Mythic Worlds

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


The Rose Witch of White Henbane Hall is calling you.


In the nightshade family, Henbane - used by the elite Druid High Priest class of Ancient Stonehenge to enter into altered states of consciousness during which they divined prophetic secrets from the flaming six-winged Seraph who rises in emerald conflagration from the Blood Red Rose Garden that stretches to infinity without end - is a known source of the alchemy alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, a.k.a. Twilight Sleep.  The controversial plant can be deadly if eaten.  

White Henbane, Hyoscyamus albus, used in folk medicine is rumored by certain unnamed conspirators to be the coveted herb found in the possession of Goodwife Hibbens which sent her to the gallows in Salem in 1692.  

In his 1813 novel of Gothic horror The Rose Witch of White Henbane Hall, Jean Trevailyan Devereaux tells the macabre tale of Belda Sagfern, a scurrilous dabbler in the occult, whose numerous husbands had a peculiar habit of dying amid suspicious circumstances.  As all her spouses were men of means, the notorious Belda accumulated a monetary fortune. 

The dreaded crone was mistress of the legendary White Henbane Hall, a grim castellated fortress which is now haunted with her sinister ghost.  The brooding inscrutable sorceress was suspected to have gone so far as to curse the scullery maid, Delilah, for infidelities involving one of Mistress Sagfern’s ill-omened mates.

Each year on the foreboding night of All Hallows’ Eve, a coven of the psychedelic cult rock band gathers round a bonfire in the Gulch of the Bracken on the eerie grounds of the old hall to ominously chant portentous lyrics which state that the Rose Witch of White Henbane Hall can summon the Devil to do her bidding.

With the shadowy elemental forces of primeval witchcraft at her command, Belda Sagfern can win a trick in the bedchamber where the heart of a different love has been led.

Beware of Belda, the Rose Witch of White Henbane Hall; she will take your life and put it in the basket on her back…. for who dares build worlds without filling them with cryptic lore of ages arcane?

A fortnight ago, just as the dusky blaze of sunset was painting the pastoral scenes of ye olde village with the siennas, ochre, and vermilion that tints romantic hearts with the fading day’s last light, a gangly troupe of apprentice bards accosted me with numerous lengthy questions at the fringe of the marshy belladonna meadow at the edge of the Fairy Queen’s Forest.  One particularly obstinate specimen was adamant about ascertaining whether she could, as a tunesmith and lyrical Tabarin, create mystic worlds with lute accompaniment without writing any stories about her musical hobgoblin realms.

My first inclination, out of a sense of polite etiquette, was to simply imply that she could and leave it at that, yet the inquiry was strong enough in its posed enthusiasm to distill from my philosophical nature a distinct urgency for not leading a youthful tenderling astray.  To this noble end, I replied thus ~~~~

The truth of the matter is that in all honesty it is dangerous to create a seductively mythic world without writing a story about it.  In so doing, one would cause an extrasensory void that would result in a dead silent ghost realm which would slowly fade into the forgotten abyss of lost hope.

Any world, especially a mythic world, must have stories which breathe life into its niches, alcoves, stages, and forums.  The halls of its castles and palaces must echo with voice and song.  The seas and forests must be alive with a multitudinous host of creatures and beasts of land, water, and air.  A spinning wheel must yield yarn from wool.  An ocean must have sailing ships navigating with its trade-winds.  A heart must pulse with the blood-passion of deep devoted true love.

In Bloodstone and Broomcorn: Curse of the W.I.T.C.H. what would happen if I had created the Second Empire Victorian Avgrunnen Arms on the isolated island off the remote rocky coast of northern New England without revealing the shocking facts of the paranormal encounters which haunt the old maritime inn?

Likewise, in Cloak of the Devil what would be the case if I would have mystically crafted the eerie town of Four Horses (where the fear-steeped citizens don’t dare go out after dark) without telling the infamous history of the sadistic warlock who founded the ghoul-infested town and of the suspicious cabal of secretive readers who subscribe to the mysterious Satanic Tabret magazine?

It becomes easy to see that a bewitching mythic world is not at all complete without relating the stories which take place in the spectral realm to which the kaleidoscope camera obscura of the enchanted mind has given birth…..a mythic world without a story is like fertile soil not sown with seed - it is a neglected desolation where nothing happens.  In order for a mythic world garden to grow with bountiful harvest for the banquet table of the mind, one must cultivate a crop of soul-stirring legends with narrative nurturing from the semiotic heart.

Read The Secret of Hope composed by spiritual author Sean Terrence Best now available to you via Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, and many other booksellers.


Submitted: December 13, 2017

© Copyright 2020 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.

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TheresaVan18

Intriguing and true. A person can dream of a fantastical place, one with amazing people or creatures, beautiful landscapes, and epic journeys, but if they cannot bring it to life - orally, through written word, or by artistic drawings or paintings, that world is doomed to die unknown.

Fri, December 15th, 2017 6:31am

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If I were to be told, fantastical Theresa, that you had, either in a previous life or during a séance, been intellectually and imaginatively acquainted with Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, J. P. Kennedy, or Coote Pinkney, I would have absolutely no trouble at believing it! Your mysterious style of word-crafting is wistfully reminiscent of the emotive lore penned by those enigmatic authors of the Southern Gothic!
Thank you so much for your encouraging and supportive commentary, Theresa! When I read what you write my mind is swept away into charming scenes among sprawling live oaks of immense size and age, eloquently draped in long flowing locks of silvery Spanish moss which waves ghostly in a balmy breeze on an old legend-haunted plantation in the Deep South! I can see towering milk-white Corinthian columns rising like steadfast sentries eternally guarding the lofty mansion portico where mint juleps cool the sharp tongues of witty afternoon banter so expertly wielded by accomplished conversationalists and able companions.
The enchanted atmosphere is laced with the charming bouquet of Sweet Magnolia, Honey Suckle, and Tupelo Sweetgum! Blushing debutantes fashionably adorned in elegant antebellum gowns when crinolines were kept billowing by real whalebone hoops, coyly conceal their lovely complexions behind ornate lace fans. Hammocks, hummocks, cypress swamps, alligators, biscuits, cornbread, collard greens, smoked ham, salt-mullet, red velvet cake, pecan pralines, and sweet potato pie - alluring sentimental scenes of old-time southern living dance before my mind's eye in an opulent pageant of entrancing mythic delight as I read your words of support which boost my creativity and enthusiasm with the graceful spirit of your generous neighborly introspection!
Thank you so very much, Theresa, for sharing your spectacular style of writing and the mysterious moods your haunting literary art evokes in all of us!

Fri, December 15th, 2017 10:51am

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