49 Degrees: Canadian Pagan Perspectives

Canadian Paganism has a style all its own. Have a look at events, issues, celebrations, people, trends and events north of the border from the eyes of a Canadian Wiccan and Witch.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Sable Aradia

Sable Aradia

Sable Aradia (Diane Morrison) has been a traditional witch most of her life, and she is a licensed Wiccan minister and a Third Degree initiate in the Star Sapphire and Pagans for Peace traditions. Author of "The Witch's Eight Paths of Power" (Red Wheel/Weiser 2014) and contributor to "Pagan Consent Culture" and "The Pagan Leadership Anthology," she also writes "Between the Shadows" at Patheos' Pagan channel and contributes to Gods & Radicals. Sable is just breaking out as a speculative fiction writer under her legal name, and a new serial, the Wyrd West Chronicles, will be released on the Spring Equinox this year. Like most writers, she does a lot of other things to help pay the bills, including music, Etsy crafts, and working part time at a bookstore. She lives in Vernon, BC, Canada with her two life partners and her furbabies in a cabin on the edge of the woods.

 

leiastampIt grieves me deeply to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher, whose humour, cleverness and bravery have been an inspiration in my life.  Carrie Fisher's legacy includes bravely sharing some of the most intimate details of her lowest points, from her struggles with drug addiction and bipolar disorder to the objectification that she was subjected to as an actress, to nasty, petty remarks from an entitled media whom, it seems, were angry that she didn't just stay perfect in her gold bikini forever and had the audacity to get old.  She faced it all with courage and a cynical and sarcastic wit that I, who have had some considerable struggles in my life, find both inspiring and smugly satisfying.  She was an accomplished writer, penning memoirs, script band-aids, and her bestselling novel Postcards from the Edge, which was later made into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley McLaine.  But of course, she remains best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars Saga, and this is, of course, why I know about her.

...
Last modified on


A Quest for Canada is a series of articles that will appear in both my Witches & Pagans column 49 Degrees and my Patheos blog Between the Shadows on an alternating schedule between the two blogs.   Links will be provided in both blogs.

2016-09-05 11.04.12It was the perfect moment.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Quest for Canada is a new series of articles that will appear alternately in both my Witches & Pagans column 49 Degrees and my Patheos blog Between the Shadows.  It will be published once a week in an alternating schedule between the two blogs.   Links will be provided in both blogs.

I believe in new gods as well as old gods.  When you invest spiritual and emotional energy into a concept, it acquires its own egregore; and when enough people do it for long enough, it develops a very powerful egregore.  Most of my readers will have heard of Lady Liberty, or the American Dream.  Simon and Garfunkle wrote a beautiful song about searching for the spirit of America, which was remembered recently in a political campaign ad.  I, as a Canadian, went in search of the spirit of my own country, Canada.

...
Last modified on

Brown Girl in the RingBrown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read for the Women of Genre Fiction challenge, the 12 Awards in 12 Months challenge, the LGBTQ Speculative Fiction challengeand the Vernon Library Summer Reading challenge. I was going to read this for the Apocalypse Now! Challenge, but the world was not destroyed and therefore, it does not qualify.

I loved this book. I loved everything about it! I have encountered some of Nalo Hopkinson’s short fiction before and was intrigued, but this novel received a lot of awards and a lot of critical acclaim, and was her first explosion on the scene. One of those awards was the Aurora Award, which is Canada’s tribute to our science fiction and fantasy writers, so naturally I was honour-bound to read it eventually anyway, but what a pleasure!

In this novel of magical realism, which takes place in a dystopian Toronto that has been abandoned by the Canadian and Ontario governments after an economic collapse, Ti-Jeanne has just recently left the father of her baby to live with her grandmother because he is a drug addict who has gotten mixed up with the local organized crime syndicate who runs the inner city, called the Posse, and she realizes that as much as she loves him, he’s no good for her and less good for the baby. There is no police force in operation in the urban remains, none of the city’s infrastructure is supported, and economy has gone back to bartering and growing what one can in the remains of the city’s many iconic parks, so there is little consequence for participating in crime and the Posse has a free rein in the city. The leader of the Posse, Rudy, has made a deal with a shady hospital to provide a human heart for a transplant to the Premier of the Province (for you Americans, that’s like the state governor.) Rudy has learned that Tony, the father of Ti-Jeanne’s baby, has been skimming off the top of the drugs he has been selling for Rudy to support his own habit, and has blackmailed him into fetching the heart from one of the local urban residents – by force. Tony was once a nurse before his habit got him fired.

What makes this scenario really interesting is that Ti-Jeanne’s grandmother, Gros-Jeanne (yes, for those of you who speak French, the names are deliberately symbolic) is a Caribbean immigrant who is a priestess of a Caribbean Afro-Diasporic tradition. The Afro-Diasporic traditions are syncretic faiths such as Voodoo and Santeria; Gros-Jeanne never specifies her tradition and actually says that they are all essentially the same. This turns the sordid scenario into an epic spirit quest in the Caribbean spiritual tradition, taking place partially in the physical world and partially in the spirit world. Much of the magic, until near the end of the book, might only be happening in the minds of the characters, and best of all, the Voodoo is real. I am a Wiccan priestess and have had the opportunity to learn just enough about Voodoo from practitioners that I have met to recognize the rituals, the symbolism, the magical practices and the spirits themselves.

The overall effect is an exercise in surrealism, told with a masterful hand. The language is simple but the characters and the story are deep. I don’t dare tell you anymore for risk of spoiling the story. I will say that I loved everything about it, from the story itself, to the mythic themes of Caribbean culture that were mined to create the story structure, to the evocative descriptions, to the use of modern iconic places to create a sense of realism, to the theme, which, ultimately, is a complex examination of what “family” actually is. I find myself beaming with Canadian pride in Nalo Hopkinson, and I highly recommend this novel to pretty much anyone.

View all my reviews

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Tonight Canada had a moment kind of like the moon landing or Woodstock or JFK's assassination.  Years from now we'll be telling our grandchildren where we were when we watched The Tragically Hip's farewell concert.

Yeah, you probably don't even know who they are, do you?  At the most you're scratching your heads and muttering, "Yeah, that's some Canadian band, right?"  Yeah, okay, you're right, and you're horribly wrong too.  For about thirty years the Hip has been writing Canada's soundtrack for life.  We often wondered why they never seemed to catch anywhere outside of our big-but-small country, especially since they would fill every stadium to standing room only when they played in any major Canadian city.  But now we know the answer.  It's because they're as Canadian as mounties, beavers and inukshuks; as Montreal steak and poutine; as curling and lacrosse and hockey. Probably it's just that no one else but us could fully appreciate them.

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Morrison, Thanks for sharing! I have always been fascinated by Canadiana. I've heard of The Tragically Hip, but have never li
  • Mylène Chalifoux
    Mylène Chalifoux says #
    ...it is in total amazement that I am reading your post now. I woke up this morning, needing to connect with my spiritual essence

In the ancient days of the world, when all was still mostly froth and chaos, there lived two great Kings.  The Oak King was the ruler of the places that were light, and the Holly King ruled the places that were dark.  At first They feared one another; for the Holly King was the master of the places that the Oak King dared not go, and the Oak King was the master of the places that the Holly King dared not go.  What secrets might the other be keeping?  But the Goddess of the Moon and Stars knew Them both, and She bade Them to go to one another.  “You’ll like Him!” She told each of Them with the twinkle of the stars in Her deep dark eyes.  “You’ll see!”

So They agreed to meet at the border of Twilight, where light and dark meet.  The Goddess guided Them to the meeting place with the twinkles of Her eyes, and then She tactfully withdrew.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Happy Canada Day!  I thought that it might be fun to celebrate Canada Day by sharing the meaning and magick behind a few of Canada's national symbols.

Maple Trees by David Wagner. Public domain image courtesy Publicdomainpictures.net
Maple Trees by David Wagner. Public domain image courtesy Publicdomainpictures.net

Maple

One of the most striking of Canada's national symbols is the maple leaf that adorns our flag.  Something that people come from all over the world to see is the beauty of our maple forests in Central Canada showing In the fall.  Though at this time of year, the leaves of the Canadian maple are still green.  This is one and the same with the famous maple tree that produces the sap that becomes maple syrup.

...
Last modified on

Additional information