Bryan Fuller details his plans for the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. The trailer for the film Gods of Egypt is analyzed and critiqued. And Cartoon Saloon, the studio behind films such as The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea announces a new film. It's Airy Monday, our weekly news segment about 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.
Gather ’round, Charmers. First, as always, my litany of complaints: it is Heartbreak Hotel in my little corner of the woods which is every bit as depressing as you would expect it to be. Not for me personally, my heart is currently as more-or-less intact as it’s going to be. But for four people in my circle of friends, it is less so. I try to be supportive, I try to be helpful, but no one wants to hear any of that noise whilst heartbroken. Needless to say, it wears me down. Working 40 hours a week in an accounting firm where there is no such thing as a small mistake because: accounting also wears me down. Shopping for Yule gifts, keeping my head above water for the holidaze season as a crafter for my Etsy shop and at shows is exhausting, research and slowly, oh so so so slowly writing my book is anxiety inducing as well as also (surprise!) exhausting.
It’s hard to feel glamorous right now, Charmers. Not in that (now nostalgic) new Mom-like way that nannying produced for me as a career path with endless amounts of physical labor, vomit, tears and poop, but in that I am too tired to think let alone look polished and perfect as well as formulating wit and charm. My brain is tired but my body is wired, the exact opposite of my not too long ago previous life....
In her novel Possession, A.S. Byatt writes about the Celtic roots of Breton folklore, in a series of macabre tales that are only told in the few darkening weeks between All Hallow's Eve and Advent. These collected tales, Tales Told in November, are mysterious and disquieting tales, full of violence, monsters, and shadowy, threatening sexuality. The Dark Goddess is invoked as Melusine, the double-tailed mermaid. October is a time of harvest and revelry as the last of the harvest is brought in. It is a time of great bounty and joy. It's not until after the Wheel has shifted and the Descent has begun, that things become truly frightening. Halloween is the beginning, not the end, of the dark seasons of the shadow, the chthonian, and the Dark Gods below the Earth and Sea.
This transition, this Hinge that comes at Samhain and we in the Northern hemisphere begin our Descent, is marked by so many cultural celebrations. These are occasions of great joy as well as reverence and solemnity. Samhain, Dia de Muertos, Samhuinn, Winter Nights, All Hallows—of these have more than a little joy mixed in with the darker aspects of contact beyond the Veil, and engagement with grief and mourning. For years, the Samhain season was my happiest time of the Year, full of rituals, fun and festivity. It was during this time that I often fell in love, or began new friendships or projects that proved to be important and transformational. Samhain brought so much abundance and pleasure that it was easy to forget the whole death part....
I just recently came back from my [5th, this time] pilgrimage-journey to Egypt; and, I want to tell many stories about my journeys to the land of Netjeru, and my experiences and my spiritual findings and illuminations… so, this would be the first post dealing with the topic, and I need to begin with a story of how I went to Egypt first time ever, and what happened after.
I’ve been drawn to Egypt since my childhood. It was a connection deeper than just fascination by Egyptian art, history, and mythology. In fact, I didn’t like Egyptian mythology much, even, because there were not enough myths in books for children in Soviet Union available, and the myths that were, lacked the adventures which make Greek and Norse myths much more dynamic.
I loved Ancient Egypt as a whole thing. I studied the history, and enjoyed historical fiction; I taught myself not to be frightened in the dim lit Egyptian Hall in the Hermitage, and taught myself not to be disappointed that Egyptian deities look rather obscure, compared to their greek/roman counterparts in the museum halls “next door”. Greek and roman statues of Gods looked like statues of humans, just having all the beauty and perfection. The Netjeru guarded the mysteries.
At Yule 1953, after lunch, Gerald Gardner turned to the then newly-initiated Doreen Valiente and said, “Write us up a nice ritual for this evening, would you my dear? There's a good girl.”
The result of this request, Valiente later told Janet and Stuart Farrar, “was the first chant or invocation I ever wrote for Gerald,” who was, she thought, “deliberately throwing me in at the deep end to see what I could do” (Farrar 148n3).
Gardner later described this ritual in his 1954 book Witchcraft Today: