• Joël Tibbits

Carrying a Garden of Books

When "The Books of Magra" (TBOM) first came to me, it was in the form of a four page scene that depicted a celestial ritual that was primal, cosmic and expansive. Yet with only those four pages, I had the clear understanding of the voluminous scale that the entire work would become.

I knew that those four pages would evolve into many more pages, and many books...and then I went for a walk.


"The Books of Magra" is a title that not only refers to the series itself, but to the actual process of its creation."

How I carry "The Garden."

As I have begun working on the second book in the TBOM series, many more books have appeared: one book for preliminary notes, one book for the astronomer's narrative, one book for the mystics' narrative, one book for the large scale organization of the whole series, one book for the music, and on and on...more and more books.

After the almost twenty years that I have been working on the series, I am still amazed by the number of books that are required to craft the series. TBOM is a title that not only refers to the series itself, but to the actual process of its creation.


When I have spoken about TBOM, I am often asked about why so many books are needed in its creation, and why are there to be seven books in the series. There are many reasons, but to sum it all up, I usually say, "I am putting my garden into the world."

A garden has many components that embody a system which is nuanced and interwoven, it grows and decays, reforms and reconstitutes, this is what all those books and notebooks achieve. They play an organic role in refining and attuning the content and concepts of the books, just as all the components of a garden will do towards the growth of plants and flowers. It these relationships that eventually evolve into commonalities which are more than a sum of their parts - this is where the next book, "The Book of Magra: Kror," will appear.


In addition to the ongoing growth in the number of books, is the exceedingly important element to their creation - carrying them.

Depending on how I feel, and what I have been working on, I will stuff my backpack full of particular books and notebooks and head out the front door.

There are times where I will walk and write nothing, allowing the concepts, scenes and music to resonate within me. Sometimes I will find myself journeying without any intended destination, or I will venture to a favourite coffee shop and I write for the remainder of the day. This practice of carrying the books has been a part of the process in crating TBOM from the very start.


"Perhaps, I am as the Fool..."
The Fool in the Tarot

In the Tarot, there is the card of the Fool; it depicts a young man, carefree and content, walking down a sunlit path with a bag tied to a stick that he carries over his shoulder. He is unaware of the edge he is about to step over, the path is about to change very suddenly and this is when he learns and benefits from what he carries (as well as his guide, in the form of a small dog, who will be with him throughout his adventure).

Perhaps I am as the Fool in the Tarot, carrying a satchel that contains all I need, but will not serve me until I am put into the unexpected events of the journey.


What is most important for me is that the carrying of these books is not about them weighing me down, but how they are opening me up. In carrying these books I am reminded of what is most important and why I am here; that all of this is a process, not a goal - with no expected outcomes.


This practice of writing and carrying books has been a primary component of the creation of TBOM from the start, and I have no doubt that this will be the case until its completion.

I will continue to joyfully carry a garden of books.



I would love to hear your thoughts!


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