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Posted by on in Culture Blogs



Interesting Writing Assignment


Well, now: there's an interesting writing assignment.

A brief autobiography for a forthcoming volume about pagan elders.

Flattering to be asked, of course. Everyone's favorite subject: me, me, me.

Still, there are good bios and bad bios. What makes one biography worth the reading—memorable even—and another not?


The Life and Times of Lord Moonwhistle


“Lord Moonwhistle was born in Peoria in 1942 and graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1960.”

Gee: do you want to read more of that? No, of course you don't.

What makes the story of a life worth reading? Not just the facts, oh no my precious.

What you want is a story.

You want a story that gives you a sense of encounter with someone else. You want a story that amuses, entertains, and is about something larger than just another person and their experiences.

Really, what you want is myth.


My Big, Fat Pagan Career


So I wrote a biography. I started by leaving a lot out.

For the biography of a pagan elder, non-pagan data can be of only tangential interest, insofar as it relates to the life's larger pagan trajectory. So you won't learn much about my career(s), degrees (or lack thereof), or relationships. Those things all happened, and they're all of formative importance, but not here.

Stylistics: I decided to go with third, rather than first, person narrative. When someone is the hero of all his own stories, I usually think: Gods, what a stuck-up jerk. (Cp. AC's "autohagiography.") Somehow or other, a “he” narrative sounds more objective than an “I” narrative.

Yes, it's all smoke and mirrors—in effect, a con job—but that's show bizz, folks.

What you will learn about is my pagan career.

That's way more pertinent than all that other (secular) stuff.


A Good Biography Is Like a Necklace”


Surely a good biography is like a necklace: not just a collection of beads, but of beads arranged into a larger whole.

What we have a right to expect from a good pagan bio:

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Yggdrasil was a small format heathen newsletter which was, for a while, my primary contact with the heathen community. Recently I re-read a few old issues from the 90s. I was struck by the mix of academic explorations of lore with fun and games like the rune puzzles, and announcements about future events. Obviously I remember that-- I even wrote some of those rune puzzles-- but from my perspective here 30 years later and deeply enmeshed in the internet it seems strange to think about the days when I would yearn for communication with other heathens and it came in the form of the letters section in the larger magazines, which each came once a quarter. I would yearn for more knowledge and it came in the mail, on random topics chosen by the magazine editors. Looking at the contents of a few copies of Yggdrasil now, it reminds me strongly of the contents of the forum I manage, the Asatru Facebook Forum, except that people in forums can just post things and don't have to go through an editor's selection process, and everything is nearly instantaneous. Someone can post a question on a topic and a dozen people will answer in the space of a few days. Thinking back to how it was before the net, it seems almost miraculous.

The net has replaced a lot of what I used to seek at heathen festivals back in the day, too. It's replaced the seminars and panels and specialty rituals with similar things held online, especially last year as people deliberately tried to hold actual gatherings over the net due to the pandemic. Blogs like this one have replaced some of the in-person classes we used to have at festivals or in bookstores. Forums meet part of the need for social interaction with other heathens that we used to get hanging out by the campfire at festivals. And of course, the festival's dealer's tables have moved to the net too. Yet, we still have festivals-- or at least we did before Covid-- and obviously, we still have magazines. So, the net must not be meeting all of everyone's needs.

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    Magazines can be read in peace, and the knowledge can be shared without anything going wrong, like loss of electricity or broken p
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    Sometimes this site flat out doesn't function for me, and it gets frustrating to try and come on.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A question that can come up when students first learn that heathens in historical times had divorce and that the wife was the key holder in most times in heathen history (with some notable exceptions) is: what happened after that? If the woman was the property owner did the man lose his status after divorce?

That's a good question, and the answer is sometimes, but not usually. Social status in the ancient world depended on a lot more besides being landed or not. A man would only lose status when he left his wife's property if the man's status was tied to the estate, which was not always the case. That had to do with how much property was involved in the marriage, which was more an issue with the upper classes, and whether there were any noble titles involved, also only an issue for the upper classes, and only in some time periods.

An example would be if the property on which they lived were exclusively her inheritance and getting divorced meant he had to stop being a land holding lord and go join some other lord's house carls. But that would have been a really small percentage of people. It would not affect most people.

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Video shared by on in Paths Blogs

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To Those Who Would Ask, “But is It Historical?”

 Well now, there's history

and history. And if it were

indeed that we were once

one people, of this-and-so

a time, and this-and-so

a place: now, would that not

be a fine and shining fire

to warm your heart at,

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witches' History Month

If one were to pick a Witches' History Month, which month would it be?

To pose the question is to know the answer.

Obviously, Witches' History Month has to be October, right?

So, there it is. October = National Witches' History Month.

As we will, so mote it be.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    The cartoon reminds me that Gardner operated a Witchcraft Museum. Maybe someday it will return somewhere.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Charm for Weaving

Weaving has long been a winter activity. As the last vestiges of the cold hang on hereabouts, the thought of spring still seems distant. But friends have been sharing pictures of their new lambs so it's coming nonetheless. The whole cycle from wool to woven begins again.

There has long been an association of magic with weaving. While dismissed as 'women's work' often, its intricacies inspire wonder at its mysteries. If you don't know how to do a thing, the process can look like magic. Indeed the association goes back to the Moirai, the Parcae, the Norns and even Macbeth's three witches. The threads they weave, measure and cut -- how do they affect our fates? And what are the incantations they mutter over the threads?

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