I'm glad you enjoyed The Turn of Awakening The next book in the Tinaru series is The Turn of Seeking Here's the Preview
Due out in 2024
As first light broke over the eastern horizon, Brigid lay on the dewy grass looking up into the limbs of a huge Ash tree with a tall canopy that seemed to touch the dawn sky. The Ash stood alone in front of Culnagore House near the edge of an ancient Grove, not encroached by other trees as it spread out into its magnificent, natural shape. It towered over her and she felt dwarfed in its presence. A light breeze played with the pairs of small, pointed leaves that seemed to whisper the tree’s many centuries of wisdom to those who would listen. Blending her Tinaru, her elemental energy, with this Ash would be a welcome foundational anchor for her first true challenge, later today, in her new Irish Salatu, a community in the Tinaru tradition. Although the early morning was cool, the day promised to be warm and sunny. It was a good omen. Just Breathe. Just Feel. Just Be. Brigid felt the tree’s roots against her back, through her damp sweater, radiating outward and downward from the base of its trunk. Burrowing and seeking a strong hold in the soil, the roots had found potent nutrients and water, to compliment the leaves above that had absorbed sunlight and oxygen to feed the life and soul of the Ash. The extensive network of thriving roots mimicked the same shape of the branches above creating an elegant, symmetry of Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Spirit, known in the Tinaru as Ersetu, Mame, Saru, Isatu, and Kuribu. The Ash was a perfect blend of grounded, Tinaru elemental energy. Brigid closed her eyes and took a deep breath, drawing in the scents of crushed grass and moist dirt mingled with the faint aroma of honeysuckle. She smiled, knowing that honeysuckle was the smell of her own Tinaru essence. Then she relaxed every muscle as she breathed out in the way that Danu had taught her, allowing her body to go slack. For protection, she raised her Nasaru wall, then cleared and opened her personal Tinaru from root to crown, reached the altered state of Sinitu, and could feel her rainbow Melemmu, rising and moving along her skin like an aura. The colorful wisps of the elements swirled and spiraled within her. The greens and browns of Ersetu, Earth, dominated when she began to flow with the sappy, Tinaru energy of the old Ash, all the way down to the tips of the tiniest roots with their muddy taste, up through the heartwood of the trunk whose bark was a rough, diamond patterned grey, to the highest leaves where she danced with them in the breeze. She opened fully to the whispered wisdom but after listening patiently for a long while, nothing came. Brigid sensed her corporeal self, her physical body lying on the grass and she used it as a connection to her path back even as she released herself into the Tinaru flow of the Ash for an extended time. She was not afraid of losing herself in the flow. Gratitude for the training of her mentors, the Ummanus, Masters of the Tinaru craft. Today, Brigid wasn’t inclined to wield Ersetu, Earth, just flow with it and hopefully learn. This was the most grounded Brigid had felt since she began her speed training in earnest at the Spring Equinox with all of her mentors back home and it gave her confidence for the work ahead. A subtle shift in the Tinaru energy around the old Ash indicated that something was approaching. “You’re up with the sun. I brought you some…Oh, did I interrupt your work? My apologies.” Brigid sat up swiftly and disentangled from the Tinaru of the Ash, realigning with her physical self and the moment. She had become practiced at the transition between the Tinaru world and the everyday. More Gratitude to her Ummanus. “You didn’t, Macha. And whatever you have in those steaming mugs smells wonderful. Please sit and join me,” Brigid patted the damp grass next to her. “Sorry, it’s a bit wet.” Macha handed her one of the blue glazed, clay mugs. “If you were raised in Ireland, morning dew would be part of your beauty regimen.” Brigid laughed as Macha settled down next to her. It was striking to Brigid how much Macha was like Danu, from her statuesque, lithe figure to the way she quietly, yet firmly, commanded everything and everyone around her. Mame energy, Water, exuded from her Tinaru essence matched only by Isatu, Fire. She was clearly an Ummanu, a Master of both. With her hands wrapped around the warm, triple spiral carved mug, Brigid deeply inhaled the aroma. “Divine.” She brought the hot tea to her lips, blew gently, then sipped. “This reminds me of one of Danu’s brews.” Macha grinned. “That’s how Danu and I met. It was the first day of our Botany Intro class at Trinity.” “I didn’t realize that you went to school together in Dublin.” Brigid was reminded every day, often several times, how fast she had entered the world of the Tinaru and how little she knew about the personal lives of those around her who she trusted and relied on. That should change. “It seems like a lifetime ago. We were the only two Plastic Paddies so we hung together,” Macha said. “You were what?” Brigid asked. “Plastic Paddy, it means an Irish-American who doesn’t know what it actually means to be Irish. It’s derogatory but turned out to be a great cover for our exploration in the Tinaru. Very few ever figured it out. Then after graduation, Danu and I drifted out of touch over the years but your trip to Ireland gave us the opportunity to reconnect. When she contacted me, we fell back into place as if no time had passed. It’s a gift that she’s in my life again through you.” Macha gazed off, lost in thought. The breeze played with a few strands of her long, auburn hair, lifting and twirling them around her head and face which seemed so youthful compared to Danu’s even though they were the same age. She reached up with her left hand to smooth the hairs back into place in a gesture that Brigid had seen many times over the past six weeks. “You’ve been so welcoming and generous, allowing me to stay here at Culnagore House,” Brigid said. “I was nervous that being new to the traditions of the Tinaru, my presence would be disruptive to the energy of your Salatu.” “Actually, you’ve brought some freshness to our ways,” Macha said with a grin. “We are steeped in so many old traditions. It’s good to have our stagnant energy practice stirred up.” Brigid had not shared any details about herself, the prophesy or her companions. She was simply Danu’s talmidu, apprentice, new to the Tinaru, seeking to learn and find her path. The early morning chirps of a few solitary birds had grown into a full chorus of song that filled the air with the uplifting energy of Saru. Macha’s brew had cooled enough that Brigid could drink it in soothing, gingery mouthfuls. “Are you ready for tonight?” Macha asked, as she turned to look directly at Brigid with her eyebrows slightly raised above her hazel eyes. “I’ve done my reading as you asked, but I’m feeling like a naïve, trembling debutant about to be presented to the Queen.” Macha tilted her head back and laughed. “It could seem that way. Meeting the Lady of Culnagore for the first time can be intimidating. But to do it as part of a prominent ritual is even more challenging. I’ve been attending to her in private for so many years that she is simply my wise crone, but the mystique of her position is part of her power. It was her choice to wait until tonight to meet you. She must have a reason.” Brigid nodded. “It will be good to have my friends there. I appreciate that you invited them.” “Of course. All in the Tinaru are invited,” Macha replied. “I do wish you would reconsider my invitation to have them stay here at Culnagore House. The Lady would approve.” “You are generous to offer but they’re settled in their cottage. And now, with my plans to stay longer, they’ll want to welcome their own visitors and family. But thank you.” It had been a mixture of excitement and frustration since Brigid arrived in Ireland over a month ago. She had thought that the Summer would provide plenty of time to explore a connection with Breed and further develop her skills in the Tinaru. Unfortunately, her progress was slow and Breed had gone silent. It made no sense. Her nearness should increase her capacity to connect. And as much as she appreciated Macha’s hospitality, she felt limited in what she could do. Brigid didn’t know who was safe, even in Culnagore House and the culture of the Kerku in the surrounding villages was evident, although she did see occasional flashes of someone’s melemmu like a secret signal. Danu had encouraged her to give connecting with Breed more time. Brigid wasn’t confident but she decided to stay and keep trying. “How are plans for your son and daughter working out?” “Everything has been so last minute, but Conor jumped at the chance to attend Trinity as a provisional freshman when Danu made the connection for him. After one semester, he’ll be fully accepted. He’s genuinely excited about the antiquities that he’ll have access to in Ireland. He’s chosen Archeology as a major.” “Wonderful. And your daughter?” “We’re still looking for a host family for her study year abroad but Erin’s registered at the secondary school in Ballymahon and excited to be coming here although the school uniform is not going over well.” “Yes,” Macha chuckled. “I remember my dreaded uniform.” “That reminds me, what should I wear for the ritual? I didn’t come with a lot of formal clothing.” “As you will see tonight, Culnagore House organizes and tends to the rituals and gatherings of many of the Tinaru Salatus so the Daughters will have the appropriate garments and accessories. They’ll get you ready at the ritual site.” Brigid appreciated the differences between her New England Tinaru traditions and here. Back home, the leader of a Salatu was the Ummu, Mother. Here she was the Lady, and if the members of the Salatu all lived together and trained in a formal House, the women were called Daughters. Each House had a specific way to serve the wider community and women came into the Lady’s service and then left as they sought their own paths in the Tinaru. Other Salatu communities were organized around villages but their leader was still called the Lady. A chime rang three times. Brigid and Macha both looked back toward the House. A woman in a simple smock, one of the Daughters, stood on the threshold of the two-story stone house, its gray stucco exterior reflecting the orangey light of the rising sun. “Ah, the Lady summons me.” Macha stood, brushed off her skirt and picked up the empty mugs. “I’ll see you tonight at the ritual.” She walked up to the house, exchanged a few words with the other woman, and then disappeared inside. Over the weeks of her stay at Culnagore House, Brigid had observed that only a few Daughters tended to the Lady in her segregated apartment and that Macha was in charge of her care. The Lady was in her nineties and frail. Her caretakers attended to her around the clock and it was a service of love and admiration. The current Lady was from a long line of predecessors linked to the local clan of Newcomen. Brigid wished that she had met her in her younger days when Macha said she had been a formidable wielder of the Tinaru. Even now, Macha had warned with a laugh, don’t get on the wrong side of her Isatu, Fire. Brigid rose and faced the sun as it continued its rise in the East. There would be time before the call to breakfast and she was free until then. The other Daughters would already be at their chores managing the large farm and livestock herd that supported the House. What they didn’t use themselves for the household of more than thirty Daughters, they sold locally. Culnagore House Clover honey and beeswax candles were especially prized and considered magical. As a guest of the House, Brigid had only one chore, to clear and wash dishes after breakfast and dinner, the two substantial meals of the day when most Daughters were present. Brigid took in a deep breath then said into the wind, “What am I missing?” As expected, there was no response in her thoughts or on the wind. The bird chorus and the rustling of the old Ash’s leaves above her head were all she heard. Breed had been out of her reach. With Maggie, Ellen, and Lucy, she had visited Breed’s Well, Breed’s Fire Temple and several other places where she thought there would be a strong connection to Breed. Nothing. Even the others had struggled to connect with the ancient Tinaru of the land. It was almost as if…something or someone had been blocking them. Brigid knew this was true. Brigid faced away from the House and opened herself up to everything around her. Up until now she had been guarded about protecting herself but somehow, she knew that her wall of protection was also shutting out her ability to connect with the ancient Tinaru, especially if someone was putting up barriers to stop her. For a moment she wished that her Nasaru, her protector Lucy, was by her side but realized that Lucy was also unknowingly, blocking her capacity to connect. This was exactly the risk that Danu and her other Ummanus had warned her about but she decided to go with her instincts. Stepping toward the trunk of the Ash, she positioned herself on the side away from the House to avoid the influence of the Tinaru energy that was so concentrated there. Pressing her back into the rough bark, she reached Zaku and began to open her Tinaru energies one at a time, first Ersetu, Earth, then Mame, Water, Saru, Air, and Isatu, Fire. Each element flashed and swirled its colorful wisps within her as they were called. Finally, Brigid summoned Kuribu, Spirit, and the swirls settled into a rhythmic rainbow of movement at her deepest internal core. For a moment there was nothing and she felt her vulnerability with no protection. Had she made a mistake? Should she close down now? The Grove… She barely heard the small voice in her mind before it faded. Brigid instantly raised her Nasaru wall, released the elements, returned to the moment, and then dropped to her hands and knees at the base of the Ash. “Gratitude,” she whispered as she allowed her excess energy to drain into the earth beneath her. Brigid’s body was shaking. A chill ran through her and every muscle ached with exhaustion. Was it the physical effort or her fear that was so depleting? They were a taxing combination. Leaving herself defenseless was dangerous and reckless, and she vowed not repeat it. After a several minutes, she felt stronger. The voice had been faint, barely a murmur. But it was not Breed nor Danu. Brigid knew the timbre and the energy essence of their voices. This one was clearly different. Brigid looked toward the Grove. She had walked its paths many times and had felt the solid, grounding Ersetu, Earth energy of the Grove. Macha said that it was safe and well-guarded by centuries of Tinaru Ummanus who worked their most permanent protections around the perimeter. Culnagore House and the Grove were also surrounded by the same mists of Ersetu and Mame, Earth and Water, that Brigid recognized from around Danu’s home. Since being at Culnagore House, Brigid had realized that mists of protection and concealment were almost universal in the practice of the Tinaru. Kerku were easily confused and disoriented without seeing the land, letting the emotion of fear seep into their minds so they would stay away. With resolve, Brigid rose and walked across the grass toward the dirt path that led into the heart of the Grove. As she entered the woods and the canopy of the ancient Oaks closed in above her, Brigid knew that something was different. There was a vibrational energy that she had not encountered before that beckoned and grew stronger as she walked further into the depths of the Grove. It seemed to move with a shimmer and jumped from behind one tree to another without effort, kind of like the energy that Lucy worked when she popped around. Brigid still hadn’t mastered that despite Lucy’s excellent tutoring. But it wasn’t that either. It wasn’t an energy actually it was more like… Then Brigid knew. It was a living being of some kind. She tried to follow it but couldn’t track its quick movements. “Show yourself,” Brigid spoke aloud. She watched and listened but there was only an eerie quiet. No birdsong, no morning crickets, and no wind in the branches, just silence, and more sparkling movement between the tree trunks in the dim light that filtered into the Grove. Should she be concerned about her safety? It could be a trick to trap her. Danu had warned about powerful Ummanus who were controlled against their will to do damage to others. Doubt began to creep into her resolve then it slipped back out again. She wouldn’t get anywhere leading with fear. “Show yourself, please.” The shimmering movement stopped and Brigid waited as moments past. She was about to speak again when something grasped her right hand and she struggled not to jump back startled. Brigid looked down at what seemed to be a little girl of about five wearing a long, silky yellow dress and a crown of downy white feathers but her Tinaru energy wasn’t human. It was…what? The girl held Brigid’s hand even tighter as she tipped her face up and Brigid gasped at her dark eyes that seemed to reach into the depth of her ancient soul, holding the wisdom of a Millenia. Her expression blossomed into a childish smile that glowed with the pride of achievement. “I’ve been waiting for you,” she whispered.