Episode 8 – Polytheistssaywhat? » Dining with Druids

Episode 8 – Polytheistssaywhat? » Dining with Druids

In this week’s episode, “Polytheistssaywhat?” Ali and Jeff are on the road again, this time traveling with Cu Gwyn the Wonder Cat for company as they discuss the portrayal of religion in science fiction, the evolution of modern Paganism and its parallels with different kinds of language development. Ali totally loses her geek cred by admitting that she’s not all that into Battlestar Galactica, and Jeff gets down with his bad linguistic self talking about the relationship between Vodou spirituality and the Hawaiian creole language.

Click to listen.

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Nemeton, Altar and Sacred Grove

Nemeton, Altar and Sacred Grove

What is the sacred grove? The nemeton, sanctuary of spirit. A place set apart, a respite from wildness. Amongst the trunks of sacred trees — thick, tall pillars of rough bark etched in rivulets and knots that watch like eyes as light and shadow dance across the land — there is a space, within which all wildness, noise and dancing gives way to stillness. The grove is the eye of the world, as the storm has its eye that watches calmly from the very center the turning, roiling winds that utterly surround it. But this is no hard-edged circle, a gate that slams shut against the sacred mess and buzz of the world. The grove is made of wildness, too, an edge sculpted by wind and rain and sunlight, an eddy in the currents of energy. It is an in-drawn breath, a going-in amidst the goings-on, that opens up a center deep in the very heart and flux of things.

And in the sacred grove, there is the altar where we do our work. A center of gravity, a pole that runs the length of the universe and patiently turns the worlds around itself.

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New Anthology of Pagan Fiction!

New Anthology of Pagan Fiction!

It’s finally here! The Scribing Ibis: An Anthology of Pagan Fiction in Honor of Thoth was officially released today, and it’s now available in paperback through the Bibliotheca Alexandrina online store. It will also be available soon on Amazon.com and Amazon UK, as well as on Smashwords in a variety of ebook formats.

There’s more info available on the Bibliotheca Alexandrina website, but you can catch a sneak peek at the blurb and the Table of Contents here. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for the up-coming Meadowsweet Book Give-Away and a chance to win a copy of the anthology for yourself!

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Learning to Fall

Learning to Fall

Last night I had a dream. I was enrolled in a class that taught self-defense. The instructor was a thin, over-eager man. He split the class in half and gave half of the students bats. To the other half, he said, “They’re going to come at you with bats. So you need to practice how to defend yourself.” I kept waiting for some advice, some insight into how you fend off a person with a bat. But that was all he said.

And they came at us with bats. Swinging for the head, the shoulders. I raised my arms over my head to protect myself, and they swung their bats until my arms were bruised and shattered in a pulpy mess of pain. The instructor called out, “Swing harder! You need to learn how to defend yourselves against an enemy that will show no mercy. This is a serious threat, and you need to take it seriously.” And it dawned on me that those of us without the bats were not the only ones being taught. The students with bats saw themselves as warriors, defenders learning to wield their weapons for the right cause, in the name of justice. Their eyes burned with pride and power.

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Dog Days’ Scuttlebutt

Dog Days’ Scuttlebutt

I’m getting married! In just over a month! (In 35 days, to be exact!) From the beginning, August promised to be a busy month of planning and preparation, and so far it hasn’t let me down. But it’ll all be worth it when my beloved and I stand together on that threshold where the three realms meet, exchanging vows before our gods and our kindred (both ancient and living) and pledging our love to one another. Plus, afterwards — pool party!

But rumor has it there are some other changes afoot as well. A new anthology of Pagan fiction, more hilariously rude Druid dinner conversation, stories and memes and contests … oh my!

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The Elements

The Elements

Prayer to the Three

Wind, water, stone.
Breath, blood, bone.

I dwell in Nwyfre, energy, force,
I honor Nwyfre, spark and source.
Candle flame and incense rise,
Enlightened mind and brightened eyes.

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The Three Realms

The Three Realms

First, I knew the sea. The dark waters and the deep. That seeping, salty body that sloshes crest to trough and back again, ebb and flow in a dance with the moon. We carry an ocean in our blood, blue or purple beneath our skin, and only sometimes flushed pink or deeper red. The sea, like the past, seeps into the hidden depths within us where it works its erosion through memory and dream. Ancestors trickle through our fingers like water, each one of the beloved dead like a raindrop that enters the river that runs to join its source again. You can feel it sometimes, just as you are drifting off to sleep — that spinning, floating, rocking — as though the present were only a tiny raft upon a great heaving sea of time.

And then there is the sky. The bright air, the heights that hold the stars and sun like mighty pillars, fluted columns circling to make a temple to the gods.

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Late Summer Outdoor Altar

Late Summer Outdoor Altar

A few days ago, our landlord and his son asked us to clear our tiny front porch area while they worked on stripping and repainting the ceiling. Usually we have a small table set out front with a few candles and the odds-and-ends the kids bring back with them from the woods. We don’t always do a great job of maintaining this outdoor altar, especially during the cold months of snow and ice…

But today, I needed some spiritual down-time to ground in the textures and scents of the earth and replenish my soul a bit. Our landlord’s home improvement project seemed a perfect excuse to revisit our outdoor altar with fresh eyes.

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Nature and Earth

Nature and Earth

I look up from my work at the computer and notice for the first time the gray curtain of rain outside my window. That sacred presence that crept upon the land so slowly, opening itself up into a downpour over this city of steep hills and huge rivers with such unrelenting patience that it’s easy to believe the rain could go on forever, pounding over the black slate rooftops and gathering into the gutters.

And it does. I turn off the air conditioner and open the windows to let the breeze and noise-song of the storm in. The smell of summer is delicious and sweet and warm in my lungs. The red brick of our neighbor’s house darkens to a deeper, mottled red across the narrow span of the alley. Our tiny garden nods and nods…

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Cosmology

Cosmology

A match is struck — the flare in the darkness, the smell of sulfur, the quiet roar and hiss that is the first whispered melody of the cosmic dance. Energy and matter, process and emptiness, fire and water, the dance of relationship. Each sacred rite begins this way. The match is struck. The world begins again.

I light the small white candle floating in the deep blue bowl. What was before this? Nothing and void, pure potential. The flame licks and eats the air, the waters beneath swirl and turn, the soft wax of the candle hangs suspended in between. The wax melts, shining and dripping into the waters. The wax evaporates, lifting in invisible currents into the air. The fire stretches and curls, its edges sharp against the darkness, its movements as fluid as blood or rain. The waters grow still, a hard surface like the mirror reflection of some greater night, infinite as space and full of stars. The Three Realms unfold, dynamic in their spiraling dance of self-giving and welcome. Land, Sea and Sky created and re-created again, the cosmos reborn with every prayer.

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