The Village Witch
Why I'm a Pagan
My local indie bookshop had one of these left in stock and they kindly held it for me. I ran up there in my garden clothes and damp do-rag because I was so excited to have this book in my hands.
As soon as it was rung up and handed across the counter to me, I opened the cover, turned to the opening lines and saw---Lo! "Lo," I said aloud. "Interesting choice." I asked them if they needed any copies of my book ("Staubs and Ditchwater") and we agreed the 3 they have in stock will do until I get back from PSG. I declined a bag but got a bright bookmark. Holding the book to my chest, I tip-tapped out the door and across the street to the car. I sat there for a moment, looking at the cover, then smelling the top of the book, as one does.
I was almost afraid to start reading it. It has loomed so large in my vision for so long. In high school, I was introduced to Beowulf through Tolkien's 1936 paper, "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics." I was voracious for all things Tolkien--still am, obviously. In my sophomore year, our English class required a paper on some literary topic or other. I don't remember now. What I do remember was that it was to be 5-7 pages and I wrote "The Successful Sustentation of a Secondary World in the Works of JRR Tolkien." It was 33 pages long. My teacher was not amused but I did get an A+
I've printed out a copy of "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" and will read that in advance of a serious reading of this new/old translation. But what I've pondered today--while watering the gardens, processing fresh fruit and greens, making supper--is that reading faery tales and Froissart, living with Moomin trolls and Peter Pan, delving into Gawain and Farmer Giles and the Shire is what made me a Pagan.
Yes, for sure I have always experienced the Divines through Nature. I have felt myself aligned with the cycles of the season, even before I called it the Wheel of the Year. I come from a family that honors its women folk as healers and mystics, as witches, in fact.
But the thing that sent me deeply into my own cultural past--into a world filled with magic and mystery--and made me wonder about the "religions" that were around the British Isles before Christianity got there was my reading and absorbing that "secondary" world.
So young Christopher has caused this to be published at last. Beowulf! Tolkien!
I can barely contain my glee.
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