Vila SpiderHawk,
Hidden Passages:
Tales to Honor the Crones

(Spilled Candy, 2006)

Dividing life into three stages with rites of passage between them is a well-known concept. At every stage, an elder -- in the case of women, a crone -- should be available to assist with the passage. Vila SpiderHawk's collection of eight stories in Hidden Passages shows how crones help and guide us as we pass through life. This book celebrates not only cronehood, but maiden- and motherhood as well.

The stories, other than a trilogy about a maiden, her mother and grandmother, are all set in different eras and places, from prehistory to the present. They discuss birth, growth, life, death and rebirth.

While the stories are entertaining, most of them run a little long and could really use a bit of tightening. Also, some of the word choices are a little odd, such as "'Go away,' I withered, 'Just go away....'" in "Maiden, Mother, Crone: Donnata." That is definitely the first time I've seen "wither" used in that manner.

The emotional impact of the stories, especially "Mima Po" and "Lavinia," is undeniable, however. I would recommend sharing these stories with your mother, sister, daughter or granddaughter -- or within the coven circle.

by Laurie Thayer
27 January 2007

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