Visiting Stonehenge

The Stones

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One of the inspiring locations for Phantom Elements is Stonehenge. Simply put, it’s a circle of a bunch of big rocks, but nothing is ever simple, is it?

It was constructed in phases.

You might go your entire life without seeing a new stone erected. It really was prehistory so we’ll never know.

It’s really old.

Scientists believe it was constructed around 3000 B.C. (source: my tour guide) Just for comparison’s sake, most scholars believe that Moses was born in the 13th century B.C., seventeen centuries afterward.

It’s not the only stone circle.

There are many stone circles hanging around (anyone watch Outlander?) Stonehenge just happens to be the most famous. I love circles. My wedding ring is a circle, the sun is an orb, my baby started as a single round cell, and donuts are round. A circle is the best shape.

Hands off.

The oils in your hands can damage the stones. People were aloud to touch them for years, but not anymore. Funny how people build things and also destroy, huh? It’s like everything is a circle.

You can get mead in the gift shop.

It’s alcohol made with honey and they serve it hot. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Hope you get to visit someday, Phantom Fam. Until then…

 

Curiously Yours,

Jennifer

 

How Do I Reconcile?

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I love cathedrals.

They are hands down the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. This is Salisbury Cathedral in England. It is the home of the Magna Carta and undoubtably a holy space. I visit as many as I can. I leave feeling fresh and ready but then I run into other humans. Humans are hard sometimes.

Lots of people ask.

How can you be a Christian and write what you do? Witches and spells and ghosts and all that? I have a different answer every time, but they’re all true.

  • Witchcraft is fiction, but God is for real.

    I grew up reading Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia and those books may tell a story, but they’re not real. I think all too often magic in books gets judged to be evil or demonic, but it’s not. It’s a just a vehicle. Is a car evil? No. Can you do major damage with one? Yes, and then some.

  • Magic is a vehicle.

    Adding magic to my books lets me ask the questions I really want to answer like, “What would you do if you had unlimited power?” In Phantom Elements, the witches do have incredible powers of nature, but they deplete if used improperly and they only get new powers by proving that they will use them for good.

  • It’s all about marketing.

    Have you ever been to a “fall festival”? Come on. That’s Bible Belt slang for Halloween. It’s the same thing. But it’s not bad. The community comes together to put on an event for the kids (and kids at heart). How bad can that be? Think of all the things we have today that would be considered “magical” back in the day. The internet, the microwave, the TV, all of these are vehicles and can be used for good or evil. If you’ve ever had a microwave pot pie… I’m not saying that’s evil, but it’s not good.

  • Middle of the night, or middle of the day?

    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe even a breath of the word “magic” is wrong, but Jesus gave the wrong a chance to explain themselves. Maybe I am drawing water from the well in the middle of the day, but He would still talk to me. I pray. I’ve asked. I think it’s okay.

It’s always good vs. evil.

Just make sure you’re setting yourself up to go against the real evil in the world. My pastor (whom I adore) once said, “As Christians, we spend 95% of our time arguing about the 5% of things we don’t agree upon.” Sometimes I feel like I fall into that 5%. Is magic evil? It can be, but I’m choosing to drive that car to good, into a light place where young people choose good over evil, where family is everything, and where faith always wins.

Thank you for letting me explain.

Curiously Yours,

Jennifer

 

Eastern State Penitentiary

 

Beautiful Ruins

One of the most breathtaking haunted locations I have ever visited is Eastern State Penitentiary. The hallways span out in a star shape, and everywhere you look, there is a gorgeous view. It passes the wedding test for sure. (Would I get married here? Yes. Yes I would. But then again I am strange.)

 

Let the light in

Now comes the question, do I think it’s haunted. Maybe. There are deep dark places on the property where I’m sure dark energy could hide, reaching out to the living at the worst of times, but for the most part, the vaunted ceilings and skylights made the place peaceful.

To me. Peaceful to me. I saw some visitors that were a nervous wreck. Maybe they’ve hyped themselves up, like some people do before enter a location like this. Maybe not. The energy of a place affects everyone differently.

For us, walking the halls, looking at the cells and comparing them to modern prisons was staggering. Everyone had private cells. They lived in silence. The goal was rehabilitation with, by modern standards, alarmingly short sentences. The wardens truly believed that if you spent time praying for forgiveness and repenting, God would forgive you and make you a better person.

Then again, they didn’t have for-profit prisons in those days.

Interesting.

Curiously yours,

Jennifer

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