A biographer captures the tale of D&D creator Gay Gygax's life. A mythology-themed strategy game gets a new, Asian-themed expansion. And one writer considers the difference between blackface and cosplay. It's Airy Monday, our weekly take on magic and religion in pop culture. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
This month I will be featuring various members of the Bat Family.
The Bat Family (The Order Chiroptera) accounts for one fifth of the mammal species on earth. The only Mammals on earth to fly, Bat Family is divided into two groups – Megachiroptera, the large Fruit Bats of the Old World, and Microchiroptera, the smaller Bats that people know worldwide.
Known as “Flying Foxes”, Megachiroptera have foxlike faces with large eyes. Flying with steady wing beats, Flying Foxes rely on their sense of smell and sight to navigate. With wide spans the size of a small adult, These Bats, also, use their wings as flippers for swimming. Flying Foxes feed on fruit, pollen, and nectar.
Vital to the forests they live in, They promote the growth of new plants.
Microchiroptera hunt at night, using echolocation to locate Insects. In addition, these Bats eat fruit and pollen. They roost in caves, under bridges, any place where the temperature of the air remains stable.
Consider the suffix -ry or -ery,* which comes to us from Latin (-arius) via Old French (-er, -ier) via Middle English (-erie) and, attached to a noun or verb, can mean either a craft, study, or practice (husbandry, midwifery), a collective plural (Jewry, nunnery), or a place in which a particular activity takes place (bakery, hatchery).
So witchery can mean:
Witches collectively, and
One of my favorite lines from the Charge of the Goddess has always been: For behold, I am Queen of all Witcheries. Apparently there are multiple witcheries, and She's queen of them all. Andrew Mann said of Her in 1597: She has a grip of all the Craft. That's quite a claim.
"I can make whatever choices I want in my life, and I will live with the consequences of those choices. But if I want to live a life close to my deepest desires, I have to risk knowing who I really am and have always been. Knowing this, then I can choose."
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation
We live in a culture and a world of avoidance. Television, social media, alcohol and drugs are just a few escape routes we have to avoid truly knowing who we really are. At this time of year, when Samhain is fast approaching we cannot avoid the very real fact that we will die, that death is unavoidable, though we may try. Looking at death straight in the eye can reveal some very hard truths about ourselves, about how we live in the world, and what our responsibility and duty is to the ancestors, not only ancestors of the past but perhaps more importantly, ancestors of the future.
Note: I'll be back to the Hero's Journey next time, but this topic came up on the Facebook "Magickal Community and Education" group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MagickalCommunityEducation/). Rather than simply posting my thoughts there, I thought they'd make a decent blog post. I look forward to everyone's thoughts.
* They do not feel poor. They have few material possessions, but they dance and sing.The Bushmen of the Kalahri are happy to be eating ostrich eggs and boar’s heads, cooked in hot sand and embers, and feel extra privileged to get a bite of mostly cooked boar anus or a roasted beetle. Jakob Malas, a Khomani hunter from a section of the Kalahari that is now Gemsbok National Park says "The Kalahari is like a big farmyard, it is not wilderness to us. We know every plant animal and insect, and know how to use them. No other people could ever know and love this farm like us."
And we might envy that happiness, that simplicity. Life in the Western world is hard apace, and filled with choices and conflicts. We lack the deep knowledge and support of each other that comes with living closely in groups. Modern economists call this social capital. And money can be very hard to think about. My mother, raised during the great depression, used to agonize over balancing her checkbook to the penny. She would sit at the kitchen table and moan and swear. The consequences for not thinking about money are high. We can loose our mode of transportation or our home. But it is worth noting that the consequences for the bushman who fails to think ahead are even higher.
In truth, even in the developed nations, we have the option of checking out of the economy. People have been making communes for generations, some of them non-monetary where resources and labor are pooled for a common goal. And yet only a small portion of the population chooses to do this at any given time.