Stealing from Wizards… Again

The Stealing from Wizards series by R.A. Consell is so good that I’m sharing another excerpt. This time it’s from the third book, Kidnapping, which was released on November 1, 2023.

The books tell the story of a 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. Early on in the first 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.

In this third book we’re getting closer to discovering the truth about Kuro’s true heritage and in the reading I share today we witness Kuro meeting three magical weavers who connect deeply with him and create a tartan to represent his homelands.

Stealing From Wizards: Volume 3: Kidnapping is written by R.A. Consell and is self-published by the author, Ryan Consell (November 2023). The other self-published books from the Stealing From Wizards series are Volume 1: Pickpocketing (October 2019) and Volume 2: Burglary (June 2021).

I hope Ryan continues to write either in this series or another. I’ll read them.

And—this is ridiculously exciting—for a limited time you can listen to the first two audiobooks in the Stealing from Wizards series for FREE! Wow. Visit Ryan Consell’s website to listen.

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The John O’Donohue Quote…

Source: Beauty: The Invisible Embrace: Rediscoverying the True Soures of Compassion, Serenity, and Hope by John O’Donohue. I’m reading the opening paragraphs of the second chapter from the 2004 edition published by HapersCollins.

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?

What comes to mind when you think about the lands where you grew up? What memories do you have of the landscape?

Could you make an image of your childhood landscape(s)? Perhaps you cut images out of magazines and make a collage. Or gather digital images and make a collage in Canva or Pinterest. Maybe you make a 3-D landscape out of upcycled cereal boxes!

In this reading, Kuro meets someone who also grew up in the desolate landscape he did. If you no longer reside in the landscape of your childhood, have you encountered anyone from your homelands? How did that go? What transpired during that meeting?

If you live on the same lands where you grew up, then, how would it be to live somewhere else? Imagine another landscape. What does it contain? How does it change throughout the seasions?

And then in closing, this is big one, if you live on stolen and unceded lands how would it be if governments truly made reparations? Please don’t descend into settler-guilt here, let your heart be open, and imagine a more just and equitable land.

Spinning Silver

This book draws from the thematic threads of the German folktale about Rumpelstiltskin, that magical little imp who makes a horrific deal in exchange for his ability to spin straw into gold.

For me, the stories in Spinning Silver are about finding and making manifest one’s golden brilliance. It’s about not being afraid of your power and allowing yourself to be fully present in your gifts.

I read an excerpt from the end of chapter six where Miryem encounters the otherworldly Staryk king for the second time.

Spinning Silver written by Naomi Novik and published by Del Ray, 2018. Naomi Novik is the author of many other novels, Including Uprooted (which is perhaps an origin story of Baba Yaga), a series about dragons, a series about a secret magical society, and numerous other stories.

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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?

In this podcast, I read a quote from Marianne Williamson despite the fact I find her teachings lack nuance and are steeped in privilege. None the less, this quote of hers sums up what I think the folktale of Rumpelstilskin is alluding to and that is our light is often hidden. Here’s the quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Williamson’s quote makes the assumption it is always safe and appropriate to shine brightly yet that is not always the case. Take some time to consider all the external forces that influence your decision to keep your light hidden. I’m not talking about playing small because of shame or fear but rather because sometimes keeping your light private is very wise. Can you recognize times when you’ve been prudent in regards to keeping your light hidden?

What needs to be in place for you to feel safe to shine brightly? How does it feel to do so? What feels possible when you’re shining?

What are some of the qualities of your brightness? Are you comfortable with all those qualities? Which qualities do you prefer? Which qualities give you pause?

How do you respond to brightness in others? Does it make a difference if they are someone you know or don’t know? Like or don’t like? How does it feel when you contribute to someone’s shine? How does it feel to dim someone’s shine?

Do you accept the light that others see in you? Why or why not? What do others see in you that you do not see? Or do not want to see? What aspects of your lightness do you reject? How do you reject your brilliance?

What polishes your shine? What contributes to your luminosity? What do you look like at full wattage? What does the world around you look like? What will you do?

Do you believe you contain within you an undimmable nugget of brilliance? A thread of gold? I do and I’m going to leave you with another quote; this time from someone I love dearly and agree with wholeheartedly, John O’Donohue:

“…there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you.”

— John O’Donohue, interviewed by Krista Tippett for On Being

Shine on dear one, shine on. You’re magic.

The Raven Tower

This delicious retelling of the classic Hamlet, is a familiar tale of deception riddled with class, court, and gender politics. It’s told from the point of view of the narrator whose identity is not revealed until the final pages of the book. It’s a good reveal!

I read an excerpt from the opening chapter of the book.

The Raven Tower is written by Ann Leckie and published by Orbit of Hachette Book Group, 2019. Other novels by Ann Leckie are Ancillary Justice.(2013), Ancillary Sword (2014), Ancillary Mercy (2015), Provenance, (2017), Translation State (2023), and numerous short stories.

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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?

At the opening of this book, a young man returns to his home town to step into the role his father is about to vacate. He seems ready to take on the inherited mantle and perhaps even optimistic with his new role.

In thinking about the roles you have inherited, what stands out? Can you identify some of those inherited roles? Or what are some roles that others have assumed you have or will step into? Do you accept the roles? Or do you bristle at them? Is there a mantle you desire? What would your life look like if you were to inhabit that mantle?

In this reading of the opening chapter, we also meet a servant. There seems to be a close relationship between the young man and the servant. There’s a familiarity between them that blurs their class and courtly status.

Power dynamics in personal relationships and social arenas are complex and dynamic. They are not fixed and change in response to the players and surroundings. How do you respond to these fluxing power dynamics? What does it look like when you’re playing big? Playing small? What situations support you in feeling your power surge? How do you respond when you’re in the presence of discordant social status? 

The story of this book is a delicious retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Hamlet. It is a familiar tale of deception and decay from top to bottom. What is it within you that remains true and stable regardless of the players and surroundings? What is fixed within you? What are you sure of? What lies at your foundation?

A Potential Can of Worms

What are the three things we’re told to never talk about in polite company? Politics, religion, and money. Three topics near and dear to my heart. I talk about them a lot. Oh and death; I bring that topic up in conversation too. Oy vey.

During the recording of this podcast, I said “politics is personal” and that twigged something in my brain but I couldn’t recall at the moment. What I failed to recall is the phrase “the personal is political” which was the rallying cry of second-wave feminism. It referred to the fact that politics plays out in personal relationships and not just on the larger stage of society and government. The slogan also spoke to the inherent power dynamics and imbalances in relationships.

While most second-wave feminisms don’t resonate with me, this phrase does. I do think the world stage, while evasive and abstract, has direct and concrete effects on individual citizens. Furthermore, we have an effect on each other. We are all interrelated.

How about you? What are some of your political stances? How do they play out? How have they evolved over your lifetime? What is your rally cry? What is your rebel yell?

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).

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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?

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
contact@bcbh.ca

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?

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