shopify analytics ecommerce

Wax & Wane: Stephen Blake

by | Feb 26, 2016 | Contributors | 0 comments

Stephen Blake

Stephen Blake lives in a small seaside Cornish town in the UK with his wife Sarah. He copes with eight cats, whilst Frodo the Border collie tries to maintain some sort of order. He’s been previously published in a number of anthologies such as Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion and Toys in the Attic: A Collection Evil Playthings.

Wax & Wane: That Familiar Feeling

 

What is your story about?
It is about a young girl who has reached the age required for her to take a familiar. Others have described it as a coming of age story. In my tale Sarah heads off into the woods to see which creature she feels connected to and of course they need to feel connected to her. I thought it would be interesting to show how a young witch gets her familiar and how the animal should match the witches mannerisms. There are also aspects about her own anger and if she’ll go down the route of black magic or if she is really a white witch at heart.


What do you like most about witches?

Perhaps it has a little to do with where I am from but I have a healthy respect for witches. Cornwall was never conquered by the English and we retain our strong Celtic identity. They say that is why we still have a distinctive accent since we did not start speaking English until much later. Witches were and are viewed as ‘wise women’ or ‘cunning folk’ here, not the image of evil they have elsewhere. They are not people to fear (unless you do something to them you shouldn’t). We have a museum here dedicated to witchcraft, which had to move from different parts of the country because they were forced out from each place. When they reached Cornwall no one batted an eyelid! We have practicing witches today who visit the various sacred stones in the area on special occasions, such as Samhain, etc.
I think they were the midwives and healers of their time and now they represent a connection to the natural world many of us have lost.

Who is your favorite fictional or legendary witch, and why?

I do like the legend of Madgy Figgy. She was a notorious wrecker. They used to cause the ships off of the coast of Cornwall to crash so that the locals might collect the cargo to sell later. I suppose we should not romanticise these things but they were desperate times for all. It is said that she would sit upon a seat naturally formed in the granite above the cliffs. From there she would summon storms to wreck the ships. Once there was a woman’s body found with jewels and treasure nearby. When Madgy saw her she commanded that no one touched the treasure and that the woman be respectfully buried. Some time later a foreign man came and asked to see the grave. Pleased with the way the woman had been treated he rewarded the wreckers and let them keep the treasure. Allegedly Madgy said, “One witch knows another, living or dead”.
I don’t condone all that she did but it is refreshing to hear the tale of a witch who was a leader in her community, who looked out for others and used her abilities in a unique way.

Would you rather be a good witch or a wicked witch? Why?

I think I’d be a good witch. It’s that idea that they live their lives by that appeals to me – “Harm none, do as you will.” My mother always said to me to treat others as you would like to be treated. Those that can live their lives on this basis must be doing something right.

What’s up next for you?

I’ve been on a run with getting in various anthologies in 2015. For 2016 I’m hoping to try for some success with novels. I’ve finished one called ‘Blood Key’ which is about a deaf girl who has the right blend of Celtic blood to allow her to use stone circles as a portal to another world. Once there she finds a world which has grown parallel to ours, although they live in a more medieval feeling world with a sprinkle of steampunk.
I’ve got an idea for a witch story set during World War 2 as well which I intend to get to work on. I think my story ‘That Familiar Feeling’ might inspire part of that.
Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witch Tales

Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witch Tales

Whether wicked or whimsical, few folkloric figures are as iconic as the witch. Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witch Tales serves up 30 spellbinding stories of witches that are enchanting and terrifying, amusing and enticing. Classic or eclectic, fantastical or historical, these witch tales are a literary incantation to delight any fans of witches and witchcraft.