Preface: Legacy from Granna May
It was All Hallows Eve, October 31, 2022, and the three Arry girls were keen to find out more about the legacy of the Book of Shadows they had found in the house at One Down Drive, The Cloud. They were gathered in the Theatre room to listen to the final episodes of The Rooms, the video lessons from their Granna May. Outside the house, the moon was riding high and shining through the circular windows leaving great pools of silvery light.
Zienna switched on the large screen and scrolled to find The Rooms, then clicked on Episode 7: The Curse. Once again they saw Granna May and listened to her voice, in awe of the stories that she told.
Gather around while I share stories of your family history, my lovely girls. Suspend the truth for a while and come dream with me in the world of what might have been. Do not be afraid of the title of this episode. The Curse is not of our family but of another family known to Elizabeth your Great x5 Grandmother.
She was of the knowing women of your tribe; at least as far back as I have been able to research. Most of them were Welsh-born, including me. Each of them had a great strength of character and led purposeful lives. I have woven together their facts with fiction to imagine what their lives might have been. Look in the grimoire for your lineage.
Great, x 5 Grandmother: Elizabeth Evans B: 1786 D: 1867- Wiccan connections and midwife
Great, x 4 Grandmother: Lettice Day B: 1808 D: 1891 – midwife
Great, x 3 Grandmother: Mary Ann Evans B: 1833 D: 1911 – knowing adventurer
Great, x 3 Grand Aunt: Caryss Evans (adopted into Evans family) B: 1830 D: 1911 – a knowing adventurer
Great, Great, Grandmother: Mary Jane Robinson B: 1872 D: 1954- tailoress
Great Grandmother: Winifred Edith Cutting B: 1903 D: 1987 – Wiccan connections
Grandmother: May Arry B: 1945 – author/historian/storyteller – a knowing adventurer
Let’s begin in the middle with Mary Anne, your Welsh Great x3 Grandmother.
Chapter 1: Drawing Down the Moon
Granna May began to tell the story of Mary Anne.
Mary Anne sat gazing at the last harvest moon of Samhain on the eve of 31 October 1847. There were to be no more harvest festival frivolities for her. She had work to do. The house was cold, and the wind blew through the cracks beneath doors and windows, chilling her fingers as she wrote her journal entries.
Mary’s own grandmother’s legacy was drawing her into another adventure; she remembers now that exciting moment of discovery of the Book of Shadows.
Years ago, Elizabeth Day (Evans), her grandmother, held captive in the Castle at Haverfordwest, waited for her rescue. When Mary, aged 7, had rescued her, Elizabeth had revealed the existence of the Book of Shadows, her grimoire of a practicing Wiccan.
Now, 7 years later, Mary’s words were marching across her pages in rapid succession as she pulled on her memories; she referred to this process as drawing down the moon. It was not quite the same as the Wiccan ritual involving the goddess and speaking as another. Mary was needing no ship to fly and be free from her weight. On this night of the waxing moon, her memories of real and imagined events were mixed with the folklore she learned from her Grandmother.
Granna May paused the story to give a short lesson about the Whirram Way.
Each of your grandmothers possessed a portion of the Whirram Way, a patchwork of Wiccan beliefs and rituals, and they practiced their craft and rituals as part of their ancient and modern cultures. Ancestors handed the Wiccan Mysteries down from one generation to another in true Celtic tradition; in stories, in songs, and in writings. One such record of writings features in this story, is the Book of Shadows, the Grimoire of the Wicca Woman of Treffgarne, Elizabeth Day.
The Grimoire was a treasured possession, although humble in appearance. Its black metallic cover, worn in places, and its clasp no longer prevented its opening. Mary held it now reverently and crept her hand over the bindings to check for any other signs of wear and tear. She opened it to the first page where the words of the poem were scribed in her grandmother’s flowing calligraphy and scanned the first three stanzas. She knew these words by heart! She remembered the way her grandmother’s soft, lilting voice would inspire her as she spoke the words. Words evoke scenes of the otherworld and other powers beyond the earth.
Aradia appears from dark places unknown
Healing followers approaching her throne
Stronger than the hardest warrior last
Drawing down the moon from times of past
Power of Three, she preaches the law
Future sealed from actions of old lore
Energy you bring, returned three filled
Say, ‘An’ ye harm none, do what ye will’
I am wiser than the wisest owl
I am, truer than the moon above
I am faster than the rivers below
between heaven and earth; I rule.
Zienna paused the video and looked at her sisters as they heard the lines of the song that had meant so much to them in finding the Crown of Wisdom.
“That song goes back further than we ever imagined.” She said..
“Who was Aradia? What were her powers?” Said Billie. “Let’s find out more” as she clicked the play button once more.
In her diary, Mary continued to write the stories and the adventures she learned from her grandmother. She sculpted the stories through her love of poetry and making sense of her world in rhyme. The Song of Lore, Song o’ the Moon, and the Knowing Tree were now ready to be revealed, and she was eager to complete this chapter in her journal on this night of Samhain; a night when spirits could freely enter the world. This is a time to remember those who have passed on, celebrate the summer’s end, and prepare for the Winter months ahead. The Sun God and earth fall into slumber, as the nights lengthen and winter begins. She could feel the spirit of her grandmother hovering close by and hear faint whispering beneath her door.
Great, great grandmother Mary Anne Evans, aged 14 years, was being guided by her own grandmother, Elizabeth Day (Evans), and her Book of Shadows.
Zienna stopped the video once more as Cay opened the grimoire to the pages showing the lineage of their Welsh tribe.
Keep following as I continue to build the story in Book 4 of the Arry Chronicles.