The Little Book of the Great Enchantment by Steve Blamires
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had never heard of Fiona Macleod or William Sharp. In way they were both the same people. William Sharp himself was born in 1855 in Paisley Scottland. They were part of the southern English speaking low landers who tended to be more well to do then the Northern gailic speaking highlander. For family vactions they would take trips to the Sottish Hoghland and surrounding islands, where the belief in faery folk was still alive. The fae were not to be messed with . They could be awesome and dangerous. People left food out for them. On these vacations William's father would teach him a variety of survival secretrs such as hunting, fishing and how to use a knife. The family nanny or caretaker named Barbara would teach him faery lore and gaelic. William had another friend named Seamus who was a Scottish fisherman , he would also teach him faery lore. Willaim was prone to take long excursions in the country side as a child. It is believed that on these excursions tht he would encounter fae folk and encounter a young woman who was very unearhtly.
Willaim's father was a well to do business man. But since William was prone to wandering and never like to settle down. He would never take over the family business. He has poor health and the cities with their coal factories were not conducive to good health. This would force William to take retreats out in to the country sides of italy, France, Australia etc. Once his father died the trips up to the Scottish countryside faded.
Willaim's love life was perplexing on the one hand he would marry his child hood sweet heart and yet on the other he would maintian a long term affair with a women named Edith. Edith and the wife Elizabeth were friends. Edith and Willaim would take trips together for prolonged periods of time. it was during their time together at Lake Nemi in Italy that Edith and William concieved of a magical child who's name was Fiona. Now was Fiona an alter ego, a faery or an inner plane adept. the author sides with a faery
Willaim was a well known writer edpecially in the Irish revival. He was crony along with WB yeats, Mather Gregors Lady george and a slew of other people. William and these folks were involved with the Golden Dawn magical system. Later on they would try to come up with the Celtic Mystical Order. A work geared at finding a Celtic spiritual and magical system. Willaim did lits of writing for magazines and his own books. But it was Fiona who got all the critica acclaim.
the personalility of Fiona maentioned deities that had never been heard of. She also pressed William to write even when it hurt his health. William suffered from poor health. It is apparent that Edith was the inspiration for Fiona. Keepiong Fiona's real identiy a secret was tough work. The truth only came out after William;s death.
For those interested in Celtic studies and eespecially modern ones I think you will find this book wuite a gem. It intereweaves lore about Diana and Rex Morensis and lake Nemi along with Brigid the mother Goddess for the Celts of Ireland. I would have given this one 5 stars but the ending and especially the appendix were painfully long. I could not wait for it to be over.
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