Crow was right, the storm did come and then it just kept on coming. Since the end of last month and for many weeks now harsh weather conditions have re-written this island’s coastlines. Rainfall, the likes of which have not been seen for more than a century, leaves the countryside drowning and submerged in its deluge.
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.
In the two months since the election my broader outlook has become less defensive.I have begun turning from battling the nihilistic right to the vastly more rewarding challenge of helping build a attractive alternative to modernity’s collapsed moral foundations. That collapse facilitated the right wing’s attempt to impose traditional authoritarianism in both secular and religious guise. Now, instead of constantly uprooting the right’s intellectual and moral weeds I hope to help prepare the ground for new growth and beauty. We sure need it.
My reading has shifted from politics to exploring recent studies exploring how our world is truly conscious “all the way down.” So long as materialist reductionism dominate the intellectual conversation, with irrational monotheism as the alternative, we will be regarded as exotic outsiders, and not taken seriously.This conversation desperately needs widening. More and more people are becoming aware of the inner bankruptcy of the Enlightenment project and its monotheistic alternatives, and so are open to views such as that of many Pagans if they are skillfully presented.
For this installment of Well at World’s End, we’ll take a look at the Pagan themes in the novel, Star Wars, written by George Lucas, Donald Glut, and James Kahn. Many people have watched the movies, which have become fan-classics. If you haven’t read the book, you might enjoy the story on a more personal level. As you read, even though you have the visual image of the characters and location from the movie, your own imagination takes over to reconstruct something new. Before long, the world and characters become new inventions in your own mind. There are also nuances in the book that you won’t find or will miss in the movie. Here is a sample of the opening pages, which describes the planet, Tatooine.
“At first it seemed certain nothing could exist on such a planet, least of all humans. Yet both massive G1 and G2 stars orbited a common center with peculiar regularity, and Tatooine circled them far enough out to permit the development of a rather stable, if exquisitely hot, climate. Mostly this was a dry desert of a world, whose unusual starlike yellow glow was the result of double sunlight striking sodium-rich sands and flats. That same sunlight suddenly shone on the thin skin of a metallic shape falling crazily toward the atmosphere.”
Hávamál offers us a glimpse of a past that had already become somewhat nostalgic when a single hand transcribed the poem around 1270 CE.As David A. H. Evans writes in the Viking Society for Northern Research’s edition of the verses, this second poem of the Elder Edda “is deservedly one of the most celebrated works to have survived from the early Norse world.” It’s full of gnomic advice that continues to be of interest—and application—to us in the modern world. Old Norse text via the Heimskringla Project.
1. Gáttir allar, áðr gangi fram, um skoðask skyli, um skyggnast skyli, því at óvíst er at vita, hvar óvinir sitja á fleti fyrir.
2. Gefendr heilir! Gestr er inn kominn, hvar skal sitja sjá? Mjök er bráðr, sá er á bröndum skal síns of freista frama.
3. Elds er þörf, þeims inn er kominn ok á kné kalinn; matar ok váða er manni þörf, þeim er hefr um fjall farit.
4. Vatns er þörf, þeim er til verðar kemr, þerru ok þjóðlaðar, góðs of æðis, ef sér geta mætti, orðs ok endrþögu.
Samhain is in the air, and with it a new year to celebrate life and read! For this installment of Well at World's End we'll take a look at the Pagan themes in Diana L. Paxson's novel, The White Raven, and specifically the depiction of ceremony filling the pages. It is the perfect book to begin the new cycle, as the story begins and ends on Samhain. To read along, you can visit: www.diana-paxson.com (If you're a Diana L. Paxson fan, you'll be happy to know I'm working with her on an in-depth interview, which is forthcoming in Witches & Pagans Magazine. So stay tuned!)
The White Raven retells the story of the lovers, Tristan and Iseult, depicted in the book by their Celtic names, Drustan and Esseilte, who are later betrayed by the king. It is told through the eyes of Branwen, the White Raven, who is raised alongside Esseilte by the Queen of Eriu. Paxson's story is steeped in history and Celtic lore. Here we see the junction of the Old Ways and Christianity. Steeped with Pagan themes, it is the depiction of ceremony that makes this a treat. Let's look further.