Broth from the Cauldron: A Wisdom Journey Through Everyday Magic
By Publisher’s Weekly
Shamanic witch Fallingstar (The Heart of Fire) explores her life of spiritual seeking and magical experiences in this intriguing collection of reflections. Fallingstar presents “silly, simple and profound, and all true” tales that will appeal to practitioners of wicca, who will likely recognize the rituals and tools referred to, though Fallingstar’s anecdotes are tailored for a general audience. She relates her early aptitude for energy reception, psychic abilities, and past-life memories, as well as stories of creating magic circles in the woods and other spellwork. The section covering the psychedelic visions she’s had while on sinsemilla honey is particularly trippy. Fallingstar’s husband and children also play crucial roles in the stories, including many family camping trips where she had spiritual awakenings. Readers into witchcraft will find much to enjoy in this touching and humorous memoir. (May)
Life Goals Magazine
Broth from the Cauldron: A Wisdom Journey through Everyday Magic by Cerridwen Fallingstar
Throughout her life, Cerridwen Fallingstar has gathered plenty of wisdom and is ready to share her anecdotes and personal beliefs with those feeling a bit lost in life. Telling the story of her life and her personal transformation to a spiritual being, Broth from the Cauldron details what it means to leave a world of denial behind and embrace a new kind of awareness. For anyone interested in personal growth, this new non-fiction book will show you the way to finding a better version of yourself.
Broth from the Cauldron is a collection of “teaching stories,” a literary Wiccan soup for the soul. It is a distillation of the wisdom Cerridwen Fallingstar has gathered from her journey through life, and from her forty years as a Shamanic teacher and Wiccan Priestess. At turns poignant and humorous, it chronicles her trajectory from a Republican cold war upbringing to Pagan Priestess, offering a portrait of a culture growing from denial to awareness. Accessible to any audience interested in personal growth, Broth from the Cauldron is for anyone who’s ever stood at the crossroads wishing a faery godmother would come along and show them the path.
A Wiccan woman reflects on her lifetime of magic in her thoughtful memoir Broth from the Cauldron.
Cerridwen Fallingstar’s charming memoir Broth from the Cauldron is full of anecdotes about everyday magic, spirituality, love, and loss.
As a child growing up in an agnostic household, Fallingstar felt a sense of connection to the natural world, beginning when she befriended a tarantula at age three. Her shared childhood memories are colored by premonitions and past-life memories. In graduate school, while covering the trial of a woman accused of telling fortunes, that early interest began to feed into her eventual life’s work as a participant in an often misunderstood practice.
Made up of personal essays that meander through time, Fallingstar’s memoir explores sacred aspects of her everyday life. Its depictions of parenting, friendship, and love are delightful; the warmth of her relationships comes through, especially in her expressed desire to protect loved ones.
Fallingstar covers spiritual experiences like healing an injured dolphin, having a bear pace around her sacred space, and dreaming of her husband before they met. Her life story is constructed more as a labyrinth than as having followed a straight line. It’s an effective arrangement, made in the way that life is navigated, with Fallingstar not always knowing the importance or outcome of a moment while it’s happening.
Lighthearted accounts, as of mistaking a family dog swimming in the ocean for a baby seal, or of using stones to manifest a Volkswagen bus, help to keep the book accessible. Poignant explorations consider the power of ancient trees for healing and the guilt and pain surrounding the death of a spouse. All of these pieces combine to illuminate Fallingstar’s Wiccan way of life, which is playful and openhearted: “Child-self, the wide-eyed, innocent part that believes magic is not only possible but inevitable, is essential for the practice of magic.”
Fallingstar’s writing is conversational and welcoming, encouraging introspection. Her entertaining stories illustrate deeper truths about how others should be treated, regarding the wisdom of animals, and about the power of intuition. The book’s sense of innocence is strong even during more difficult accounts, as when it covers instances of grief, abuse, and the desire for revenge. Insights about accepting hardships and still seeing the beauty that is everywhere enrich the reading experience, which comes to feel like it’s about more than one person’s story. Fallingstar suggests ways for others to live their own spiritual lives, in tune with the earth, nature, and all its creatures.
A Wiccan reflects on her lifetime of magic in her thoughtful memoir Broth from the Cauldron, a text full of guidance for living a more spiritual life.
Reviewed by Sarah White
White as Bone, Red as Blood: The Fox Sorceress
White as Bone, Red as Blood: The Storm God
Midwest Book Review, 11/9/09
The rise of the Samurai in Japan was not a peaceful occurrence. “White as Bone, Red as Blood” is a fantasy set back in Japan of hundreds of years ago as the clans of the Heike and Genji battle each other for control of the nation. Seiko Fujiwara, a potential sorceress, may just hold the key to the salvation of her country. But fulfilling the prophecy is never an easy thing. “White as Bone, Red as Blood” is an interesting and excellent read for fantasy fans with an interest in ancient Japan.
Exquisite and elegantly crafted, White as Bone, Red as Blood provides the reader with a vivid, eye-opening look into the inner workings of a vaunted ancient culture. Chronicling everything from love affairs to political intrigue to gruesome warfare to mystical enchantments, Cerridwen Fallingstar’s sweeping tale paints a fantastical, yet realistic picture of a unique culture unlike any other in the history of civilization. With superbly crafted characters and riveting action, White as Bone is sure to have readers reading and re-reading passage after passage-leaving them with indelible impressions they won’t forget.
An engaging, highly recommended offering from a promising new literary talent.
The author, Cerridwen Fallingstar, has woven an intricate tale of treachery and love that is so realistic, it feels as if the reader is actually a living witness to the tale. What I found most intriguing, is the fact that the author draws upon her own experiences as a shaman and time-traveler to this past life where the story of Seiko was unfolded to her. Because of this first-hand view, coupled with intense research, the author was able to write the story with amazing clarity and a level of detail that held me enthralled from beginning to end. It is historical fiction at its very best, depicting a time and era in history rich with conflict and emotion.
–The Historical Novel Review
“Cerridwen Fallingstar’s second historical novel, ‘White as Blood, Red as Bone: The Fox Sorceress’, is by far one of the best reads to come along in a while, historic fiction or otherwise. …the book has what any reader wants in a story: love, deceit, betrayal, murder, passion and even erotica. The ending will leave readers thirsty for the sequel,White as Bone, Red as Blood: The Storm God, due early next spring.”
–San Francisco Book Review, October 2009
If you’d like a good read that isn’t the usual mass-marketed pulp, particularly if you like interesting, well-rounded and engaging female main characters, pick this one up.
Historical Novel Review
… an enchanting tale of a young Japanese woman coming into her power in an age of transition.
Fallingstar writes with such gentle yet skillful brushstrokes, she leaves you feeling as if you’d been gazing at an exquisite display of cherry blossom petals, softly falling where they may.
An added treat is the delicate and beautifully wrought poetry.
Where so many writers weave in clumsy verse needed to support the tale, Fallingstar’s poetry enriches and enhances the text. Some of her poetry stayed with me for days…
Lips a bridge of flowers
Over the dark abyss….
Can such a fall be risked?
As for the love scenes, Fallingstar depicts sexuality with taste and a freshness that is uplifting as well as erotic.
The story captured me in the first pages, and I didn’t want to put it down until finished… and not even then.
Cerridwen Fallingstar is a writer to keep an eye on. I find myself eagerly awaiting the sequel, White As Bone, Red As Blood: The Storm God. Luckily, to tide us over are Fallingstar’s previously-published books.
Very highly recommended!
–Silver Chalice e-zine
This is such a beautiful book. I started it and finished it in one day. I couldn’t put it down. Cerridwen Fallingstar certainly has a way with words. Her writing style and skill at storytelling are beyond description.
I highly recommend this book to all women but with the warning to be prepared to be swept away by the excellent narrative all the way to the last page. I am looking forward to the sequel
Book review by Dawn Thomas
The Midwest Book Review wrote of it: “The rise of the Samurai in Japan was not a peaceful occurrence…. Seiko Fujiwara, a potential sorceress, may just hold the key to the salvation of her country. But fulfilling the prophecy is never an easy thing. White as Bone, Red as Blood is an interesting and excellent read ….”
The Japan Times reviewer reported that: “The Heian Period is portrayed as balanced and civilized before the onslaught of the samurai and the overthrow of the emperor by the Kamakura shogunate. The history of Japanese religion forms a large part of the story: Shinto gods (kami), Fujiyama, the sun goddess Amaterasu, tanuki and Inari deities all have narrative space. The author imagines a mostly realistic 12th-century Japan … contrasting the world of the court, poetry and tradition with that of superstition, fancy and ritual.”
Apex Reviews had this to say about the first volume:
Exquisite and elegantly crafted, White As Bone, Red As Blood provides the reader with a vivid, eye-opening look into the inner workings of a vaunted ancient culture. Chronicling everything from love affairs to political intrigue to gruesome warfare to mystical enchantments, Cerridwen Fallingstar’s sweeping tale paints a fantastical, yet realistic picture of a unique culture unlike any other in the history of civilization. With superbly crafted characters and riveting action, White As Bone is sure to have readers reading and re-reading passage after passage — leaving them with indelible impressions they won’t long forget.
The Historical Novel Review
By Sichirollo Patzer
White as Bone, Red as Blood: The Fox Sorceress is much more than a vivid portrayal about a turbulent period in Japanese history. It is a gentle coming of age story, one that explores sexuality in all its forms, and the passions of relationships of all kinds. The author, Cerridwen Fallingstar, has woven an intricate tale of treachery and love that is so realistic, it feels as if the reader is actually a living witness to the tale.
What I found most intriguing, is the fact that the author draws upon her own experiences as a shaman and time-traveler to this past life where the story of Seiko was unfolded to her. Because of this first hand view, coupled with intense research, the author was able to write the story with amazing clarity and a level of detail that held me enthralled from beginning to end. It is historical fiction at its very best, depicting a time and era in history rich with conflict and emotion.
By Denver Alternative Religious Examiner, Michelle Cole
One of the books I previously reviewed and shared with you was a book that helped me recognize the current path I am following; that up until that time had remained hidden from my sight. The book is Cerridwen Fallingstar’s memory of her previous life as Fiona McNair in 16th century Scotland: The Heart of the Fire. Reading her book was like remembering something I had lost and had always missed without knowing exactly what it was. It felt like ‘coming home’ as I read about Fiona’s life. I could see the story vividly n my mind and felt the emotions as raw as if I were in her shoes. Cerridwen’s artfully sensual writing wakens my imagination so easily and in this case opened in me a curiosity for the familiarity I felt to her description of a world alive with Magic.
White as Bone, Red as Blood is the first in a 2-part series on the life of Seiko Fujiwara in 12th century Japan, another previous live of Cerridwen’s. Soon after the release of her second novel I had soaked my senses with visions of cherry blossoms under a full moon, the spices of personally blended incense, the beauty of painted silk on porcelain skin and the sorrow of innocence betrayed. Once more Cerridwen had carried my imagination into another place and time; creating for me the experience of life at Court in 12th century Japan. The sensual nature of her writing is easily nurtured in the sexual experiences of Seiko, who is the daughter to a Priestess of Inari: deity of abundance and sorcery. She dutifully places her role in life above her personal desires, wishing to fulfill her destiny with courage and pride once she accepts it.
***** NO LESS THAN FIVE STARS
B. Davis “crazy about books” (Beautiful Northwest USA)
This beautiful book deserves no less than 5 stars. It is so elegantly written that the reader feels an instant connection with the story and can’t let it go until the last word is read. Set in twelfth-century Japan, it takes the reader into the world of royalty, war, the quest for great power, and love. It’s a tale that will not let you go.”
*****LOVED THIS BOOK
By Mizdeegz (Salt Lake City)
Dec. 24, 2009
I was so excited to see that Cerridwen Fallingstar has this new series. I adore The Heart of the Fire by her. My favorite thing about her novels is that they are based on real past life experiences, the juicy little bits history forgets or refuses to share with us about those times. Her love scenes are so real they bring tears to my eyes. You KNOW she was there, and as a person who has had similar experiences with my own past life memories, I am so thankful she has the beautiful spirit and courage to state that fact in the introduction to this book. It is inspiring…some of us KNOW in our souls how things happened, but there are things we remember that are lost forever except when they are written down by authors such as Ms. Fallingstar. Very, very enjoyable, passionate and beautiful and I loved the descriptive details, the colors, textures, scents and tastes. Obviously well researched, then with her added personal experience, so much better. I loved Heart of the Fire, and although White as Bone, Red as Blood describes an entirely different culture, the actual writing in this novel is above and beyond that one.
*****A LOOK AT JAPAN
By Amos Lassen (Little Rock, Arkansas)
“White as Bone Red as Blood” is a passionate and elegant book that looks at the twelfth century in Japan. Told by Seiko Fujiwara, a poet and sorceress, we have a tale of love and passion, sex and secrecy and war.
Twelfth century Japan springs to life and the characters are very realistically drawn. I found this to be a wonderful read and the book was difficult to close.
Heady mix of passion and elegance
By Aanel Victoria, (USA), Sept. 2 2009
In this deliciously absorbing book, set in 12th century Japan, the protagonist Seiko is a young, brilliant, talented poet and healer whose uncommonly eventful life takes her from the wilds of her sorceress mother’s temple, to studies of poetry and eloquence with her erudite father, to captivity in a dangerously abusive marriage, to the height of luxury and power as a lady of the Empress’s court. It is in the Kyoto palace, as a friend and confidante of the Empress, that Seiko’s life unfolds fully – as a renowned poet, as a court healer/priestess, and also in the ways of love, passion, and romance.
12th century Japanese life comes vividly alive in Fallingstar’s writing – not in a quaint or intellectual portrayal, but as living, breathing people and events that feel so real and so yummy you feel their presence deeply and think about them long afterwards. I finished the book in a few days, missing an entire night’s sleep to complete it (yes, it’s that unputdownable), and have since been re-reading my favorite passages.
This one-of-a-kind book is deliciously hard to describe adequately, as it takes the reader from the height of beauty and eloquence to the depths of passion and desire, from the subtle planes of love and poetry to occasional life-threatening danger and suspense -– all the while treating the reader to a fascinating distant time and culture that is alien, and yet so tangibly real and inviting.
Heart of the Fire Reviews:
“Cerridwen Fallingstar is a brilliant writer. The power of the Goddess shines through all that she does.”
In the business of writing, few authors can successfully write about their own experiences and have them accepted by the reading public. Very little has been published by authors who were actually writing about experiences they had in another lifetime. Taylor Caldwell claimed to have lived her own novels, but nobody really believed her. Fallingstar, on the other hand, augments her past-life experience with meticulous research into the period and a stunning use of detail. There are no anachronisms in The Heart of the Fire. A vividly written and compelling book that is next to impossible to put down.
“Ms. Fallingstar’s writing style is so captivating that you find yourself totally engrossed by the first chapter. I simply could not put this book down. I felt not so much as if I were reading a book, but that I was experiencing Fiona’s life with her, as she did. A MUST READ! Highly recommended.”
“The author brings us an exciting novel filled with edge of the seat adventure which is hard to put down.”
–Omega New Age Directory
“The Heart of the Fire is an unforgettable book, compelling the reader, arousing passionate emotions on every level. Read it and you will laugh, love, cry and remember.”
–Green Egg Magazine
“Fallingstar is a consummate story-teller who brings her characters to life in all their fullness and complexity. She lets the characters define themselves through their relationships, especially those involving Fiona and her lovers—Annie, her young gypsy friend; Sean, the son of the village laird; and Alain, the magical wandering minstrel. I cannot remember the last time that a book moved me so deeply.”
“The Heart of the Fire is a gripping and disturbing look at a vanished world and way of life. The story of Fiona and Annie, their families, Alain the minstrel, the dour priest, the half-pagan nobility and the other people of the village is a story that deserves to be heard.”
“The characters in this book are rich and full. They cover a wide spectrum and are all completely believable. And the writing is brilliant. The love scenes are the most erotic I have ever read, and the pace and timing of the story are flawless. Highly recommended.”
–Sage Woman Magazine
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