Inspiration from Rock Bay

It’s not often that a work of fiction inspires me in my personal practice, but I have been meaning to write about this book series for a long time. The Rituals of Rock Bay is a book series written by author and Druid M.A. Phillips, otherwise known as Ditzy Druid across social media. I have interviewed her for the podcast when her first book, River Magic, was released, and I now count her as a dear friend. I recommend her book series for anyone that is looking for magical realism, actual pagans, POC and LGBTQIA+ representation, and a writing style that has inspired my own practice. 

“Budding clairvoyant Lacey Moran seeks to understand her dreams and find her life’s purpose along the St. Lawrence River. If only her visions of silver arms and Cian O’Connor’s blue eyes were easier to understand! The pieces begin coming together when she encounters a mermaid in the river, joins a group of Druids, and opens herself to romance with an old friend.  

Can Lacey overcome her doubts, or is she in over her head?”

From River Magic (https://ditzydruid.com/writing/rituals-of-rock-bay-series/river-magic/)

It’s not often that a work of fiction inspires me in my personal practice, but I have been meaning to write about this book series for a long time. The Rituals of Rock Bay is a book series written by author and Druid M.A. Phillips, otherwise known as Ditzy Druid across social media. I have interviewed her for the podcast when her first book, River Magic, was released, and I now count her as a dear friend. I recommend her book series for anyone that is looking for magical realism, actual pagans, POC and LGBTQIA+ representation, and a writing style that has inspired my own practice. 

I have always enjoyed magical realism. It’s nice to see practices and beliefs that are similar to mine portrayed in fictional works. I started reading this book for the story (and to support my friend’s amazing book, of course!) but as I continued reading the series, I felt a shift in my own perspective and practice. This was welcome for me because I had long been in a rut with my own practice. Things were stagnating and I kept having this nagging feeling that I was doing something wrong, even “right practice” is not the basis of my work. I’m going to try and put my feelings into words in this post, though I’m not sure I’ll do it well. It’s difficult for me to articulate things sometimes, but hopefully, this is a coherent post and conveys the emotions I felt while reading this book series.

The way the magic and paganism are depicted in this book is real and that’s what I loved most about it. There were no fancy sparks flying from wands, no flying on broomsticks, and no mixing magic potions with immediate results, though there is a fair share of kitchen witchery involving tea! There is magical realism in the way spirits and deities are portrayed. The rituals and prayers in the book are realistic, both emanating echoes of ache in my heart for an in-person community and also emotion for the characters experiencing it. 

Dream dictionaries are worthless. Other Pagans might have one on their bookshelves as reference. lacey Moran had five and none of them helped her fully untangle the knot of her visions.

River Magic, Chapter 1, Rituals of Rock Bay Book One

The above quote is the first few lines of the first chapter of the first book. That’s how I knew this book series was going to be for me. This is real. This is something a lot of modern practitioners struggle with. Symbolism is inherently personal, especially when it comes to dreams and visions, and that’s perfectly captured here in this opening scene. 

But how did this series inspire my practice? Well, let’s go back a bit because I feel like I need to give some context there. In my “real” life, I don’t know anyone who practices as I do or that believes as I do. I have friends online who share similar interests, views, and practices, but no one I can meet up with in person for rituals, study sessions, or similar. I also struggle with my mental health, which I’m sure many of you know if you’ve been hanging around for any amount of time. I often get stuck in magical ruts where I feel disconnected, like something is missing, and that’s often made worse by depression and loneliness in practice. I struggle with visualizing what my practice should look like for me, not what it should look like for others. That’s where this book has really helped me put into thought and words how I feel my practice should be.

There are two scenes in the third book, Forest Magic, that really stuck out to me and honestly almost made me cry. 

She anointed her abdomen with a handmade oil continually charged in the pale, white light. One downward stroke and two sideways notches — Gort — the ogham for growth and fertility, then she made offerings to Brigid and prayed.

Forest Magic, Chapter Three

and then…

Lacey traced a sigil into his thigh and padded away…

He kissed her neck. “Thanks to you. What have you been drawing on me?”
“What? Oh, nGétal: the ogham for healing…” 

– Forest Magic, Chapter Fourteen

When I read these scenes, I was immediately struck by a parallel in my own life. My daughter had gotten sick, some sort of stomach bug, and the first thing I did was trace the ogham fid nGétal onto her stomach to promote healing while saying a prayer to Brigid. This similarity between what was written in a book that was already inspiring me with the prayers, rituals, and representation of pagan practice just drove everything home for me at how inspiring a fictional book could be to actual practice. 

These books have been inspiring, but they have also been a glimpse into what someone’s practice that’s similar to mine could look like. It’s a beacon of hope for my brain that lets me know I’m already doing enough. My practice is perfect the way it is because it works for me. That’s what matters, and that’s a message that’s conveyed in these books. There’s more, of course, but that’s what I wanted to drive home with this post. Plus, I kept telling M.A. Phillips that one day I would write a blog post about how these books have inspired me. I don’t feel like I got everything out that I wanted to say, but this is where I’m going to have to leave it until I can better articulate my overwhelming feelings toward this series. 

I hope you’ll check out the book series and follow Ditzy Druid on social media. Word is she’s working on another book!

MA Phillips: https://www.ditzydruid.com
Get the book series through Bookshop.orgShadow Spark PublishingAmazon, or wherever books are sold near you!
Hear our talk on the podcast: Episode 100 – Rituals at Rock Bay with MA Phillips

Don’t forget to follow me on social media and subscribe to my newsletter.
TwitterInstagramYouTube | Newsletter

My website participates in affiliate marketing. If you purchase an item using a link in this post, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.