Tansy Firedragon

Witch & Author of several books on the Craft

Elder of the worldwide online school of Kitchen Witchcraft

High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven




The Shepherd's Crown...finally

For those of you that have read my blog or facebook you will be aware that I am a huge Terry Pratchett fan and have followed his books for probably close to twenty five years.  When he passed away earlier this year I was heart broken...and continue to be...

Anyway...his last ever Discworld book - The Shepherd's Crown was published in August and it arrived on my door mat on the day of publication.  I opened the package and put the book beside my bed...that night I opened the front page and read the inscription...and promptly shut the book and that is where it stayed untouched until a couple of weeks ago.  I couldn't bring myself to read it at first but eventually the time came...

I cried before the second chapter and continued to read with a very heavy heart.  But the real tear jerker is the 'afterword' at the end of the book written by Terry's assistant Rob.  That one had me sobbing.  But it did also answer some questions.

The Shepherd's Crown is the final book in the Tiffany Aching arc of Discworld stories and it does bring some closure to storylines but I have to admit as I read it I could tell that Terry's mind was elsewhere and there did seem to be gaps.  Rob explains in his afterword that the book was only 95% finished when Terry passed away, his usual plan of action on finishing a book would be to go back over it and fill in the gaps...unfortunately this time it was not possible to do so.

Don't get me wrong...it is still a fabulous book and a wonderful addition to the Discworld series and if perhaps I wasn't quite so familiar with his style of writing I would not have noticed anything was amiss.  I still encourage you to read it.

The Discworld series is amazing, these are the books that I always go back to and have read more than any other in my collection (and I have a lot of books).  They are my 'go to comfort' books.  And they still make me laugh.

If you haven't ever read any Discworld (really? where have you been?) I do encourage you to do so. But even Terry would recommend you not start with the first book (Colour of Magic), my personal choice would be to start with Equal Rites (the first of the witches books).

The books don't actually need to be read in order but there are mini series within - the Witches series, the Guards series and the Tiffany Aching ones, those do work best when read in order.

My personal favourites are probably the witches series (obviously) with Witches Abroad being most excellent but I also like the Guards ones (Guards, Guards being the first in that mini series).

For a full list of the books and other brilliant Discworld paraphenalia check out http://www.discworldemporium.com/ and if you ever get to visit their shop it is like a scene from Ankh Morpork...

The turtle moves...

Post Witchfest

Quite a few months back I got a phone call inviting me to talk at Witchfest...I was very honoured to accept if a little nervous and actually as the day got closer the nerves got worse...

Anyway...Saturday I was up before the sun rose and on a train with the lovely Ness and Josh heading towards Croydon to meet up with Tracey.  We arrived in torrential rain...

As I was a speaker and the guys had gold membership tickets it was both useful and also slightly embarrassing to be escorted by a Witchfest crew member past the huge long line of people queuing outside the venue in the rain and given special access straight to the front door...

Inside it was already bustling with people and full of vendors selling their wares.

We started with a mooch around the stalls and then at 5 to 12 we entered the room for my talk...

Packed to the rafters...all the chairs were full and people were still going in and sitting on the floor - I suspect I looked like a rabbit in headlights because I was hit with an overwhelming desire to turn and run.

However...once I got going all was OK (after checking that people were in the right room and hadn't thought it was the sex magic talk...) they were a lovely crowd, albeit at one point an avocado was likened to a testicle...something I shall never be able to get out of my head...

A huge thank you to everyone that came to the talk ...and stayed...it was very much appreciated.  Also a big heartfelt thank you to all the Kitchen Witch posse and those familiar faces that attended the talk took, I ♥ you guys.

After a quick bite to eat (a very nice vegetable dish) it was time for thebook signing.  Big thanks has to go to the two ladies running the COA book stall, they worked tirelessly all day.  Another big thank you to those that came and purchased books as well - most of them sold out completely!

With the talk and the book signing unfortunately I didn't get to attend many of the other talks and workshops.  I did get to watch the opening ceremony led by the fabulous Tylluan Penry and also made it to Professor Ronald Hutton's talk towards the end of the day - always worth listening to.

It is a huge event and one that must take a massive amount of organising so thank you to all those involved in staging it.

Breaking the code, finding the goddess

Reblogged from Speculative Pagan:
Breaking the Mother Goose Code: How a Fairy Tale Character Fooled the World for 300 Years - Jeri Studebaker

I did not really expect to be convinced by Jerri Studebaker’s book about finding signs of ancient Goddess worship in fairy tales. I’m just not the sort of person who is easily persuaded by much, and the sleight of hand history of Dr Anne Ross, and the chicanery of Robert Graves have left me resistant, to say the least. I’m very wary of circular logic, too. Go out looking for evidence of sacrifice and you’ll see it any time there’s a dead person. Go out looking for Goddess survivals and you can all too easily infer them into anything with breasts.


I ended up persuaded to a degree that surprised me.


What makes this book such an interesting and provocative read isn’t, I thought, the main thrust at all. It’s the details. The histories of where nursery stories have come from and how they’ve changed over time. The correlations between fairy stories and other major cultural shifts. I’d not thought before about the way in which many fairy stories are really at odds with Christian stories. I was, I confess, too busy being cross about the princesses. But now I have reasons to rethink those, as well.


The historical correlations Jeri Studebaker brings together in her book are intriguing. There are many unanswered mysteries here, that will leave you wondering. She has evidence for the political use of the fairy story as a way of making commentary, and the literary place for the fairy tale in Europe as well. That’s without getting into the issues of goose footed women, egg laying, and shamanism. Oh, and magic spells. And how we might envisage a non-patriarchal world. I love this book because the author is cautious about her claims, and keen to remind us when she is speculating and the limits of what the evidence can support. Speculation is so much more enjoyable when we hold our uncertainties with such honour, I think.


At this point, whether or not Mother Goose is really, historically and provably a goddess survival seems a lot less important than what we try to do with her stories, and other such stories, moving forward. It is in the nature of stories to change and evolve over time, being re-imagined to fit the new context. Stories that survive are often stories that can be adapted, or that give us powerful archetypes to work with. So the question to ask may really be, how do we want to work with those archetypes in the first place? What stories do we want to tell, and why? Do we understand the implications of the stories we are sharing?


For me, the book raised another question as well. (Bear in mind here that I am a maybeist, not a theist nor an atheist.) If religion is imagined into existence by people, as well it might be, then to connect with the religions of our ancestors we need their stories, or whatever fragments survive. Take away its stories and Christianity ceases to exist. If religion is based on the experience of living, then through shared experiences, we can come to similar conclusions as our ancestors did. If we reverence the things life depends on, then we can find our way to the importance of the mother, the goose, the eggs and all the other ideas about life fairy tales can carry. If the deities are independently real and active, then of course things that look like them will keep turning up in people’s stories and ideas, for all the same reasons that they turned up in the first place – because they are offered to us by the divine as inspiration.


I don’t know. I still don’t know. I’m fine with this, and I enjoy books like this one that are able to challenge my carefully chosen uncertainty.


More about the book here – http://www.moon-books.net/books/breaking-mother-goose-code


Blog first posted at https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/breaking-the-mother-goose-code/

Source: http://druidlife.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/breaking-the-mother-goose-code
Reblogged from Speculative Pagan:
""If you have ever wondered, really wondered about witches, and I don’t mean the kind that fly about on broomsticks, I mean the real ones that live and work in your community, this essential guide will answer all your questions.""
Grimoire of a Kitchen Witch: An Essential Guide to Witchcraft - Rachel Patterson

Janet Mawdsley's review of Grimoire of a Kitchen Witch is published on her blog, you can read it in full there.



Source: http://www.bluewolf-reviews.com/index.php/books/new-age/item/481-grimoire-of-a-kitchen-witch
Reblogged from Speculative Pagan:
""After reading Rachel Patterson’s newest book in her Kitchen Witch series, you just might be inspired to give your kitchen a magical makeover. Not only is she a veteran author of five books on magical food, she is High Priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an elder at the online Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchcraft. With touches of cheeky humour, she describes readying the kitchen and cooking equipment for magical work, seasonal and holiday recipes, magical food for intent, correspondences of various sorts, food for the moon cycle, and food spells. Think “Engagement Chicken” (Glamour magazine’s famous recipe for inducing a man to propose) taken to a whole new level!""
A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Food - Rachel Patterson

Spiral Nature is a fantastic website exploring magic and spirituality. The quote is from there review of A Kitchen Witch's world of Magical Food - you can read the rest here -




And then you can go on and poke around the rest of the site, because it's well worth exploring.

Source: http://www.spiralnature.com/reviews/kitchen-witchs-world-magical-food
Reblogged from Speculative Pagan:
""her instructions are really easy to follow. I must confess, I have always bought smudge sticks from shops but it is so easy to make them, now I know how, that I feel a fool and I'm inspired to try some of these ideas out.""
A Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Herbs & Plants - Rachel Patterson

This a comment from a review first posted on http://www.witchhazelsmagick.com/2014/10/book-review-kitchen-witchs-world-of.html - the reviewer is a book lover and a witch, and clearly really got on with the book. 

Source: http://www.witchhazelsmagick.com/2014/10/book-review-kitchen-witchs-world-of.html

Meditation for Pagans

Pagan Portals - Meditation - Rachel Patterson Druidry and Meditation - Nimue Brown Contemplative Druidry: People Practice and Potential - Dr. James Nichol, Philip Carr-Gomm
Reblogged from Speculative Pagan:

When I first came to meditating as a practice, there weren't many books on meditation aimed at Pagan readers. The number has increased since then, and I've been implicated in two of the books (linked to this post). I was delighted when Rachel Patterson announced that she'd written an introduction to meditation - her easy, accessible style is a great counterpoint to what can be seen as a difficult area of spiritual practice.


I felt honoured to be asked if I'd endorse this book. Here is what I've said: "This is a very readable, user-friendly book, giving a taster of a broad range of meditation practices. Pragmatic, highly usable, and with plenty of inspiration and jumping off points, this is a great place to start if you want to explore meditation as a Pagan."


One of the other people to comment on this book ahead of publication is James Nichol, who put together the Contemplative Druidry book I've tagged. Contemplative Druidry was a community project, featuring many voices, one of which was mine. James made the following observation having read Pagan Portals - Meditation.


"Rachel Patterson has written an exuberant and free-spirited introduction to a subject often treated with undue deference and solemnity. She gives her readers permission to sample the smorgasbord of the world's traditions, providing a stimulus to craft their own practice and/or connect with relevant communities and teachers."


The book is available from December 2015 and i can very much recommend it for anyone who is either new to meditation, or struggling with it.