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Book Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

One of the most compelling and frustrating things about Religious Mythology tales is the lack of what seems like important knowledge. Since all of them that we have today started as oral tales, the tellers had the chance to modify things for the audience. Of course when they were finally transcribed into a written language and then translated into a more “popular” one phrases were left out and other influences crept in. This has left some interesting situations which are brushed aside.

In the Christianity Mythos after killing off his brother, Cain is marked by God and is sent away across the wasteland where he finds a wife. But there were only four humans: Adam, Eve, Able, & Cain and Able was now dead. So where did this wife come from?

In Greek Mythos the question of what the fate of the children of Coeus and the other siblings of Cronus was.

In Turkic mythos the fate of Ashina’s 9 siblings (all born of the she wolf and the human she nursed to health) is never explained.

In the Norse Mythos what happened to the brother’s of Odien? Who was the mother of Loki’s unnatural children? Where did the wolves who chases the sun & moon come from? How do some of the Gods survive Ragnarökr and the creation of a green new world?

And the same occurs in the many mythos of our world. People and places are mentioned in passing and never thought to be important and yet there is something that calls to us to inquire about them.

In her book Gornichec takes some of those forgotten issues and weaves them together into a compelling tale of trauma, betrayal and power. In the Edda Loki’s wife is mentioned “She was always a delight to wicked women.” But is that the view of the winner? Would Odien and the Asier mention the good qualities of the woman who sired the beings that bring about their deaths?

And what of her side of the story? Why would she do what she did?

This book answers these questions by starting in the middle of her tale, which was also the beginning of the Asier tale. We are introduced to Gullveig who is burned and suffering from trauma induced memory loss wandering in a dead forest trying to decide if she should survive. The arrival of Loki with her stolen heart (literally) causes her to take a new name, Angrboda, and start her life as a new person. But her previous role as a “powerful witch who did interesting things” follows her across the ages and makes her into an unwilling pawn for the prophesy. Her struggle to reclaim her self and become a more powerful piece on the board of life & death is an amazing read that resonates in all of us.

How closely this work is to the forgotten myths we will never know, but sometimes it is true that the story left out is the better one to be told.

Happy Reading.

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