Author Spotlight: Vila SpiderHawk and Hidden Passages
Brimming with hope and beautifully written, these eight stories of women helping women and girls through the challenges and transitions of life will surprise you with every turn of the page. In the opening tale of Mima Po, a young girl overcomes her fear of a woman who is markedly different than the other women in the girl’s community. Gossiping women whisper that Mima Po is odd, perhaps a witch casting mysterious spells and incantations. Children are frightened of her, but little Kathleen is more intrigued than she is frightened, and she overcomes her fear to befriend the elderly woman, who turns out to be Czechoslovakian rather than demonic. The older woman teaches the girl something of her own beliefs and perspective, and the girl learns to “see with her heart.”
In Passages, a girl moves through a rites of passage into womanhood, both symbolic and literal, among her tribe of watching women, bonding with the other women as well as with the feminine in nature, bonding with the divine, and erasing boundaries between all.
In a trilogy of tales, Maiden, Mother, Crone, we see the passages of the girl-child, the adult woman who is her mother, and of the elderly woman, the grandmother. Each has her own unique perspective to offer the others.
Nanu’s Story illustrates the life-giving force in women, the biological drive, the unfaltering love of mother for child, unchangeable even by death. The woman, Tichu, is a kind of mother of all, teaching survival skills and passing on her wisdom to those who will accept it. Her femininity is lush and full, in all senses of the word, and she knows a pride in herself from which the modern woman could learn much.
Gita’s Journey delves deeper still into the mother-child connection, exploring the process of grief when one is lost to the other, from the deepest and darkest shadows of despair into the eventual light of acceptance.
Lavinia is something of a ghost story of women, where the reader wonders at times who is living and who is not.
What all these tales have in common, aside from the story of various life passages traveled by women over time and various cultures, is a language that is as vivid and rich as these women in their femininity. The author combines all the gentle kindness that is woman, unabashedly emotional, with the enduring strength and time-won wisdom that earns a woman the proud designation of “crone.” SpiderHawk makes a feminist statement in each one of her tales without being abrasive or didactic or challenging. Her women, her crones, simply are as they are, and by spending time with them in these tales, we realize ourselves enriched by the gentle strength of their distinctly feminine presence.
These are women as women should be: unafraid of living, unafraid of expressing their femininity, unafraid of aging, unafraid of facing up to their own fears and weaknesses and transforming them into strengths, unafraid to confront those who would deny them their place, simply – unafraid. We should all wish to be such terrific crones.
Tichu considered what the women had said. The fire festered like a wound, melting the snow around its base to a sickly oozing slush. Sitting cross-legged, the women waited, still as ice, unwilling to disturb her reflection. At last she drew her hand from Harugi’s, kissed the Crone on both her cheeks, and rose to speak. ‘When I die,’ she poked her chest fiercely with her finger, ‘it will be in Grandmother Spider’s arms, not on the end of a spear.’ Her voice, sharp as flint, chiseled between her clenched teeth.
Read the Reviews!
Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is a book destined to become a classic.
~Lillith ThreeFeathers, columnist and feature writer for If Journal
I truly love Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones. I have two daughters, ages 16 and 12, who are reading it now! This is a book that women of all ages can enjoy and relate to in so many ways!
~Shay L. Stringer
Hidden Passages is a lovely book collection of eight stories that celebrate not only crones, but all women. Rather than creating simple stories that merely tell the tale of single crones, Villa SpiderHawk has skillfully woven the crone theme into stories that include or are told by women of all ages...This is a book I highly recommend for Goddess women to have handy on our shelves so we can pull it out to reread when we want to be both entertained and inspired.
A wonderful book...
Vila SpiderHawk, author of Hidden Passages: Tales To Honor The Crones and her husband share a log home of their design in the woods of Pennsylvania where they live with their five cats and enjoy frequent visits with their many woodland friends. SpiderHawk is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook.
Vila is taking a different view on the aging of womankind. Hidden Passages is a collection of tales, some of which are interconnected, others which stand alone, all of which deal with women who are finding or already using the wisdom acquired from years of life experience.
Perhaps it is my own “crone years” creeping up on me, but there seems to be a healthy change in how we look at women in and beyond their midlife years. In a youth-obsessed society, at least in the United States, so much of the current dictates point towards a Quixotic pursuit of the impossible, that is, finding the fountain of youth through plastic and cosmetic surgery, an endless array of surely useless creams and lotions, Botox shots and facial peels, diets that lead to eating disorders, and a general wave of ensuing self-esteem problems. Someone is getting rich. No one, however, is getting any younger. You can find Vila at http://www.vilaspiderhawk.com.