Title: Ash Wednesday
Author: D.J.B. Griffin
Genre: Magical Realism/Fantasy
Elizabeth was a practicing therapist, college professor, and single mother whose dysfunctional family dynamic only became worse after her mother died of cancer. Her grieving father could not afford the funeral his wife had wanted, and Elizabeth’s sisters wouldn’t help, so Elizabeth took over and had her mother cremated. But something very strange happened at the family ceremony to scatter her mother’s ashes and Elizabeth’s life took a completely unexpected turn.
When an attorney brought a mysterious package to her home, it set off a chain of events that challenged the very reality Elizabeth believed in and led to the exposure of a secret her mother had kept since Elizabeth was born. The package contained a rare and special book that led to the discovery that Elizabeth had another family, one that went back 16 generations and followed an ancient tradition of Earth-based spirituality and magic. And included in the package was an heirloom, an ancient Celtic ring … one that would change Elizabeth’s life forever.
Elizabeth’s lineage went back 16 generations of Earth-based spirituality & magic. A grimoire and ancient Celtic ring would change her life forever.
How odd, Elizabeth thought as she took the key out of the envelope. The box was deceptively heavy for its size. Elizabeth turned the key, and inside the green silk-padded box was another small, black wooden jewelry box with a small triquetra carved into the wood. Nestled inside the tufted, emerald green silk lining was an antique gold band, with beautifully carved Celtic design spirals joined in groups of three. The pattern looked oddly familiar to Elizabeth, but she couldn’t place where she had seen it before. Picking up the ring, she noticed an infinity symbol with a single thistle flower on each side etched into the underside of the ring. There was a date carved into the bottom that was too small for Elizabeth to read.
The second item was a large book almost four inches thick, bound in marbled, worn brown leather, meticulously maintained. An intricately-carved blackberry vine ran the entire length of the spine. A large triquetra with a thistle flower matching the carving in the ring was burned into the center front cover.
"You've taken in a lot of information today, Elizabeth. It's all been important, but we haven't talked about your ring."
"What about it?" asked Elizabeth.
"Remember that all things have an energetic existence. Hedge witches can manipulate some of this energy through the use of magic. Sometimes we do magic through enchanted objects called talismans," explained Joan. "There are generally two types of talismans hedge witches use. The first type is one of protection and connection, like the tourmaline bracelet I gifted to you."
"Like a good luck charm," Elizabeth said.
"Talismanic magic can be given to you, like the bracelet and the amulet Rebecca made for you. The bracelet has slightly stronger magic because we are both hedge witches, which is why you feel a strong impulse to wear it every day. Rebecca's amulet offers more limited protection, but it will help deal with mean intentions from witches and non-witches alike. Both green and hedge witches share their magic with non-witches through healing herbs, tinctures, and talismans. Since we are bound by the rule of "Do No Harm," we don't often do physical magic with non-witches. It can be too dangerous.
"The second type of talisman is what is known as a power object," Joan went on. "Think physics again. The power object talisman is a conductor that acts as a step-up electrical transformer. This power talisman takes its owner's intention and magnifies it, directing it into a more concentrated form of energy. Your ring is a power object talisman. The ring is made even more powerful by the energy it's absorbed through 16 generations. Each of your ancestors has added to the power of your ring. By following the tradition of passing the ring on to you, your grandmother gave you a very powerful gift."
A former therapist, teacher, and university administrator, Deb is also a certified yoga and meditation instructor. After 18-years in the corporate world of online university administration, she decided that it’s never too late for a do-over and tapped into her creative side to publish her first two novels. When she’s not writing, she’s indulging in her passions for cooking, environmental and social activism, gardening, bicycling, kayaking, and crafting hand-tied malas with semi-precious stones. She lives with her writer husband in North Carolina.
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