My good friend and fellow writer, Janet Brooks, is one of the best researchers I’ve ever met. She can uncover delicious tidbits long after most folks have said “enough”. An example is the following guest blog, which Janet graciously agreed to write. She explores the topic of Fae and portals to the Underworld, a central theme in Book Two of Clans of Tagus series, The WARRIOR. By blending elements from Janet’s research with a contemporary plot and characters, The WARRIOR is sure to uphold the five star ranking Amazon readers have lavished on Book One, The GATEKEEPER.
Do You Believe in Fae?
By: Janet Brooks
A long time ago, in a mountain far, far way, Celtic legend tells of a warrior, Fionn mac Cumhaill, who fervently pursued his betrothed, Gráinne, when she eloped with another. It was also a time when people told stories of how the Fae were vanquished by mortals and forced to descend into the Underworld through portals, similar to the one on the left in this photo of Ben Bulben, located in Sligo County, Ireland.
Even today Ben Bulben is a place often shrouded in mist and mystery – from its multiple names and spellings to the frequency with which its colors appear to change throughout the day, shifting from dark hues to bright green. Arctic flora found nowhere else in Ireland still grows on this mountain, which was formed by glaciers approximately 320 million years ago.
(In The WARRIOR, Artimon, a Tagusian shape shifter, accompanies Zara, a Dark Fae, to Ben Bulben where they must access the portal in a desperate attempt to save her twin sister from the Tagusian Warlords, the same clan that slaughtered many of her Fae ancestors and forced them into hiding. In Book One, The GATEKEEPER,the original portal between the Earth and Tagus was located at Hamilton Pool, a tropical oasis hidden away in the Texas Hill Country. The waters of this landmark exhibit similar characteristics as the Irish landscape near Ben Bulben, such as changing hues and emitting a green glow.)
The surrounding area is known as “Yeats Country” and is immortalized in “Under Ben Bulben,” which W.B. Yeats wrote in the year before his death. At his request, Yeats is buried in a churchyard near the base of the mountain, close to the land and legends he credited as the source of his inspiration. I’m inspired by the Celtic legends of Ben Bulben and another poem from Yeats, “Where My Books Go.”All the words that I gather, And all the words that I write, Must spread out their wings untiring, And never rest in their flight, Till they come where your sad, sad heart is, And sing to you in the night, Beyond where the waters are moving, Storm darkened or starry bright.
Videos of Ben Bulben:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7k-PoQCPGA&feature=related (with ad you can skip)
http://www.rtbot.net/sligo_ireland (Click on the second video which has the best time lapse photography of the changing colors of Ben Bulben but no narrative.)
Article/Photos of Ben Bulben:
Irish Fairy Tales edited by W.B. Yeats:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/31763 (Includes poem quoted above.)