectivity on this one. This is Keith Healing’s first novel. I know him personally, and he is the bloke behind the Hopeless Maine role play game. I proof read for him on this book because he’s a lovely chap and I want to support him.

The Burnt Watcher is set in a dark future where there are nasty supernatural things, and people whose job it is to try and keep that under control. The Burnt Watcher of the title is one such person, who is dealing with a legacy of injury from the work. So, this is a book with a disabled main protagonist, which is something we just don’t see often enough. There’s also a kickass young lady in the story, which I really appreciated.

The story is really engaging, dark, sometimes a bit funny. I very much enjoyed it. There will be a sequel, which makes me very happy indeed. Excellent writing and elegantly put together. I thought the structure of it, and how the author plays with your belief, disbelief and sense of how this world works, was really good.

From a pagan perspective, there’s some rather splendid magical stuff going on. The Watchers use rune based magic and deal with the wyrd. Keith really knows his stuff, and it shows. There’s a lot of joy in a magic system with such substantial roots, written by someone who knows what they are talking about.

For anyone local, there’s also the joy that is having Stonehouse as a place of evil activity and eldritch horror. I love reading stories set in places I know, and especially books set in Gloucestershire. I am delighted by this future Gloucestershire full of gothic ruins, terrible threats and monstrous beings. We all need to see ourselves reflected in what we read, and having our locations reflected is certainly part of that.

As with all good speculative fiction, this is a book with plenty to say to the present moment. About what kinds of deals we make, and what we think is in our best interests, and what we do when we gone off the rails…

You can find the book here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Burnt-Watcher-Fear-Book-ebook/dp/B08964Q14H/

and here – https://www.amazon.com/Burnt-Watcher-Fear-Book-ebook/dp/B08964Q14H

The Way of Wyrd

This is not a book review. Having found my magical map recently, I’m on a deliberate quest to seek re-enchantment. I decided to start by revisiting books that opened doors for me when I was young. I think I was under ten when The Way of Wyrd was read to me. I read it to my own son at about the same age, it’s a wonderful book to share with a Pagan child.

Re-reading I realised that this book was a formative experience for me because of the underlying reality it describes. The web of wyrd, the interconnectedness of all things, became a key part of both my sense of reality and my notions of how magic might work for me. I think, on re-reading this, that author Brian Bates was also drawing on Taoist thinking. When I got to concepts of the Tao, it all felt familiar and a very natural match for my sense of how things work. At the time I didn’t consciously make that connection, but I was a curious teen and I wasn’t tracking my own processes. I didn’t need to.

Reading The Way of Wyrd opens up two further texts that I now know I need to revisit. Clive Barker’s Weaveworld may not seem like an obvious candidate for a formative spiritual experience, but I have a feeling it was and I want to go back and see.  I also need to re-read the Tao Te Ching with all this in mind. That’s a book I habitually re-read in various different translations.

The books that shaped me as a young explorer contemplating magic and spirituality, were fiction. I know it’s not an unusual experience. It’s something I need to think about more in terms of my own writing – fiction and non-fiction alike. It may not be an accident that my current fiction project – Wherefore over on https://www.youtube.com/NimueBrown has a lot in it about weaving magic. I started that theme weeks ago, long before I considered a deliberate quest for re-enchantment. It could of course just be coincidence, but it doesn’t feel that way, and the significance of creating a character who is a weaver and works with the fabric of reality, is something I need to spend some time with.

Wherefore is an unashamedly silly project, most meant to charm, distract and amuse. But at the same time, it keeps resulting in some of my most important (to me) spiritual work in a great many years. Being too serious doesn’t work for me. One thing is for certain – that laugher and merriment and the desire to cause happiness in others is part of my spiritual path and if I can do the things while giggling like the mad pixie I am, I will do a better job of it all.