Tao, Magic and Folklore

It’s been over a year since I read Diane Dreher’s The Tao of Inner Peace for the first time. No other book has had such an immediate and true impact upon who I am and how I interact with the world. Perhaps it was because I hadn’t read any practical spiritual books previously, because the Tao Te Ching fit so well into what I already believed and enhanced my vision of the world or simply because this is such a well written and clear work. Whatever caused this book to be so important to my evolution, I am very thankful for the changes it allowed me to accomplish and for the benefit it has brought to my daily life. Saturday, when I leave for the weekend in Pictou, I intend to bring The Tao of Inner Peace along so that I can refresh my memory of it.

I’ll also be embarking upon the long weekend with Jo Clayton’s Wildfire. I recently finished her novel Wild Magic, the first of three books in the Wild Magic trilogy (of which Wildfire is the second). Wild Magic features a well developed world with characters, cultures and politics that I found awkward initially but grew to appreciate quite a lot as the story progressed. The novel was filled with interesting explorations of mythic archetypes and historical themes that I enjoyed following. Especially unique were Clayton’s choice for gods, a god of stability, iron and the forge pitted against a bee goddess devoted to change.

I’ve also been rereading some old magazines that I collected over several years. Between 1998 and 2003 my favourite magazine by far was Realms of Fantasy. Each issue contained a number of short stories, movie, game, book and art reviews, and a facinating Folkroots article. I often enjoyed the short stories greatly, but the Folkroots articles are the pieces that have remained of the most interest to me. They detailed various elements and types of traditional stories, on which most of the fantasy genre is based. An issue I read last night, for instance, had an article on runes and the stories that surround their use and discovery/creation. My enjoyment of fine storytelling has been enriched by knowing the archetypes and themes employed by storysmiths from the early days of humanity on into the present. I’d highly recommend you explore sources such as these ones to increase your knowledge, especially if you enjoy works of fantasy and related genres, that are so rooted to the folklore that came before them.

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