Monday, November 30, 2015

Weekly Geek! Which One is the Witch?

Catherine was always being left at home, which is most unpleasant for a wife.” She shot me a withering glance. “Henry’s whore was named after the goddess of the hunt, like you.”
“I wouldn’t have crossed Catherine de’ Medici.” I shook my head.
“The king’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, was the dangerous one,” Ysabeau said darkly. “She was a witch.”
“Actually or metaphorically?” I asked with interest.
“Both,” Matthew’s mother said in a tone that could strip paint.

Although Ysabeau only makes a passing reference to it in A Discovery of Witches, the love triangle of Henry II, Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médici deserves its own Weekly Geek for several reasons.  It's a story full of court intrigue, illicit love, and rumors of witchcraft; it may possibly be connected to The Serpent's Mirror; and finally, this Daemon just thinks it's a great story and a perfect fit for the All Souls universe.

Diane de Poitiers

Ysabeau's familiarity with all involved - especially her antipathy towards Diane - is especially intriguing, given the fact that rumors of witchcraft swirled around both women.  Maybe, if we're lucky, perhaps Ysabeau will explain herself further someday?  We hope!  Until then, we're left with the history books, as well as some well known novelizations of the story.   Daemon disclaimer: I was originally introduced to this story through The Serpent and the Moon by Princess Michael of Kent  and Courtesan by Diane Haeger so I tend to favor Diane over Catherine.

It takes three sides to make a triangle.  Shall we meet them?

Henry - The Second Son

Henry II  (born March 31, 1519, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, France—died July 10, 1559, Paris), king of France from 1547 to 1559.  The second son of Francis I and Claude of France, Henry was sent with his brother Francis (the Dauphin) as a hostage (in place of their father) to Spain in 1526 (he was seven) and did not return to France until 1530.  When the Dauphin died in 1536, Henry became heir to the throne.  Henry felt that the Spanish mistreated him during the four years he was a prisoner, and bore a lifelong grudge against both his father and Emperor Charles V (ruled from 1519 to 1556).  Henry first met Diane - a Lady of Honor to his mother Queen Claude - when he returned from Spain in 1530.  His father, King Francis I, asked the widow to instruct his son in courtly manners.  Henry and Catherine began a love affair when he was 19 years old, which lasted until Henry's death in 1559.

In October 1533 he wed Catherine de Médici (1519–1589) as part of an alliance with the Médici pope, Clement VII (reigned 1523–1534).  The Pope died soon after, ending the political value of the marriage.  The marriage also came under strain because it produced no children for the first ten years.  Henry and Catherine did eventually have seven that survived childhood.  When his older brother died in 1536, Henry became the Dauphin.  He ascended the throne 31 March 1547, after the death of his father.  Henry eventually died as a result of injuries suffered during a joust (whoops!) held as part of the celebration of the marriage of his son, Dauphin Francis and Mary, Queen of Scots.

The fatal tournament between Henry II and Montgomery (Lord of "Lorges")

Catherine - The Political Bride

Catherine Caterina de’ Médici (born April 13, 1519, died January 5, 1589), queen consort of Henry II of France (reigned 1547–59) and subsequently regent of France (1560–74).   She bore him 10 children, of whom 4 boys and 3 girls survived.  She also had a passionate interest in the tarot, consulted alchemists with philosophical questions, and astrologers for advice before taking major decisions (including Nostradamus).  Upon Henry's death, Catherine acted as regent for her teen-aged son.  Three of her sons were kings of France: Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III.  Their reigns were dominated by civil war fueled by the conflicts between the Catholics and Huguenots.  The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572  was purportedly ordered by Catherine.

Recumbent figures of Henry II and Catherine de Medici by Germain Pilon at Basilica of St. Denis

Diane - The Other Woman

Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566) was born into a family of wealth and influence.  Diane, who was very well educated and intelligent, was one of the most eligible young ladies at court.  Ironically, she had far more noble blood than Catherine!  At the age of fifteen she was married to Louis de Brézé, Seigneur d’Anet and a grandson of Charles VII, who was thirty nine years her senior.  Her husband died in 1531, leaving her a very wealthy widow!  She returned to court after a two year mourning period, and became a friend and confidante of Henry, whom she was instructing in courtly manners (and other stuff, we imagine...).  Francis' mistress, Ann, was threatened by Diane's beauty and the esteem the King held her in.  She began circulating rumors (of course...) that Diane's enduring beauty was the result of witchcraft.  It was around that time that Diane and Henry's relationship evolved and she was eventually promoted to his official mistress (yes, there was such a thing!).  The rumors of witchcraft died down, but just like it is in present time the rumors never completely disappeared.  Once Henry became king, Diane remained his most trusted confidante - almost a co-ruler.  Many called her the brains behind the throne, and eventually she was the official governess to Henry's children by Catherine de Médici.  Many testaments to their partnership remain - from their combined monogram on the Louvre itself to painting celebrating Diane's beauty and the architectural masterpieces in which they shared their lives.

Diane at Chenonceau
de Clermont Connections?

Basically, two of the most powerful men in Christendom were involved in marital turmoil and romantic travails concurrently, and the players in these domestic dramas crossed paths.   It makes one wonder how many de Clermonts crossed their paths.  Anne and Mary Boleyn were present in the Court of Francois I at the same time as Diane was Lady of Honor to Queen Claude.  Diane and her husband also attended the Field of Cloth of Gold, where she met Henry VIII.  Did Diane meet Matthew in his guise of Sebastian St. Clair during that time?  And while it was after Henry and Diane's time - there is the St. Bartholomew's day massacre that cemented Matthew and Philip Sidney's friendship.   Hmmmm....

Field of Cloth of Gold

As always, here's a little something to feed your own personal daemons:

Henry and Diane in words and art:


Field of Cloth of Gold:

The French War of Religion:

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts!  If you enjoy our Weekly Geeks and/or our other regular features, you can subscribe and have our posts come straight to your inbox.  No spam, promise!  No post, no email.  Simple as that, and you can unsubscribe at any time!

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Monday, November 23, 2015

All Souls Trilogy Auctions - US/Foreign Editions

Collectors, here is your chance to own one of these gems!
Hi Guys!  This is something we didn't include in Issue 7 of the Ridiculously Random Recap, so we felt it appropriate to dedicate a separate post to it.

In case you haven't heard among other channels across social media and the web, AllSoulsCon is auctioning signed US and Foreign editions of the All Souls Trilogy!  Proceeds benefit the Bodleian Library.

If you collect these books - we know there are many of you out there - this is for you!  No joke, we've seen people who dedicate entire book shelves to the different editions so they can admire all of the cover artwork from this beloved trilogy!  What a great opportunity to add to your stack!

All of them have been signed by Deborah Harkness.

Inscription of a Romanian copy of Shadow of Night - Scoala Noptii

If you are thinking of starting a collection of the different versions, this would be a great time to start.  Or if you know a fan that happens to be collector, you've landed yourself a great holiday gift-giving idea!  All auctions start at 35 US dollars.

From AllSoulsCon:

AllSoulsCon is auctioning a number of US and foreign editions on eBay:
These were all signed by Deborah at AllSoulsCon, and all the proceeds are donated to the Bodleian Library.

We're auctioning the following editions:
• Croatian
• German (week of Nov. 30)
• Japanese (week of Nov. 23)
• Latvian
• Slovak
• Spanish (week of Nov. 16)
• Romanian (week of Nov. 16)
• UK (week of Nov. 30)
• US

Jump on your chance to own one of these beauties and help out a good cause at the same time!  (We are eyeing a couple of these ourselves!  ;) )

Until next time,

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Ridiculously Random Recap! - Issue 7

Ah, the Ridiculously Random Recap! Why the name? Because it's a recap. And it's random (ridiculously so). There is no rhyme, reason or rationale, reference its recurring release. Also, alliterations are almost always adored by able, yet addled daemons!

Welcome to Issue 7!  We are covering the 13th of October, 2015 through today (and beyond). This recap is just in case you missed what we and others have previously covered on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and elsewhere!

Wow! Time has really flown!  It's been a while since our last one of these, and there is a lot to catch up on! It's good thing the scheduling of these recaps are intentionally works out for times like this.  Our crazy Daemon lives got a bit scattered this past month! So without further delay or apology, let's get into what's been going on:

1. Fandom News

As you may have heard, the first AllSoulsCon 2015 took place on September 12, in Los Angeles, California, and was live streamed to virtual attendees around the world. The recorded event is available on demand.  It’s never too early to think about the next one!  Subscribe to their newsletter to stay in the know.  Receive ASC updates via email to always stay up to date!  Here is sample AllSoulsCon newsletter (check it out!  It has a lot of good information – including where you can contact ASC and where you see and add to the AllSoulsCon 2016 wishlist in The All Souls Gathering.)

A Feast for All Souls
New recipes for All Souls Glazed Bundt Pound Cake, some Samhain Recipes, or enjoy Diana's Horehound Candies, and Gluten Free Scones.

The All Souls Podcast
New episodes; episodes 4, 5 & 6 have been posted since our last recap.  Their read-along for a A Discovery of Witches is in early progress.

The Tenth Knot
- New Post about the All Souls Trilogy and London: Part 6: The Barbican & Surrounding Areas
- Shadow of Night real-time reading calendar is now available here.

Attention to our Spanish speaking audience!  Are you an All Souls fan looking for a group of like-minded fans like you?  Visit these places on Facebook: Trilogía Todas las almas de Deborah Harkness, and El descubrimiento de las brujas.  The first is a Facebook group, the second is a fan page!  Check them out! 

Curious as to what else is out there in the fandom?  Visit our links page.  We consider this a living document.  As we find out about different sites/social media venues, we update the page to reflect.  If you know of a site/social media venue out there that covers the All Souls universe, contact us!  We'll gladly add to the list!

Daemons - what we've been up to...

We paired up with The Tenth Knot and hosted a Halloween Giveaway!  Congratulations again to our winner, Colleen Sabino!

Weekly Geek Posts:
About Syrah! – October 16
Happy Halloween! – October 30
All Souls and Purgatory – November 2
Guest Posts
From Hogwarts to All Souls - A Journey – October 21
The NYC Halloween Event - Guest Post – November 13
Other Daemon Posts
The Scorpio! – November 6
Real-Time Reading Companion! – November 9

2. Other Points of Interest Around the Web

Matthew's Birthday!
From Deb's FB page
Of course, the thousands of well wishes including the one by our author did not go unnoticed by Matthew:
Speaking of Matthew...

NOLA: The Garden District!  "Matthew was weary to the bone and ready to murder something when he returned to the Garden District. He’d walked there from the French Quarter, hoping to burn off some excess emotion. The endless list of names had stirred up too many memories, none of them pleasant." ~ The Book of Life Take a walking tour with this video:

Video by

3. Author/Series News

On October 2, writers share #WhyIWrite on Twitter for National Day on Writing.  Our author tweeted this:

We are grateful, and not coincidentally, they are the same reasons why we read the All Souls Trilogy.  You can see the full Entertainment Weekly feature that includes other writers here.

On October 20, the Italian edition of The Book of Life, “Il bacio delle tenebre was published by Edzione Piemme.  Many an Italian reader in the Facebook group All Souls Trilogy Il Libro Della Vita E Della Morte showed their excitement over finally having the final volume in their hands!

At the end of October, The Southern California Independent Booksellers Association (SCIBA) awarded The Book of Life with the Best Fiction award:

Tour Stops – Deb and her penguin were off to see readers and talk about a variety of topics ranging from the All Souls Trilogy, witches, the dead in Early Modern England and more!

- A Gathering of Witches--a Conversation with Deborah Harkness, Katherine Howe and Brunonia Barry

Harvard Bookstore on October 27 - Photo by Kim the Great! (@enervated) on Twitter
- New York City Halloween Event: Living with the Dead in Early Modern England at the Morbid Anatomy Museum on October 28.  You can catch the details and recap here.

- Nashville Area Event cosponsored by Parnassus (Ann Patchett’s bookstore) and the Nashville Public Library on October 30.

- Santa Fe Area Event: On Stage Q&A with Lorene Mills, Audience Q&A, and Signing at Jean Cocteau Cinema on November 8.  They certainly looked ready for Deb!

Photos by J Donovan (@JDnvan) on Twitter

Twitter Poll! Deb has posted her very first!  Fellow fans, what do you think?  Here's the question and the results!
And FINALLY!  Last, but definitely not least - The All Souls Reading Companion is now available in ebook format from both Headline and Penguin Books!  What an awesome gift to the fandom!  Check your favorite place to get ebooks!  From what we understand, it's also available in the iBooks store.

Download from here
Download from here or here

That's what we have for you, this time!

Do you know of anything going on in the fandom that you'd like to see included in these recaps? Please contact us! If you are the owner of a website, group, or page, and you'd like to relay something to the All Souls Community, we are talking to you! We love to hear about new events, story related items, or articles as long as it has to do with the All Souls Universe! Do you like our regular features/posts? Subscribe to Daemons Domain!

Until the next randomly released recap,
feed your daemons...

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Friday, November 13, 2015

The NYC Halloween Event - Guest Post

Here are some notes on the NYC Halloween event that took place on October 28th, 2015: "Living with the Dead in Early Modern England, an Illustrated Lecture with Deborah Harkness" at the Morbid Anatomy Museum.  Thank you, Colleen Sabino, for being our eyes and ears on the ground at this event!  All photos of the event slides were taken by Colleen.

•    It was a really interesting talk. She explained many aspects of how close the living and the dead were. Highlights were about the funeral clothes. When a person died, they left money for the people who were to attend their funerals, so that they could buy a funeral outfit.(Deb made a joke about this: it was how you got new clothes, you attended funerals & then traded them). They also left money to pay for the pallbearers. Wealthy people actually had "invitations" made up for their funerals, and some were only allowed to attend if they had a ticket.

•    Wooden effigies of the royal-class were made and placed atop the coffins as they were paraded through the towns. They even dressed them right down to the corsets. (Some have been recently recovered in a locked closet at Westminster Abbey.)

•     She covered a lot about how life and death were measured against each other in parish logs as Christenings & Burials. She also made a point about midwives being the "hinges" for seeing people into the mortal life and out as well. (Some wealthy people paid for midwives to attend them at bedside while they were dying.)

•     There was a piece about ghosts and how they were not thought to be spirits of your departed, but instead angels or devils in disguise as your loved ones.

•     There were interesting facts about causes of death: in the early years before the plague, infant mortality was the highest, but other causes were worms, teeth, rising of the spirits (which Deb explained meant kidneys). Deb said people started to question that belief and Shakespeare's Hamlet was one of the first examples of someone believing that it was their actual loved one. When she talked about disease, the Plague was of course a main cause. Many believe the Great Fire of London helped to wipe out the plague because it killed all the rats that were carrying it.

•    She spoke about people with epilepsy.  They were often placed in the front rows at beheadings because it was thought that drinking the blood would cure them. There was also a black market for "mummies" because it was believed that the bodies could be cures - boiled fat, powdered skull, mimia, etc.

•     When we went back upstairs for the book signing, I did ask if she had anything to reveal or any snippets about the Serpent's Mirror, but she just smiled and said. "well, I have to write it first." She was gracious and wonderful as always.  She is so accommodating to her fans.

•    The dead were buried inside the churches, in the walls, and in the floors. Bodies were put in without caskets so that would take up less room. They were only wrapped in funeral shrouds. Caskets were only for the wealthy. There were also no grave markers or headstones, and when they ran out of room, some bodies would be dug up and put into mass graves in buildings on the church grounds.

As much as we'd love it, limited resources (and a thankful amount of basic sense) will keep us from being full-fledged Deb-head roadies, but we love it when our friends can help us out and make us all feel like we were there!  Thank you again, Colleen!

Until next time, 

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Real-Time Reading Companion!

A companion to The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness for fans to explore: The All Souls Real-Time Reading Companion - U.S. Cover by Penguin Books
Cover of the All Souls Real-Time Reading Companion
Yes!  In case you've missed it (perhaps taking a social media break?  Maybe we'll try that one day! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) We are going to get an official real-time reading  companion for our e-readers from Penguin Books, just like our friends in the UK (or wherever Headline Books are sold) did!  We are very excited about this!  Why?  Because we've personally kept our own somewhat diversified, piecemeal versions of reading companions around. They live in our picture folders, in our e-book notes, on our computer desktops, in a pile of stickies, on scrap paper, in dog-eared copies of our All Souls Trilogy tree-books, in our browser 'favorites', on Word documents or Excel spreadsheets (depends what's within reach!), based on the real-time posts from Deborah Harkness' social media. Yes, we are those kind of nerds about this series (we did warn you about that!)  We take solace in the knowledge that we aren't alone!  Come out of the closet, fellow All Souls geeks!  ;)

There are also wonderful people in this fandom that have compiled real-time calendars for both ADOW and SON (visit The Tenth Knot, they have really good ones!)  We recommend having all resources available to you when you read this series!  How nice is it to just have an official companion right in your e-reader, though?  It's a whole new level of geek!

We did know that this was coming (as Deb mentioned that Penguin was working on bringing us our own version in one of her posts announcing the Headline variant), but we are really glad it's coming soon.  And you can't beat the price: $0!  The write up says it's illustrated - not sure if it is actually illustrated, or the phrase is used as a term of figurative description; "A richly illustrated real-time reading guide that brings to life the world created by Deborah Harkness in A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, retracing the events of the bestselling novels with illuminating behind-the-scenes details."  We'll see, soon enough!

From some of the previews/post-views we saw of the UK version (we're pretty confident that it'll contain much of the same information), this will really be helpful to real-time readers.  Even if you aren't a real-time reader, you'll enjoy it!  You'll get a sense of the time-frame of events, and the places where they occurred.  Perfection!

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES real-time reading, 31 October (chapter 42) - picture is from an example of Deborah Harkness' real-time reading on Facebook
An example of one of the a real-time reading posts we love so much.  This one is pretty special, because the witch and vampire belong to a Daemon!  It also helps that we won't need to hunt down a photo credit source!  Score! :D

Release is on the 17th of November, 2015.  You don't have an e-reader?  That's fine!  If you have a smartphone, an iPod Touch, or a tablet you'll be able to view it.  You can even read it on your desktop/laptop.  There are apps for that!  Amazon has apps available for almost every device, and Barnes and Noble is no slouch in that department either.  Go ahead and pre-order!  It will literally cost you NOTHING.  :)

According to our author, it will be available for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks, wherever U.S. editions of the books are available.  We have the Amazon and B&N links along with a countdown currently on our sidebar (viewable - look to the left - if you are on a laptop/desktop).  If you are mobile, and can't see it, you can pre-order on Amazon here, or Barnes and Noble here.  Search the iBooks store to pre-order on your Apple device (you'll need iBooks on your Mac to search there.  If you have an Apple device, in iBooks, go straight to the button that says "iBooks store"), and if you don't want to use iBooks, both Amazon and B&N make really solid apps for your Mac and assorted iThings.

This will give us another thing to pour over while we wait and speculate over the next book set in the All Souls universe, The Serpent's Mirror.  We can't wait!  Actually, we have no choice, sooooo... ;)

Until next time!

P.S. if you are visiting this site from the UK, India, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, (etc. wherever Headline books are sold), and didn't know about this - what?! -, you can download your version from here, and yes, it's free!  :D

P.P.S. Deb’s tip to finding your own companion is to do a search for harkness all souls companion<--click!  We already set it up for you ... :)

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Friday, November 6, 2015

The Scorpio!

As we celebrated Matthew Clairmont's human birthday on Monday with our Weekly Geek!, we thought we'd take it further and look at the Astrology associated with Matthew.  The Geek was a bit somber, so now let's have some fun!

Matthew's November 2nd birthday makes him a Scorpio - one of the  most complex signs of the zodiac.  Given the emphasis placed on astrology in early modern times, its relation to alchemy and the fact that astrology is woven through The Book of Life, we thought it would be fun to see what makes Matthew tick astrologically speaking.  First a bit of background on Scorpio men  generally -courtesy of

The Scorpio Man
The Scorpio man is not a man to be trifled with. He is serious and sometimes stern, with little time for the non-essential and unimportant. He seems to see the world only in black and white. Shades of grey are too ambiguous and do not interest him.

He is incredibly curious, and wants to learn about everyone and everything, but he usually likes to figure these things out on his own. His keen sense of intuition helps him unearth the plain truth of things, and he is a master at asking questions that are both direct and penetrating. He rarely takes others' answers at face value, however, and comes to his own conclusions.

The Scorpio man doesn't live under a rock like his animal sign does, but he is secretive and very complex at times, not likely to spill out his darkest secrets at the first sign of friendliness. In fact, friendships with a Scorpio man have to be proven and won with loyalty before he will get chummy. Attempts at trying to get too close too fast may result in him retreating to his lair in high suspicion and a little bit of alarm. You can't tame a Scorpio man.

Ruled by Mars the god of war and Pluto the god of the underworld, Scorpio men are intense, passionate, and filled with desire. They can be moody and vengeful, with a hot temper and long memories for any wrongs, imagined or otherwise, done against them. Intimidated yet? Well, once you get to know a Scorpio man, you will be happy you took the time. He is a delight in his own way - a man who cuts through appearances and gets to your very soul. He is more vulnerable than he lets on, and he is wiser than probably any other man you know.

Although a Scorpio man may seem unemotional, that's all just for show. Underneath his calm, cool, exterior is an electric undercurrent of roiling feelings. Like all water signs, he is much attuned to his own and others' emotions and feels deeply. Not much of this is on display for the outside world, however, as Scorpios dislike losing control over their own feelings, at least not publicly. Love for a Scorpio man is both powerful and passionate, a catalyst that changes his entire life and outlook. He is a caring and devoted lover, if a little possessive. This possessiveness is just the Scorpio way of expressing his love. Behind his aloof exterior, the Scorpion is sensitive and loving but he will only let down his guard and show this side of his personality to the right partner. If you're looking for safety, security, and missionary, then this Scorpion is not for you. Adventurous and lusty, the Scorpio man will try anything once, even if it's just to say he's been there, done that and doesn't think too much of it.

Since we're daemons, we used one of the more complex chart calculators  for Matthew.  Surprisingly enough, we found one that accepted a birth year of 500 AD.

A short portrait of Matthew Clairmont based on his natal chart:

Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Leo
The immediate impression you give is that you are tremendously energetic. You have powers to influence people, creating ripples of action and reaction wherever you go. You are a complex individual; your emotions are long-lasting, but you also punish yourself with equal intensity. You possess enormous self-control, and you can be ruthless in pursuing what you have set your mind on.
Because of your enthusiasm and magnetism, you are cut out for positions of leadership. Others are warmed and assured by your confident and generous ways. Check your tendency to become fixed in your opinions and learn forgiveness.

You have the capacity to live life fully, and if you work to achieve an inner harmony, you will be assured of the admiration and comforts you desire.

Ascendant in Leo, Sun in the Third House
At the time of your birth the zodiacal sign of Leo was ascending in the horizon. Its ruler the Sun is located in the third house.

People with Leo in the Ascendant seem to possess a flair for the life of nobility and regality. Your life will be in many ways influenced by decisions you make that have been motivated by your pride, desire for power, for authority, and your need to convince others of your courage.
These zodiacal signs grant in life a large dose of vitality as well as a fine physical shape and a strong, healthy constitution.

Willpower is a characteristic of your personality. You seek opportunities and when you find them you go to it, using both your mind and your emotions to strive for success with zeal and determination. You are very self-assured and you implement ideas with a self-assurance that lets nothing get in your way of success.

It would be beneficial to you, however, if you were not so candid and frank and if you did not expect others to act and feel as you do.

Leo will grant you very sincere and affectionate relationships in which you desire to bring happiness and an overall feeling of charitable spirit and warmth to your loved one. In your sexual relationships you appear as happy, strong, playful and even a little innocent.

You will always act better as a leader than a subordinate.

This position indicates a generous though proud mind, with ambitious inclinations. In all intellectual endeavors you are firm and confident, always aiming at total success and desirous of honor and fame through your intellectual endeavors. You have a desire to help others by means of the application of your knowledge. Your mind can be inventive, constructive, profound, commanding respect, and even religious or philosophical.

You must be careful not to become too proud or arrogant or to demonstrate an overly ambitious nature.

Sun in the Third House
The Sun appears in the third house at the time of your birth.
Your individuality as ruled by the Sun must pass several karmic tests of a mental character in order to return to its spiritual abode with a richer knowledge in this state of consciousness. Your mind strives for glory, social success, honors, power and magnanimous elevation by means of intellectual understanding.
The path for the realization of fame, honor, nobility and advancement lies through study, communication and self-expression. Your views about life are optimistic, self-assured, kind and generous.
The liabilities of your mind are a lack of interest in detail or occupations and matters that you regard as being below your dignity.

Venus in the Third House
Venus was in the third house of your horoscope at the time of birth. You are keenly interested in the creative arts, and your thoughts and words are surrounded by a halo of beauty, taste, and proportion. Your mind actually feels the emotions connected with nature and the higher aspects of things human. Venus here augurs pleasant and kind relations with members of your family; the disposition of your intellect is congenial, youthful, and attractive.
The keys to a better integration of both your mental and emotional functions consist of deepening your personal relationships and of turning the mind inward so that you may be able to know the world better by means of true self-knowledge.

Saturn in the Tenth House
Saturn was found in the tenth house at the time of birth. This a very challenging position for a person who seeks worldly success. The inhibiting powers of Saturn are expressed in a heavy, cautious, and very serious personality. Many of the limitations that will arise throughout life result from your own psychological disposition which is oriented to narrow bounds. The key to a satisfactory solution of the various problems that will arise throughout life lies in your ability to endure difficulties with patience.
Inwardly there are ambitions, aspirations, and thrift; properly projected these psychological characteristics could yield power, an image of pride, and a perpetual craving for material objects and worldly wealth.

Moon in the Twelfth House
The Moon was in your twelfth house at the time of birth. Secretly, you enjoy a love of romance and adventure that lends a bit of excitement to your daydreaming.
It is possible that the little popularity that you may enjoy in this life will be from some very reserved and secretive circles where your merits are recognized.
It can be expected that you will be successful in positions that call for solitude or remote locations.

 Courtesy of

Graphic based on the text in The Book of Life - contents of Diana's commonplace book
 Feed your daemons and cast your own chart!  The results may be surprising. . .

Until next time!

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Weekly Geek! All Souls and Purgatory

We are going to get our geek going with a more somber topic than our last Weekly Geek.  We covered Halloween and the fun traditions that originated from both Pagan and Christian origins.  Today, we are going to take a closer look at Matthew Clairmont's faith a bit. And maybe we'll be able to gain some insight into what has troubled the man for so many years...

Today is All Souls' Day.  We're celebrating Matthew Clairmont's birthday (as opposed to his re-birthday) this week!  Matthew is a a Scorpio born on the day the Catholic Church has designated as a day of prayer for all of the souls in Purgatory (as opposed to All Saints' Day which honors those who have gone to Heaven).  Coincidence, much?  The poster boy for self-loathing was born on All Souls' Day(!)   His vampiric life, up to the point he meets Diana, is for all intents and purposes, something he sees as his personal Purgatory.  The best (and by best, we actually mean ironic) part is we, as readers, finally learn this after he finally learns to forgive himself.


*Begin Daemonic Lesson: Given that this Daemon's Vatican II driven Catechism class was concentrated more on macaroni crosses and guitar mass than hard core theological instruction, we will rely on for a simple explanation of Purgatory.  Simply stated, if one dies in a state of Sanctifying Grace – that is, if they are “saved” when they pass to the next life – there remains the possibility of “spending time in” Purgatory before entering Heaven.  It is important to recognize that Purgatory is not a “second chance” at salvation.  If one should die separated from God, there is no second chance. “Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27).

Fresco depicting souls leaving Purgatory by Luca Signorelli
God’s mercy is not supposed to overlook imperfections and sin; it's purpose is to remove them and repair the damage.  The Merciful Father welcomed home the Prodigal Son, and his sins were forgiven.  This is usually seen in relation to our conversion, repentance and forgiveness received on earth in this life.  We can also see elements that can point to Purgatory.  Consider the son’s anguished journey home, arising and traveling a great distance from that “far country.”  Seen in the context of the next life, there is not necessarily an immediate admittance to the Beatific Vision.  A painful journey, or cleansing, may still be in our future. The Father waits with open arms, but we must still travel to Him (does this remind you of certain journey Matthew made to Philippe?).  The son was forgiven from the moment he sought forgiveness, but the journey home was not yet complete.  Doesn’t Sacramental Confession remove sin?  Aren’t we forgiven?

Yes, we are forgiven.  Our sins are absolved when we make a good confession, however there are two punishments due to sin.  Which punishment does Confession remit?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say: "To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain." (CCC 1472)

So, there are two types of punishment due to sin, eternal and temporal.  It is the eternal punishments that are forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The doctrine of Purgatory is a dogma of the Church and must be given the assent of faith.  Those who die in a state of grace, but who still suffer from unforgivable venial sins, attachments to sin, or any temporal punishment due to sin, are cleansed of these imperfections in Purgatory by God’s love.

All Souls' Day

Candles being lit for lost souls.
In the Roman Catholic Church, All Souls' commemorates the dead who currently reside in Purgatory, being cleansed of their venial sins, and receiving the temporal punishments for the mortal sins that they had confessed to and are atoning for (before entering fully into Heaven).  On All Souls' Day, Catholics not only remember the dead, but petition for their release from Purgatory through prayer, almsgiving, and Mass.  While the actions are performed by the living, the merits of the indulgences are applicable only to the souls in Purgatory. <-------- By the way, this was one of the many things Martin Luther was not down with, but that's not important to our story today!

According to, praying for the dead is a Christian obligation.  In the modern world, where many doubt the existence of Purgatory and the church's teachings regarding it, the need for such prayers has only increased, so much so that the Catholic Church devotes the month of November to prayer for the souls in Purgatory.  *End of Daemonic Lesson  :)


So, for the longest time, the All Souls - as in the All Souls Trilogy - has been interpreted as referring to the themes of inclusiveness and tolerance laced through the story, and driving the journey of the main characters.  But in the back of this Daemon's mind was the odd pattern of connections between Matthew and All Souls (layered in a series that was essentially driven by Diana's evolution).  His college at Oxford.  His birthday.  In researching this Geek, it became clear to this Daemon that perhaps the All Souls ties were actually clues tying together Matthew and the concept of Purgatory.

As a staunch Catholic in a vampiric family consisting of many pagans, his belief in Purgatory (and relationship to it) further fueled his estrangement from his family.  It's just one more aspect of his "otherness".  He goes so far as to physically separate himself from his family when he thinks he sins.  His Presbyterian son, Marcus, doesn't always understand his dear old dad, Matthew.  Philippe even goes so far as to comment on it:

"When you or I have done wrong, we settle our accounts with the gods and return to living with the hope of doing better in future. Ysabeau’s son confesses his sins and atones again and again—for his life, for who he is, for what he has done. He is always looking backward, and there is no end to it.” “That’s because Matthew is a man of great faith, Philippe.” There was a spiritual center to Matthew’s life that colored his attitudes toward science and death.“Matthew?” Philippe sounded incredulous. “He has less faith than anyone I have ever known. All he possesses is belief, which is quite different and depends on the head rather than the heart. Matthew has always had a keen mind, one capable of dealing with abstractions like God. It is how he came to accept who he had become after Ysabeau made him one of the family."

When they time walked to 1590, even Diana noticed that Matthew seemed happier and more relaxed, attributing it to being with his friends again.  Well, he was in Protestant England at the time - in a society that outwardly eschewed the idea of Purgatory.  Perhaps that also contributed to his peace of mind?  He didn't truly become the man that Hamish warned Diana of until they landed at Mont St. Michel.

Mont St. Michel - Photo © Philippe CABARET on Flickr
"Your husband has been too long among heretics. An extended period spent kneeling on a cold stone floor will remind him who he truly is.”My face must have shown my dismay at being alone in such a place.“Pierre will stay with you,” Matthew assured me before he bent and pressed his lips to mine. “We ride out when the tide turns.”And that was the last glimpse I had of Matthew Clairmont, scientist. The man who strode toward the door was no longer an Oxford don but a Renaissance prince. It was in his bearing, the set of his shoulders, his aura of banked strength, and the cold look in his eyes. Hamish had been right to warn me that Matthew would not be the same man here. Under Matthew’s smooth surface, a profound metamorphosis was taking place. Somewhere high above, the bells tolled the hours. Scientist. Vampire. Warrior. Spy. The bells paused before the final knell.  Prince."

It took landing in Catholic France, and seeing Cardinal Joyeuse to trigger his change.  It wasn't just the resumption of his identity as a de Clermont prince; it was also coming back to an openly Catholic country that required the acknowledgement of his beliefs, the need to confess his sins, and the obligation to pray for his absolution that played a rather large part of his metamorphosis.

Deb has said that Matthew embodies the history of Western Europe. And just as the Catholic Church shaped Western Europe, it has shaped Matthew de Clermont.

Here is some reading to feed your souls with:

Purgatory - Kathryn A. Edwards /Oxford Bibliographies
Purgatory: - Purgatory

*Daemonosity Zone is a place where theories, ideas and whimsy often run rampant!  We warn, because we want to make sure that the reader knows that much of the understanding, theories, and conclusions reached are based on our research, our interpretation, and our sense of what may be happening in the story - and really it's all just educated guessing at this point (try it!  It's fun!).  None of this has been author confirmed, and as usual she is the bottom-line authority when it comes to her intent while writing the story.  As this is fiction, stories can be interpreted in numerous ways.  We warn that you are entering this zone of speculation, but we welcome all into the Daemonosity Zone and our addled minds.  :)

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