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Showing posts from October, 2015

HIST & MYTH: Samhain & Goddess Tlachtga

Written by Ben Kesp

The orange flames cast light onto the dark cold nights of winter. The gods of old are waiting to be appeased, signalling the end of one year in preparation for the next.

In ancient Ireland, fires lit up the darkened skies offering protection and cleansing in rituals to the gods and to the spirits of nature. As Samhain approaches or better known today as Halloween, the Fire Festivals continue with variations to the original practices by people with different beliefs and cultures. 

Pronounced as “Sow – in”, it is an ancient festival that has become buried under modern Halloween or Hallows Eve. Samhain is the time when the veil between the world of the spiritual and living merge. It marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It is celebrated from sunset on 31 October. Special bonfires were lit for protection and cleansing used in various rituals. Samhain is a time when the spirits (or theAos Sí) could easily cross into the world of the living.…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Written by Ben Kesp

The Boy at the Gate by Danny Ellis

On completing the book, the words “Beautifully Written” came instantly to my mind. “The Boy at the Gate” is a memoir written by Danny Ellis who has beautifully captured his life in Ireland’s notorious Artane Industrial School that was run by the Irish Christian Brothers. Ellis is a touring singer/songwriter, teacher of voice and song writing workshops. He is currently living in North Carolina. 

Having received the book as a present I must admit I was a somewhat apprehensive in reading, believing it would be depressing, exploring a dark period from 20th century Ireland however I was very much mistaken. Ellis’s witty and humorous writing details his life growing up in the slums of inner city Dublin and the factors leading to him being placed in Artane Industrial School. The book is written through the eyes and innocence of a child, perhaps showing a side of these institutions that is rarely heard of and yet never hiding the unde…

LITERATURE: Landed Estate Series Character Review

Written by Ben Kesp
Susanna Westby
Landed Estate Series
Susanna is the central protagonist to the story, originally Susanna Villiers who marries Eyre Westby and later marries William Camwell. I really loved writing her. Her life, her story line, how she reacts to situations, all came naturally to me. Readers have told me they can really relate to her character. The character of Susanna has grown from Book I when she was aged twenty-eight, having lived a sheltered life, unfamiliar with estate life and its management, to being forty-five years in Book II, a more assertive and confident woman. In Book III, we have a much older Susanna aged sixty-eight years, wise and strong, decisive, but not bitter with life although, still, her internal struggles are visible along with her weakness, namely, trusting people too readily. 

She is a very fair character but not without flaw. I personally do not like a flawless character, as in reality, each of us has a dark side. It creeps out depending o…

LITERATURE: Landed Estate Series Character Review

Written by Ben Kesp
Katherine Villiers
Landed Estate Series
I always enjoy writing the villain, perhaps because they are so opposite to who I am as a person. This could be why I love writing them, and the worse I create them, the more likeable they are. I must admit, I did fall in love with Katherine Villiers, and I regret not having more scenes with her. 

Her character was not originally the antagonist as the role fell to her husband Sam Villiers in Book I, but Katherine took up the reins in Book II and III very smoothly. In fact, this has been Susanna’s biggest downfall in Book II. She underestimates Katherine, not seeing her as any threat, when, in fact, she is knowledgeable of a hidden secret that almost destroys Susanna’s family name and estate. We also see the power of Katherine in Book III as she reveals another secret to Susanna on her death that changes the course of the story concerning Point Pleasant House and half of the estate. 

There have been many times when I kept the c…

LITERATURE: Landed Estate Series Character Review

Written by Ben Kesp 
Edgar & Harriet 

These are two new characters that are developed in Book III of the Landed Estate Series that have a major part to play in the story line. Two likeable characters however both quite different. Harriet Westby represents the ruling class in Ireland, while Edgar Evans represents the working/common class. Opposite lives, yet both attracted to each other, not for their status, but through love. 

Edgar, the young journalist from Riverdale city, aspires to be a writer, and believes that writing a story on the death of Earl Southwell and investigating all the unanswered questions surrounding his death will jump start his career. On journeying to Point Pleasant to find out more on the Westby family, he has not expected to meet with Harriet Westby, granddaughter of Susanna. Harriet interests him, her beauty, her zest for life and innocence of the world around her having been sheltered on Point Pleasant, contrast with his raw experiences of life roaming…

LITERATURE: The Landed Estate Series - The Final Book!

Written by Ben Kesp
The final instalment of the Landed Estate e-book series, “A Time Forgotten” is now out!

Join Susanna Westby on the final leg of her journey as she battles to protect her family seat and secrets from exposure by the young writer from Riverdale who is determined to investigate the Westby family. Set in 1827, the Westby family experiences forbidden love, betrayal, acceptance and mortality; thus drawing to the end of an era and the privileged lives of the Anglo Irish.

Landed Estate series is a 3 e-book series covering a period of forty years between 1787 and 1827 based on the life of Susanna Westby, an Irish aristocrat in the 18th and 19th century, Ireland. Follow an emotional rollercoaster as Susanna Westby and her family experience family disputes, murder, deceit, betrayal, mortality and the end of an era for the privileged lives of the Anglo Irish

I will be posting a series of posts this coming week on the main characters of the story. The final instalment, “A Time …

HIST & MYTH: The Legend of La Llorona

Guest Post: written by MikeH

MikeH, born in Mexico now living in Barcelona, has an avid interest in ancient history, mythology and a longing to understand early civilisations. When he is not working, you will find him on the tennis paddle court or exploring the historic city of Barcelona while enjoying delicious Spanish tapas.

The Legend of La Llorona 

La Llorona, which in English can be translated as the “Weeping Woman”, is an ancient tale told by parents and grand-parents in all Latin American countries, and it is in Mexico where it has its strongest presence. 
As I child growing up in Mexico, this is a story I have heard through my parents and grand-parents. I still remember a rather disturbing night, when I had a terrible nightmare. What I saw was a woman floating close by my window. She was wearing a white long dress and was facing downwards. Although I was unable to look into her eyes, I could perceive a grief radiating from her. 
Having a curious nature, I decided to inves…

HIST & MYTH: High Queen of Ireland - Queen Macha

Written by Ben Kesp
Macha is a figure who may not stand out, and in fact, I had not heard of her until I began my research. I felt she was worthy of a mention as she did achieve the highest office in the land to become High Queen of Ireland. I should point out however there are a few notable women with the same name, and writings are unclear and hardly distinguish between the historical, legendary and mythical figures. Those mentioned are: 
Macha the daughter of PartholonMacha the wife of NemedMacha the daughter of Ernmas, sister to MorríganMacha Mong RuadMacha the wife of Cruinniuc 

I will look briefly at the first three names mentioned. First is Macha, daughter of Partholon of the Partholanians, an ancient mythical race who arrived 312 years after Cesair to Ireland who was son of the King of Greece. Their race died out from a plague after 120 years in Ireland. 
Second is Macha, the wife of Nemed of the Nemedians who were the third ancient mythical race to arrive in Ireland after th…

LITERATURE: My Maltese Journey

Written by Ben Kesp

A journey of personal growth and development is how I can describe my time on the islands of ancient temples, friendly people and long hot humid summers. My Maltese experience has been a personal one where I believe I had been guided to. My everlasting memories of the islands are not about how good or how bad Malta is, as each country has pros and cons but for me it healed me, reawakened my inner self and of self discovery. There are times in all our lives when we reach a point or crossroads and we are unsure of what turn to take. What we do not wish for is stay where we are and continue on the same road we came from. Change is required and this is what frightens us, the unknown! Life will help but it is up to us to make a decision. Once we make a decision, we take an action and then life will show us great opportunities once we are ready to accept and are open to them. 

I cannot possibly describe my journey in words but to say I have learned, discovered and de…