How British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) inspired Pip de Belry to write again, and to create a spellworking that propelled her towards her dream of being a professional author…
It was a really hot summer that year. The sort of weather where you can fry eggs on a car hood. I’d been writing for a while, something that I’d done since I wrote angst filled teenage emo poetry. Having long consigned that purple ribbon bound bundle to the darkest corner of the attic, I felt a pull to write something less maudlin and (hopefully) more salable.
Try as I might, the inspiration just didn’t want to play ball, and I decided to give up and look for something more realistic. Boring, but realistic.
As a last treat before I girded my loins to seriously look for serious work, I decided to take my daughter on a trip to Pisa. “It’ll be fun,” I said, “we can stand and take touristy photos of holding up the Leaning Tower.”
“But mum, I’m 6 months pregnant,” she replied, “and it’s hot … and I can’t speak Italian.”
Give your child an opportunity for an adventure, and they’ll shoot you down in flames. That really wouldn’t have been too hard to do that year.
Anyway, I won out, and true to form, we got there and while we took the tourist bus waiting to be able to get into the hotel, we both just wanted to sleep on the bus, and she started again.
“These people all speak a stupid language that I don’t understand, I’m tired and I want to go home. Now.”
I have to admit, I almost gave in, but bribed her with a coconut ice cream in its shell until we could get to our room and have a snooze. Kids …
The next night, we moved to an old apartment and watched THE most amazing storm from two chairs on a balcony, while I tried limoncello (which I hated) and she stuck with Coke. The storm put her under the spell of Italy. It was such an intense experience that it would have persuaded anyone to stay.
We spent a week or so exploring and ending up in places we never meant to go, trying to talk to people using my smattering of Italian and sign language, and we muddled through ok. Even she was entranced by the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence and went around listing all of the statues in her notebook. I had won (but I didn’t say anything).
The last day, I really wanted to track down the Shelley plaque (see picture above), which we’d tried to find before with no luck. Not even the local tourist office knew where it was, or they weren’t going to tell us. We wandered along the River Arno, and suddenly I looked up and there it was!
To cut a long story short, I braved the jungle of a garden that surrounded the ruins, and “released” some pieces of the masonry. As I did so, I was filled with a huge rush of energy. I said thank you to the house (it always pays to be polite), and that evening we flew back.
I didn’t think any more of it until a couple of weeks later. I had decided to give the writing another go, and it came to me that if the masonry from Shelley’s house had absorbed his creative energy, just maybe I could access it and use it to get past my writer’s block. So I put myself a spellworking together, with the things that seemed to ask to go into it, and based it around the masonry.
One benefit of living in a house on your own is that you can sit and do your magick with nobody interrupting or making you feel like a lunatic. I sat down and went through my ritual, and felt more than happy that I’d done it right. Again, I thanked the spirits for their help, and then just got about the usual boring stuff grown ups have to do.
A few days later, I thought I’d get my pen and paper out again, and after tapping into the energies I’d called upon, I was excited to find that ideas came to me with little or no effort, and it was hard to keep up with writing it all down. It almost felt like I’d drawn down some kind of automatic writing that was working from my ideas.
That inspired me, and I kept on working away, happy that I could write again. A month or so later, I was talking with Doktor Snake, who had seen some of the stuff I’d written, and he suddenly said, “How would you like to write some posts for me?”
I thought he was joking, but no, he was serious. And so I started writing regularly for Doc, and just recently he said to me, “You know you’ve written about 50 posts for me now de Belfry, well one of my publisher friends has said he’s interested in putting them together and publishing them as a book. How do you feel about that?”
It was a question he didn’t need to ask me really, and if I said I was delighted, writing that a million times wouldn’t explain how I felt.
So there we have it … How my writing took off again with a little help from Percy Bysshe Shelley. I always did have a soft spot for him, even though he was a bit of a cad, but now I have even more to thank him for.
Writer and purveyor of the magickal arts.