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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Pagan Fiction
Winter Fires: A Solstice Story in Two Parts

Part One

Lily pulled on her warmest coat and snow boots, ready for an adventure outside. Snow had been falling for several hours and she loved the quiet that descended when the ground was blanketed in fluffy white snow. Even the coziness and warmth of her cottage could not entice her to stay inside and miss the chance of walking at sunset through the woods that bordered her home.

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  • Robin Fennelly
    Robin Fennelly says #
    Thank you!
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Sweetly written and much appreciated. looking forward to the next installment. Thanks! Solstice Blessings, Tasha
A Lost Pagan Classic: Rereading Gerhart Hauptmann's 'Island of the Great Mother'

Gerhart Hauptmann's novel The Island of the Great Mother or the Miracle of the Île des Dames: A Story from the Utopian Archipelago was first published (in German) in 1928, but 90 years on, it still reads appositely, especially for the pagan community.

Here's the story.

A passenger liner filled with women (they're going to a women's convention) is shipwrecked somewhere in the Pacific. Several hundred women, with only one male among them—the prepubescent son of one of the castaways—are washed ashore on an uninhabited island.

There they create a glittering women's civilization, with its own gynocentric culture and religion.

Then something amazing happens. One by one, the women begin to become pregnant and give birth.

It's one of the novel's great strengths that these mysterious pregnancies are never explained. Hauptmann makes it quite clear that they are not, in fact, due to the only surviving male on the island, now grown to adolescence. They arise, apparently, as an inherent quality of the island itself.

Well, but there's trouble in utopia. Half the children born are female, half male. What to do with the males?

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In Search of Nightshade

Gee: Witchcraft. Medieval England. Lots of gay sex.

Sounds like the perfect novel.

I thought that the title was Nightshade, but if so, repeated web-searches have yet to turn up any sign of it.

Setting: medieval England. Our hero: hot, sexy, dark. (Is he really a wrongfully-dispossessed nobleman's son—à la Robin Hood—or am I just making that up?) Gay as a goose, of course. Travels all over Ye Merry Olde, having lots of adventures—hem, hem—with lots of cute, willing guys.

Oh, but the true love of his life—the one he keeps coming back to—is the eponymous Nightshade, the beautiful boy back home, apprentice to the village witch.

Plot? I'm sure there was one. No doubt the old witch dies and our hero (I don't even remember his name: probably something terse and monosyllabic like Dirk) eventually manages to save young Nightshade from the evil witch-hunters.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Go ahead and write it yourself. Follow wherever your muse leads you. If the result morphs into a gay leather stocking story set i
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    I want to read that book!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

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Planet of the Magi is published

My space fantasy novel Planet of the Magi is published. It features a female protagonist who uses magic and is influenced in her moral choices by her planet's pacifist pagan minority.

The book includes people who follow two different kinds of pagan religion grown from the same root, one that remained on a planet that one that is practiced on a space ship. I proposed that the culture that remained on a planet is polytheistic, and tied their religion to seasons and agriculture and the gods that govern those things, but the ones who live in space developed into a henotheistic religion that honors a single creator goddess. There are also three different magical systems, one practiced by the ship group, one by the majority culture on the protagonist's planet, and one practiced by an order of warrior monks founded by aliens but now including humans. 

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The Ruin of Beltany Ring and Grandmother Mælkevejen's Belly Now Available in Multiple Formats

If you don't use Kindle, but you're interested in my first collection of fiction and poetry or my more recent novelette release, you can pick them up from several vendors now. Here's the full list:

The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales

Paperback | Kindle | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Oyster | Inktera

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Fireverse Part 2: When I Challenged Loki to a Duel

Why? Because apparently I possess the common sense the gods gave a honey badger.
 
I had just run for office for the second time. I was exhausted and disillusioned. I had seen how the political sausage was made and felt that the system was rigged. I read an essay on Popehat, “Burn the [expletive deleted] System to the Ground,” and agreed wholeheartedly. That opened me to Loki in his aspect as Breaker of Worlds. I didn’t realize that until much later, though.

In November 2013, I went to see Thor: The Dark World. I enjoyed it, but I left the theater thinking, “I could write a much more authentic story about the heathen gods than that!” That opened me to Loki, too, and to Odin, though I didn’t realize that until later, either.

“Yes, you could,” purred that voice. Loki appeared in my mind as a fictional character, talking and making story. I didn’t think it was really him, though. For one thing, I was used to hearing fictional characters talking in my head; it’s how I’ve been writing fiction for decades. Like many other authors, when I get an idea for a story and the characters start talking to each other, it always feels like the characters are banging on the inside of my head trying to get out. For another thing, he didn’t look like I remembered him. I had met Loki as a child, in a dream, without knowing who he was, but by the time he showed up again, I had identified the Lord of the Monsters as Loki (see my previous post Lord of the Monsters for that story.) Now he was coming around my mind cosplaying as Marvel-Loki. It took me a while to realize, “Duh, shapeshifter.” Of course he can look like anyone or anything he wants.

Scenes played in my head. I saw chemtrails create the Fimbulwinter, and the Well of Worlds on fire because it was full of fracking fluid, and Sif lying dead in her temple, poisoned by her own worshippers who accidentally sacrificed unlabeled GMO grain. I saw myself die in a zombie apocalypse with a Smith & Wesson Shield in my hand – weeks before I actually was given one for Yule – the dead rising because the Rainbow Bridge was out. I heard Heimdall say it broke under the weight of dead cats and dogs.

“Look, there is dialogue, there are scenes, write.” His horns of flame tickled the inside of my skull, giving me a headache.

I told him, “Shut up in there or I’ll write a scene in which you get bitten by the Midgard Serpent.”

His eyes twinkled and he laughed at me, and—well, I wrote the scene. It is now in the book.

He was delighted. “You wrote something!”

Yes, I did, I wrote something. You win. Score one for Loki.

So, when I realized, “Holy *^(&^ it’s really Loki!” what did I do? I challenged him to a formal duel, using traditional Old Norse fighting words. I wrote a horrible little fanfic story in which the very worst thing that could ever happen to anyone happens – what I thought was the worst thing that had ever happened to me, that is. I wasn’t even aware that was what I was doing. It only became glaringly obvious in hindsight. At the time, I thought I was insulting him.

“Ha, ha! Look! You wrote more things about meeeeeee!”

He reacted as if I amused him, but months later, I realized that when I tried to insult him, what I was really doing was revealing my deepest unhealed trauma. Being a god, he saw right through me, and saw what I could not see myself. He resolved to help me heal it through writing, though I didn’t realize that at the time either.

I also realize now that reacting as if he was amused was the “laugh so you won’t cry or scream” phenomenon that I’ve seen so often before, particularly in myself. He deflected me with humor, and I didn’t realize just how very seriously he was taking my unconscious cry for help until much later. I also didn’t realize until much later that often the being who showed up to inspire my writing insisting that I call him Loki was really Odin, although I had a sneaking suspicion of it for months before it became really obvious.

Every night I dreamed of Ragnarok. Dreams in the twelve nights of Yule are supposed to be prophetic. I saw Thor’s head on a pike. Loki boiled tea from the flowers left at the graves of the dead, and held a tea dance. It was absurd and terrifying.

Finally I had my outline done and I started writing. The pressure eased. Dialogue poured out my fingers, into the keyboard, and when I saw it on the screen, I thought, “I just wrote WHAT about WHO?” I was afraid what I had written might offend Thor. When I went outside I expected a lightning bolt between the shoulder blades. I was mortally afraid to walk beneath the sky, until I raised a cup of coffee to the Thunderer and asked for a sign of approval if he wanted me to keep writing this story this way, and an out-of-season rainstorm arrived, a blessing from Thor.

On Yule 2013, I laid two fires, a bonfire for the ceremony and a barbecue fire for cooking the feast for after the ceremony. I lit both fires. The bonfire shed fire all around it and required much work to contain, and when I set the leaf-design iron lid aside to toss burning branches back into the fire, I burned my foot on the lid. I stood in the cold bucket of water. It was time to concede. It was time to admit that I could not win a duel against a god. Like the cup of coffee I had offered to Thor, I had to make some small gesture toward Loki. So I threw my hair-combings into the barbecue.

At once the fire popped and spat and threw off a great light in acceptance of my sacrifice. Not the fire I threw it into, but the great Yule bonfire, which suddenly stopped trying to get out of its metal confines and started burning merrily and throwing off a great white-yellow pyramid of herbal smoke straight up into the air. The rest of the ceremony went off perfectly, and the cooking did too.

That was when my head cracked open and I started hearing the rest of the gods, too. They inspired my writing. Loki’s laughter echoed down trunk of the World-Tree and shook dry rot from its heart. His voice moistened the dark between the stars, shivered through all the worlds and waited for me every night as I closed my eyes. I no longer heard it in dreams, but now, in that half awake, half asleep state as I drifted off to sleep. As I slipped into the state of consciousness called hypnogogia, I saw Loki standing in my room, and a large snake slithered into my bed. Nervously, I told Loki his snake was getting too close, but he laughed and told me it wasn’t his snake.

“That is my blood brother, Bolverkr, the mead of poetry in his mouth, here to help you birth a new world.”

Image credit: "Loke by C. E. Doepler" by Carl Emil Doepler (1824-1905) - Wägner, Wilhelm. 1882. Nordisch-germanische Götter und Helden. Otto Spamer, Leipzig & Berlin. Page 255.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    From reading "Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes" by Chris Knowles I would say that many of the best c
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Yes, it would be really cool if they let Sjofn and Lofn loose in the MCU. Maybe Marvel-Thor would finally get together with Sif!

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