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by Rowena Whaling
Voices of the Stars cover        First, I should say what “Voices of the Stars” is not – it is not just another traditional retelling of the 13th century French Arthurian romances, nor is it another fanciful modern version with unrecognizable plot and characters.  No… “Voices” is an original heroic saga - presented in an Arthurian setting in a very historically accurate Post-Roman ‘Land of the Britons’ - taken from ancient Welsh history and legend, yet is so much more!  It is the true in-depth chronicles of the world of Arthur and his Alliance - focusing on the customs, traditions and myths of the 5 distinct cultures living on ‘These Our Fair Isles’:  the original Old Dark Tribes, the Celtic Clans, the Roman Britons, the Picti and the ‘legal’ Saxon kingdom of Hengist and Horsa. This evocative tale spans 5 generations and is a complex work with many original, historical and legendary characters woven into a rich tapestry of words, scenes and ideas - with original Epic Poetry throughout.

         It is the story of how Morgan of the Woods, realizing the import of her time, bids her brother Arthur’s close allies, kith and kin to write their ‘histories’ – their autobiographies - as their lives unfold.  Events - such as the 3 graphically portrayed battles - are seen and written from the perspective of each contributor.  Joys, tragedies, hopes, dreams, accomplishments, failures, desires, fears, loves and hatreds are all written into their stories.  These collected writings are to be secreted away for the sake of posterity. Why?  To put it in Morgan’s words:  “What lies within these vellum pages is an history... which I, Morgan, have compiled... to preserve the truth of these matters - because, it is a fact that legends of the simple folk, as well as songs and poems of the Bards, gallop into fancy like Warhorses to the smell of blood.  What begins as a simple pattern weaves, entwines and spreads like the gossamer threads of Arachne - ultimately and forever changing the meaning of events as they truly were.” 

        Tricks of the fates abound as we come to know the truth of “Voices” characters, who are not necessarily what you expect – as each comes to know and accept their shadow selves, weaknesses, flaws, hidden desires, strengths and goodness.   “Voices” is a metaphysical, psychological, action/adventure, myth and magic, medieval warfare, tragic romance, fantasy, historical fiction novel.  Within its pages the Cosmic Mysteries are revealed and taught through an original and complete Mystery System of the Great “Goddesses Nine” - replete with ancient Gods, Myths, Seasonal Rounds and Moon Rituals, chants and secret initiations of The Order on The Isle of Apples.  It explores the inner worlds of trance, dreams and magic, and is filled with ancient wisdoms of the Maji of many lands which can easily be used as inspiration for a spiritual practice today... or not...  It is simply a great read.

         The sacred Well of Nodens is trapped within the walls of Dux Gorlois’ Dumnonian fortress.  The exotic Old Dark Tribesmen attack him to reclaim it.  A bargain is struck - Igraine, the gorgeous 15 yr. old Seer, marries Gorlois - and loves him dearly.  They have 2 daughters - Morganna and Morgan.  All is well until Uther, champion of the ‘Hallelujah Battle’, vows to kill Gorlois for a perceived slight and to rape Igraine to slake his great desire for her.  Gwyddion, the Merlin helps mortally ailing Gorlois to a peaceful death. Igraine – to save her daughters – gives Uther one night of passion.  She gives birth to a son.  To protect him, Gwyddion switches ‘The Bear”- the future King - with Bedwyr, his ‘brother of the heart’ on the night of their births - then at their 12th year-turn, he takes them to his cave in the mountains for fostering and training.  
At 17, Arthur is ritually blessed by the Lady of the Lake and with Gwyddion’s help finds Caledfwlch - the ancient sword of kings.  He is chosen High King by a council of Briton’s 5 diverse peoples, becomes the Stag God in the Heiros Gamos rite with the White Moon Goddess - his half sister Morgan - who he loves beyond measure.  Through the efforts of the King Maker, Gwyddion, he becomes High King of the Britons’ 1st Alliance of solidarity - the ‘Dream’ begins...  He politically accepts the Saxon Princess Gwenyfar - sister of Princess Rowena (Vortigern’s widow) and daughter of King Hengist the Saxon - as his wife, then is fooled into an incestuous sexual tryst by Morganna Le Faye, who becomes pregnant and flees to the Snowy Mountains to work her life-long evils and treachery.   

        Then comes the crowning and the royal wedding...  But Gwenyfar and Arthur will never beget an heir; their marriage is never consummated, for she and Branwen, the daughter of her mother’s dearest friend, have been lovers since they were children... 

        Through ten years of Battles, Magics, Feasts, Festivals, Rituals, unrequited and forbidden love and desires, gaining and losing of trusted friends and lovers, the many colorful and authentic characters spin their tales and report their histories into their books.

         At the end of this time comes the battle of Baddon Hill; fought against the combined Teutonic forces and written from the perspective of many, it is the pivotal point of a sustained peace - the years of the ‘Summer King’.  These years, filled with prosperity, are also the years of many deaths of loved and respected ones.  They are also the years of Gwyddion’s finding and losing to death the young avatar Bronte, who will return as Rowena, the Child of Promise (and heroine of Book 2 of the trilogy), then finding and embracing Nimue the Enchantress and Dragon Caller - the love of his life.

         At the last battle, Morganna’s son Mordred - thoroughly deceived by her into hatred of his father- has torn the Alliance of compatriots asunder and is killed by and mortally wounds his father. Arthur throws Caledfwlch to Bedwyr naming him his heir - then falls into a coma.  As Mordred lies dying in Morgan’s arms, he tells her that his mother had drugged and ‘spelled’ him into lying with her the night before - making a child...

     Arthur is taken aboard a Saxon ship to the Order on the Isle of Apples, where he lies, kept alive only by the magic of Caledfwlch’s scabbard.  Soon Lady Vivianne dies and Morgan is made the Lady of the Lake.  Not long after - at the moment of his death - by a powerful rite and explosion of passion within the cave of Gwyn ap Nudd in the bowels of the sacred Tor, Gwyddion transfers all of his Grym Hudol - his Powers - and wisdom to Nimue, who then disappears into the cold North of the Picti Dragon Callers.

        Toward the end of her suffering a long life’s worth of the treachery of Morganna Le Faye, good, beautiful and kind Morgan (with her Bees) gruesomely murders her sister.   That same night she meets the daughter of Morganna le Faye - who disappears into mist.

        Arthur, her eternal love, lies bound ‘twixt the realms of life and death...  But Morgan has vowed that before she dies, she will release him from his prison of ever-sameness...

        For the next eight years, Morgan searches for and finds her niece, Morganna - the daughter of Morganna le Faye, who has no memory of her life before her mother’s death and does not know who she is.  Meanwhile, aging Morgan traverses the ‘Land of Naught’ to gain its ‘Keys of the Seven Gates’ of understanding - to solve and un-do the dark, ‘upside-down’ magics of Morganna Le Faye… When Morgan finds her, she discovers that Morganna has a daughter, Rowena.  The story follows her young life through murderous betrayals by her father and two eldest brothers, the murder of her mother, the mercy killing of her infant sister by her mother and her experiences, both good and bad, of Christian monastic and Druidical training centers, encounters with Saxons, the Old Dark Tribes and the Marsh Folk.  With the help of her Druidic mentor Gwern and her brother Gildas - and her salvation by her Great Aunt Morgan’s life-long friend, Lucian - her search for her Mother Goddess is finally satisfied.  She attains the initiation of Druidical Bard’s Apprentice and eventually comes to the Isle of Apples to be with ‘Aunt’ Morgan. 

        But will there ever be another Summer King - and will the old ways, Gods and Magic ever rise again?...
        “Oh Lady of the withering Dream - the potent Art remains… yet is ever receding from Mankind’s world of fame...  Oh beauty of the Moonlight’s beings - your shadow’s kiss now wanes...  Forgotten, abandoned, Enchantments… in ruins they lie unclaimed…  Oh, Lady of the countless Stars - do men forget your dance?  They march to the drums of War Gods - devoid of all romance...  Oh why is this thing happening?  Will you ever return again?  Oh Radiant Light - to spin and twirl to ancient love’s refrain…”          

The Series...

        “Voices of the Stars” is the first of a trilogy following the safekeeping, losing then finding of Morgan’s compiled histories.  The trilogy begins c. 450 and ends in 1969. 
        The theme of the writing, compilation, hiding and finding of the histories runs throughout the first 3 books of this series: (1st) “Voices of the Stars” (c.450-532), (2nd) “Rowena of the Glen” (c.510- 565) and (3rd) “Jars of Clay” (c.1953-1969).  And then, the related books: “Son of Nimue” (and the Merlin) (c.500-550) and “Black Dust” (c.2575 BCE, Egypt).

 Four novels that closely resemble "Voices of the Stars" are:

    #1 - "Game of Thrones" from the Song of Fire and Ice series, written by George R. R. Martin.        
    "Voices of the Stars" differs from the "Song of Fire and Ice" series in that it is set in an actual period and place - 5th and 6th century post Roman Britain - and includes many historical characters and events.  Each chapter is autobiographically written by characters in the story - the true histories of Arthur's time, including colorfully, graphically and accurately written early medieval battles.  And... it includes extensive original epic poetry.

    #2  "Pillars of the Earth" - (Wonderfully) written by Ken Follett.     

    "Voices..." differs from this book in that it takes in all of ancient Britain  - heavily focusing on the five distinct cultures living in the lands of the Britons and its isles and is set in a different time period (6 & 7 centuries earlier) .  It is infused with rich mythical lore, mystical rites/rituals, magic, dream visions/journeys into the "Other Worlds".  In the framework of the Welsh Arthurian myths, it presents a metaphysical, philosophical, psychological story in which the Cosmic Mysteries are revealed through a complete mystery system of the "Goddesses Nine" and the Great ONE that can be used as a basis of spiritual practice today, or simply as a great read...  It poetically tells myths of Germanic, Celtic, the original "Old Dark Tribes", Christian, Roman and Pictish cultures.  It brings new mythos to light and introduces Dragons. 

    #3  "The Last Kingdom " from The Saxon Chronicles series, written by Bernard Cornwell   
    "Voices..." differs from this novel in that it utilizes historically correct ancient Roman and Teutonic battle/warfare strategies and equipment of many centuries earlier.  "Voices..." focuses on Women equally with men and features hot, poignant love scenes.  It delves into the Mary Magdalene legends and genealogies of Aix en Provence and Bergundian Affolonia, entwining true historical royal houses and characters into its plot. 

    #4  "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy, by (the brilliant) J.R.R. Tolkien  
    "Voices" is placed in historically and geographically accurate times and places.  Embraces the Welsh Arthurian legends as opposed to the Norse/Germanic sagas.  Although, "Voices..." touches on Teutonic and Roman myth, as well... 
"Voices..." differs from these novels in that the "original" language here is taken from actual ancient Sumerian.  
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Last updated August 2014