Its Wednesday, and time for a new chapter of Golden Threads, and a little background information. You can go directly to the newest chapter, or to the main book page, which gives links to all chapters.
Today, let’s address the question: What is this web the novel has mentioned several times?
Years ago, one of my friends developed a form of mental illness. She had hallucinations: some were awful and led her to self-destructive behaviors; but some were beautiful. She told me one time that she saw the whole world connected by beautiful golden threads. To me, that sounded like one of the sanest things I had ever heard. Much later, I read Kay Cordell Whitaker’s books about her journey to become a shaman, studying with two shamans from the Amazon. Kay talks about learning to see and modify threads going between people, and about a web connecting all of space and time. It seemed to me, when I read This shaman’s tale, that my friend had seen the truth: lines of energy really do connect everything.
When I wanted to have time travel in Golden Threads, I needed a vehicle. I didn’t want magic portals that only opened on certain days of the year, or other very magical devices. Witches in this novel are the same as shamans, so using the web made sense to me. However, my math mind wanted a web with a very clear and precise grid, so I made it much like a weaving or a piece of graph paper, with gold threads in the time direction and silver in the space directions, and knots that the witches can feel and count every time threads intersect. Thus, the web in the novel is a little different from the shaman’s web, though events and things are a part of the web, just not this time/space grid.
My time-space web has very distinct properties. Only some witches can travel on it; ones with the right gene. Those witches can go into the past without any difficulty, although they have to go past times where they would overlap themselves or cause a significant disturbance to their own timeline. This means, for example, that they can’t visit their parents, because they might prevent their own birth. Also, the time web is not finished. When the novel starts, it only goes as far as October of 2008. It unrolls at normal speed, which means all years before 2008 already exist, but the future beyond that is still being created. I’m not sure I’ve said that very well. I hope it will become clear as the novel unfolds.