As readers of The Faery Gates of Avalon may already be aware Midsummer is an important faery time, Midsummer Day being also St John's Eve, and in Chretien de Troyes' story of Yvain or the Knight of the Lion (also known to Mabinogion fans as The Lady of the Fountain) it is the day that King Arthur sets off to test the powers of the magic fountain in the forest of Broceliande where one of his knights has already married a faery bride.
Thus after a fairly fallow period it was perhaps no coincidence that I should receive a message from R J Stewart announcing imminent proofs of my next book Melusine of Lusignan and the Cult of the Faery Woman, which should therefore be available by the end of the year - despite the recent credit crunch having had the effect of the esoteric publishing world "going to hell on a hand cart" as a fellow author so graphically put it.
So green shoots are beginning to appear and I set great store on the importance of this new little book insofar that it tells the story and background of one of the most remarkable faery traditions
of medieval France that is little known to the English speaking world apart from a brief and not entirely accurate section in Baring Gould's Myths of the Middle Ages.
So much store do I set on the importance of Melusine that I hope to follow it up with a translation of an evocative recreation of the story by a French freemason who seemed to have dug deep into her tradition, Andre Lebey's Le Roman de la Melusine. It seems to be all towards this that over the past twenty years I have been pushed by a seemingly irrational urge to gain a university degree so I could read much of this kind of stuff in the original, from Chretien de Troyes back in the 12th century to Monsieur Lebey in the 20th. I now begin to reap the benefit of having slogged through French irregular verbs when I could have had my feet up in the autumn of my days.
Back of that I have my eye on another possible avenue of interest in the story of Huon of Bordeaux, contemporary with the early Graal romances, who did all kind of marvellous deeds assisted by Auberon, king of faeries, (later spelled as Oberon by Shakespeare).
In the midst of all this high powered swotting I find much leisure and pleasure in wandering in the web-site of Libby Valdez, who illustrated my little Tree of Life pathworking disguised as a children's fantasy Granny's Magic Cards - a juvenile introduction to the Tarot now alas of incredible rarity, although available (though without the illustrations) on PDF from Ritemagic, whose link you will find elsewhere on my website.
I find Libby's drawings, illustrations, stained glass work, and paintings one of the most relaxing and inspiring ways of spending time on the internet. Why not give it a try yourself - on http://www.libbytravassosvaldez.co.uk/ ?