Title: The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales
Publisher: Triskele Media Press...
Walther knew. But he could not resist,what ten-year-old could? Every year was the same. Grandmother Dunkelhaus would shake her finger at him and warn, “Walpurgisnacht, the devil’s night—you stay indoors. Devils,witches, ghosts—they come, they get little boys, eat you.” Then she would snap together her shiny wooden teeth—clack!—as if she knew the flights of witches first hand.
But this year—tonight!—he would know, he and Elsa. “We must see,” they had promised one another. Walther slipped out this afternoon, to sleep a while in the orchard as Elsa had suggested. The nap should help him stay awake tonight. He had put apples in his rucksack and a handful of matches—also Elsa’s idea. She swore she would sneak away with a lamp. He looked around the room; never know what you might need. His woolen cap and sweater would keep him warm—spring was on the calendar, but not in the night air.
Before I start, allow me to take a moment for some blatant promotion of fellow blogger Star Foster's radical experiment: getting money for a blogging day job. She's absolutely worth it, so please check out her plea and IndieGoGo campaign!
Alright, on to the post!
Because I'm both a lesbian and a Pagan, I get send a lot of things people think I may find interesting. I love it when people do this; most of the stuff is really good, poignant, or simply hilarious. One of the things that got send to me a lot is the new UK series Switch. I guess this is because I blogged about Pagan characters we would like to see, and Pagan webseries.
Switch is a television series about a group of four girls who live in London, deal with boy/girl trouble, jobs, and friendship. Most of that dealing is done through magick, because all of them are witches. A few days ago, I caught up with the series, of which three episodes have aired. I didn't have high hopes for it, and most of my fears were realized, but I have found I like the girls, and the stereotypes aren't offensive.
Some slightly more modern history and a slight indulgence: witches always end up in the news around this time of year. Suddenly every news paper or local news station wants to do a 'did you know there are real witches?!' story.
It all gets a bit tiresome.
I originally wrote this poem for my annual Halloween cards (a habit that has been lost to my gypsy ways and busyness). My father reminded me that he associated 'Devil's Night' with much more unpleasant memories: 1960s Michigan it was often a time of angry destruction. If you've seen the original Crow movie, they use it in a similar way -- an excuse for serious mayhem....
For this installment of Well at World’s End, we’ll take a look at the pagan themes in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fiction. I could easily dedicate the entire blog to Tolkien, but have chosen one rather obscure piece to focus on, “Smith of Wootton Major.” If you would like to read the story first, and then read along, you can find the selection here.
“Smith of Wootton Major” is a short story written by Tolkien in 1967. It was originally known as “The Great Cake,” since the story starts off with the festival, Feast of the Good Children, which is celebrated every twenty-four years, and attended by only twenty-four village children. Baked inside the cake are a variety of trinkets, and hoped to be won by the children. (Cake with trinkets, can you see where this is going?)
One special trinket, by accident, makes it in the cake and is later swallowed by the blacksmith’s son. The star allows the boy to enter into the land of the Faery. Most of the story recounts various adventures the boy takes into the realm of Faery; the reader eager to tag along....
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?...
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....
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.
I have been enjoying the wonderful world of web-series for a couple of days now and it got me thinking; there are web-series for every minority you can think of so why don't we have one? If we do, please let me know in the comments and I will eat these words for tomorrow's breakfast. Seriously, though, there are (NSFW) web-series about super heroes, people with a disability, geeks, video games, lesbians, gays, washed out actors, you name it. Where are the Pagans?
A web-series is a series of short episodes about a certain topic or focussing on a specific person or group, created specifically for viewing on the internet. With all the diversity and the many stereotypes we either embrace or feel the need to debunk, we could surely make a good web-series? Here are a couple of proposals for those with the ability to act, some extra funds, time and a camera:
This past summer, science fiction readers mourned the passing of Ray Bradbury, the author of such classic literature, as Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked this Way Comes. For this installment of Well at World’s End, we’re going to take a look at the pagan themes present in Bradbury’s short story collection, Sound of Thunder and Other Stories, and more specifically the title story.
“Sound of Thunder” tells the story of Eckels, a safari hunter living in 2055, who signs up with Time Safari Inc., a service that will take him to any destination in the past to hunt big game (now extinct). Eckles wants to go back to the dinosaur age to land a T-Rex. As preparations are made for departure, the team discusses the presidential election that’s underway, between a fascist candidate, Deutscher, and a more moderate one....