What Pagans really get up to.

Posted: October 4, 2013 in crouch end, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I may have mentioned once or twice before that the life of a literary agent is not with out its perks. I get to spend a lot of time reading. The meetings I attend are usually held in upscale restaurants and groovy little cafes. People are willing to offer me all kinds of things¹ to gain access to the power they (mostly totally wrongly) believe I wield. But now and again, I have to pay. And it’s usually because of some dumbass client I’m representing who needs me to do something stupid. And to narrow it down to specifics, it’s usually my premier client, Callum Jacobs asking me to do something really stupid, borderline illegal or just plain hazardous to my health. But when a good client calls, a good agent’s only got one response.

Thus it was that I found myself on the night of the last full moon, dressed in a white satin robe, anointed in oil and chanting to the four quarters of Earth, Air, Water and Fire, deep in Queen’s Wood, N10.

But let me backtrack a little.

Callum had told me that as research for his next novel he needed to go and hang with some wiccans and had managed to track down a local group (coven?) who’d be meeting for a full moon ritual, as luck would have it, virtually in our own back yard. At these early stages I’d suggested, not unreasonably I think, that if he wanted to find out a little about the pagan faith he could just go and read a goddamn book, but apparently this was not what “real writers” do. It turns out that “real writers” are also massive pussies, as he insisted I go along too, in case, he said, they pulled some magic shit on him and he ended up converted or sacrificed or something similar. So he made the call and it was on.

We met the Grand Poobah and his fiendish minions in a local pub and it was immediately apparent that disparate group of oddballs though they undoubtedly were, they were all the sweetest, most charming bunch of oddballs you could hope to get naked in the forest with. After the usual slightly awkward chit-chat, and as the sun sank low behind the trees, we made our way deep into the heart of the ancient woodlands.

By the time we reached our destination it was getting pretty dark, and as too much artificial light was deemed unwelcome, (dampening the spiritual flow or something), there was fair amount of comical bumping into each other, cursing of tree-roots² and twanging branch-in-face moments. Waiting for us at the chosen hallowed spot was one more member of the group who I’m delighted to report, matched every stereotype I had ever had. Gandalf³ was tall, portly, with a thick grey beard⁴ and a huge wooden staff clutched purposefully in his hand. His voice was deep and sonorous and that it had a distinctive West coast US twang  barely detracted from the overall effect. To be honest, by this stage I was fully digging the whole party.

There was a fair bit of prep to be done, robing us all up, laying out the alter and sharing the ritual goblet of Gandalf’s tasty home made apple damson wine, (which some pagans seemed to have a little more of a thirst for than others and which at one point elicited from someone further along the fallen oak upon which we sat, a plaintive cry of “hey, dude, don’t bogart the chalice!”).

And then it was on.

By candlelight we gathered amidst the trees, we called to the spirits, we sang , we danced⁵ and we ate the blessed cakes and wines. Nobody got naked, nothing was rent in twain with a bejewelled athame and no diabolic forms were conjured from the earth. About which I was relieved and disappointed in roughly equal measure.

Can’t wait to see what he turns it into in the next novel. Working title, I’m told, Voodoo Economics.

And on that note, Callums’ first novel is currently free to download at Amazon.


¹ So far in my career I’ve been offered amongst other things, money, clothes, a year’s free coffee (there’s a lot of would-be writers serving up your daily cup of joe), a bicycle, a date (although not with the person who wanted the favour but an allegedly willing friend of theirs!), drugs, and eternal gratitude (yeah, that was really gonna work!).

² Hardly in the right spirit!

³ Obviously not his actual name, but if I call him this you will totally get the picture of what he looked like.

⁴… and his beard may well not have been grey, it was just way too dark to see,  but if I say it was I know I’m painting the right picture here.

⁵ Which amounted to, the singing and dancing, a slightly awkward conga line as it might be performed by old people who were reciting rather cheesy poetry as they wiggled along.


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