If you like what we do, consider becoming a member of our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers, or follow us on Twitter @chamomilenclove. If you have thoughts (OR FEELINGS) about Episode 1×03, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to hear from you.
The little snippet of Latin Lord Burghley quotes to Diana (Vanitatis vanitatum, omnis vanitas) comes from the Vulgate translation of Ecclesiastes 1:2, a verse which translates as “Vanity, vanity, everything vanity.” It’s a curious bit of verse for a Protestant, as it comes from the official version of the Latin Bible dating from the 4th century.
If you’re interested in Lord Burghley as a spymaster, there’s a current BBC series airing on PBS that looks pretty interesting.
“Because if we are not in the audience chamber at Richmond Palace by two in the afternoon tomorrow, Elizabeth will arrest us both.”
Going to court in Tudor England was no small thing. First of all, the Tudor palaces were explicitly designed to restrict access to the monarchy and channel people of different rank into appropriate spaces. Because only the most important (and affluent) people made it into the presence of the king or queen, it paid to appear in court dressed in the finest clothing money could buy. In Tudor times, proximity to the king or queen was the quickest way to attain favor–and thereby improve your title and fortune. However, if Elizabeth I felt that you slighted, betrayed, or otherwise disobeyed her, the consequences could be brutal. Court was complicated, political, and highly performative.
In Shadow of Night, Elizabeth I’s court is located at Richmond Palace, the lost palace of the Tudor monarchy. Henry VII died in the palace and it became Elizabeth I’s favorite — she died there in 1603 and her body made the journey to Westminister Abbey from its gates. In the mid-seventeenth century, after the execution of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and his administration systematically stripped the palace until only a few bits and pieces remained. You can still visit the site of Richmond Palace in southwest London today.
“And silver and black are the queen’s colors. That’s why Walter is always wearing them,” Mary explained, smoothing the puffed sleeves.
Elizabeth I had a vast and impressive wardrobe. As she grew older, she apparently leaned into the image of herself as the Virgin Queen and preferred to dress in black, white, and silver — colors she believed represented purity and virginity. Throughout Elizabeth’s reign, England remained under strict sumptuary laws — Elizabeth I believed that her courtiers should dress according to (but not exceeding) their rank. This is why Elizabeth has a bit of a fit when she notices Diana’s borrowed ostrich feather fan — a luxury restricted to gentlemen and above by the sumptuary laws. Fans in particular were a symbol of wealth, and fixed fans were a bit of A THING for Elizabeth I (you can see all of her fixed fans in her portraits here). Ostrich feathers came into fashion in England in 1552 and remained popular for the rest of the sixteenth century.
Three days later on the feast of St. Brigid, we set sail on our long journey to see the Holy Roman Emperor, find a treacherous English daemon, and, at long last, catch a glimpse of Ashmole 782.
In this episode, it’s time to talk about middles of endings and endings of middles and middles muddles endings schmendings. You get the picture. When we return to the books in two weeks, we’ll give you our first wrap of this remarkable, complicated book.
Thanks so much for all of your great feedback on our TV coverage — we’re having the best time recording these episodes, discussing the show on Facebook, and hosting live tweets. Y’all are the best listeners in the world.
If you like what we do, consider supporting us on Patreon! In the meantime, you can always find us on Twitter @chamomilenclove or e-mail us at email@example.com. Until next time!
Today, we spend a bit of time with Goody Alsop and take a field trip to Mortlake in search of Ashmole 782. Get your familiars in hand and let’s get moving.
“That your firedrake broke free is merely a symptom of a much more serious problem.” Goody Alsop extended a bunch of brightly colored silken strands, knotted together at the top. The ends flowed free like the ribbons on a maypole and numbered nine in all, in shades of red, white, black, silver, gold, green, brown, blue, and yellow.
As near as I can tell from (admittedly dubious) internet research into witchcraft, the weaver’s cords in the All Souls Trilogy closely resemble the “Witch’s Ladder,” a tool for spell casting that relies on knotted cords to “store” and concentrate a spell’s power. An internet search for color symbolism in modern Wicca suggests the following meanings for the colors in Diana’s cords:
White – purity, healing
Red – strength, luck, protection, vitality, desire
Brown – nature, natural wisdom
Yellow – learning, happiness, completeness
Green – prosperity, fertility, romance, friendship, harmony
Blue – idealism, wealth
Black – new beginnings, the afterlife
Silver – vision and intuition
Gold – integrity, happiness, mental strength
I would be curious to see if any of our pagan listeners have other thoughts — the text certainly suggests that some colors mean something slightly different in the world of All Souls, but I’d be interested to hear what other people think as we go along.
My knot-making skills were still clumsy, but I found this part of weaving oddly soothing. When I practiced the elaborate twisting and crossings with ordinary string, the result was something reminiscent of ancient Celtic knotwork.
Celtic knotwork is a form of stylized graphical representation that relies on interlace patterns to ornament everything from early manuscripts to jewelry. The interlace style of decoration likely came from the Romans during the third and fourth centuries C.E., but the influence of Christianity led the art form from its spirals, step patterns, and key work into elaborate illustrations of plants, animals, and biblical verses. The knotwork we associate with Ireland likely originated in Italy before migrating to the British Isles… and becoming part of popular tattoo designs in the 1970s. If you’re inclined to learn to draw basic knotwork, calligraphy-skills.com has a pretty good tutorial.
Whether for propriety’s sake or to avoid his disorderly brood, Dr. Dee was strolling in his brick-walled garden as it it were high summer and not the end of January. He was wearing the black robes of a scholar, and a tight-fitting hood covered his head and extended down his neck, topped with a flat cap.
You know what’s fun about Dr. Dee and her library and this exhibit? Our own Deb gave a talk on Dee in 2016.
If you’ve watched A Discovery of Witches 1×01, the parallels between this presentation and Diana’s opening scene are pretty great. It’s a very good lecture — and I’d say that even if I didn’t love Deb.
We’ll do a bit more historical tourism in London on 28 January before we head to Prague. If you like the Real-Time Reading, consider following us on Twitter @chamomilenclove. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook. If you like what we do, consider becoming one of our Patrons!
If you’d like to join the conversation, follow us on Twitter @chamomilenclove or using the hashtag #ccalchemy, or email us at email@example.com. You can also find us on Facebook as Chamomile & Clove – An All Souls Podcast or join our Facebook group, The Chamomile & Clove Clovers. We can’t wait to hear from you!