AT THIS PRESENT MOMENT IN TIME, it’s all too easy for those of us who recognise that we are all inter-connected members of the same human race to become overshadowed by the wanton destruction that we witness around us daily.
We’ve lost the ability of our ancestors to keep our eyes simultaneously on the ground and in the stars, becoming unnecessarily embroiled in the dramas that seem to be exponentially unfolding around us. And as the Earth births herself into something new and even more beautiful, once more, that process of zooming in while zooming out, to make overall sense of it all, needs to be remembered, to be ever so gently taught by those who have never forgotten.
There is a prevailing sickness in society that can only be healed by this process of remembering who we were, to become who we truly are, and the lessons of that antidote are indeed written in the stars.
Having spent my whole life immersed in the patterns of the past, primarily as the daughter of a classicist who was also an amateur archaeologist, and then as a medieval historian and archaeologist myself, I see things a little bit differently. On the way from a blessed childhood spent with my father among the graves of innumerable Anglo-Saxons, and then passing through many a museum en route to the dusty shelves of university libraries, I’ve managed to zoom in on a great number of mankind’s repetitive patterns. An overall picture of his gradual decline into a soulless 21st century has become clear enough for me to begin now writing my own stories in antidote.
I’ve always been very “spiritual”. But as a practising Roman Catholic, the overt mystic tendencies in my nature were a constant thorn in the side of most priests, enough for me to ask the reason why, a lot, and thence to start searching elsewhere for my answers.
My decades-long search for a spirituality led me to this book, Stories in the Stars, which you now hold in your hands, and in which you are about to immerse yourself. In its pages, I began to understand how to zoom life’s lens out and start to see the whole picture with any degree of clarity. At that point, the repeating patterns of mankind’s journey began to take on entirely new meaning.
My sojourns into alternative religions had taken me to a place where the answers provided by astrotheology had me hooked. Still, it wasn’t until the point where everything I’d learned began to blend seamlessly with the astrotheological view in the actual stories within those systems that this fish was caught, reeled in and properly landed. It was like a glorious golden lightbulb had exploded in my head, shattering into a myriad of bright, sparkling diamonds that illuminated my gem-studded path towards freedom and awareness in amongst the stars themselves.
Of course, during my time as a lecturer in Anglo-Saxon Studies at the University of Cambridge, I knew the stories from an academic point of view. I’ve taught courses on the varied texts that make up the corpus of existing works available in Old English between Beowulf and Domesday Book, including the Matter of Britain. And I’ve been familiar with the Arthurian legends and fairytales since early childhood. But I’d never actually understood the intrinsic meaning of them before, never felt them deep in my being, coursing through my veins in the ancestral rivers of my own blood.
And here’s the best bit. I’d never managed to make that coherent heart-brain connection that would bring them to life in my own stories until they began to take multi-dimensional shape somewhere within these very pages that you’re about to read. Not even Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces had been able to awaken the part of me which now fosters that dimension in my own bardic endeavours so well.
In her subsequent books, Annie continues to build on the work of Joseph Campbell that she starts here, eventually developing her groundbreaking work into her own fully-fledged Hero’s Journey, adventuring his way from Fool to Enlightened One around the zodiac wheel. When you know what you’re looking for, it’s hugely exciting to witness the beginnings of that work in this current volume and see it through to its inevitable conclusions in her most recent title, Stories in the Summerlands.
It’s this work, starting here in this book you’re now holding, which has given me the impetus to step outside my comfort zone in my own storytelling and accompanying research, and to grow into a confident mythologist. It gets very exciting, watching the patterns of those stories that are right there in the stars waiting to be told, as they unfold throughout all five of Annie’s books. But, for me, it gets even more exciting than this. From my previous academic ventures and my more recent forays into the spiritual realms via my own heart-centred Christian beliefs and journeys into shamanism, experiencing the progress as they all intermingle and synthesise is about as exciting as it gets. For me, the journey through all five of Annie’s books culminates in what amounts to a beautifully prescribed formula for understanding it all.
Stories in the Stars contains all you will need to prepare the groundwork for gaining an understanding of the subject matter at hand, and as such is the perfect blueprint for what has come to be known as the Mystery Teachings. I’m not going to elaborate, nor even provide you with a definition of what exactly they are here; that’s Annie’s territory, and she does it so well. And that is, after all, this book’s purpose. You can think of it as a workbook. As you work through each chapter, you will indeed become as familiar with the definition of the Mystery Teachings as with its subject matter. You will begin to understand what meaning it holds for you and how to put it all into practice. And finally, you will feel its magic working within the precious pages of your own life.
The tools Annie uses so skilfully to achieve this synthesis are as astonishingly simple as they are profoundly life-altering. Always supposing you have the heart to let them be and see the need to make it so. They are as follows: music, alchemy, shamanism, sacred ritual, astronomy, mythology, numerology, astrology.
That’s just eight of the tools that you’ll be building into your spiritual arsenal by reading this book. But I’m not as fond of even numbers as I am of odd ones, and there’s also one more tool that for me deserves to be on this list to round it off to a favourable, planetary nine, and that’s psychology. You’ll see a lot of that in Stories in the Stars! The psyche is, after all, the part of us that we’re ALL constantly working to improve on in this spiritual experience we’re having in our incredible human bodies.
Each of us is responsible for creating our own stories in the stars.
In this short foreword to the first of Annie’s teachings on the Mysteries, Stories in the Stars, I’ve introduced you to some of the tools in what I refer to above as the blueprint. It will introduce you to the reasons for creating your own stories and the tools you’ll need for that journey. As I continue to write the forewords for all of her subsequent books, I will be encouraging you to delve further into the Mystery Teachings.
Through the remaining four books in this five-book journey, you can witness the stories and the Mysteries gradually unfolding. Through her fictional interpretations of both the Mysteries, and the stories in action in her The Grail Mysteries and The Bright World of the Gods, you will be able to experience the joy of story for story’s sake, while subliminally immersing yourself in the ancestral awareness manifest in the very stars that created them.
The intriguing depths hidden within the ritual of the Marriage of the Sun and the Moon will become intimately clear to you as you grow towards an understanding of your beauty and significance as a human being in The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar.
And finally, in Stories in the Summerlands, you will find deep within yourself your own living stories. And that’s the point at which, if you’re truly searching for holistic wholeness, you begin to appease that atavistic yearning that sings in your own Rivers of Blood. You know the one. Even now, you can feel it urging you to step out onto your very own personal zodiac wheel to experience life for what it truly is, the journey from Fool to Enlightened One, the Supreme Adventure.