Hello friends– this month’s new moon tale is inspired by a visit to Hoy I made many years ago to visit the 5,000 year old stone house/portal tomb called the Dwarvie Stane. On that visit, I happened upon the grave of Betty Corrigall. This was back before everything could be found on the internet, back before her grave had a brown tourist sign. The grave held a fascination to me–who was she? Now you can find online the answers to everything but this question. It was only recently I found that this grave has held an entirely different, ghoulish fascination for others. This tale is also inspired by an old fairy tale called the “Dwarvie Stane.” Become a subscriber to my Patreon to listen and read this tale now.
I’m honoured to be presenting my work at Winter’s Last: A Celebration of Scottish Folklore, Traditions and Community Practices hosted by The Taibhsear Collective, the last in their trilogy of explorations into Winter customs. The weekend will be held on the 23rd and 24th January 2021 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre Edinburgh. In the event of a possible lockdown, the readings, performances and workshops will be held online over the course of several weeks.
Every month I write a new fairy tale based on an old Scottish tale, and I share it with my Patrons on Patreon. This month’s New Moon tale is “The Bell that Never Rang” It is a fairytale laid over the psychogeography at the centre of Glasgow. I have always loved Glasgow. Tourists may visit Edinburgh—and it is a lovely place—but if I had to choose a city that is the heart and soul of Scotland, it would be Glasgow. “St. Enoch” is a name you see in the city, and I always assumed it was the name of some random, male Christian saint who converted the Picts. But Enoch is a woman—the first recorded rape victim in Scotland. In this tale, I’ve shifted the “facts” of the prism of her life to let the light through another facet.
Her sacred places were many in the city and they are all now lost, renamed and buried under shopping malls and roundabouts. She was the mother of the founder of Glasgow, Saint Mungo. His name is perhaps more famous now because of the Hospital for Magical Maladies in the Harry Potter books, which is named after him.
School children used this mnemonic device to remember his miracles, and I have used one of them to name this story:
Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam
The image of Saint Tenu in the collage above is taken from an icon in the Mull Monastery by Friar Serafim.
I’m delighted that my essay “Dreaming of a Scottish Witches Memorial” will appear in A Beautiful Resistance in the Beyond Empire issue from Gods & Radicals Press in October. The issue can be preordered here: https://abeautifulresistance.org/a-beautiful-resistance-5-after-empire
“On that cold night, the trows watched and waited. Everyone knows the veil is thin when a new soul comes into the world…”
This month’s New Moon Tale, “The Changelings,” is a version of a Shetlandic story called “Mind the Crooked Finger,” up at my Patreon. For the Seelie Court and Golden Fold subscription tiers, There is a PDF file to download and read at your leisure, and an mp3 sound file of me reading the story.
At each New Moon since the pandemic lockdown’s began, I’ve published a bedtime story based on a traditional Scottish folktale. This is the sixth in what I plan to be a series of 13.
Other good news–you can now subscribe to my Patreon in your own currency. Current subscribers can also change to their own currency, but the amount you pay will stay the same.
My poem “Moth” about the folk belief that moths were perhaps witches in another form, will appear in the Superstition themed issue of Stonecoast Review, number 13, available from this online bookseller.
This week marks my first year anniversary on Patreon. It’s been a year of community, witness and ancestral storytelling
– 23 quarter-moon updates
– 16 witches’ monuments
– 5 publications
– 3 New Moon tales—modern retellings based on Scottish folklore.
– 2 spoken word files
My new goal is to reach 75 patrons. This will help me to invest in a microphone for better quality sounds files when recording the spoken word pieces as well as when I’m reading the New Moon Tales. You can join my community here:
All islanders know the sea is coming for them, by inch and by foot. It will in time cover the world they know…
Last week I asked my Patrons on Patreon what they would like to see from me during these uncertain times. They asked for tales, and so I have continued to write them and read them aloud. This time I have also created a collaged illustration to go with the story. The second of the New Moon Tales, “The Wild Rigs” is inspired by an Orkney folk tale called “The Fine Field of Flax.” I have taken many liberties with this story, and you can listen to me reading it as well as read the downloadable the PDF available to all tiers who join my Patreon.
This story is about different kinds of abundance. May we all have enough.