The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Danaan Elderhill

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Danaan Elderhill


Summary: Danaan Elderhill brought a little magic into our lives with her book The Magic Book of Cookery. We had quite a few questions for her when she popped into Bookbag Towers.
Date: 26 October 2012
Interviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee

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Danaan Elderhill brought a little magic into our lives with her book The Magic Book of Cookery. We had quite a few questions for her when she popped into Bookbag Towers.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Danaan Elderhill: I imagine a group of friends, girls and boys, discussing which dinner to choose to have a great time!

  • BB: I am dying to know - how did The Magic Book of Cookery come into your hands?

DE: Everything started in a dream over a year ago. I dreamed I was in a dinner with other witches a few centuries ago by the look of the dining room. Then the priestess stood up and started chanting something; the rest of the people followed, including me. When the chant ended the feast began.

The following day I though that food, friendship, fun and magic that replicates the dream is a great combination so started to write the first rituals.

It took a while. Beside I tried all recipes more than once to ensure the right measures and timing.

  • BB: And a very nosy question - are you a witch and are Pagan beliefs important to you? What brought you to these beliefs?

DE: I have always felt drawn to the esoteric, but it was in 2004 when I had an experience in Ireland that led me to this path. Subsequently, I started to read, practice and meet like-minded people. Pagan philosophy and spiritual path just make sense to me; it may not be the case for everybody though. Pagans love and worship nature in all its forms. They are very respectful of other people's beliefs, race, opinions and sexual orientation as long as you harm none. We have an understanding on how the universe works, how energy moves and how our mind is the means to interact with them.

  • BB: I found the rituals associated with the meals in your book very soothing. Do you practice them all the time? Are they second nature to you?

DE: I do magic works whenever is needed and I would say quite often. I generally do it to help others (friends, family or friend's friends or family). I do healing and readings in a ritual setting, depends in the situation. I never charge money for this. I never did and never will. However, as I give my energy to someone, I expect energy back in another form. Friendship is an exchange of energy in both directions; it doesn't work with energy only flows in one direction.

  • BB: You seemed to have an enjoyment of food beyond it being 'just something to eat.' Is the taste of food important to you?

DE: I love food. I like to mix and explore new ingredients. When I was a child I used to say that I was a scientist and mixed liquids and other things just to check what it would be like. I probably kept that spirit still today but apply it to the food instead. Flavours are important to be able to indulge your senses and have pleasant experience. But even more important are the magical properties of the ingredients. I have managed to maintain a nice balance to ensure that all dishes are delicious, unusual, but nice.

  • BB: Do books and reading play a big part in your life? What are you reading at the moment?

DE: At the moment I am reading My Big TOE, the Trilogy by Thomas Campbell

  • BB: I loved the watercolours in The Magic Book of Cookery. What's the background to these?

DE: Book imagery is probably the biggest problem in cookery books because professional photography is very expensive. But then I thought that my book has to look like an old manuscript hand-written by Mme Magdalena. Therefore also the imagery had to be consistent with this approach. I asked my aunt if she could do it for me and she was delighted to help me and even happier when she saw the final result, the book. My aunt Luci is like my second mother and you can tell from her work how much love she put on it.

  • BB: You've got one wish. What's it to be?

DE: I want to build a New Age town, a Pagan and Eco-friendly place where like-minded people to move in a live, grow their food and have a relaxed, spiritual and healthy life style. It would be a great community in an amazing natural environment. I would put distance between us and today's noisy world. I even created a Facebook page with the idea and have a few followers. That is my wish!

  • BB: What's next for Danaan Elderhill?

DE: I have two more books ready to be published; they are in the final stages. I am impressed by the repercussions that this book has had. I had an interview last week with a radio in the USA and an e-mail from Australia from a major broadcast company who liked the book concept for a TV program. Once these two books are published, I will continue with the book about the story of this coven of the 17th century that had to hide, deny their beliefs and pretend to be Catholic to survive the witch-hunting; the main characters of the story are writers of my first books and believe me they have a fascinating story to tell through me.

  • BB: Thanks, Danaan and we wish you well with all those projects.

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