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Vila reads from Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
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Pulsing to the rhythm of motherly devotion, these tales will break your heart, make you laugh out loud, and keep you on the edge of your chair from beginning to end.
Excerpt from Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
I changed my tactic and appealed directly to Cara, reciting her favorite stories, repeating them the way she always liked, waiting for her to barge into the telling the way she used to do. Between gasps I crooned snatches of the lullabies that Mother and I had sung as I'd held her in my lap. I reminded her of how noisily she had sucked at my breast, how we'd laughed at her voracity, how we'd smoothed her feathery hair and kissed away the salt of perspiration from her brow as she drifted into full-bellied sleep. I crammed bits of nursery songs into my sobs and retold bedtime stories. As I dug and wept I recounted all the tales I could remember of the years that we had shared. I lost myself in them. "Remember, Cara? Please remember!" I had a mantra. I had a chant. I had a prayer to help me dig as my tears and blood pooled on the ground.
I think it took some time for me to realize that I'd stopped digging, that my arms were so tired that they lay flaccid and useless by my sides, that I was slowly oozing into the earth. And, when I finally understood that I was in the soil's jaws, I was simply too tired to care. Still breathing fairy songs, still whispering my mantra, still praying to Cara to hear me and remember, I let myself be sucked under, glad to give up my life for the sake of my daughter. I could no longer keen, could no longer wail. My voice had gone to whimpering as the ground closed warmly over my body and I found myself inside.
How comforting was the seduction of the loam, so dark and quiet, save for the moans. Were they mine? Yes, I think they were, though they resembled the plaints of a wounded beast more than a human sound. Curled into the mud shroud between the olive roots, arm and leg muscles aching, wounded feet and hands throbbing, my head complaining dully with the rhythm of my heart, I lay, and for a long time I moaned and prayed. But, as I succumbed to the enchantment of the dark, my prayer words grubbed into burrows of oblivion. They'd become so heavy. I was relieved to be rid of them. Eventually even my last invocation, my daughter's name, wormed away from me. For a very long time I listened only to my moans, woozing on the trance of their monotony. And then my groaning withered to dust. I was so weary, so very weary. I could no longer bear the weight of my breath; so I surrendered to the dark and let my breath go in a long silent sigh. I did not bother to inhale again.
The dark was as blank as a cadaver 's eyes. Freed of all thought, of all care for survival, unable even to remember Cara's name, I floated, light as ash, in the narrow grave.
To see and hear Vila reading this passage, click https://youtu.be/VaX1XDguvSo
An excellent must read book. Full of adventure and excitement.
— Lynne R
On facebook, Helen M. Collins writes:
If you read just one story from Hidden Passages, you MUST read Gita's Journey. It will move you in ways you'd never have believed.
Dear sister, just wanted to tell you that I recently finished "Hidden Passages", your wonderful book and loved every word! I read it voraciously. Beautiful stories, filling me with awe and, sometimes tears. Thank you for this wonderful book! Much love!
— Kerritwyn Ceannaire
I have this and it is very inspiring
— Willow LaMunyon
Find the treasure in Hidden Passages!
I LOVED this book! Vila SpiderHawk's story telling is spiritual, insightful and meaningful. Her descriptive writing brings her characters to life in a creative way where I didn't want this book to end. Each tale was woven in a beautiful way and each stood on their own as strong stories yet all fit together as well. I highly recommend this book, especially to women interested in empowering, magical stories and mythology!
My copy of Hidden Passages is old and worn, as any well loved book will become over time. Your work inspired me at a time in my life when I was at a crossroads, and I've channeled that inspiration into four books of my own, very much loving the path I took at that crossroads. So consider those hugs I send well earned.
— Adrienne Veronese
Hidden Passages is an excellent read! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to any woman.
— Teresa Sykes Boswell
About Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones Loreen writes on facebook: Loreen Silvarahawk shared Alice Exley's post.
A book by a superb author - a book that one can enjoy reading for many years to come!!!
Susan writes on Amazon: Susan Price-James I bought "Hidden Passages," for my Android Kindle app. Loving Vila SpiderHawk's writing style! Can't wait to finish this book, so I can begin reading the 1st book in Vila's "Forest Song" Trilogy! Looking forward to collecting Vila's cookbooks, too!
Thanx for sharing your writing gift w/the world, Vila!
Peggy Hicks writes of Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones:
In these times of my life I need to go back to the Crone's stories to see
the perspective of life. Thank you for writing this amazing book Vila.
This one sets me straight every time. In a time where things are so messed
up, Crones makes you see that it is vital to love yourself for what you are. Quit
trying to rail against your nature.
Sharon Beller writes on Facebook-- Sharon Beller oh yeah!!! Hidden Passages is a definite must....you will read it over and over, my very favorite!!
On facebook, Loreen Silvarahawk comments: I love the stories in Hidden Passages and have reread it many, many times.
Maggie Brown writes on facebook: "Reading Hidden Passages and I love it!!!!"
Ohhh dear Vila I now know where your name comes from:) though I know many names of God & Goddess I smiled when I came to the part of the book [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] that told about Vila. I am only 9% through the book of yours. I can hardly put it down. You are so very gifted my friend
— Janyce Godwin
Of Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones, Ava Gayl MacKinnon writes on Facebook: " I DO reread it at least twice a year It's the kind of book I never tire of reading and the lessons in it are so important.
you would be right.... I'm reading "Tales to Honor the Crones" AGAIN......it gives me such comfort and takes me to a time when things were different. This book really does take you from the mundane to the heartwarming! A magickal escape from everyday worries.
I have to tell you that last night as i settled in with Mima Po, i took the most wonderful trip back in time to the street i grew up on, the very same one you described, the neighbors, and yes we even had what they called DP's then. It didn't matter to us kids though, we were all the same. we had the Medina's, the Bonsignore's, the Hordedezchecks, the Harris's, the Mull's (us) the Wing's...etc. As you can see it was a real melting pot. And we even had our own Mima Po!.....Thank you! You gave me such wonderful memories one tumbling right after another.
— Sharon Beller
This is a REALLY Good book! You learn a lot from its happy and sad and sometimes mysterious moments..
— by: randy alford
my rating for this book is 5 stars all the way
— by: jules moon on Fe
I love Hidden Passages. It is an awesome book. I think you can't beat the price.
— Patti Wiser
Ms SpiderHawk, my mother passed recently, and, after I took care of emptying her house and all the rest, I had a moment to look through her Kindle. She had many books there, but I was drawn to your Hidden Passages. I sat down and started reading, and before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face. Yet I felt so peaceful. I found those stories so comforting. I just wanted you to know that I am so grateful to have found this book. Thank you so much for writing it.
— Jenni Stein
Oh I love Hidden passages!! it is awesome.. I think everyone should read it.. It is so eye opening to our role in life, in all aspects
— Patti Wiser
Hidden Passages is my most favorite of all her works. I read it over and over. It gives me hope and lifts me up when I am so low I can taste the defeat. Thank you Vila I love your work!
— Peggy Jay Hicks
Donna Lee As you know Mima Po is still my favorite story, Mima taught Jody about love & tatting. Lol. Jody learned about cruelty, humanity, and the truth about the camps. Mima had a difficult life. the part about Anna made me cry. This will always be my favorite story. Jody saw with her heart how special Mima's love was
This [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] was one of my favorite books! If you haven't read one of Vila SpiderHawk's books, you are really missing out on just how far she can take you inside a book and the characters within. A must read, IMHO, from one of my favorite authors!
— Teresa Sykes Tanner
This is a REALLY Good book! You learn a lot from it. It's both happy sad and sometimes mysterious.
— randy alford
being a crone myself i find this book very insightful .it makes you realize its not so bad reaching the last part of your journey that life still has meaning and time to enjoy!
— karen bowman
I was blown away by the stories in this book. Vila has an enchanting way with language and takes you right into the story. I could hardly put the book down as I enjoyed the journey with the women in each story.
I recommend this book to every woman whether she is in her Maiden, Mother or Crone Stage! Blessed be!Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
I love Mima Po. It just shows how wrong people can be about a person. It also shows how much love Mima had in her heart, even though others snubbed her.
She had a great sense of humor too. Mima had a happy soul and chose the path of love, instead of acting the way others treated her.
This story was encouragement to love yourself, and don't worry what other thinks about you. To thine self be true. That is why I love this story the most.
— Donna Lee No
Sharon Beller@patti this [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] is the most fantastic book when you read it you will know that time travel is possible because Vila transports you to other eras. who says you can never go back?.......
Reading Vila SpiderHawk's Hidden Passages . ITS GREAT. check her page on facebook it will take you to her site 99 cents most formats.
Sharon Beller be prepared to laugh, cry, love and smile as you read these books. They will take you back to places that are dim memories and bring them to life again, treasures that you have all but forgotten....Our Vila has a special talent for filling your heart with joy while teaching you life lessons.
Vila, your books are incredible! I haven't read them all yet, but I loved what I read. I can actually visualize Mima Po. I guess it is because everyone shunned & stereotyped her.
Yet never knew how much love this woman had inside of her. The story is filled with magic and love. I think that will always be my favorite Vila. Hello Suzie Q.
— Donna Lee
I bought a Kindle device just because of your books! And I got Hidden Passages! I have to tell you that I am thrilled with my Kindle! I am also thrilled with the book! Now I can get so many books at stupidly low prices, including the rest of yours! THANK YOU! And thank you for writing such a wonderful book! I know I'm going to read this many, many times. It's just a gem!
— Cynthia Grover
This book brings us back to our childhood and to the wonderful things we've forgotten as the years passed. It makes us happy to be in that "crone" stage and perhaps passing along some of the same things that Matka Lasu did, to our next generations. Vila, this book is my all time favorite I've read it over and over, as it's a place of comfort and joy........
— By moonwillow
Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones was an awesome, mesmerizing book. After I read it, I had to go outside and do some planting before I could do anything else. The book is so absorbing! You wrap such intrigue and mystery around the characters that it takes a while to loosen the web you weave. It's hard to leave the experience of the book to return to the real world. Wado [thank you] for this book on strong women.
— Loreen Silvarahawk
I personally have this book. I just love it! All the stories touched me in different ways. Vila can get to the heart of the matter through her stories and help you deal with things you are going through. Especially emotionally. Crones have a lot of wisdom, memories and feelings. Even women who are not in their crone years should read this book and take a different look at the crones in their lives.
— by Ravenwize
If I had to call Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones something, I might say its a 101 course in spirituality. Its a book of short stories that is so easy to read. I haven't been reading novels for awhile and I started with this book and so ever glad I did. There are also different traditions within the book with different ideas of spirituality. I highly recommend this book!
— Valerie Sondys
if you are seeking comfort and enjoyment, Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is a must. There is nothing better than grabbing a throw, a cuppa, and this book! it will take you back to your childhood when things were innocent and time was different. No cell phones, very little T.V. and no road rage, a time when hop-scotch and roller skating were exciting, and when people were just kind. Let this book fold you in it's pages with heartwarming tales. Remember the crones of your life and then honor the crone you have become.
— Sharon Beller
What an empowering book Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is! I have read it twice now, and each time I did I felt stronger, more powerful. The women in this book have taught me that, no matter hard life is, we have the strength to overcome. I LOVE this book! I can't recommend it highly enough!
— Mary Simmons
I LOVE this book - I like to buy the ebooks to support authors I know - BUT this book tugged at my heart soul. each story was a brand new experience that took me to a different place and time - I felt the characters pains and happiness - BEST READ OF 20011
— jules moon
I could not put this book down! Even as I finished a story, I simply had to go on to the next. SpiderHawk's characters are like friends! You really care about each one of them. And her stories are loaded with surprises! You never know what's going to happen next! As for her writing style, well, she is a master of the English language. I can't recommend this book highly enough!
Vila, I love your Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones! It is wonderful and inspiring. I wish I could run out a get all the others right now. When I start reading your stories,
I can't put the book down. The characters just draw me into the story and I have to find out what is going to happen next. I don't sleep much when I'm reading your work. LOL!
— Dee Melton
5.0 out of 5 stars True to Heart, September 22, 2011
This review is from: Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones (Kindle Edition)
This a wonderful spiritual wise book,written by an obviously lovely and loving woman. The wisdom and truth brought to light is amazing and makes me want to buy and read everything she's ever written. Dearhearts,this is a must read by everyone no matter what part of your journey you are on.A+++++++++
— By Lizzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Passages Tales to honor the Crones, September 20, 2011
This review is from: Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones (Paperback)
I absolutely LOVE this book, I am fortunate enough to be able to take my time and read it over and over like it should be! I will be buying as many of Miss Vila's books as I can. I am sure they all are just as inspiring and heartwarming! Miss Vila I will get the cookbook you suggested for my Mom for yule!
A very talented woman and author!
— K. Jachetta "Wynde"
My dear sweet Vila! How wonderful to hear from you! I have this book [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones]. I got it several years ago. My husband is terminally ill and because of your book I am able to understand a little more his passing. Thank you.
— Karen Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Approachable Archetypes, April 19, 2011
By Peace Dreamers - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones (Paperback)
Rarely do you find as approachable expressions of these archetypes, engaging, real and believable. Hidden passages was a pleasure to read and an honor to recommend.
"Vila, your books make me cry my eyes out. Then cheer, then want to run & hold my children tight. You are such an artist, the Goddess has given you a talent that is given out once in a life time. You made me miss my Grandma so much! .Each story touches a new place in my heart.I feel I know these people and cherish them. Bravo!Bravo!"
Rarely do you find as approachable expressions of these archetypes, engaging, real and believable. Hidden passages was a pleasure to read and an honor to recommend.
— Rhonda House
"I just finished Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones, and what a wonderful book this is! The book is comprised of eight short stories, each celebrating women passing through middle age and into the golden years. Ms. SpiderHawk’s prose is poetic and her character development is amazing. Blending folklore, legend, and magic, Ms. SpiderHawk honors the journey each woman must make, reminding us of our value and worth not only as women, but as experienced women wizened by our years and ready to pass on ancient knowledge to those coming along behind. With this book, Ms. SpiderHawk manages to take a time in a woman’s life that’s often fraught with discomfort and doubt and turn it instead into a time of beauty."
— Melinda Clayton, author of Appalachian Justice
Hidden Passages is my favorite book. I read it over and over. I love the very first story of Mima Po. I can't help it, it's my favorite. I can see the people, smell the smells, and feel the room around me. I'm taking 3 books with me to my daughter’s for the 3 weeks I'm gone to help with the new baby—Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, and your book, Forest Song: Finding Home. I’ll have good company.
— Amber Paschal
Oh my...I don't know what to say.
I just finished Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones and my heart is swollen with pride, aching with empathy, gushing with pride. Your book is simply amazing. As you know I have printed out the next one [Forest Song: Finding Home] and I am thrilled at the prospect of beginning it tomorrow morning as I take another bus ride! Thank you for the emotions, understanding and beauty you have added to this world. And a special thank you for the new way I am looking at hot flashes! Shiro Shine
Review as seen on http://www.bookbum.org
If I would have known Vila SpiderHawk’s Hidden Passages was going to be so enchanting, I would have cracked it open as soon as I received it in the mail. Having a145 things on my mind upon receipt, however, I merely smelled the pages, and placed it neatly in my bookshelf until recently, when I picked it up and became immediately entranced with SpiderHawk’s smooth prose and spot-on word choice.
Vila SpiderHawk lives in a log cabin with her husband in a Pennsylvanian wood. After an interview with her on my column at Examiner, I discovered that even armed with a BA in Women’s Studies and French, she has, since the old Crayola days, always loved to write. And she’s good at it.
Hidden Passages is an anthology of eight terrific tales of discovery, beauty, enchantment, and enlightenment. On a whole, it could be called a celebration of women, as many of the stories are centered around said gender, but I found myself swept off my feet more by the magic of the stories, and the ease with which SpiderHawk captured the climate of each tale, as though she were experiencing it first hand. The prose flowed so smoothly, it was clear that SpiderHawk let the stories tell themselves, which spoke to me as a reader.
The procession of each story nicely dovetails with the ages of her characters, starting out with a story about a little girl, and ending with one about a fifty-something. Every tale in Hidden Passages encapsulates a journey of some sort, whether it be spiritual, fearful, powerful, morally instructive or meant to lift the soul.
From a literary standpoint, my favorite was the story of Heraulta, a chapter of Maiden, Mother, Crone. Heraulta’s story was a three-part series, where her granddaughter Cara goes through a journey to womanhood, her daughter goes on a horrific journey to find her daughter, and Heraulta experiences a journey of her own, as an elder Crone. While the journeys of each woman here unique in their own right, Heraulta’s is the most beautifully told. The narrative immediately matures into one as descriptive and poignant as that of a Bronte novel.
“Wrapped in the lace chill of fog with only the mist-blurred moon to guide our way, Donnata and I discuss our dreams in voices as intimate as the night. The dreams are often murky and complex, churning in and around themselves, and our pace slows as we shine this thought or that into the roiling brew.”
From an adventurous standpoint, my favorite was Nanu’s Story, which told the story of Tichu, an Unchosen One among the On-Ne tribe because she could not easily bear children. The journey Tichu takes from losing her first child to spinning large bales of cotton-like material to shelter people all over the land, and confronting the dominant male hunters who shunned her continuously is both heartfelt and inspiring. It took me back to old bedtime warrior stories from my own youth, and kept me entranced for the better part of an evening.
It was hard to choose, however, among the beautifully crafted pagan tales. Each was more inspiring than the next, and instilled a kind of warm, fuzzy feeling in the soul. When a book can do that to you, it’s a keeper.
Review as seen on http://the-winfields-7.blogspot.com/2010/11/book-review-hidden-passages-by-villa.html
Title: Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
Author: Villa SpiderHawk
Summary: "Brimming with hope and beautifully written, these eight stories of women helping women and girls through the challenges and transitions of life will surprise you with every turn of the page.
In Passages, a girl moves through a rites of passage into womanhood, both symbolic and literal, among her tribe of watching women, bonding with the other women as well as with the feminine in nature, bonding with the divine, and erasing boundaries between all.
These are women as women should be: unafraid of living, unafraid of expressing their femininity, unafraid of aging, unafraid of facing up to their own fears and weaknesses and transforming them into strengths, unafraid to confront those who would deny them their place, simply - unafraid. We should all wish to be such terrific crones."
This is a great book that girls and women alike should read!!! There are 8 stories that encompass different cultures and different women. They are beautifully written and are the kind of stories we want our daughters to read and embrace. The women in these stories are strong, brave, and unafraid to follow their hearts. I don't want to spoil any of the endings but some stories will make you laugh, while others make you cry.
My favorite story is the first one "Mima Po." Jody like all of her friends is afraid of the old lady who lives down the block. She is dark skinned and different from the other women on the block. Kids and adults alike steer clear of her while calling her a witch behind her back. But with a small act of kindness, Jody forges a bond with the old woman and becomes friends with her. Mima Po teaches her things that other adults would laugh at.
This book is the perfect Christmas gift for your mother, grandmother, or any other strong woman you may know!! A must read!!!!
This book is a must read in my mind - the stories are an exploration of what it means to be a woman and transcend time, space and worlds to delve deeply into your soul. My favorite story was the first one - the tale spoke to me of overcoming stereotypes, objections and small-mindedness to find true value in human beings and shared the sameness of womanhood despite what others would see as obvious differences that should keep people apart.
The other story that spoke directly to me was that of Tichu in Nanu's story - a woman who braved many hardships and risked significantly to bring learning and health to her people and choice to the women in her tribe. This is a tale of courage and selflessness that is beautifully written.
All of the stories have wonderful messages for girls, women and crones of all ages, and it also reinforced for me the importance of collecting memories and stories from all generations to celebrate the lives of family, of women and of self.
If you have a hard to buy for woman on your holiday list, one who loves reading, than this is the book you should get for her!
Dear Ms. SpiderHawk,
I bought your books yesterday, and I want to tell you that you are absolutely UNKIND! I was up all night reading Hidden Passages. I could not go to bed until I had read the last page! WOW! What a book! Now I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the Forest Song books! I think I’ll start Finding Home earlier in the day though. LOL! At 37 I am getting too old for all nighters! Seriously, thank you so much for Hidden Passages. Once I’m through reading the next two (and making some of those wonderful recipes from your cookbook) I’m going to have to go back and read Hidden Passages again. I was so exhausted by the time I got to the last story that I know I missed some delicious prose! You have become my favorite author!
— Mindy Schneider
HIDDEN PASSAGES TALES TO HONOR THE CRONES
Vila's gift of storytelling is nothing short of superb. Her books should be required reading for all girls, women too!
Vila is amazingly gifted as a writer and a storyteller. She weaves a magic web around the reader, telling the story's so well and so vividly that you can see the places, the people and animals, hear their voices, smell the scent of every plant, every blade of grass. You taste the food, feel the texture of anything that is touched. You rejoice with the people in the book, and you also cry with them. She makes you feel that they have become your dearest friends. Once you start reading you will not be able to put any of her books down until you finish them!
This book covers time periods from ancient to current, includes many different cultures, and many different rites of passage from maiden to mother to crone.
I highly recommend ALL of her books to everyone. These are books you will savour and keep. You will not want to give them away. FIVE STARS TO MS. SPIDERHAWK
I just finished the first chapter/story in Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones and I must say it is awesome! The characters are so clearly defined in such a short space! I couldn't help being drawn into their world. I am only sorry that it took me so long to get around to reading this book. Your writing is so easy to get into and the story wrapped around me like a warm blanket. Thank you for this beautiful book Vila!
— Shiro Shine
~ HELLO VILA, I WANTED TO TELL YOU I FINISHED MY COPY OF " HIDDEN PASSAGES" AND ITS AWESOME!!! IT IS DEFINITLY A BOOK THAT YOU CANT PUT DOWN. I AM TOTALLY GETTING THE REST OF YOUR COLLECTION~ THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS BOOK, MY DEAR FRIEND~PHIRE
I was so happy when Hidden Passages arrived so quickly today! It was just mailed from nearby. I read some tonight and I've thought about it all evening. I think it’s already teaching me so much! It’s such a breathtaking work. I want to read it very slowly. It’s so profoundly majestic and wise beyond by place in life. It seems like you’re this high mountain and I'm looking so far up to even see a tiny amount of your wisdom. It’s so humbling (in a good way)
After reading part of your book I can only say I'm so in awe of your work! You’re so wise! Well, I just wanted to tell you how stunned I am by your writings. It’s so breathtaking. I'm so looking forward to reading more of Hidden Passages and then all the other books.
— Jon Di Benedetto
Thank you so much for signing my copy of Hidden Passages [Tales to Honor the Crones]. I have to admit that I was slow to get to it. I was saving it for vacation. And I’m glad I did, because it had me from the first page. I literally read it in a single sitting, and now I’m reading it again. I loved it so much that I got a copy for my daughter for Christmas, and she found the same thing. Neither one of us is a reader, so this is quite the compliment to you. This is really a wonderful book. Now I can’t wait to get the first Forest Song book. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with the world!
— Deb Overbrook
As I expected to, I LOVED “Mima Po”, the first story of Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones . It was so touching and meaningful. It literally brought me to tears remembering and missing my grandparents and other elders I’ve lost through the years. I was HOOKED with this first story!
When I moved on to the story “Passages”, I was just amazed at your talent. I just love your writing style and integrity.
I love how you told the same story from three different points of view in “Cara”, “Donnata”, and “Heraulta”. That was a brilliant idea. Your depiction in “Heraulta” of life after death was so imaginative and vivid! I found your concepts enormously inspirational.
At the end of the book I could no longer pace myself. I had to read the last two stories in a single sitting. I just could not put the book down! Those last two stories, while sad, were so full of hope about life after death. Your writing is beautiful and you use such vivid and unique metaphors and symbolism. You're very talented and I hope you keep writing these gems!
— Lauren Curtis
www.LaurenCurtisArt.com (commercial & fine art)
http://www.laurencurtisart.mosaicglobe.com (fine art, photography, art updates)
http://www.laurencurtis.imagekind.com (cards, T-shirts, photography, illustration)
You don’t know me, but I signed up for the free chapter from Hidden Passages on your website and loved it so much that I bought the book. And am I ever glad I did! Each story I read was my favorite (until I read the next story)! I literally stayed up all night and read the entire book in one sitting! Now I have to go back and read it again!
I’ve talked so much about how much I love this book that now my sister wants it. But I won’t lend it to her! This book is MINE! LOL! Instead I’m going to get her one for her birthday. AT LAST an easy gift for her! Thank you for that. And thank you for these magnificent stories.
Now I have to get your other books. If they’re half as good as this one, I know I’ll be thrilled. I’ll just have to pace myself so I don’t have to go sleepless!
Oh, and thank you for the monthly short stories. When I signed up for the chapter, I didn’t realize I’d be getting these other stories too. I just love them! You are an amazing talent, Vila SpiderHawk! And I am so glad I have found your work!
— Emily Dougherty
Mind Fog Reviews
Owner Anastasia Cassella-Young
Hidden Passages by Vila Spiderhawk is a set of small stories about a woman’s milestones in life. For example: birth, child, parent and death. The author pulls you into the storyline with great depth. For instance, you can imagine and almost smell the herbs. You can also feel the character thoughts and feeling in the last short story as she goes through birth to death. It was not what I normally like to read, however, I still love the way the author writes and look forward to reading more books by this author. I would recommend this book to my friends and family.
— Laura Matthews, Reviewer
Dear Ms. SpiderHawk,
I bought your Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones at your signing at the Emporium on Saturday. Well, when I got home I thought I’d just take a little peek to see what was what. And that was it! I was literally up all night reading this book!
Ms. SpiderHawk, this book is genius! The detail, the emotion, the wonderful characters, all made me feel as if I was right there! I actually wrapped a blanket around myself when Donnata was in the land of the snow! I cannot wait to get your other books now, and I regret that I didn’t buy them while I was there. I’d love to have them signed too! What an honor to have met such a wonderful writer!
—Thank you so much! Valerie Simpson
At the moment I'm re-reading Hidden Passages. Vila, this is my third "journey" through the "Hidden Passages" and each journey shows me something new. I just love this book. You know how much pain I get in sometimes and when it gets to be too much, instead of going to the pain medicine I just pick up the book and go "somewhere else" and it's much, much better than dumping more chemicals into my body, and it's a lot more fun. I also have the wonderful experience of learning something else!!!! Sooooo......Thank You my friend!!!!! Ulchdohain
I studied Anthropology in college with lots of reading in the fieldwork vein. It took me to page 200 to realize that you weren't physically collaborating with these women but giving voice to them on a different plane entirely. I was so touched and emotionally invested in their journeys that I feel their stories were too short!
You made me cry!
You are amazingly talented and deep into Mima Po I sent you a huge cosmic hug. I am so thrilled that our paths have crossed.
I don't want this book [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] to end! I am halfway finished and though my eyes are tired (I have terrible glasses!!!), I plan on finishing it today. SpiderHawk's words form pictures in my head, and they are delightful and real. I wish I could create this book into a movie :) I feel as if I have rediscovered myself after reading this book! Thank you again, Rob, from the bottom of my witch heart for waking up my slumbering craft!!! I adore this book and the stories and the storyteller for writing this :)!!!!
I wanted to send some loving light your way. I just finished the most amazing book. My hubby gave it to me for X-mas (I didn't get anything for Yule, darnnit!), and I finished it a little bit ago (it's the 26th). Yup. Couldn't put it down. You know how that goes, right? You start a book that seems as though it was written just specifically for you, with each passage speaking to some aspect of your life or soul, the place you currently walk in your journey, or the circumstances and questions you find in your surroundings at this time. It's always a little bizarre when it happens, but it's enlightening and route changing, often in a good way. Guess what the book was titled? "Hidden Passages, Tales to Honor the Crones". I still have to read your other book, the other gift I received. I hope your holiday was as marvelous as mine! Thank you for your works and words, Vila. They have long been awaited in my heart and are amazing to my spirit! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Peace, light and joy to you and yours!
Merry meet, Vila!
Some friends of mine were at a store in pa. where you were at a signing, and they brought me "hidden passages" which you signed for me (I loved what you signed). I've finished the book and it has only enhanced how I feel about my crone years. I've entered them as I'm sure you also have with the mind of a maiden and the body of a crone. Your book was absolutely wonderful, your command of description and feel, makes it one of those books that you enter into and leave this world behind. I'm passing it on to my sister (but must have it back because of your signature), knowing she will also find herself lost in the magic of entering the life of a crone. I can't wait to be able to buy your "Forest Song: Finding Home"! I am truly looking forward to it. I usually read a good book in one setting, but yours was so good I stretched it out forever because I didn't want to leave it, and when I was done, I realized I didn't have to. Thank you for sharing.
— Blessed be, Sharon Beller
Hidden Passages is a lovely book collection of eight stories that celebrate not only crones, but all women. Rather than creating simple stories that merely tell the tale of single crones, Villa SpiderHawk has skillfully woven the crone theme into stories that include or are told by women of all ages. Some read well as the fiction they are, reaching back into history or incorporating a bit of fantasy.
But the piece I found most moving and beautifully written was the first, titled "Mima Po." I was convinced this was a true story, lovingly remembered and told by someone who lived it. Narrated by an adult looking back on her childhood friendship with a special crone, it reminded me of my own version of Mima Po whom I had known as a young girl. How many of us have known these women?
Mima Po is an elderly woman whom everyone in the neighborhood fears, or dismisses as eccentric, or suggests she is a (gasp!) witch. But a young girl named Jody discovers Mima's true beauty as their unlikely friendship develops.
"Passages," also told in first person, connects a girl from an ancient tribe, who is experiencing her rite of passage from girl to woman, to a modern witch searching for her spiritual name.
The next three pieces are parts of a whole, one story told from the viewpoint of three different females: Cara the maiden; Donnata, her mother; and Heraulta, her grandmother. The separate stages of maiden, mother and crone are played out and illustrated wonderfully in this telling.
"Nanu's Story" reads as an ancient legend. A child learns a valuable lesson from her grandmother who, instead of reacting in anger over a damaged gift, tells the girl a story of Tichu — a woman who changed life for all her tribe when the grandmother was a little girl.
"Gita's Journey" is a poignant story of a grieving mother, unable to let go of her grief and move on until she is forced to look at things by an ethereal old woman she calls Circle Woman.
The last story, "Lavinia" is not necessarily what it seems. Two friends, one of whom is doing research, visit a mysterious old woman named Lavinia in a nursing home. To say much more would be to reveal the twists and turns that lead to a very surprising ending.
As I closed the book I was sorry that I'd come to the end. Though short stories are not always my favorite form of reading, I found myself wanting more of Villa SpiderHawk's work. This is a book I highly recommend for Goddess women to have handy on our shelves so we can pull it out to reread when we want to be both entertained and inspired.
— by Dahti Blanchard
REVIEWS OF HIDDEN PASSAGES: TALES TO HONOR THE CRONES
By Reverend Cathy Rankin,
Vila Spiderhawk’s use of first person in telling her stories allows the reader to know not only the thoughts of her characters but also to intensely feel their feelings and to share their spirit. Her vivid descriptions take the reader into a wonderful world of feminine magic and mystery. The eternal, intimate connection between maid, mother, and crone is intricately and beautifully explored in such a way that it speaks to directly to the souls of women. Spiderhawk truly demonstrates a thorough understanding of the inner workings of the female psyche as it moves through the circle of life. Her stories are endearing and enchanting in a way unique only to her. A must read for women who seek better understanding of their womanhood and for men who truly desire a glimpse of what it means to be female.
President, Church of the Spiral Tree
Review of Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
How appropriate that this book came to me at this time of the year – the time of the Crone (and Sage), the ending of the year. Moreover, this is a wonderful book written in the spirit (and pattern) of folktales while retaining its relevance to modern life. Author Vila SpiderHawk's writing is clear and lucid without losing a rich sense of passion.
Much like Pinkolas’ Women Who Run with the Wolves, Hidden Passages uses storytelling to explore deeper patterns, honoring women of all ages. These are not tales of drifting away from life, as anyone who knows a crone will recognize, but juicy stories of transformation, of loss and of life, of somber reflection and joyful discovery. Lessons are provided for those who look a little deeper, but these are not morality plays, bluntly shoving the point into the readers’ face.
Eight short stories tell the tales of eight wonderfully ordinary women. Full of beauty, and strength, the women take us with them on part of their journey through life. I found the tales to be incredibly evocative, at times coming eerily close to personal experiences (not literally, but in resonance, certainly – and isn’t that a mark of good fiction?).
Entertaining, well-written, and just plain good, Hidden Passages is a wonderful book for women of all ages. Highly recommended! (Note: excerpts from Hidden Passages are available at Ms. SpiderHawk’s website, link below.)
— review by Lisa Mc Sherry
As seen on http://facingnorth.net
I have to tell you that you write settings better than any author that I have ever read and that includes Stephen King and Dean Koontz who both do an excellent job of writing about settings. However, even with some of my favorite authors, I find reading through long passages on setting sometimes gets tedious. I never felt that way while reading any of your stories. Your descriptions of the settings in your stories were amazingly vibrant, so much so that I was completely absorbed with every word. You are a wonderfully talented writer, an artist in verbally painting pictures which I found intriguing.
— Love and Light,Cathy
A wonderful book; I don't believe anyone can read this book without falling in love with it! It will warm your heart. The writer Vila Spiderhawk has a beautiful style of writing all her own. This book should be shared by maidens, mothers and crones everywhere. It is about the Crone and the secrets she has passed along through the years. There are eight short stories each one filled with magick and wisdom. I could not put this book down, and really hated to see it end. It is a must read for any witch, but I recommend it highly to anyone that appreciates a well written book full of inspirational stories! The book covers the relationships of mother, daughter and grandmother and you find yourself thinking of your own family and how you relate! Finally a book that puts the Crone in light she belongs, it is a truly Magikal experience!
Book Review of:
Hidden Passages: Tales of the Crone
by Vila Spiderhawk
(Printed in The Firefly Academy: Assignments: Newsletter
from the Firefly Academy Of Wicca and Witchcraft)
In the story of Mima Po, a neighborhood witch that everyone feared, a brave and curious little girl, formed a bond with Mima Po. Suzy Q was the girls name, she was taught by the crone her customs and secrets! I really loved this story!
There’s also a very interesting story of the Native American naming ritual, in complete detail, which takes you from childhood to womanhood! In this ritual the mother and grandmother play a huge part in the ceremony!
These stories show you the aspects of the maiden, mother and crone seen through the eyes of each! They tell of the troubles of womankind and the strength they possess! You will read of the love and bonds of sisterhood, and will feel the author’s love of the Goddess throughout the entire book.
I am writing this review because I believe everyone here at Firefly will gain something by reading this book.
— Debbie Ritchi
Hidden Passages by Vila SpiderHawk - Book Review by Dawn "Belladonna" Thomas
Posted September 16th, 2008 by Anonymous
Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
Book Review by Dawn “Belladonna” Thomas
I received this book in the mail and I was so excited when I opened the cover. The picture on the cover leads the reader to believe a magical journey is about to happen. That is exactly what happened to me. On the first page I was hooked. The story of Mima Po reminded me of the place I lived as a small child. The words were so vivid I could imagine being in the story too.
The stories of the Maiden, Mother and Crone were so beautifully written. Changing the point of direction from the maiden to the mother to the grandmother was very intelligent thing to do. How many times do we wonder how others see the same story? In these stories the author makes it possible. In Nanu’s Story, I imagined the changes in the landscape and weather as Tichu travelled alone. I could feel the warmth she provided to others. The story of Gita’s Journey is a difficult road to travel for any parent. The author shows how a mother finds the strength she needs to live. It is a very moving and emotional story.
In the story of Lavinia I felt for Veronica as she travels unseen by others. But Helen is there and gives her the guidance to see where she needs to be. The book title refers to Crones but I believe that women of all ages would learn the lessons held within this book. I enjoy the easy way that the stories flow. I have a better appreciation on other views of each story. I am looking forward to reading Ms. VilaHawk’s next book.
As seen in Oracle ezine, issue for Autumn Equinox 2008
Review of Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones, by Vila SpiderHawk
I received this book on a Thursday, started reading it on Friday, finished it the following Friday. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s a series of stories about women’s journeys into the next levels in their lives from youth through to maturity and even death. It deals with the happy times, the challenges we must face and move beyond, and even the dull moments. Vila’s stories feel so in tune with each of the characters, they come to life before your very eyes! It was such a pleasure reading each of the stories… even the ones that made me want to cry. Each story takes you on the journey with the characters and you can feel and see and hear the story in your mind and in your soul. I sit here in awe of the beauty and strength in each of the individual stories. They each speak of different paths, different stages of life, each one so very real, so very easy to relate to.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone, especially any woman. No matter what your beliefs, what your path, I do believe there is something in there for everyone. Each story holds something for everyone to take away from it and grow on. Please check if out if this has caught your interest, if you have even made it to the end of this review. It’s worth the time and money and is even reasonably priced. It hooked me from the very beginning, and I’m looking forward to getting her second book, Forest Song: Finding Home.
*On Behalf Of *Michael Gleason
Hidden Passages - Tales to Honor the Crones by Vila SpiderHawk © 2007
Vanilla Heart Publishing ISBN 978-0-97965445-6-5 262 pages $15.99
The subtitle of this book, "Tales to Honor the Crones", gave me a
false impression. A collection of stories about crones should be about
the end of life, but these stories are full of life. They are vivid,
arresting, and entertaining.
Oh, there is death and loss, but there are also children scrambling up
trees. There is somber reflection but there is also joyful discovery
and anticipation. There is the certainty of lives running their
allotted course as well as the wonder of new life burgeoning forth.
Like life itself, you never know what to expect. Vila SpiderHawk is
much more than an entertaining author. In her stories there are
lessons to be learned (gently) and things to contemplate. There are
moments to laugh, and times to wonder.
The only problem I had with this book was that it was too easy to read.
I had promised myself that I would relax and enjoy this book over a
week's time. That didn't happen. I started reading and found that I
couldn't put it down. I finished it off in a mere two days, and found
myself wanting more.
Pick this book up, and you may find yourself wishing for more as I did.
Somehow, I suspect that we have not heard the last from Ms. SpiderHawk
- in fact, I know we haven't as I have her next book sitting at my
bedside as I write this. I sincerely hope that she has more to offer
us. Her books are educational on several levels, and entertaining on
at least as many levels.
By Vila Spiderhawk
I just finished, a Great Book, called Hidden
Passages, Tales To Honor The Crone, by Vila
Spiderhawk! I could hardly put it down, the
writers style is awesome! It's a Magickal Book
with eight short stories about Crones (wise women)
passing down their secrets! They are very heart
warming stories, that have brought me closer to
the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess. I
recommend this book highly!!!
In fact I loved her writing style so much I'm now
starting a new book of hers called Forrest
Song-Finding home. This story is about a girl
named Judy's journey with the help of a Witch, a
Witches Consort, a family of Fairies and an
Ancient Oak, plus loads of other animals. The
style of writing has the same Great Quality!
I bought my books at www.vilaspiderhawk.com
, but they are
available at Amazon Too.
— Book Review By Debbie Ritchi
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your book Hidden Passages: Tales Of The Crone. You have a style of writing that puts the reader into the eight magickal stories. I was unable to put the book down!!! Each story was very moving and heart warming and made me feel I was right there surrounded with the Magick, Wisdom and Secrets of the Crone!!!
I really loved this book, and hated for it to end. I don't believe anyone could read this book and not love it!!!
Thank You Vila,
— Debbie Ritchi
SpiderHawk's… "book is a gift - a precious and priceless one."
— Esmerelda Little Flame, author of Temple of the Twelve
"This is an irresistible read for maidens, mothers, and crones alike!"
— Smoky Trudeau, author of Redeeming Grace
I just wanted to tell everyone about one of the
best books I have ever read! If any of you get the
chance you must get this fantastic book and read it
for yourself! You won't be disappointed. The book is called "Hidden Passages-Tales to Honor the Crones". It's by Vila SpiderHawk. Once you start reading, you just can't put it down until the last page is read.
Don't just take my word for it. Get this book for yourself or as a present for a wonderful friend. I'm passing this on to my
Daughter. I know she'll enjoy it as much as I have.
I want you to know that my best
friend, Sharon, just finished reading your book
Forest Song; Finding Home. She wanted me to tell
you, that after reading your book, she feels that
it has changed her to be a better person. She
said the book gave her so much more understanding
into my life and said it is a must read for
everyone. She will tell everyone about it. She
loved it, and is going out to buy Hidden Passages
now. Just wanted to share that with you.
Hidden Passages Tales to Honor the Crones by Vila SpiderHawk
arrived in the mail. As soon as my DGD settled in
on the computer I anxiously
This is a book I can honestly say I could not put
down. The words are not just printed words
but visions of life that touch the souls of all
the Sisters of the Goddess.
Each story is spellbinding to read. But there was
familiarity in the journeys of Cara , Donnata and
Heraulta. I saw the circle of my journey....My
Granddaughter, myself, my Mother and my
This world has many hardships
Hidden Passages Tales to Honor the Crones
rings joy and the celebration of life to the
Thank you Vila SpiderHawk for sharing these
— Theresa Creekmore
Every woman has, at times, sought advice and/or comfort from an older woman. Our relationships with each other are our most precious gift.
In Hidden Passages,
Vila SpiderHawk has created magnificent tales of all different types of women and reading about how they nurture and inspire each other is irresistible! Maiden, Mother or Crone, all readers will enjoy these messages of magic and wisdom.
Author: Vila SpiderHawk
Publisher: Vanilla Heart Publishing
An anthology of eight beautifully crafted stories about women of different cultures and eras, the Crones sharing their wisdom and their joy, their hearts and souls with girls and women in times of difficulty, change, and transition.
“Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is populated with wise, skillful women passing on the secrets of seeing beauty in what, at first glance, is not beautiful.”
-Smoky Trudeau, author of Redeeming Grace
More About Vila SpiderHawk
Vila SpiderHawk and her husband live in the woods of Pennsylvania in a log home that they designed. Their six cats and their many woodland friends provide additional company. She has a BA in women’s studies and French and did her graduate work in education. She has taught French in college and in public schools.
She writes for Sage Woman magazine
and for The Beltane Papers on a free-lance basis.
In addtion to Hidden Passages, Vila SpiderHawk has also written Forest Song: Finding Home.
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This is a delightful book honoring the Crone. It includes the Mother and
Maiden as well. The first story is called Mima Po, which is my favorite as I can relate to
it very well. I think we all have had a Mima Po in our lives who opened our eyes to the
wonder and reality of things unseen.
The second story is Passages. It is a story of the rite of passage and a
knowing of previous lifetime. It is very colorful and has a Native American ritual
Next comes a beautiful story also of the rite of passage done in a very unique
way. It is titled Maiden, Mother, Crone. There are three parts to this tale, each part as seen
through the eyes of the participants the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
Nanu’s story. This story is amazing! It covers the struggle, hardships and the grief of
being a woman. The attention to detail is awesome. Grandmother Spider is a key player in
this tale and it covers many years, from the dawn of time. It is a true praise to the Mother
The next story is called Gita’s journey. It is the heart tugging tale of a woman’s grief
of loosing a child, of her journey and struggle from the depths of despair, through her
healing and somehow living through this terrible ordeal and rising again, I laughed and I
cried. It touched me very deeply.
Last but not least is Lavinia. A tribute to Sisterhood with a time twist to it, it is also a
tribute to death and rebirth with a marvelous ending. How wonderful it is to have a dear
Sister with a love so strong it transcends all earthly bounds and continues for eternity.
There is so much information in this book I could write about it for years.! So I
will give a tidbit of each story as not to ruin it for who wants to read it. Mima Po was the
neighborhood witch who all feared. There was one brave little girl whose curiosity
enabled her to endear herself to this woman. Mima Po the Crone shared herself, her
customs with who she called Suzie Q.. and through this Suzie Q not only learned of
Mima Po but also learned of herself. In Vilas wonderful way she showed the valuable place of the
Crone in the journey of life.
In her story passages she describes in detail a Native American naming ritual of
becoming a woman and the crossing of the river from childhood to womanhood The
Mother and Crone play a big part in this ceremony it is also a story of a witch and her
coven with a naming ritual as well.. The two stories entwine with the strong flavor of
Maiden, Mother, Crone is also a celebration of womanhood as is the whole book, it
explains in detail the coming of age for the Maiden how it is seen through her eyes, the
fear the loss as well as the beauty and wonder. The second part is through the Mothers eyes
her fear of loosing her little girl and her reclaiming of her as a woman. The third part is of the
Crone. The Grandmother who guides her daughter and granddaughter through this terrific
journey. It is written on a very spiritual level filled with glorious detail and exquisite
Nanu’s story is a Mother Goddess story beginning at the beginning of time. It is also a
Grandmother and Granddaughter story It is a tribal legend of the Mother Goddess and the
struggles of women. Grandmother spider lends her wisdom and healing hand on a pitiful
woman who with her blessing becomes the Mother Goddess this tribe worships. It is an
age old tale with a fresh insight.
Gita’s journey this has got to be the greatest tribute to a woman’s strength ever written
and a tribute to womanly friendship. This woman endures what we all fear, the loss of a
child. In detail she tells of the stages of grief, the denial, the despair and finally coming to
terms with her loss, with the help of her dear friend. Vila writes how this amazing woman
comes full circle within this tragedy that has got to be the most painful of all life
experience. It shows how tremendously strong women are and what we can endure.
Lavinia is a sisterhood love story it attests to the bond between women and the strong
love that trust manifested between these two. It is a love and trust that conquers all and a
wonderful almost twilight zone feel.
This book is one of my most prized possessions. There is not one single thing I can
criticize within these pages. It was written from the heart and that is apparent in each
story. Her love of the Goddess is beyond measure and her words ring clear and true. I am
honored to call this woman my friend. This book also shows her great knowledge in
magickal endeavors and her most superb imagination. She is quite remarkable and a most
My personal feelings this book brought out are many. I felt proud to be a woman in
many different ways, I felt great appreciation for my Mother, Grandmother, and
Daughters, Granddaughters. and mostly for myself. I felt gratitude for my girlfriends that I sometimes took for granted. I stood by each woman in these stories and felt all they felt, cried when they cried and flew to the stars when they triumphed! Vila brought me from death to rebirth and back .
Each of these stories. touched me deeply and reaffirmed my love for the Mother
Goddess, and all women and it opened my eyes to the bond between us and how very
sacred and precious that is. I learned a lot from Vila and I will always be grateful. I catch
myself looking at women and wondering of their pain, their lives, and marveling at all
we as women have endured through the ages.
I recommend this inspiring book to all women of all ages, from all walks of life. It is a
wonderful celebration of womanhood and a great praise to the Goddess who lives within
us all. This book has no boundaries and it will change you forever in a most positive way.
I also recommend this book to all men as well I think it shows women in a different light
than what they are accustomed to. Whenever you feel down, afraid, trodden on,
unappreciated read this book I guarantee it will lift your Spirit!
Thank you Vila Spiderhawk for sharing your soul with me! I am blinded by its
— Your Sister and Friend Michele Rock
Dear Vila ~ I absolutely LOVED your book, Hidden
Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones..... I found
it absorbing, and exactly what I needed.
Each story held something for me and carried me
right into the beautiful depths. Your words and
imagery were astounding and resonated with
something deep inside. .....The ancient woman in
all of us.
I especially liked the 'trilogy'...with the same
story being told from a phase of each of the
This book is a must read......I intend to read it
again and again and plan to share some of these
amazing , empowering stories with my
Oh, so sincerely,
Cindy Moyer/ Sayjburnrr
Good Winter Morning to You! I wanted to share what my "mom" had to say so far about your book
My Dearest Jamie,
I know you said you befriended this person who wrote this book, well a friend in deed she will be to you. The book is a gift from the Goddess for sure. I just finished the first story and I tell you it is a gift that I can't find words for.
It is a Heavenly gift for those of us who some times just need to be reminded why we believe in the things we believe in . And how powerful and special our way is. So Thank you once again for such a wonderful gift.
— Love PixiMom
Dear Vila, I've been delighting in the Hidden Passages of your book. It’s beautifully written and is taking me on a magical mystical journey. It arrived today and I'm half way through!
— Lina Eve
I had overdue library books to finish so I was delaying starting your book - but then yesterday I couldn't resist having just a little peek at the first story. And that was it! I couldn't put it down! It's beautiful! It's as perfectly crafted as poetry and it's utterly accessible to the reader, and it lifts my spirit and fills my heart, and I want to devour it fast yet I hope I never get to the end... Thank you!
— Rosemary Nissen-Wade, author of Secret Leopard
Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
by Vila SpiderHawk
Book Review by Zinta Aistars
The Smoking Poet, an Ezine
* Softcover, 272 pages
Perhaps it is my own "crone years" creeping up on me, but there seems to be a healthy change in how we look at women in and beyond their midlife years. In a youth-obsessed society, at least in the United States, so much of the current dictates point towards a Quixotic pursuit of the impossible, that is, finding the fountain of youth through plastic and cosmetic surgery, an endless array of surely useless creams and lotions, Botox shots and facial peels, diets that lead to eating disorders, and a general wave of ensuing self-esteem problems. Someone is getting rich. No one, however, is getting any younger.
* Publisher: Vanilla Heart Publishing
* ISBN: 978-0-9796545-6-5
* Price: $15.95
Vila SpiderHawk is taking a different view on the aging of womankind. Hidden Passages is a collection of tales, some of which are interconnected, others which stand alone, all of which deal with women who are finding or already using the wisdom acquired from years of life experience. In the opening tale of Mima Po, a young girl overcomes her fear of a woman who is markedly different than the other women in the girl's community. Gossiping women whisper that Mima Po is odd, perhaps a witch casting mysterious spells and incantations. Children are frightened of her. But little Kathleen is more intrigued than she is frightened, and she overcomes her fear to befriend the elderly woman, who turns out to be Czechoslovakian rather than demonic. The older woman teaches the girl something of her own beliefs and perspective, and the girl learns to "see with her heart."
In Passages, a girl moves through a rites of passage into womanhood, both symbolic and literal, among her tribe of watching women, bonding with the other women as well as with the feminine in nature, bonding with the divine, and erasing boundaries between all. In a trilogy of tales, Maiden, Mother, Crone, we see the passages of the girl-child, the adult woman who is her mother, and of the elderly woman, the grandmother. Each has her own unique perspective to offer the others. Nanu's Story illustrates the life-giving force in women, the biological drive, the unfaltering love of mother for child, unchangeable even by death. The woman, Tichu, is a kind of mother of all, teaching survival skills and passing on her wisdom to those who will accept it. Her femininity is lush and full, in all senses of the word, and she knows a pride in herself from which the modern woman could learn much. Gita's Journey delves deeper still into the mother-child connection, exploring the process of grief when one is lost to the other, from the deepest and darkest shadows of despair into the eventual light of acceptance. Lavinia is something of a ghost story of women, where the reader wonders at times who is living and who is not.
What all these tales have in common, aside from the story of various life passages traveled by women over time and various cultures, is a language that is as vivid and rich as these women in their femininity. The author combines all the gentle kindness that is woman, unabashedly emotional, with the enduring strength and time-won wisdom that earns a woman the proud designation of "crone." SpiderHawk makes a feminist statement in each one of her tales without being abrasive or didactic or challenging. Her women, her crones, simply are as they are, and by spending time with them in these tales, we realize ourselves enriched by the gentle strength of their distinctly feminine presence.
"Happiness spun in the chamber like witch grass smoke. I immediately found myself chuckling. I was so utterly pleased with myself and with everything around me that I broke into giggles and finally into riotous guffaws. Jubilant spirits frolicked around and through me, each one laughing with total abandon, and I thought, so this is where mirth is created! And, indeed, while I watched, the glittering laughter fed on itself, growing and twirling like a giant pinwheel and spangling showers of joy all over and through us. Some of it swirled into a small, dense ball, and we played with it, batting it to and through each other, laughing all the harder with the game... it splintered into tiny twinkling bits, showering over the earth like platinum rain. I was thrilled that my joy was mingled in the droplets, and I hoped that it would heal someone whose heart was sorrowing."
These are women as women should be: unafraid of living, unafraid of expressing their femininity, unafraid of aging, unafraid of facing up to their own fears and weaknesses and transforming them into strengths, unafraid to confront those who would deny them their place, simply - unafraid. We should all wish to be such terrific crones.
Bess You Vila,
You probably have no idea how many lives you touch.
The inspirations you put out there.
And the people that you inadvertently touch and help.
You were sent to us to help us reflect on the good perspectives of life.
I only wish there were more like you.
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I finished your book. What a lovely read! It definitely makes one stop and think. At least it did for me.
Did you ever get the new link I can use to send people in order to buy your book this month?
Blessed be dear Vila.
Believe it or not......your book came today.YAY! I got to page 26 before I realized I had to go pick up my check from work, pay bills and buy supplies. Oh how I hated putting it down! And could not wait till I got home to pick it back up again. It's hard for a writer to capture my attention as Anne Rice had done before turning back to the Catholic church, but hun you did it! I was captured from the moment I started reading Mima Po. Thank you soooo very much for this treasure and the inscription they both have touched my heart in ways you cannot imagine. Now I know why you were able to get another publisher so quickly to continue printing the book. Thank you so much for writing this, hun! In Love and Light (and hugs),
Vila, I awoke with astounding blessed happiness today, as I fell asleep with the wonderful visions that your book has brought to me! I finished it last night before bed. I think the reason I took so long to read it is because I was soaking in, absorbing its contents. It is absolutely beautiful! You radiate through its pages with words that touch the heart and soul. It is truly a wonderful gift, and I wanted to send you my thanks and love!
Dear Sister Vila,
I just received your book today and started reading it tonight....I am halfway through and I love the beautiful words of wisdom. It is truly magickal! Thank you for writing such heartwarming tales! Love and blessings to you sweet lady!
— XOX Green Queen [screen name]
Last night I finished (for the first time- I will read it over and over again!!) your book. There are no words to describe it!! It was the finest book I have read ever!! I look forward to being able to give this book to people that I love so they can enjoy it also!!! Thank you for writing such a marvelous book Vila!!! (Any more planned in the future???)
— Love from Rob
your book [Hidden passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] is wonderful! I can put myself in any one of the stories. There was laughter and crying and the most important thing, it makes you think of things of your life and all that you have done in your past. And the most important things in my life are my two wonderful sons and all that I gave to them and what I gave up for them. Like Dorothy Morrison book, In praise of the Crone as crones we have the right to be us and if you would just listen to us you would know we are RIGHT!!!!! So from one crone to another GOOD JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SpiderHawk interweaves many different loving relationships in these uplifting and poignant tales. My favorite tale presented the life-changing bond between a curious girl and the neighborhood wise woman. But throughout, SpiderHawk expertly portrays the joy of new experiences as well as the protective affection and devoted concern connecting mother, daughter and grandmother during transformative passages of their lives. Here is a book destined to be a classic.
— Three Feathers
Alrighty then, I just read my dear sweet friend's book........
TALES TO HONOR THE CRONES
Her picture and her book are on my profile in my
WHO I'D LIKE TO MEET section.
She sent it Monday, I got it yesterday (Wednesday). I read it all night until 4 a.m. (5 chapters) and read the last 3 chapters today.
This book is amazing, beautifully written. I couldn't put it down.
I'm not trying to create spam, I am just so excited and I want everyone to experience this.
Please, friends, you have to order this book.
This is my very sweet, very talented, and very beautiful, and very kind and kind hearted friend and author,
Please buy her book. It held my attention all night until my eyes closed and the last 3 chapters are just as wonderful. It makes you feel so warm and loved. I don't want to give anything away! You just HAVE TO read this book.
Vila Spiderhawk is in my top friends. Check her out and order this book.
It will warm your heart.
I just finished reading Vila Spiderhawk's book, HIDDEN PASSAGES..TALES TO HONOR THE CRONES. I can't write like a critic, but I can say that her book is so amazing and beautifully written. It touched my heart. The characters in the book are so loving and caring. If everyone in this world was like the characters in her book, we'd live in a much better world. YOU PEOPLE REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE MISSING. PLEASE, GO TO VILA'S SPACE AND BUY HER BOOK. She's in my top friends, find her picture, (NUMBER 3 IN MY TOP FRIENDS) click it, and order this book. You'll smile all the way through it. I smiled and I cried. I honestly did.
I truly do love this book.
Find Vila SpiderHawk at her myspace, at:
OR GO TO HER WEBSITE AT:
— Seashell Blue Meadows
It isn't news that older women are often portrayed in a negative light in our youth-centered culture. Some of us-those of us who have marked 50 or more birthdays-have even played a role in that, believing in our youth that we should "Never trust anyone over thirty."
But there is a far older adage we live by these days: "With age comes wisdom." In Hidden Passages, a collection of eight short stories, author Vila SpiderHawk celebrates women who have reached their crone years and are living them with passion, unmitigated determination, and above all, grace.
Here we meet Mima Po, a Holocaust survivor who, with the aid of the Roman goddess Juno Lucina, shows a little girl how to open her eyes and celebrate rather than fear individual differences. In "Nanu's Story" we meet Tichu, a young woman who has been horribly mistreated by other members of her tribe. Cast out, Tichu wanders into the realm of Grandmother Spider, who bestows Tichu with knowledge and magical gifts; gifts that, despite her mistreatment, Tichu cannot wait to share with her tribe. In the last story, we meet Lucinda, an elderly nursing home resident who is so much more than what she appears and helps a younger Crone steer her way through matters of life and death. These are just a sampling of the Wise Women readers will encounter in Hidden Passages.
There is plenty of magic in these stories, magic that is written in an often subtle and always believable manner. You won't find any vindictive hags turning young men into frogs, or other equally ridiculous feats of prestidigitation. What you will find is wise, skillful women passing on the secrets of reaping what you sow; of seeing beauty in what, at first glance, is not beautiful; and the loving hands of the goddess reaching out and embracing Her daughters of all ages. This approach to magic-and the goddess-makes these stories an irresistible read to maiden, mother, and crone alike.
~ review by Smoky Trudeau, author of Redeeming Grace
I truly love your book "Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones". I'm really Looking forward to your next book!
I have two daugthers, ages 16 and 12, who are reading it now! This is a book that women of all ages can enjoy and relate to in so many ways! Without saying too much to give the story away, I'll just say that there are books that one could read over and over again and just get so into the story that you find it very hard to put down, and you want to read it over and over again, well I truly believe this is one of those books and that other woman will agree!
Much love and light to you and yours!
Your book [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] arrived today...Wooohooo! Thank you so much! I have already read Mima Po and if you planned on stirring up a woman's emotions with your writing, you have achieved that with me.. I was sitting there reading with tears rolling down my cheeks and Becky kept looking at me, wondering what was making me cry... hahahahahahaha! GREAT STORY!
In Vila SpiderHawk’s /Hidden Passages/, rich imagery awaits the reader in each delightful chapter. Her wonderfully human characters experience the transformations of life with honest emotions. As an example, any adult will recognize the loving trepidation and poignant devotion of a daughter when she suddenly realizes that she sees signs of old age in her mother. Wonderful relationships grace each story. Many types of love and many facets of life flow through these pages. The powerful, loving females embodied in SpiderHawk’s tales will touch your heart.
— Lillith T. Lewis
Columnist and feature writer for /If . . Journal of Spiritual Exploration/ and /Listen Media, Inc./
OK for the people who know me know I read a lot of books ( no smart comments Kevin lol) I never put up a review on what I read I don't know why I just don't but any who.
I have just read one of the most amazing books ever, the title is Hidden Passages by Vila Spider Hawk (Tales to Honor the Crones). This book tells the stories of women who go on "personal journeys" or their cycles of life. From child to woman (mother) to Crone (grandmother) and each story shines a little light in my own life and struggles.
There are times in my life as I'm sure in the women who read this blog that we forget that there is a natural balance in our life (a transition if you will) and with this book I read a story and sit back and think about what I just read. I don't do that that often. Most of the time I just read the book and afterwards just say it was a cool book (something to do when there was nothing good on TV) this book made me take time and to think back on my journey so far.
To the women who read this blog no matter what your belief is this is truly a great book and I highly recommend it!!!!
And to Vila thanks so much for writing this book this is one book that I will read at least a dozen more time if not more.
May the goddess bless you
— LOVE YOUR BOOK! Toni
Have you ever had the need for something--and then a few months later someone writes a book about just that very thing? Well, that happened to me recently. A wonderful lady named Vila SpiderHawk who has a space here on My Space wrote this cool book about the stages of life women go through--as a young woman, as a mother, and then as a grandmother--or as some of us would call it-maiden, mother, crone.
Now, I am getting very hard to insult these days--because if you call me a bitch--I am liable to thank you because I know that most of the time people say that about really strong, often professionally successful, women--so I take it as a compliment. If you call me a witch-- again, another fact about me I would take as a compliment--or as just a fact. Now that I am just a couple of years away from my 50th birthday--I am looking forward to being considered a "crone" which really denotes a certain wisdom, experience, expertise, and even suggests that I am likely to make a good mentor for some lucky young women.
What does all of this have to do with the book "Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones"? Well, nothing really--except that over the years my views about myself have changed and I have moved through several stages of being a woman. Now that I am moving into the next stage--being a "wise woman" a crone-- instead of letting my midlife crisis be a problem--hell, I have never had so much fun in my life! anyway--with all of the great "self help" books out there, and all the great books on religion, spirituality, stages of life and development--I could not find any with the focus on croneship and how the generations interrelated--which became all the more important to me since my beloved grandmother passed away last year.
Vila wrote the book I was looking for and I have been so totally absorbed in this book that it goes everywhere with me--seriously. I have read parts of it to my 8 year old granddaughter Kylie who loved it too. Usually when I find a great book, I do not tell people about it in a bulletin on my space. I just don’t do that. I’m just not much of a sales person. When I think a book is great I may tell a friend or two or pass my copy around, etc. My copy is not going to be passed around this time because it is too precious to me and I think I can read this book 100 times and get 100 different things from it. You cannot just go anywhere to get it, if you are interested--or if you just want to meet a really cool lady check out Vila and say hi.
She has helped me remember and pay attention to things that I would probably not have noticed before. I am thinking more about similar experiences, feelings, and things that have happened in the past and I am now paying attention to things as they come up more as a result of reading her book. I realize that the special moments I have with the people who mean the most to me should be treasured, and not forgotten, and I think I will try to do a better job of journaling regularly, so I will at least not lose those precious moments as much. Thank You Vila!
— Written by Helga (last name withheld to protect privacy)
Vila: I am terribly hooked on the book [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones]--I can't put it down I am so absorbed in what Heraulta is going through and your description of the soul's picking their next life is exactly what I believe we actually do--and really, the way my grandma acted just before she died--she said she was going to have a whole new life and she was so happy and excited--just a few hours before she passed away..it all fits...anyway--so much for my plan to read a little every night! every chance I get now I'm picking your book up and it goes everywhere with me.... my husband is threatening to take pics of me reading your book in the bath, while waiting for red lights in the car, sitting next to my undone homework -- I agreed to everything but the bath. LOL!
And guess what? I was reading Nancy Drew to my 8 year old granddaughter, Kylie and she got bored with Nancy Drew so I read her part of Mima Po--up to the end of the Halloween part--she LOVED it! She got all excited and said "Mama Bear (that's what she has called me since she was about 3) I can actually SEE the picture of what everything looks like"--she loved it. We had a little discussion about how Mima Po reminded us a little of "Oma" my German grandma who passed away. Anyway I thought you would get a kick out of that--you can now say your book has been reviewed by an 8 (almost 9) year old and it outdid Nancy Drew! That is quite something--especially since I made a deal with her that we would see the Nancy Drew movie as soon as she--or we--got through a Nancy Drew book together (We plan to take my Mom too--she perfected her English when she immigrated to the U.S. from Germany by reading Nancy Drew as a kid). But, hey, children's books might be fun too Vila!
Now I know what I'll be giving as Christmas gifts this year! Your book! I refuse to lend it to ANYONE!
— Helga (Last name withheld to protect privacy)
Hello Villa, I finished reading your book [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] yesterday and wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed it. I love stories about strong, independent women who are successful and compassionate to women's issues. I loved the characters! Nanu's story was fantastic! Gita's story was so very real and tragic. I felt so sorry for the character and realized how it could be me in just a heartbeat. Lavinia's story caught me by surprise and I really enjoyed that. I look forward to reading more of your works.
— Thank you. Pam (Name withheld to protect privacy)
"Hidden Passages, Tales to Honor the Crones" by Vila SpiderHawk is a collection
of eight short stories of women and girls from different cultures who experience
life''s transitions and find their own depth and growth through the wisdom of the
Crones in their lives.
These are stories of Goddess manifested in the lives of ordinary females growing
in extraordinary ways.
If ever one has had a strange old lady of the neighborhood and discovered that
that old woman is a root source of womanhood knowledge, then ''Mima Po'' will
ring deep bells in the psyche of universal growth as it sounds in your own heart.
Each of these eight stories is written in simple direct language that allows the
reader''s experience to blossom as each of the characters blossoms in their
experience. It is a rare combination of power and simplicity that enriches while
it entertains bringing forth tears and laughter.
The eight short stories present a unity of experience and connection through
those difficult periods of transitions common to every woman''s life.
If you choose one book for your Summer reading, choose "Hidden Passages,
Tales to Honor the Crones'' and you will find joy and tears and memories of your
— Written by Christine E
If you are alive and haven't read this book, you are missing something important that defines and refines the journey.
Vila SpiderHawk has captured the essence of those indefinable periods of transition so that heart speaks to heart and spirit glows.
There is brilliance here of the kind that unites the one singular experience with the Divine.
If you haven't read Vila SpiderHawk's Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones now is the time.
Vila, Hidden Passages is an awesome read. Each of the eight stories (of course,you know this already!) is a wonderful life story in which older women, the wise women, help younger women in challenging situations. Each story sang to my heart in different ways. And your endings! Wow! Absolutely LOVE them! Such surprises in many of them!
Actually, I've seen your writing in magazines, Sage Woman and The Beltane Papers, and find the quality of writing, the truth and integrity, to be just superb! I always look forward to the next article, and am eagerly awaiting Forest Song: Finding Home!
— Blessed Be!
I really enjoyed reading this book! It made me laugh, cry and think about all the many facets of becoming and being a Crone. Hidden Passages is a great book to cuddle up with to escape the world for a while.
Each story stands on it's own so it's great reading for busy people. You can fit a chapter in here and there and feel like you've read a whole book. Vila's beautiful writing makes each character and place in the stories come alive with detail. She's especially good at including the secret thoughts of these women that help you understand and love them. You will remember these women forever. The inspiring messages of the stories will lift your sprit and make you glad to be a woman.
— Trudy Capazo
Vila SpiderHawk's Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is full of wisdom and insight which can only be provided by the lifetime observances of a crone. The stories herein are not to be glanced over lightly. They give very real meaning and substance and thoughtfulness into not just the lives of the people written about, but also the same meanings into the lives of the readers. Many readers will find they seem to know these people, or people like them, as they read the book.
The book is full of charm and homespun wisdom. It's contents are sensitive, real life explorations into situations in real lives and are easily transferable to experiences of any readers life! The stories could be about your own family,friends or neighbors.
Vila Spider Hawk has the talent to write personally to each reader. Reading her book is like sitting down and talking to an old friend. She has the ability to convey warmth and strength and wisdom into the situations she writes about. You are not reading about fictional characters. You get to know each one on a personal level. It takes a well rounded and talented writer to create such a sense of intimacy.
Barrett Ravenhurst, Ph.D.
The Emporium Of Curious Goods
Jim Thorpe, Pa. 18229
I absolutely loved your book [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones]. As I said before I got so involved with it and related to it myself that I had to go back and reread a couple of the stories over again because I knew I missed details and wanted to be sure I had not missed a single solitary minute detail that would change the plot of the story. LOL. You are a very gifted soul, I knew that the minute I read your article in Sage Woman [issue 71].
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your article in the Joy issue [issue 71] of Sage Woman: positive but never trite. Very touching!
— Goddess Blessings, Lillith
Dear Barrett -- I just came in with my mail and the book you sent me was there. [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] I just started reading it and I can tell from the first few pages that not only can she write, but the story she is telling first could be my street when I was a little girl in South Philly and the person about whom she is writing could be a lady across the street from me! Needless to say, I am enjoying this. Thank you very much. Eileen
I have a dear friend in Cape May who used to live in J.T. We email every
day and I sent her a copy of your book. She is an avid reader...reads about
a book a week...always at the library. The following is part of a letter
she sent me:
> Hi. I just have to tell you how much I am enjoying Vila SpiderHawk's book.
> I finished the first story and have started on the second. Not only are
> the stories interesting, but she is a skilled writer. Eileen [the same person]
I just had to write you about your book, Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones. I loved this book! You really put me into every story so that at the end I felt as if I'd made wonderful new friends. You took me places I'll never go and showed me things I'll never see in real life. I was really sad when I reached the last page. Thank you! It was a wonderful experience reading your stories!
— Danielle [last name withheld to protect privacy]
I am a practicing green witch and avid gardener as well! I have just finished reading your article in the current Sage Woman magazine [issue 71], "The Healing Power of Happiness", and couldn't wait to email you! ! ! ! The Goddess has given me these exact same lessons this past week of learning how to seek joy in using all my senses, in hearing all that is around me, joy in hearing the birds sing, and joy in seeing their gorgeous, vibrant colors, the smell of freshly cut grass, the touch of my cat on my lap, the taste of good wholesome organic food, the touch of organic cotton yarn and hemp yarn as I knit projects up for my customers (my daughter and I have a small craft business that we are able to sell our wares at our local farmer's markets here in Orange County in Southern California).
I wanted to thank you for writing this precious article. This has helped me to bring home the lessons that Goddess has been teaching me this week.
I thank you for your article in Sage Woman [issue 71]; like the gift from your friend during your time of depression, it was a gift to me to remember to focus on bright spots of happiness, and to really savor them. My youngest son was diagnosed with a rare condition last year, and lately I have been mourning the life I expected my family to have. I have been trying to accept what IS and enjoy what we do have, and wisdom such as yours is very much welcomed at this time. The more I hear it, the easier it will become, I am certain. :)
I also consider it a personal gift from your furbaby Merlin. . .my son's name is Emrys, named for the same person, and those types of coincidences usually really mean something! I will add a little prayer to Bast tonight to give Merlin an extra cuddle.
— [Name withheld to protect the writer's privacy]
I read your article in 'Sage Woman' [issue 71] this weekend when I was in Borders's and felt compelled to write. My Name is Erika and I too have had multiple losses in my life in the past 2 years, human & feline. I was in tears reading about Merlin, being a Veterinary Technician I feel a special bond with animals, especially cats.
I bought the book you talked about 'Clan of Goddess', and hope to be able to heal after reading it.
The book, Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones by Vila Spider Hawk, offers a journey rich in symbolic language. The stories are written with the rhythm of ancient folk tales, yet any modern woman will be able to recognize the fierce and tender narrative as part of her own cycling heartbeat.
In the story, "Mima Po", a young girl learns to recognize love and friendship as acts of magic through the patient guidance of a wise elder. Later in the book the finger of the Goddess beckons a maiden, a mother, and a crone through the labyrinth of life and death. They discover both powerful inner strength and the importance of the fine threads that bind them together as a family. "Gita's Journey" brims with grief so real and sharp it tumbles and spills in the reader's mind until the edges are worn smooth. Echoes of the Goddess, in all her aspects, whisper through every page.
Eight women; eight stories. In many cultures the number eight is sacred, denoting transformation, immortality, and the ever evolving cycles of life and death. The anthology embraces these themes with passion.
The author honors women of all ages, including the crones that mentor them. Reverence and remembrance of the three faces of the Goddess, are the keys she gives the reader to unlock the hidden passages in one's own life and discover the wisdom that dwells within.
— (Susanne Iles)