Please join Hawthorne Valley, Alkion Press, and Waldorf Publications on Sunday, January 26, at 3 p.m. in the Hawthorne Valley School Hall (HVS) – 330 County Route 21C, Ghent, NY 12075 – as we launch two new books: The Black Madonna and the Young Sculptor by distinguished HVS faculty member and Director of Education at Hawthorne Valley’s Alkion Center Eric G. Müller; and Star of the Sea by distinguished former HVS faculty member William Ward. Andree Ward will introduce and talk about William Ward’s young adult novel – Star of the Sea – beautifully illustrated by artist Pamela Dalton – followed by a dramatic reading.
From master storyteller and longtime Waldorf teacher William Ward, Star of the Sea tells of the redemption of a boy who has been entangled in the worst of London’s city life. He escapes arrest and runs away to the coast of England, and there meets people who lead him through many experiences that transform his heart through kindness and spiritual insight. This is a wonderful adventure that describes the transformation of a young soul over time. Nature and enlightened friends rescue him from his own darkness. The book is beautifully illustrated with illuminated letters by the award-winning artist Pamela Dalton, and edited and partially written by the late teacher’s wife, Andree Ward, also a Waldorf teacher at Hawthorne Valley.
Star of the Sea is designed for teenagers (7th-9th grades) who gain help and focus through good stories and admirable characters. It is also a good read-aloud book for 4th graders and up—as well for adults wishing to find a refreshing tale to ease the stress and confusion that can make us all forget the light in each soul on earth!
Long before the majestic cathedral of Chartres stood on top of the granite promontory overlooking the forests of the Carnutes, the site was a sanctuary where druids congregated from all over Gaul to worship the virgin about to conceive. To this day, Chartres is home to one of the most revered Black Madonnas in the world, but its foundations reach far back into ancient Celtic culture. In Eric G. Müller’s The Black Madonna and the Young Sculptor, Celtic traditions, repressed by the conquering Romans, merge with nascent Christianity, still swaddled in its receptive innocence.
It is 99 A.D., many centuries before the town of Carnotum became Chartres. Bryok, the druid, asks a young sculptor to carve the new Black Virgin, after the old one was viciously destroyed. Caradoc accepts, not realizing what perils await him. Questions arise: who is the veiled woman who leads him to the secret grotto where he is called upon to carve the new virgin? Who is trying to prevent him from completing his task, and why? And, most importantly, who is the Black Virgin and how should she be depicted. These and other questions precipitate a quest to the coastal Mont Tombe (Mont Saint Michel) to find answers from the seven hermits, and to Lutetia (Paris) in search of an abducted woman about to be sold into slavery, whose face he’s never seen, but who has found a place in his heart.
The Black Madonna and the Young Sculptor is a riveting tale that touches on the mythic, while delving into arcane realms of Celtic, Roman, and Christian traditions. On a fundamental level it is a search for the Divine Feminine and the lingering mysteries around the Black Madonna. It is also, in part, a coming of age story in that it follows the spiritual, artistic, and romantic awakening of young Caradoc. This novel is meant to enchant and guide the reader along an array of rich imaginations that stimulate the mind to traverse through the earth’s fertile darkness toward the light-filled heights of the spirit.
About William Ward
William Ward, was a Waldorf class teacher at the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School (HVS) in upstate New York. He was responsible for the completion of three full classes – grades one through eight. He was taken from his fourth class in their fourth grade year by illness. He left this world three years later with resounding wishes for the “children of the future” as he called them. A beloved member of the school community, he was brilliant storyteller, gifted woodworker, and fine father of his two daughters. He was a pillar of the faculty, responsible for the free religion lessons held at HVS until 2007, one of the last schools in North America to hold these important, story-based lessons for the young. A prolific writer, he has also had published Hawthorne Valley Harvest, a collection of plays for the elementary grades.
About the Illustrator, Pamela Dalton
Pamela Dalton is a nationally acclaimed and masterful artist and Scherenschnitte craftsperson. She is a decades-long friend of the Wards. Her work is also featured in The Sun with Loving Light, a collection of songs, verses, poems, and stories worthy of early readers.
About Eric G. Müller
Eric was born in Durban, South Africa, and double majored in literature and history at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He attended Emerson College in Sussex, England, where he completed the Foundation Year, with emphasis on drama and creative writing. He studied Waldorf pedagogy at the Waldorf Institute in Witten-Annen, Germany, where he specialized in music education. Together with his family he moved to Oregon, where he became a class teacher at the Eugene Waldorf School, carrying a class through the eight year cycle. During this time he also taught German and music (orchestra, chorus, and individual classes). He was a co-founder of the Eugene Waldorf Teacher Training Program.
Currently he teaches English and Drama in the High School. The blocks he teaches include Eschenbach’s Parzival, Goethe’s Faust, Homer’s The Odyssey, History through Music, and Comedy and Tragedy. He is a founding member of the Alkion Center, and the director of the education department. Over the years he has served as both faculty and college (council) chair, and sat on numerous committees, such as the Teacher Development Committee, which holds a special interest for him. He has written two novels as well as a collection of poetry. His middle grade novel, “The Invisible Boat,” was named to Kirkus Review’s Best Indie Books of 2019. To learn more about Eric’s work, please visit his website [http://www.ericgmuller.com].