A World of Beauty and Darkness…

Season of the Witch

By Natasha Mostert

In the third book on loan from Lisa M., I completed Season of the Witch today.  At first, I didn’t think that this was “my type of novel.”  By Chapter 7, I couldn’t wait to finish the story and get to the ending.  I guess, it was my type of novel, after all. 

This story is an interesting one for those possessing an innately open mind or strong imagination.  Like Dan Brown’s efforts in writing The DaVinci CodeNatasha Mostert does an excellent job in performing her research and backing up the story with history, literature and actual facts.  This story is rich in color, texture, and descriptionMostert’s character development gave me vivid pictures in my mind of both Morrighan and Minnaloushe, the sisters who are practioners of high magic.  For those of us who do not know what “high magic” is… it is best described in the book:

“Practitioners of high magic were witches and wizards who sought to know the secrets of the universe.  They were ready to look God in the eye without flinching..”

As to not to get to far ahead of myself, from the beginning the reader is introduced to the protagonist of story, Gabriel.  Gabriel is a RV (Remote Viewer).  Remote Viewing, as described, is the gift of second sight in which the RV is able to tap into the concept of “psi-space” which is described as “.. a highly developed neurophysiological network in place…” in which Gabriel may “… merge his thoughts with information generated by the minds of others.”   The best way to parallel Gabriel’s ability is to what we describe as psychic ability and the ableness to access the mind of another via the “collective conscious” or “connected universal mind.”  Again, check out the STARGATE information as outlined by Mostert’s Remote Viewing section of her website for more detailed information.

Gabriel is in business with a computer technology guru, Isidore.  Together, they have greatly profited from the business of stealing information.   Now, this is more computer information, trade secrets, etc.   These men make a sucessful, secret business by utilizing the skill sets of both men, which compliment one another perfectly.  As the strory begins, Gabriel is visited by his old college flame, and I believe the love of his life, Frankie.   Frankie describes to Isidore and Gabriel the story of her missing stepson and pleads with Gabriel to use his talents for the purpose of locating him.  Frankie and Gabriel were both gifted with the RV gift, however Gabriel’s is a stronger, rarer gift than hers.  Her abilities could not give her the answers on her stepson, Robbie, however she feared he was dead.  Together, the three of them, venture to explore Robbie’s whereabouts or the truth about his disappearance and death.

Gabriel describes his Remote Viewing as “slamming the ride.”  He “slams the ride” into Robbie’s mind and confirms Frankie’s suspicion that Robbie was dead.  When he discusses the ride with Frankie, they discover that Robbie’s death was attached to the lives of Morrighan and Minnaloushe Monk.  Morrighan can be best described as the cutting edge, dark, strong, raven-haired and strong witch. I related more to Minnaloushe, the feminine, intellectual, softer, natural and red-headed witch.  These sisters, opposites and only 1 year apart in age, are deeply connected and masters at the practice of high magic.  In addition to this talent, they are practicing alchemists.  The readers soon thereafter discover that one of the sisters has the talent of Remote Viewing, like Gabriel. 

The story, from there takes the reader on an adventure of Gabriel’s growing relationship with the Monk sisters, as well as his self-discovery into his own RV talents.  The book maintains points of beauty, love, mystery and eroticism that keep the reader intrigued.  I found the ending to be unpredictable (which I love) and in a way that I felt satisfied.  On my “Out of Ten Scale,” I’d give it an eight point five.  One of my favorite characters is Goliath; look for him!

My favorite quote from the book was:

“The Egyptians believed love to reside in the brain, not the heart.  But I believe that love should be vehement, physical, blotting out rational thought.  Bathing in his maleness: his smell, his touch, his exquisite violence.  The next morning a bruised body, a disheveled bed.  And that searing sense that life is joy and passion.”

I had a bit of fun visiting Mostert’s website and playing the Season of the Witch on-line game and reading more on STARGATE.  There, she offers up questions for book club readers that I wanted to jump in and answer:

1.  At the beginning of Season of the Witch, Gabriel is hip, sexy, self-assured and in control of his life. At the end of the book we see him much older and in the grip of obsession. Do you think he has grown during his journey or has he become a diminished, sad figure? 

I think that Gabriel is even sexier at the end of his journey than he was when he started it.  There is nothing sexier than a man who is deep, emotional, and ready to face his demons.  After opening up his inner eye, he saw his life as a journey that had to be explored and not feared.  On a separate note, the fact that he fought for the Minnalouse showed the ultimateness in being a man!  Also, at the end of the story, Gabriel states, when describing his autobiography, of sorts, “At the start of the book, he thinks he is cursed.  But by the end he knows it is better to have seen fleeting than not to have seen at all.  It is better to go through life in pain… but awake then anesthetized and unaware.”

2.  One of the themes in Season of the Witch is that ordinary life is filled with magic. If you think there is something wholly mysterious lurking at the edge of your peripheral vision… you may be right! Do you agree? Do you believe in paranormal and mystical experiences? If you don’t, did the author still manage to create a believable world within the pages of the book?

Yes, she did create a world that I immersed myself in while reading the book.  Do I believe in the paranormal/mystical?  Yes…blog for another day.

3.  Gabriel falls in love with a voice in a diary. Do you think this is a realistic scenario? When the author started writing the book, she pitched the idea to friends to test their reaction. All the women thought the idea romantic and plausible whereas the reaction of some of the men ranged from disbelieving laughter to a more diplomatic “Nothing is impossible.” What is your view?

I think what the men she asked missed was that Gabriel did have the visual to accompany the intellectual.  In many ways, he could have fit with either one of them and they were both undeniably sexy.  Men are such visual creatures, at first, but I think that it takes a REAL MAN to fall in love with a mind and a soul.  Gabriel… REAL MAN…. if only he were real!

4.  Following on from the above question: Do you believe it is precisely because the woman in the diary is unattainable that Gabriel becomes obsessed with her? Do you agree that unresolved sexual tension lies at the heart of attraction?

No, I believe the obsession was with the “entire package:”  the mystery, the sexual tension, and the physical beauty she possessed.  I believe, had he not been involved with trying to first solve Robbie’s mystery, he would have fallen for Minnaloushe early on in the story… I think she was attainable by him.  But, had that happened, there wouldn’t have been a story!  Also, because Gabriel shows the depth of his heart in his relationship with Frankie, I don’t see him as a shallow-minded man. 

5.  Which of the two sisters is the more attractive? Please give reasons for your answer.

Minnaloushe… she was the far more empathetic and intelligent of the two.  She was the good vs. the evil.

6.  The two witches in the novel are information addicts and they are building a memory palace in order to strengthen their memory and use it as a tool to reach enlightenment.  Do you agree with the central premise of the book that the memories of people today are far weaker than those of our ancestors – even those of our grand-parents? Before the advent of the printing press, people had to remember everything. Today we need only click a mouse and we have an ocean of information at our fingertips. But do technological advances weaken our ability to recollect? And does it matter?

The only way that my memory would serve me as a means to enlightenment would be that I would be able to reflect upon my past, what I did right and what I did wrong.  I equate enlightenment as closeness to God.. as such, that is a spiritual memory… a spiritual growth, not at all attached to the method of data collection, its speed, or its form.  Yes, I do think our ancestors held stronger working memories, but our modern day minds are stronger in other areas.  Our ancestors had a much more limited world that was the center of their focus.  As we approach a global mind-set will full information available to us, we have much more to absorb and form opinions and actions on. 

7.  At the end of Season of the Witch, Gabriel writes: “One of the crueler jokes of creation is being burdened with brains capable of conceptualizing a state of higher consciousness we have little hope of ever achieving. But we can strive, walking with hands outstretched like a blind man trying to orient himself in an alien place. And sometimes our clumsy fingers graze the mind of God.”

I ear-marked that quote for my blog.  I loved that quote.

Do you agree that most people feel a pervasive sense of discontent within themselves – a yearning for something bigger and finer that lies outside their frame of reference? Would you say this lies at the heart of the human condition?

Yes and yes.  And, hopefully God is that what we are yearning for…






3 Responses to A World of Beauty and Darkness…

  1. Heather says:

    Hi Shari! I heard about this blog from Lisa at Books on the Brain, and I already love what you’ve done with this place! Looking forward to reading lots more from you in the future. 🙂

  2. […] Her latest review is for Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert. Sheri pulled the discussion questions from Mostert’s website and answered them herself, which I thought was a great idea. Check it out HERE […]

  3. […] twins, she picked out The Gargoyle and told me that she thought I would like it because I liked Season of the Witch.   OK… so, I bought them both and have already read and reviewed Water for Elephants.  […]

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