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Dr Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction, a psychologist who has specialised both in neuroscience and narrative, and a mythologist with a specialisation in Celtic Studies. Her unique approach to working with myth, fairy tales and folklore highlights the insights these traditions can offer us into authentic and meaningful ways of being which are founded on a deep sense of belonging to place, a rootedness in the land we inhabit.
Stunningly gorgeous short stories and wonderful illustrations make for an absolute treasure trove of a book. I have quite simply fallen in love with Foxfire, Wolfskin, it makes my heart sing. Discover 13 short stories about shapeshifting women, the shortest story being three and a half pages long. All are “either reimaginings of older tales, or contain characters, beings and motifs which appear in older tales”. On opening the book, I felt as though I was walking into an age old story, the descriptions are startling, vivid, touchable. I began with Wolfskin, which is sharp and edgy, it hurts, it feels… right. After finishing Wolfskin, I immediately read it again, this time out loud. I fell headlong in once more, and at the extraordinary end, emotional goosebumps skitter-scattered down my arms. All of these stories have a unique strength to them and I disappeared into each one. Just a note on the accompanying illustrations by Helen Nicholson. They are fresh, original, and yet have that same age old feel of the stories. At the very end you will find notes on each tale, the inspiration behind them and where the idea appears in folklore. Foxfire, Wolfskin is full of beautiful stories that take hold, bite, leave their mark and I adored it so much I had to add it as one of my picks of the month!
Founded on fables, feminism and reconnecting with the land, this is a strident call for women to re-root themselves in nature in order to take flight in themselves. “The world which men have made isn’t working. Something needs to change. To change the world, we women need first to change ourselves and then we need to change the stories we tell about who we are.” This statement perhaps best encapsulates the core and purpose of this book: to expose how centuries of patriarchy and humanity’s disengagement from nature has been to the detriment of women, and to offer insights into how to change this status quo. Throughout, the author shares many personal experiences and her own “rewilding” process, with examples from other women too. Drawing on ancient mythology and ways of life, especially those of the Celtic tradition, she interweaves ancient wisdom – stories of The Selkie’s New Skin, Ceridwen and the Cauldron of Transformation, and The Lady of Llyn-y-Fan Fach, to name a few - with contemporary contexts to create a richly interesting perspective on other ways of living.
'Engaging and inspiring, Sharon Blackie's beautiful book will empower people to find wonder in everyday life.' Clover Stroud A book of natural wonders, practical guidance and life-changing empowerment. 'To live an enchanted life is to pick up the pieces of our bruised and battered psyches, and to offer them the nourishment they long for. It is to be challenged, to be awakened, to be gripped and shaken to the core by the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary. Above all, to live an enchanted life is to fall in love with the world all over again.' The enchanted life has nothing to do with fantasy or escapism or magical thinking: it is founded on a vivid sense of belongingness to a rich and many-layered world. It is creative, intuitive, imaginative. It thrives on work that has heart and meaning. It loves wild things, but returns to an enchanted home and garden. It respects the instinctive knowledge and playfulness of children, and relishes story, poetry and art. Taking the inspiration and wisdom that can be derived from myth, fairy tales and folk culture, this book offers a set of practical and grounded tools for enchanting our lives and the places we live in, giving us a greater sense of meaning and of belonging to the world. An inspiring, beautifully written call to re-engage with the world - giving us the tools for profound and whole-hearted participation in the adventure of life. 'I believe that enchantment is an attitude of mind which can be cultivated, a way of approaching the world which anyone can learn to adopt: the enchanted life is possible for everybody.'