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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

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Ooser

Ooser (“Rhymes with bosser, not boozer,” I always tell people) is a term from what Sybil Leek would call the Language of Witchcraft. It denotes a carved and horned wooden head-mask of the God of Witches.

It's a dialectal word, of unclear etymology. Doreen Valiente suggests an origin from ós, the Old English cognate of Old Norse áss, “god,” better known to English-speakers in its plural form aesir. An ooser, then, would be a “god-er,” which, since it bears the god and is worn by his personifier at the sabbat, makes sound theological (if not etymological) sense.

The famous and mysterious Dorset Ooser is the best-known example. Also known, from its bull-horns, as the “Yule Bull,” it frightened generations of Dorset children until it was stolen from its hereditary keeper in 1897 and never recovered. Old Craft scuttlebutt would have it that it was “took” to get it out of cowan hands, and that it has since remained in ongoing, if private, use among witch-folk to this day.

Well, so they say. In its own way, it's even a true story.

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Core Paganism

You could call it Core paganism.

It's a paganism that anyone can practice anywhere, at any time, regardless of who you are or where your people came from, because it's the common inheritance of us all and we each of us spend every moment of our lives immersed in it.

You could call them the Old Gods; the ancestors did.

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[Today, we sit down with Juli D. Revezzo. Author of short stories, novellas, and novels, Revezzo is an eclectic Celtic Pagan who favors both the dark and creepy and the sweet and romantic in her tales. Here, she discusses how her spiritual path influences her writing, the writing process itself, and her latest fantasy and mystery publications.]
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_DRUIDWARRIORSHEART3flatcopy.jpg
 
BookMusings: If you could correct any common misconception about modern Paganism/polytheism, what would it be?
 
Juli D. Revezzo: I'd think I'd say that we all have the same belief. We don't, of course. 
 
BM: How do you describe your personal spiritual path? Do you follow a particular tradition, or are you more eclectic in your practices?
 
JDR: It's a little Celtic in nature, but mostly it's centered around my writing ... I guess you could call it bardic though more in an open to the muses kind of way than any strict Celtic bardic tradition. Although I wouldn't call myself a recon, I am a lore lover. 

BM: How much do your spiritual beliefs and practices inform your writing? Do you find yourself including the Deities or heroes you honor, or basing your characters’ experiences and practices off your own?
 
JDR: Some. In the case of my Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, I'd say the lore I've studied formed the basis of the overall stories. Particularly as pertains to Ruth and Stacy's battles in the CSC books, they are directly based on the myth of the Second Battle of Mag Turied (a battle fought between the Tuatha Dé Danann and their enemy Balor). 
 
BM: Your Celtic Stewards Chronicles focuses on a family responsible for the protection of sacred land, specifically Ruth (in the sixteenth century) and Stacy (in the twenty-first century). How thoroughly did you plot out the characters’ genealogy, and do you plan to tell the stories of any of Stacy’s other ancestors?
 
JDR: Their genealogy goes back more than 70,000 years. As Aaron (the hero of the first book, Passion's Sacred Dance) says there have been many battles, and many the heroines don't even know about; while they do try to keep records, some are just simply lost.
 
BM: While Ruth lives in sixteenth century Catholic Ireland, she and her family secretly honor the ancient Gods and Goddesses. Ruth is worried that she will be accused of witchcraft, despite the family’s friendship with the local priest. Is there evidence of the worship of the Old Gods in sixteenth century Ireland? Were there witchcraft trials there, too, like there were on the Continent?
 
JDR: Evidence of pagan worship? Well, there is the ever present belief in the fair folk, and the remaining stone monuments. But don't you suspect there was some worship of the gods going on, despite what the church hoped? :)
 
Were there witchcraft trials in Ireland? Oh, yes. According to Irish Witchcraft and Demonology by St. John D. Seymour, there were at least examinations of accusations of witchcraft, from the 13th century up through the 19th. In chapter three he lists a statute from 1586 says: "1. That if any person or persons after the end of three months next, and immediately after the end of the last session of this present parliament, shall use, practise, or exercise any witchcraft, enchauntment, charme, or sorcery, whereby any person shall happen to be killed or destroied, that then as well any such offender or offenders in invocations and conjurations, as is aforesaid, their aydors or councelors . . . being of the said offences lawfully convicted and attainted, shall suffer paines of death as a felon or felons." I just fudged the history a little and moved the possibility of it up 73 years to give my heroine Ruth something  else to worry about. :) Not that she needs much more, what with the war and the harshad warriors and monsters wandering around, and Balor out to get her.  That's the great thing about fantasy writing: You can sorta kinda get away with playing with timelines. :)
 
BM: What sort of research went into the Celtic Stewards Chronicles? Lots of trips to the library? Hours surfing the web? Piles of books on your desk?
 
JDR: This book took me roughly two and a half years to write -- just to get the first draft correct enough to send to my beta readers. I made many  trips to the library and spent hours surfing [the internet]. I read through lots of "life in the middle ages" type books, lots of web pages. I have a whole word document full of links I referred to. All fun! :) Also picked the brains of some friends who study the era and some who'd been to Ireland. I even learned how to knit! :)
 
BM: Murder Upon a Midnight Clear centers around psychic witch and police detective, Helene Collias. Please tell me you plan to return to Holly and tell more stories about Helene. Pretty please?
 
JDR: Funny you should I ask, as I do have a story rolling around in my brain that, if nothing else, might take place just outside Holly. Helene and I just haven't found the right crime for her to wrap her head around, yet. 
 
BM: Bicycle Requiem is described as a “zombie novelette.” It is also super creepy. Where the heck did you get the idea for this story?
 
JDR: From time to time, unfortunately, you hear stories about these kinds of hit and run accidents on the news. One day I was emailing back and forth with a fellow horror writer and somehow the little girl just popped into my head. I figure there must've been one of those news stories running on tv in the background. She didn't appear quite as creepily as she does to poor Teddy, but there she was.
 
BM: Many of your stories straddle the line between fantasy and horror. What do you find so appealing about those genres, separately and together?
 
JDR: I've always been in love with fantasy, mystical, magical stories, which are always so much more intriguing to me. I love the layers of meaning you can work into a fantasy story that you can't quite get elsewhere. The darker stories ... that was my brother's fault. He always loved horror stories, and I guess some of that bled into the mix, particularly where the heroine of my Antique Magic series is concerned.
 
BM: Where can curious readers find your books?
 
JDR: They can visit my site at: http://julidrevezzo.com/ and find all of my books, as well as my blog. As for retail sites, my books and stories are at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, and Createspace. Some are in the Amazon-exclusive Kindle Unlimited program, but not all.
 
BM: You have self-published a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, in both digital and print format. What advice can you offer other writers who are considering the self-publishing route?
 
JDR: Proofread. Get your books as clean as you possibly can. Nevermind worrying about what other readers will say, I say think of it this way: You want to put out something you'll be able to look back on and be proud of, not something you wish you'd never released. If it takes an extra copy or an extra few weeks to re-read over it, what's the harm?
 
Also, get a good cover. Have a look at the covers in your genre and make notes of what works for you and trust your cover artist. If she says, "Hey that girl shouldn't be in polar fleece" when your book is set in Medieval France, she's probably right. :)
 
Also, read, study. You can write all you want, too. All of it is a part of the learning process, but I think I'd hold back on publishing until you're confident you've got all the bugs out of whatever manuscript it is that you're thinking of publishing. Think of it not only as a little (emphasis on little) money in your pocket, but your legacy. On the other hand, the editing has to stop one day; don't waste so much time editing that one book that you never write another, and never send anything out.
 
BM: What other projects are you working on?
 
JDR: 2015 was a pretty productive year for me, in terms of getting first drafts down. Right now, I am working on getting the follow up to Druid Warrior's Heart out to beta readers. I just released my first steampunk Victorian romance so I'm busy trying to get my marketing ducks in a row for that, and meanwhile, I've got the follow up to my short Gothic supernatural story House of Cards about ready to release here. Possibly for a Beltaine release or somewhere thereabouts, if the gods are kind. Also, I'm getting to work on some edits for the next installment in my Antique Magic series.
 
Those are all my "varying stages of editing" projects, I'm just trying to organize the release dates, really. And (yes, I am not done with the list!)  I'm also working on plotting what I hope will be the fourth installment in the Celtic Stewards Chronicles. It looks like 2016 is going to be all about releases, but who knows? I never can tell what else my muse will throw at me. :) She's like a raven with shiny stuff, sometimes. 
 
***
 
Druid Warrior's Heart (Celtic Stewards Chronicles, Book two) -- available at Amazon.

Passion's Sacred Dance (Celtic Stewards Chronicles, Book one) (PNR) -- available at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and Createspace.

Changeling's Crown 
-- (New Adult PNR)--available at Amazon
Barnes and NobleSmashwords, and Createspace.

The Antique Magic series -- available at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords 
 and in paperback from Amazon.
 
Murder Upon a Midnight Clear -- available at Amazon.
 

 

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Anytime! I'm always happy to provide a space for Pagan authors.
  • Juli D. Revezzo
    Juli D. Revezzo says #
    Thanks for hosting me today, Rebecca! I enjoyed our little chat.

The spring or Vernal Equinox is one of the two points on the agrarian calendar of equal night and equal day. The rabbit and the egg, symbols of Eostre (the Saxon fertility goddess honored at the dawning of spring), bespeak of the same sense of victory over death; in pagan belief, the “death” of winter. Eggs represent not only sustenance but also the potential of new life. Rabbits symbolize endurance and fecundity—a prey animal that still manages to survive, thrive and multiply. Beyond hard-boiled ovum and chocolate hares, the evergreen Yule tree can again lend itself to the festival of the season in traditional ways.

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New Moon in Pisces: the Waters of Return

 

Today is the New Moon in Pisces, the final sign of the zodiac, where we are dissolved, finally, in deep, starry waters. We are closing out the zodiacal year in the sign of the deep ocean, the sign of imagination, dreams, fantasies, secrets, a lacuna of magick and myth and desire as personal as our blood type. With the Sun, Moon, and Pisces' ruling planet Neptune all swimming in Pisces' mystic ocean, it is easy to get pulled under, into the tide of our emotions, our dreams, our longings. We float into the swells, buoyed up or engulfed by waves. It's easy to feel lost, without a compass or map.

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Are There Pagans on Other Planets?

Are there pagans on other planets?

For now, of course, there's no way to know. But my guess would be: Yes, there probably are. Wherever there is intelligent life, there will be pagans.

In fact, I'd be willing to go even farther. Since the Old Gods, the great Powers that give rise to, and sustain, life will necessarily (so far as we know) be constant from planet to planet, I suspect that the paganisms of the extraterrestrials may well bear something of a family resemblance to our own.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The "Orange Man"? "Jack in the Indigo?" Curiouser and curiouser!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember an article in Science News magazine that said yellow dwarf stars; like our sun, favor the development of chlorophyll as

Today was just a day like any other for me.  I got up and put on a pair of jeans and a blouse that flatters my figure, tied my hair back in a ponytail, and left the house.  I went to the bank and withdrew a significant sum of money from my account because I needed to replace my broken, battered old car with an unbroken, slightly less battered old car.  We picked up and paid for the car, a little Hyundai hatchback that’s almost as old as my son, and then I spent the two hours or so I had before work arguing about politics and then watching sexy videos with my partner.

I drove my new-to-me car to work, then handed the keys to my hubby so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking and so that he could run his errands.  I have a part time job at a bookstore (which I love) and then a couple of days a week I do Tarot readings there, which means I often have space between clients to snoop around the store (where I spend an amazing amount of my paycheque, but thankfully I have an employee discount,) and work on my blogging or other writing while I wait between clients.  When I got there, my co-worker showed me pictures of her brand-new granddaughter on her cell phone, and then my boss told me she’d inventoried some Patrick O’Brian books, since I’m collecting them.  I went into the back room, picked up the books and compared them to my list, and paid for the ones I needed.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Yes, thank you, so good to remember with gratitude.

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