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Biblio: The Sixth Labyrinth & The Moon Casts a Spell

  • Research for story of Tristan and Isolde taken from:
  • Newman, Ernest. The Wagner Operas, 1949
  • The world premiere of Tristan und Isolde was in Munich on June 10, 1865.

 

Partial Bibliography:

  • Arnold, Matthew. Tristram and Iseult, 1852
  • Auchincloss, Louis. Persons of Consequence: Queen Victoria & Her Circle, 1978
  • Auerbach, Nina. Ellen Terry, Player in Her Time, 1987
  • Bell, Ian. Dreams of Exile: Robert Louis Stevenson, a biography, 1992
  • Bennett, Margaret. Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave, 1992
  • Bingham, Caroline. Beyond the Highland Line, 1991
  • Brown, Jonathan & Ward, S.B. Village Life in England 1860-1940: A Photographic Record, 1985
  • Buchman, Dian Dincin. Herbal Medicine, 1979
  • Calder, Angus (Edited by). Robert Louis Stevenson, Selected Poems, 1998
  • Cantlie, Hugh. Ancestral Castles of Scotland, 1992
  • Carmichael, Alexander. Carmina Gadelica Hymns and Incantations (Collected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the last century), 1992
  • Cooper, Derek. Skye, 1970
  • Davis, James & Hawke, S.D. London, 1990
  • Ewing, Elizabeth. Everyday Dress 1650-1900, 1984
  • Fenwick, Hubert. Scottish Baronial Houses, 1986
  • Fostor, Vanda. A Visual History of Costume: the 19th Century, 1984
  • Fraprie, Frank Roy. Castles and Keeps of Scotland, 1907
  • Goldthorpe, Caroline. From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress 1837-1877, 1988
  • Gorsline, Douglas. What People Wore: A Visual History of Dress, 1974, c1952
  • Gutman, Robert. Richard Wagner: The Man, His Mind, & His Music, 1972
  • Hart, James D (Edited by). Robert Louis Stevenson: From Scotland to Silverado, 1966
  • Hawkes, Jacquetta. Dawn of the Gods, 1968
  • Hellman, George. The True Stevenson, 1925
  • Hendry, J.F. The Penguin Book of Scottish Short Stories, 1970
  • Hibbert, Christopher. The Horizon Book of Daily Life in Victorian England, 1975
  • Hopman, Ellen Evert. A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, 1995
  • Hunnisett, Jean. Period Costume for Stage & Screen 1800-1909, 1988
  • Jackson, Douglas. A Celtic Miscellany, 1951
  • Jacobs, Joseph. Celtic Fairy Tales, 1923
  • King, Neil. The Victorian Scene, 1985
  • Knight, Alanna. Robert Louis Stevenson Treasury, 1985
  • Laver, James. Modesty in Dress: An Inquiry into the Fundamentals of Fashion, 1969
  • Lister, Margot. Costumes of Everyday Life: An Illustrated History of Working Clothes, from 900-1910, 1972
  • Lochhead, Marion. Scottish Tales of Magic and Mystery, 1978
  • MacGregor, Geddes. Scotland: an Intimate Portrait, 1980
  • Mackie, J.D. A History of Scotland, 1964
  • Mackinnon, Roderick. Gaelic, 1971
  • Maclean, Charles. The Clan Almanac, 1990
  • Mair, Craig. A Star for Seamen, 1978
  • Maloney, Elbert S. Chapman Piloting: Seamanship & Small Boat Handling, 1991
  • Markale, Jean. Women of the Celts, 1986
  • Matthews, Caitlín and John. Ladies of the Lake, 1992
  • Maurois, Andre. Disraeli, 1955
  • Maxwell, Stuart & Hutchison, Robin. Scottish Costume 1550-1850, 1959 c1958
  • McCutchan, Philip. Tall Ships: The Golden Age of Sail, 1976
  • McKenna, Terence. Food of the Gods: The search for the Original Tree of Knowledge, 1992
  • Moncreiffe and Hicks. The Highland Clans, 1967
  • Murphy, Gardner & Kovach, Joseph K. Historical Introduction to Modern Psychology, 1972
  • Nicholson, B.E. & Ary, S. & Gregory, M. The Oxford Book of Wildflowers, 1980, c1960
  • Norwich, John Julius. Britain’s Heritage, 1983
  • O’Brien Educational. Heroic Tales from the Ulster Clyde. 1976
  • Pepper, Choral. Walks in Oscar Wilde’s London, 1992
  • Plotz, Helen. Poems of Robert Louis Stevenson, 1973
  • Prebble, John. Culloden, 1961
  • Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances, 1963
  • Prebble, John. The Lion in the North, 1971
  • Rose, Phyllis. Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages, 1983
  • Ross, Anne. The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands, 1976
  • Scott, Sir Walter. Manners, Customs, and History of the Highlanders of Scotland, 1893
  • Sichel, Marion. History of Children’s Costume, 1983
  • Smout, T.C. A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830
  • Souden, David. The Victorian Village, 1991
  • Swinglehurst, Edmund & Anderson, Janice. Scottish Walks and Legends, 1982
  • Thompson, Dorothy. Queen Victoria: The Woman, The Monarchy, The People, 1990
  • Tranter, Nigel. Tales & Traditions of Scottish Castles, 1982
  • Warrack, Alexander, MA. (Compiled by) Chambers Scots Dictionary, 1911
  • Warwick, Christopher. Two Centuries of Royal Weddings, 1980
  • Waugh, Nora. Corsets and Crinolines, 1954
  • Weintraub, Stanley. Whistler: A Biography, 1974
  • Whipple, Addison Beecher Colvin. The Clipper Ships, 1980
  • Wilson, A.N. Eminent Victorians, 1989
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Psilocybin in The Sixth Labyrinth

The people living on Crete in the first three books of The Child of the Erinyes were great believers in omens, prophecies, signs, and portents from the gods. My imagining of Bronze Age Crete had hundreds of priestesses as well as priests, all of whom devoted themselves to pleasing the Immortals and drawing down good fortune. Animals were routinely sacrificed, for it was believed that the scent of blood and burned fat delighted the gods. Crete’s High Priestess, Themiste, who also held the impressive titles of Most Holy Minos, Moon-Being, Keeper of the Prophecies, and oracle, enjoyed a closer relationship to these deities than anyone else, and hence, more power. She used many methods of communing with them—serpent venom, poppy juice, poisonous laurel leaves, smoke emanating from fissures in the earth, and, perhaps most commonly, the sacred mushroom, known in the story as cara.

Phrygian cap: see below for attribution

Which brings us to the next segment of the series, The Sixth Labyrinth, set in the Highlands of Victorian Scotland—another place where folklore and belief in “things unseen” remained strong until recent times. I’ve merged several key elements from the earlier story into this tale—one of the most important is the use of the sacred mushroom to achieve vision and expand clarity. It wasn’t at all hard to do, as the genus called Psilocybe semilanceata grows in abundance throughout the United Kingdom (and has been used for its hallucinatory effects since prehistoric times.) Psilocybe semilanceata, for those who don’t know, is a wild mushroom with psychedelic qualities. Happily for my purpose, this particular fungus, sometimes called Witch’s Cap or Liberty Cap, is one of the most potent of all the psilocybin mushrooms, and I’ve read that the title Liberty Cap comes from the Greek Phrygian cap, which I thought a nice, unexpected coincidence, as one of my ensemble originally hails from Phrygia.

Most of The Sixth Labyrinth protagonists retain no memories of their past lives other than brief images, echoes of voices, and snippets of dreams. These tantalizing, often disturbing impressions at times make them feel as though they’re going insane—a terrifying prospect in the era of Bedlam and other notorious asylums. Once they find each other, their piecemeal recollections grow more insistent, compelling several of them to set forth on a journey of enlightenment. Using the magical mushroom from ancient times, they release their fears, open their minds, and let in that which reality deems impossible. Each insight dredged from the subconscious changes the trajectory of their lives, and Earth’s history, just as it did in the Bronze Age.

Psilocybe.semilanceat

Psilocybe semilanceat: see below for attribution

In The Sixth Labyrinth, the oracle Themiste returns as a midwife and healer, Eleanor Graeme. She knows much of plant lore and the healing arts; she even has knowledge of then-modern science, thanks to a brother who studied medicine and psychiatry. She’s familiar with the properties of Psilocybe semilanceata, and collects as much as she can find every autumn, when it ripens in the fields. She dries it, stores it in jars, and has been known to use it from time to time. Eleanor is instrumental in helping to heal the damaged, fragmented memories of this small band of reincarnated souls.

Another pivotal character readers of the series might recognize from the Bronze Age is the Phrygian warrior, Selene. Life in The Sixth Labyrinth does not treat her kindly, yet she still manages to find, protect, and aid those she has always loved. The daughter of a wise woman near Cape Wrath, she comes to the group already cognizant of what can be achieved through the mushroom’s use. In fact she walks a very long way to find her comrades from the past, having used the mushroom to help her in her search.

One character has no need of a hallucinatory mushroom, or any other device. Because of a curse placed on him in the Bronze Age, he is doomed to retain memories of each and every one of his past lives. While it might be tempting to assume having knowledge gives him an advantage, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Different people had (and have) various reactions to psilocybin. Getting clear memories of our past lives might be asking a lot. But as stated by HowStuffWorks, “There can be a changed perception of one’s place in the universe and a feeling of communing with a higher power.” The supernatural link between my protagonists and Goddess Athene strengthens this ability.

I’m working quite hard on The Sixth Labyrinth, preparing it for a 2014 release. It is a sequel to In the Moon of Asterion, and the fourth book in The Child of the Erinyes series. The first three books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. (Update: 2014 hasn’t happened. Hopefully The Sixth Labyrinth will find its way to bookshelves in early 2015.)

Photo: “Bust Attis CdM” by Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bust_Attis_CdM.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bust_Attis_CdM.jpg

Photo: “Psilocybe.semilanceata.Alan” by Alan Rockefeller – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Psilocybe.semilanceata.Alan.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Psilocybe.semilanceata.Alan.jpg

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