In the event you're wondering whether or not you're experiencing déja vu, you're not. It was suggested to me that I should switch to the Amazon Wishlist, rather than Wal-mart, as my options would be greater and oft-times cheaper, so that is what I have done. You can click on the wee picture to the left to be taken to mah list. Thank you for your time, patience, and willingness to read this far!
To me at least, the Shrieks have always felt as if they were otherworldy creatures dropping strands of (sometimes rather ichorous) knowledge on us. It might not be immediately intelligible, but there'salways been something there (barring "naked apes and pond life", not sure about that one...) worth examining. This is no exception, the terpsichorean wordplay and capering tunes all come together rather nicely. Much like "Life in the Loading Bay" the album is also possessed of that odd assurance that only comes from having been around the block a few times. There's no doubt, no existential crises, and no peacocking about in some confused attempt to get the attention of a lover or a contract. Not to say that any iota of energy or mystery has been sacrificed for this maturity, that's all still there, in grand amounts, it's just not wasted. Just, you know, buy this. You'll not regret it.
That's not all. Dadjago has plenty more to say, as do all the ones who have so far added their two daktari to the fray. Amazon is only offering the digital album, which can be purchased by clicking the album cover featured in the image above. But you can still obtain the actual physical CD from the band themselves. Having the lovely CD booklet and libretto is well worth the wait for the mailman to come calling! Or you could just do both. The more support the Shrieks have, the more likely we are to get more ingenious music from them.
I've long held the opinion that oral traditions were not entirely dependent on repeatedly telling the tale and memorizing every nuance that the story contained. I am of a mind that there comes a point where spoken and written communication becomes embedded in cultural and racial consciousness. Even if you've never heard a song or a tale before, sometimes you still recognise it. Something within you resonates with an ineffable sense of truth that, to quote Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, "surrounds and binds" you. More often than not, such transcendental familiarity can be associated with a person's ancestry. You are experiencing a kind of sacred sentience that scientists, particularly in the field of genetics, are only now coming to understand.
This expansive consciousness is not limited to humanity. It involves everything we think we know, and emanates far beyond the boundaries we have yet to imagine. Our fellow Earthlings perceive existence in ways so alien to us, we can't even grasp the enormity of such a concept. The more we learn about the world around us, the more obvious it becomes that our knowledge and understanding don't even skim the surface of the mysteries of creation. One thing we have begun to accept, though, is the power of DNA. Within DNA rest infinite spirals of information that can be accessed as needed and enhanced by the epiphanies their current vessels' experience in their lifetime. Looking at it from this perspective gives rise to the idea that sentience doesn't reside within us; rather, we reside in sentience. Everything we know, or think we know, has been discovered countless times before, and will continue to do so as the universe, or multiverse, seeks its own definition.
What does all of this have to do with The Augury of Gideon? Everything.
First, the definition of "augury" as found on Dictionary.com:
A great deal of the books of Daniel and Revelation are auguries in the Abrahamic religions. Many Shamans, from the ancient past to the present, are augers, their knowledge, often acquired by rote, are auguries. Some auguries are so old, their wisdom have become organic, inscribed upon the very atoms that comprise the spirals of DNA. An augury can be quantum graffiti, the wall upon which it is written, creation's tabula rasa, eternally craving the to be filled with poetry, whale song, the repetitive patterns drafted in the path of stars and the whispered constructs of a virus. It is known and understood on innumerable levels and in dimensions that may never be proven by humanity.
That said, an augury can be anything, not just a spoken tale or a series of letters chiseled into stone. Pull away the veils that conceal its stories, and it will be revealed in an infinity of forms. It can be the symphony of what will come, encrypted and replicated in every tiny cell that makes you you.
I first encountered the word "augury" when I watched Earth: Final Conflict in 1997. One of the main characters, played by the brilliant Richard Chevolleau, had the nickname "Augur," which he acquired because of his almost supernatural computer skills, which included hacking and virtual linguistic gymnastics that helped the resistance better understand the true intentions of the alien Taelons. Being a student of the prophecy, omens, and various forms of divination, I instantly loved the word and mentally bookmarked it for possible use in the future. I got my chance two years later while I was writing Cadmus Pariah's biography, Sui Generis, which became one of the chapters in the first Relics book, The Chalice. I started the story out with a strange little phrase that had been looping in my mind for days: "The desert shakes with the footsteps of the Jinn, ascending for the perishing sun, owl and serpent alike." After completing the bio, I attributed what looked to be a prophecy to one of the Original Ten Vampires, a Tarmian wood-worker, who became known as Gideon. The name was based on a bit of confusion on my part, at the age of 9. In 1978, I watched an old Jack Benny movie called The Horn Blows at Midnight. Mr. Benny played an avenging angel whose duty was to sound his trumpet to herald Armageddon. I don't know how or why it happened, but up until I gave the Tarmian-turned-Upyr the name, I had always thought Jack Benny's name in the film was Gideon. Even though I discovered I was mistaken, I still kept the name.
During the time I was writing Sui Generis, I was learning more about Shamanism and the use of hallucinogens in various Shamanic rituals around the world. Ever since I'd learned Syd Barrett's tragic story, I became resolute in the opinion that by way of LSD, Syd became hyper-aware of how vast and incomprehensible reality truly is and, because he apparently had little or no training in Shamanism, he was unable to process that which had manifested, and it drove him mad.
I could easily see that as a possibility, considering the presence of the archetypal mad man or fool making itself known in cultures throughout the world over the span of millennia. Two modern examples of this would be the character of Gabby Johnson in Blazing Saddles, and Matthew Silver, who is a performance artist in New York. He's the perfect modern example of the archetypal mad shaman. Watch him in action, and you'll see what I mean.
So, taking the components of a Gene Roddenberry sci-fi show, a case of mistaken identity involving an old B&W film from the 40s, the tragic story of Syd Barrett, the theories of cellular and racial memory, combined with cosmic consciousness, I added the Fool archetype, and anchored the character to Dean Haglund in his role as Ringo in The Lone Gunmen to further flesh Gideon out.
Gideon was the mad Vampire shaman, and his prophecies were known to exist by the entire Hive, but no one knew what all of them were. No one could say if they came in the form of scrolls or were passed on in oral traditions. His foretellings were collectively called The Augury, and it is this that became the third Relic, which was actually seen and held by at least two characters in the first Relics book, The Chalice. Even though Gideon is seen only in retrospect throughout the series, he and his message became two of the most important factors in resolving the arc story.
About half of the book was influenced by a song called 'Planet' by Shriekback, a bonus track on the now impossible-to-find "Cormorant" egg. I don't know what the true meaning of the song is; rather, I wrote a large portion of The Augury of Gideon based on my interpretation of the lyrics. It certainly triggered thoughts of martyrdom and sacrifice in my mind, with some unexpected results.
As is expected, the final book of the trilogy brings a few storylines to close, and says goodbye to some of the Vampires at its end. Given that The Augury is firmly based in the cyclic nature of existence, the immortality of genetic memory, and the indestructibility of sentience, I would suggest you compare the last story to one of Cadmus' favourite things: a black hole. Going into a black hole may very well seal your doom, based on what we think we know about how the universe works, but it could also be a tool of cosmic transformation, giving credence to the Pagan concept of the Goddess' womb to tomb aspect. Who knows what may happen when you come out the other side of the black hole?
Perhaps we can find out together. Until then, I hope you enjoy this book and the characters that told the story. If anything in any of the three books inspires you to learn more about some of the concepts, traditions, cultures, music, and philosophies that helped inspire them, then I'd say my work is done. You have the secrets of The Augury now. It's time to pass it on to others.
It may take up to five days for this to show up on my Amazon author's page, so I figured I'd upload it to the Cliffs and the Vampire Relics Facebook page. Hopefully, it makes sense.
When I first began writing The Chalice, I had no plan to carry the story any further. But, one day, I decided to write a little drabble documenting an encounter between Kelat and Cadmus Pariah. I wanted to see where a few hundred words describing Cadmus' invasion of Kelat's sacred space, hidden away in the heart of Jerusalem, would take me.
The result was Cadmus mentioning a mysterious crown I had never thought of before. He called it the Blood Crown and hinted that it was still in the Apostate's possession, somewhere in the twisted tunnels that navigated the Roman catacombs. From there, I was committed to expand the story.
I decided that I wanted to include Orphaeus Cygnus in the narrative, because I enjoyed describing the dynamic between him and Cadmus. That decision threw me way out in the realm of absurdity, when I realised I was conjuring what was essentially a horror/fantasy version of the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby Road Pictures, with Orphaeus and Cadmus taking on the mantle of those classic comedians. As a result, The Blood Crown carries with it a kind of levity in some of the situations Cadmus and Orphaeus find themselves, during their journey from Israel to Vatican City.
The Blood Crown is the book in which I decided to share myths I had conceived years prior to the writing of the Relics trilogy. Some of the tales were written in the 1980s, mapping the history of the Tarmi and their kin, who escaped a dying world in the hope of finding a new home. Other stories, like the ones that explain how the full moons got their names, were written after I became involved in my local Wiccan community, and became a kind of bard, participating as high priestess and sharing these new myths with those in the Caledonii Tradition. These were based on the concept behind Rudyard Kipling's Just-So Stories. I was always keen on why we believe what do. Why do we, and all beings on this Earth, behave in a certain manner? So it seemed a natural progression in my own spiritual education to ask why each of the full moons had titles attributed to them. As a result, The Moon Myths were born, but they had never been read outside my "circle" of Witch friends and acquaintances. Those stories, along with many others mentioned above, became the backbone of The Blood Crown.
To be frank, of the three books in the Relics series, The Blood Crown is my favourite. The only part of it that distressed me while writing it, and still does upon revisiting, is the story concerning Faust, in a large section of the narrative called "The Sainted Confessor."
Mentioned only in passing in The Chalice, Faust was a Vampire in New York City, who fell victim to Cadmus' charms in the dazzling Disco days of Studio 54. He grew to prominence as The Blood Crown's plot developed in an almost organic fashion. Since the character of Faust became anchored to a talented young actor I know, the horrors that befell him distressed me on a cellular level. During the time I wrote it, on through to present time, I would occasionally apologise to him. That part of the book, however, gives me faith that, sometimes, the story really does write itself. Faust evolved from an incidental mention in The Chalice to an integral part of the story in both The Blood Crown and The Augury of Gideon.
There were some liberties taken in regard to historical events and some geographical descriptions. This was intentional, because I don't perceive these stories as happening in our reality. That said, if you come across something in the book that doesn't quite compute, I invite you to reach out to see if it was a result of alternate reality voodoo, or actually a mistake on my part.
In fact, if you want to contact me about anything, by all means, do. You can do so by posting queries, concerns, or anything in between on my author's page here on Amazon, or you can find me on Facebook, with the username "VampireRelics."
I hope you enjoy reading The Blood Crown as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Even though the full poem did not make it into The Vampire Relics, the prophecy implied was certainly a driving force in Gideon's massive collection of prophecies. It was also one of the guidelines that defined Magnificat and many of the band's songs that shared its arcane mood.
If you find 'The Sanctity of Shame' intriguing, you would probably enjoy the Vampire Relics trilogy. All three books are available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format. Just click the picture below to be taken to the Amazon page.
Tracy Angelina Evans was born on 10 September, 1967, in Asheville, North Carolina, into a small family that had more in common with the Addams Family than the Waltons. Her father was a slightly off-center Jack of all artistic trades (radio DJ, photographer, writer, journalist, singer/songwriter, comic, and Japanese commercial actor - go figure), so it was convenient that his nickname was Jack. Her mother is a first generation Hippie, who adores artistic/crafty endeavours, reading, watching horror movies, and anything to having to do with nature and the animal kingdom. Her grandparents were Big Band Jazz musicians and singers (maternal grandparental units), painters and storytellers (paternal grandmother unit), and CIA operatives (paternal grandfather unit) in what was then West Germany. She was raised by her eccentric aunt, Tudi, and paternal grandmother unit in Asheville and, later, in Duncan, SC. She began artistic pursuits at the age of 4, when her grandmother told her to go draw flies. Too young to get the joke, her first pictures were of flies. The spiders came later to eat the overpopulation of flies. Webs were really fun to draw. She began writing animals stories around the age of 7, but switched to human-centered sci-fi stories at 13, when she heard the Electric Light Orchestra's album, Time.
Language and mythology became an important part of Tracy's education at an early age, and she was fascinated with religion. Early on, she wanted to be a preacher, but was told only men could do that. Then she wanted to be a nun, going around with a towel held to her head with a plastic mixing bowl to signify her cornette, but was told only Catholics could do that. Her mother was Jewish and her father was a non-practicing Southern Baptist, so the natural progression from these lofty origins, along with the dashing of original spiritual aspirations because of denomination and gender, is for the offspring to embrace Pagan and Pantheist philosophies, which became intertwined with her sci-fi sensibilities, the music prevalent in her life, and what little she could grasp of actual science, particularly physics and psychology.
In her junior year of high school, she chose to do a research paper on anti-Utopian societies, or Dystopian worlds, using A Brave New World and 1984 as the frame work for her paper. This turned her into a conspiracy theorist and affected the general tone of her writing from then on. During this time, too, she began building a personal myth around an ancient alien race that came to Earth before the rise of humanity. Part of the process of this creation was the invention of a new language, based loosely on the Indo-European family of languages with a hint of Finno-Ugric. (How, really, did two countries so far apart from one another end up sharing a root language, anyway? Finland? Hungary? What say you?)
At the age of 19, Tracy's genuine love of music, combined with her knowledge of a wide variety of musical genres, gave her the opportunity to work in the music industry starting in 1987. She left Wofford College to pursue this career. For almost a decade, she literally (using the correct definition of the word) got paid to sit and listen to music, during which she was allowed to read, write, draw, or anything else that did not deter from her job in the quality assurance department of what was then BMG/RCA Music Service. Another nine years with the company saw her going into music promotions, which drove her clinically mad.
Her Tarmian mythology got a metaphysical shot in the arm when Tracy began studying ancient Pagan religions and dabbling in the then still fresh New Age philosophies in 1990 and going forward.
Also in 1990, she discovered what would become her favourite music band, Shriekback. They would end up having a profound effect on every aspect of her own artistic endeavours. Thanks to her entering the virtual world of the Internet in 1998, she got to eventually meet some members of the band, and help to promote them and their music since 2000. They were kind enough to allow her to use lyrics from their songs as chapter lead-ins for her books.
After the death of her aunt in 2011, Tracy moved to San Diego to be closer to her mother, taking with her, her non-human friends Smidgen (a giant cat with a partially erect furry penis for a tail) and Toby (an obnoxious deer Chihuahua who had been abandoned at the veterinary hospital for which she briefly worked as a Vet Assistant), her music, book, and DVD collections, a few clothes, and her computer.
She is quite active online, maintaining a 12-year-old blog on Live Journal, called The Cliffs of Insanity, and sharing amusing and/or infuriating bits of info and images on her Facebook page. Besides writing and devouring copious amounts of music, she enjoys drawing badly, and is trying to learn how to use an art tablet. She also loves to read, watch movies (any genre but romance), make videos for You Tube (some vids for Shriekback, some vids to share songs that might not otherwise be available, like the more obscure Celtic folk tunes of Dougie MacLean and Talitha MacKenzie, and some funny bits and bobs, like The Tim Roth Tutorials), going to drum circles on the weekend to work out her djembe and get a contact high, and enthusiastically waiting for the End of the World. Over the past few years, comedy has also become of great import to her mental health. There's a reason why we have the cliché "laughter is the best medicine."
Tracy has a strong affinity for non-human Earthlings (camelids, reptiles, birds, and mantids, in particular) and was involved in cat rescue for some time in Duncan, SC. At one point, she was seeking homes for about thirty cats she had tamed and nursed back to health, earning her the title of Crazy Cat Lady in her neighbourhood. (All the cats were re-homed.) She has worked to rehabilitate many species, including a hypoglycaemic hummingbird, a family of opossums to whom she gave epic Nordic names for no reason whatsoever, and a variety of lizards. She is in love with a planet she sees aching under the yoke of human oppression, and would do anything to see that change. She claims to be a professional misanthrope, which is most often channelled into Cadmus Pariah, but she likes you. To the best of her knowledge, her lineage includes Welsh, Scottish, English, Jewish, Dutch, Hungarian, African, and Cherokee genes, making her a class A mongrel.
After years of change and countless reassessments of her belief system, Tracy is now more comfortable with the concept of Jungian archetypes and how they are recurring themes throughout human history. As it stands at the time of this writing, she's working on a fourth Vampire book, she's still a diehard Star Wars/Star Trek sci-fi/fantasy nerd, an apostle of JRR Tolkien's and Robert Anton Wilson's, an opinionated grouch, and a constant victim of synchronicity, which tends to spread the wealth of weirdness with anyone in close proximity. She has a short list of heroes that include Jeff Lynne, Carl Jung, Barry Andrews, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Starhawk. She is also one of the 14 remaining people on Earth who dislikes Joss Whedon and that for which he stands, and has actually lost friends because of her opinion. If she had her druthers, Tracy would move to Avebury, Wiltshire, and groove on the ley lines' vibrations for the rest of her life.
She's absolutely certain that she is uncertain about everything, and that is most certainly a statement loaded with uncertainty.
At Buckingham Palace in 2006.
For some idiotic reason, I had no clue that such a thing as an author's page existed on Amazon, so I'm playing catch-up now. I've uploaded a blurb about The Chalice, which will be live in 3-5 business days, according to Amazon. My page URL is http://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Angelina-
From the Author
Even though I was doing a great deal of research and myth "redefinition", I still struggled to write anything with which I was comfortable. The main female character in the bones of The Chalice, Kelat, did not fit my idea of a proper antagonist, especially after I became involved in Goddess worship. Kelat, for me, was an ideal - a character that accepted herself for what she had become, but never lost her divine identity. She was an archetype of Kali or the Cailleach made manifest. I could not make her evil. So the story languished until 1990, when I discovered Shriekback, whose song 'Deeply Lined Up' gave me my first visions of who would become the primary antagonist in the stories, Cadmus Pariah.
Writer's Block haunted me for years, though, between 1990 and 1999, at which time I began to write Cadmus' biography, which became the chapter in The Chalice entitled 'Sui Generis'. From there, the writing and myth-making began in earnest, and produced the first book of The Vampire Relics, which was completed in 2005.
My hope is that, when someone reads The Chalice, they are inspired to do their own research on the Vampire phenomenon and its apparent presence throughout the world, despite nations and cultures having no contact with one another at the time rumours of Vampires came to the fore, and seek to learn more about cultures like that of the Romani, as well as mystery traditions practiced by Kabbalists, Gnostics, and Cathars. It would be heartening to hear of people leaving the book with more questions than answers, so that they might expand their knowledge and the realm of possibilities in this incomprehensible world. And I would also be very happy to have been instrumental in the broadening of readers' musical tastes by introducing them to artists like Shriekback, Concrete Blonde, ELO, XTC, Oingo Boingo, and composers Antonin Dvořák and Johann Sebastian Bach.
Lastly, I hope that American readers come out of The Chalice with the realisation that America has an incredible treasure of strange tales, and a newfound interest in those legends and mysteries, like that of the Roanoke Colony and Virginia Dare.
Please enjoy The Chalice and The Vampire Relics. Pass the tales on to those you love. Everyone in this book and the others in the series were written to encourage people to never turn away from the Magick contained in this crazy reality we all share because, if you imagine it or believe it, whatever you believe or imagine exists on some level, and may already be imagining you back.
Even monsters like Cadmus Pariah.
Illustration for the first Vampire story I wrote in 1987, called Vasily's Kiss.
Haunted Box of Switches
Haunted Box of Switches