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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Wild Things

 

I had an email this morning from a reader thanking me for my book, The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid, which is always a lovely thing to hear - do write to authors you like and support them! - and who also had some very good questions, apprehensions and fears about walking the wilds of Maryland, USA, safely and as a Druid, in cougar and bear country.

I used to live in North Vancouver, and took precautions every time I went out into the wild. I always had a hunting knife, not only for defence, but also in case  I got lost, needed to make a fire, etc.  What sort of Pagan goes into cougar and bear-infested woods armed? A smart one! Not that we would want to use any weapons, but that we know that nature is not necessarily always working for the sole purpose of being kind to humanity. Nature has its own modus operandi, as we know, for we too are a part of that nature.

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, September 5

What made Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away so special? A popular indie fantasy game inspired by an even more popular title gets a new sequel. And a look at the problems of sexual harassment within fan circles and how to establish a safe space. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment about magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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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

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Continuing Vision: Art

Greetings!

This is the second installment of blogposts concerning the Vision of Isaac Bonewits. In our first installment,  Back to Basics, we discussed the first point of Isaac's Vision, Excellence in Scholarship. Today, we will talk about Artistic Excellence.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Think Before You Hex

“So, what are you guys doing for New Moon?”

I'm talking long-distance with a friend.

“We're having a discussion about cursing,” I tell her.

These days, we generally do at Full, and discuss at New. Mostly, it makes for a good balance; you need to get things done, but you also need to think about things.

“Touchy subject,” she replies. “Should be an interesting discussion.”

She pauses, then laughs, adding: “Assuming it doesn't break up the coven first.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Michele
    Michele says #
    I always think before I hex. I have in fact, only hexed once, and I thought a great deal about it. But I think I disagree with yo
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I agree completely, Megan. There are nearly always better ways to get the job done.
  • Megan Gypsy Minx
    Megan Gypsy Minx says #
    Thank you, a good reminder of why hexes and curses are usually never worth it.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Message in Coins

One time during the time period when I was learning how to follow the Goddess Diet to honor the goddess Sif, I was preparing for a potluck, and I went to the grocery store. I saw some corn on the cob. I thought, “That would be great to bbq. But I don't know whether it's GMO or not.”

Then I remembered that the GMO corn is a yellow corn. If the corn is some other color then it's not GMO. So I checked it and it was white corn, so I bought some. At the checkout, I was thinking, "I really hope I'm right and that I did this right for Sif."

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Megan Gypsy Minx
    Megan Gypsy Minx says #
    I've never personally looked at coins before but it's truly amazing how the universe provides insight everywhere.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've come across Canadian pennies before; though I understand they've stopped making them, but I've never come across an Australia
Gods Within / Gods Without: A New Name and a New Focus

 

I began this blog -- originally called Dreaming the Myth Onward -- with the intent of exploring what Jungian psychology had to offer to Pagan theology.  Neo-Paganism has been thoroughly permeated by an overly-simplicitic understanding of Jungian psychology -- what I have called the "de-godding of the archetypes" -- transcendent agencies reduced to mere symbols and metaphors.  And this has led to a disenchantment of the gods for many Pagans.  The growth of devotional polytheism in the last 15 years has been largely in response to this disenchantment of the gods.  I began this blog with the intent of "re-godding the archetypes" or, rather, re-enchanting the Jungian conception of gods.  

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