BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

A lively discussion of ancient and modern Pagan literature -- including children's books, graphic novels, science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries -- along with interviews, author highlights, and profiles of Pagan publishers.

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Rebecca Buchanan

Rebecca Buchanan

Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.

Titles: Fairy Poems and Witch Poems

Publisher: Holiday House

Editor: Daisy Wallace

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Inanna is a very old Goddess.* She is one of the oldest Deities for whom we have a name and a record of worship -- and that worship lasted all the way up to the conversion of the Near and Middle East to first Christianity, then Islam. Today, Inanna (or Ishtar, in the Akkadian) is an immensely popular Goddess among Pagans, especially solitaries and those who practice Goddess Spirituality.

There are a number of resources available to those who are interested in Inanna, ranging from the densely academic to the poetic to children's books.**

In that first category can be found In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth by Tikva Frymer-Kensky. Controversial and iconoclastic, this text chronicles the gradual marginalization of Goddesses in the Sumerian and Akkadian pantheons, which Frymer-Kensky contrasts with the more egalitarian monotheism of very early Judaism. You may not agree with her conclusions, but the book will still make you stop and think. 

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Byron: you're welcome. And if you find any new books or articles about Her, please let me know.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for this! I've been dedicated to Inanna for decades now and continue to be thrilled when new information emerges. During

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

As we roll around to a new year, I find myself reminiscing, thinking over the many many novels, anthologies, poetry collections, and graphic novels which I have read over the course of 2012. Most have faded, reduced to scattered scenes or memorable lines. Others remain more coherent, plot lines complete. A few notable books remain completely intact in my memory, characters permanently etched into my consciousness. 

Life is too short to waste on bad books. As such, here are my literary discoveries of 2012. Some are brand new books, just published; others are new to me; still others qualify as rediscoveries, books read many years ago and mislaid or forgotten.

The Jackal's Head by Elizabeth Peters definitely falls into that last category. As a teenager, I was at the library every week where I checked out one after another of Peters' mystery novels. While I was especially a fan of her turn of the century Amelia Peabody books, I also enjoyed her stand alone books. As a trained archaeologist, most of Peters' books deal in some way with lost treasure, lost artifacts, lost tombs, lost sacred texts -- you get the idea. It was a thrill to be carried along with her characters as they brought the villains to justice and brought lost history to light. Rereading The Jackal's Head (hint: Nefertiti) is the reminder I needed that old favorites are worth revisiting. 

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Kyrja and Michael -- Thank you for the recommendations.
  • Michael Zimmerle
    Michael Zimmerle says #
    I would like to recommend a series of books for you to have a look at. They are the Caitlin Ross books by Katherine Lampe. Caitl
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    Hi Rebecca ~ I must, of course, invite you to read "Rupert's Tales," a growing series written for Pagan children. They are, I sh

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

It is finally winter here. We have had little in the way of snow; actually, only frost on a few bitterly cold nights -- which I then had to get up extra early to scrap off my car. But then the sun would rise and the day would warm and I would forget about the fifteen minutes of lost sleep.

Not today, though. Today dawned cold and gray and foggy. Then the wind rose up and pushed the fog away, and even most of the clouds. But it stayed cold. Even without Christmas looming in a few days, weather like this still would have driven people into the book store in search of hot cider, hot chocolate, hot tea and (of course) a good book.

That "good book" is the subject of this column. Now, there are plenty of books about Christmas. Lots and lots and lots and lots of books about Christmas, geared towards every possible audience. There are even quite a few books about Hanukkah. But Heliogenna? Dies Natalis Solis Invictus? 'Ashuru Ari? Yule? Jul? Mothers' Night? Saturnalia? The Solstice itself? ... Um ....

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In my previous column, I highlighted some of the best collections of Greek mythology currently available for children. This time around, we'll take a look at some of my favorite single-story titles. Many of these are picture books, retellings of classic tales with beautiful illustrations. A few are novel-length classic or original tales, aimed at slightly older children.

I stumbled across Cupid and Psyche by M Charlotte Craft and KY Craft in a bookstore many years ago and instantly fell in love with the artwork (seriously, if you need a devotional image of Persephone, look no further). I have made a point of picking up anything illustrated by KY Craft ever since. Of course, the younger Craft's storytelling skills are just as wonderful; she does an excellent job of presenting Psyche as a positive role model, a brave woman determined to correct her past mistakes and win back her happiness. (Ages 5+)

And, when I found out that KY Craft had illustrated Pegasus by Marianna Mayer, it was immediately added to my collection. Again, if you are looking for devotional artwork (Athena, in this case), look no further. In addition to the wonderful illustrations, Mayer presents belief in and devotion to the Deities as a natural thing, not the oddities of a primitive people. I love the sequence in which the devout Bellerophon is rewarded for his piety and courage by Athena. Of course, the battle scene is pretty darn cool, too. (Ages 5+)

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[There are more greek mythology books aimed at kids than I could possibly cover in a single column. So, let's start with a few of my favorite collections and move on from there, shall we? :)]

For many people, mention "greek mythology" and "children's books" and their thoughts immediately turn to d'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. It is the standard text for public and school libraries, and for many personal libraries. Not without cause, either: Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire crafted a timeless, skillfully-told, beautifully-illustrated book. That cover is immediately recognizable, and many of the interior illustrations have stayed with me since the first time I cracked that cover.

It is not, however, the only book on Greek mythology for children.

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While my spiritual path is Hellenic and I primarily honor Greek Deities, I nonetheless am fascinated by the many, many different traditions out there that fall within the large Pagan tent (or set up camp right next to it). As a result, I have a pretty sizable personal library of books on other-than-Hellenic traditions. 

Northern Traditions, and especially the Goddesses honored by those traditions, are a particular favorite subject.* I am always on the lookout for new books on Frigga or Freyja or Epona or Skadhi or Medeine.**

HR Ellis Davidson is a well-respected scholar of Northern mythology and religion, and her Roles of the Northern Goddess is at the top of my list. Though a bit dry in places -- and obviously not written with polytheists or Pagans in mind -- it is still an informative and wide-ranging study. This is one of the few texts I have been able to find in English which does include information on Eastern European Goddesses.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Kalyca: I love hearing from librarians! There are surprisingly few really good books out there about the Norse Goddesses. Please
  • Kalyca Schultz
    Kalyca Schultz says #
    Thank you for this book list! I look forward to dipping my toes into some of these, especially the ones about Freyja. Just publish

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Hekate is a complicated Goddess. Crossroads, entryways, and liminal spaces; journeys and war; the moon and the night and the underworld; ghosts and cemeteries; magic and herbology; pregnancy and midwifery and nursing; sailing and fishing and shepherding and dogs; all fall under her aegis. Honored originally in Anatolia, her worship spread throughout the Greek-speaking world. Adopted by the Romans (who tended to call her Hecate or Trivia), her worship spread even further. She is a major figure in the Theogony, the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, the Greek Magical Papyri, and the Chaldean Oracles. She even survived -- sort of -- the purging of the ancient pantheons and the conversion to Christianity as a hag figure in many folk tales and fairy tales. Today, she is honored by Pagans of many different traditions, ranging from Hellenismos to Religio to Wicca to unaffiliated, nondenominational Goddess worshippers.

It is, perhaps, not surprising that there are quite a few texts devoted to Hekate, as well as long chapters within other works. Helene P Foley's The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation, Commentary, and Interpretive Essays, for instance.

For those who are curious about this Goddess, I can recommend several texts from my bookshelves. If you are looking for dense, solid academic work, there are two titles that should be at the top of your list: Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece; and Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate's Roles in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature; both by Sarah Iles Johnston. The former chronicles the evolution of Greek ideas about, and interactions with, the dead (with special attention paid to Hekate and the Erinyes), while the latter examines the evolution of ideas about Hekate herself, from Mother Goddess to mediating World Soul to Queen of Demons and Witches.

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Say the words "coloring book" and most people conjure childhood memories of kitchen tables or classroom desks covered in crayons, markers, or (if they were lucky) paint and brushes. Coloring books, with the rare exception, were and are targeted at children. In most cases, I am sure, the publishers are not specifically targeting a Pagan audience. Nonetheless, there is a large number of coloring books which will appeal to adults and children from a variety of Pagan paths. Those that deal with mythology and ancient history, in particular, can be great resources for parents and teachers, inspiring kids to ask questions about the hero or God or Goddess or culture before them. 

I still love coloring books. Perhaps that makes me odd, but there is nothing quite like returning to a favorite childhood activity after a stressful day of adulthood. It is comforting and reassuring. My latest acquisition is The ABCs of Lesser-Known Goddesses: An Art Nouveau Coloring Book for Kids of All Ages by W Lyon Martin. The twenty-six Goddesses included here are from cultures all over the world: Roman (Aestas, Pax), Chibche (Bachue), Greek (Chimera, Leucothea, the Moerae, Nike), Chinese (The Dark Maid, Wang Mu), Celtic (Flidais, Gula), Hittitte (Hannahanna), Cherokee (Igaehindvo), Semitic (Jerah), Egyptian (Kebechet, Opet), Incan (Quinoa-Mama), Hindu (Raka, Ushas, Vasudhara), Shinto (Tatsuta-Hime), Aztec (Xochiquetzal), Aboriginal (Yhi) and Russian (Zorya). I will definitely be doing research on some of these Goddesses.

Dover is one of the big coloring book publishers. Among my favorites in their mythology line are Goddesses Coloring Book,  Greek Gods and Goddesses, Norse Gods and Goddesses, The Adventures of Ulysses, Gods of Ancient Egypt, and Celtic Gods and Heroes. They also have an entire line of stained-glass coloring books, which can be great fun to tear out and hang in the window.

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  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

When I was a kid, I devoured books on ancient Egypt. I was fascinated by the Gods and Goddesses and mythology and great temples and pyramids -- and especially by stories of female Pharaohs such as Hatshepsut and Cleopatra. While my spiritual path eventually led me to Hellenismos, rather than Kemeticism, I continued to remain intrigued by that land and its culture. As a result, I ended up with a nice collection of books about ancient Egypt, a number of which are aimed at kids (and the young at heart). Below are a few of my highly recommended favorites, in order roughly according to reading level.

Tutankamen's Gift by Robert Sabuda (ages 5+) is a wonderful, uplifting tale. A small, frail child, Tutankhamen loves the beautiful temples of Egypt. He is greatly saddened when a new Pharaoh comes to power, outlaws the worship of the Gods, and begins to dismantle the sacred sites. Gorgeous papyrus illustrations accompany the simple text; I particularly love the scene in which the Gods, in the form of the wind, whisper to Tutankhamen. A great introduction to an important Pagan historical figure.

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Being a devotee of *cough* "lesser-known" Deities does occasionally suck. In my case, while I honor well-known Deities such as Hermes and The Muses and Artemis and Hekate, I am also very devoted to The Charites.

The usual response to that statement is "who?"

If I said "The Graces" instead, would that help?

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Like many Pagans, I am a lover of literature. It was in books that I first discovered the Gods. I devoured tales of Artemis and Apollo and Isis and Anubis and Brigid. And -- like many -- the first thing I did after my (re)discovery of the Gods was build an altar.

I felt most drawn to the Hellenic Gods, but I had no real guidelines for the proper construction of a Greek-style altar. I found a basic diagram in Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, and used that as a template: bust of Apollo and a gold candle on the right, bust of Artemis and a silver candle on the left, bowl of dried flowers, small cup of earth, small cup of water.

Over the years, my altar has expanded and changed multiple times, as my spiritual path has matured and as I have moved around the country. Currently, my main altar includes icons for Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Hekate and Gaea, along with a hand-made clay icon of Odin (in thanks for a vision of Him, which I am still mulling over). 

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Title: Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia

Publisher: Holiday House

Author: D. Anne Love

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Hunter: the only two works of fiction of which I am aware are "Flow Down Like Silver" by Ki Longfellow; and "Hypatia, or New Foes
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Very cool. Just watched "Agora" with R. Weisz and started to look for some fiction on her. Thanks for the lead.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Warning: blatant self-promotion ahead! But, there is a really good reason for said self-promotion, so please bear with me.

Science fiction as a genre is both extremely popular and notoriously difficult to define. It is often a case of "I'll know it when I see it." Stars Wars? Yes. Star Trek? Yes. McCaffrey's Pern books? Yes. KA Laity's Owl Stretching? Considering the people-eating aliens and near-future setting, yes. Devon Monk's The Age of Steam series? Um ... it's set in the Wild West, but it's steampunk, which is often considered a subgenre of science fiction, but it's got faeries and magic, too, so ... maybe? Lucian of Samosata's True History? Um ... second century fable-ish proto-science fiction? 

Throwing "Pagan" into the mix makes things even more difficult. How does one define "Pagan" in this context? Does the author of a work have to identity as some flavor of Pagan? Or does only the work itself have to deal with Pagan Deities, philosophies, and myths?

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  • Eli Effinger-Weintraub
    Eli Effinger-Weintraub says #
    Hey, Rebecca. I wanted to mention The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction, a co-effort of Llewellyn and our own Witches&Pagans. Sever
  • Ryan Musgrave-Evans
    Ryan Musgrave-Evans says #
    Hey guys. If there's a free-for-all on self promotion going at the moment, I'll mention my own works. "Dead Stars" is a 110,000 wo
  • Sophie Gale
    Sophie Gale says #
    Now you've got me hunting for Pagan authors! SF is a labor of love for JMG, not necessarily a paying gig. Patricia Kennealy-Morr

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Every month, the members of Neos Alexandria study three different Deities for our Gods of the Month Club. Originally, the Deities were limited to the official Hellenistic-oriented pantheon of Neos Alexandria itself. This year, though, members agreed that we could start looking into Deities outside ancient Alexandria, allowing for some very lively discussions (is Brigid three Goddesses or a trinity?) and comparisons (who knew Athena and Kali had so much in common?).

Early on in the GMC program -- though I can't remember exactly when -- I made a capital-P Promise that I would write at least one poem in honor of each Deity for that month. So far, I have managed to keep that promise. And, I have to admit, I have been very surprised to discover that it is not my matron and patron Deities that I am most excited to write for (though I will take any chance to pen a poem for Hermes or The Charites), but rather those Deities with whom I have only a passing familiarity or no familiarity at all.

I remember the month when Neith was selected. My initial response was "Um ... she's like the Egyptian version of Athena, right?" Well, not exactly. The two Goddesses do indeed have some areas of interest (like warcraft and weaving), but they are distinct Deities with their own personalities and histories. I learned a lot about Neith that month, came to appreciate Her as a Goddess in Her own right, and was inspired to write two very different cosmogonic poems in Her honor.

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  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I am absolutely terrible at poetry. Brighid was my matron for years and still, I never grew out of the fourteen year old emo poems

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A few weeks back, I listed the how-to writing guides which I found most useful. Among them was Corrine Kenner's Tarot for Writers. Throughout her text, Kenner references the traditional Rider-Waite deck -- a deck which I have never owned or used. Nonetheless, Kenner's exercises and suggested spreads work with (virtually) any deck.

That (virtually) there is important. The book has proven most useful not just with the decks with which I am most familiar, but also those decks that contain the most densely packed imagery.

The first two decks that I purchased (I really can't remember which came first) were The Motherpeace Round Tarot by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble, and The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr. I have since added The Anubis Oracle by Nicki Scully, Linda Star Wolf, and Kris Waldherr; Ancient Feminine Wisdom of Goddesses and Heroines by Kay Steventon and Brian Clark; The New Mythic Tarot by Juliet Sharman-Burke, Liz Greene, and Giovanni Caselli; and the Art Nouveau tarot from Lo Scarabeo, to my collection.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Thanks for mentioning Dugan's new tarot deck. I will have to see if I can find a copy.
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    Wonderful post! I haven't picked up The Goddess Tarot, but I love that the staves are the path of Freya. I just took a class about

Over at Patheos, Star Foster recently blogged about the paganizing influence of books such as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It is a conversation I have had many times, online and in person: do such books really bring people to Paganism (of whatever tradition)? Based on my own completely unscientific survey, I believe the answer is yes. Books like the Percy Jackson series -- and possibly Rowling's Harry Potter, Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants, Anne Ursu's The Cronus Chronicles, and others -- do seem to spark an interest in the old Gods and mythologies. Or, perhaps, fan a flame that was already there.

 
At the same time .... I have to confess, I did not particularly enjoy The Lightning Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson series. I got so little enjoyment out of it, in fact, that I did not bother to continue with the books, or even pick up Riordan's other series (The Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus). I was ... disappointed. Let down. I had so been looking forward to a story which drew upon the ancient mythology and treated the Gods of old respectfully that ... eh ... shallow characters, shallow use of mythology, et cetera and so on.
 
I suppose I should have known better. This is a series written for mass entertainment. Riordan (so far as I know) is not any persuasion of Pagan, and he did not write the books with a Pagan audience in mind. This series was written for people who treat the old Gods and myths as fictional characters, not as real beings or sources of wisdom.
 
Which leads me to the second half of the title above: yes, we can do better. We -- the Pagan community at large -- need to be writing stories for our children about the Gods we honor and the traditions we practice. We need to offer them positive role models, kids just like them who struggle with the same problems and who do their best to act honorably. Heck, we need to be writing such stories for the non-Pagan community, too; show what we're all about.
 
So, consider this column a call to arms ... or rather, pens. Get your collective butts in your chairs, offer up a prayer or two for guidance and inspiration, and get writing! And here are a few ideas, free and clear, to do with as you please. Adopt them whole, take pieces here and there, use them as a launching pad for your ideas. Whatever. Just get writing!
 
One) Ecological. Ages 4-8. A dryad who lives in Central Park befriends a group of young children who play hide and seek near her tree. She introduces them to the wonders of the Park, to the amazing plants and animals who make it their home. For fans of The Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library series, and the Reading Rainbow books. 
 
Two) Mystery series. Ages 7-12. A young devotee of Athena uses math and science to solve crimes. The Goddess Herself makes at least one appearance in each story, offering the young girl guidance by explaining mathematical theories and principles, scientific concepts, and so forth. For fans of The Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, The Magic Treehouse series Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca, and The Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams.
 
Three) Adventure series. Ages 7-12. In 8th century northern Europe, a young boy accompanies his father as they sail around the Baltic Sea, down the Atlantic coast of  Europe, and through the Mediterranean to distant Byzantium. Along the way, he encounters strange new cultures, languages, religions, and animals. A stealthy way to teach kids about geography, history and even map reading. For fans of The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan and the Young Samurai series by Chris Bradford.
 
Four) Paranormal. Ages 10-13. In the early 1800s, the young woman who will become Queen Victoria befriends three sisters. Unbeknownst to Victoria, the sisters practice British Traditional Witchcraft in secret, and they use their abilities to protect the future Queen. A great way to explore British history, women's history, and pre-Wicca Witchcraft. For fans of the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins and the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan.
 
Five) Alternate history. Ages 12-18. In this what if ... series, the Pharaohs still rule a polytheistic Egypt. Follow the adventures of one of Pharaoh's daughters, as she solves mysteries, undertakes diplomatic missions, and romances handsome princes -- with style, of course. For fans of The Princess Academy series by Shannon Hale, the Luxe series by Anne Godbersen, and Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lyn Child.
 
Six) Fantasy. Ages 12-18. Too many fantasy books draw on Greek mythology, or maybe some mash-up of Middle Eastern mythology. Time for a change. Go Aztec. It is an incredibly rich source of fantastic creatures, terrible monsters and great warriors, peopled by amazing Gods. Treat the source material with respect and go for it. For fans of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan, The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater, and The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney.
 
Seven) Paranormal. Ages 13-18. In the years immediately following World War II, an American teen accompanies his family to occupied Japan, where his father is stationed. When he befriends several Japanese teens, he gets caught up in a mystery involving an ancient ghost. How better to sneak in important lessons about war, peace, forgiveness, Shinto, Buddhism, and Ainu traditions? For fans of Soldier Boys by Dean Hughes, Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, and Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata.
 
Eight) Science fiction. Ages 13-18. When the Earth can no longer support human life, generation ships filled with colonists flee for the nearest habitable planet. But it will take decades to reach their new home. Follow one Wiccan coven across the years as they adjust to life on the ship, adapt their traditions and practices to their new surroundings, fall in and out of love, marry, pass those traditions on to their children and grandchildren, and finally make landfall on their new home. For fans of the Across the Universe books by Beth Revis, the Matched series by Ally Condie, and the Sirantha Jax books by Ann Aguirre.
 
So, there you have them: eight ideas for Pagan- and/or polytheist-centric books for kids, tweens and teens. Choose one or two. Pick up your pen, your pencil, your laptop, whatever. And get writing! 



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  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson says #
    It seems I have taken you up on your challenge, Rebecca: http://witchesandpagans.com/Pagan-Paths-Blogs/the-man-who-wailed-at-the-s
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Brian: give it a shot. You might discover you have a talent for writing after all.
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Amy: thanks for the suggestion. I will add Bird's book to my To Read list.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A good story is both a siren and a muse. 
 
Like the sirens of lore, it lures you in, beguiles, bewitches and mesmerizes. It holds you still, a prisoner in awe of its beauty and horror. And like a muse, a good story sits you down and teaches you to think, to sing, to paint pictures with words. It shows you how to use the beauty and horror of words to change the world.
 
Some days, it is the siren I desire more than the muse. I just want to lose myself. Escape. Forget the world, and the ugliness which too often stains it. I want to flee to another world. Who needs screaming, hypocritical politicians, mad snipers, oppressive legislation, and mounting natural disasters? Give me a world where all butterflies are wizards and the rain takes on the color of the bow. Or a sea-bound world of sentient turtles, where mermaids are born of black pearls. Or a haunted metropolis, where Earth Witches wield bronze bullets in defense of the Mother and her children.* Or a world where true knights, lead by a blind priestess, loyally serve their Goddess.** Or a whole universe of worlds, where an Oracle's prophecy is the only hope for peace on a planet torn apart by war.***
 
But then, as much as I may desire the siren, I know the muse is waiting for me. Sometimes, she is patient. More often, not. As I sit there, lost to the siren's tales, she pokes and prods at me, whispering. Isn't this just fascinating? How do you suppose this world came to be this way? Think there are any parallels in your world, hhhmmm? Think any of those parallels need, oh, fixing? Maybe you could write a story. You know, tell people a tale and get them thinking, too.
 
Yes, the muse is a sneaky bitch. And I mean that as the highest of compliments.
 
So, I go away -- but only temporarily -- into a world of my own making. I weave a tapestry of words, craft a tale in which wrongs are righted, the good prevails, and ignorance is transformed into wisdom. With tree wives. And crocodile prophets. Sometimes wizards in blue robes.
 
And then I let those stories out into the world, and hope they inspire others to act as I have been inspired.
 
Now, if you will excuse me, the siren is calling. I am going to lose myself in a tale of reluctant shamans, eco-warriors and purple people eaters****, and forget the ugliness of the world. But not for long. The muse is waiting.
 
* The Earth Witches series by Lee Roland
** The Light Blades series by Kylie Griffin
*** The Interplanetary League books by Liz Craven
**** Owl Stretching by KA Laity 
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No, that title is not a typo. I do mean theoilogy.

Theology, to quote the ever-handy Wikipedia, derives "from Ancient Greek Θεός meaning "God" and λόγος-logy, meaning "study of." God. Singular. By its very nature, at its very root, the word assumes a single Godhead. As such, I find the term best suited only to those religious systems which are explicitly monotheistic or monistic, eg Islam, most strains of Christianity, some branches of Judaism, and some sects within Hinduism.*

But, it is an ill-fit with explicitly polytheistic or even duotheistic systems, such as some branches of Judaism, some Christian sects, most sects within Hinduism, and the majority of Pagan and indigenous traditions. When I write about the nature of Zeus, I am not engaging in theology -- I am engaging in theoilogy. Zeus is not God Alone. He is part of a vast family of Deities; He is part of a web of relationships and responsibilities, and I cannot even begin to comprehend him outside of that web. Thus, theoilogy, from the Ancient Greek Θεοί meaning "Gods." Plural.

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To all the writers and poets and editors out there, I offer you fair warning: you know all those how-to manuals that fill the writing and publishing sections at bookstores and libraries? 

Yeah.

Useless.

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  • Wendy L. Callahan
    Wendy L. Callahan says #
    As an editor with two publishers, I MUST have the latest CMOS on my desk. As a writer, I figure the dictionary and thesaurus are
  • Rachel Lee
    Rachel Lee says #
    Many Thanks Rebecca, I am looking into all these books, except the thesaurus & dictionary as I have them, but the "Tarot For Write
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    I, too, beg to differ. Being a voracious reader does not a good writer make. Writing is a craft, and it takes dedication, persever

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