Stealing From Wizards

This book is the first in a series of three and tells the story of young boy named Kuro. He has been raised in squalor and neglect by a rather wicked wizard who has groomed him to be a thief. Kuro is quick-footed for speedy get-aways and is well-practiced at blending into his background while being unobtrusive.

Early on in the book, his fate turns towards more hopeful happenings and he is sent to a school for magical children. His story continues with him discovering true friendship as well as crafting a chosen family.

I read an excerpt from the opening chapter in the book. Stealing From Wizards: Volume 1: Pickpocketing is written by R.A. Consell and is self-published by the author, Ryan Consell (October 29, 2019).

The other books from the Stealing From Wizards series are Volume 2: Burglary (June 28, 2021) and Volume 3: Kidnapping (November 1, 2023).



Contemplative Prompts

I invite you to witness all your thoughts without judgment. Okay? Could you allow your thoughts to arise and be expressed without censure or editing? Could you allow yourself to be as you are at this moment?

Kuro is a neglected child who has been forced into thievery to survive. He’s become quite skilled at what he does and has learned how to move through society mostly unseen by others.

At the opening of the book, the only other person in Kuro’s life is the wicked wizard who holds command over his life. Kuro’s home is dark and dangerous. The streets he roams are magical and littered with various outcasts. Despite his dire circumstances, he is buoyant and curious. Kuro is a very keen problem-solver and astute judge of character.

Thankfully, Kuro’s story takes a dramatic turn early on in the book and he is enrolled in a school for magical children where he makes friends and gathers around him a chosen family.

What or who are the supports you draw closer to during dark times? What is it within you that gives you strength? I believe creativity is an expression of internal fortitude and with that in mind, what nourishes your creativity? What are some of the ways you enjoy playing or what did you enjoy when you were a child?

If you had a magical familiar what would it look like? What are the qualities of your familiar? Does it have a name? Could you imagine an adventure the two of you might take? Can others see your familiar or is it only visible to you? Maybe you’d like to try drawing it?

What qualities do you seek in a friend? What does enriching friendship look like for you? How do you show up as a friend? Have you crafted yourself a chosen family with your closest friends? What does that kinship look like? Or what would you like it to look like? Have your friendships changed over your lifetime? If yes, how so?

Bellman & Black

This book tells the story of William Bellman from childhood through his life until old age. It’s a ghost story of sorts and for me, it is about those losses, shocks, and traumas that colour our perspective of reality and alter our trajectory.

In this episode, I read an excerpt from Chapter 12 of the book where his mother dies.

Bellman & Black is written by Diane Setterfield and published by Third Draft Limited, 2013.

Other books by Diane Setterfield are The Thirteenth Tale (2008) and Once Upon a River (2018). I wish she would write some more books.

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Contemplative Prompts

I invite you to witness all your thoughts without judgment. Okay? Could you allow your thoughts to arise and be expressed without censure or editing? Could you allow yourself to be as you are at this moment?

Will Bellman is haunted throughout his lifetime by a figure cloaked in black; it may be the spirit of the rook he killed in childhood or it may be his grief knocking on the door. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Will is suffering in silence and his unshared, unmourned sorrows are haunting him.

In this reading, Will’s mother unexpectedly dies and he is left orphaned as a young man. The death of any loved one will absolutely alter a person and profoundly affect how you move forward in the world.

Could you expand your understanding of grief to include any loss, of any sort, that has altered you? This could be the death of a beloved companion animal, the loss of a job, the end of a partnership, the progression of chronic illness or disability, a forced move to a new home, etc. Loss is part and parcel of living. 

What are some of the unexpressed griefs you have? What is the toll of them being unexpressed? 

How would you like to grieve? How do you grieve? 

What is your response to grief in others? What are some of the ways you show up for others when they are grieving? 

Being present for others in their grief is hard. HARD! We want to soothe the pain and are afraid of saying the wrong thing. I get it. But here in your journal, could you explore what you are afraid of? What holds you back from being present in the face of grief?

Don’t Suffer Alone

If you are in British Columbia and need bereavement support, please reach out:

BC Bereavement Helpline

Vancouver Local: 604-738-9950
Toll-Free: 1-877-779-2223

Or contact a helpline in your area. Please don’t suffer in silence and isolation; there is support available.

Psalm for the Wild-Built: Monk & Robot

A monastic alters their vocation, goes into the wildness, and meets a robot. Monk and Robot return to civilization with one question to ask of people. What do you need?

Source: A Psalm for the Wild-Built written by Becky Chambers; published by Tor, 2021. 

It is the first book in the Monk & Robot duology, followed by A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, which was released on July 12, 2022.

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Contemplative Prompts

I invite you to witness all your thoughts without judgment. Could you allow your thoughts, for this journalling session, to arise and be expressed without censure or editing? Could you allow yourself to be as you are at this moment?

Sibling Dex is an ordained monastic, meaning they have taken vows and devoted their life to a communal purpose. It is somewhat similar to a marriage, a business partnership, or any other committed relationship. At its core, a monastic life is one that is focused on something larger than the self.

In the opening chapter of this book, Sibling Dex decides they would like to change their vocation. They still want to be monastic but want a different role within that relationship.

Has there been a time in your life when you desired to shift your role(s) within a relationship? Or alter the expression of that relationship? This could be a relationship with yourself or another person or purpose. 

Could you expand your perspective of ‘relationship’ to include all that you are committed to and all that you set your focus upon? What are some of those things?

Sibling Dex reluctantly attends their going away party and is pleasantly surprised. Can you relate? Imagine your own going away party. Who would be there? Who do you want to be there? Not be there? Where are you going? What new adventures are on the horizon?

The Buried Moon

In today’s story, the glorious moon comes to visit a boggy land. It doesn’t go well.

Audio Recording

For Your Contemplation

The luminous Moon so loved the people of the marshland and heard the tales of the wicked things that haunted the watery marshlands. And she was curious to find out if the tales were true. Has there been a time in your life when you have gone into an unknown place? Into a dark place out of curiosity? What happened?

Can we take the perspective of the creatures that live in the swamp? Are they really evil and nasty? Or are they products of their environment? I don’t know. Can you take the perspective of the swamp creatures? What are some motivations behind being nasty and wanting to hurt somebody? Or dim somebody’s light? That’s a great metaphor, right? To dim somebody’s light. It’s such an injustice and such a sadness to witness somebody else’s light being dimmed. I’m having a hard time taking the perspective of the swamp creatures, but I’m feeling a lot of reactions to them. How about you? Are you feeling some reactions to those creatures and what are those responses? They’re pretty primal creatures, right? So I’m thinking you might even be having some somatic sensations arising. When you think about people who are nasty or situations that are nasty… it might not even be a person it might be a political system or a corporation. What are some somatic sensations that arise? Where do you feel it in your body? When do you think about those injustices? The inequality?

Another contemplation could be there’s a wise woman in this story. She only has a few sentences but she gave some good advice to those people in the village. She told them where to find the Moon. Who do you consult with? Who do you lean to for wisdom? Do you lean into yourself? Do you trust your own wisdom?

Oh let’s try to be the bog, the actual landscape. The bog has some clear paths that are safe as long as one stays on those paths. And then it has other areas of danger. peril. Are you like that? Do you have areas of safety in areas of peril? I reckon you do. We’re all human and we are complex. So what are some of the things that happen when people stick to your safety zones? And what are some of the things that happen when people stray into the more perilous zones of your life?

And then let’s circle back to the moon for a final contemplation. She was released at the end. She rose up into the sky and shone even brighter for those people in the marshland. What arises for you when you think about that situation of rebounding and rising even stronger and brighter? What is that that arises for you when you think of that happening for yourself?

The Mole’s Wedding

In today’s story mole meets mole. Love blossoms. Parents try to intervene. Love wins.

Audio Recording

For Your Contemplation

The first question that arises for me is you know those times when someone flatters you not so much a compliment but flattery? How does it make you feel? I’m not talking about imposter syndrome. I’m talking about well and truly when somebody puts you on a pedestal and in their mind, and you’re bigger and more powerful than you actually are. How does that make you feel? What’s your response? What do you tend to say or do? And then flip it. Sometimes we do that to other people. We put them on a pedestal and we make them greater. Give them more weight than they actually have and how does that typically turn out for you? Maybe explore that a little bit. Being the person on the pedestal and being the person who puts someone on a pedestal.

Another thing to contemplate could be the two young moles who initially wanted to get married and then this whole other scenario happened and eventually circled back to them getting married. So maybe cast your memory back to a time when you had a dream, when you had something you desired, and then for whatever reason, all sorts of other things happened. But eventually, you achieved that desire. Has that happened in your life? Have you experienced that? Do you want to write a little bit about what that experience was like? Or maybe it hasn’t happened for you but imagine it happening. Bring to mind some dreams that you have deferred and imagine what it would be like if they came true. How would that change your current life?

And then a third and final contemplation. I’m really quite moved by how much the parents love their daughter and wanted the best for her. They respected her choice. Who in your life is precious to you? Who is most precious in your life and how do you express that and how do you support them?

Stone Soup

Today’s story is about engaging creativity to meet the needs of many. Oh, and sharing.

Audio Recording

For Your Contemplation

Let’s pretend you are the stone. What do you think the stone thought about? The stone was put into a pot and then with the addition of many ingredients, over time, became a really delicious soup. Could you pretend you’re the stone and put yourself in that situation? Maybe see it as a metaphor. Has there been a time in your life when you’ve been placed in a situation that seemed rather sparse, perhaps a little dire, and then gifts and nourishment came into your life and you flourished and you became something unexpected and quite delicious?

Now pretend you are that young man. A hungry young man who’s walking for a long time. It seems to me he’s either a wanderer or in my imagination he was always a bit of a pilgrim. Just travelling the countryside a bit like the forest monks in the Buddhist tradition, who would travel and walk miles every day with their bowls. And people will put food in their bowls. Have you ever been in a situation where you have had to ask for either literal food or metaphorical nourishment? Did you want to explore that a little bit? Explore the feelings and sensations that can arise there. I reckon it’s a very vulnerable place to be.

A third inquiry could be from the perspective of the little old lady living alone in her home and she seems quite spry with her abundant garden. She tends to and cares for her garden and she has a well-stocked pantry. She has salt and pepper. She has dried lentils. And here she is answering her door to a stranger. And her first response was “No. I have nothing to share.” And then through the unfolding of the story, we discover she actually had quite a bounty to share and ended up quite enjoying sharing. Has there been a time in your life when you’ve been surprised by the bounty in your life? Or there are some things that perhaps you take for granted? Is there some abundance in your life that you take for granted? Or perhaps you maybe don’t think is valuable? And when you’re asked for help when someone asks you for help, particularly a stranger, what is your first response? And please, no judgment. I mean, this is just information you’re gathering, just contemplating. When in that situation and somebody reaches out for help and shows their vulnerability, what is your first response? Could you touch that gently and softly, and again without judgment?

The Woman of the Sea

Today’s story is about stolen companionship, thwarted identity, longing, and eventually freedom.

Audio Recording

Story Credit

The Woman of the Sea retold by Helen Waddell From Northern Lights: Legends, Sagas and Folk Tales [Paperback] CrossleyHolland, Kevin (Ed); Published by London, UK: Faber & Faber, 1987

For Your Contemplation

Imagine you are all the elements in this story. You are the sea, the stone cottage, the selkie, the stolen skin, the woman, the man, the children, the visiting seal, the cries and the laughter. The thatched roof. The singing swallows under the thatched eaves, the baking bread, you’re every element in this story.

Maybe answer some of these questions as the baking bread would answer it or the singing swallows or the stolen skin.

Has there been a time in your life when you walked around in a different skin? And what was that like? Did you continue to seek your other skin? Have you found it? Did you find it?

Another set of questions could be: describe your ideal home. Where is it located? Does anyone live with you? Who? Who would that be? What is your favourite room within your home? Why? Describe the decor. Describe the surroundings of your ideal home and would you leave it all behind?

And another set of questions could be: just like the wild sea you have unfathomable depths. Can you discern some of what remains unexpressed in you? Write about a time you presented an authentic expression. An authentic expression of yourself yet it’s one that’s rarely seen.

And then my last set of questions I’ll be offering: our children are sparks of creation and a manifestation of life. What gives you life? What are you living for? What are your sparks and how do you tend to those sparks?

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